Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Stellar corpses, how dinosaurs walked and power of a rhesus monkey call

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Tiny stellar 'corpses' have been caught blasting surprisingly powerful X-rays and gamma rays across our galaxy by the European Space Agency's gamma-ray observatory Integral. This discovery links these objects to the most magnetically active bodies in the universe and forces scientists to reconsider just how dead such stellar corpses really are. See article.
g Abodes - It'll be a snap to identify gemstones once Robert Downs finishes his library of spectral fingerprints for all the Earth's minerals. See article.
g Life - When the American Museum of Natural History wanted to create a digital walking Tyrannosaurus rex for a new dinosaur exhibit, it turned to dinosaur locomotion experts John Hutchinson and Stephen Gatesy for guidance. See article.
g Intelligence - Straight out of the womb, infants may be just as aroused by a rhesus monkey call as by human speech. See article.
g Message - The tent looked so big when it was first installed. The vaulted top stands 35 feet above the ground. It is 40 feet wide. The door is almost 30 feet high. It’s gleaming white. In short, it’s a perfect place within which to build the antennas for the Allen Telescope Array. See article.
g Cosmicus - MIT researchers have developed a tiny light detector that may allow for super-fast broadband communications over interplanetary distances. Currently, even still images from other planets are difficult to retrieve. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site that allows you to make a custom map of your favorite patch of sky; it’s a great teaching tool for kids.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Richard McKenna’s short story, "Mine Own Ways”, anthologized in “Casey Agonistes” (edited by Richard McKenna and published in 1960).
g Aftermath - In a cross-cultural study conducted several years ago, to scientists looked at the attitudes of college students towards the possibility that extraterrestrial life might exist, and if it does, what it might be like for people to learn that it exists. See article. Note: This article is from 2002.

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