Thoughtful Thursday: Scientific breakthroughs

Octopus gets out of jarCompanies like Apple, Samsung and Tesla put out new versions of their high-tech toys every six months practically. Watches get more elaborate; computers get smaller and thinner, TVs larger, flatter and higher in resolution. Electronic technology isn’t the only area that is booming with discoveries though. From exo-planets and the possibility of life on planets in our home star system, to the secrets of the human genome, science is also having a boom. Doors to mysteries are being stormed, and in many cases, unlocked.

We know more about our fellow animals than we ever did before; from the brilliant octopus to the micro-animals who live on the thermal vents at the ocean floor. Seismology, botany, disease research and cellular biology are changing what we thought we knew, and how we think, about just about everything. And I didn’t forget the continued forays into the concept of machine intelligence or AI.

Which scientific breakthrough or theory intrigues you the most? Tell us in the comments.

One commenter chosen at random, with a USA mailing address, will win a book of their choice from our stacks.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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11 comments

  1. For me it is self-driving cars. There are so many variables to sort through, but I know we are getting closer to this being a reality.

    Thank you.

  2. Noneofyourbusiness /

    The idea of terraforming other planets and/or creating stable habitat platforms in space.

  3. The life that they’ve discovered in very deep gold mines.They didn’t think any living organisms could survive that deep.

  4. all of the work surrounding DNA–the ability to manipulate via CRSPR and other methods, the constantly improving ability to sequence it faster and more fully, the ability to take it from every older, ever smaller samples. It will let us push further into both our past and our future in ways that will continue to surprise us (witness previously unknown human species)

  5. Lady Morar /

    The fact that thanks to genetic engineering, there are goats that produce spider silk in their milk. For real.

  6. John Smith /

    I guess I would like to know how we are going to air-condition the entire planet, since we have basically used up all of the oceans’ ability to absorb heat. Humanity has basically destroyed itself because a large minority of people is politically opposed to ever being “told” anything or “made to do” anything. And I suspect that we’ll destroy the atmosphere to an extent that the earth will be left a dead planet, long before its time.

  7. The Distinguished Professor /

    How we’re going to create Artificial Intelligence that can pass a Turing test and doesn’t go insane from all the bile and contradiction it would find on the Internet.

  8. I’m particularly interested in theories about the evolution of consciousness.

  9. Genetic engineering has always been fascinating to me.

  10. Traveling Cloak, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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