Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chaotic dynamics of signal transmission in brains and primer for decoding messages from extraterrestrials

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 - A massive star flung away from its former companion is plowing through space dust. The result is a brilliant bow shock, seen as a yellow arc in a new image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. See article.
g Abodes - New studies have shown that scientists have underestimated the effect that two chemical compounds may have on Earth's climate. Carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide can contribute to global warming and climate change, and might bring about a climate on Earth that life has never experienced before. See article.
g Life - In birds as in people, female fertility declines with age. But some female birds can slow the ticking of their biological clocks by choosing the right mates, says a new study. See article.
g Intelligence - The dynamics behind signal transmission in the brain are extremely chaotic. This conclusion has been reached by scientists. In addition, researchers calculated, for the first time, how quickly information stored in the activity patterns of the cerebral cortex neurons is discarded. At one bit per active neuron per second, the speed at which this information is forgotten is surprisingly high. See article.
g Aftermath - Will we ever find a primer for decoding messages from extraterrestrials? A few years ago, anthropologists who gathered for a major conference in Atlanta heard some news that will be sobering for SETI enthusiasts: it may be much more difficult to understand extraterrestrials than many scientists have thought before. See article. This article is from 2005.

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