“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.
Mars Is a Hellhole –Colonizing the red planet is a ridiculous way to help humanity. Reports Shannon Stirone for The Atlantic.
If Aliens Exist, Here’s How We’ll Find Them, reports Martin Rees and Mario Livio — –Two esteemed astrophysicists peer into the future of space exploration. Suppose aliens existed, and imagine that some of them had been watching our planet for its entire four and a half billion years. What would they have seen?
Where did COVID come from? Five mysteries that remain –In the wake of the World Health Organization’s investigation, there are still key questions about when, where and how the pandemic began, reports Nature. Following a month-long fact-finding mission in China, a World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic concluded that the virus probably originated in bats and passed to people through an intermediate animal. But fundamental questions remain about when, where and how SARS-CoV-2 first infected people.
10 Breakthrough Technologies 2021–This list marks 20 years since we began compiling an annual selection of the year’s most important technologies. Some, such as mRNA vaccines, are already changing our lives, while others are still a few years off, reports MIT Technology Review.
The Raging Evolutionary War Between Humans and Covid-19 –Fighting the pandemic isn’t only about vaccines and drugs. It’s about understanding how viruses mutate and change inside us, and among us, reports Wired.
The Arctic Has a Cloud Problem –Tiny iodine particles are clumping together to trap sunlight and melt polar sea ice, reports Max Koslov and Quanta for The Atlantic.
The rise and fall of the mysterious culture that invented civilization–Proto-cities built from 6200 years ago in eastern Europe upend our ideas about when civilization began and why people made the move from rural to urban living, reports New Scientist.
To save the planet from climate change, gas guzzlers have to die, reports The LA Times –The numbers paint a daunting picture. In 2019, consumers worldwide bought 64 million new personal cars and 27 million new commercial motor vehicles, a paltry 2.1 million of which were electric-powered. Climate scientists tell us that we have less than a decade to make meaningful reductions in carbon emissions — including those from internal combustion engines — if we have any hope of staving off the worst effects of global warming.
Why Making Our Brains Noisier Feels Good –reports Nautilus. A counterintuitive approach to improving our mental health.
This Wild Video Maps the Entire Internet and Its Evolution Since 1997, reports Singularity Hub.–It’s a mesmerizing, almost organic visual. But it’s also more than that. –The colors map to regions: North America (blue), Europe (green), Latin America (purple), Asia Pacific (red), Africa (orange), and the internet backbone (white). The lines connect nodes; and the starbursts are internet providers for public, private, and government networks (think AT&T or Comcast or the military). The middle is the most highly connected region, and the periphery the least.
How Bitcoin’s vast energy use could burst its bubble –It’s unclear exactly how much energy Bitcoin uses. Cryptocurrencies are – by design – hard to track. But the consensus is that Bitcoin mining is a very energy-intensive business reports Justin Rowlatt for The BBC.
A Major Ocean Current Could Be on The Verge of a Devastating ‘Tipping Point’, reports Science Alert–The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) sea currents are vital in transporting heat from the tropics to the Northern Hemisphere, but new research suggests climate change might knock the AMOC out of action much sooner than we anticipated.
An Extinct Cave Bear’s DNA Was Still Readable After 360,000 Years, reports George Dvorsky for Gizmodo –“The bone analyzed in the new study—a petrous bone from the inner ear of an extinct cave bear—was approximately seven times older than any the team had studied before, ‘showing that genome data can be recovered from temperate zone samples spanning more than 300 millennia,’ [Axel Barlow] said. Indeed, older DNA samples exist, but they were all sourced from fossils found in permafrost, like the astounding million-year-old mammoth teeth that recently made headlines.”
The Galaxy Report newsletter brings you twice-weekly news of space and science that has the capacity to provide clues to the mystery of our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our current Anthropocene Epoch.