Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Extrasolar planets, facial geometry and marketing to alien civilizations

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 – Which came first, galaxies or the supermassive black holes at their center? Most cosmologists now think the two are inextricably linked, each depending on the other. And according to researchers, including famed astronomer Sir Martin J Rees, these supermassive black holes got big, fast. By reviewing quasar data in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the team has calculated that many supermassive black holes had reached 1 billion times the mass of our Sun in a very short period of time. Even for the largest, most voracious black holes in the universe, that's an amazing feat. See article.
g Abodes – What have scientists learned in a decade of searching for extrasolar planets? Are there other solar systems just like our own waiting to be discovered, or are our Sun and its contingent of planets in some way unique? In this interview with Astrobiology Magazine, Professor of Astronomy Geoff Marcy, one of the world's leading planet-hunters, reflects on recent otherworldly discoveries and speculates on what surprises may lay in store. See article.
g Life – Birds squawk and chirp to attract mates and warn of danger. But much of their intelligent chatter has until now eluded human comprehension. See article.
gIntelligence – A person's prior knowledge of the geometry of faces affects his or her ability to estimate distance and complete visually guided reaching tasks according to a study published in the June issue of Journal of Vision, an online, free access publication of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. See article.
g Message – Most people see the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence as a project for merely listening for signals from other stars, but Yvan Dutil and Stephane Dumas from the Defense Research Establishment Valcartier in Canada had other ideas in mind when they recently composed a message sent to the stars. See article.
g Cosmicus – The welcome sign is up at Mojave, Calif. — the proud home of SpaceShipOne, the piloted craft that achieved the first privately bankrolled suborbital flight. Last year’s notable suite of runs to the edge of space by the rocket plane has raised expectations of a money-making, booming market for passenger-carrying spaceliners. See article.
g Learning – Here’s a neat Web site: Solar System Live. It allows you to observe the locations of planets at various (modern) dates. See article.
g Imagining – The latest movie incarnation of H.G. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” hits theaters today. In Wells' story, Martians invaded the Earth — only to be brought down by a virus. Mars was once thought to be the most likely of the planets to harbor life, and so was a great source of inspiration for filmmakers. This review examines Mars in the history of the cinema. See article.
g Aftermath – It is sometimes said that the best form of advertising is education. But what products would our global marketplace tolerate at the borders of an encounter with another, perhaps far different civilization? To get some perspective, an expert entertains the question of how to advertise our presence to a more universal demographic. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

No comments: