Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New model of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, prehistoric forest unburied and howwe ignore background noise

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 Abodes - A new model of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus may quell hopes of finding life there. Developed by researchers at the University of Illinois, the model explains the most salient observations on Enceladus without requiring the presence of liquid water. See article.
g Life - Dennis Myllyla thought he’d struck a fine bargain with the Michigan Department of Transportation. MDOT would get fill for nearby highway construction by dredging a pond on his farm near Arnheim, Mich., and Myllyla would get the pond. Neither Myllyla nor MDOT expected to find a prehistoric forest, too. But that’s exactly what they uncovered, about 15 feet down. See article.
g Intelligence - A team of Spanish and American neuroscientists has discovered neurons in the mammalian brainstem that focus exclusively on new, novel sounds, helping humans and other animals ignore ongoing, predictable sounds. See article. Note: This article is from 2005.

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