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Seti Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence And The Aliens Conundrum Part Ii

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(1) How can we tell the artificial from the natural? How can we be sure to distinguish Alien artifacts from naturally-occurring objects? How can we tell apart with certainty Alien languages from random noise or other natural signals?

(2) If we have absolutely nothing in common with the Aliens, can we still recognize them as intelligent life forms and maintain an exchange of meaningful information with them?

II. Artificial vs. Natural

"Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine."

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Complexity rises spontaneously in nature through processes such as self-organization. Emergent phenomena are common as are emergent traits, not reducible to basic components, interactions, or properties.

Complexity does not, therefore, imply the existence of a designer or a design. Complexity does not imply the existence of intelligence and sentient beings. On the contrary, complexity usually points towards a natural source and a random origin. Complexity and artificiality are often incompatible.

Artificial designs and objects are found only in unexpected ("unnatural") contexts and environments. Natural objects are totally predictable and expected. Artificial creations are efficient and, therefore, simple and parsimonious. Natural objects and processes are not.

As Seth Shostak notes in his excellent essay, titled "SETI and Intelligent Design", evolution experiments with numerous dead ends before it yields a single adapted biological entity. DNA is far from optimized: it contains inordinate amounts of junk. Our bodies come replete with dysfunctional appendages and redundant organs. Lightning bolts emit energy all over the electromagnetic spectrum. Pulsars and interstellar gas clouds spew radiation over the entire radio spectrum. The energy of the Sun is ubiquitous over the entire optical and thermal range. No intelligent engineer - human or not - would be so wasteful.

Confusing artificiality with complexity is not the only terminological conundrum.

Complexity and simplicity are often, and intuitively, regarded as two extremes of the same continuum, or spectrum. Yet, this may be a simplistic view, indeed.

Simple procedures (codes, programs), in nature as well as in computing, often yield the most complex results. Where does the complexity reside, if not in the simple program that created it? A minimal number of primitive interactions occur in a primordial soup and, presto, life. Was life somehow embedded in the primordial soup all along? Or in the interactions? Or in the combination of substrate and interactions?

Complex processes yield simple products (think about products of thinking such as a newspaper article, or a poem, or manufactured goods such as a sewing thread). What happened to the complexity? Was it somehow reduced, "absorbed, digested, or assimilated"? Is it a general rule that, given sufficient time and resources, the simple can become complex and the complex reduced to the simple? Is it only a matter of computation?

We can resolve these apparent contradictions by closely examining the categories we use.

Perhaps simplicity and complexity are categorical illusions, the outcomes of limitations inherent in our system of symbols (in our language).

We label something "complex" when we use a great number of symbols to describe it. But, surely, the choices we make (regarding the number of symbols we use) teach us nothing about complexity, a real phenomenon!

A straight line can be described with three symbols (A, B, and the distance between them) - or with three billion symbols (a subset of the discrete points which make up the line and their inter-relatedness, their function). But whatever the number of symbols we choose to employ, however complex our level of description, it has nothing to do with the straight line or with its "real world" traits. The straight line is not rendered more (or less) complex or orderly by our choice of level of (meta) description and language elements.

The simple (and ordered) can be regarded as the tip of the complexity iceberg, or as part of a complex, interconnected whole, or hologramically, as encompassing the complex (the same way all particles are contained in all other particles). Still, these models merely reflect choices of descriptive language, with no bearing on reality.

Perhaps complexity and simplicity are not related at all, either quantitatively, or qualitatively. Perhaps complexity is not simply more simplicity. Perhaps there is no organizational principle tying them to one another. Complexity is often an emergent phenomenon, not reducible to simplicity.

The third possibility is that somehow, perhaps through human intervention, complexity yields simplicity and simplicity yields complexity (via pattern identification, the application of rules, classification, and other human pursuits). This dependence on human input would explain the convergence of the behaviors of all complex systems on to a tiny sliver of the state (or phase) space (sort of a mega attractor basin). According to this view, Man is the creator of simplicity and complexity alike but they do have a real and independent existence thereafter (the Copenhagen interpretation of a Quantum Mechanics).

Still, these twin notions of simplicity and complexity give rise to numerous theoretical and philosophical complications.

Consider life.

In human (artificial and intelligent) technology, every thing and every action has a function within a "scheme of things". Goals are set, plans made, designs help to implement the plans.

Not so with life. Living things seem to be prone to disorientated thoughts, or the absorption and processing of absolutely irrelevant and inconsequential data. Moreover, these laboriously accumulated databases vanish instantaneously with death. The organism is akin to a computer which processes data using elaborate software and then turns itself off after 15-80 years, erasing all its work.

Most of us believe that what appears to be meaningless and functionless supports the meaningful and functional and leads to them. The complex and the meaningless (or at least the incomprehensible) always seem to resolve to the simple and the meaningful. Thus, if the complex is meaningless and disordered then order must somehow be connected to meaning and to simplicity (through the principles of organization and interaction).

Moreover, complex systems are inseparable from their environment whose feedback induces their self-organization. Our discrete, observer-observed, approach to the Universe is, thus, deeply inadequate when applied to complex systems. These systems cannot be defined, described, or understood in isolation from their environment. They are one with their surroundings.

Many complex systems display emergent properties. These cannot be predicted even with perfect knowledge about said systems. We can say that the complex systems are creative and intuitive, even when not sentient, or intelligent. Must intuition and creativity be predicated on intelligence, consciousness, or sentience?

Thus, ultimately, complexity touches upon very essential questions of who we, what are we for, how we create, and how we evolve. It is not a simple matter, that...

III. Intersubjectivity and Communications

The act of communication implies that the parties communicating possess some common denominators, share some traits or emotions, and are essentially more or less the same.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1999 edition) defines empathy as:

"The ability to imagine oneself in anther's place and understand the other's feelings, desires, ideas, and actions. It is a term coined in the early 20th century, equivalent to the German Einf

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Seti Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence And The Aliens Conundrum Part I

(category: Science, Word count: 1581)
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I. The Six Arguments against SETI

The various projects that comprise the 45-years old Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) raise two important issues:

(1) do Aliens exist and

(2) can we communicate with them.

If they do and we can, how come we never encountered an extraterrestrial, let alone spoken to or corresponded with one?

There are six basic explanations to this apparent conundrum and they are not mutually exclusive:

(1) That Aliens do not exist;

(2) That the technology they use is far too advanced to be detected by us and, the flip side of this hypothesis, that the technology we us is insufficiently advanced to be noticed by them;

(3) That we are looking for extraterrestrials at the wrong places;

(4) That the Aliens are life forms so different to us that we fail to recognize them as sentient beings or to communicate with them;

(5) That Aliens are trying to communicate with us but constantly fail due to a variety of hindrances, some structural and some circumstantial;

(6) That they are avoiding us because of our misconduct (example: the alleged destruction of the environment) or because of our traits (for instance, our innate belligerence) or because of ethical considerations.

Argument Number 1: Aliens do not exist (the Fermi Principle)

The assumption that life has arisen only on Earth is both counterintuitive and unlikely. Rather, it is highly probable that life is an extensive parameter of the Universe. In other words, that it is as pervasive and ubiquitous as are other generative phenomena, such as star formation.

This does not mean that extraterrestrial life and life on Earth are necessarily similar. Environmental determinism and the panspermia hypothesis are far from proven. There is no guarantee that we are not unique, as per the Rare Earth hypothesis. But the likelihood of finding life in one form or another elsewhere and everywhere in the Universe is high.

The widely-accepted mediocrity principle (Earth is a typical planet) and its reification, the controversial Drake (or Sagan) Equation usually predicts the existence of thousands of Alien civilizations - though only a vanishingly small fraction of these are likely to communicate with us.

But, if this is true, to quote Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi: "where are they?". Fermi postulated that ubiquitous technologically advanced civilizations should be detectable - yet they are not! (The Fermi Paradox).

This paucity of observational evidence may be owing to the fact that our galaxy is old. In ten billion years of its existence, the majority of Alien races are likely to have simply died out or been extinguished by various cataclysmic events. Or maybe older and presumably wiser races are not as bent as we are on acquiring colonies. Remote exploration may have supplanted material probes and physical visits to wild locales such as Earth.

Aliens exist on our very planet. The minds of newborn babies and of animals are as inaccessible to us as would be the minds of little green men and antenna-wielding adductors. Moreover, as we demonstrated in the previous chapter, even adult human beings from the same cultural background are as aliens to one another. Language is an inadequate and blunt instrument when it comes to communicating our inner worlds.

Argument Number 2: Their technology is too advanced

If Aliens really want to communicate with us, why would they use technologies that are incompatible with our level of technological progress? When we discover primitive tribes in the Amazon, do we communicate with them via e-mail or video conferencing - or do we strive to learn their language and modes of communication and emulate them to the best of our ability?

Of course there is always the possibility that we are as far removed from Alien species as ants are from us. We do not attempt to interface with insects. If the gap between us and Alien races in the galaxy is too wide, they are unlikely to want to communicate with us at all.

Argument Number 3: We are looking in all the wrong places

If life is, indeed, a defining feature (an extensive property) of our Universe, it should be anisotropically, symmetrically, and equally distributed throughout the vast expanse of space. In other words, never mind where we turn our scientific instruments, we should be able to detect life or traces of life.

Still, technological and budgetary constraints have served to dramatically narrow the scope of the search for intelligent transmissions. Vast swathes of the sky have been omitted from the research agenda as have been many spectrum frequencies. SETI scientists assume that Alien species are as concerned with efficiency as we are and, therefore, unlikely to use certain wasteful methods and frequencies to communicate with us. This assumption of interstellar scarcity is, of course, dubious.

Argument Number 4: Aliens are too alien to be recognized

Carbon-based life forms may be an aberration or the rule, no one knows. The diversionist and convergionist schools of evolution are equally speculative as are the basic assumptions of both astrobiology and xenobiology. The rest of the universe may be populated with silicon, or nitrogen-phosphorus based races or with information-waves or contain numerous, non-interacting "shadow biospheres".

Recent discoveries of extremophile unicellular organisms lend credence to the belief that life can exist almost under any circumstances and in all conditions and that the range of planetary habitability is much larger than thought.

But whatever their chemical composition, most Alien species are likely to be sentient and intelligent. Intelligence is bound to be the great equalizer and the Universal Translator in our Universe. We may fail to recognize certain extragalactic races as life-forms but we are unlikely to mistake their intelligence for a naturally occurring phenomenon. We are equipped to know other sentient intelligent species regardless of how advanced and different they are - and they are equally fitted to acknowledge us as such.

Argument Number 5: We are failing to communicate with Aliens

The hidden assumption underlying CETI/METI (Communication with ETI/Messaging to ETI) is that Aliens, like humans, are inclined to communicate. This may be untrue. The propensity for interpersonal communication (let alone the inter-species variety) may not be universal. Additionally, Aliens may not possess the same sense organs that we do (eyes) and may not be acquainted with our mathematics and geometry. Reality can be successfully described and captured by alternative mathematical systems and geometries.

Additionally, we often confuse complexity or orderliness with artificiality. As the example of quasars teaches us, not all regular or constant or strong or complex signals are artificial. Even the very use of language may be a uniquely human phenomenon - though most xenolinguists contest such exclusivity.

Moreover, as Wittgenstein observed, language is an essentially private affair: if a lion were to suddenly speak, we would not have understood it. Modern verificationist and referentialist linguistic theories seek to isolate the universals of language, so as to render all languages capable of translation - but they are still a long way off. Clarke's Third Law says that Alien civilizations well in advance of humanity may be deploying investigative methods and communicating in dialects undetectable even in principle by humans.

Argument Number 6: They are avoiding us

Advanced Alien civilizations may have found ways to circumvent the upper limit of the speed of light (for instance, by using wormholes). If they have and if UFO sightings are mere hoaxes and bunk (as is widely believed by most scientists), then we are back to Fermi's "where are they".

One possible answer is they are avoiding us because of our misconduct (example: the alleged destruction of the environment) or because of our traits (for instance, our innate belligerence). Or maybe the Earth is a galactic wildlife reserve or a zoo or a laboratory (the Zoo hypothesis) and the Aliens do not wish to contaminate us or subvert our natural development. This falsely assumes that all Alien civilizations operate in unison and under a single code (the Uniformity of Motive fallacy).

But how would they know to avoid contact with us? How would they know of our misdeeds and bad character?

Our earliest radio signals have traversed no more than 130 light years omnidirectionally. Out television emissions are even closer to home. What other source of information could Aliens have except our own self-incriminating transmissions? None. In other words, it is extremely unlikely that our reputation precedes us. Luckily for us, we are virtual unknowns.

As early as 1960, the implications of an encounter with an ETI were clear:

"Evidences of its existence might also be found in artifacts left on the moon or other planets. The consequences for attitudes and values are unpredictable, but would vary profoundly in different cultures and between groups within complex societies; a crucial factor would be the nature of the communication between us and the other beings. Whether or not earth would be inspired to an all-out space effort by such a discovery is moot: societies sure of their own place in the universe have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed. Clearly, the better we can come to understand the factors involved in responding to such crises the better prepared we may be."

(Brookins Institute - Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs, 1960)

Perhaps we should not be looking forward to the First Encounter. It may also be our last.

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We Don T Know What We Are Talking About Nobel Laureate David Gross

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Last December ('05), physicists held the 23rd Solvay Conference in Brussels, Belgium. Amongst the many topics covered in the conference was the subject matter of string theory. This theory combines the apparently irreconcilable domains of quantum physics and relativity. David Gross a Nobel Laureate made some startling statements about the state of physics including: "We don't know what we are talking about" whilst referring to string theory as well as "The state of physics today is like it was when we were mystified by radioactivity."

The Nobel Laureate is a heavyweight in this field having earned a prize for work on the strong nuclear force and he indicated that what is happening today is very similar to what happened at the 1911 Solvay meeting. Back then, radioactivity had recently been discovered and mass energy conservation was under assault because of its discovery. Quantum theory would be needed to solve these problems. Gross further commented that in 1911 "They were missing something absolutely fundamental," as well as "we are missing perhaps something as profound as they were back then."

Coming from a scientist with establishment credentials this is a damning statement about the state of current theoretical models and most notably string theory. This theoretical model is a means by which physicists replace the more commonly known particles of particle physics with one dimensional objects which are known as strings. These bizarre objects were first detected in 1968 through the insight and work of Gabriele Veneziano who was trying to comprehend the strong nuclear force.

Whilst meditating on the strong nuclear force Veneziano detected a similarity between the Euler Beta Function, named for the famed mathematician Leonhard Euler, and the strong force. Applying the aforementioned Beta Function to the strong force he was able to validate a direct correlation between the two. Interestingly enough, no one knew why Euler's Beta worked so well in mapping the strong nuclear force data. A proposed solution to this dilemma would follow a few years later.

Almost two years later (1970), the scientists Nambu, Nielsen and Susskind provided a mathematical description which described the physical phenomena of why Euler's Beta served as a graphical outline for the strong nuclear force. By modeling the strong nuclear forces as one dimensional strings they were able to show why it all seemed to work so well. However, several troubling inconsistencies were immediately seen on the horizon. The new theory had attached to it many implications that were in direct violation of empirical analyses. In other words, routine experimentation did not back up the new theory.

Needless to say, physicists romantic fascination with string theory ended almost as fast as it had begun only to be resuscitated a few years later by another 'discovery.' The worker of the miraculous salvation of the sweet dreams of modern physicists was known as the graviton. This elementary particle allegedly communicates gravitational forces throughout the universe.

The graviton is of course a 'hypothetical' particle that appears in what are known as quantum gravity systems. Unfortunately, the graviton has never ever been detected; it is as previously indicated a 'mythical' particle that fills the mind of the theorist with dreams of golden Nobel Prizes and perhaps his or her name on the periodic table of elements.

But back to the historical record. In 1974, the scientists Schwarz, Scherk and Yoneya reexamined strings so that the textures or patterns of strings and their associated vibrational properties were connected to the aforementioned 'graviton.' As a result of these investigations was born what is now called 'bosonic string theory' which is the 'in vogue' version of this theory. Having both open and closed strings as well as many new important problems which gave rise to unforeseen instabilities.

These problematical instabilities leading to many new difficulties which render the previous thinking as confused as we were when we started this discussion. Of course this all started from undetectable gravitons which arise from other theories equally untenable and inexplicable and so on. Thus was born string theory which was hoped would provide a complete picture of the basic fundamental principles of the universe.

Scientists had believed that once the shortcomings of particle physics had been left behind by the adoption of the exotic string theory, that a grand unified theory of everything would be an easily ascertainable goal. However, what they could not anticipate is that the theory that they hoped would produce a theory of everything would leave them more confused and frustrated than they were before they departed from particle physics.

The end result of string theory is that we know less and less and are becoming more and more confused. Of course, the argument could be made that further investigations will yield more relevant data whereby we will tweak the model to an eventual perfecting of our understanding of it. Or perhaps 'We don't know what we are talking about.'

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Direct Tv Total Choice Premier

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The Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV includes practically every channel offered in the United States for a great price. You get all the sports channels, movie channels, news channels, shopping channels and tons of specialty and informational programming like "The Learning Channel" and "The Food Network." You even get your local channels so you can see local news and local programming. Not only do you get great television shows and movies, you also get the full spectrum of music - more of a variety then you get on your conventional radio. The best thing is that it is affordable and easy to have set up in your home.

One of the best things about the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV is all the movie channels you get. With all these channels, you will never have to rent another movie again. The package includes 8 HBO channels, 11 Starz channels, and 6 Showtime channels, FLIX, two Disney Channels and three channels showing Cinemax. Some of these channels feature specific types of movies. For example, one of the Starz channels exclusively shows movies based on real events, while another only broadcasts love stories. Similarly, there are two HBO channels dedicated to programming that can be enjoyed by the entire family. If your taste in movies is a little more eclectic, the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV also features The Independent Film Channel and the Sundance Channel. Many other channels that are part of the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV also broadcast movies. For example, WE: Women's Entertainment and the Sci-FI Channel. If you are into older, classic movies, check out Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and American Movie Classics, both of which are part of the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV.

Another great reason to choose the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV is all of the sports events, news and commentary. You not only get the four ESPN channels (ESPN, ESPN Classic, ESPN2, and ESPN News), you also get all the FSN networks. If you have had to move away from your favorite team or if you are just having a hard time finding the games that feature your favorite teams, then the FSN channels are what you are looking for. You get 17 FSN channels to help you keep up with your favorite teams from all over the country. You also get the Empire Sports Network, 3 Comcast SportsNet Channels, New England Sports Net, Madison Square Gardens Channel, the Yes Network, the Sunshine Network, Altitude Sports and Entertainment, the Golf Channel and the Outdoor Life Network to help you keep up with all those outdoor sports you love.

Perhaps you like your television to be more educational. If that is the case, then the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV is definitely right for you. Not only do you get The Learning Channel, you also get channels like the Biography Channel, the History Channel, The Science Channel, and the National Geographic Channel. With the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV, you even get the NASA Channel. Perhaps you want to learn a new skill or brush up on some technique you learned long ago. You can check out the Do-It Yourself Network for programming that covers, you guessed it, do-it yourself activities. You can learn the recipes for delicious new dishes on The Food Network, and programming featuring Home and Garden Television can give you helpful redecorating and improvement ideas no matter what kind of space you have. You also get 5 Discovery Channels, including one specially devoted to programming for children.

Speaking of programming for children, the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV has lots of channels especially for children. The movie and learning channels aimed at children have already been listed, but Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV also includes Nicktoons, PBS Kids, the Cartoon Network, Noggin, Nickelodeon, and Boomerang. Other channels offered by Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV often show programming with the family in mind. These channels include the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, and PAX.

The Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV also features all of the news channels from around the country. Not only do you get CNN and Fox News, you also get Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Newsworld International, the Weather Channel, MSNBC, Headline News, and C-Span. If you are more interested in the latest celebrity news than in political news, the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV also features E! Entertainment Television as well as A&E, 2 VHI channels, Fuse, 2 MTV channels, and Country Music Television. If you are looking for a different spin on the news, you can check out BBC America and Link TV, both of which are offered as part of the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV.

Last but certainly not least, there is a whole world of music broadcast over the satellite dish available to you when you buy the Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV. There are 36 stations, each devoted to a different genre of music. These stations include everything from 70's music to Reggae to solid gold oldies and on to arena rock to show tunes as well as recent hits. There is even a channel devoted solely to Christmas music. For the kids, Radio Disney is also a part of the package. The music stations offered by DIRECTV as part of your channel package offer a much greater variety of music than what can be found on most local stations, even if you live in a large metropolitan area with lots of radio stations. Furthermore, the signal is digital, so the music will sound crisp and clear, just like the artist intended it to sound.

Total Choice Premier Channel Package from DIRECTV has everything you could possibly want in a channel package, and is also possibly one of the most complete channel packages in the country. Movies, sports, and news - anything you want to watch is available on these channels.

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Smarter Ways To Teach Math

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Schools across the country have found new ways to make math add up for students-and the country's most recent "report card" is showing the results of that hard work.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, a study called the Nation's Report Card, which provides state-by-state educational data, shows across-the-board gains in mathematics. In fact, overall fourth-grade and eighth-grade math scores rose to all-time highs, according to the study. The news comes as many Americans have focussed on ways to help their children improve their math scores in an effort to help ensure that their children have more successful academic and financial futures.

To help, many schools have used new types of technology to teach kids math. For instance, an interactive computer program called Accelerated Math, by Renaissance Learning, Inc., helps educators personalize their lessons to each student in a classroom. The technology prints personalized math practice sheets for students, corrects their work and then reports their results. Detailed reports and record keeping functions give educators a daily snapshot of each student's progress and mastery.

The process makes it easier for teachers to gauge each student's individual strengths and weaknesses and to help kids meet state and federal test requirements.

Accelerated Math content is designed to work with existing math textbooks and is aligned to state standards. Teachers can learn more about how to use Accelerated Math by working with a specialist from the company.

The specialists advise on ways to use classroom-proven routines and best practices associated with the software, as well as ways to get the most time-saving benefits from the technology. For instance, teachers using the software need to grade fewer papers and develop fewer lesson plans, freeing them up to pay more attention to their students.

It's thought such technology can help schools remain competitive in the global academic arena.

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A Bird S Eye View Of Wolves

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Wolves are a widely studied species in Yellowstone. Since wolves were reintroduced to the park after an absence of almost 80 years, scientists spend a lot of time studying the animals' unique behavior.

"Our knowledge of wolves is vast due to decades of research around the world," said Tom Oliff, chief of natural resources. "The ability to oversee wolves in the wild has been challenging and the knowledge gained through direct observations of behavior is invaluable to understanding the species."

The best way to study wolf movement is from the air. The Raven's Eye View of Yellowstone is a component of the Aerial Eyes project that is supported by Yellowstone Park Foundation (www.ypf.org) in cooperation with Canon U.S.A. The Eyes on Yellowstone program is made possible by Canon; it provides funding and digital technology to support an array of park resource management and education programs.

Using a Canon EOS 20D digital camera body with a 100-400EF lens (f 4.5-5.6) as a scientific tool, wolf biologists Doug Smith and Dan Stahler are changing the way quantitative and qualitative wolf data are gathered and studied.

The scientists have documented various behavior-from hunting prey, to raising pups, to interacting with various species throughout the park. The details, however, remain difficult to see with the naked eye, particularly when using the routine monitoring technique of aerial radio tracking from fixed-wing aircraft flying high overhead.

The digital equipment has helped revolutionize this research. High-resolution digital photographs that can be taken several hundred feet above ground and later enhanced have, in a short time, opened new windows to studying wolf ecology and behavior.

"This is a major breakthrough for wolf research, providing first-of-its-kind results," said Stahler. "Of particular value is the identification of individual wolves and the role each plays in the pack while engaged in different activities. Determining the presence and number of pups in a litter, or whether or not a certain member of the pack is still alive, can now be readily discernable through studying photographs taken with quality digital camera equipment."

Digital photography has changed science, and it has allowed Yellowstone scientists to gather data never obtained by any other wolf research project. The combination of digital imaging and enhanced lens quality are key scientific tools to help study and understand wolves.

A pack of wolves in Yellowstone is monitored by aircraft equipped with cameras.

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What Are Birds

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Birds are warm-blooded, bipedal egg-laying vertebrates that are characterized primarily by their physical features of feathers, forelimbs modified as wings, and hollow bones. Birds range largley in size from tiny hummingbirds all the way up to the huge Ostrich. Depending on how you look at it, and what your viewpoints are there are approximately ten thousand different species of living birds. Note the living. there are several others that have become extinct throughout human history. This mass in numbers makes birds the most diverse class of terrestrial vertebrates.

Birds are at the majority of times a very differentiated class, with some feeding on nectar, plants, seeds, insects, rodents, fish, carrion, or other birds. Most birds are diurnal, which means that they are active during the day. Some wild birds, such as owls and nightjars, are nocturnal or crepuscular which means that they are active during the night. Several birds will migrate long distances to take advantage of optimal habitats. With that aside there are others that will spend almost all their time at sea. Some birds have the ability to stay up in the air for days at a time, even sleeping while in the air.

All birds have similar characterists:

- Bony beak with no teeth

- Laying of hard-shelled eggs for reproduction

- high metabolic rate

- Light and strong skeleton

Most birds also share the common trait of flight however there are sevaral species of flightless birds, that exist mostly on islands. These are birds that once used to have the ability, but do to adaption have lsost it. A famous flightless bird is the kiwi which exists in New Zealand.

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Reversing Mother Nature Part Two

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We talked to North America's leading In Situ Leach (ISL) uranium mining engineers, and had them explain exactly how ISL worked. Most of the significant ISL operations in the United States were designed and/or constructed by these engineers. They explained how ISL mining is really just reversing the process of Mother Nature.

ISL EXTRACTION AND PROCESSING

During ISL mining, water is pumped to the surface from production wells that contain uranium in very low concentrations, on the order of parts per million concentrations. The next step in the ISL process is to extract the uranium dicarbonate. Extraction is done by chemically exchanging ions inside a processing facility. "The ion exchange process is very analogous to a home Culligan

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Biotechnology

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Biotechnology is not a new advancement in the area of science. It actually has been utilized for years, but was not significantly described as biotechnology. In its simple form, biotechnology means utilizing living organisms or their products to revise or change human health or the environment, or to run a process. Biotechnology itself is the combination of biology and other sciences to create new, innovative products in the agricultural sector, industrial sector and environmental industries. The products include medicines, vaccines, growth hormones for plants and food additives.

There are nine major areas of this technology and its applications in the field of biotechnology. These nine major areas are bioprocessing technology, monoclonal antibodies, cell culture, recombinant DNA technology, cloning, protein engineering, biosensors, nanobiotechnology and microarrays.

Bioprocessing technology refers to use of living cells to produce preferred products. This method has been utilized for thousands of years without knowing the actual scientific implications of it, such as in beer brewing, winemaking and even for making bread and pickles! Microorganisms were first discovered in the mid-1800s, and people came to realize that their biochemical machinery was the substance for these useful products. In-depth research and further experiments have led us today to the production of amino acids, birth control pills, pesticides, antibiotics and also vitamins, just to name a few.

Monoclonal antibody technology uses the cells from the immune system to make antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are extremely useful to locate any pollutants found in the environment, detect microorganisms that may be harmful in food, differentiate between normal cells and cancer cells, and also diagnose in a more precise manner any infectious diseases that may be present in humans, animals or plants.

Cell culture simply means growing cells outside of a living organism. There are 3 areas in this study, which include plant cell culture, insect cell culture and mammalian cell culture. Recombinant DNA technology, in the plain sense of the word, means recombining 2 pieces of DNA from 2 different species. This is used to produce new medicines and vaccines, slow down the process of food spoilage, control viral diseases and hamper inflammation, just to name a few.

Cloning became well-known after the cloning of Dolly the sheep years back. Cloning technology actually allows for the generation of genetically identical molecules, plants, cells or animals. Protein engineering is a DNA recombinant technique that is meant to improve existing proteins to create new proteins that do not exist in nature. These proteins may then be used in food processing, drug development and industrial manufacturing.

Biosensors are a combination of biology and the advances in microelectronics. Biosensors are detecting devices that rely on the specificity of cells and molecules to identify and measure substances at extremely low concentrations, which is why they are highly used to measure the nutritional value, safety and freshness of food, detect explosives, toxins and bio-warfare agents, locate and measure pollutants, and also to provide emergency room physicians with bedside measurements of vital blood components.

Nano-biotechnology refers to the study, manipulation and manufacture of ultra-small structures and machines that can consist of only a single molecule. This field of study enables us to improve the specificity and timing of drug delivery, increase the speed and power of diagnosing diseases, and also encourage the development of green manufacturing practices.

Microarray is the study of gene structure and functions which enable us to analyze tens of thousands of samples simultaneously. This field allows us to monitor gene activity, identify genes that are important to crop productivity, and also to detect mutations in disease-related genes

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