Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Star exploding within another’s atmosphere, why our world is brown and arriving at Venus

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 nova that lights up in the sky every 20 years is the result of a small star exploding repeatedly inside the outer atmosphere of a larger star. See article.
g Abodes - Ecologists have long asked, Why is the world green? In other words, why aren't herbivores, such as insects and grazing animals, more successful at eating the world's green leaves, also known as plant biomass? In the May issue of American Naturalist, a scientist asks the same questions a different way: Why is the ground brown? Why don't the organisms that break down the carbon in the soil consume it all? See article.
g Life - When it comes to love among worms, there's more than one way for a gal to leave her lover and still keep the worm population booming. See article.
g Intelligence - Different areas of the brain react differently when recognizing others, depending on the emotions attached to the memory, a team of Cornell University research psychologists has found.
g Message - When NASA's Voyager spacecraft left the boundaries our solar system last year, it carried a golden record with greetings from our civilization for posterity - or for eventual discovery by space archaeologists from another civilization. The golden record was a beacon to the future. The idea of our own civilization using its probes as surrogate representatives prompts the question: Can we probe for such beacons in our own solar system? See article. Note: This article is from 2004.
g Cosmicus - Venus received a visitor from its sister planet this morning when a European space probe completed a five-month interplanetary cruise and swooped into orbit to begin the first comprehensive scientific survey of its sultry atmosphere. See article.
g Learning - Here’s a neat Web site for finding your way around the galaxy: “3D Universe.” 3D Universe takes the Hipparcos data and presents them in an accessible manner. Although many 3D star maps exist out there, most are either (a) non-stereo renditions (i.e., simple 2D maps with no depth information), or (b) based on pre-Hipparcos data. By contrast, 3D Universe takes you through the new Hipparcos data, showing you directly what the space near Earth - and, in many cases, hundreds of light-years away from Earth - looks like. See article.
g Imagining - Like first contact stories? Then be sure to read Ian Watson’s short story "Now! You Can Banish Embarrassing Foot Odor Forever! The Ultimate One-Word First contact Story," published in “Alien Encounters” (edited by Jan Finder).
g Aftermath - Book alert: “When SETI succeeds: The impact of high-information contact,” edited by Allen Tough, gives the intriguing proceedings of a seminar on the cultural impact of extraterrestrial contact (held in conjunction with Bioastronomy '99) plus eleven additional in-depth papers. Topics include the practical information and the answers to major questions that we might gain from another civilization, the likely changes in our view of ourselves, the role of the social sciences in SETI, cosmic humanity, the age of ET, cultural aspects of astrobiology, and what next. Published in 2000, the book is available from the Foundation For the Future. See article.

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