A street in New York City emptied out by social distancing. Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Social distancing measures around the world are so great they have actually caused the Earth to move less.

The big picture: There is no shortage of ways to measure how much responses to the pandemic have slowed human movement. But the idea that the planet itself has become stiller is truly mind-blowing.

In a story in Nature, Elizabeth Gibney reported that scientists are detecting a drop in seismic noise that could be due to the suspension of transportation and other forms of human movement.

  • Noise reduction of this magnitude usually only occurs briefly during Christmas, when much of the world is on holiday.
  • Data from a seismometer at the Royal Observatory of Belgium found social distancing measures had caused human-induced seismic noise to fall by a third in Brussels.

Why it matters: Beyond giving us one more sign of just how frozen in place the world has become, the drop in background noise should help city-based seismic detectors pinpoint the location of earthquake aftershocks. Which is good, just in case the Earth throws us another curveball.

Go deeper: More unexpected consequences of the pandemic

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Why it matters: Nobody is confusing Biden with President Trump, and his climate platform goes much further than anything contemplated in the Obama years.

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Yes, but: Monday also saw the Mountain West Conference become the second FBS league to postpone fall sports, and the Big Ten and Pac-12 are expected to make the same decision as early as this morning.

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Barack and Michelle Obama at a 2017 Obama Foundation event. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will headline two nights of the Democratic National Convention, according to a full list of speakers released by the party on Tuesday.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Margaret Talev: It signals how much the Democratic Party is still the party of Barack Obama — and how strongly Biden’s team feels the Obamas can validate his vice presidential choice and energize the party’s base.