News from our Pale Blue Dot for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend: from the “telescope that ate astronomy” to what “Impossible” meant to the legendary physicist, Richard Feynman to black-hole bubbles that could swallow to Universe to poaching triggers the evolution of tuskless elephants to tech companies ‘don’t get’ science-fiction.
Scientists Model What Would Happen if a Mini Black Hole Punched Through the Moon, reports Jason Dorrier for Singularity Hub–“The lunar surface is a record of the solar system’s violent origins. But look closely enough and we may find something even more exotic there—the cratered remains of an impact with a black hole the size of an atom, birthed in the first moments of the universe.”
“Microbial Invasion” — Scientists Warn Extraterrestrial Organisms Could ‘Hitchhike’ to Earth -The race to commercial space flight has well and truly started, with more than 85 companies and organizations seeking a future in interplanetary tourism. Yet some researchers worry we might be getting ahead of ourselves. Before travel outside of Earth becomes a regular event, the world needs to implement some basic biosecurity measures, they warn. Otherwise, we could start receiving unwelcome alien visitors, reports Live Science.
The James Webb space telescope: in search of the secrets of the Milky Way, reports The Guardian. “The observatory – built by Nasa with European and Canadian space agency collaboration – has been designed to revolutionize our study of the early universe and to pinpoint possible life-supporting planets inside our galaxy.”
What “Impossible” Meant to Richard Feynman –What I learned when I challenged the legendary physicist, writes Albert Einstein Professor in Science, Princeton physicist, Paul J. Steinhardt. “The Caltech lecture room was packed with scientists from every discipline across campus. The discussion had gone remarkably well. But just as the last of the crowd was filing out, there arose a familiar, booming voice and that word: “Impossible!”
NASA Launches New Mission: Crash Into Asteroid, Defend Planet Earth –The Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft, launched on Wednesday, could be the first to alter an asteroid’s path, a technique that may be used to defend the planet in the future, reports The New York Times.
Merging black holes may create bubbles that could swallow the universe –The area between a pair of large black holes on the verge of colliding could provide the conditions to create dangerous bubbles of “true vacuum”, reports New Scientist.
In the quantum realm, not even time flows as you might expect. “A team of physicists at the Universities of Bristol, Vienna, the Balearic Islands and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI-Vienna) has shown how quantum systems can simultaneously evolve along two opposite time arrows—both forward and backward in time.”
How Would We Give Instructions To Aliens About Earth? asks Live Science. “When you’re trying to tell someone where you are, you need to have some common references, right? Ideally, solid references,” Héctor Socas-Navarro, astrophysicist at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago in the Atlantic, told Live Science. “But nothing is fixed in the galaxy.” Stars and planets are constantly in flux, moving around each other in a slow cosmic waltz. But even in our ever-changing galaxy, scientists have found some ways to pass our location on to everyone else.”
Scientists Have Discovered Traces of Stars From the Dawn of Time –The first stars formed using products from the Big Bang, and learning more about them can teach us about how the universe as we know it came to be, reports Motherboard Science.
At the Dawn of Life, Heat May Have Driven Cell Division–A mathematical model shows how a thermodynamic mechanism could have made protocells split in two, reports Carrie Arnold for Quanta.
Rampant Poaching Forces Elephants to Evolve to Not Have Tusks, Study Finds –The population of tuskless female elephants in Mozambique increased significantly after decades of ivory poaching, a sobering new study concludes, reports Motherboard Science.
What You’re Doing Right Now Is Proof of Quantum Theory –Running a computer underscores how quantum physics is remaking our world, reports Sidney Perkowitz for Nautilus.
Pendant from 41,500 years ago may have uncovered a ‘step in evolution’ –-“When I saw it, I was shocked,” reports C/NET. “In 2010, scientists unearthed an ivory pendant from an abandoned Polish cave. Punctured with patterns reminiscent of moon cycles and mathematics, the artifact’s origins eluded archaeologists — until now. An international team of researchers just declared the relic to be 41,500 years old. “
B.1.1.529: How dangerous is the new variant found in South Africa? –There are many open questions about the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 detected in South Africa. Here’s what we know so far, reports New Scientist.
Marine Oxygen Levels are the Next Great Casualty of Climate Change –The increasing frequency of dead zones will affect billions of people who rely on the ocean for survival, reports Scientific American,
Tech companies don’t get science fiction – and that’s deeply troubling, reports New Scientist–“Facebook has rebranded itself as Meta. This is because the company’s boss, Mark Zuckerberg, wants to launch a product called the metaverse, a shared virtual reality world. Let’s leave aside the fact that the metaverse is, for the moment, still a fictional idea. This is also an insanely bad episode in branding that would be hilarious if it weren’t so depressing.”
Albatross ‘Divorce’ Rate Rises as the Ocean Warms –Monogamous black-browed albatross may split up from the stress of less food availability, reports Scientific American.
Redo of a Famous Experiment on the Origins of Life Reveals Critical Detail Missed for Decades –The Miller-Urey experiment showed that the conditions of early Earth could be simulated in a glass flask. New research finds the flask itself played an under appreciated, though outsized role, reports Scientific American.
COVID Can Cause Strange Eye and Ear Symptoms –From conjunctivitis to vertigo, coronavirus infections can affect disparate senses, reports Scientific American.
Diamond hauled from deep inside Earth holds never-before-seen mineral –Researchers thought the mineral was impossible to find on Earth’s surface, reports Live Science.
This Ocean Invaded Its Neighbor Earlier Than Anyone Thought –The saltier Atlantic broke through layers of ice and freshwater, contributing to the Arctic’s warming, reports The New York Times.
This Ink Is Alive and Made Entirely of Microbes –Scientists have created a bacterial ink that reproduces itself and can be 3D-printed into living architecture, reports The New York Times.
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