Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Evidence of extra dimensions, Atlantic hot tub and Allen Telescope Array’s first project

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 - Northeastern University and University of California scientists say they might soon have evidence of extra dimensions and other exotic predictions. See article.
g Abodes - A new study of ancient sediments and fossils indicates tropical Atlantic water ranged from 91 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit between 100 million and 84 million years ago. The same region today is typically 75 to 82 degrees. See article.
g Life - A team of scientists has discovered a new genus and species of dinosaur that is the oldest known and most primitive tyrannosauroid. The new basal tyrannosauroid, named Guanlong wucaii, sheds light on the early evolution and geographical distribution of coelurosaurs, small theropod dinosaurs that include the closest relatives of birds. See article. For related story, see “Pictures of newly discovered T-Rex dinosaur”.
g Intelligence - New research reveals that monkey cops help keep social groups in line. Not having guns or nightsticks, they leverage their group seniority, craft intimidating reputations and count on good voter turnout. See article.
g Message - The SETI Institute’s first project on the Allen Telescope Array will be a survey of a region around the center of our galaxy. See article.
g Cosmicus - The first experimental demonstration of quantum telecloning has been achieved by scientists at the University of Tokyo, the Japan Science and Technology Agency, and the University of York. The work is reported in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters. Telecloning combines cloning (or copying) with teleportation (i.e., disembodied transport). See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site, courtesy of NASA: “Virtual Skies”. For grades 9-12, in these activities students solve real-life air traffic management problems.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Jeff Dunteman’s short story, "Marlowe," anthologized in “Alien Encounters” (edited by Jan Finder).
g Aftermath - The scientific discussion of the evolution of life in the universe raises some key philosophical and theological issues: Will life and intelligence be found throughout the universe, or will it turn out to be exceedingly rare? Will intelligent life be capable of both rationality and moral agency? Will evolutionary biology determine its moral content or will it merely bequeath intelligent life with moral capacity, leaving moral content to be determined independently of biology? If moral agency evolves, will these species inevitably exhibit moral failure, or is our generic human experience of moral failure strictly the result of our particular evolution, leaving us to expect there to be other civilizations that are entirely benign? The discussion of these issues, though largely hypothetical, can offer insight into the theological and cultural implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence as well into a better understanding of the human condition. See article.

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