Planet Earth Report –“Melting Tibetan Glacier Could Release Ancient Unknown Viruses to Epic Stone-Age Voyage”

Earth from the ISS

 

 

“Planet Earth Report” connects you to headline news on the science, technology, discoveries, people and events changing our planet and the future of the human species.

 

The epic ocean journey that took Stone Age people to Australia –Some 65,000 years ago, writes Graham Lawton for New Scientist, early humans lashed together a bamboo raft in the hope that it would carry them over the horizon and washed up on the lost continent of Sahul, which contained Australia. Now clues hint it was no accident but rather the first great maritime expedition.

Is China Ground Zero for a Future Pandemic? Hundreds there have already died of a new bird flu, writes Melinda Liu,for the Smithsonian, putting world health authorities on high alert

Ancient viruses never observed by humans discovered in Tibetan glacier –Melting ice from climate change could release the pathogens into the environment, one researcher said, calling it a “worst-case scenario.”For the past 15,000 years, writes Laura Geggel for Live Science, a glacier on the northwestern Tibetan Plateau of China has hosted a party for some unusual guests: an ensemble of frozen viruses, many of them unknown to modern science.

“It’s Out There” –Origin of Phosphorus Alien to Earth, Key to Life. “Life appeared on Earth about 4 billion years ago, but we still do not know the processes that made it possible,” says astronomer Víctor Rivilla, the lead author of a new study published today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The new results from the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) and from the ROSINA instrument on board Rosetta, show that phosphorus monoxide is a key piece in the origin-of-life puzzle.

MIT Technology Review: UN calls for investigation of Saudis allegedly hacking Jeff Bezos –A tangled web of espionage may point to an intimidation campaign by the powerful Saudi Crown Prince.

Australia wildfires unleash millions of tons of carbon dioxide –Researchers are concerned that huge pulses of carbon emissions from devastating wildfires could overwhelm natural reservoirs that store carbon dioxide reports NBC MACH.

“A 5 Second 100 Meter?” How fast is it physically possible for a human to run? –So far, writes Randall Monroe for the New York Times, the fastest anyone has run is about 27½ miles per hour, a speed reached (briefly) by sprinter Usain Bolt just after the midpoint of his world-record 100-meter dash in 2009.

‘Xenobots’ –Living Robots May Signal a New Evolutionary Epoch. Are we entering a new evolutionary epoch? “A book is made of wood. But it is not a tree. The dead cells have been repurposed to serve another need,” say researchers at the University of Vermont who have repurposed living cells—scraped from frog embryos—and assembled them into entirely new life-forms.

A Scheme of Heaven reveals what scientists can learn from astrology –Astrology is bunk, but a new book exploring its ancient history argues that it has crucial lessons for today’s data science with its seemingly opaque algorithms. At the beginning of the 15th century, writes Jonathan Keats for New Scientist, Cardinal Pierre d’Ailly predicted the arrival of the Antichrist through, among other astrological signs, the future orbital alignments of Saturn and Jupiter. He foretold that the Antichrist would appear in 1789, which turned out to be the first year of the French Revolution.