Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Supernova wind, solar systems with earths and artificial intelligence (part II)

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 – Scientists have detected a dusty wind emitted by a star that, at the end of its life, turned into a white dwarf and then exploded as a supernova. This is the first time that a wind from this type of supernova precursor has been observed and it is also the first time that associated dust has been detected. See article.
g Abodes – How many planets like the Earth are there among the 130 or so known planetary systems beyond our own? How many of these "Earths" could be habitable? Recent theoretical work indicates that as many as half of the known systems could be harboring habitable "Earths" today. See article.
g Life – Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered how fish have evolved during the last 400 million years to stay motionless at different water depths. See article.
g Intelligence – A gene and its growth-promoting protein may be used to develop therapies for renewing damaged or diseased brain tissue. See article.
g Message – Book alert: The father-son team of David E. Fisher and Marshall Jon Fisher brings the study of extraterrestrial life down to earth in “Strangers in the Night: Brief History of Life on Other Worlds,” an informative and entertaining book. In the anecdotal style that is their hallmark, the Fishers trace humankind’s attempts to discover life on other worlds. This informative and entertaining book tells the story of humankind’s attempts throughout history to discover extraterrestrial life. See reviews.
g Cosmicus – Technicians have completed final adjustments to tiles on space shuttle Discovery's nose, setting the stage for the momentous move from the Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39B at 11 a.m. CDT today. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: “Birthday Moon.” In the activity, students become familiar with lunar phases by locating and then graphing the moon phase of their birthdays. After listening and discussing lunar myths and legends they create their own Birthday Moon story. See article.
g Imagining – Artificial Intelligence, Part II: The difficulty in creating artificial intelligence lies in building computers that can think, rather than simply reply to preprogrammed stimuli with automated responses. Computers excel at simple, reflexive response, but how can they be built to consider, judge, and react to unexpected information, as human beings do every day? See article.
g Aftermath – What would be the affect on humanity following contact with alien life? Portions of a Brookings Institute report offer some insights. See article for either the entire report or the relevant excerpts.

Read this blogger’s books

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

No comments: