Monday, July 03, 2006

Primordial star blob, bird extinction rates and advantages of orbital settlements

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 - The European Southern Observatory's VLT has helped scientists to discover a large primordial 'blob', more than 10 billion light-years away. The most likely scenario to account for its existence and properties is that it represents the early stage in the formation of a galaxy, when gas falls onto a large clump of dark matter. See
g Abodes - Transparent jellyfish-like creatures known as salps, considered by many a low member in the ocean food web, may be more important to the fate of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the ocean than previously thought. See
g Life - Birds enjoy a relatively slow rate of extinction, but a new study suggests that rate might be severely underestimated. See http://www.
g Intelligence - The mechanism behind jet lag, insomnia and other disorders that rely on an inner body clock is not what it seems, scientists announced. See
g Cosmicus - What advantages would orbital settlements have over a colony built on another planet? See