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 Mega 85-Mile-Wide Comet is On Its Way from the Oort Cloud to Colossal—a startup cofounded by the Harvard geneticist George Church—wants to resurrect a woolly mammoth within the next six years, and more.
106-million-year-old virus found ‘fossilized’ in the human genome –The remnants of a virus that plagued our mammal ancestors during the age of the dinosaurs have been found lurking in our genomes, reports New Scientist. “It’s kind of hiding in plain sight in the human genome,” says Aris Katzourakis at the University of Oxford.
Scientists Claim Earth’s core is a weird new state of matter, reports Futurism. “It’s quite abnormal.” With the help of his colleagues, Chinese Academy of Sciences physicist Yu He determined that our planet’s inner core is in a “superionic sate,” which technically neither a solid nor a liquid, but a weird intermediate state.
Advanced Alien Intelligence -“May Not Need a Language”, reports The Daily Galaxy –“Language has existed on Earth for about one million years beginning with Homo erectus, says linguist Daniel Everett (see video below), which begs the question: do sentient beings with language exist elsewhere in the Cosmos? In December, 2020 ex-CIA Director John Brennan said it was “presumptuous and arrogant” to believe there are no other forms of life than the ones on Earth, referring to the videos released by the Pentagon of US Navy sightings of UFOs.”
Mega Comet Arriving From the Oort Cloud Is 85 Miles Wide, reports George Dvorsky for Gizmodo–“These latest observations confirm that Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein is the largest Oort Cloud object ever detected, as it’s nearly twice as big as comet Hale-Bopp (observed in 1997), the nucleus of which measured between 25 and 50 miles (40 and 80 km) wide. It’s also bigger than Comet Sarabat (observed in 1729), which had a nucleus measuring somewhere around 62 miles (100 km) in diameter.”
The man rethinking the definition of reality –-“Across his career, the philosopher David Chalmers has challenged what we hold to be true about consciousness and the mind. As Tom Chatfield discovers, now he is questioning reality itself,” reports BBC Future.
Tardigrades could be the first interstellar space travelers –“A team of physicists, philosophers and biologists have come up with a list of organisms that could withstand the harsh conditions of interstellar space, and tardigrades take the top spot,” reports BBC Science Focus. The NASA Starlight program points a path forward to send small, relativistic spacecraft far outside our solar system. These miniaturized spacecraft are capable of robotic exploration but can also transport seeds and organisms, marking a profound change in our ability to both characterize and expand the reach of known life.
Could ancient viruses from melting permafrost cause the next pandemic?, Bacteria and viruses can survive for millions of years frozen in glaciers, ice sheets and permafrost and as global warming increases they are emerging. Here’s what we know about the threat, reports New Scientist.
Covid-recovered patients are seeing a huge rise in heart-related issues. Experts are shocked by the tremendous rise in cardiovascular events long after the body clears the virus, reports Salon.
The World’s Biggest Optical Telescope Will Search for Alien Life –Suzanne Ramsay and Michele Cirasuolo, scientists with the Extremely Large Telescope, talk about the observatory’s unprecedented abilities, reports Motherboard Vice Science. Appropriately named, the observatory will be able to spot Earth-sized planets in other star systems, peer into the dark reaches of the early cosmos, and help clock the acceleration of the universe’s expansion.
Record-Breaking Rogue Wave Detected Off Vancouver Island –A 58-foot-tall wall of water was measured by a sensor buoy off the coast. reports The Smithsonian. “Only a few rogue waves in high sea states have been observed directly, and nothing of this magnitude,” Johannes Gemmrich, an oceanographer at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, says in the statement. “The probability of such an event occurring is once in 1,300 years.”
The trees grown from space-faring seeds, reports BBC Future. “One of the last Apollo missions to the Moon carried seeds that were later returned to be planted back on Earth. But where many of these space-faring plants ended up is a mystery, and now the hunt is on to track them down.
You’re (Maybe) Gonna Need a Patent for That Woolly Mammoth, reports Matt Reynolds for Wired–“Colossal—a startup cofounded by the Harvard geneticist George Church—wants to resurrect a woolly mammoth within the next six years. Its CEO, Ben Lamm, is confident that a mammoth is patentable. But bringing back a species that last stomped the Earth 4,000 years ago raises all kinds of questions that scientists warn we’re not fully prepared for. Can someone really patent a mammoth? And if they can, should they?”
What Is the Metaverse? A Beginner’s Guide to Tech’s Latest Obsession, reports Aaron Frank for Singularity Hub. “In 99.99% of cases, provided the term is used correctly, you could replace the word “metaverse” with “internet” and the sentence will mean the same thing. So why is everyone using this fancy new word? Analyst Doug Thompson said it very well when he noted that “we’re using the term as a proxy for a sense that everything is about to change.
Most U.S. eagles suffer from lead poisoning, study suggests, reports Douglas Main for National Geographic. –“Most bald and golden eagles in the United States have been repeatedly exposed to lead throughout their lives, new research shows. The primary source of exposure is ammunition—as eagles scavenge on the carcasses of animals shot by hunters, they can ingest lead fragments from rifle rounds and shotgun pellets.”
Thwop, muah, boop: fish chatter and whale sounds to be collected in global library–Scientists plan a vast global store of aquatic noises to help monitor marine life, identify species – and even uncover regional dialects, reports The Guardian.
Boston’s Federal Reserve Says It Has Solved Technical Challenges of a ‘Digital Dollar’, reports S. Dent for Engadget — “The US Federal Reserve is continuing its research into a ‘digital dollar’ and has unveiled a technical specification for how it might work, The Washington Post has reported. Researchers designed a system that can handle more than 1.7 million transactions a second and settle payments in under two seconds, while operating 24/7 without service outages, according to a new paper on the subject.”
The mystery of methane gone missing –Humanity has an “unbalanced checkbook” of methane pollution, reports Vox.” Scientists have spent the past few years deploying aircraft and satellites to untangle one of climate science’s greatest mysteries: pinpointing exactly what’s causing methane, a particularly powerful greenhouse gas, to rise so fast in the atmosphere.”
Mount Etna is erupting and astronauts are watching it from space, reports Elizabeth Howell for Live Science. The Sicilian volcano is ‘smoking’ and ‘spitting lava,’ one astronaut reports.
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