“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.
The Best Hopes for a Coronavirus Drug –If there is a way to stop COVID-19, it will be by blocking its proteins from hijacking, suppressing, and evading humans’ cellular machinery, writes Sarah Zhang for The Atlantic. Twenty-nine. That’s the number of proteins the new coronavirus has, at most, in its arsenal to attack human cells. That’s 29 proteins to go up against upwards of tens of thousands of proteins comprising the vastly more complex and sophisticated human body. Twenty-nine proteins that have taken over enough cells in enough bodies to kill more than 80,000 people and grind the world to a halt.
Heart Damage in COVID-19 Patients Puzzles Doctors –Up to one in five hospitalized patients have signs of heart injury. Cardiologists are trying to learn whether the virus attacks the organ.
“Orphan Genes” –Where Do New Genes Come From? In their search for sources of genetic novelty, researchers find that some “orphan genes” with no obvious ancestors evolve out of junk DNA, contrary to old assumptions.
Are Plants Quantum, asks Gizmodo. “There are lots of well-established and well-understood quantum effects in biology—normal effects that people have understood and seen for years,” Richard Cogdell, professor at the University of Glasgow and an author of the new review, told Gizmodo. “The idea that there are unexpected, strange quantum effects akin to things being in two places at once, for example—there’s really no evidence for that.”
Coronavirus lockdowns have sent pollution plummeting. Environmentalists worry about what comes next. –The decline in carbon emissions that has resulted from coronavirus lockdowns could easily be reversed by efforts to quickly ramp up economies.
Antimatter Physicists Designed a Ventilator for Coronavirus Patients –Particle physicists at the Large Hadron Collider are joining the fight against Covid-19 with a new, low-cost design for scarce life-saving medical equipment.
NASA’s Plan to Turn the Moon Into a Telescope Looks Like the Death Star –A newly funded concept envisions a kilometer-wide radio telescope built inside a crater on the far side of the Moon. Whoa.
Map Reveals Hidden U.S. Hotspots of Coronavirus Infection –By adjusting for population, researchers have identified rural areas in several states that could be disproportionally affected by COVID-19
Researchers Reveal Early Complex Brain Surgery in Ancient Greece, reports Ancient Origins. New research from Adelphi University has revealed the first forensically-assessed archaeological discovery of remains of a group of domineering mounted archer-lancers and their kin of the Eastern Roman Empire from the turbulent ProtoByzantine period, which spanned the fourth to seventh centuries. This has revealed evidence of early brain surgery.
More Than 30 Million Years Ago, Monkeys Rafted Across the Atlantic to South America –Fossil teeth uncovered in Peru reveal that an extinct family of primates, thought to have lived only in Africa, made it across the ocean, reports The Smithsonian.
The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia –His daring raids in World War I made him a legend. But in the Middle East today, the desert warrior’s legacy is written in sand.
The Invasion of Antarctica Begins With Mussels –The bivalves — likely transported from Patagonia via ship — are the first nonnative marine species to settle on the White Continent, writes Katherine Kornei for the New York Times, Scientists found a colony of mussels, most likely transported from Patagonia via ship, near the largest of the South Shetland Islands some 75 miles north of the Antarctic Peninsula. This discovery, published last month in Scientific Reports, is a harbinger of future invasions, the researchers suggest, particularly as climate change afflicts the Southern Ocean and ship traffic in the region increases.
Early String Ties Us to Neanderthals–A 50,000-year-old fragment of cord hints at the cognitive abilities of our ancient hominid cousins.
With Boats Stuck in Harbor Because of COVID-19, Will Fish Bounce Back? –The pandemic has left many unable to leave harbor, creating a window for fishing grounds to recover from years of overfishing.