Most websites this time of year are going on and on about the top movies, TV shows and other consumer-like entertainment venues. It’s not a bad idea, with all those objective lists of what’s best and not best, per most writers. Me, The Avengers was the top-dog movie for me. The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Twilight Saga, and so on… the people have spoken with their wallets through the year and you can’t argue with the masses, regardless of opinion.
But instead, I thought I’d present what author Peter Cawdron calls the top science achievements from 2012.
To be honest, sure, we all like movies, but it’s scientific achievements that help our world and society move forward. It’s a wondrous time we live in, with smartphones and GPS, and Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Sure, we grumble about these things in our lives, but 15 or 20 years ago, you couldn’t sit down at a computer and say hi to someone on the other side of the world so easily. Or reach out and touch other people’s imaginations with your own creative content that you distribute in blogs.
It’s a wondrous time indeed.
But Peter honed in on some achievements last year where he makes great points.
Voyager cruises on and leaves our solar system, all while traveling at over 38,000 mph for the last 35 years. Good luck Voyager, don’t bring evil aliens back our way!
Curiosity landing on Mars was pretty big. We actually touched back down on another planet with near real-time telemetry and control between JPL and the remote explorer. I just thought it was sad that NBC couldn’t break into the Olympics with even a ticker-tape announcement that the event actually happened.
Artificial leaf made to generate hydrogen, seemed pretty big, because as Peter points out with his forward thinking vision, humans need to have a paradigm shift in how we approach developing energy.
Super thin solar panels and solar energy looking to be competitive with the fossil fuel industry. Which is good enough in and of itself because our fossil fuel supply is a limited supply. That’s not good.
A planet with four suns. In and of itself, it’s not that a planet with four suns was discovered, but that citizen scientists were the ones that found it. His piece talks on how anyone can participate in any number of scientific processes anywhere in the world.
DARPA continues to have their crazy robotic projects. And the crazy ones are just the ones we know about! Who knows what’s going on behind the “curtains” there? My own company has created robotic entities that can climb walls, no matter what the surface.
This is pretty awesome stuff. Here’s something I touched on with Iron Man-like tech in the real world.
3-D printers are now building houses and other useful things. Peter touches on human assisted bionics, where people are being helped by machines being worn by the person. You’ve seen me touch on those devices here on Brusimm.
In this crazy era, self-driving cars have been made legal in multiple states. I don’t know about you, but even though I get the technology behind it, AKA, DARPA had some cool contests some years ago, I think it would be a bit creepy to see a car with no one in it go by me on the road.
Beyond these few items, Peter also touches on genetically-modified silk, stem cell research, chimera monkey, DNA being photographed for the first time ever and the discovery of the Higgs-Boston particle.
Most of these things don’t generate the excitement that a great sci-fi action movie might with many, but it’s these discoveries today, that make the future world in our movies possible in our world today.
Pater Cawdron writes indie sci-fi novels and he does it by being in touch with the science behind the stories while making it very digestible to the reader, no matter what your background. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know I’ve chatted about a few of his books in previous posts.
Peter expounds on all of the above issues and there are some great observations he makes over on his website at Thinking Sci-Fi.