Saturday, January 06, 2007

Popular Science: The Year Ahead 2007


  • Stem Cells Grow Up: "If the Kyoto research is replicated in humans, it will be a game-changer for the science. 'Let’s say you could take your skin cells and reprogram the nucleus to create an embryonic-stem-cell line—without an egg,' says the California Institute’s Mary Maxon."
  • Fighting Water Woes: "Electricity-hungry desal plants are becoming more economically viable because of advances in water-purifying reverse-osmosis membranes, tens of thousands of which are contained in a large plant: The newest can produce upward of 10,000 gallons a day apiece, up from 5,000 gallons in the late 1990s. Composite materials may soon double a membrane’s life—10 years rather than five—and nanotube-based membranes will shorten the length each water molecule must travel. 'If this happens, plant productivity will go up 20 times,' says Nikolay Voutchkov of Poseidon Resources, the company behind the Carlsbad and Huntington Beach projects."
  • Addictions: "This year, we will find out whether an entirely new solution fulfills its early potential: vaccination."
  • X-Prize like Competititions: From flying cars, to space elevators - there's quite a bit of money up for grabs - using a far more decentralized form of research and development.

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