Another intriguing week has past on Planet Earth with stories ranging from the Mother of All Accidents –had an asteroid arrived 30 minutes sooner or 30 minutes later, the dinosaurs would still be here– to the Alien Octopus Hypothesis to is our Universe a Weird Permutation?
Homo sapien’s ‘Shadow’ Species –Hints We May Have Had Story of Evolution All Wrong, reports The Daily Galaxy. “Carl Sagan observed that the frontal lobe of the human brain, comprising more than two-thirds of our brain mass, is where “matter is transformed into consciousness.” Maybe, suggest scientists, we’ve had the story of human evolution wrong: that language evolved before our brains started getting larger (we have brains 3x the size of apes), and language led to brain size increase instead of being a result of it?”
Quantum Astronomy Could Create Telescopes Hundreds of Kilometers Wide –Astronomers hope to use innovations from the subatomic world to construct breathtakingly large arrays of optical observatories, reports Anil Ananthaswamy for Scientific American.
The Mother of All Accidents –Odds are, if an asteroid hadn’t crashed into Earth, we wouldn’t be here, reports Sean Carroll for Nautil.us. “Had the asteroid arrived 30 minutes sooner or 30 minutes later, the dinosaurs would still be here.”
Climate crisis has shifted the Earth’s axis, study shows massive melting of glaciers has tilted the planet’s rotation, showing the impact of human activities, reports The Guardian. “The planet’s geographic north and south poles are the point where its axis of rotation intersects the surface, but they are not fixed. Changes in how the Earth’s mass is distributed around the planet cause the axis, and therefore the poles, to move.”
‘Nothing Short of Amazing’: NASA Mars Helicopter Makes Longest Flight Yet –Ingenuity made a 328-foot round-trip journey, helping to demonstrate the capability of the vehicle’s navigation system, reports The New York Times.
“The Alien Octopus Hypothesis” –Could one of Earth’s most intelligent species be an alien, ‘seeded’ on the planet by an interstellar genetic code? Scientists think the clue might be found in the ancient precursor to life, RNA, reports The Daily Galaxy. ““If we can make contact with cephalopods as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over,” says Peter Godfrey-Smith, philosopher of science at the University of Syndey. “This is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”
A Wrinkle in Nature Could Lead to Alien Life-–There may be more than one way to tune a universe for life, reports Caleb Scharf for Nautil.us. “Our fairytale concepts of “galactic empires” could be woefully too conservative. We may need to more fully embrace the fact that the prospects and rules for life in the universe have not always been the same, and almost certainly won’t be the same in the future.”
The Great Question — “Is Our Universe Extremely Unnatural, a Weird Permutation?” asks The Daily Galaxy. –““Is our universe extremely unnatural, a weird permutation among countless other possibilities, observed for no other reason than that its special conditions allowed life to arise, or, are the properties of the universe are inevitable, predictable, that is, ‘natural,’ locking together into a sensible pattern?” This is the question, the great unknown, that preoccupies theoretical physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J”
Octopus ‘Teachers’ Demonstrate They Feel Emotional Pain –As a documentary about a cephalopod contends for an Oscar, a new study reveals the sophistication of the animals’ inner experiences, reports Scientific American.
“The Radio Species” –Scientists Doubt ‘Human Niche’ Would Be Filled If We Go Extinct, reports The Daily Galaxy. –“For what purpose did the human brain evolve is a question that has puzzled scientists for decades. In 2010 Colin Blakemore, an Oxford neurobiologist argued that a mutation in the brain of a single human being 200,000 years ago turned intellectually able primates into a super-intelligent species that would conquer the world. Homo sapiens appears to be a genetic accident.”
Artificial Intelligence Develops an Ear for Birdsong –Machine-learning algorithms can quickly process thousands of hours of natural soundscapes, reports Scientific America.
An Exit Chute from the Universe: The Story of a Historic Effort to Image a Black Hole –After more than a decade of effort, a global network of radio telescopes revealed the first-ever picture of an enigmatic hole in spacetime, reports Seth Fletcher for Scientific American,
Physics of DNA –“In Each of Us Lies a Message, Its Beginnings Lost in the Mists of Time”, reports The Daily Galaxy. “As we’ve moved into the information age, we’ve come to realize that life is more about information than energy. Fire has most of the characteristics of life. It eats, it grows, it reproduces. But fire retains no information. It doesn’t learn; it doesn’t adapt. The five millionth fire started by lightning will behave just like the first. But the five hundredth bacterial division will not be like the first one, especially if there is environmental pressure. That’s DNA. And RNA. That’s life.”
China Is Set to Launch First Module of Massive Space Station –The new orbiting laboratory will host research from Chinese and international scientists, reports Scientific American.
Earth’s land may have formed 500 million years earlier than we thought, reports New Scientist. “Pinning down when our planet’s land emerged could help us understand the conditions in which primitive life began.”
Your Moviegoing Experience Is About to Change –Theaters barely survived the pandemic and can’t wait to welcome audiences back. Here’s what you can expect when you return, reports The Atlantic.
Humans Used to Be Good for the Planet, And We Can Be Again –Humans used nearly three-quarters of the Earth’s land 12,000 years ago and colonization and industrialization brought negative effects, new research shows, reports Motherboard Vice Science.