Finally, we did it. Guess who , it is..humans , some intelligent humans with telescopes who could also read the message out there ..

Short Sharp Science :Evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence found

The team writes: "Upon detailed inspection, the morphologies of individual galaxies and close systems approximate the familiar geometric shapes of letters of the basic modern Latin alphabet. . . . the existence of these messages might indicate intelligent life beyond our own."

From the observed phrases ("Caution! Structure formation in progress", "Delays possible for 7 Gyr" and "We apologise for the inconvenience"), it's clear that these are cosmic road signs, and that the creator of the signs speaks the Queen's English (this I deduce both from the "s" in apologise and from the general politeness of the message).

But the incredible find raises an obvious question - what exactly is the nature of all this construction? I hope it's not a make-work project designed to get the cosmos out of a universal recession. The last thing I want to see in future images is a bunch of extraterrestrial construction workers standing by idly and shouting lewd remarks at passing star systems.

Another fascinating paper (pdf) makes a water-tight case that π, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, has changed over time. Noting that fundamental constants such as the fine-structure constant and the gravitational constant may have changed over time (changes that could spell trouble for the standard model of physics), Robert Scherrer at Vanderbilt University suggests that the fundamental dimensionless constant π might have changed, too.

His evidence? Measurements of the constant taken at various locations around the world over the past 4000 years (see table). QED.

But what could be responsible for the changes? Scherrer says he takes inspiration from string theory: "Consider the possibility that our observable universe is actually a 4-dimensional brane embedded in a 5-dimensional bulk. In this case, 'slices' of π can leak into the higher dimension, resulting in a value of π that decreases with time." Never mind that the table shows that π has actually been growing over time: "Since our theoretical model is clearly correct, this must be attributed to 4000 years of systematic errors."

And Scherrer doesn't just stop with π. "The next obvious possibility is the investigation of the time variation of e," he says, referring to a constant often known as Euler's number. "More speculatively, one might consider the possibility that the values of the integers could vary with time . . . . This possibility would have obvious implications for finance and accounting."

It's too late for Scherrer to win this year's Abel Prize in mathematics, but I think it would be a travesty if he didn't take home the award next year.

Not only does his work neatly explain the financial crisis the world now finds itself in, but it also accounts for the mystifying fact that $1 doesn't buy what it used to. The value of one has simply been changing over time!

Rarely have two such impressive pieces of scholarship appeared at all, much less on the same day. It's a wonderful time to be alive!