DNA Borgs to the Planet’s Loneliest Whale (Planet Earth Report)

Planet Earth


“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 Alien Octopus Hypothesis” reports The Daily Galaxy –“There are award-winning books, documentaries and even science fiction about octopus, says Ezra Klein in his podcast for The New York Times. “I suspect it’s the same hunger that leaves many of us yearning to know aliens: How do radically different minds work? What is it like to be a truly different being living in a similar world? The flying objects above remain unidentified. But the incomprehensible objects below do not.” 

Plasmid, Virus or Other? DNA ‘Borgs’ Blur Boundaries–Scientists have reported large DNA structures in some archaea that defy easy categorization,reports Quanta.”The researchers are upfront in acknowledging that what they have found could be some new type of giant virus, plasmid or bizarre chromosome. But they also suggest that the DNA could belong to something else entirely: what they have dubbed Borgs. Just as the alien species in Star Trek “assimilates” individuals into a hive mind, these unknown elements may integrate genes from their host cells into their own DNA.”

Big Bang: How We Are Trying to ‘Listen’ to It—and the New Physics It Could Unveil, reports Francesco Muia for Singlarity Hub. “Several projects are trying to listen to the big bang using gravitational waves—ripples in the very fabric of spacetime. Our new project, will aim to detect such waves at ultra-high frequencies, and could lead to the discovery of brand new physics.”

“Something Similar to the AI Revolution May Have Happened at Other Points in the Universe”, reports The Daily Galaxy –“As humans we should be proud of any AI systems we bring to existence, as if they were our children. In just the same way as we educate our kids, we could endow such systems with the blueprint for their future interaction with the world,” observes Harvard astrophysicist, Avi Loeb in an email to The Daily Galaxy. “Ultimately, we may launch our AI systems for interstellar travel towards distant destinations, such as habitable planets around other stars, where they could reproduce themselves with the help of accompanying 3D printers.”

Scientists Finish the Human Genome at Last –The complete genome uncovered more than 100 new genes that are probably functional, and many new variants that may be linked to diseases, reports The Daily Galaxy.


Amazon Patented a New Delivery System That Could Have Your Block Crawling With Robots, reports  Vanessa Bates Ramirez for Singularity Hub.

Why Not Use Self-Driving Cars as Supercomputers? asks Khari Johnson for Wired –“Nvidia, which makes chips used in autonomous vehicles, says a self-driving car can have the equivalent of 200 laptops in its trunk. This has led some people to refer to autonomous vehicles as data centers or supercomputers on wheels. Keith Strier, Nvidia’s VP of worldwide AI initiatives, envisions a world in which government fleets of autonomous vehicles that sit idle at night are harnessed to address the computational needs of nations that don’t own expensive supercomputers.”

Montana’s Famed Trout Under Threat as Drought Intensifies –The state is imposing more restrictions on fishing this year as the combination of extreme conditions, including low river levels, fish die-offs and the crush of anglers, poses long-term problems, reports The New York Times.

A.I. Predicts the Shapes of Molecules to Come –DeepMind has given 3-D structure to 350,000 proteins, including every one made by humans, promising a boon for medicine and drug design, reports the New York Times.

The Ethics of a Deepfake Anthony Bourdain Voice, reports Helen Rosner for the The New Yorker– “The new documentary ‘Roadrunner’ uses AI-generated audio without disclosing it to viewers. How should we feel about that? …On Friday, to help me unknot the tangle of ethical and emotional questions raised by the three bits of ‘Roadrunner’ audio (totaling a mere forty-five seconds), I spoke to two people who would be well-qualified for Neville’s hypothetical ethics panel.”

41 Percent of Consumers Say Their Next Car Will Be Electric, reports Jonathan M. Gitlin for Ars Technica –“According to a new survey conducted by EY, 41 percent of consumers planning to buy a car say their next vehicle will be a plug-in. And they’re mainly making that decision because of the environmental impact. EY surveyed 9,000 consumers across 13 countries…in June of this year as part of its Mobility Consumer Index. The last time the firm conducted this survey, in September 2020, just 30 percent said their next car would be either a battery EV or plug-in hybrid EV.”

The Daily Galaxy Editorial Staff

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