“Planet Earth Report” provides descriptive links to headline news by leading science journalists about the extraordinary discoveries, technology, people, and events changing our knowledge of Planet Earth and the future of the human species. Our caffeine-inspired curation team scours the world, doing your work for you –all in one place.
They Knew Saber-Toothed Tigers Were Big. Then They Found This Skull. –It suggests that the prehistoric predators might have been able to feed on even the most giant prey of the Pleistocene era. When the curator mentioned a huge saber-toothed tiger skull stored behind the scenes of the National Museum of Natural History in Montevideo, Uruguay, Aldo Manzuetti had to see for himself, writes Joshua Sokol for the New York Times. The skull belonged to Smilodon populator. Extinct for about 10,000 years, the heavily muscled species once Hulk-smashed its way through South American fauna in the Pleistocene. To picture a normal individual, start with an African lion. Then double its size and add giant fangs.
How China’s “Bat Woman” Hunted Down Viruses from SARS to the New Coronavirus –Wuhan-based virologist Shi Zhengli has identified dozens of deadly SARS-like viruses in bat caves, and she warns there are more out there, reports Jane Qiu for Scientific American.
“They Are Already Here” — In her new book “They Are Already Here: UFO Culture and Why We See Saucers” , journalist Sarah Scoles explores the culture and history of people who believe in UFOs. The book begins here, she reports for Space.com, with her own experience of a total solar eclipse and a mysterious light in the sky, which set the stage for her reporting in the UFO community. You can read an interview with Scoles here.
Why the MOSAIC Expedition is So Vital to Climate Change Research — On a ship frozen in the Arctic, scientists have spent all winter to shed light on exactly how the world is changing, reports The Smithsonian. Because the Arctic plays such an important role in cooling the planet, MOSAiC’s goal is to understand how the ice, atmosphere and ocean are interacting in a warming Arctic, and how those dynamics affect climate around the globe.
Amazon Prime Will Falter During Coronavirus Crisis, Experts Say –Amazon Prime is a logistical nightmare during the best of times. Supply chain issues, increased demand, and the potential of a warehouse outbreak are putting pressure on the system, writes Lauren Kaori Gurley for Motherboard Vice. More than half of American households are Amazon Prime members, and, for better or worse, have come to rely on the service for many of their everyday needs.
True History Behind the Plot Against America –Philip Roth’s classic novel, newly adapted by HBO, envisions a world in which Charles Lindbergh wins the 1940 presidential election Seamlessly blending truth and imagination, The Plot Against America pits aviator Charles A. Lindbergh against incumbent Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election. Voters’ choice, argues the Spirit of St. Louis pilot and fervent “America Firster” in a trailer for the series, is not between Lindbergh and Roosevelt, but “between Lindbergh and war.”
New Earth Surveillance Tech Is About to Change Everything, Including Us –New high-resolution satellites, AIs, and data tools are going to let us study Earth, and ourselves, in greater detail than ever before. That’s going to come with “unthinkable” problems, writes Becky Becky Ferreira for Motherboartd Vice. “With the proliferation of satellite platforms, essentially this is something that’s almost become impossible to keep a handle on because there are so many new systems being launched and developed by so many different actors globally,” said Jonathan Chipman, director of Dartmouth College’s Citrin Family GIS/Applied Spatial Analysis Laboratory, in a call. “It’s just mind-boggling the amount of data that’s now being collected from low-Earth orbit.”
Mapping the Social Network of Coronavirus –To slow the virus, Alessandro Vespignani and other analysts are racing to model the behavior of its human host, writes Benedict Carey for The New York Times. “We call this ‘wartime,’” Dr. Vespignani said later in his office; he was seated, but his hands hadn’t stopped moving. “Before this, we were working on Ebola, and Zika, and when these things are spreading, you are working on the fly, you don’t stop. You are continually modeling networks.”