Friday, August 05, 2005

Bacteria caused snowball Earth, ‘Why Mars?’ and ‘Are Humans All Alone in the Universe?’

Welcome! First-time visitors may want to read the Jan. 1 entry to gain a better understanding of the blog's format.
g Stars - A host of hidden black holes have been revealed in a narrow region of the sky, confirming astronomers' suspicions that the universe is loaded with many undetected gravity wells. See article.
g Abodes - Earth has been through many cold spells since its birth 4.5 billion years ago. Scientists say some drastic episodes froze the planet all the way to the equator. Yet these "snowball Earth" scenarios expose a gaping lack of understanding: What caused them? Lowly bacteria, according to a new study. See article.
g Life - New research into a certain fruit fly may be evidence that hybrids are more common in nature than thought. See article.
g Intelligence - Weapon-wielding humans, and not warming temperatures, killed off the sloth and other giant mammals that roamed North America during the last Ice Age, a new study suggests. See article.
g Message - Today, it is widely recognized that the “contact pessimists” have a rather strong position; most of recent scholarly monographs on the subject are strongly skeptical towards the possibility of finding complex intelligent life elsewhere (e.g. Ward and Brownlee). Why is that so? See article.
g Cosmicus - Earth's first extended visit to the planet Mercury is now one step closer to success after the MESSENGER probe celebrated its birthday one day early on Tuesday with a speedy flyby of its home planet to tweak its course for arrival in orbit in 2011. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat interactive Web site for kids: “Are Humans All Alone in the Universe?” In the program, kids get to search for ET — and learn some principles of science along the way. See article.
g Imagining - Like stories about communicating with aliens? Scour your used bookstore for Ian Watson’s “The Embedding” (1973).
g Aftermath - How might we characterize the political significance of any announcement of discovering extraterrestrial intelligence? How about using the Torino Scale, which characterizes asteroid impacts, as a model to assist the discussion and interpretation of any claimed discovery of ETI? See article.

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