Sunday, May 08, 2005

Sun’s changing affects, Mars Global surveyor found and communicating with 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 – While researchers argue whether Earth is getting warmer and if humans are contributing, a heated debate over the global effect of sunlight has boiled to the surface. See article. For related stories, see “Sun continues to be surprisingly active” and “After 30 years of dimming, Earth now brightening”.
g Abodes – "CSI-like" techniques used on minerals are revealing the steps that led to evolution of the atmosphere on Earth. Studies during the last five years have led to a growing consensus by the scientific community of what happened to produce the protective ozone layer and atmosphere on our planet. See article.
g Life – Scientists have discovered a mass graveyard of bird-like feathered dinosaurs in Utah. The previously unknown species provides clues about how vicious meat-eaters related to Velociraptor ultimately evolved into plant-munching vegetarians. See article.
g Intelligence – Language, foresight, musical skills and other hallmarks of intelligence are connected through an underlying facility that enhances rapid movements. Creativity may result from a Darwinian contest within the brain. See article. Note: This article is from 1994.
g Message – For many years the microwave Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence held the spotlight, while the number of optical SETI observatories on this planet could be counted on the thumbs of one hand. Since a recent Optical SETI Conference, however, that has begun to change, with optical SETI finally emerging into the scientific mainstream. Advancing technology is only partly responsible for OSETI's change of fortune. See article.
g Cosmicus – NASA's Mars Polar Lander disappeared as it arrived at the Red Planet in December 1999. Lacking any telemetry from the spacecraft, investigators could not pinpoint with great certainty what caused the failure. Now, the orbiting Mars Global Surveyor satellite has apparently discovered the crash site. See article.
g Learning – From a life-like painting of a triceratops to exquisitely detailed drawings of ancient mollusk shells, a small gallery of paleontological art can be seen via the Internet. The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History has opened a Paleo Art Web page featuring years of artwork from its collections. The site includes a section discussing the techniques of doing paleontological illustration and a section on protecting and conserving art.
g Imagining – During the past several years, evolutionary biologists have proved that the disparate creatures of our planet are, at a fundamental genetic level, very similar to one another. The genes that differentiate the top and the bottom of a bug, for instance, are the same ones that differentiate our fronts from our backs. According to the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, this new understanding is among "the most stunning evolutionary discoveries of the decade," and is clearly "a dominant theme in evolution." The same law applies, it appears, to the extraterrestrial creatures that come out of Hollywood. See article. Note: This article is from 1997.
g Aftermath – Communicating with Aliens, Part II: Where might one look for strategic clues to enrich any communication process with aliens — extraterrestrial or otherwise? Who are the people most skilled at communicating in unforeseen contexts and ways? See article.

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