“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.
Scientists say a now-dominant strain of the coronavirus appears to be more contagious than original–A study shows coronavirus may have mutated –An early draft of a study from researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory — which has not been published or peer-reviewed yet — suggests that the coronavirus mutated over the past few months. They concluded that the strain of the virus that has afflicted most people in the US is the newer version.
Did Life from Earth Escape the Solar System Eons Ago? –There’s no proof that it happened—but it’s not impossible observes Harvard’s Avi Loeb for Scientific American. In a new paper written with an undergraduate student Amir Siraj, Loeb calculates that there could have been tens of life-exportation events over the lifetime of Earth. A similar number of events are expected to be associated with asteroids that came from outside the solar system before they grazed our planet’s atmosphere.
A Piece of Mars That Fell in Antarctica Contains Ingredient for Life, Scientists Discover, reports Motherboard/Vice — According to a recent study in Nature Communications, scientists have identified organic compounds containing nitrogen, a vital building block of life as we know it, inside this rare meteorite. This makes it the first time that nitrogen has been detected in a Martian rock dating back to the period when Mars may have hosted an ocean.
The Ecological Vision That Will Save Us –To avoid the next pandemic, we need a reckoning with our place in nature reports Nautil.us
Can the Universe Provide Us with the Meaning of Life?--Astronomy and space exploration might offer a new perspective on our purpose in the cosmos, reports Avi Loeb for Scientific American.
Sugary Camouflage on Coronavirus Offers Vaccine Clues –In the fight against viruses and other pathogens, scientists are looking beyond genes and proteins to the complex sugars, or glycans, on cell surfaces, reports Quanta.com
Genetic Engineering Could Make a COVID-19 Vaccine in Months Rather Than Years –Candidates are speeding toward human trials reports Scientific American.
In a Tunnel Beneath Alaska, Scientists Race to Understand Disappearing Permafrost –What lies inside the icy cavern seems more and more like a captive, rare animal, an Earth form that might soon be lost, reports The Smithsonian.
The Thinnest Paper in the World--The process of making tengujo is fairly simple, but the nearly transparent product that results is almost magical, reports The New York Times.
AI Will Hunt Fake News on Its Home Turf –Whatsapp –Fake news, a problem that seemed to be waning after it first burst into the 2016 news cycle, has made a huge comeback during the global coronavirus pandemic reports Inverse.com. There are few breeding grounds for the crisis more fertile than the messaging app WhatsApp, where unsuspecting users are inundated with messages promising that ibuprofen can cure Covid-19, among other lies.
Can the US ramp up coronavirus testing? California will provide clues, reports MIT Technology Review. But the state still faces serious challenges securing sites, supplies, and personnel.
With Humans Away, Animals in National Parks Are Having a Ball –Coyotes, bears and more are enjoying areas usually reserved for crowds of human visitors reports The Smithsonisn.
From the Farside –We Live In an Alien Playground. Hello, my name is Deep Prasad. Not that the name should mean anything to you. A couple months ago I briefed a prominent North American Aerospace Defence Organization on how to detect and track hypersonic UFOs. It had some overlap with my main line of work, which is heading a small Quantum Computing company out of Toronto — fortunately backed by Bloomberg’s venture funding arm and other VCs.
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