Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Walking or flying, interstellar messaging and intelligent cephalopods

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 - Physics models of dark energy can be separated into distinct scenarios, which could be used to rule out Einstein's cosmological constant and distinguish among two major classes of dynamic quintessence, a thawing model and a freezing model. Which scenario makes the best fit can be tested with the Joint Dark Energy Mission proposed by NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy. See article.
g Abodes - Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research have created a computer simulation showing Earth's climate in unprecedented detail at the time of the greatest mass extinction in the planet's history. The work gives support to a theory that an abrupt and dramatic rise in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide triggered the massive die-off 251 million years ago. The research appears in the September issue of Geology. See article.
g Life - The history of the lowly insect known as the “walking stick” offers a fascinating genetic study of evolution moving backwards and forwards, in what is commonly called Dollo's Law. A team of BYU biostatisticians discusses the challenge of finding which came first: walking or flying? See article. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Intelligence - Researchers at the University of Manchester are testing our genetic disposition to depression with a unique Internet test. See article.
g Message - Here’s a neat Web site: “Interstellar Messaging.” You’ll find discussion, history and real-world examples of mankind's methods and ongoing attempts to communicate with extraterrestrials. See article.
g Cosmicus - Distance wise, Pluto is way out there. But the time to hurl a probe toward that outlying world is close at hand. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: Students will construct a Winogradsky Column to observe the growth of microbes in a column of mud. During this investigation students will develop a hypothesis, record their observations and results and form conclusions. They will compare and contrast their methods during the investigation with those of the astrobiologists performing research in the field and the laboratory. See lesson.
g Imagining - Like stories about communicating with aliens? Then be sure to read Jack Vance’s "The Gift of Gab” (1955), which involves “talking” with intelligent cephalopods. See review.
g Aftermath - Hundreds of astronomers recently learned that life in outer space is likely to lack green eyes and be far more prosaic, tiny and, quite possibly, completely unlike life as we know it. This blunt appraisal came from the University of Washington's Center for Astrobiology and Early Evolution, one of the first programs in the country to give an advanced degree in astrobiology. See article. Note: This article is from 2003.

Get your SF book manuscript edited

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

No comments: