Oh, as a postscript to the previous post, here is a compilation of actual projected demographic differences in the United States circa 2050, according to Pew, the Census Bureau, and several smart people who are good at statistics and graphs.
Can Science Save Us?
An intriguing question and discussion from University of Bristol scientists. Mankind has utilized science and technology to both aid and hinder life on Earth. And in many areas, from poverty to climate change, we have the opportunity to make a real difference using the knowledge stored inside our collective brains.
But without the action of humans, science is agnostic and can not act on its own. We must weigh our options and decide what to do. It’s a fairly obvious statement, I know, but I think it gets lost in news of discovery X or invention Y.
Without action, they’re just words and numbers.
We may not have hoverboards and self-lacing Nikes by 2015, but what else has sci-fi and other fiction predicted will come to pass in the coming years? The good news is that according to H.G. Wells, the Earth is good for another 800,000 years.
Prepare to spend the next hour having a geek freakout with this awesome timeline of the future as predicted by famous fiction. You’ll want to check out the hi-res version here.
And if you’re in the mood for something more realistic, check out an actual timeline of the far future as predicted by scientists.
(via Brain Pickings)
BBC Future takes a look at the data, good and bad, of just what it takes to be a Nobel Prize winner. The gender column will likely be the most infuriating one.
(via BBC - Future)
“One hundred years from now, the role of science and technology will be about becoming part of nature rather than trying to control it.
So much of science and technology has been about pursuing efficiency, scale and “exponential growth” at the expense of our environment and our resources. We have rewarded those who invent technologies that control our triumph over nature in some way. This is clearly not sustainable.
We must understand that we live in a complex system where everything is interrelated and interdependent and that everything we design impacts a larger system.
My dream is that 100 years from now, we will be learning from nature, integrating with nature and using science and technology to bring nature into our lives to make human beings and our artifacts not only zero impact but a positive impact to the natural system that we live in.”
-Joi Ito, Director of MIT’s Media Lab
Read this and the visions of other great minds as part of Steelcase’s 100-year anniversary look at the century ahead.
A whole mess of awe from Wikipedia. A look into events of the distant future, as calculated from today.
- 36,000 years from now, Ross 248 becomes the closest star to the Sun.
- 11 million years from now, the Martian moon Phobos will collide with the surface of Mars.
- On Sunday, December 4th, 292,277,026,596 A.D. the 64-bit Unix time stamp will exceed the limit of a 64-bit number.
Look at that sad bastard.
I’ve been genetically blessed when it comes to baldness. Both sets of grandparents kept hair well into their 80’s, and my dad probably has thicker hair than I do. No grey, just plenty of hair. This mouse can’t say the same thing.
This type of mouse is genetically modified so that it can’t produce hair (in addition to having absolutely no immune system whatsoever, which makes this research possible). Japanese scientists have used human and mouse stem cells implanted along with tiny nylon tubes to stimulate fully functional hair growth in these nude mice. It even stands on end when the mouse is cold! Which is probably a lot, since it’s bald!
Imagine a future where blood vessels, skin grafts, hair and more are regrown with targeted injections of cells. That future is going to be awesome. More on these regenerative techniques here.
The Potential of Synthetic Biology in Space
A lot of proposed synthetic biology applications can seem pretty out there, but some are really out there. NASA is currently advertising open postdoctoral positions in synthetic biology, with particular emphasis on food production in space. Engineered organisms have the potential to do lots of things that would be useful for space colonists, from producing food and fuel to treating wastewater. Because organisms replicate themselves, future astronauts would only have to bring some spores and seeds and empty bioreactors, the organisms would do the rest of the work. […]
I fully endorse these applications of synthetic biology, and I would love to help develop them. If only we had programs funded that could put them to use …
The Morpho butterfly is a beauty to behold. Its iridescent color scheme usually shines between blue and green, providing a metallic glint that has captivated lepidopterists for decades. This is a result of natural pigment molecules arranged in repeating nano-structures that reflect light in exotic fashion, almost like a living holographic sticker.
Companies like GE have been studying these natural nanostructures to develop improved counterfeit protection as well as biological attack detectors (ricin, anthrax, and the like). And now, thanks to coating the wings in carbon nanotubes, they have developed a thermal imaging sensor sensitive down to 0.02 degrees Celsius, responding within 1/40 of a second.
You can watch it in action in the video above.
I guess there’s a small chance that this could lead to Predator-style butterflies, but HOW CUTELY DANGEROUS WOULD THAT LITTLE THING BE?