Friday, March 25, 2005

Steppe mammoth’s origins, pink socks or blue and plasma-based life

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 – Peculiar outbursts of X-rays coming from a black hole have provided evidence that it has a mass of about 10,000 Suns, which would place it in a possible new class of black holes. The timing and regularity of these outbursts, observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, make the object one of the best candidates yet for a so-called intermediate-mass black hole. See article.
g Abodes – A different style of coastal barrier islands that forms under lower-energy conditions than classic ocean-facing barriers, such as North Carolina's Outer Banks, has been identified by coastal geological researchers at Duke University and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. The new style of islands is typically found in protected bays and lagoons. See article.
g Life – A study by Chinese and British paleontologists has found that the Steppe mammoth may have originated near Zhangjiakou, a city in north China's Hebei Province. See article.
g Intelligence – When given the opportunity to choose the sex of their baby, women are just as likely to choose pink socks as blue, a new study shows. See article.
g Message – Hear about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence from an insider's personal perspective in this Interview with Dan Werthimer, SETI@home Chief Scientist. See interview.
g Cosmicus – North Carolina scientists have found that "thinnest" is not necessarily "best" in rating structure and function of carbon nanotubes, the molecule-sized cylinders that show promise for futuristic technology scaled at a billionths of a meter. What effect might this have on space exploration? See article.
g Learning – The filmmaker who made Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name in the 1977 film "Pumping Iron" is making an IMAX documentary about NASA's dual rover mission to Mars. See article.
g Imagining – You’ve heard of carbon-based and silicon-based lifeforms in science fiction. But what about plasma-based life? Is it plausible? See article.
g Aftermath – Book alert: If you have been interested in scholarly theories concerning extraterrestrial intelligence but have not had the opportunity to read the books, journal articles and conference reports on the subject, this is the book for you. In “Extraterrestrials: Science and Alien Intelligence,” editor Edward Regis, Jr., science writer and associate professor of philosophy at Howard University, brings together the reflections of notable scientists and philosophers concerned with the existence and nature of ETs. One essay specifically discusses the philosophical and sociological impact of contact. See article. Note: The book was published in 1990.

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