Thursday, September 08, 2005

How massive stars form, modifying the Drake Equation and the dragons of Pern

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 most massive stars in our galaxy weigh as much as 100 small stars like the Sun. How do such monsters form? Do they grow rapidly by swallowing smaller protostars within crowded star-forming regions? Some astronomers thought so, but a new discovery suggests instead that massive stars develop through the gravitational collapse of a dense core in an interstellar gas cloud via processes similar to the formation of low mass stars. See article.
g Abodes - The giant orb of iron and nickel that anchors Earth's center is spinning faster than the planet's surface, according to a new study that confirms scientists' expectations. See article.
g Life - There is a lot more life in Japan’s hot springs than human beings and monkeys. Some organisms frequent these hot springs not for relaxation but because they actually require such hot springs (or a similar environment) to survive. See article.
g Intelligence - How did intelligence evolve? A scientist studying differences between humans and great apes may have found a biochemical step in that direction. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Message - Should we modify the Drake Equation to account for civilizations which actually engage in deliberate interstellar transmission? See article.
g Cosmicus - In recent years "teamwork" and "team-building" have been catchphrases of the workplace environment. For most people, however, worrying about getting along with their co-workers and working together for the common good may occupy only a small amount of their time. But what if you and your co-workers were confined to a small space, together for 24 hours a day in an inherently dangerous workplace, and unable to get away from each other because you were orbiting more than 350 kilometers above Earth? See article.
g Learning -Here’s another sign that the American education has failed to teach science. Americans are divided over whether humans and other living things evolved over time or have existed in their present form since the beginning of time, according to a new poll. article.
g Imagining - Could the legendary dragons of Pern from Anne McCaffrey’s famous science fiction novels actually exist? Welcome to the theoretical science of dracogenetics. See article.
g Aftermath - Donald E. Tarter, a consultant in space policy and technology assessment, makes a persuasive case for developing the protocols and technology to reply to an extraterrestrial signal before news of the discovery is made public, in his article, “Advocating an Immediate Response.” Delay could be costly as technologically advanced fringe groups or ambitious nations could attempt to score a propaganda victory by being the first to reply, creating a mixed and perhaps embarrassing first message. This could be avoided by settling on a quick and simple message to let the extraterrestrial source know that we had received their message. See article. Note: This report is from 1996.

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