Saturday, March 26, 2005

T. Rex soft tissue, what defines a species as intelligent and space viruses

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 – Until now, super star clusters were only known to exist very far away, mostly in pairs or groups of interacting galaxies. Now, however, a team of European astronomers has used ESO's telescopes to uncover such a monster object within our own galaxy and almost, but not quite, in our own backyard. See article. For related story, see “Young and exotic stellar zoo".
g Abodes – When a volcano blows and you think you're safe by the sea after the main event subsides, watch your back. That's the message in a new study of a Caribbean eruption. See article.
g Life There's no cloning or mysterious tropical islands involved, but U.S. paleontologists have come closer to seeing a real-life Tyrannosaurus rex in the flesh than anyone else. See article. For related stories, see “Soft tissue discovered in bone of dinosaur” and “Scientists recover soft tissue from T. Rex".
g Intelligence – What does it mean to be intelligent? This question arises a lot, given the fact that "intelligence" is the last word of the SETI acronym. "Is there intelligence on Earth?" wags will ask (and by so doing, make their query relevant). What defines a species as intelligent, and how do SETI researchers decide? See article. Note: This article is from January 2002.
g Message – If alien astronomers from a nearby star system pointed their version of the Hubble Space Telescope at Earth, astronomer Markus Landgraf believes they would not see our planet but they would find hints of our presence. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Cosmicus – Space shuttle Discovery's payload bay doors have been closed as final preparations continue for the ship's departure from its processing hangar sometime Monday. See article.
g Learning – Nearly one-third of science teachers who participated in a national survey say they feel pressured to include creationism-related ideas in the classroom. And an alarmed science establishment is striking back in defense of teaching evolution — as we should. See article.
g Imagining – The avian flu is not just making headlines — it's making health officials nervous. The flu is a dangerous disease that illustrates just how adaptable viruses can be. Sunday’s edition of the SETI radio show “Are We Alone?” talks with experts on the behavior of viruses on Earth, and the possibility of viruses in space. See station listings.
g Aftermath – The recent brouhaha over whether there’s compelling evidence for life on Mars offers a stark lesson about research life: A major scientific discovery is a temptress as beguiling, and as dangerous, as the Sirens that beckoned Ulysses, says SETI’s senior astronomer. See article.

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