Friday, March 24, 2006

Most distant explosion ever, computer simulation of a life form and quake-proof moon base

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - The most distant explosion ever recorded, signaling the birth of a black hole near the beginning of time, was more chaotic and lasted longer than astronomers would have expected. See article.
g Abodes - When Boeing and Airbus developed their latest aircraft, the companies' engineers designed and tested them on a computer long before the planes were built. Biologists are catching on. They've just completed the first computer simulation of an entire life form - a virus. See article.
g Life - A rare frog that lives in rushing streams and waterfalls of east-central China is able to make itself heard above the roar of flowing water by communicating ultrasonically, says new research funded in part by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, one of the National Institutes of Health. According to the study, attributes that enable the frog to hear ultrasounds are made possible by the presence of an ear canal, which most other frogs don't have. The research may provide a clue into why humans and other animals also have ear canals: to hear high-frequency sounds.
g Intelligence - Ancient humans from Asia may have entered the Americas following an ocean highway made of dense kelp. See article. For related stories, see “First Americans May Have Been European” and “Early Americans Faced Rapid Late Pleistocene Climate Change And Chaotic Environments”.
g Message - Forget waiting for ET to call — the most likely place to find an alien message is in our DNA, according to an expert in Australia. See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - Moonquake-proof Moon bases? Clive R. Neal, associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, believes that special construction might be necessary if we persist in our goal to return to the Moon. See article.
g Learning - The constellations we’re generally familiar with generally comes from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Here’s a neat Web site that teaches kids about alternate constellations – those in the Lakota Sioux tradition.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Richard F. Monteleone and David F. Bischoff’s novel, “Day of the Dragonstar,” published in 1983.
g Aftermath - The scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence is accelerating its pace and adopting fresh strategies. This increases the likelihood of successful detection in the near future. Humanity's first contact with alien intelligence will trigger extraordinary attention from the media, from government authorities, and from the general public. By improving our readiness for contact, especially for security during the first 30 days, we can avoid the most negative scenarios — and also enhance humanity's benefits from this first contact with an alien intelligence. Six potential problem areas include communicating with the media and the public, communicating with scientific colleagues, government control, an assassin or saboteur, well-meaning officials and lawsuits. See article.

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