“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 search for the eon that vanished –There are a billion years missing from geology – and scientists can’t agree why, reports BBC Future. “Finding out what happened during, and led to, the missing billion years is no trivial matter. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it just so happens to have occurred immediately before another inexplicable event – the sudden proliferation in the diversity of life on Earth 541 million years ago.”
Signs of extraterrestrial life could be found in the next two to three years, astronomers claim –A newly discovered class of life-supporting exoplanets could bring our search for alien life tantalizingly close, Cambridge study suggests.
Planetary Radar Observes 1,000th Near-Earth Asteroid Since 1968 reports the Jet Propulsion Laboratory –This animation shows asteroid 2016 AJ193 rotate as it was observed by Goldstone’s 70-meter (230 foot) antenna on Aug. 22, 2021. Three-quarters of a mile (1.3-kilometers) wide, the object was the 1,001st near-Earth asteroid to be measured by planetary radar since 1968. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The Future of Extraterrestrial Intelligence -Steven Tingay and his CSIRO colleague Dr. Chenoa Tremblay have been involved in the deepest and broadest search yet for signs of alien life, thanks to the capabilities offered by the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) – the highly sensitive, low frequency radio telescope with a fantastically wide field of view that is supporting a trove of new scientific endeavors from its whisper-quiet location in inland Western Australia.
Washington Post –The parallels between UFOs and covid-19 continue. Regarding the intelligence community’s report on the origins of covid-19. “In both instances, there was initially an establishment consensus that pooh-poohed anything but the conventional wisdom (UFOs are not real, covid-19 had zoonotic origins). Then, as time passed, inconvenient data points began to emerge (unimpeachable witnesses for UFOs, the absence of evidence for natural origins). Eventually, it became respectable to believe that UFOs are real and that it was possible that covid-19 leaked into the world from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
Here’s what we know about the mu variant –-Cases of the WHO-designated ‘variant of interest’ have been reported in the United States, Colombia, South Korea and parts of Europe, reports The Washington Post. “About 2,000 mu cases have been identified in the United States, so far, according to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), the largest database of novel coronavirus genome sequences in the world. Most cases have been recorded in California, Florida, Texas and New York, among others.”
“Unfathomable Abodes of Life?” –Water Worlds of the Milky Way. “Before life appeared on land some 400 million years ago, all life on Earth including the mind evolved in the sea. Astronomers have recently conjectured that blue exoplanets with endless oceans may be orbiting many of the Milky Way’s one trillion stars,” reports Avi Shporer for The Daily Galaxy.
India’s DNA COVID vaccine is a world first – more are coming –The ZyCoV-D vaccine heralds a wave of DNA vaccines for various diseases that are undergoing clinical trials around the world, reports Nature.
Scientific American: What God, Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Have in Common –Theories that try to explain these big metaphysical mysteries fall short, making agnosticism the only sensible stance.
These Researchers May Have Just Found The Planet’s Northernmost Island –reports NPR –“The scientists from the University of Copenhagen initially thought they had arrived at Oodaaq, an island discovered by a Danish survey team in 1978, to collect samples during an expedition that was conducted in July.”
New species of ancient four-legged whale discovered in Egypt, reports The BBC–“The fossil of the amphibious Phiomicetus anubis was originally discovered in Egypt’s Western Desert. Its skull resembles that of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian jackal-headed god of the dead after which it was named. The ancestors of modern whales developed from deer-like mammals that lived on land over the course of 10 million years.”
How Computationally Complex Is a Single Neuron? –Computational neuroscientists taught an artificial neural network to imitate a biological neuron. The result offers a new way to think about the complexity of single brain cells, reports Quanta.
Warnings from Earth’s ‘Third Pole’ –Climate Change at the Crest of the World, reports The Daily Galaxy –“There is something about the Himalayas not possessed by the Alps, something unseen and unknown,” said mountaineer and botanist Frank Smythe…” a mystery intriguing and disturbing. Confronted by them, a man loses his grasp of ordinary things, perceiving himself as immortal, an entity capable of outdistancing all changes, all decay, all life, all death.”
We’re Hitting the Limits of Hurricane Preparedness –Cities simply don’t have enough time to run from a storm like Ida, reports Robinson Meyer for The Atlantic.
Climate Change Is Bankrupting America’s Small Towns –Repeated shocks from hurricanes, fires and floods are pushing some rural communities, already struggling economically, to the brink of financial collapse, reports The New York Times.
Bitcoin Uses More Electricity Than Many Countries. How Is That Possible? asks The New York Times –“In the process of simply existing, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, one of the most popular, use astonishing amounts of electricity.”
Researchers use artificial intelligence to unlock extreme weather mysteries –A new machine learning approach helps scientists understand why extreme precipitation days in the Midwest are becoming more frequent. It could also help scientists better predict how these and other extreme weather events will change in the future, reports Stanford University.
Is dark matter made of ‘Fermi balls’ forged in the Big Bang? reports Paul Sutter for Space.com — The mysterious matter may have come from quantum bags that got squished together in the early universe.
How aircraft conquered Antarctica –– “At 8.20am on 20 December 1928, when Australian Sir George Hubert Wilkins took off in a “sleek, shiny, bullet-shaped” high-wing monoplane from Deception Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, to explore the last great hole in the map. With that flight, the machine age of Antarctic exploration had definitively arrived – the flying-machine age – and arguably, we are still in it nearly a century later. There are around 50 runways in Antarctica, and Australia is hoping to build a new concrete runway,” reports BBC Future.
Exploring Antarctica’s Upside-Down World –Clinging to the underside of ice hundreds of feet thick, strange communities eke out a living, while researchers race to study them before they disappear, reports Douglas Fox for Atlas Obscura.
Here’s Where Our Minds Sharpen in Old Age, reports Nautilus –“It turns out, according to a new study in Nature Human Behavior, that many things improve with age, including some cognitive aspects that had previously been thought to get worst.