23

TUESDAY

OK, human race, can we get a final vote on that whole “aliens versus no aliens” issue? Is there or isn’t there intelligent life outside of our planet? Kids say? Yes. Rednecks and Midwesterners? Hell, yeah. Everybody else? Um…Scientists scan the skies, and network hacks storyboard X-Files ripoffs, but we’re still no closer to an answer. (And, no, Christians, angels don’t count.) Nevertheless, the notion of extraterrestrial life continues to dominate the collective imagination. Washington Post reporter Joel Achenbach argues that maybe we are too obsessed with aliens. He suggests that our skyward gazes distract us from more important discoveries down here on Earth. After all, there might not be anything up there to see. (As for me, I side with the gamblers: 50 billion galaxies, countless stars in each, planets surrounding any number of them, and only one births life? Come on, what are the odds?) Achenbach discusses and signs copies of Captured by Aliens: The Search for Life and Truth in a Very Large Universe at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Neil Drumming)