Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bok globules, life sciences in space symposium and Mars on radio

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 - Named after Harvard University astronomer Bart Bok, Bok globules may not be the most romantic sounding phrase in astronomy, but they are widely accepted as an important step in the formation of new stars. Now a team of astronomers reports examining ten globules to determine how many of them are stars in the making. See article.
g Abodes - Intriguing and often-examined gullies on Mars might not be created by water seeping out from underground springs. Rather, they are likely caused by trickling water from melting snowpacks, an active process that could sustain biology on the Red Planet. See article.
g Life - Today the 9th European Symposium on Life Sciences Research in Space will commence its proceedings at the Maternushaus in Cologne, Germany. During the four-day gathering, biologists and medical researchers will present the latest results of their current space research. See article.
g Intelligence - The small songbirds, which are common throughout much of North America, use their signature calls in a wide variety of social interactions including warning of predators. And it turns out that those alarms are far more subtle and information-packed than scientists previously imagined. Does one of the most sophisticated signaling systems discovered among animals tell us anything about the evolution of intelligence, on Earth or elsewhere? See article.
g Message - Tired of the alien-of-the-week as depicted by "Star Trek"? Jar-Jar Binks bugging you? Are you wondering where the real space sentients are, and if they are weirder than we can even imagine? You are not alone – and in all probability, we are not alone either. At least, that’s what the folks at SETI – the Search for Extra- Terrestrial Intelligence – are betting. See article.
g Cosmicus - A bed-rest study with female participants will help scientists understand changes to the immune response and decreased resistance to infection in space. See article.
g Learning - Everyone should the day off on a positive note. That's why I recommend setting "Astronomy Picture of the Day" as your homepage. Every day NASA posts a new, high-resolution photo of some space phenomenon. There's an extensive archive, too. See article.
g Imagining - Historically, Mars was thought to be the most likely of the planets to harbor life. Popular culture in the form of literature, and then later radio and film, reflected such beliefs. This review examines Mars in the history of radio. See article.
g Aftermath - Humans live and die by approximations. We are seldom as perfect or as accurate as we would like to be. And as we contemplate what we might say to an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, maybe that's a point we should emphasize. See article.

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