Friday, October 28, 2005

Feeding black holes, Einstein’s inbox and creationism in backward Kansas

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 - Near-infrared images of the active galaxy NGC 1097, obtained with the NACO adaptive optics instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope, disclose with unprecedented detail a complex central network of filamentary structure spiraling down to the center of the galaxy. These observations provide astronomers with new insights on how super-massive black holes lurking inside galaxies get fed. See article.
g Abodes - Astronomers using the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope in 2001 made the first direct detection and chemical analysis of the atmosphere of a planet outside our solar system. Their unique observations show it is possible to measure the chemical makeup of extra-solar planetary atmospheres - and potentially to search for chemical markers of life far beyond Earth. See article.
g Life - Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks is the author of many books, including "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and "Uncle Tungsten". In this first of a two-part essay on astrobiology, Dr. Sacks discusses his early fascination with the possibility of life on other worlds and the beginnings of life on Earth. See article. In Part II, Dr. Sacks muses on the possibility of life on other worlds.
g Intelligence - A new study finds that the correspondence of Albert Einstein, as well as that of Charles Darwin, followed patterns similar to modern email communication. See article.
g Message - Here’s something neat: A site about Project Target, or the Telescope Antenna Researching Galactic Extraterrestrial Transmissions, from Hay River Radio, which boldly proclaims that such signals indeed exist! See article.
g Cosmicus - Today the Red Planet is dry and barren, but what about tomorrow? New data suggest that the long story of water on Mars isn't over yet. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.
g Learning - Two national groups say the state of Kansas can't use their copyrighted material in proposed science standards that critics contend promote creationism. See article.
g Imagining - Quote of the Day: "We need a dreamworld in order to discover the features of the real world we think we inhabit." — Paul Feyerabend
g Aftermath - The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is accelerating its pace and adopting fresh strategies. This increases the likelihood of successful detection in the near future. Humanity's first contact with alien intelligence will trigger extraordinary attention from the media, from government authorities, and from the general public. By improving our readiness for contact, especially for security during the first 30 days, we can avoid the most negative scenarios — and also enhance humanity's benefits from this first contact with an alien intelligence. Six potential problem areas include communicating with the media and the public, communicating with scientific colleagues, government control, an assassin or saboteur, well-meaning officials and lawsuits. See article.

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