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I wanna be one less (one less)

I have that iGoogle thing set up to give me a bunch of links to science articles from various agencies but my favorites are New Scientist Magazine (LOVE THEM - they have several editions for the various scientific fields) and Space.Com. Today there were two interesting links.


You know those commercials for the HPV virus (I wanna be one less!). Well boys need to get vaccinated, too!!! If they are sexually active and perform certain acts, it is possible they can get tongue, throat, and other oral cancers. That surprised me. The full article is here New Scientist


But my favorite article today was from Space.Com regarding finding extraterrestrial life that's trying to find us. I guess it was written in response to a politician's claim that our television/radio signals would scramble beyond recognition of intelligence before they got far enough into space to reach aliens. I will not pretend to know a lot about telecommunications or satellites or anything - I don't. But several asides in the article really made me laugh. Of course, this is my favorite...

“Let's consider some other earthly transmissions, for instance NASA's recent broadcast of Beatles music to Polaris (the North Star). For this, the space agency used the 210 foot Deep Space Network antenna near Madrid, Spain, and a mere 20 kilowatts of transmission power. In order for the Polarians, if there are any, to notice that this unsolicited serenade is washing over their planet, they'll need an antenna about 7 miles across. (Note to propeller-heads: I've assumed that their microwave receivers are about ten times less noisy than ours. Hardly unreasonable.) If they actually want to download the music to their iPods, they'll need heftier gear: about 500 miles on a side. Polaris, of course, is not next door. Its 430 light-years distant. This enormous span is what accounts for the large antenna requirements. The North Star is not the nearest audience for such a Beatle blast, incidentally – there are about 100,000 stellar systems that are closer. Maybe NASA chose this target because the Polarians agreed to pay royalties.”

My thoughts about the politician's statements were not as clever: 1) Our television and radio signals are not typically intelligent before the scrambling so what's the big deal about after, and 2) Yay! A politician was talking as if aliens were there but we just weren’t technologically good enough to reach them. (Though he was probably "assuming for the sake of argument" trying to cut funding to something and not really believing in aliens at all.) Anyway, the entire article is at Finding Them Finding Us

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