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.
When Did We Become Fully Human? What Fossils and DNA Tell Us About the Evolution of Modern Intelligence, asks Singularity Hub. –The earliest Homo sapiens weren’t entirely modern. Yet the different data tracks different things. Skulls and genes tell us about brains, artifacts about culture. Our brains probably became modern before our cultures.
“Beyond Homo Sapiens” –‘Just a Slightly Different Roll of the Darwinian Dice’ –The possibility of current or past life on Venus raises a hotly debated question of how closely extraterrestrial life would evolve to resemble that on Earth, with some scientists, such as Harvard’s evolutionary theorist, Stephen Jay Gould, who argued that with a slightly different roll of the Darwinian dice, earth would have been inhabited by creatures unimaginable,
To Boldly Go Where No Internet Protocol Has Gone Before –-Vinton Cerf helped create the internet 40 years ago, and he’s still working to connect people around the world — and off it, reports Quanta.
How Giving Robots a Hybrid, Human-Like ‘Brain’ Can Make Them Smarter, reports Singularity Hub. Today’s most powerful AI systems run in massive data centers across far more chips than can realistically fit inside a machine on the move. And the slow death of Moore’s Law suggests we can’t rely on conventional processors getting significantly more efficient or compact anytime soon.
Why Some Easter Island Statues Are Where They Are –-The statues on Easter Island are among the most mysterious objects made by humans. We still don’t know how they were moved, why they were placed at particular sites around the island and why they were made in the first place. Now researchers think they have at least some answers, because a new analysis finds that the statues are situated near sources of freshwater, reports Karen Hopkin for Scientific American.
Venus might not have signs of life after all, say astronomers, reports New Scientist.
Perfect Energy Efficiency: Quantum Engines With Entanglement as Fuel? –It’s still more science fiction than science fact, but perfect energy efficiency may be one step closer due to new research at the University of Rochester, reports SciTech Daily.
NASA Found a Lot of Water on the Moon In Breakthrough for Human Habitation –Lunar water “may be more widely distributed and accessible as a resource for future missions than previously thought,” according to one of two major studies published on Monday, reports NASA. Scientists led by Casey I. Honniball, a NASA postdoctoral program fellow at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center, captured the signal of molecular water using an airborne telescope called the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
The Network: How a Secretive Phone Company Helped the Crime World Go Dark –Vince Ramos wanted Phantom Secure to be the Uber of privacy-focused, luxury-branded phones—flood the market with devices, and sort out the law later. Then the FBI investigated him, reports Motherboard Vice.
The Alien Observatory –“First Biological Exoplanet -A Pale Blue Dot- Observed” —You know, our sun looks just like thousands of other stars in the sky. You’d never guess that there are planets going around it, and that one of those planets has people who consider themselves very intelligent. There would be no way of knowing that,” said Cornell University icon, astronomer Carl Sagan, in a 1973 interview with Rolling Stone, long before Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz announced the first discovery of a planet outside our solar system, an exoplanet, orbiting a solar-type star in our home galaxy, the Milky Way in 1995.
“No Place to Hide” –A ‘Perfect Storm’ 14 Times Earth’s Greatest Biological Catastrophe — “So they’re kind of like dark matter,” said paleontologist David Jablonski of the University of Chicago about the sanctuaries, the “refugia” that have never been found in the fossil record, but sheltered the shell-shocked and decimated species of Earth’s past mass extinctions until they were able to repopulate the planet in ensuing eons.
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