Sunday, June 19, 2005

Complex life, brain shrinkage and the Kansas State Board of Education

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 – The stars surround you. At night they are everywhere, dotting the sky; in the daytime, one, our Sun, dominates, its brilliant light washing the others away until twilight yields to darkness. They are the givers of light and life. "To know ourselves, we must know the stars." See article.
g Abodes – NASA's Deep Impact mission is about to smash into comet 9P/Tempel 1 to excavate a crater and probe the comet's internal structure. It's possible, however, that the comet will break into fragments, creating a cloud of meteoroids. That, say astronomers, may not be unnatural. See article.
g Life – Does complex life exist elsewhere in the universe? “Is there life in our stellar neighborhood?” is part 1 of Astrobiology magazine’s six-part series on the question of complex life; there are links to the other five parts at that site.
g Intelligence – Brain shrinkage, a common symptom of aging, appears to have no impact on an individual's capacity to think or learn, Australian researchers find. See article.
g Message – In 2001, a group of Russian teens from Moscow, Kaluga, Voronezh and Zheleznogorsk participated directly and via the Internet in composing a Teen-Age Message to extraterrestrial intelligence, and in the selection of target stars. Their message was transmitted in the autumn of that year, from the Evpatoria Deep Space Center. See article.
g Cosmicus – A Russian space official said his country will be able to develop the International Space Station even if U.S. participation is withdrawn. See article.
g Learning – Three State Board of Education members who drafted proposed science standards contend they're not taking a position on intelligent design, but some Kansas scientists think they're pushing it as an alternative to evolution. See article.
g Imagining – Here’s a neat Web site that examines the life cycle of the Alien — the extraterrestrial from said movie. It’s a little light on evolutionary speculation and discussing plausibility, but the life cycle is thoroughly described.
g Aftermath – Scientists should pay greater attention to discussing the social implications of discovering extraterrestrial life — even though many researchers shy away from the subject because they don't consider it "hard" science. See article.

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