Friday, March 03, 2006

Orbiting planets head in opposite directions and New Mexico spaceport deal inked

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 - A developing star has been found to have two disks of material rotating in opposite directions. The discovery hints at a future solar system with planets going this way and that. See article.
g Abodes - Global warming events 420 million years ago, comparable to those currently beginning to affect our planet, may have caused catastrophic environmental changes in an ancient ocean, threatening the life that existed in it. See article.
gLife - a study published this week finally provides the first clear evidence that natural selection, his favored mechanism of evolution, drives the process of species formation in a wide variety of plants and animals. See article.
g Intelligence - People suffering generalized social phobia experience increased brain activity when confronted with threatening faces or frightening social situations, new research shows. See article.
g Message - In the absence of knowledge of physical and cultural clues, communication between two species can be almost impossible — almost. See article.
g Cosmicus - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed new pieces of legislation—bills that push forward work on New Mexico’s spaceport. In addition, the state has set in motion a potential investment deal to attract a space entrepreneurial firm to work in the area. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site to help kids (or even adults) better understand the night sky: “Your Sky,” an interactive planetarium. You can produce maps in the forms described below for any time and date, viewpoint, and observing location. If you enter the orbital elements of an asteroid or comet, Your Sky will compute its current position and plot it on the map. Each map is accompanied by an ephemeris for the Sun, Moon, planets, and any tracked asteroid or comet. A control panel permits customization of which objects are plotted, limiting magnitudes, color scheme, image size and other parameters. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read James E. Gunn’s “The Listeners,” published by Scribner's in 1972.
g Aftermath - Communicating with Aliens, Part IV: How might interested parties envisage the design of a human team to prepare for an encounter with aliens — and improve the operational guidelines for that eventuality? See article.

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