7 CRAZY Recent Breakthroughs in SCIENCE in 2017

For all those celebrity deaths and insane political shenanigans, 2016 actually gave us some pretty weird scientific developments too. From batteries that run on pee through to the world’s first three parent baby, it was a pretty nutso year. But if January’s developments are anything to go by then 2017 is gonna be even weirder, because in the past month we’ve seen a human pig hybrid, a skin printing machine and the potential discovery of a material theorised over a hundred years ago. This is is our list of seven crazy recent scientific breakthroughs. Number 7: Skin on Demand Making your own human skin suit is tough work these days, what with all the DNA to clear up, the funny looks at the dry cleaners, not to mention the kerfuffle in constructing a watertight alibi to fool the Feds. But thanks to a group of Spanish scientists this problem no longer exists, as they’ve developed the world’s first 3D bioprinter capable of producing fully-functional human skin.

This printer was the result of collaboration between the University Carlos the Third de Madrid and the less flamboyantly named BioDan Group who specialise in regenerative medicines. Their material mimics the structure of skin using a layer of collagen-producing fibroblasts, and it’s so close to the real thing it can be used in a wide range of fields, such as testing cosmetics, creating android epidermis, covering human skin loss, and of course the creation of a snappy little waistcoat for daddy. Number 6: Pig Man In the real-life sequel to Babe nobody wanted or asked for, researchers at California’s Salk Institute announced in late January the successful creation of a human-pig hybrid in the laboratory. Now I’m not sure making a creature that’s addicted to eating strips of its own buttocks is something I’d refer to as a success, but that’s because Johnny Cynical over here doesn’t understand the ramifications of this amazing development. The point of creating a human-pig chimera wasn’t to exhibit it in some circus freak-show; it was to provide a potential new source of human organs for transplant. In this experiment, pig embryos were injected with human cells to see if they could survive, and now that we know they can, we think it may eventually be possible to grow human organs inside animals to make up the organ donor shortfall.

Wow, meat, milk, skin and now organs? Thanks animals, you do a lot for us. Those damn vegetables have got a lot of catching up to do, haven’t you Mr Aubergine. Number 5: A Fitting End To Fillings I hate going to the dentist, which is why I’ve pulled out all of my own teeth and now I pay strangers to chew my food for me. But if you still own all your original chompers then a trip to the mouth doctor may soon be a lot less painful, thanks to a strange discovery made just a few weeks back. Researchers at King’s College London found that a drug used to help treat Alzheimers has a nifty little side effect, namely, it can encourage your teeth to repair themselves. Your teeth already do this on their own using dentine, but they don’t produce enough to fill large holes or cracks. However, with a kick up the pants from a drug called Tideglusib an enzyme which prevents dentine formation is turned off, and damage can be repaired naturally within as little as six weeks. I mean, that sounds great and all, but it’s not as much fun as paying a guy down the bus station to spit up food in your mouth like a little baby bird. Number 4: A New Type of Life Ever wonder why the movie Gattaca was called Gattaca? It’s because the letters G, T, A and C are the initials of the four natural bases, Guanine, Thymine, Cytosine and Adenine.

These pair up to form the base pairs of the DNA ladder, and different arrangements of these pairs create different lifeforms when arranged together. Everything from bacteria and baboons through to people and Penelope Cruz – who is not a person, she is a Goddess – everything is based on just four natural bases; until some crazy scientists decided to add two more. On 23rd January 2017, Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute announced the creation of an organism which held two artificial bases within its genetic code, making it the world’s first semi-synthetic organism. Such a development has many possible applications, including the creation of organisms tailored to fight certain diseases. But right now I’m more worried about the title of that movie. Gaxyttaxcy? Xygattyaxca? It’s like they didn’t even think about the ramifications of what they were doing to Ethan Hawke’s finest work? Number 3: An End to Old Age? In another piece of scientific razzle dazzle from the guys and girls at the Scripps Research Institute, we may have just made one of the key discoveries in the fight against cancer and aging.

In Mid-January a protein was identified which is responsible for determining the length of your telomeres, which is important, as this in turn dictates how quickly your cells age and whether they’re likely to mutate into cancer. Telomeres are like your cell’s little clocks, and this protein named TZAP could be seen as some form of battery, determining how long the clock runs for. If we can stretch your telomeres we may be able to delay the aging process, but if they’re unnaturally long they then begin to pose an increased cancer risk. It’s like riding a see saw with whirring blades above and a pit of sex-raptors beneath you – you wanna aim for somewhere in the middle. Thankfully, TZAP naturally prevents your telomeres growing too much by trimming them to keep them nice and short, and a further understanding of how they do this could help us get rid of tumours and wrinkles all at once.

Awesome, those are two of the top three things I hate the most…along with sex-raptors of course. Number 2: Hot Damn Did you know that the Red Hot Chili Peppers can reduce your chances of death? Unfortunately we’re talking about the food and not those delightful LA funk-monkeys, but that’s not gonna stop me using a bazillion song-title puns in this entry. So how does it work? Tell me baby. Well if you listen to me for One Hot Minute I will. Researchers at the Larner College of Medicine in Vermont used data taken from 16,000 Americans over 23 years, and they discovered that those who Dosed their food with spicy chilies enjoyed a 13% reduction in mortality rates from heart disease and stroke. Obviously you Can’t Stop death forever, because passing over to the Otherside is inevitable. But even if you survive a stroke you can be left in a seriously debilitating condition, as each one leaves Scar Tissue on your brain which can trigger seizures, leaving your life’s Fortune Faded. So the knowledge that we can reduce strokes and heart attacks is clearly no Minor Thing.

By The Way, this revelation is old news to some, as historically, many people Around The World already believed that spices contains mystical healing properties. But this is the first time it’s been confirmed scientifically. And do you know who’s excited about this the most? Me and my me and my me and my me and my me and my friends. We love spicy food. Number 1: Metallic hydrogen The existence of a metallic form of hydrogen was first theorised in 1935 by Eugene Wigner and Hillard Bell Huntington, with the knowledge that if the lightest of all elements could be turned into a metal it would prove to be a revolutionary breakthrough for technology. Super-efficient vehicles, improved electricity grids, stupidly fast computers and even space-faring craft are just some of the possible applications for metallic hydrogen, so you can understand why the scientific community collectively soiled itself on January 27th 2017, when one group of Harvard scientists claim they’d managed to create some.

Their experiment used two diamonds to crush liquid hydrogen at a temperature far below freezing point, because the pressure needed to create this substance is greater than you’d find at the centre of the Earth. The metallic hydrogen is still stuck between the two diamonds at the time of writing, as it must be released gradually to see if it can exist in a stable form at room temperature, so it remains to be seen whether this potentially ground-breaking material actually can be used with purpose. And furthermore, some physicists doubt whether the results of this experiment even prove anything at all, saying that further evidence needs to be submitted to give this discovery credence. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough if those naughty boys are telling porky pies or not. So that’s our list, but if you’re after more science-based intrigue of a different flavour, why not check out our recent video on the seven most devastating things mankind could discover, because these are the kind of breakthroughs you better hope we never make in our lifetimes.

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Top 10 Recently Discovered Earth Like Planets

Welcome to Top10Archive! The longer we stay on Earth, the more apparent it becomes that maybe we should have a backup plan should we live long enough to completely dry ‘er up. On our quest to find the perfect place to call Second Home, we’ve come across these incredible exoplanets. Factoring in the Earth Similarity Index or ESI, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Earth-like planets discovered over the past decade. 10. Kapteyn B In June of 2014, the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher discovered the potentially habitable exoplanet Kapteyn B. Found to reside in a system estimated at over 11 billion years old, about 7 billion years older than our own solar system, Kapteyn B orbits the red subdwarf star Kapteyn and is 12.8 light-years away from Earth. Kapteyn B has an ESI of .67 and, while found within a habitable zone capable of liquid water, is believed to have a temperature of approximately -91° F or roughly -68° C and, therefore, too cold to sustain water in a liquid form, but with enough C02 in its atmosphere, this may not even be a factor.

Working against the argument of habitability is the fact that some researchers, such as Paul Robertson at Penn State University, think Kapteyn B may not even exist and may just be a starspot mimicking a planetary signal. 9. Gliese 667 Cc Orbiting around the red dwarf star Gliese 667 C some 23 light years away, the exoplanet Gliese 667 Cc is within the habitable zone and has an ESI of .84. In November of 2011, astronomers noticed the super-Earth and started to find similarities to our own planet. The habitability of Gliese 667 Cc depends on where you’re aiming to terraform as the two hemispheres display complete opposite properties. One side is completely shrouded in permanent darkness while the other is constantly facing towards the red dwarf. It’s believed that, between these hemispheres, there is a sliver of space that may experience temperatures suitable for human life. There is, however, a possibility of extreme tidal heating upwards of 300 times that of Earth, calling into question whether, at times, if Gliese 667 Cc may be a little too hot for habitation.

8. Kepler 442b Launched in 2009, NASA’s Kepler space observatory has succeeded on numerous occasions in its mission to find Earth-sized planets. Announced in January of 2015, alongside the discovery of Kepler-438b, 442b has an ESI of .83 and a radius of 1.34 radians, quite a bit larger than Earth’s radius of .009 radians. While located within the habitable zone and deemed one of the most Earth-like planets in regards to temperature and size, life would be quite a bit different on 442b. For instance, a year would only be 112.3 days long and we’d experience only 70% of the sunlight that we’re used to receiving on Earth. Since the axial tilt is believed to be fairly small, we also shouldn’t expect to enjoy the quarterly change in seasons that we’re accustomed to. 7. Proxima B With an ESI of .87, Proxima b may be one of the most Earth-like exoplanets to date, but that doesn’t mean it’s the greatest candidate for habitability.

Though it shares many characteristics with Earth and touts a higher ESI, if you haven’t noticed yet, that’s not a guaranteed proponent of habitability. In fact, Proxima b, which is only 4.2 light-years away, is likely uninhabitable due to incredibly high stellar wind pressures. Compared to Earth, Proxima b is thought to be subjected to pressures of more than 2,000 times what we experience. Coupled with the radiation from its host star, it’s possible that the exoplanet would have no atmosphere to sustain life. In October of 2016, researchers at the National Center for Scientific Research in France hypothesized a chance for surface oceans and a thin atmospheric layer, though proof has yet to be discovered. 6. Kepler 438b In January of 2015, the newly found Kepler 438b, located 470 light years away, was deemed one of the most “Earth-like” planets ever discovered, making it an incredible candidate for the potential of life. Though it has a potential ESI of .88 and still carries similarities to our home world, research later that year determined that, while still “Earth-like,” 438b may be missing qualities needed for habitation – such as an atmosphere.

The planet’s nearby star emits flares 10 times more powerful than the Sun, leading to the possibility of a stripped atmosphere. There’s still hope that Kepler-438b, which is 12% larger and receives 40% more light than Earth, may be usable if it has a magnetic field like our own. 5. Wolf 1061 c At an ESI of .76, Wolf 1061 c is a potentially rocky super-Earth exoplanet discovered in December of 2015, some 14 light-years away from Earth. Orbiting Wolf 1061 at .084 AU, the exoplanet is closer to the inner edge of the habitable zone and is believed to be tidally locked. With one side permanently fixated on its star, the possibility of an extreme difference in temperatures on either side of the planet is incredibly likely. On the warmer side, liquid water may be sustainable, though it’s hypothesized to have an icy equilibrium temperature of -58° F or about -50° C, that could be offset by a thick atmosphere that allows for a transfer of heat away from the side of the planet facing Wolf 1061. 4. Kepler 62 e A Super-Earth found within the habitable zone of the Kepler 62 star, this exoplanet, which was discovered in 2013, has an ESI of .

83 and has some of the imperative qualities of potentially livable planets. On top of being rocky, the planet is also believed to be covered in an extensive amount of water. One factor working against 62 e as a habitable zone is the 20% increase in stellar flux from what we experience on Earth, which can trigger temperatures as high as 170° F or about 77 ° C, and start a detrimental greenhouse effect. In relation to Earth, 62 e is 60% larger and orbits the Kepler 62 star 243 days quicker and receives 20% more sunlight than Earth does. 3. Kepler 62f Kepler 62 f may only have an ESI of .67, but this super-Earth, discovered at the same time as 62e at about 1,200 light-years away from Earth, poses one of the best scenarios for habitability.

Where the exoplanet may fall short in its ability to sustain life is its possible lack of an atmosphere, which would lead to any surface water to be ice. At 1.4 times larger than Earth and with an orbital period of 267 days, life on 62f would be fairly similar to life on Earth – that is, of course, if its atmosphere were similar to that of our own. As of now, much remains unknown about the theoretically habitable planet, including whether or not it’s mostly terrestrial or predominantly covered in water. 2. Kepler-186f Kepler 186f of the Kepler 186 system may only have an ESI of .61, but the 2014 discovery is the first Earth-like exoplanet to have a radius similar to Earth’s – measuring in at about 10% larger. Found 500 light-years from Earth in the Cygnus constellation, 186f has an orbital period of 130 days and only receives 1/3 the energy from its star that Earth receives from the Sun. In terms of livability, 186f is within the habitable zone, but unknown atmospheric factors make how habitable it may be impossible to determine.

Like Kepler 442b, 186f has a low obliquity that keeps it from experiencing seasons like Earth. Of the four other planets in the Kepler system, 186f is believed to not be tidally locked like its neighbors and may be the only one far enough away from the Kepler star to sustain water. 1. Kepler 452b Also known as Earth 2.0, the discovery of Kepler 452b by the Kepler space telescope was announced in July of 2015. Found 1,400 light-years away from Earth, the super-Earth, which has an ESI of .83, was located in the habitable zone of a G-type star that shares a very similar mass and surface temperature of our Sun. While 452b’s smaller radius indicates it may have a rocky, terrestrial surface, the habitability of the exoplanet remains widely unknown, though it is believed to be subjected to a runaway greenhouse effect. The exoplanet is approximately 60% larger than Earth and has a year that’s only 5% longer than our own, earning it the title of Earth’s Cousin.

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