Most of us are not mathematicians, astronomers, engineers, or computer geniuses. But the things scientists study and discover shape what we know of the world and you may not know it, but there’s huge scientific breakthroughs happening all the time. Here’s a few just from the past year or so.
Subscribe for weekly wacky videos and learn interesting facts about the world with awesome top 10 lists and other amazing videos.
7. Reversing Paralysis
One of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the past year was when researchers at the EPFL in Switzerland were able to restore the leg movement of two macaque monkeys suffering from paralysis after nearly 2 weeks of sustaining their injuries. To do so, the scientists inserted two wireless implants into their brains that worked as a brain-spine interface, letting the nerve signals through once again. Through a computer, the device gets enabled to send signals from the brain to the location of the injury on the spine.
6. The Vitamin That Prevents Miscarriages
In the past year, it’s been suggested that taking vitamin b3 might be able to prevent things like birth defects and miscarriages. Vitamin b3 can be found in things like meat and green vegetables. The prevention of babies with birth defects such as kidney, vertebral, and heart problems could be as simple as pregnant women taking in higher doses of niacin, which is vitamin b3. When researchers studied 4 families where the mothers either miscarried several times or their babies were born with birth defects, they found mutations in 2 genes of the DNA were deficient in a certain molecule that lets organs develop properly and cells to generate energy. By taking vitamin b3, it appears to boost the levels of this molecule, thus lowering the risk of defects and miscarriages.
5. Storing Data In DNA
Forget that fancy USB. Scientists have found a way to store data in our own DNA. So no more misplacing that SD card or USB or whatever you use big or small to store all that information. Storing data in DNA would prove the most compact way of doing so. Apparently, 1 gram of DNA can store up to 215 million gigabytes. As long as the DNA can be kept in a dry, dark, and cold environment, it can last tens of thousands of years, meaning the longevity of that data can be kept with it. Computer architects say people will be able to have an operational DNA storage system by the end of the decade.
4. Access To NASA Research
By visiting PubSpace on NASA’s website, anyone with access to the internet will have access to all of NASA’s research as they’ve made it free to view for the public. NASA PubSpace has hundreds of papers all about NASA-funded projects. Why’s that a big deal? It means that these scientists are willing to have anyone and everyone see their work and even have the potential to go further with it as well as not keep anything a secret as many see that as unethical when it comes to science. Accessing academic journals can get pretty pricey, and so making it free also helps spread knowledge with little barriers.
3. Alphabet’s Project Loon
In order to spread wifi access to parts of the world where it’s not readily available, Project Loon launched, sending a fleet of balloons into the air that can transmit high speed internet to those below. Project loon can launch new wifi balloons into the stratosphere every 30 minutes where they can stay in the air for up to 190 days. Recently, they were able to restore internet access to Puerto Rico after the island got hit with Hurricane Maria months ago.
2. The New Mode of Transport
You may have heard recent news of a new mode of transportation known as a “hyperloop” wherein you can travel up to speeds of 700 miles or 1,126 kilometers per hour whilst zooming through a tube. There has been concern how susceptible hyperloops are to safety from crime or power outages, but most people focus on its practicality. You can drastically reduce travel time, with Elon Musk saying you’d be able to get from New York to Washington DC in 30 minutes tops.
Steve: The Atmospheric Phenomenon
Anytime you see an aurora proves an amazing sight already. And now there’s a new light phenomenon to add to the list, and its name is Steve. While Steve serves as an unofficial name given by the Facebook group Alberta Aurora Chasers, it’s been a fun way to refer to the newly found ribbon of light. The name was inspired by the movie Over The Hedge where a hedge was given the name Steve by one of the characters to lessen the hedge’s scariness. When Steve was first spotted, no one was quite sure what that purple streak was. It turns out, Steve was a common occurrence that no one had noticed before.