'Waterworld' was a documentary? Geologists think Earth could have once been 100% ocean

The Hollywood blockbuster may have been right, if only 3.2 billion years off the mark.

(Photo: Universal Pictures)
  • Researchers find evidence that Earth may have been submerged in a global ocean during the Archaean eon.
  • The research could change our understanding of how life emerged.
  • It's one of many recent studies changing how we view our planet's infancy.
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A very different, very clean energy source: thin air

A microbial organism pulls electricity from water in the air.

Image source: ncristian/daniiD /Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Hidden in the mud along the banks of Washington D.C.'s Potomac River may be a profound new source of electricity.
  • The microbe makes nanowires that produce a charge from water vapor in ordinary air.
  • Already capable of powering small electronics, it appears that larger-scale power generation is within reach.
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Mystery virus found with mostly unknown DNA

The origin and phylogeny of the Yaravirus are not yet clear.

Image source: Rost9/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • A virus has been found whose DNA is 90% absolutely unfamiliar.
  • Scientists have no real idea what it developed from, or how.
  • Viruses used to be thought of as simple, jumbles of things — not so much any more.
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Could heart disease actually be contagious?

A new hypothesis suggests that you can "catch" noncommunicable diseases from other people via the microbiome.

Photo Source: Pixabay
  • A newly published hypothesis suggests that some noncommunicable diseases can actually be transmitted between people via their microbiomes.
  • A new analysis even found that your microbiome can convey more information than your genes about your chance of developing various health conditions.
  • By being exposed to an unhealthy cluster of microbes, healthy people could put themselves at risk of "catching" noncommunicable diseases.
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First Mars samples are headed to Earth. What are the risks?

A Mars Space Flight team member warns that people need to be prepared for what's coming.

Image source: Marat Gilyadzinov/unsplash
  • A mission to and from Mars aims to bring back signs or examples of life.
  • Expect material direct from the Red Planet around 2031.
  • A special lab to quarantine the samples is being designed.
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