Thursday, February 10, 2011

Debunked alien encounters and biogeochemical cycles of habitable worlds

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 - Rings of gold and precious jewels may be traditional gifts between lovebirds on Valentine's Day, but what about a giant ring of black holes? A stunning image from space reveals just that. See article.
g Abodes - Astrobiologists study Earth's biogeochemical cycles as a reference for understanding what makes an environment habitable. Cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous show how life and the Earth itself are intricately linked. See article.
g Life - A new study takes a close look at the brain of the migratory monarch butterfly to better understand how these remarkable insects use an internal compass and skylight cues to navigate from eastern North America to Mexico each fall. The research, published in the Jan. 27 issue of the journal Neuron, provides key insights into how ambiguous sensory signals can be integrated in the brain to guide complex navigation. See article.
g Intelligence - Mice know fear. And they know to fear the scent of a predator. But how do their brains quickly figure out with a sniff that a cat is nearby? See article.
g Message - Communicating with each other may seem difficult enough, given the eight thousand languages used today, but imagine talking to another species? A model for considering the question is an age-old one: do you think your dog understands what you're saying? See article.
g Cosmicus - A new way of splitting layered materials, similar to graphite, into sheets of material just one atom thick could lead to revolutionary new electronic and energy storage technologies. See article.
g Imagining - Here are 10 alleged alien encounters — those brushes with aliens (or supposed aliens) that have been definitively debunked over the years. See article.

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