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Bacteria May Help Power Nano-robots
December 25th 2006 12:13

The striking thing about nanotechnology is that stuff we don’t even see existing right now, such as gadgets using electricity through solar panels, are already in the works on the nano-scale. Scientists, for instance, are able to build “nano-cables” that use light in order to power the nanorobots of the future. What’s even more groundbreaking is that scientists may be able to use bacteria to facilitate the production of electricity in the nano-cables. Bacteria have antennae that allow them to catch light.

Nano-cables follow this same technique and transform trapped light into electric power.

In the future, nano-machines may also be able to exist in hybrid states where living organisms such as bacteria may be part of the cogwheel.


Genetic code access by Insurance Companies: No-Win situation?
December 3rd 2006 08:38

The Human Genome Project (October 1990 to 2003) headed by Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D has opened doors for further study of 20,000-25,000 human genes. The goal is to discover what lies inside these genes and how this new knowledge will help improve our health.

Scientists and doctors will have access to these genes and decode them in order to facilitate the understanding of the genetic basis of human existence, especially in relation to diseases. In the future, it will be necessary for doctors to take our genetic samples, keep a record of them, and basically have access to what makes us “us”.

In short, these records will find their way into social institutions that require a “background” of our health, whether they be in school, day care, or insurance companies.

This got me to asking, what if virtually everyone in the world gets access to each other’s genetic codes in the future? If Adolf Hitler were alive by then, he’d be greatly disillusioned. Scientists will find out that 99% of his DNA components were riddled with megalomaniac tendencies, and not necessarily superior genes.

By the time our insurance providers get access to our genetic codes and find faulty wiring, we must make sure they cover the expenses for genetically manipulating our genes and making us less prone to disease. Otherwise, we’d be unhappy victims of our own natural DNA structure. That’s a hell of a disgrace.


White dwarf holds key to the end of the world

December 30th 2006 06:35

White Dwarf
Not an obscure member of Snow White’s entourage, but a former star that has first evolved from being a Sun (much like our very own in the solar system) and winds up annihilating its nearby planets (in our case Mercury and Venus).

SDSS 1228 1040
Not an obscure mathematical formula to calculate your taxes, but the name of a white dwarf that was spotted about 463 light years from our Solar System in the constellation Virgo. Scientists found it to be surrounded by metal-rich gas, components of a common asteroid seen in our own solar system.
Now where do these all lead us to? If as the astrophysicists at Britain’s Warwick University suspect, this star was part of a planetary system with an asteroid belt, then it could serve as a model for what will happen to our own solar system in five to eight billion years when the sun becomes a white dwarf. Which means, we’re all going to burn eons from now.

Creepy, but of course it’s too early to worry about that, eh.


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