Today’s stories range from A New Place for Consciousness in Our Understanding of the Universe to Installing the World’s Highest Weather Station on Mount Everest to Military Memo Deepens Possible Interstellar Meteor Mystery, and much more. 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.
There’s a Massive Hidden Factor in The Evolution of Humans Over 2 Million Years, reports Science Alert –The course of human evolution over the last 2 million years was shaped by habitation shifts linked to astronomically driven climate change, scientists suggest in a new study.
Discovery Dramatically Rewrites History of Life on Earth, Scientists Say –Scientists present more evidence for the oldest known fossils on Earth, which could bolster the search for alien life, reports Vice Science.
Posing a hefty problem for physicists, a fundamental particle weighs in heavier than expected –A new measurement of the W boson suggests the Standard Model is wrong. Yet there still isn’t a “smoking gun”, reports Nicole Karlis and Keith Spencer for Salon.
Scientists Unravel How the Tonga Volcano Caused Global Tsunamis, reports Robin George Andrews for Quanta.–The Tonga eruption in January was “basically like Krakatoa 2.” This time, geophysicists could explain the tiny tsunamis that cropped up all over the planet, solving a 139-year-old mystery about Tonga’s predecessor.
Virologists Identify More Than 5,000 New Viruses in the Ocean –The new study focused on under-researched RNA viruses, which often infect animals and humans, reports The Smithsonian.
Ancient computer may have had its clock set to 23 December 178 BC –The Antikythera mechanism, often called the world’s first computer could calculate the timing of cosmic events – and now we may know the date it was calibrated to, reports New Scientist.
A new place for consciousness in our understanding of the universe--To make sense of mysteries like quantum mechanics and the passage of time, theorists are trying to reformulate physics to include subjective experience as a physical constituent of the world, reports New Scientist.
Scientists Create RNA That Evolves on Its Own. This Could Be How Life on Earth Started, reports Mike McCrae for Science Alert.”We just received more evidence that life on Earth may have started with RNA, with scientists in Japan creating RNA that can replicate, diversify, and develop complexity all on its own.”
AI Competition With China Should Be Done the American Way, reports National Interest –The United States is uniquely positioned to take advantage of a decentralized artificial intelligence model.
Installing the world’s highest weather station on the flanks of Mount Everest –Over the next two months, researchers on the National Geographic and Rolex expedition would study the effects of climate change on this part of the Himalayas, installing the world’s highest weather station on the flanks of Mount Everest. During the course of their expedition, her colleagues discovered the world’s highest evidence of microplastic pollution in snow and stream water close to the summit,” reports Harriet Constable for BBC Future.
Military Memo Deepens Possible Interstellar Meteor Mystery –The U.S. Space Command seemed to confirm a claim that a meteor from outside the solar system had entered Earth’s atmosphere, but other scientists and NASA are still not convinced, reports The New York Times.
Area 51: What is it and what goes on there? asks Robert Lea for Space.com –Area 51 is synonymous with tales of UFOs, government cover-ups and potentially testing alien technology. “Located at Groom Lake in the middle of the barren desert of southern Nevada, Area 51 is a U.S Air Force installation that has become infamous for a speculated connection with unidentified flying objects (UFOs). “
A New Dimension to a Meaningful Life, reports Scientific American –“Studies suggest that appreciating beauty in the everyday may be just as powerful as a sense of overarching purpose.
The untold, dramatic story behind the discovery of America’s first murder hornet nest –In October 2020, after months of urgent work, researchers found an Asian giant hornet hive in Washington State. Its story was just beginning, reports National Geographic.
This Canadian river is now legally a person. It’s not the only one. From the Amazon to the Klamath, granting rivers legal rights is part of Indigenous-led efforts to protect them, reports National Geographic.
Russian hackers tried to bring down Ukraine’s power grid to help the invasion, reports Patrick Howell O’Neill for MIT Technology News. As Russia’s ground war stalls, hackers attempted to cause a blackout for two million people. “The hackers attempted to destroy computers at a Ukrainian energy company using a wiper, malware specifically designed to destroy targeted systems by erasing key data and rendering them useless. “
Time might not exist, according to physicists and philosophers, but that’s okay, reports Sam Baron for The Conversation–“Developments in physics suggest the non-existence of time is an open possibility, and one that we should take seriously.”
This hieroglyph is the oldest known record of the Maya calendar –The system is still used today, a testament to the persistence of Maya knowledge, reports Science News. “Buried within the Las Pinturas pyramid in San Bartolo, Guatemala, thousands of painted plaster mural fragments offer a window into ancient Maya civilization. Two of those fragments form the earliest known record of a Maya calendar, created between 300 and 200 B.C.”
Consciousness and higher spatial dimensions –Do higher spatial dimensions hold the key to solving the hard problem of consciousness? asks IAI News. “To gain a greater gaze into this outer space we will analyze space itself – in its relation to sentience – fracturing it into three varieties and raising it beyond three dimensions. The mind-matter mystery beckons us to explore the relations between space, matter, and mind.”
Coastal cities around the globe are sinking –The subsidence renders coastlines even more vulnerable to rising seas, reports Science News. “Manila in the Philippines is among the fastest sinking cities on the planet, with some areas subsiding up to 1.5 centimeters per year.”
Why a nuclear power plant would survive a 9/11-style airplane attack –U.S. nuclear power plants are built to survive external attacks. Even missiles or a commercial aircraft strike would not cause a meltdown or radiation leak, reports Big Think.
Chinese military scientists say they have created ‘invisibility cloak’ that can help hide equipment from spy satellite radar–The researchers say their new material is light and flexible, but covered with circuits to change the pattern of the radar signal. Tanks, artillery and other items of military equipment covered with the cloaks would appear on radar as nothing more than flat ground, reports South China Morning Post.
How ending mining would change the world –-“Mining fuels the modern world, but it also causes vast environmental damage. What would happen if we tried to do without it?” reports Laura Cole for BBC Future.
Steampunk: How this subgenre of science fiction challenges the beliefs of civilizational progress –Steampunk is a response to growing estrangement with the interpretation of modernity and the ruthless rupture from the past as the precondition for progress, reports Scroll In.
Driverless Car Appears to Flee the Scene After Being Pulled Over by Cops reports Jonathan M. Gitlin for Ars Technica. “San Francisco police stopped one of Cruise’s autonomous Chevrolet Bolt EVs. In the video, first posted to Instagram on April 2, an officer can be heard saying, ‘There’s nobody in it.’ But a few seconds later, after the officer walks back to his police car, the autonomous vehicle—perhaps deciding that the traffic stop was over—tries to drive away before pulling over to a stop a few hundred feet away.”
Twice Accused of Murder, This Writer Later Foresaw the Sinking of the Titanic –Under the pseudonym Mayn Clew Garnett, author Thornton Jenkins Hains published a maritime disaster story with eerie parallels to the real-life tragedy, reports Greg Daugherty for The Smithsonian.
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