Is Humanity Going Viral in the Milky Way to Albert Einstein’s Home Movies (Planet Earth Report)

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“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.


U.S. and Chinese Scientists Trace Evolution of Coronaviruses in Bats –Researchers whose canceled U.S. grant caused an outcry from other scientists urge preventive monitoring of viruses in southwestern China, reports James Gorman for The New York Times. An international team of scientists, including a prominent researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has analyzed all known coronaviruses in Chinese bats and used genetic analysis to trace the likely origin of the novel coronavirus to horseshoe bats.

We Don’t Even Have a COVID-19 Vaccine, and Yet the Conspiracies Are Here –Even as vaccines for the disease are being held up as the last hope for a return to normalcy, misinformation about them is spreading, reports The Atlantic.

The Mariana Trench Is 7 Miles Deep: What’s Down There? –The Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean is so deep your bones would literally dissolve. What’s down there in its black, crushing depths? reports Scientific American. According to National Geographic, if you were to put Mount Everest at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, its peak would still sit around 7,000 feet below sea level.


Going Viral, or Not, in the Milky Way –Is the pandemic a rehearsal for our own cosmic mortality? asks Dennis Overbye for the New York Times. In 1998, Robin Hanson, now an economics professor at George Mason University, posed a vexing question: If the universe is such a garden of possibility, as astrobiologists and cosmologists proclaim, why amid billions of worlds and after billions of years is there no evidence of anybody out there to greet us?

Einstein’s Life in America Shown in Stunning Home Movies –Albert Einstein’s life in Long Island, New York, was an idyllic one. But he continued to harbor a tremendous amount of empathy for his compatriots who had remained in Nazi Germany. (2:00)


The Sun Has Been Hibernating for Years. It Might Be Waking Up –Scientists have observed an M-class solar flare, the most powerful in three years. It could herald the beginning of the Sun’s active, stormy phase, reports Motherboard/Vice.

There’s One Big Reason the U.S. Economy Can’t Reopen –The country faces the same problem today that it did two months ago: There are not enough tests to contain the virus.

The Rush to Sock Away Glacier Ice Before It All Melts–A snow-covered vault in Antarctica could help preserve chunks of disappearing glaciers, reports The Atlantic.

Mass Extinctions Are Accelerating, Scientists Report –Five hundred species are likely to become extinct over the next two decades, according to a new study, reports The New York Times.We are racing faster and closer toward the point of collapse than scientists previously thought, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Spreading the Word on a Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment--Neuroscientists could use brain waves to spur immune cells into action against the disease — but the process is almost too fantastic to believe, reports Quanta.

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