Monday, January 9, 2012

Computing, Holographs, and Medicine - A Science Round-Up

It's been a long time since I've done a science round-up, which means there's an awful lot of links in this post. Hopefully you're all nerdy enough about science to think that's a bonus.

Most of the cool scientific advances since my last post have been technological. We can produce microscopically thin circuit boards out of graphene, which means smaller computers and hopefully greater processing power. Those computerized glasses might become a reality—not that it matters, because there are LED contact lenses in the works. There's also conductive ink now, which promises to do some very cool things.

There are robots swimming across the Pacific and self-assembling 3D objects that come in a number of shapes, not just one at a time. Holographic TV and movies might become a reality soon too, which would be awesome. We've seen it in enough science fiction, it's time it actually happens. Plus it'll get rid of that 3D headache problem!

A group of scientists has recently managed to create an invisibility cloak that also hides objects from time. Granted, it's not even close to being a piece of fabric yet, and probably never will be, but the potential for hiding things in plain sight like that … wow. It's even cooler than macroscopic quantum entanglement or self-cleaning fabric, though that's pretty cool as well.

What else have I come across? The fact that memory comes in packets is intriguing, and makes me wonder how that knowledge is going to impact psychology. I don't know enough about neuropsych and neuroscience to be able to hazard a guess at what that might be, though, but I feel like I should use it in a story at some point. The idea has potential.

And speaking of human biology, we may actually have a functional antiviral now! And io9 has a list of modern medical technologies that we're going to think are barbaric in the future. I'd like to see stories about people looking back at modern medicine with horror, or time travellers doing the same, or, better yet, people proposing technologies that'll surpass what's on that list. In fiction or reality, I don't care.

I think I'll end today on an anthropological note. There's now evidence that humans left Africa over 100,000 years ago, Which is about 30,000 years before anyone thought they had. This means rethinking ancient human cultures and migration patterns, and possibly other artifacts that don't quite fit where they've been placed at the moment. Me? I'll leave that to the scientists and get on with thinking of the hows and whys of that migration, and any human dramas that might make a good tale.


CourtneyC said...

Hi Anassa,
Loved this post!

As for this: "The fact that memory comes in packets is intriguing, and makes me wonder how that knowledge is going to impact psychology."

Made me immediately think of the movie "Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

I hate to only have a movie to point to on this, but alas, most of my reading is Nonfiction/Thriller and most of my movie-watching is Sci-Fi.

Anassa said...

Thanks, Courtney!

Don't be ashamed to mostly know sci-fi from movies. I've watched more sci-fi than I've read too, I think. :) I hadn't thought of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but it's true, I guess we're on the way to doing that.

I'm also wondering if the packet memory thing will let us treat stroke victims and amnesiacs any better.