“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 Animal Viruses Most Likely to Jump into Humans –The SpillOver tool catalogs viruses that could cause a new pandemic, reports Scientific American.
U.S. Has No Ex/planation for Unidentified Objects and Stops Short of Ruling Out Aliens –A new government report is likely to fuel theories about unexplained aerial phenomena, reports The New York Times. “A total of 143 reports gathered since 2004 remain unexplained, the document released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. Of those, 21 reports of unknown phenomena, involving 18 episodes, possibly demonstrate technological capabilities that are unknown to the United States: objects moving without observable propulsion or with rapid acceleration that is believed to be beyond the capabilities of Russia, China or other terrestrial nations.”
Recently Discovered Letter Written by Albert Einstein Discusses Link Between Physics and Biology – Seven Decades Before Evidence Emerges, reports SciTech Daily. ” ow a study led by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, discusses how recent discoveries in migratory birds back up Einstein’s thinking 72 years ago.”
A Coronavirus Epidemic Hit 20,000 Years Ago, New Study Finds –“Researchers have found evidence that a coronavirus epidemic swept East Asia some 20,000 years ago and was devastating enough to leave an evolutionary imprint on the DNA of people alive today. The new study suggests that an ancient coronavirus plagued the region for many years, researchers say. The finding could have dire implications for the Covid-19 pandemic if it’s not brought under control soon through vaccination,” reports Carl Zimmer for The New York Times.
Where Did the Coronavirus Come From? What We Already Know Is Troubling, reports The New York Times. –“Now, for the second time in 50 years, there are questions about whether we are dealing with a pandemic caused by scientific research.”
Origin of Information –“Was Like an Extraterrestrial Invasion” reports The Daily Galaxy. ““On a geological timescale,the emergence of the human “dataome” –a world of bits built of and for information–is like a sudden invasion by extraterrestrials, or an asteroid impact that precipitates a mass extinction.”
I Created ‘The X-Files.’ Here’s Why I’m Skeptical of the New U.F.O. Report, writes Chris Carter for The New York Times –“The universe is just too vast for us to be alone in it. Carl Jung wanted to believe, as did Carl Sagan. Both wrote books on the subject. Now videos from Navy aircraft tracking unidentified aerial phenomena (as they’ve been relabeled) suggest that maybe we have seen them. Based partly on the videos, a much-anticipated government study on the topic is expected to land in Congress on Friday. Answers are promised. But answers are always promised.”
An ‘Alien’ Thought Experiment — Could Advanced Life in Near-By Star Systems Have Observed Earth Over the Eons? “Perhaps,” Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb told The Daily Galaxy: “We developed our modern science and technology (including transit astronomy and radio communication capabilities) only over a century out of the 4.5 billion years of the Earth’s lifetime. The window of opportunity for anyone to notice us at a random time in Earth’s history is roughly one part in 45 million (4.5 billion divided by 100 years).
Cool Fossils: Alaska Digs Reveal Dinosaurs’ Arctic Lives –Baby dinosaur “microfossils” suggest that many species lived and thrived in some of the coldest parts of the planet, reports The New York Times.
“Next Up” –Event Horizon Telescope’s Picture of Milky Way’s Supermassive Black Hole, reports The Daily Galaxy, “What will we actually see? When it’s completed, the picture of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), is an image sure to equal the famous “Earthrise” photo taken by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders in December 1968. The obvious target for the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), the team hopes to get imagery of our supermassive black hole soon, said Shep Doeleman, Director, Event Horizon Telescope, following the first ever image of Galaxy M87’s gargantuan black hole
Venus Lacks Plate Tectonics. But It Has Something Much More Quirky, reports The New York Times–Scientists say giant slices of rock may move across the surface of Earth’s closest neighbor like pack ice floating in the sea.
A Possible Link between ‘Oumuamua and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena –If some UAP turn out to be extraterrestrial technology, they could be dropping sensors for a subsequent craft to tune into. What if ‘Oumuamua is such a craft? asks Avi Loeb for Scientific American.
Nathan Seiberg on How Math Might Complete the Ultimate Physics Theory –Even in an incomplete state, quantum field theory is the most successful physical theory ever discovered. Nathan Seiberg, one of its leading architects, talks about the gaps in QFT and how mathematicians could fill them, reports Quanta.
UFOs Emerge, Again –Beyond the talk and fantastical conspiracy theories there might actually be a silver lining in trying to solve the puzzle of unidentified flying objects, reports Columbia University.
How memes spread through society like a ‘mind virus’ –Information doesn’t just want to be free, it wants to thrive, reports Engadget. The struggle for survival is not always limited to animate objects. Ideas can be expressed just as biological genes are, compete for attention-based resources, replicate themselves through discussion, and be encoded with the written word.”
The Internet Eats Up Less Energy Than You Might Think –New research by two leading scientists says some dire warnings of environmental damage from technology are overstated, reports The New York Times
Ground Temperatures Hit 118 Degrees in the Arctic Circle –The ongoing climate crisis is not going to spare Siberia, reports Gizmodo. “While many heads swiveled to the American West as cities like Phoenix and Salt Lake City suffered shockingly hot temperatures this past week, a similar climatological aberrance unfolded on the opposite side of the world in the Arctic Circle. That’s not bizarre when you consider that the planet heating up is a global affair, one that isn’t picky about its targets. We’re all the target!”
Gas Giants’ Energy Crisis Solved After 50 Years, reports Robin George Andrews for Quanta. “Jupiter and Saturn should be freezing cold. Instead, they’re hot. Researchers now know why.”
Discovery of ‘Dragon Man’ Skull in China May Add Species to Human Family Tree –A laborer discovered the fossil and hid it in a well for 85 years. Scientists say it could help sort out the human family tree and how our species emerged, reports Carl Zimmer for The New York Times.
Your free twice-weekly fix of stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.