Sunday, February 24, 2019

China Will Deploy AntiSatellite Laser in 2020

China's military is expected to deploy a laser weapon capable of destroying or damaging U.S. military satellites in low earth orbit in the next year, the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency disclosed in a report on space threats.

The Chinese directed energy weapon is among an array of space warfare tools that include ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) missiles, electronic jammers, cyber attacks, and small satellites Beijing plans to use in attacks on U.S. satellites in a future conflict.

"China likely is pursuing laser weapons to disrupt, degrade, or damage sat­ellites and their sensors and possibly already has a limited capability to employ laser systems against satellite sensors," the unclassified intelligence report said.

"China likely will field a ground-based laser weapon that can counter low-orbit space-based sensors by 2020, and by the mid-to-late 2020s, it may field higher power systems that extend the threat to the structures of non-optical satellites."

It was the first time a U.S. intelligence agency disclosed details of the ASAT laser deployment plans.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #113


The AirBoard agro drone is taking aim at crop dusters.

Astigan has a high flying drone for mapping purposes.

The city of Bangkok is using drones spraying water to fight air pollution.

Drone company DJI will take a huge loss due to employee fraud.

DJI also updated its geofencing for europe after the drone incursions at airports.

Drone temporarily shut down the Dubai airport.

Another drone shutdown the Dublin airport.

A disgruntled employee may have been the Gatwick airport shutdown using a drone.

Elroy's drone is for cargo, not people.

In the Galapagos Islands, drones are dropping poison bombs to kill an invasive rat infestation.

Krossblade has made big improvements on its VTOL drone, the Skyprowler 2.

NASA is progressing on its drone traffic control system for cities.

Newark airport had to shut down due to drone sightings.

Quadsat drones test satellite antennas.

Self Driving Cars:

A new report card on self driving cars is not what it seems.

Self driving cars may not park and will instead cruise around to avoid the parking meter.

How to teach self driving cars how to predict pedestrian movements.

Who owns the geospatial data self driving cars rely on?

Amazon is investing in self driving company, Aurora.

A second Apple employee has been accused of trying to steal self driving car technology and sell it to chinese companies.

Japan wants self driving cars to project which direction they are going on the road.

Mclaren imagines a future of AI copilots for cars.

Musk wants Teslas to automatically call a tow truck when they break.

Musk is promising a truly self driving Tesla in 2020.

The report that Tesla's Autopilot prevents 40% more crashes has been called bunk by the Feds.

A driverless tram will debut in Moscow.

Waymo will build its self driving cars in Michigan.

Waymo might end up repeating Xerox's great mistake.

3d Printing:

There's a new form of 3d printing that creates the entire object at once using light in a resin.

3d printed parts can contaminate experiments.

A man with a 3d printed gun had a hit list of lawmakers.

It had to happen: 3d printed potato products (and their additives).

Orbex has made the world's largest 3d printed rocket engine.

The rocket company, Relativity, has been granted a patent for a software bot driven 3d printing technique for metal.

USC has come up with a new self healing material that can be 3d printed.

Virginia Tech has developed a new 3d printing method for piezoelectric materials.


Amazon has created vests so robots can tell if human workers were there.

Amazon also launched Scout, a six wheeled delivery robot.  Some doubt Scout will make much impact.

Antbot navigates the desert through the polarized light of the sun, without GPS.

A Berkeley robot picker shows potential future for warehouses.

Boaty McBoatface will attempt its transatlantic swim shortly.

Brits have made a robot artist that will attempt to portray people in art.

The polar vortex was great for testing Cassie the robot.

China built a semi submersible robo boat that launches rockets to deploy weather instruments.

Eelyume has a new and improved UUV.

Gatwick airport is getting a robotic car valet.

Some argue humanoid robots ought to be made to move more like people.

Italian researchers have made a robot move like a plant grows.

iRobot has introduced its robotic lawnmower, the Terra.  Terra-izing your lawn and pets tomorrow!

An engineer made a 95% 3d printed robotic lawnmower.

Meet Leonardo: the jumping, flying, walking robot.

Micro robots have been developed that change shape so they can swim through your blood vessels.

MIT developed a robot using touch and sight to play the game of jenga.

MIT has developed a system to allow robots to track people with far, far better precision than in the past.

North Carolina State University researchers 3d printed 'robotic' meshes that are manipulated by magnetic fields.

Nuro received a $1B investment from Softbank.

More on the robot being used for experimental paleontology.

The robot dog learns to stand up after falling.

Another robot was given a self image to model and teach itself.

A robot crawled all over a 737 to inspect it.

A robot squeezes possible nuclear fuel at the Fukushima disaster site.

A robot science museum will be at least partially built by robots.

Snowbot Pro is an autonomous snow clearing robot.

Starship's delivery robot is making deliveries for $2 at George Mason University.

Soft robots have a new perception system inspired by humans.

Researchers are using shape memory polymers to improve stiffness of soft robots.

Meet Sophia.  The Uncanny Valley Robot Companion for kids.

The Titan underwater robot had arms added.

Uber wants self driving scooters and bikes.

A UUV found the sunk USS Hornet.

Vicarious AI has developed a system to allow robots to learn on their own.


Artificial skin could help burn victims or more.

A brain implant shows promise for stopping seizures.

Chinese scientists created rats with brain implants - cyborgs - that people can control with their minds.

Columbia University can translate brain signals directly to speech.

Elon Musk is funding a brain computer interface.

Self powered, smart knee replacements are coming.

A teenager built a prosthetic arm from legs.

A new material strengthens like muscles and could lead to better prosthetics.

Software Bots:

Consciousness for AI is the wrong idea, some say.  The Consu would approve.

Facebook's chief scientist says AI work needs a more flexible language than Python.

Is this the real reason tech can't filter out algorithmic bias?

AirHelp has a software bot to help passengers get compensation from the airlines.

America and China are dominating the AI revolution according to the UN.

Amazon has launched the AI RE:mars event.

Apple replaced the Siri team lead as part of an AI shift.

Budweiser is using sensors and software bots to detect when machines need maintenance.

In China, caterers are using software bots to detect unhygienic cooks.

China's use of AI was attacked by George Soros as a mortal danger.

One of the 'godfathers' of deep learning is deeply concerned about how china is using software bots.

The European Union is advocating regulating software bots.

Google thinks AI should be regulated by industry with a few exceptions.

Google's DeepMind beat pro Starcraft players in Starcraft II.  Was it a fair fight?  Or is it showing why AI will clobber humans in such scenarios every time.

Google Assistant is getting more Orwellian and will scan your face for what personalized commands it should be using.

Google is using software bots made using Tensorflow to block spam from gmail.

Google and Microsoft warned AI may do stupid things.

Heathrow Airport is turning to software bots to cut 20 seconds off between each flight.

IBM's software bot was beaten in a debate attempt.

IBM's Watson services will run on any cloud service now.

Kite raised $17M for its AI infused development platform.

Mathematicians are working on creating a framework to make neural net results more predictable.

Measuring software bots ability to learn.

Microsoft is using software bots to blur the background in skype calls.

MIT hopes to unbias software bots.

Nuance has a new technology to make chat bots smarter.

ORNL used its Summit supercomputer to test run a machine learning based climate simulation.

Software bots have gotten to be better bluffers than people are.

Adding a sense of uncertainty to software bots might make them more ethical.

Software bots might be able to prevent dangerous tailored organisms from being created in professional gene tailoring labs.

Software bots are being used to send people to jail?!

A new software bot called ARTIST is being used in material science.

Could software bots help improve care for the British NHS?

Using software bots for error correction in single cell analyses.

Can software bots help doctors and patients have better conversations?

Software bots show potential for triaging x ray pictures.

Will software bots allow us all to be filmmakers?

Could software bots be used to supplement human instructors?

Are software bot powered apps going to make us more creative?  Or less human?

A new software bot system is 4 times better at predicting ovarian cancer survival than other methods.

Some of the most widely used machine learning systems can give misleading results.

A new text generating software bot is too dangerous to release to the public, according its creators at OpenAI.

This software bot generates faces for nonexistent people.

An app run by a software bot has been developed to advise and guide cancer patients.

Software bots developed by German scientists can help with earth science.  Some are not impressed.

Unsupervised software bots end up colluding.

Software bots in China are being used by some teachers to check homework.

A new software bot can tell you are angry in 1.2 seconds.

Software bots are using pictionary to learn how the world works.

Software bots are trying to come up with new flavors for spices.

A new software bot is intended to watch for pathogens.

Software bots are being used to improve weather forecasts.

Software bots are being used to ID microorganisms.

Could software bots develop new diamond derived materials for computer chips?

Are software bots the best way to ID trauma patients who abuse alcohol?

Software bots may be the best at detecting radar signals.

Salvador Dali's 'clone' that is really a software bot will be greeting people at his museum.

Be careful about using bots on Telegram.

The Trump Administration unveiled an order to promote AI development.

Ubisoft and Mozilla announced their coding software bot called Clever-Commit.

Unity Technologies created a game to test its software bots.

The Veteran's Administration wants to use Google's DeepMind to prevent kidney disease.


ORNL has used automation extensively to speed the production of Plutonium-238 for use in space probes.


The robopocalypse will be worse for men than women, but also youth and minorities.

25% of all jobs are on the chopping block due to the robopocalypse according to a study.

Under some circumstances, people will allow themselves to be hurt to protect a robot.

Friday, February 22, 2019

NASA Considering Buying More Soyuz Seats with SpaceX, Boeing Capsule Delays

Amid uncertainty about the Commercial Crew schedule, NASA has issued a pre-solitication procurement notice to secure additional rides with the Russians for its astronauts.

“NASA is considering contracting with the State Space Corporation ‘Roscosmos’ for these services on a sole source basis for two (2) Soyuz seats and associated services to the International Space Station (ISS) on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft vehicle. This transportation would be for one crewmember in the Fall of 2019 and one crew member in the Spring of 2020,” the agency said in the Feb. 13 notice.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

JP Morgan Chase Announces its own Cryptocurrency

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a fraud in September 2017 and said, “You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think that people who are buying it are really smart,” By January 2018 he had walked the remarks back but said he still was “not interested that much in the subject at all.” In February 2018, J.P. Morgan called cryptocurrencies “risk factors” to its business, something it never previously said.

And now J.P. Morgan (JPM, +0.19%) has become the first bank to offer its own cryptocurrency, CNBC reported. But don’t expect it to become an investment vehicle—at least for now. The cryptocurrency, called “JPM Coin,” is intended for the bank’s wholesale payments business that moves $6 trillion around the world daily.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Russia Claims Will Develop Two New INF Violating Missiles by 2021 (hint: already were)

Russia will race to develop two new land-based missile launch systems before 2021 to respond to Washington’s planned exit from a landmark nuclear arms control pact, it said on Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin said at the weekend that Russia had suspended the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which bans both nations from stationing short- and intermediate-range land-based missiles in Europe.

Russia will formally exit the INF treaty in six months.  Some naively believe Russia might opt for negotiation instead of new weapons.  Russia's reply above ought to make their position very, very clear: do as I say, not as I do!

Let's be blunt.

Russia cannot magically develop new weapons in 2 years.  They must have been working on them for years.  By saying the above, the Russians are admitting they were violating the INF blatantly and not just with the single system the US claimed they were breaking the treaty with.

Oh!  The Russians are looking for a few useful idiots!

The Russians appear to have over 64 of the INF violating, ground launched 9M729 cruise missiles.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Stealth Saga #44

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF PCA effort gets a profile.

The US Navy may postpone the 6th gen procurement.

AvWeek has a slideshow of the next gen fighter efforts.  Whether all of them will be 6th gen or not remains to be seen.

China has begun work on its 6th gen fighter.

Avweek discusses Germany's position with the Tornado replacement.

The French and Germans are expected to sign the first contracts in mid 2019.  Some seem to have been signed already.  Concept studies for manned and unmanned aircraft were contracted.  Work gets profiled by AvWeek.

The FrancoGerman FCAS team is working on export controls for the new fighter.

Spain was expected to and then did join the FCAS team.

Italy is attacking the FCAS deal.

Britain may be inviting India to join Team Tempest.

The Tempest will have a carrier capable loyal wingman UCAV.


Iran unveiled an updated version of the Saegheh stealthy UAV.  This is a knock off of the captured RQ-170.


Metal has been bent for the first KF-X.


The Russians are stating they will place their second LRIP order for 13 Su-57s in 2020.


Russia's Ohotnik-B or Hunter-B appears to have been doing taxi tests (more). Aviation Week is calling it a strike aircraft.  Jane's gets into the mix, too.  A new picture emerged and, wow, that engine sticks out.


Unnamed analysts are stating an upgraded J-20 will be far superior to the F-35.

There are reports the Chinese are building a two seater J-20 for electronic warfare.

Chinese Stealth Bombers:

China is building the acknowledged strategic H-20 bomber, but also a regional medium stealth bomber as well termed the JH-XX or so says the DIA.  More info here and here.


The KC-Z may not be stealthy after all.


The B-2 is getting its ejection seats upgraded.

Photos were taken of the B-2 sortieing out of Hawaii.


The USAF is 3d printing metal replacement parts for the F-22 to keep costs down.

Meggitt won a large contract for components for the engines of the F-22 and F-35.


The stupid plan to buy the F-15X will not impact the procurement of the F-35.

The DOT&E flames the F-35 program again.  Gun accuracy is one of the problems.

Lockheed needs to deliver 130 F-35s in 2019.  Can they?  By the end of 2019, they will have delivered 488 F-35s.

The Pentagon is starting negotiations for the next 3 LRIPs, encompassing 485 F-35s and bringing the F-35A price down to $80M.

The Pentagon is laying out the Tier II repair sites for the F-35.  Team ROK seems to be one.

The F-35A per unit cost will drop below $80M in 2023 according to Lockheed.

Watch the F-35 do some impressive acrobatics.

The Pentagon is considering making the F-35 an interceptor for killing ballistic missiles.  While the sensor suite is excellent on the F-35, the realism of this proposal is pretty low: we will not ever have a situation where we will have dominance over the air like in the First Gulf War.

The USAF F-35 Demo team was caught doing some new maneuvers in practice for the new air show season.

The first F-35 female test pilot has completed her first mission at Edwards.

The F-35As over Luke AFB were filmed by a helicopter with a steady cam.

The F-35 demo team does its thing.

The USAF is pressing Lockheed on improving F-35 readiness.

F-35A's conducted dogfights with L-159s.

The oldest F-35B could hit the end of its service life in 2026 due to flaws in the early B models.

The USMC demonstrated refueling and rearming a F-35B from a CH-53E in Japan.

The US Navy awarded Lockheed a half billion dollar contract for the F-35.

The US Navy awarded Lockheed another $31M contract on behalf of the Australian government.

The USS Essex and its F-35Bs are on standby in the Middle East.

Germany has dropped consideration of the F-35 for its new fighter.  The head of the Luftwaffe had preferred that aircraft before and was nearly sacked over it.

The Italians just deployed 6 F-35As to Sardinia for training.

Japan is considering discontinuing local production of the F-35 to save money.

The Netherlands have unveiled their first operational F-35.

Singapore is buying a small number of F-35s to evaluate them as replacements for their F-16s.

South Korea will get its first two F-35s in March 2019.

British Aerospace got a contract to upgrade the F-35's EW suite.

Lockheed had an F-35 mockup in Arctic camo.  What's the story behind it?

Friday, February 15, 2019

China is Going to Attempt More than 30 Launches in 2019

The main contractor for the Chinese space program is planning more than 30 launches in 2019, with major missions including the crucial return-to-flight of the heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket in July.

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), announced Jan. 29 that it would aim to loft more than 50 spacecraft on 30-plus launches this year.

Among these will be the third launch on the Long March 5, a 5-meter-diameter, 57-meter-tall heavy-lift launch vehicle which failed in its second flight in July 2017, delaying the Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission and the construction of the Chinese Space Station.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

China Built a Satellite Ground Station in Argentina, but Reneged on Agreements After

When China built a military-run space station in Argentina’s Patagonian region it promised to include a visitors’ center to explain the purpose of its powerful 16-story antenna.

The center is now built - behind the 8-foot barbed wire fence that surrounds the entire space station compound. Visits are by appointment only.

Shrouded in secrecy, the compound has stirred unease among local residents, fueled conspiracy theories and sparked concerns in the Trump administration about its true purpose, according to interviews with dozens of residents, current and former Argentine government officials, U.S. officials, satellite and astronomy specialists and legal experts.

The station’s stated aim is peaceful space observation and exploration and, according to Chinese media, it played a key role in China’s landing of a spacecraft on the dark side of the moon in January.

But the remote 200-hectare compound operates with littleoversight by the Argentine authorities, according to hundreds of pages of Argentine government documents obtained by Reuters and reviewed by international law experts.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Paleolithic Papers #26

Genus Homo:

How our ancestors survived and adapted 250k years ago.

In the last million years, the mutation rate in the human line has greatly decreased.

Estimating Late middle Pleistocene population sizes.

Hominins may be ecologically unique.

The introgression and hybridization between modern H. sapiens and archaic hominins gets examined.

Ancient DNA from Africa has been starting to be uncovered.

H.  sapiens:

Dogs appear to have been helping hunt as far back as 11,5000 years ago.

Do few tools found mean few people were present?

The seasonal scheduling of shellfish collection from the Mesolithic and more recent are examined.

The oldest dog burial known to date has been found in the Americas dating from the end of the Pleistocene.

Why modern humans evolved different colored skin.

A femur with some unique traits, but probably from anatomically modern humans from the Niah Caves in Malaysia gets examined.

The raw materials used in stone tools in Israel by early H. sapiens is explored.

H. neanderthalensis:

The foot bones of individuals from Montignac-sur-Vézère, Dordogne, France are examined.

The introgression of Neandertals and other archaic hominids had an impact on gene expression in Eurasian populations.

Neandertal spears could be thrown successfully to kill.

Modern humans replaced Neandertals at Bajondillo Cave in Spain 44kya, surprisingly early.

Neandertals introgressing into modern human populations reintroduced alleles that were lost when the ancestors of modern eurasians left africa.

The book, The Smart Neanderthal, gets reviewed.

Neandertals appear to have, in at least a few instances, mass prey killers and then only taken the best parts, leaving the rest.  John Hawks replies.  He also discusses the mass kill site at Gran Dolina, Spain.


The Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains was occupied by Denisovans from 192,000 years to almost 52,000 years ago with a period where Neandertals were present.  Stone tools from a hominin date from 300,000 years ago, but it is not clear who made them.  The site was occupied at least until 20,000 years ago.

New unknown hominins:

There appears there is another hominin that modern people recently interbred with.

An archaic hominin from between 150k to 250k years ago had modern tooth eruption.

H. antecessor:

While similar to modern humans in many ways, H. antecessor's were very different.

H. erectus:

It appears Chinese H. erectus populations might have been diverging from Indonesian populations.

Genus Australopithecus:

The era of Australopithecus in South Africa gets a multidisciplinary examination.

Did australopithecines associate with antelope to avoid predators?

A. sediba:

A. sediba is unique species.

A. africanus:

Recently, authors suggested a specimen was of a new species of Australopithecus and resurrected an old name for A. africanus ("A. prometheus").  John Hawks discusses why this won't work.

The long limb bones of StW 573 are studied and discussed..

The bony labyrinth of StW 573 is detailed and what its implications are.

The forearm bones were asymmetrical on StW 573: could that have been a sign of antemortem trauma?

The dental wear of StW 573 was more like A. anamensis than other australopithecines.  Was this evidence it was from a different species than A. africanus?

StW 573's functional anatomy, biomechanical capabilities and potential niche are discussed in light of the new information gathered.

The site where StW 573 was found and its past investigations are detailed.

A. anamensis:

The environment A. anamensis lived in gets examined.


The central place of Africa in human evolution.

Could early hominins crossed water?

How did humans lose their hair and get sweaty?

The importance of human foot muscles to bipedalism.

A new book on the impact of tectonics on human evolution gets reviewed.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Russia's Angara 5 Rocket has a Serious Design Flaw

Scientists have discovered a defect in the engines of Russia’s new flagship heavy lift space rocket that could destroy it in flight, an apparent setback to a project President Vladimir Putin has said is vital for national security.

The Angara A5, which was test-launched in 2014, is being developed to replace the Proton M as Russia’s heavy lift rocket, capable of carrying payloads bigger than 20 tonnes into orbit. A launch pad for the new rocket is due to open in 2021.

In July, Putin said the Angara A5 had “huge significance” for the country’s defense and called on space agency Roscosmos to work more actively on it and to meet all its deadlines.

The issue with the Angara A5 was brought to attention by scientists at rocket engine manufacturer Energomash in a paper ahead of a space conference later this month.

The paper, reported by RIA news agency on Friday and published online, said the engines of the Angara A5 could produce low frequency oscillations that could ultimately destroy the rocket.

A special valve had been fitted to mitigate the issue, but in some cases the oscillations continued, it said. Energomash did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Russia Tested its Burevestnik Their Nuclear Powered Cruise Missile, on January 29, 2019

Russia conducted a partially successful test of its developmental nuclear-powered cruise missile, the Burevestnik, on January 29, 2019, according to U.S. government sources with knowledge of Russia’s weapons programs who spoke to the The Diplomat. The test took place at Russia’s Kapustin Yar missile test range and is the thirteenth to date involving the missile.

The test marks the first involving the Burevestnik in nearly one year. The missile had not been tested since February 2018. According to one source, U.S. intelligence assesses that Russia’s development efforts on the missile continues. The United States intelligence community internally calls the missile the KY30 or the SSC-X-9 SKYFALL.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

The Indian Navy is Building a new Naval Base in the Nicobar/Andaman Islands to Counter China

India’s navy will open a third air base in the far-off Andaman and Nicobar islands on Thursday to beef up surveillance of Chinese ships and submarines entering the Indian Ocean through the nearby Malacca Straits, military officials and experts said.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Pondering the Precambrian #26



The Earth's magnetic field was 10% of what it is today during the Ediacaran and the Earth's solid core may date from that period.

Evidence from Murmansk supports the weak magnetic field hypothesis during the Proterozoic.

Trace fossils from the Ediacaran have been found in Brittany, France.

Ediacaran environmental changes are recorded in Brazil.

The iodine content of the the Doushanto deposits of the Ediacaran.

Microorganisms are the source of organic carbon found in Sichuan from the Ediacaran into the Cambrian. 

It appears Cloudina and other tubular organisms from the terminal Ediacaran appear to have reproduced asexually.

There is evidence of hydrothermal activity altering various deposits during the Ediacaran.

Evidence of the breakup of Rodinia to the accretion of Gondwana in the Ediacaran from Paraguay.

A new biomarker has been found from the Cryogenian that hints at how complex life evolved after the Snowball Earth.

There was a deep marine organic reservoir in the Cryogenian.

Starting in the Cryogenian until the start of the Carboniferous, there was significant lack of impacts.  There might be evidence of the Snowball Earth via a global wiping of the impact craters from before that point, too.

Could the Great Noncomformity be due to the Snowball Earth?

The Great Noncomformity represents a 200to 300 million year gap in the depositional history of the world according to evidence from the North China Craton.

There are graphite particles in Cryogenian deposits of Nantuo.

Manganese ore deposits in South China were formed in the interglacial between the Sturtian and Marinoan glacials by microbial activity.

Is hydrothermal activity from the Tonian of the Western Australian Craton evidence of the breakup of Rodinia?


Eukaryotes diversified earlier than previously thought, starting in the Ectasian.


There was a 30 degree shift in the mafic dyke swarms during the Paleoproterozoic.

The surface conditions of at the start of the Great Oxygenation Event were anoxic.

There is evidence from the Yangtze Block that contradicts the hypothesis that there was a shutdown of plate tectonics during the PaleoProterozoic.


A coupled crust/mantle formed before 2.5 billion years ago.

Evidence from the MesoArchean to the Paleoproterozoic of Norway show how the continents were built up.

More evidence of episodic crust growth starting in the MesoArchean.

There may be EoArchean deposits in the North China craton.

Sarmatia, Pilbara, and Kaapvaal Cratons were all part of the single supercontinent Vaalbara.

There's no evidence of pre 3.95 billion year old fossils.


Did the impact with Theia provide the volatiles the Earth needed for life?

Did asteroid impacts have a central role in the formation of the original continents?


There is a 600 million year superocean cycle modulating a longer supercontinent.

Could sulfur dioxide have helped with the start of prebiotic carbohydrates?

There are biochemical hints that the last common universal ancestor - the last life form from which everything alive is descended - was not a hyperthermophile.

Reconstruction the Last Eukaryote Common Ancestor's genome to understand the evolution from the First Eukaryote Common Ancestor to the LECA.

Chunks of RNA can be formed prebioticly.

Studying algae suggest eukaryotes have received numerous DNA additions from bacteria.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Mike Griffin Gets his own Pet Space Agency

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is moving to set up a new Pentagon agency to oversee the development of military space technology. The Space Development Agency will be under the “authority, direction and control” of Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin, Shanahan wrote in a memo.

Shanahan has directed Griffin to submit a plan by March 1 to stand up the Space Development Agency no later than March 29, according to a Jan. 19 memo titled “Implementation Guidance for the Establishment of the Space Development Agency.” The existence of the memo was first reported Wednesday by the publication Inside Defense. A copy of the memo was reviewed by SpaceNews.

While the Space Development Agency would be under Griffin, Shanahan’s memo takes into account the possibility that the agency could in the future be moved into the Space Force if the new branch comes to fruition. In his plan, Griffin has to “address the eventual transition of SDA to the U.S. Space Force after approved by Congress,” the memo said.