Sunday, February 26, 2006

One million stars lost, genetically modifying Mars and ProSpace March

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 - Based on observations with ESO's Very Large Telescope, a team of Italian astronomers reports that the stellar cluster Messier 12 must have lost to our Milky Way galaxy close to a million low-mass stars. See article.
g Abodes - One day, humans will step foot on Mars. And they'll be hungry. Growing food on a frozen desert planet with a suffocatingly thin atmosphere, however, will be a challenge. Two scientists from North Carolina State University hope that by borrowing genes from a couple of microbes, one that lives in boiling water, the other in ice, they can bioengineer plants that can grow on Mars. Crazy? A little. But that's just the kind of research NASA's Institute for Advanced Studies likes to fund. See article.
gLife - The majority of tiny marine plants weathered the abrupt climate changes that occurred in Earth's past and bounced back, according to a Penn State geoscientist. See article.
g Intelligence - What gives actors their seemingly effortless memory capabilities? Could acting teach us something about memory and cognition, and could acting principles help those with memory problems? See article.
g Message - SETI research isn’t limited to a single facility listening to radio signals. Another dimension of the program is The Mega-Channel Extraterrestrial Assay, which searched the Southern Hemisphere's skies briefly during the 1990s. To learn more about it, see article.
g Cosmicus - The 13th annual ProSpace March Storm will be held Sunday through Wednesday in Washington. The message this year is that, in terms of space, the nation has arrived at a fork in the road, with a distinct path forward now clearly illuminated. See article.
g Learning - Intelligent design is presented as a legitimate scientific theory and an alternative to Darwinism, but a close look at the arguments shows they don't pass scientific muster. So why are scientists worried? See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Alan Dean Foster’s “Nor Crystal Tears,” published by Del Rey in 1982.
g Aftermath - If we establish communication with a civilization even as close as 100 light years from Earth, the round-trip time for a message and its reply is 200 years. What will be the psychology of a civilization that can engage in a meaningful conversation with this sort of delay? How is such a conversation to be established? What should the content of such a conversation be? These are the questions which motivate our title: "Minds and Millennia: The Psychology of Interstellar Communication." See article.

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