Saturday, November 12, 2005

Proving gravity with a pencil, build a gravity detector and the day everyone totally freaks out and panics

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 - Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered a new way to test Einstein's theory of relativity using the 'lead' of a pencil. Until now it was only possible to test the theory by building expensive machinery or by studying stars in distant galaxies, but a team of British, Russian and Dutch scientists has now proven it can be done in the lab using an ultra-thin material called Graphene. See article.
g Abodes - A University of Alberta physicist who helped solve the age-old mystery of what keeps afloat the highest plateau on earth has added more pieces to the Tibetan plateau. See article.
g Life - Scientists at Oregon State University have successfully cultured in a laboratory a microorganism with a gene for an alternate form of photochemistry an advance that may ultimately help shed light on the ecology of the world's oceans. See article.
g Intelligence - Monkeys have a semantic perception of numbers that is like humans' and which is independent of language, Duke University cognitive neuroscientists have discovered. They said their findings demonstrate that the neural mechanism underlying numerical perception is evolutionarily primitive. Jessica Cantlon and Elizabeth Brannon described their findings with macaque monkeys in an article published online the week of earlier this month in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science. See article.
g Message - What should we say to an extraterrestrial? Try the World Wide Web. SETI astronomer Seth Shostak opines here.
g Cosmicus - It is difficult to go to the stars. They are far away, and the speed of light limits us to a slow crawl along the starlanes. Decades and centuries will pass before the stay-at-homes learn what the explorers have found. The energies required to launch a manned interstellar transport are enormous, for the mass to be accelerated is large and the cruise speed must be high. Yet even these energies are not out of the question once we move our technology out into nearby space, where the constantly flowing sunlight is a never-ending source of energy-greater than a kilowatt per square meter, a gigawatt per square kilometer. There are many ideas on methods for achieving interstellar transport. In time, one or more of these dreams will be translated into a real starship. See article.
g Learning - New data shows repeatable and predictable gravity detected from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Build a simple gravity detector and observe that phenomenon for yourself. See article.
g Imagining - Quote of the Day: "An ounce of imagination is worth any 10 facts in the world." — Ray Bradbury
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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