Monday, March 07, 2005

Galaxy falls into wrong crowd, problems of Star Trek’s look-alike aliens

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Stars –What happens when a galaxy falls in with the wrong crowd? The irregular galaxy NGC 1427A is a spectacular example of the resulting stellar rumble. Under the gravitational grasp of a large gang of galaxies, called the Fornax cluster, the small bluish galaxy is plunging headlong into the group at nearly 400 miles per second. See article.
g Abodes –Global warming conversations have shifted from whether climate is changing to how we will deal with the inevitable consequences — The price each of us pay will depend on where we live and how well we prepare, suggests one of the most detailed studies to date on global warming and its likely effect on human activity. See article.
g Life –It took only a minute for scientists, equipped with an experimental infrared camera and light-emitting artificial lure to discover a new deep-sea species: A large, 6-foot squid. See article.
g Intelligence –The forces of variation and selection that shape human language have become issues of extensive research. Documentation of sounds and sound patterns, and their evolution during the past 7000-8000 years, allows linguists to quantify the important role of human perception, articulation and imperfect learning as language is passed from one generation to the next. See article.
g Message –Here’s an intriguing plan: Using NASA’s Terrestrial Planet Finder for Optical SETI. See paper. Note: This paper is from 2000.
g Cosmicus –Basics of Space Flight: How will we get to neighboring planets? Try this NASA site. Beginning with an overview of the solar system, with planetary statistics and distances, the course proceeds through celestial mapping and timekeeping to the physics involved in space travel. It’s presented in short, easily digested segments and includes test questions.
g Learning –Ever get confused by all of those astronomy acronyms? Just what is an ADEOS, MACHO or WUPPE anyways? Then keep this site bookmarked for a reference: The Canonical Astronomy Abbrev/Acro List.
g Imagining –There are several species in the Star Trek universe that look exactly like humans. The unlikely fact that life on different planets has taken a similar, if not the same direction was sufficiently explained in The Next Generation episode "The Chase." In this key episode to the Star Trek universe, Captain Picard's crew finds evidence that four billion years ago the first human civilization explored our galaxy, and they were disappointed because they found themselves alone. To preserve their heritage, they spread encoded DNA fragments across many Class-M planets throughout the galaxy, thereby triggering a development similar to their own. Aside from the evolution schedule the DNA fragments, correctly assembled, contain a message to their descendants, namely humans, Klingons, Cardassians, Romulans and all the other humanoid races of the galaxy that are in some way related to each other. As fascinating is this theory, a couple of problems remain. See article.
g Aftermath –Two-thirds of adults think there are other forms of intelligent life in the universe, according to a recent Roper poll. This belief tends to be more prevalent among males, adults ages 64 or younger, and residents of the Northeast as opposed to North Central and South. See article.

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