Monday, October 17, 2005

Black hole’s shadow, extremophiles, and unique cosmic position

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 - At the core of the Milky Way is a supermassive black hole that sucks in light, rendering it virtually invisible. But astronomers say they will be able to see the black hole's overall shadow within a few years. See article.
g Abodes - What effect would meteors have on the Earth’s environment? For research on geology, geophysics, and petrology of meteorite impact craters, check this out.
g Life - Here’s a neat Web site courtesy of the Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London. It contains descriptions of various extremophiles including anaerobes, thermophiles, psychrophiles, acidophiles, alkalophiles, halophiles, barophiles and xerophiles. See article. Note: This article is from 1998.
g Intelligence - Consuming fish at least once a week was associated with a 10 percent per year slower rate of cognitive decline in elderly people, according to a new study posted online today from Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. The study will be published in the December print edition of the journal. See article.
g Message - The observations that life has a normal tendency to expand into all available space, that advanced technological civilizations should be able to engage with relative ease in interstellar traveling, and that once this threshold is crossed the complete colonization of the entire galaxy will be accomplished in a very short interval relative to the age of the galaxy, lead us to the following dilemma: either the entire galaxy is teeming with intelligent life and hence our solar system must have been colonized hundreds of millions of years ago, or there are no other inhabitants in our solar system and hence most probably neither anywhere else in the galaxy, placing man in a very unique cosmic position. See article.
g Cosmicus - From the financial point of view there are two sides to a business - costs and revenues, supply and demand. Much of the work of the space industry is spent on developing new technology. But there's no point in doing this if there's no economic benefit. No launch vehicle being developed or planned by government space agencies today will pay back their investment - let alone earn a profit - because the demand for launching satellites is tiny. It's time to stop this expensive process and focus on making space activities profitable. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat book for introductory astronomy courses: "Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy." Funded by the National Science Foundation, Lecture-Tutorials for Introductory Astronomy are designed to help make large lecture-format courses more interactive. Each of the 29 Lecture-Tutorials is presented in a classroom-ready format, challenges students with a series of carefully designed questions that spark classroom discussion, engage students in critical reasoning and requires no equipment. See article.
g Imagining - Could the Pak of Larry Niven's "Ringworld" universe possibly evolve? They've got a homepage to discuss that and other questions about the intriguing fiction alien race. See article.
g Aftermath - How would humans react the day after ET landed? A nationwide survey by the Roper Organization in 1999 found that the following: " out of four Americans think most people would "totally freak out and panic" if such evidence were confirmed. See article.

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