Sunday, March 11, 2007

Earth's magnetic field, what If everybody is listening and nobody is transmitting and

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 - Two professors have established that quantum information cannot be “hidden” in conventional ways. This result gives a surprising new twist to one of the great mysteries about black holes. See article.
g Abodes - Research recently conducted at Delft University of Technology marks an important step forward in understanding the origins of the Earth's magnetic field. The research findings are published this week in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. See
g Life - A secret long held by plants has been revealed by Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers. The new discovery, which builds on more than a decade of painstaking surveillance of cellular communication between different types of plant tissues, shows clearly for the first time how plants "decide" to grow. See
g Intelligence - Rats appear capable of reflecting on what they know and don't know, a complex form of thinking previously found only in humans and other primates. See
g Message - Whenever the director of SETI research presents a public lecture, she can almost guarantee that “What If everybody is listening and nobody is transmitting?” will be one of the questions the audience asks. See
g Cosmicus - The urge to hug a departed loved one again or prevent atrocities are among the compelling reasons that keep the notion of time travel alive in the minds of many. While the idea makes for great fiction, some scientists now say traveling to the past is impossible. See
g Learning - Here’s a neat lesson plan, “E.T. Can’t Phone Home,” that teaches some basic principles of astronomy:
g Imagining - Like stories about alien biologies/environments? Be sure to scour your favorite used bookstores for Harlan Ellison’s (ed.) “Medea: Harlan's World” (1985), a symposium on alien creation.