It’s been a busy few days on our Pale Blue Dot, with news stories ranging from three theories of Omicron’s origins to the “faint Sun paradox” reveals a narrow window for life to the elusive particle from the dawn of time explains reality to science is at a crossroads: human brains or algorithms?
How Humans are Changing Evolution. Why we are living in an era of unnatural selection, reports BBC Future –“Humanity’s influence on living organisms – both intentional and unintentional – is causing them to evolve in new and unusual ways. But how far could human-driven adaptation go?”
A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life, reports Jonathan O’Callaghan for Quanta. “Back when the sun was 30% dimmer, Earth should have frozen solid. Yet water flowed and life blossomed. The solution to the paradox shows that we might have that faint sun to owe for life’s existence — with critical consequences for the possibility of life outside Earth.”
Where did Omicron come from? Three key theories –The highly transmissible variant emerged with a host of unusual mutations. Now scientists are trying to work out how it evolved, reports Nature.
A Mysterious ‘X Particle’ Could Help Explain the Birth of Reality –Scientists achieved breakthrough detections of an elusive particle from the dawn of time at the Large Hadron Collider, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard Vice.
Human Brains or Algorithms? At the limits of thought –-Science today stands at a crossroads: will its progress be driven by human minds or by the machines that we’ve created? reports David C Krakauer for Aeon.com
‘Don’t Look Up’: humanity could avert asteroid Armageddon, say scientists –Planet likely to be spared from catastrophic end if 10km-wide Earthbound asteroid was spotted, analysis finds, reports The Guardian Science.
A Billion Years of Time Are Mysteriously Missing. Scientists Think They Know Why. –The Great Unconformity has baffled geologists for a century. New research points to glaciers being the culprit, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard Vice.
We Almost Forgot About the Moon Trees —A collection of tree seeds that went round and round the moon was scattered far and wide back home, reports Marina Koren for The Atlantic Science.
Identified: the oldest known remains of modern humans in Africa –Dating of volcanic ash suggests the remains are at least 230,000 years old, reports Big Think.
The second quantum revolution –-Inventions like the transistor and laser changed the world. What changes will the second quantum revolution bring? reports Symmetry.com
2022 could be a turning point in the study of UFOs reports Leonard David for Space.com — Interest in UFOs continues to grow, both among scientists and government officials.
The Eerie Implications of the Multiverse–““If space is truly infinite,” observes cosmologist Dan Hooper, head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, in At the Edge of Time, “the implications are staggering. Within an infinite expanse of space, it would be hard to see any reason why there would not be an infinite number of galaxies, stars, and planets, and even an infinite number of intelligent or conscious beings, scattered throughout this limitless volume.,” reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy.
Can We Prove the World Isn’t a Simulation? –You might think we have definitive evidence we’re not in a simulation. That’s impossible reports David J. Chalmers for Nautilus.
Orcas Are Able to Kill and Eat Blue Whales, Scientists Confirm –Recordings in seas off Australia proved that the predatory prowess of killer whales is inescapable, even for the adults of the largest species that ever lived, reports the New York Times.
Thousands of coma patients may be conscious but we’re ignoring them, says pioneering neuroscientist –It’s usually assumed that a person in a vegetative state has no awareness of the world around them, reports Dr Adrian Owen, who pioneered groundbreaking research that has proven otherwise, explains why we need to be talking to these patients. BBC Science Focus.
Tonga Volcano: What the Tongan volcanic eruption can teach us about the history of Mars, The eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano is thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime event. Now, scientists studying the explosion are uncovering information that may help us better understand Mars’s volcanic past, reports BBC Science Focus.
Bennu Asteroid Unlikely to Hit Earth in the Next 300 Years--“Bennu is a 500-meter wide asteroid that orbits our sun, following a trajectory that periodically brings it alarmingly close to planet Earth. NASA scientists have used new data and complex computer models to predict the precise path of the Bennu asteroid for the next 300 years, according to Icarus. Of particular interest is the probability of an asteroid impact, which for an asteroid of Bennu’s size, could leave a 3-to-6-mile-wide crater and pack the energy of more than 1.1 billion tons of TNT.” Reports NOW.
How the ancient Romans built roads to last thousands of years –There’s a reason why the saying ‘All roads lead to Rome’ is still a thing, reports ZME Science.
Finding the world’s deepest shipwreck, reports Stephen Dowling for BBC Futures–“In 1944, the USS Johnston sank after a battle against the world’s largest battleship. More than 75 years later, her wreck was finally located, 6km (3.7 miles) below the waves.”
Meet the man who can explain the first 3 billion years of life on our planet, reports CNN–“Rocks, cliff faces, quarries gouged in earth. Not much for most of us to look at, but for paleontologist Andrew Knoll, they are radiant with meaning, telling a story he says is far grander and stuffed with more plot twists than any Hollywood blockbuster.”
How, exactly, does planet Earth move through the Universe? –The Solar System isn’t a vortex, but rather the sum of all our great cosmic motions. Here’s how we move through space, reports Big Think.
What is quantum information? asks Nathan Collins for Symmetry–Quantum information breaks the rules of classical information in a way that could allow us to answer questions that a classical computer cannot.
“Unsolved Mystery ” -Strange Particle from Deep Space Detected at Antarctica’s South Pole, reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “They say great discoveries often start with someone saying “Huh, that’s weird,” observes Tyce DeYoung, a member of the IceCube and HAWC collaborations, two large international groups of physicists who are building and operating experiments to detect the highest energy particles in the Universe in an email to The Daily Galaxy. “But unfortunately, most of the time we say “That’s weird” it really is just some everyday weirdness, not a great discovery.””
Scientists Say the Laws of Physics May Be Changing –The cosmos is stranger than we know, reports Futurism.
The country inoculating against disinformation –Subjected to repeated disinformation campaigns, the tiny Baltic country of Estonia sees media literacy education as part of its digital-first culture and national security reports BBC Future.
Coffee Threatened: Key crops face major shifts as world warms, reports BBC Science –“The parts of the world suitable for growing coffee, cashews and avocados will change dramatically as the world heats up, according to a new study. Key coffee regions in Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam and Colombia will all “drastically decrease” by around 50% by 2050.
The McGurk effect: An auditory illusion that shows how strongly our senses deceive us –What’s especially bizarre about the McGurk effect is that knowing you’re being duped doesn’t correct your perceptions, reports Big Think.
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