Friday, October 07, 2005

Tenth planet’s moon, pre-cellular life and the Great Silence

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 - Common wisdom holds that we can never see a black hole because nothing can escape it - not even light. Fortunately, black holes aren't completely black. Within a few years, astronomers believe they will be able to peer close to the horizon of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. See article.
g Abodes - The astronomers who claim to have discovered the 10th planet in the solar system have another intriguing announcement: It has a moon. See article.
g Life - Virtually all biologists now agree that bacterial cells cannot form from nonliving chemicals in one step. If life arises from nonliving chemicals, there must be intermediate forms, "pre-cellular life." Of the various theories of precellular life, the most popular contender today is "the RNA world." See article.
g Intelligence - The emotional intelligence of students indirectly contributes to academic success in information technology studies, preliminary results from a study led by Virginia Tech researchers show. See article.
g Message - During the early 1980s, David Brin offered an explanation for Fermi’s Paradox, which asked why if extraterrestrial life existed it wasn’t on Earth. Brin’s answer: The Zoo Hypothesis. Here’s a copy of that groundbreaking paper, “The 'Great Silence': The Controversy Concerning Extraterrestrial Life".
g Cosmicus - Researchers at UC Irvine and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute have developed a two-person, centrifuge-like, one-stop workout machine that makes its own gravity. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat classroom activity courtesy of NASA: “Planets in a Bottle.” The lesson plan involves yeast experiments intended for second through fourth grade students. See lesson.
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 - Would dutiful American citizens trust the government to handle first contact with extraterrestrials and rush to get information to the public? See article. Note: This article is from 1999.

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