Saturday, October 01, 2005

Defining ‘planets’, Google and NASA team up and aesthetic computing

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 - Astronomers have found compelling evidence that a supernova shock wave has produced a large amount of cosmic rays, particles of mysterious origin that constantly bombard the Earth. This discovery, made with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, supports theoretical arguments that shock waves from stellar explosions may be a primary source of cosmic rays. See article.
g Abodes - Are we alone in the universe? Are there planets like Earth around other "suns" that might harbor life? Thanks to a recent technology breakthrough on a key NASA planet-finding project, the dream of answering those questions is no longer light-years away. See article.
g Life - DNA from museum samples of extinct animals is providing unexpected information on the extent and effect of the Ice Age as well as the path of species evolution, according to a report by scientists from Yale University, the Smithsonian Institute and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. See article.
g Intelligence - A team of scientists at St. Petersburg's Pasteur Institute has demonstrated that the evolutionary history of the causative agent of tuberculosis has been shaped by human migration patterns. See article.
g Message - Want to get a sense of SETI’s history and varying projects? Jodrell Bank Observatory offers an easy to follow yet informative primer.
g Cosmicus - Web search company Google Inc. said on Wednesday it plans to partner with U.S. space agency NASA on space research and to build a new campus at the agency's research center in the heart of Silicon Valley. See article.
g Learning - An experimental new approach to teaching algebra, known as aesthetic computing, encourages students to express equations as pictures or stories. It was pioneered not by teachers or education experts, but rather by a computer science professor with a background in simulating complex systems and a fondness for obtuse terms like “multimodeling.” See article.
g Imagining - The motley crew of the spaceship Serenity are gathered together again to make the jump from television to the big screen. See article.
g Aftermath - Some of the best discussion of the consequences of alien contact occurs in science fiction. Here’s a novel that ranks among the most important in that dialogue: Arthur C. Clark’s “Songs of a Distant Earth.” Look for it at your library or local used book store.

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