Saturday, June 10, 2006

Interstellar dust factories, dwarf dinosaurs and O'Neill cylinder

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Today’s news:
g Stars - Massive star supernovae have been major "dust factories" ever since the first generations of stars formed several hundred million years after the Big Bang, according to an international study published in Science Express. See
g Abodes - NASA is cancelling or delaying a number of satellites designed to give scientists critical information on the earth's changing climate and environment. See
g Life - Dwarf dinosaurs? It sounds like the old George Carlin joke about jumbo shrimp: two words that just don't go together. But fossils from northern Germany have revealed a dinosaur that evolved into a dwarf, ending up only about one-third the size of its closest known relatives, scientists report. See
g Intelligence - To understand how intelligence develops, we have only one example to study: the development of human intelligence on Earth. Since intelligent life took a long time to develop on Earth, some believe it will take just as long on other worlds. The appearance of evolution seems aimed towards the development of intelligence, but what kinds and with what frequencies? See
. Note: This article is from 2003.
g Message - The chances are there's life out there, but any messages could be thousands of years old and indecipherable. See
. Note: This article is from 2005.
g Cosmicus - A key step to establishing humanity as a spacefaring race will be permanent space habitats. One possible design is the O'Neill cylinder. See
g Learning - American Indians and the Alaska Native population comprise 1.5 percent of the total U.S. population according to the 2000 U.S. Census. The National Science Foundation cites this population group as only 0.3 percent of the U.S. science and engineering workforce. See
g Imagining - Here’s a neat Web site that lists a variety of quality science fiction books focusing on aliens and their encounters with humans at Scroll to “START HERE IF YOU KNOW WHAT SUBGENRE CATEGORY YOU LIKE” and click on ALIENS ON EARTH. The day-glow green background on this Web site is painful, but every book listed is a good read.
g Aftermath - If we find other civilizations, what will we say to them? Crafting a message that represents Earth and humanity and can be understood by another life form is no minor endeavor. SETI Institute psychologist Douglas Vakoch has been charged with this formidable task, and has enlisted the help of mathematicians, artists, astronomers and anthropologists. Hear the messages he helped compose and learn about the thinking behind them at