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10 New Scientific Discoveries that Actually Affect Your Life

10 New Scientific Discoveries that Actually Affect Your Life

Science is terrifying, amazing, magical, explanatory, and more. Science is all around us all of the time. How we evolved, what we eat, all our medical and technological advances: you have science and math to thank. There are new scientific discoveries and breakthroughs all the time, and it can be hard to get excited about someone discovering a genome we’ve never heard of, or giving a second thought to a new star someone saw that is too far away to fathom. But some of the newest discoveries and advancements might be coming your way and affecting you directly in the future. Let’s check some out!

1. NASA Finds Evidence of Water on Mars!

mars

    In September, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter found evidence that liquid water may sometimes still flow on Mars! Researchers detected hydrated minerals on the slopes of Mars that seem to ebb and flow, appearing darker in warmer times and fading during the colder times. This is significant because this validates the thought that briny water flows on Mars in the present time. This means that the possibility of humans living on Mars someday is becoming more and more of a reality every day!

    The Hubble Space Telescope was recently used to research Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, and NASA has discovered an entire ocean just under Ganymede’s surface! Looks like we’ll have places to colonize soon, hopefully!

    2. The First New Antibiotic in 30 years!

    antibiotics

      Causing a public health crisis, antibiotic resistance is on the rise and spreading faster than the introduction of new compounds into clinical practice. In January 2015, a collaboration between 4 institutions in the United States and Germany, as well as 2 pharmaceutical companies, discovered Teixobactin, a new antibiotic without detectable resistance. It was discovered by screening previously unculturable bacteria present in a sample of soil from a field in Maine.

      Nature.com says that most antibiotics were produced by screening soil microorganisms, but this limited resource of cultivable bacteria was over-mined by the 1960s, which is why we haven’t produced a new antibiotic in 30 years.

      This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and German agencies. The properties of this new compound suggest a path towards developing antibiotics that are likely to avoid development of resistance, which directly affects you, since antibiotic resistance is currently on the rise and considered practically inevitable.

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      3. Colors That Never Fade!

      blue_jay_7

        A University of Sheffield team led by Dr. Andrew Parnell used X-ray Scattering scans at France’s ESRF facility to study the blue jay’s blue and white feathers, and discovered that the birds’ vibrant-colored feathers come from well-controlled changes to their feathers’ nanostructure, and that the birds could actually change their feathers colors, using this tunable structure. How does this affect you? Well, because of this discovery of this structure based on light manipulation and not dyes or pigments, manufacturers could soon be able to produce cheaply made paints and fabrics that never fade in color! See? Science is exciting!

        4. Google’s AI Can Learn Language and Answer Questions!

        brain

          Google researchers Oriol Vinyals and Quoc Le built a system that could analyze existing conversations and teach itself to respond to you. “Instead of using rules to build a conversational engine, we use a machine learning approach,” Le tells WIRED. “We let the machine learn from data rather than hand-coding the rules.”

          The machine uses “neural nets,” which are gigantic networks of machines that approximate the human brains’ neuron patterns. Neural nets are not a new idea, but major companies now have the processing power to maintain them. They are already used to recognize faces on Facebook, identify words spoken into phones, and translate online phone calls from one language to another.

          This could change the world even more than it already has! Machines that can think and adapt could change the way we get news, get help from tech support, how we communicate, and more– these forms of Artificial Intelligence are already affecting your life!

          5. Better Than 20/20 Vision and 3D Camera Optics!

          lens

            Optometrist Dr. Garth Webb, founder and CEO of Ocumetics Technology Corp, has created a new bionic lens to replace the natural lens in a human eye. This lens will improve eyesight up to 3 times better than 20/20, and can prevent cataracts. Natural lenses stiffen over time and can be damaged, while the Ocumetics Bionic Lens is a permanent solution. Animal and human trials are ongoing and Dr. Webb hopes to have his lens on the market by 2017, and it only involves a painless 8 minute procedure.

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            Ocumetics is also using its lens technology to develop 3-D camera optics that mimic the function of human eyes, where the images would be formatted for human vision, and would be perceived by your brain as though you were walking through a very real landscape picture. They call this the Human Visual Experience.

            This HVE could become wearable technology and be used to create virtual screens controlled by visual commands, making your workday a lot cooler.

            6. Tesla’s Powerwall Solar Battery!

            tesla

              Elon Musk is having a great year. His Tesla S cars consistently get amazing reviews, his company SpaceX landed their first Rocket9 booster after it’s launch in Florida this month (following a sad explosion of the last one), and now he has released the Powerwall Solar Battery, already available for sale in Australia. Australia has the highest per capita usage of rooftop solar energy in the world, and Tesla is working with Natural Solar, an energy retailer, to sell Powerwall. Tesla’s technology is open source, so anyone could replicate this, making it even more accessible.

              The Powerwall can store energy both from the grid and from renewable energy sources like solar. It’s compact, rechargeable, and ideal for use in homes and businesses, and costs less than similar batteries from competitors like Juicebox, Sunverge, Greencharge Networks, AES Corp, and Stem. Natural Solar will be offering the rooftop solar panels, inverter, and Powerwall for about $15,000 (with installation. Without installation, take off $1000), and the Powerwall alone to be added to your existing solar set-up for $9,500. These prices are about $650-700 less per kWh than Juicebox and AES Corp.

              Having a more affordable way to harness solar energy for homes can help you reduce your carbon footprint immediately!

              7. Mesh That Can Catch Oil!

              meshh

                Scientists at Ohio State University have created a stainless steel mesh coated in a fine dusting of silica nanoparticles, which lets water through but not oil. This affects you in a huge way, as this could be scaled up to clean up oil spills in oceans and help save our environment!

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                Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and Howard D. Winbigler Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ohio State, says, “We’ve studied so many natural surfaces, from leaves to butterfly wings and shark skin, to understand how nature solves certain problems,” Bhushan said. “Now we want to go beyond what nature does, in order to solve new problems.” He also mentions that certain combinations of layers yield nanoparticles that bind to oil instead of repelling it and that these particles could even eventually be used to detect oil underground in addition to cleaning oil spills.

                8. Charging Batteries in Minutes!

                battery

                  Engineers at the University of California in San Diego are working to recharge smaller modules within batteries and calling it Project M-BEAM. Lou Shirkle, an electrical engineer sponsoring the project, says that this technology could make energy storage more configurable, promote safety, simplify maintenance, and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels for these types of things.

                  Recharging modules separate from the larger battery would allow you to buy an electric car separate from the battery pack, and if you could then lease the battery pack, the cost of the electric car would go down by $10,000!

                  In addition, researchers at the University of California in Riverside have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium ion battery anodes that could enable charging of portable electronics in 10 minutes. Silicon is a type of anode material that has a total charge capacity 10 times higher than commercial graphite based lithium ion battery anodes, and could help to bring the size of batteries way down.

                  You could soon be charging phones and cars in just minutes! This could revolutionize the electric car industry, and also help influence mass and weight in rockets and space technology.

                  9. Tattoo Removal Cream!

                  tattoo

                    Alec Falkenham, a Ph.D student at Dalhousie University in Halifax, has invented a topical cream for removing the pigment in tattoos painlessly.

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                    When tattooed, ink is injected into the skin, which begins an immune response, and cells called macrophages move into the area and eat the ink, allowing it to stay there permanently and allows the tattoo to be visible under the skin. They also take some of the ink to your lymph nodes.

                    Falkenham’s topical cream works by targeting the macrophages that have remained at the site of the tattoo. New macrophages move in to consume the previously pigment-filled macrophages and then migrate to the lymph nodes, eventually taking all the dye with them. This process is said to cause no scarring or inflammation. According to Buzzfeed, using the cream to remove a 10cm by 10cm tattoo could cost as little as $4.50, and eliminates the need for multiple painful sessions with a tattoo removal laser and hundred of dollars.

                    10. Comets Are Everywhere!

                    comet

                      Most of you know that scientists postulate that a comet or asteroid is what took out the dinosaurs and put Earth into a global winter 66-67 million years ago. But did you know that space is filled with things like comets? According to the Tech Times, “An astronomy team from Armagh Observatory and Buckingham University, writing in the journal Astronomy and Geophysics, are closely monitoring hundreds of distant giant comets in the last 20 years, which they said pose a greater risk to life on Earth than asteroids.”

                      Scientists call these comet ‘centaurs,’ which are large masses of ice and dust from 31 to 61 miles wide, in an unstable orbit beyond Neptune, hundreds of which have been discovered over the past couple of decades. Every 40,000-100,000 years, scientists say that a comet will bounce off of the gravity fields of larger planets in our solar system and head towards Earth.

                      NASA is currently watching about 12,992 near-Earth objects discovered orbiting within the solar system, close to the planet’s own orbit. About 1,607 of these are asteroids considered to be “potentially hazardous.” The latest research says that hundreds more of these centaurs could make it to the official list of Earth-threatening space rocks. It remains unknown when exactly a comet will ricochet off the gravity path of one of the giant planets and hurtle toward Earth, but this type of information is important and has the potential to affect you and everyone else!

                      Featured photo credit: Science! by Quinn Dombrowski via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on June 21, 2018

                      Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

                      Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

                      There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

                      “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

                      Primal Therapy

                      Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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                      How it Started

                      “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

                      It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

                      “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

                      Delving deeper

                      Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

                      Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

                      Some Methods To Practice Screaming

                      If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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                      • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
                      • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
                      • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
                      • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

                      After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

                      Scream Sing

                      Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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                      • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
                      • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
                      • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
                      • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
                      • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
                      • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
                      • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

                      If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

                      Scream into a pillow

                      Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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                      Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

                      Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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