“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.
Did a Cuttlefish Write This? –Octopuses and squid are full of cephalopod character. But more scientists are making the case that cuttlefish hold the key to unlocking evolutionary secrets about intelligence, reports Veronique Greenwood for The New York Times.
NASA Is Quietly Funding a Hunt for Alien Megastructures –Detecting ‘technosignatures’ such as hypothetical Dyson spheres in space could lead us to extraterrestrial life, and now NASA is funding the search, reports Motherboard Science.
Do aliens exist? We asked five experts –reports The Coversation, with detailed answers from astrophysicists and planetary scientists.
Planet Earth may be far more special than we think, reports BBC Future –Anew study carried out at the University of Naples has found that none of the exoplanets discovered so far have the conditions needed to form an Earth-like biosphere – the area on Earth that is home to all of the planet’s living organisms.
Can physics explain consciousness and does it create reality? –We are finally testing the ideas that quantum collapse in the brain gives rise to consciousness and that consciousness creates the reality we see from the quantum world, reports New Scientist.
A Group of Scientists Presses a Case Against the Lab Leak Theory of Covid–In a review of recent studies and comparisons to other outbreaks, a group of virologists contends that there is more evidence to support a natural spillover from animals to humans, reports Carl Zimmer and James Gorman for The New York Times.
AI Designs Quantum Physics Experiments Beyond What Any Human Has Conceived –Originally built to speed up calculations, a machine-learning system is now making shocking progress at the frontiers of experimental quantum physics, reports Anil Ananthaswamy for Scientific American.
Climate changed the size of our bodies and, to some extent, our brains –The average body size of humans has fluctuated significantly over the last million years and is strongly linked to temperature. Colder, harsher climates drove the evolution of larger body sizes, while warmer climates led to smaller bodies. Brain size also changed dramatically but did not evolve in tandem with body size.
Can a robot ever be conscious and how would we know if it were?, asks New Scientists –Some people think we could easily build and identify a conscious robot, while others insist that it’s impossible – it all depends on what you think consciousness is.
A New Kind of Ice That Bends Like a Noodle Without Breaking, reports The New York Times–Perfect crystals of ice microfiber showed the flexibility of a material we usually assume to be rather brittle.
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 Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb in Scientific American.
Narwhal Tusks Point to Changing Arctic Conditions –Pollutants have increased, and prey has changed, as the water warms, a chemical analysis of tusks shows, reports Scientific American.
‘Social’ Mitochondria, Whispering Between Cells, Influence Health –Mitochondria appear to communicate and cooperate with one another, both within and between cells. Biologists are only just beginning to understand how and why, reports Quanta.
A Volcano, a Fishing Boat, and a Narrow Escape –Two government biologists barely made it off a remote Alaskan island alive. No one had known it was ready to erupt, reports The Atlantic.
What is consciousness like for other animals and when did it evolve? asks New Scientist–The conscious experiences of non-human animals, from whales and birds to octopuses and bees, are revealing fresh clues about when consciousness evolved and what it’s for.
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.