Thursday, January 25, 2007

String theory tested, Ice Age winds and ‘Xenogenesis’

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 - For decades, many scientists have criticized string theory, pointing out that it does not make predictions by which it can be tested. Now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University; the University of California, San Diego; and The University of Texas at Austin have developed a test of string theory. Their test, described in the Jan. 26 Physical Review Letters, involves measurements of how elusive high-energy particles scatter during particle collisions. Most physicists believe that collisions will be observable at the Large Hadron Collider, which is set to turn on later this year at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, commonly known as CERN. See article.
g Abodes - Dartmouth researchers have learned that the prevailing winds in the mid latitudes of North America, which now blow from the west, once blew from the east. They reached this conclusion by analyzing 14,000- to 30,000-year-old wood samples from areas in the mid-latitudes of North America (40-50 deg N), which represents the region north of Denver and Philadelphia and south of Winnipeg and Vancouver. See article.
g Message - Among the most important SETI work is being done at Harvard University. The Harvard SETI home page is here and discusses the Radio Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, The Arecibo Search for Early Hydrogen and Optical SETI.
g Learning - In his book, “Space on Earth,” microbiologist Charles Cockell urges space scientists and environmentalists to work together for the future for humanity. See article.
g Imagining - Could the Oankali of Octavia E. Butler’s “Xenogenesis” trilogy really use human genes to continue their species? Read this biologist’s analysis. The answers may surprise you.
g Aftermath - Here’s an intriguing article that is frequently referenced in astrobiology papers: “The Consequences of a Discovery: Different Scenarios", by astronomer Ivan Almar. Note: This article dates from 1995.

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