The “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. Today’s stories range from scientists suggest that instead of huge amounts of hidden matter, some mysterious aspect of gravity could be warping the cosmos to our turbulent brain –energy flow between brain and environment drives the non-equilibrium that sustains life, and much more.
Does Dark Matter Really Exist? “With the WIMP candidacy all but dead, dark matter is apparently the most ubiquitous thing physicists have never found. And as long as it’s not found, it’s still possible that there is no dark matter at all. An alternative remains: instead of huge amounts of hidden matter, some mysterious aspect of gravity could be warping the cosmos instead,” reports Aeon.
Ultraprecise atomic clock experiments confirm Einstein’s predictions about time, reports Adam Mann for Live Science. Physicists “watch” as time slows down.
Scientists Discover the Long-Lost Continent ‘Balkanatolia’ –The landmass existed 40 million years ago and may have facilitated the migration of Asian mammals into Europe, reports Becky Ferreira for Motherboard/Vice
Critics Horrified by World’s First Octopus Farm–“Octopus farming would increase, not alleviate, pressure on wild aquatic animals. A Spanish company is pouring tens of millions of dollars into becoming the world’s first commercial octopus farm, in spite of mounting evidence that the creatures can feel pain and pleasure, never mind the environmental impacts of cephalopod farming,” reports Futurism.
The Alien Octopus Hypothesis –Could one of Earth’s most intelligent species be an alien, ‘seeded’ on the planet by an interstellar genetic code? Scientists speculate that the clue might be found in the ancient precursor to life, RNA, reports The Daily Galaxy. “If we can make contact with cephalopods as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over,” says Peter Godfrey-Smith. “This is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”
Scientists want to create a library of every sound in the ocean –Science.com chats with a sound researcher about underwater noise
Why Humans Wage War –War is purposeful and calculating. The more organized we are, the better we get at fighting, reports Nautils.com
NASA’s Lunar Gateway: The plans for a permanent space station that will orbit the Moon –2022 will see NASA, with help from its international partners, take the first major step on humanity’s journey back to the Moon, and the start of a mission to establish an outpost alongside Earth’s natural satellite, reports BBC Science Focus Magazine.
Can Science Fiction Wake Us Up to Our Climate Reality? Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels envision the dire problems of the future—but also their solution, reports Joshua Rothman for The New Yorker.
How to think about the risk of nuclear war, according to 3 experts, The threat of nuclear weapons never went away. But Putin’s invasion of Ukraine makes it visible again, reports Vox.com. “
Largest ever family tree of humanity reveals our species’ history –A genealogy of humans constructed from thousands of genomes gives us clues about where our species first evolved and how we spread across the world, reports New Scientist.
California Is About to Test Its First Solar Canals –The innovative project is a win for water, energy, air and climate, reports The Smithsonian.
Four Years On, New Experiment Sees No Sign of ‘Cosmic Dawn’ –When astronomers tried to confirm a signal from the birth of the first stars after the Big Bang, they saw nothing, reports Quanta.
We’re Killing Ourselves with Work –Evolution favors less work and more leisure, reports Scott Koenig for Nautilus.com
Anti-aging isn’t a scam, but immortality almost certainly is –Altos Labs, a new biotech firm with $3 billion in funding, has announced plans to combat aging. But what does that mean for human life span, exactly? asks Big Think.
Biggest bacterium ever discovered amazes scientists with its complexity, reports Live Science. A newfound bacterium is bigger than a fruit fly.
New Research Points to Wuhan Market as Pandemic Origin, reports Carl Zimmer and Benjamin Mueller for The New York Times. “Analyzing a wide range of data, including virus genes, maps of market stalls and the social media activity of early Covid-19 patients across Wuhan, the scientists concluded that the coronavirus was very likely present in live mammals sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in late 2019 and suggested that the virus spilled over into people working or shopping there on two separate occasions.”
Flat-Earthers: How YouTube algorithms and media mistrust revived a centuries-old conspiracy theory In “Off the Edge”, journalist Kelly Weill dives down the strange rabbit hole of the flat-Earther community, for Big Think.
The Javelin Is Wrecking Putin’s Army. Here’s How the Anti-Tank Weapon Works, reports Ross Pomeroy for RealClearScience. “This weapon allows a single soldier to target and destroy even the most heavily armored main battle tank with an almost guaranteed kill rate, at great range and with minimal risk,” Army Capt. Vincent Delany wrote of the Javelin for West Point’s Modern War Institute.
The turbulent brain –Energy flow between brain and environment drives the non-equilibrium that sustains life. Could turbulence help us thrive? asks Aeon.com. “‘How does the living organism avoid decay? … By eating, drinking, breathing and … assimilating. The technical term is metabolism.’ According to this view, the ultimate equilibrium is death, and thus survival depends on staying as far as possible from equilibrium.”
Climate Change Is Harming the Planet Faster Than We Can Adapt, U.N. Warns–Countries aren’t doing nearly enough to protect against the disasters to come as the planet keeps heating up, a major new scientific report concludes.