Thursday, December 08, 2005

Novel state of matter, survival genes and decoding ET’s message

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 - University of Chicago physicists have created a novel state of matter using nothing more than a container of loosely packed sand and a falling marble. They have found that the impacting marble produces a jet of sand grains that briefly behaves like a special type of dense fluid. See article.
g Abodes - A new study finds that a portion of the Earth's crust in central Nevada is still quietly reeling from a series of temblors that struck more than 50 years ago. See article.
g Life - Scientists from University of Georgia, the Science Museum of Minnesota and University of Michigan describe a new species of diatom, Hannaea superiorensis, found primarily in Lake Superior. Prior to its discovery, the new species of photosynthetic algae was combined with another group of diatoms found in cold, pristine rivers and streams around the world. This is now the only described species of the genus Hannaea that has adapted to living in a lake environment. See article.
g Intelligence - Completing a daily crossword and enjoying a range of activities and interests has long been accepted as a recipe for maintaining a healthy brain in older age, but the reasons for this have never been clear. Now, scientists at the University of Edinburgh are seeking to identify brain's “survival” genes that lie dormant in unused brain cells, but are re-awakened in active brain cells. These awakened genes make the brain cells live longer and resist traumas such as disease, stroke and the effects of drugs, and are also critical to brain development in unborn babies. See article.
g Message - How will we decode any message from ET? For some speculation and a discussion of the inherent difficulties, see article; part II follows at here.
g Cosmicus - The Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket and its launch team successfully accomplished the countdown dress rehearsal Monday, hitting the simulated target liftoff time. This rocket will launch NASA's New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto next month. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat set of lessons and activities, courtesy of NASA, aimed at introduce K-4 students to space science. See article.
g Imagining - No longer can a science fiction writer create a goo-dripping alien just because a story line requires an adversary from another planet to drop in on our unsuspecting world. The average reader is not going to buy into the B-rated movies of old; it takes more than an actor in a rubber mask for them to suspend their disbelief and enjoy a story or novel. Bringing an alien species into a novel requires a bit of planning and thought on the part of the writer. See article.
g Aftermath - Could a signal from the stars broadcast by an alien intelligence also carry harmful information, in the spirit of a computer virus? Could star folk launch a "disinformation" campaign — one that covers up aspects of their culture? Perhaps they might even mask the "real" intent of dispatching a message to other civilizations scattered throughout the cosmos. See article.

Read this blogger’s books

Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future

No comments: