Friday, July 8, 2016


Did you ever wonder how far we’ve come? Thought we’d be in flying cars already? Well, we have come far – each & every year. Don’t believe me?

Here’s a review of 2015 and a piece of 2016 and the many scientific breakthroughs we have had!

First we’ll start with the flying car – due to become available in 2017. A flying car is a type of personal air vehicle that provides door-to-door transportation by both road and air. The term "flying car" refers to roadable aircraft and hovercars. Watch the video on youtube ( it shows you what the car developed by Terrafugis is capable of. They are only one of what is now nine companies so it is a definite; the flying car has arrived! 

2015 saw changes to the Periodic Table. 4 elements were found from 113, 115, 117, and 118: three were thanks to a Russian/United States collaboration and the 4th comes courtesy of  some scientists in Wako, Japan. Currently these elements have yet to be named and are being held with the placeholder ‘Uu’.

Element 113 – “Ununtrium” – discovered in east Asia. It was created by a Japanese group at the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science; by firing a beam of zinc-70 at a target made of bismuth-209.

Elements 115 (which is “Ununpentium”) and 117 (“Ununseptium”) also element 118 (“Ununoctium”)  were discovered by groups collaborating across three institutions in the US in work published in 2006.

Researchers are hopeful that an ‘island of stability’ may exist beyond element 118, allowing production of further superheavy elements.

December 2015, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley discovered in the discovery of HD-106906b - a planet 11 times more massive than Jupiter. believed to have been "kicked out" of its solar system by a relatively recent "violent gravitational interaction", it is called "Fat Jupiter" by some scientists. It is 16 times further away from its sun than Pluto is away from ours. 

The scientists also 
discussed the existence of twin Earth-like plants in another solar system. They said that although Earth is the only planet in our system that lies in the habitable zone (not too far away or too close to the sun), other solar systems can have more than one planet orbiting at just the right distance. What's more, "Life in a multi-habitable system may have a higher probability of surviving," according to University of Nevada's Jason Steffen
. Now are you ready for ET?


Researchers at the University of North Carolina have discovered a new phase of carbon called "Q-carbon". The expectations are that it will have a multitude of uses in developing new types of electronic display technologies.

A "phase" is a distinct form of the same material, with diamond and graphite two carbon phases joined by Q-carbon. The new phase gives researchers the ability to create a diamond at room temperature and ambient atmospheric pressure. I would be interested to see how easy it is to identify the new Q-carbon from the ‘run of the mill’ diamonds!


Human Donors are instrumental in the creation of a set of vocal cords from scratch. The donation is in cells and the cells are then urged to form a tissue that mimics vocal fold mucosa - vibrating flaps in the larynx that create the sounds of the human voice. This is actually one of those amazing breakthroughs that s also scary as it could someday restore speech to patients who lost their vocal cords due to illness or surgery but it could also hold the key to “growing” other body pieces.

KIC 8462852 aka Tabby’s star – made waves in October 2015.  Astronomers from Pennsylvania State University released data suggesting that observations of the star’s weirdly fluctuating light were consistent with a swarm of alien-constructed megastructures. 

There are many guesses from others including that the lights weren’t actually fluctuating over the past 100 years, the telescopes were getting better. (by the way – Kepler found the lights to be dimming as well) I personally like the idea of alien-constructed megastructures, but probably not.

Can you believe in this day & age discovering a new species? How about 211? From  133 plants to 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird, and one mammal. Among the most notable and flashy discoveries are the blue dwarf ‘walking’ snakehead fish (which can breathe air and survive on land for up to four days), a monkey with an upturned nose that sneezes when it rains, and the bejeweled lance-headed pit viper, which looks like a genuine piece of jewelry. Actually, the monkey with its nose turned up – that one surprises me as I can’t grasp the benefit to ‘society’ – why would that monkey survive over all others?

Researchers have developed yeasts that can make THC, the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana. Though other types of synthetic THC exist, genetically modified yeast such as these could make THC in a cheaper and more streamlined way, helping aid in further research into the health benefits of the compound.

A University of London team has been hard at work crafting Scotland resident Mohammed Abad a brand new 8-inch penis, made with skin grafts from his forearm. Why? Because six years old Mohammed was in a really bad car accident that not only hit him, but dragged him almost 600 feet, an incident which tore off his penis. Odd thing is - It can become erect at the push of a button, which activates a pump that infuses the appendage with fluid. Science!

Though previously thought to be impossible to achieve (not by me)  and accused of violating the laws of physics, scientists have presented some promising results. The EM Drive is the WARP drive, but not really. Fanatics will think of it as that, scientist know that its origins may have come from attempting the WARP drive, but along the way they learned that that was impossible, but the EM Drive is not!

The EM Drive (short for electromagnetic drive) uses electromagnetic microwave cavities to directly convert electrical energy to thrust without the need to expel any propellant - a pretty important factor when you are in space and any kind of propellant will alter your course.

Not exactly a breakthough although it is a coup for toy manufacturers, Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences discovered a winged dinosaur fossil in northeast China, which they think was buried there by a volcanic eruption. The creature, measuring 6'6", was almost perfectly preserved in limestone. 125 million years old, and the discovery? That other dinosaurs, like the velociraptor, may have looked like "big, fluffy killer birds." Cool, huh?

Scientists have developed and can implant and put to use anartificial pancreas. This device could help patients with Type 1 diabetes better control their blood sugar levels. The artificial pancreas continuously measures the user's glucose levels, using an algorithm designed by researchers, and will automatically release insulin as needed. Curious as to what materials are used, I looked into this a bit more and found out that one concept of the bio-artificial pancreas uses encapsulated islet cells to build an islet sheet which can be surgically implanted to function as an artificial pancreas. Thinking about organ rejection, I was pleased to find it has a special coating to prevent just that.


Researchers led by a team at the Scripps Research Institute have developed a new drug candidate that could potentially work as a new kind of vaccine, effective against HIV-1, HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Many cancers have always been considered kissing cousins to AIDs (if fact there are some that only occur in patients having AIDs) – so there may be additional implications once this goes main-stream.

Okay this isn’t likely to save any lives, well maybe a teenager when his or her parent discovers they got a tattoo. Enter the lifesaving topical cream that will hold tattoo pigment without damaging the surrounding cells (unlike laser removal, which heats the pigment and can cause cells to rupture). Mom & Dad will no longer get mad and now a break-up doesn’t have to leave you wondering what to turn the tattoo shouting your love for your new ex into, you can simply erase, then make another bad decision! 

This is really awesome! A leaf – fully functional, and by that I mean the leaf, made of chloroplasts and silk protein is capable of absorbing carbon dioxide and light, and releasing breathable oxygen.  Before you say it’s not cool, think about the implications for long distance space travel, which is often limited by oxygen supplies. Or for terraforming…

This will throw you. Apparently a new model was created that suggests the universe may have existed forever. No big bang. In their model, the universe has no beginning and no end. Funny, still leads to the same questions – instead of who created the big bang, the question will be altered as the universe still needs to have been created, doesn’t it? And then who created the one who created the universe? I give up! Sure is pretty though!! J

There are more really cool inventions or discoveries, many break-throughs on the AI front, more tech on the autonomous car, other body parts being 3-D printed, and stuff like that. Truly awesome things that will change our life or what we know about it. Things happen faster than you think and one day we’ll wake up not to flying cars but to not needing to fly!


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