Sunday, April 03, 2005

Into Africa, brain trust and aliens from the studio prop room

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 is the universe’s topology? See article. Note: This article is from 1999.
g Abodes – A new study finds the climates in each half of the planet are linked by the oceans over the long run. Ocean circulation in the Southern Hemisphere has in the past adapted to sudden changes in the north, say researchers from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain and the Cardiff University in the United Kingdom. See article.
g Life – "Into Africa" rather than "Out of Africa" could well be the better description of how certain mammals originated and spread across the world, according to a University of Florida scientist, who has found the first evidence for origins in North America of a mammal thought to be endemic to Africa. See article.
g Intelligence – In a springtime sort of story, researchers say they've used advanced scanning methods to pinpoint the region of the brain where feelings of trust arise. See article.
g Message – In August 1977, a sky survey conducted with Ohio State University's "Big Ear" radio telescope found what has become known as the “Wow” signal. Registering enormous signal strength, the shape of the signal had the characteristic rise and fall expected for its short 72-second lifetime. But a hitch remains: The signal has not been retrieved from other sky surveys, making it more anomaly than confirmable cosmic source. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Cosmicus – “A few years ago I happened to overhear a conversation between two college students from Harvard, who were spending their spring break in Washington to lobby Congress for legislation to promote the growth of commercial space flight. To his companion’s question as to why he wanted to devote his career to space, one student responded simply, ‘What’s cooler?’” Read more of this insightful essay.
g Learning – With creationism and intelligent design continuing to battle evolution for supremacy in our schools, here’s a quality site that considers the science that supports the theory of evolution — from the National Academy of Sciences. See article.
g Imagining – Aliens should have a home planet. They should not be native to a studio prop room. The difficulty, of course, is in deciding how far to depart from intuitively credible Earthly life when depicting natives of other worlds. Too little, and the aliens might as well be humans with corrugated foreheads. Too much, and they become ridiculous. So what are some of these biological rules we're so familiar with but otherwise unaware of? See article.
g Aftermath – How will humans handle contact and its aftermath? These may be among the most profound questions that anyone can ask. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.

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