The 'show why science is awesome' thread:


I guess this could have gone into the “Space” thread too:

Astronaut Scott Kelly has an identical twin (Mark) who is also an astronaut. Scott Kelly has spent over a calendar year in space while Mark Kelly has spent only(!) 54 days in space. NASA has begun doing some genetic testing on the two to see where their genes might have started to diverge. The idea is that since they are effectively clones and had very similar life-experiences and health, any divergence seen will likely be the result of their time spent in free-fall.

[quote]One of the differences was found in
the twin’s telomeres. If you picture a chromosome as an X-shaped unit of
DNA, telomeres are the caps on the end of each leg of the X. These act
as a buffer so that no important DNA is spilled from the chromosomes as
cells divide, though this causes the telomeres to shorten over time.
This process is linked to aging and much of the recent research around
telemores has focused on regulating their length as a way of slowing or
reversing our biological clocks, and even preventing cancer.

Studies into each of the brothers’ telomeres revealed that Scott’s grew to be
longer while he was in space, but returned to their normal length pretty
quickly once he returned to Earth. This is the opposite of what the
scientists expected to happen. They are now conducting separate research
into telomere length in ten other astronauts and hope that the results
may help them better understand this mysterious effect.[/quote]

Article link for the above quote.


Nature is inherently crazy. Zombie and mind control bugs are the best bugs.


There’s a bat robot!

Scale this up to carry 150 pounds ASAP, so I can both have a jetpack and be Batman simultaneously.


That thing is beautiful :)


Ah, the Robotic Flying Vampire Apocalypse is one step closer today than yesterday.


Elon Musk is going into business to link brains and computers.

[quote]At Recode’s conference last year, Elon Musk said he would love to see someone do something about linking human brains with computers. With no other human being volunteering, Mr. Musk – who founded PayPal and OpenAI, thought of Hyperloop, is working on a boring company, and runs SpaceX, TeslaX, SolarCity – is now working on it. From a report on WSJ:
Internal sources tell the WSJ that the company, called Neuralink, is developing “neural lace” technology that would allow people to communicate directly with machines without going through a physical interface. Neural lace involves implanting electrodes in the brain so people could upload or download their thoughts to or from a computer, according to the WSJ report. The product could allow humans to achieve higher levels of cognitive function.[/quote]
I hope he has William Gibson on board as a consultant.


I volunteer. I’ve said for about two decades now that as soon as they can put a jack in my head, sign me up. I’ve got a wife and three kids now and I’m still raising my hand. The only thing that could hold me back is how version 2.0 always works out the kinks for version 1.0, so maybe I’ll wait for that one.

Just a prototype thus far, but looks promising for future moisture farmers. Can blue milk be far behind?


Birds as dinosaurs:



This may be the closest thing I’ve seen yet to the flying car we’ve all wanted since forever.

All electric is nice, no (direct) carbon emissions. They want to run these like Uber, just request it on your app and the thing flies over to pick you up and take you wherever. I’m cautiously optimistic!


[quote]This car race involved years of training, feats of engineering, high-profile sponsorships, competitors from around the world and a racetrack made of gold.

But the high-octane competition, described as a cross between physics and motor-sports, is invisible to the naked eye. In fact, the track itself is only a fraction of the width of a human hair, and the cars themselves are each comprised of a single molecule.

The Nanocar Race, which happened over the weekend at Le centre national de la recherché scientific in Toulouse, France, was billed as the “first-ever race of molecule-cars.”[/quote]
I look forward to the inevitable sponsorship of nanocars, although I suspect Viagra and Cialis may pass on this opportunity.


Gene editing at work. CRISPR has really high upside, and also is really scary. Hopefully it continues to be used for good.



Check out top left and middle bottom. Nano-wangs!




OK, this is truly weird.

I don’t even begin to understand what goes on these sort of cutting-edge quantum experiments, but it sure seems neat. What kind of crazy stuff is this leading to?




I’m reading a science fiction book based on quantum messaging that explores things a bit. Being fiction, I’m not sure just how much I would lend to it, but one of the effects of quantum communication is that time is not a factor either. The book explores messages to the past.

Related to this, though, the beauty of quantum messaging would be that it is faster than any method among methods. Faster than light, via superluminal communication.

So the fact they pair this on top of light waves makes me think this is a step … back? Either way though, quantum mechanics is extremely interesting.


Well said!


Er, I think this might be a spam bot. A few posts, mostly product recommendations and this is straight from this lecture here: