Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Different laws of physics, orbiting starshade and NASA puts behind Columbia tragedy

Welcome! “Alien Life” tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. You may notice that this and future entries are shorter than usual; Career, family and book deal commitments have forced me to cut back some of my projects. Now, here’s today’s news:
g Stars - Recent research has found evidence that the value of certain fundamental parameters, such as the speed of light or the invisible glue that holds nuclei together, may have been different in the past. See
g Abodes - Orbiting starshade would block out light from parent stars, says University of Colorado study. See
g Life - After observing mountain gorillas in Uganda for nearly a year, scientists believe they have discovered why the animals eat decayed wood and lick tree stumps, behaviors that have puzzled primate researchers for decades. See http://www.livescience.
g Intelligence - To give your child an incentive to take out the garbage, you might offer to buy her a treat, or you might threaten to withhold her regular allowance. Does the child respond the same way to reward as it does to avoiding punishment? Psychologists have evidence from certain kinds of behavioral experiments to believe that avoiding punishment is itself a reward. See
g Cosmicus - The Discovery astronauts, working through a relatively relaxed day of space station equipment and supply transfers Tuesday, said the shuttle's trouble-free launch and lack of significant impact damage show NASA is finally ready to put the Columbia tragedy behind it. See