Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Similarities between Venus and Earth and link between climate change and mass extinction

Welcome! "Alien Life" tracks the latest discoveries and thoughts in the various elements of the famous Drake Equation. Here's today's news:
g Abodes - Scientists have recently made surprising observations of Venus' magnetosphere. The study is highlighting some unique similarities between the planets Venus and Earth. See article.
g Life - The second-largest mass extinction in Earth's history coincided with a short but intense ice age during which enormous glaciers grew and sea levels dropped. Although it has long been agreed that the so-called Late Ordovician mass extinction - which occurred about 450 million years ago - was related to climate change, exactly how the climate change produced the extinction has not been known. Now, a team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has created a framework for weighing the factors that might have led to mass extinction and has used that framework to determine that the majority of extinctions were caused by habitat loss due to falling sea levels and cooling of the tropical oceans. See article.
g Cosmicus - Whether it comes to phoning a friend or to using the internet - our daily communication is based on sophisticated networks, with data being transferred at the speed of light between different nodes. It is a tremendous challenge to build corresponding networks for the exchange of quantum information. These quantum networks would differ profoundly from their classical counterparts: Besides giving insights into fundamental questions in physics, they could also have applications in secure communication and the simulation of complex many-body systems, or they could be used for distributed quantum computing. One prerequisite for functional quantum networks are stationary nodes that allow for the reversible exchange of quantum information. A major breakthrough in this field has now been achieved. See article.

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