Hello and welcome to our science and technology news weekly round up! The purpose of this segment is to look back at the past week and see what’s been happening in the wonderful world of science and technology. We won’t be discussing anything at length here since we already covered all these news stories. Rather, we’re making a short summary and will include some of the most important, interesting, or just downright strange stories of this past week. Down below you will be able to read about fascinating subjects such as NASA’s Avengers-like initiative, robots buying drugs, ultra-fast MagLev trains, breakthroughs in cancer researches, and of course, the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope. I’m also cheating just a little bit this week by including something that’s not news per say, but that you might find interesting nevertheless. Let’s just call it a little bonus and just leave it at that.
Okay, so comparing NASA’s latest initiative to the Avengers initiative might be unfair I’ll admit. Unfair, for the Avengers that is. You see, NASA is putting together a team comprised of some of the world’s most brilliant minds just so we can finally have an answer to the age-long question “are we alone in the universe?” The initiatie goes by the name of Nexus for Exoplanet System Science and its sole purpose is to study exoplanets in the hopes of finding signs of alien life. I mean honestly, it rarely gets better than this. As for the team, it includes experts from 10 different distinguished universities and several institutes. Don’t get me wrong, The Avengers is a great movie and I’m eagerly anticipating Age of Ultron, but what NASA are doing here has the potential to change forever the way in which we see the universe and our place among the stars.
Robot gets arrested for buying drugs
Earlier this week we got wind that a robot was arrested after buying Ecstasy with Bitcoin cryptocurrency from the Darknet. As you might imagine, the robot was programmed by someone, although admittedly not for the specific purpose of buying drugs. A group of Swiss artists decided to create an unusual art exhibit using various items purchased from the Darkent. The robot in question was given each week $100 worth of Bitcoin and programmed to purchase items at random from a rather shady marketplace called Agora. Apparently everything was working according to plan until the robot ended up purchasing some Ecstasy, which triggered the cops to intervene, arrest the robot, and confiscate the goods. Bummer. On the bright side, the robot and the goods (except for the drugs) were returned to the artists not long ago.
Japanese MagLev train sets new world record…again
Man, the Japanese certainly know their super-fast magnetic levitation trains. After breaking the previous world record just last week, a Japanese railway company figured they might as well repeat that performance two weeks in a row. No biggie. The MagLev train that managed to set a new world record this past Tuesday was moving at no less than 603 km/h (373 mp/h) when it did it. The previous record was 590 km/h (367 mp/h), so it didn’t beat it by much, but still, a new world record is a new world record. Perhaps feeling that the US might be lacking a bit in the super-fast-ultra-quick-speedy-fast trains department, Japan is now planning to bring its technology stateside and build a new railway between New York and Washington.
Personalized medicine proposes new cancer treatments
When it comes to fighting cancer, humanity has yet to find effective ways to do it, but expect that to change soon. Recent advancements in medical science have made it possible to directly inject a patient’s tumor with small devices that act as laboratories. These miniature labs contain 16 different cancer treatments and the gadget is able to test each of them on small cell samples from the tumor in an attempt to see which actually work and which don’t. This method is a giant leap forward compared to the trial-and-error techniques commonly used today when fighting cancer. Researchers at MIT are currently studying the potential of these miniature devices and it may take some more time until they can perfect them, but let’s hope that in the near future these types of cancer treatments can become commonplace in all parts of the world.
Happy 25th birthday Hubble!
Believe it or not, the Hubble Space Telescope turned 25-years old on Friday, April 24th. We would need dozens of books to describe just a fraction of Hubble’s contribution to our understanding of the universe, so instead we just settled for listing five reasons for why one of the most popular science instruments of all time is so incredibly awesome. Hubble will be replaced in a matter of years by the James Webb Telescope, another impressive instrument that’s certain to further our knowledge even more. For about a year or so, the Hubble and James Webb will both be orbiting Earth and observing the universe together in an attempt to uncover at least another small portion of the universe’s seemingly limitless amount of mysteries. Until such a time as the Hubble will be able to finally rest after its lengthy space voyage, we will continue to receive more spectacular pictures of the cosmos that will have the power to make us feel so very insignificant, but at the same time, so very important for being fortunate enough to have witnessed them.
Is time travel possible?
I’ve mentioned earlier something about a little bonus and this is it. Earlier this week I attempted to the best of my abilities to explain a few methods by which we could travel through time at some point. In our latest “Physics 101” article, yours truly humbly touches on rather complex things such as wormholes, black holes, time machines, warp drives, and more. The purpose of the article in question is not so much to serve as a science lesson (which I’m not necessarily qualified to give anyway), but rather to open your imagination to a world of wonderful and exciting new possibilities. Bottom line is that time travel is in fact possible according to many renowned theoretical physicists, yet it’s not exactly practical. Not for a while longer at least. Still, I find the topic to be thought provoking and I hope you feel the same way. You can check out the article right here and don’t shy away from the comments section if you want to discuss about time travel or any other highly debated subject because you’re among open-minded people here.