International Wildlife Film Week on April, 2017: Is the aliens real?

International Wildlife Film Week 2017. International Wildlife Film Festival Coming to Arizona International Wildlife Film

Is the aliens real?

Life Off Earth - Do Aliens Exist?

The next big discovery in science will be the proof that alien life exists - and it could come any day now...

A few weeks ago, I put the finishing touches to one of the most visionary projects I’ve ever been asked to present. The Essential Guide to the 21st Century is the BBC World Service’s flagship series for the start of the new Millennium. My brief was to investigate where science will take us in the future – and what are the big discoveries coming up.

In the course of a whistlestop tour from the depths of the CERN particle accelerator under the Alps to NASA’s Mars mission control overlooking Los Angeles, scientists predicted some pretty mind-blowing ideas. Around 2020, we’ll be wearing mini-computers as fashion accessories, with mini-robots surging around our bloodstream to scavenge viruses. High overhead, astronauts on the International Space Station will be attended by their own colourful, football-sized personal satellites. And, in case A Brief History of Time wasn’t enough, we’ll have to face the fact that the Universe isn’t made of just three dimensions, but contains six or more tiny extra dimensions all curled up on themselves.

The next big discovery in science will be the proof that alien life exists - and it could come any day now...

by Heather Couper

A few weeks ago, I put the finishing touches to one of the most visionary projects I’ve ever been asked to present. The Essential Guide to the 21st Century is the BBC World Service’s flagship series for the start of the new Millennium. My brief was to investigate where science will take us in the future – and what are the big discoveries coming up.

In the course of a whistlestop tour from the depths of the CERN particle accelerator under the Alps to NASA’s Mars mission control overlooking Los Angeles, scientists predicted some pretty mind-blowing ideas. Around 2020, we’ll be wearing mini-computers as fashion accessories, with mini-robots surging around our bloodstream to scavenge viruses. High overhead, astronauts on the International Space Station will be attended by their own colourful, football-sized personal satellites. And, in case A Brief History of Time wasn’t enough, we’ll have to face the fact that the Universe isn’t made of just three dimensions, but contains six or more tiny extra dimensions all curled up on themselves.

But all the scientists I interviewed were abuzz about the biggest story of all. They agreed that this is the millennium in which we will discover intelligent alien life – and make contact with it.

Bizarre lifeforms

Until recently, we’ve looked at life in a pretty conservative way. Wildlife films on TV help to reinforce the notion that we – and our fellow-creatures – live within a fairly narrow range of temperatures and environments, and that, deep down, we all bear a strong family resemblance.

But this complacency has all changed. In just the past three or four years, biologists have discovered that life on Earth can exist in the most extreme places, and in the most bizarre forms. Microbes have been found down boreholes two kilometres deep. They live inside rocks scattered across the freezing wastes of Antarctica. White crabs and giant tubeworms inhabit scalding deep-sea vents that never see the rays of the Sun.

These forms of life may look more akin to ‘green slime’ than to our usual idea of life on Earth. But they are still alive. When life gets started, and wherever, it seems determined to hang on … for dear life! So if life got started on our planet – and it did so pretty quickly – then why not on some of our neighbour-worlds in the Solar System?

Where are the Martians?

Mars has long been a favourite with film directors, yielding untold numbers of B-movie aliens. But many scientists are taking things a little more seriously. Knowing that Mars is a smaller, colder version of Earth, they figure it is a good place to start to search. Mars probably

once had a thicker atmosphere that could have supported embryonic life. And it almost certainly had water on its surface in the past – perhaps even oceans. Water is the essential lubricant of all living things: without water, life as we know it cannot exist.

Both NASA and European space scientists have planned a bold program of unmanned Mars exploration that will sniff out life - if it exists – or even the remains of long-extinct life-forms. The American missions are likely to be delayed a couple of years, after the recent losses of NASA’s Climate Orbiter and Polar Lander. This makes me less confident of something I was loudly predicting last summer – that we would see a manned landing on Mars in 2019, exactly 50 years after the Apollo astronauts reached the Moon.

And casting my mind back to last summer brings up vivid thoughts about life in the Universe. My mission then was to cover an international conference on ‘bioastronomy.’ This regular Bioastronomy Conference is held every three years, at some of the most beautiful and inspirational places on Earth – the previous time it was Capri, and next time it will be the Great Barrier Reef. The latest conference was held on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Mars was high on the agenda. Much of the debate concerned possible ‘Martian bugs’. In 1996, strange structures – looking like fossilised wiggly worms - had been discovered inside a meteorite which had been blasted out of the planet and landed in Antarctica. The consensus last summer – alas - was that the "bugs" were too small ever to have been life.

Alien oceans

Instead, the scientists were betting on a different ‘best-bet’ for finding life in the Solar System. The smart money now is on Europa, a moon circling the giant planet Jupiter. Europa is dazzling-white, and covered in mysterious cracks. Images from the Galileo spaceprobe show that its surface looks like the pack-ice you see when you fly over the seas around Alaska or Greenland – and that’s just what the bioastronomers believe it is.

The Galileo scientists predict that, underneath the pack-ice, there’s a deep ocean of water warmed by Jupiter’s continual gravitational pummelling. Already, there are plans to send a probe to Europa early this century, equipped with a robotic submarine. Will it find bugs? Or maybe something more exotic like the giant tentacled creatures dreamt up by Arthur C. Clarke in his novel 2010?

The Holy Grail of this new millennium, however, is not to find bugs, but to locate intelligent life. And optimism grows every day. Though we don’t expect to find intelligent life on any of the Sun’s orbiting worlds, there’s a fast-growing list of other places where the aliens might live. Over the past five years, astronomers have been busy finding planets around other stars. The total now stands at 29 – with seven found in the last few weeks!

Planets beyond

The technique astronomers use to detect ‘extra-solar’ planets relies on the fact that planets "tug" on their parent stars – like a dog pulling on a leash. The jerk on the star is very small, but by using sensitive instruments, scientists can measure the degree of wobble and infer the masses and orbits of the encircling planets. The most prolific team of planet-hunters is headed by Geoff Marcy of San Francisco State University. Last year, Marcy’s team discovered one star - Upsilon Andromedae – that has three planets in tow, making it the first planetary system to be located beyond our own.

So far, the technique is only sensitive enough to pick up planets as massive as Jupiter or greater. But if there are ‘Jupiters’ in existence, there are almost certainly ‘Earths’ sprinkled amongst them – it is just that our technology cannot yet winkle them out. In the next few years, by using space-based telescopes, we will undoubtedly be detecting worlds out there like our own.

If intelligent life exists on any of these new worlds, how can we make contact? The distances between the stars are too great for us, at our present stage of development, to go in person. (Our fastest spaceprobes, the Voyagers – which travel 20 times faster than a rifle bullet - would take 40,000 years to reach the nearest stars.).

ET: please phone Earth!

But for at least part of their evolution, aliens will surely communicate over long distances just as we do: by radio waves. They’re cheap, fast - travelling at 300,000 km per second - and have no worries about covering vast interstellar distances.

For the last 40 years, a small number of astronomers have been listening-in for the elusive signal from ET using huge radio telescopes – like Jodrell Bank, or the vast dish at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. With clever electronic detectors, we can now potentially tune into tens of millions of ‘extraterrestrial radio stations’ simultaneously. The name of the game is SETI – the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

But the call has never come – despite some heart-stopping moments when interference looked like the real thing. Some astronomers now are considering the possibility that advanced civilisations might instead use laser beams to make contact, and are searching the sky for suspicious flashes of light. But how do you second-guess ET?

Friend or foe?

And some scientists reckon that astronomers should not be conducting SETI at all. Contact with aliens, they believe, would be downright dangerous for us. Anthropologists have fears that an advanced intelligence – if it had mastered interstellar travel – could come to Earth and wipe out the human race, on the grounds that living creatures are programmed to wipe out rivals. Other researchers believe that the results of downloading the total sum of knowledge from an alien intelligence would blow our puny brains.

But I strongly believe that a dialogue with a more advanced intelligence would help us. We’d learn from their mistakes – and benefit from their advanced knowledge. Of course, none of this would stop us being human, although I think it would change us in ways we cannot yet know.

For those who urge astronomers to call off the search in case we do make contact, I can only say one thing: it’s too late. For the past 70 years, the powerful signals generated by radio and TV transmitters have been leaking away from our planet at the speed of light. They have already reached hundreds of the nearest stars. If ‘they’ are out there, they already know that we are here.

Amazon Gold Box

What is there to do in Alberta, Canada?

What is there to do in Alberta, Canada?

Alberta is a big place, larger than each of the UK, France and Germany.

Most people live the Southern half of the province. There are two major cities each of about 1 million people, where you can do whatever you can do in a UK city of similar size, so not London, but not some village either. Galleries, museums, opera, symphony, ballet and theatre if you're into that. We have world class restaurants in each city and there are all sorts of lounges, bars, clubs and pubs. Each city has a hopping entertainment district. Each city has worldclass shopping and retail. Edmonton is the entry market for international retailers for Western Canada because of West Edmonton Mall, North America's largest shopping mall, but not just at the mall but because of South Edmonton Common, North America's largest Supercentre.

Each city has major sports teams. I'm more familiar with Edmonton and it has professional teams in six sports. There is no professional football (soccer) in Alberta, but the club and recreational systems are well developed, both outdoor and indoor. Both cities have produced players that play professionally in Europe (best know is Owen Hargreaves at Man Utd). Edmonton has a major cultural festival every week of the Summer (2 largest in the world, 2 largest in Canada), each one of them has a major beer gardens. Calgary has the world famous Calgary Stampede. Edmonton also hosts an Indy Car Grand Prix. Both cities have excellent sports facilities and have produced Olympic champions as a result. Edmonton's stadium has a grass pitch that attracts a lot of international friendlies (just saw Everton v River Plate as part of their pre-season training). We have some of the best golf courses in the world, both in the links style and target golf style.

Alberta has a wide variety of geography: tundra, grassland, parkland, arboreal forest, high elevation mountains and dessert. So all the activities that goes with each of these geographies are available. We have no coastlline, but we have several large lakes and major rivers for watersport.

A major difference is that there is a lot of open space here compared to the UK, so there are many outdoor activities in Summer and Winter. Hiking, camping, hunting and fishing, cycling, canoe trips, dirt biking to alpine and nordic skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, snowmobiling. We have some of the best alpine skiing in the world. Virtually all the skiing scenes in the Bond series have been filmed here, standing in for the Alps and Himalayas.

We also live right next to nature. Natural areas are never far away and it is not uncommom to see a lot of wildlife even in urban areas.

If you're more specific about where you're going, you can get a much more specific answer.

What’s it like to be Home-Schooled?

What's it like to be Home-Schooled?

I have never just stayed home all day every day. That would suck, and I can't imagine how boring it must be to only ever go to school and home and never anywhere else. I mean, that's what you do when you're in regular school, right?

I'm no longer homeschooled. I recently graduated and moved in with my boyfriend. I got accepted into Florida State University's honors program, and he attends FSU as well. I can tell you what it was like when I was homeschooled though.

I could usually get my book work done in about 3.5 to 4 hours. By this I mean work that required reading from a textbook, doing math problems, papers, quizzes, worksheets, etc. This was by no means all I did, in fact the bulk of my work was a lot more fun and hands on. Science labs, creative research projects, educational games, field study, field trips, etc. Some examples would be the robot I built and programmed in 11th grade technology, the time that I wrote a modern-day parody of a Shakespearian play and performed it as a puppet show with a few friends, the day I spent building and launching rockets in the park to see which fuel formula worked the best, the night I spent stargazing with a telescope and a few friends, learning how sailers once used the same Trigonometry concepts I was learning to navigate with the stars, and the field trip I took to a wolf sanctuary to learn about wolf behavior in a hands-on, up close and personal invironment. Those are only a few examples.

When I was homeschooled, I went on at least one field trip per week. Sometimes these were things my family planned, things I planned and did independently, or group field trips with other local homeschoolers. They included some of the common trips public schoolers would go on... things like museums and science centers, but I also went on a lot of field trips that public schools often could not take advantage of. I went on nature hikes, kayaking trips, horseback riding trails. I went to World Fencing Championships, plays, concerts, cultural events, presidential candidate speaches, conventions, and seminars. I went to wildlife presentations, poetry readings, book signings, film festivals, news stations, recycling centers, research facilities, hospitals, animal shelters, wildlife refuges, zoos, hands-on museums, factories, recycling centers, universities, and a lot more. I also did a lot of traveling since we were not bound by the public school's schedule. We could get up and go when ever and where ever we wanted. I've been to most states and about 5 other countries, and I had some amazing experiences.

As for day-to-day activity, I would savor a day when I could just stay in the house all day and relax. I was involved in A LOT of extracurricular activities throughout high school. A lot was through the community, and some through our local homeschooling support group. That's a group of local homeschoolers (there are about 200 in our area alone) that meets regularly for classes, field trips, activities, dances, clubs, sports, prom, parties, and other extracurriculars. Most areas have these, and most homeschoolers are involved in one. Some of the things I was involved in as a homeschooled high schooler were...

Fencing

Soccer

Drama club

Chess club

Poetry club

Art classes

Bass lessons

Guitar lessons

Piano lessons

A 60's rock and roll group

Cooking classes

Teen Library Advisory Comittee

Library game nights

Library events and activities

Youth Center events and activities

Toastmasters International

Choir

People to People Student Ambassador Program

People to People Alumni Society

People to People International

Swimming (for fun)

LeadAmerica Congressional Student Leadership Conferences

Homeschool park days

Homeschool movie nights

Homeschool field trips

Homeschool art classes

Homeschool Wildlife Wednesdays (a weekly field trip relating to wildlife)

Homeschool poker nights

Homeschool dances

Homeschool prom

Homeschool yearbook staff

Homeschool THINK newsletter

Homeschool holiday parties

Homeschool outings

Homeschool baking class

Homeschool Presidential Fitness

Homeschool skating club

Homeschool literature

Homeschool beach days

Seminars

Conventions

And a lot more that I can't think of at the moment. There really was a lot. You can probably find more just by looking through past answers I've given. I also had the opportunity to start college early through duel enrollment as a homeschooler, and participate in all activities and functions on the campus I was attending classes at. I actually graduated with 15 college credits already far behind me, and that's going to make my first semester at FSU a lot easier and less stressful.

If you have any other questions about home schooling or what it was like for me, feel free to e-mail me. I'd write more, but something else homeschooling allowed me to do was start my onw small business with my boyfriend and a friend of ours, and I kind of need to work on that right now. lol. But feel free

Agoda
Holidays also on this date Saturday, April 1, 2017...