Saturday, March 25, 2006

Universe’s first trillionth of a second, Yellowstone caldera and rocket disaster

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Scientists peering back to the oldest light in the universe have new evidence for what happened within its first trillionth of a second, when the universe suddenly grew from submicroscopic to astronomical size in far less than a wink of the eye. See article.
g Abodes - Satellite images acquired by ESA’s ERS-2 revealed the recently discovered changes in Yellowstone’s caldera are the result of molten rock movement 15 kilometers below the Earth’s surface, according to a recent study published in Nature. See article.
gLife - Researchers studying strains of a lethal canine virus and a related human virus have determined why the canine virus was able to spread so quickly from cats to dogs, and then from sick dogs to healthy dogs. Their studies may lead to a new understanding of the critical molecular factors that permit viruses to jump from one species to another — information that could be helpful in assessing how much of a threat avian influenza is to humans. See article.
g Intelligence - Most surveys about sex find impossibly that men have had far more partners than women, typically two to four times as many. Either there are a bunch of phantom females out there, or somebody is lying. See article. For related story, see “Men In Their 50s Have More Satisfying Sex Lives Than Men In Their 30s”.
g Message - Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can join a worldwide search for intelligent life in space.
g Cosmicus - The maiden flight for a new breed of low-cost rockets designed to revolutionize the space launch industry met a disastrous fate Friday, tumbling out of control and slamming into the Pacific Ocean moments after liftoff. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site, courtesy of National Geographic, that offers detailed sky charts for all sections of the sky. It’s a great way for kids to learn about the night sky. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Elizabeth Moon’s novel “Remnant Population,” published by Baen in 1996.
g Aftermath - Director, writer, and one of the most memorable fictional explorers of space - William Shatner's Captain Kirk - explains how to go where few have gone before: how extreme explorers might confront the limits of life both terrestrial or beyond. See article.

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