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.
NASA’s Asteroid Tracker Now Searches the Entire Sky Every 24 Hours, reports Singularity Hub.” From simulating an asteroid impact to actually crashing a spacecraft into an asteroid, NASA’s all over it—and just upped its asteroid-impact-prevention game even more.”
Does Quantum Mechanics Reveal That Life Is But a Dream? A radical quantum hypothesis casts doubt on objective reality, reports Scientific American.
The Technosignature Researcher on the Lookout for Exo-civilizations –“Sofia Sheikh is one of a handful of postdoctoral researchers who have specialized in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. She talks to David Appell about strange signals, Star Trek, picking a tricky research field, reports Physics World.
Astronomers Find a New Asteroid Sharing Earth’s Orbit –The Trojan asteroid 2020 XL5, which follows the same path around the sun as our planet, was revealed only after a decade of searching, reports Kenneth Chang for The New York Times.
What the Omicron wave is revealing about human immunity –Immunologists have raced to work out how to protect against multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2. Their research has yielded a wealth of insights and a few surprises, reports Nature.
How past pandemics may have caused Parkinson’s, reports David Cox for BBC Future. “Surviving a pandemic isn’t always the end of the story – some viruses can have health effects that linger on for decades, eventually leading to a range of devastating diseases.”
Secrets of Early Animal Evolution Revealed by Chromosome ‘Tectonics’ –Large blocks of genes conserved through hundreds of millions of years of evolution hint at how the first animal chromosomes came to be, reports Viviane Callier for Quanta.
Dissolving in Toxic Oceans: How an Ancient Extinction Happened –Scientists say rocks on the English coast contain clues of the processes that drove the end-Triassic event that killed as much as a quarter of all life on Earth, reports The New York Times,
New role for cyanide in early Earth and search for extraterrestrial life, reports The Scripps Research Institute. “When we look for signs of life—either on the early Earth or on other planets—we base the search on the biochemistry we know exists in life today. The fact that these same metabolic reactions can be driven by cyanide shows that life can be very different,” says Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy, Ph.D., an associate professor of chemistry at Scripps Research.
Dissolving in Toxic Oceans: How an Ancient Extinction Happened–‘Scientists say rocks on the English coast contain clues of the processes that drove the end-Triassic event that killed as much as a quarter of all life on Earth.
Captained by A.I., This New ‘Mayflower’ Will Cross the Atlantic This Spring –The autonomous ship will embark on the same journey the Pilgrims took more than 400 years ago, collecting scientific data along the way, reports The Smithsonian.
Out of Africa: Not just once, but many times –-A new analysis of an ancient hominin fossil sheds light on the “Out of Africa” dispersal events that occurred more than one million years ago, reports Big Think.
Why Did 16th-Century Andean Villagers String Together the Bones of Their Ancestors? –Researchers suggest the practice was a response to Spanish conquistadors’ desecration of the remains, reports Megan Gannon for The Smithsonian.
Everything We See Is a Mash-Up of the Brain’s Last 15 Seconds of Visual Information, reports Singularity Hub. “Our eyes are continuously bombarded by an enormous amount of visual information—millions of shapes, colors, and ever-changing motion all around us. For the brain, this is no easy feat”
The philosopher’s zombie –-The infamous thought experiment, flawed as it is, does demonstrate one thing: physics alone can’t explain consciousness, reports Dan Falk for Aeon.com. ‘The problem of consciousness resists the traditional approach of science.”
What’s So Hard About Understanding Consciousness? –We brought Antonio Damasio and Anil Seth together to share their insights into neuroscience’s big question, reports Kristen French for Nautilus. “”But while we may all be intimately familiar with what consciousness feels like, explaining why it exists or how it arises from physical and biological processes is another matter.”
David Chalmers interview: Virtual reality is as real as real reality –-Philosopher David Chalmers explains how virtual worlds shed light on questions such as what is reality and are we living in a simulation, and explores what corporate metaverses mean for humanity, reports New Scientist.
Supermountains controlled the evolution of life on Earth reports Australian National University. “The study found the most giant of these supermountains only formed twice in Earth’s history—the first between 2,000 and 1,800 million years ago and the second between 650 and 500 million years ago. Both mountain ranges rose during periods of supercontinent formation.”
Mount Everest’s highest glacier is a sentinel for accelerating ice loss, reports Nature. Mount Everest’s highest glacier appears destined for rapid retreat.
The ongoing saga of Havana Syndrome—a mysterious malady affecting U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers with everything from difficulty concentrating to brain damage, marks an important milestone in the history of politics and science. If this trend continues, the repercussions could be felt in everything from climate change to vaccinations, reports Psychology Today.
Body Odor May Smell Worse to You Than Your Ancient Ancestors –Researchers worked out which receptors in your nose detect particular scent molecules, and found evidence of evolutionary change in some of these genes, reports The New York Times.
A Gladiator Arena, Possibly the Last Ever Built, Discovered in Switzerland –Archaeologists unearth a fourth century amphitheater that stood on the far reaches of the Roman Empire more than 1,400 years ago, reports The Smithsonian.
The Texas Oil Heir Who Took On Math’s Impossible Dare –James M. Vaughn Jr., wielding a fortune, argues that he brought about the Fermat breakthrough after the best and brightest had failed for centuries to solve the puzzle.
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