The Planet Earth Report provides descriptive links to headlines from leading science journalists about extraordinary discoveries, technologies, people and events that are changing our knowledge of planet Earth and the future of the human species.
Physics is stuck – and needs another Einstein to revolutionize it. says Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb. The potential of a great mind to revolutionize physics is greater than ever, reports Salon. Given today’s landscape of physics, could there be another Einstein-like physicist – someone who, for example, works in a patent office and quietly ponders the nature of spacetime, but whose revelations lead to a large part of the field being completely reconsidered? “There are some dark clouds in physics,” says Loeb. “People will tell you,” We just have to find out which particles make up dark matter, it’s just one more particle. It has a weak interaction, and that’s about it. ‘But I think there is a very good chance that we are missing some very important ingredients that a brilliant person could discover in the years to come. “
“We are spaceships” – extraterrestrial viruses can have influenced the origin and development of life – “The human imagination is a preview of upcoming attractions”, Albert Einstein liked to say. Viruses are essentially roving segments of genetic material that have learned to “put on spacesuits and get out of the cell,” observed Greg Bear in his epic sci-fi work Darwin’s Radio, which echoes Einstein’s proverb and suggests that viruses are in our genome function as carriers of evolutionary messages – a genetic radio, so to speak. In that sense, we can just be virus spaceships.
How life could evolve – “The ultimate currency of life in the universe can be life itselfwrites Caleb Scharf for Nautilus. The wonderful genetic surprises that biological and technological Darwinian experiments, given sufficient variety of circumstances and time, can produce. Perhaps, in the end, our galaxy, and even our universe, will simply be the test tube for an extensive chemical computation that explores a mathematical terrain of possibility that extends to infinity. “
Do you want to talk to aliens? Try to change the technological channel beyond radio, reports Scientific American. Finding cosmic civilizations may require a more innovative approach than listening to radio transmissions. A new model simulating contact across the Milky Way suggests – perhaps unsurprisingly – that the likelihood of stumbling across a signal is low unless our galaxy is dense with long-lived intelligent species. However, the results, which were published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, also indicate that the likelihood of interaction could be greatest the moment a novel communication technology goes online for the first time.
Over 10 million stars, not a single whisper of alien technologyreports Science Alert. An extensive search for a patch of the southern sky at low radio frequencies did not reveal even a hint of extraterrestrial technology. In at least 10 million stars populating the Vela region – the deepest and most comprehensive survey of alien intelligence to date – the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia did not find any of the technosignatures expected in its area.
“Worst-case climate scenario” – ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic The loss rates are increasing rapidlyreports SciTech Daily. Since systematic ice sheet monitoring began in the early 1990s, Greenland and the Antarctic have lost 6.4 trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2017 – raising global sea levels by 17.8 millimeters. If these rates continue, the ice sheet is expected to raise sea levels an additional 17 cm and expose an additional 16 million people to annual flooding on the coast by the end of the century.
Biopharma leaders team up to stand with science– Nine CEOs sign historic pledges to keep the safety and wellbeing of vaccinated individuals a top priority in Business Wire’s first COVID-19 vaccine reports development.
The US political action is fueling fears of a Chinese brain drain. reports on nature. An exodus of foreign-born scientists would be a huge loss to US science, say research leaders.
Zombie forest fires blaze through the Arctic causing record burns. reports Live Science. The arctic forest fire season was the worst on record.
The pandemic seems to have spared Africa so far. Scientists are trying to explain whyreports science,
How German military scientists likely identified the nerve agent used to attack Alexei Navalnyreports science. – On September 2, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition politician, had been poisoned with a nerve agent that was “unambiguously identified in tests” as Novichok – a family of exotic chemical weapons from the Soviet era. Merkel, a trained chemist, did not reveal the type of tests that were carried out in a military laboratory in Munich. But scientists familiar with Novichoks have a good idea of how the toxicological sniffer dogs went about it – and are impressed with how quickly the culprit was exposed.
Chinese reusable experimental spaceships release unknown objects before returning to EarthAccording to Space News, a reusable Chinese experimental spaceship released an unknown object before it was deorbed on Sunday, ending a secret two-day mission in low-earth orbit. The spacecraft launched Thursday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert on a Long March 2F rocket. Announcements of the closure of the airspace issued the day before provided the only indication of the timing and nature of the mission.
How close are computers to automating mathematical thinking? –AI tools shape next-generation theorem provers and thus the relationship between mathematics and machines, reports Quanta.
The companies that help people are disappearing Every year some choose to “go away” and give up their lives, jobs, homes and families. There are companies in Japan that can help those who want to escape into the air, the BBC reports
The “Wild West” mentality persists in modern populations of the US mountainous regions, reports the University of Cambridge – When the historian Frederick Jackson Turner presented his famous thesis about the US border in 1893, he described the “rudeness and strength combined with sharpness and earning capacity” that it had forged in the American character.
Melting glaciers fill unstable lakes. And they growreports the New York Times. Researchers compiled the first global database of glacial lakes and found that their volume has increased by nearly 50 percent over the past few decades. That growth, largely driven by climate change, means such floods are likely to be more common in the future, the team concluded.
Paris will changeThe city has been badly hit by the pandemic, but French leaders know that transformation is necessary.
A mysterious crater suddenly opened in the arctic tundrareports Motherboard / Vice.Mysterious craters have appeared on the arctic tundra in recent years, and the latest example is 50 meters deep.