In the first half of Monday's show, senior astronomer at SETI, Seth Shostak talked about a variety of space-related news, and whether certain phenomena could be signs of alien contact. Recently, Canadian radio telescopes have found numerous FRBs – Fast Radio Bursts – coming from space. Some of these mysterious pulses have repeated every several days. But because the FRBs are broadcast for only 1/10 of a second, and are vast distances away-- some are three billion light-years away, others two billion light-years in a different direction, "it's pretty improbable...that aliens so far apart from one other...would arrange to somehow all signal the same sort of way," he noted. Shostak reported on a second interstellar object (possibly a comet) making its way into our solar system that was discovered by an amateur astronomer in Ukraine. Some have speculated that the earlier object that came into the solar system, the asteroid 'Oumuamua, was possibly an alien spaceship.
Shostak addressed the theory that some co-orbitals (space objects that orbit the sun around the same distance that Earth does) could house alien probes that have been watching Earth for thousands or millions of years. It's hard to completely rule out or rule in such a notion without evidence, he remarked, but he considers it a real long shot that ETs would have undertaken such a time-spanning endeavor. He also weighed in on the so-called 'Tic Tac' UFOs witnessed by Navy personnel, which was revealed as part of the Pentagon's secret program to study such phenomena. In the videos, the black tic-tac shapes in the center seem to occasionally rotate or fly off-camera at high speed. While the military has authenticated the video, he's concluded there is no particular evidence that the source was extraterrestrial in origin.
Science journalist who specializes in biology, medicine, and technology, Linda Geddes has worked as both an editor and reporter for New Scientist magazine. She shared details of her investigation into how sunlight affects human health and well being. By spending days working in dim offices and evenings watching brightly lit screens, humans, she cautioned, are getting out of balance with the body's natural circadian rhythms. These rhythms are 24-hour fluctuations in the body that vary at different times of the day and are affected by how light enters the eyes and is interpreted by the brain, she explained. The body's circadian clock, she added, relates to all of the biological processes, governing when we feel tired or alert, the release of certain hormones, the chemistry of our brains, and the functioning of our immune cells.
Although there is concern that too much exposure to the sun causes skin cancer, there is also mounting evidence that sunlight has beneficial effects, such as the production of Vitamin D. Back in the 1920s, there was a craze for sun cures, and this technique actually worked for TB patients, she reported, as immune cells in the lungs responded to increased Vitamin D by producing an antimicrobial substance, which helped to kill the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis. Geddes recounted her journey to stay with an Amish community to study how using less electricity at night affects people-- the Amish are known to have a very low prevalence of seasonal affective disorder. She also visited Tromso, a town in the far north of Norway, that has extended periods of darkness in the winter. She found that residents had made a good adjustment to the darkness, and used it as a time to strengthen their bonds with each other.