“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 Last True Hermit Was Alone for 27 Years, reports The Atlantic. For decades, the residents of Maine’s Kennebec Valley believed that the North Pond hermit was a myth. According to local lore, a hermit had been living undetected in the woods since the 1980s; every so often, he would break into seasonal cabins to steal food and other resources. But no one could prove the hermit’s existence—if he was out there, he had taken great pains to guarantee his isolation.
How understanding nature made the atomic bomb inevitable –A chain reaction of basic discoveries preceded the bombing of Hiroshima 75 years ago, reports Science News.
“The Unknown Ancestor” –Searching for Primordial Human Origins. It’s been said that if a machine ever gains awareness, it will be not due to our careful programming, but to an unforeseeable anomaly. Perhaps the first anomaly occurred back in the distant primordial fog of human evolution. We may never know. But a new analysis of ancient genomes suggests that different branches of the human family tree interbred multiple times, and that some humans carry DNA from an archaic, unknown ancestor.
The Coronavirus Is Never Going Away –No matter what happens now, the virus will continue to circulate around the world, reports The Atlantic.
The Tragic Physics of the Deadly Explosion in Beirut, reports Wired, A blast injury specialist explores the chemistry—and history—of explosions like the one captured in videos that swept across the world.
“Particle at the End of the Universe” –LHC Unveils Phenomenon of Pivotal Importance for Fundamental Physics. The detection of the “Higgs” in 2012 -described by Caltech physicist Sean Carroll as “the particle at the end of the universe” –was the physics equivalent of the discovery of DNA. Higgs bosons have the capacity to share space because they are more like a force than a thing in the way we normally think of “things” or “particles”
SETI Institute –“Not Made on this Earth”-UFOs Is it vindication at last? The New York Times has recently reported that a supposedly canceled Pentagon project to investigate strange aerial phenomena is still showing a pulse, reports astronomer Seth Shostak. The clandestine effort, originally known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, was said to have ended in 2012. But, apparently, it’s still doing its thing under the auspices of the Office of Naval Intelligence. If the feds are still forking over tax dollars to delve into odd goings-on in the sky, it must be because they’ve got convincing evidence for extraterrestrial visitors. At least that’s the hope of the 100 million Americans who seem willing to swear on the Good Book that UFOs are, at least in some cases, alien craft.
No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public, reports The New York Times. For over a decade, the program, now tucked inside the Office of Naval Intelligence, has discussed mysterious events in classified briefings
Science fiction explores the interconnectedness revealed by the coronavirus pandemic. In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, a theory widely shared on social media suggested that a science fiction text, Dean Koontz’s 1981 science fiction novel, The Eyes of Darkness, had predicted the coronavirus pandemic with uncanny precision.
How the Pandemic Defeated America –-A virus has brought the world’s most powerful country to its knees, reports The Atlantic.How did it come to this? A virus a thousand times smaller than a dust mote has humbled and humiliated the planet’s most powerful nation. America has failed to protect its people, leaving them with illness and financial ruin. It has lost its status as a global leader. It has careened between inaction and ineptitude. The breadth and magnitude of its errors are difficult, in the moment, to truly fathom.
The Workforce Is About to Change Dramatically –Three predictions for what the future might look like. In march, tens of millions of American workers—mostly in white-collar industries such as tech, finance, and media—were thrust into a sudden, chaotic experiment in working from home. Four months later, the experiment isn’t close to ending. For many, the test run is looking more like the long run, reports The Atlantic.