יום שני, 31 בדצמבר 2007

summarizing 2007

Here comes 2007 to an end. Time for some forms of summary:

Wired tells of the 10 most important scientific breakthroughs of this year:


  • new metal alloys will allow microprocessors to be far smaller; 
  • a Rhesus monkey was cloned and the resulting embryo was used to create stem cells! apart from the developing abilities in higher mammals, this specific discovery also brings significant technical improvements in cloning; 
  • a slightly larger-than-Earth planet was discovered, only 20 light years away from here, and claims (controversial) were made regarding its abilities to sustain life; 
  • a parallel to star-trek "transparent aluminum" has been developed by scientists using plastics and clay. Wired tells "The sturdy composite could be used in lightweight armor or aircraft". I hope it will be used for space research. The stars are still our destiny;
  • Mice were Cured of Rett Syndrome! This is the first step in the long voyage towards a cure for humans, but the fact that theoretically humanity is on the way to beat another horrible, incurable illness is truly remarkable; 
  • A possible solution to the shortage of blood has been suggested: conversion by enzymes of any blood type to type blood O; 
  • The mummy of a nearly intact plant-eating dinosaur has been excavated; 
  • Female chimpanzees have been watched preparing and using spears for hunting;
  • A virus was used to reporgram skin cells (fibroblasts) into forming other tissues: muscle, heart, fat and nerve. All this without needing embryos ! Sadly, currently, the transformed cells often became tumors, but researchers believe they can get this process under control. 




May it be a happy new year!