Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Star bright, The Planetary Society and ‘Voyage of the Space Beagle’

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 - In January 2002, a dull star in an obscure constellation suddenly became the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy. The mysterious star's three-dimensional structure of dust-shells provided the Hubble telescope with a glimpse of an aging star's 15 minutes of fame. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Abodes - New research found that phytoplankton population and size can change dramatically due to the physical processes associated with the climate phenomena known as El Niño and La Niña. In turn, these changes not only affect ocean ecology, but also influence our climate by impacting carbon storage in the ocean. See article.
g Life - A parrot has grasped the concept of zero, something humans can't do until at least the toddler phase, researchers say. See article.
g Intelligence - Children who use "baby talk" for too long may be showing signs of language delay, one expert warns. See article.
g Message - Book alert: Scour your used book store shelves for “Life Beyond Earth,” by Timothy Ferris. Rock-solid science writer Ferris has covered this ground before. In the two-hour PBS documentary that he wrote and narrated - which shares the title, text, and many of the images of this generously illustrated book - Ferris tackles two age-old questions about the potentially universal nature of life: Are we alone, and, if not, is anybody listening? See reviews.
g Cosmicus - If you are serious about seeing humanity become a spacefaring civilization, please join The Planetary Society – the largest nonprofit, nongovernmental space advocacy group on the planet. See website.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity: “Building a Droid.” Inspired by the science fiction classics “Star Wars” and “Star Trek,” NASA scientists are building a robotic helper for astronauts; in this lesson, students learn about the latest droid research. See activity.
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to read A.E. VanVogt’s “Voyage of the Space Beagle” (1939;1950), which include classic encounters with BEMs. See reviews.
g Aftermath - What are the challenges to comprehension in initiating and maintaining strategic dialogue in highly uncertain situations — such as with extraterrestrials? See article.

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