“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.
China’s SETI program will find alien life first says Chinese astronomer.–Since the demise of the Arecibo Observatory, China now operates the world’s largest and most powerful single-dish radio telescope. Zhang Tongjie, a professor of cosmology at the Beijing Normal University, believes that China may be the first to find an alien transmission, reports The Debrief.
“Our Galileo?” –Harvard’s Avi Loeb Has Dared Say That Advanced Alien Life May Not Be Speculation, reports The Daily Galaxy-Great Discoveries Channel.
On this day in 1700, the ‘really big one’ — a magnitude 9.0 earthquake — hit Western Washington, reports The Seattle Times. “Called Cascadia, the magnitude 9.0 quake caused the entire Pacific Northwest coastline to suddenly drop 3 to 6 feet and sent a 33-foot high tsunami across the ocean to Japan.”
Could Ancient Humans Have Lived as Long as We Do?–Across time and place, our species’ life span is remarkably consistent, reports The Atlantic. “Around the 24th century b.c., verses attributed to the Egyptian vizier Ptahhotep referenced the disintegrations of old age. Ancient Greek tombstones attest to survival well past 80 years, and ancient artworks and figurines from many cultures also depict elderly people: stooped, flabby, wrinkled.”
The Phantom Biosphere — “An Alien Life-Form May Exist Hidden in Earth’s Microbial World”, reports The Daily Galaxy-Great Discoveries Channel.
Earth is now losing 1.2 trillion tons of ice each year. And it’s going to get worse. –Global ice loss has increased rapidly over the past two decades, and scientists are still underestimating just how much sea levels could rise, according to alarming new research published this month, reports The Washington Post.
The Physics of Covid-19–If You Squeeze the Coronavirus, Does It Shatter?, asks Katherine Wu for The New York Times. –Scientists are exploring the physics of viruses, to understand how these pathogens assemble themselves — and might be rent apart.
The Pandemic Is Finally Softening. Will That Last? asks Robinson Meyer for The Atlantic –The pandemic is softening, but the reprieve may not last. “In other words, the numbers are finally moving in the right direction. But while the trajectory of the pandemic is encouraging, the overall level of infection is staggering”
The Physician Who Presaged the Germ Theory of Disease Nearly 500 Years Ago –Largely forgotten today, Girolamo Fracastoro was a seminal figure in our understanding of infectious illness, reports Evan Morgan for Scientific American.
Physicists Study How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide, reports Charlie Wood for Quanta. –Since they can’t prod actual universes as they inflate and bump into each other in the hypothetical multiverse, physicists are studying digital and physical analogs of the process. f our universe is a bubble that inflated inside a larger multiverse, it might bear scars from collisions with nearby bubbles. “What lies beyond all we can see? The question may seem unanswerable. Nevertheless, some cosmologists have a response: Our universe is a swelling bubble. Outside it, more bubble universes exist, all immersed in an eternally expanding and energized sea — the multiverse.”
In Ice Age Siberia, a Meeting of Carnivores May Have Given Us Dogs –Researchers propose that some remote ancestors of Native Americans may have been the first humans to forge the bond with wolves that led to domestication, reports The New York Times.
The other humans: The emerging story of the mysterious Denisovans –The existence of the Denisovans was discovered just a decade ago through DNA alone. Now we’re starting to uncover fossils and artefacts revealing what these early humans were like, reports New Scientist.
How Mirroring the Architecture of the Human Brain Is Speeding Up AI Learning, reports Singularity Hub. –“While AI can carry out some impressive feats when trained on millions of data points, the human brain can often learn from a tiny number of examples. New research shows that borrowing architectural principles from the brain can help AI get closer to our visual prowess.”
What Happens to the Space Force Now? –President Biden is inheriting one of Trump’s pet projects, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic.
Scientists Find 20 Million-Year-Old Giant Predatory Nightmare Worm –-Trace fossils reveal an “life and death struggle between predator and prey” that played in what is now Taiwan, reports Motherboard Vice.”It reads like a scene that might unfold on fictional planets like Arrakis or Tatooine: giant worms that lurk in underground lairs “until they explode upwards grabbing unsuspecting prey with a snap of their powerful jaws” then pull the “still living prey” into the sediment to be consumed.”