Search results for: NASA plants

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Isaac Asimov Predicts The Future Of 2014…From 1964

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AsimovScience fiction has always been about imagining the future: technologically, philosophically, or even satirically. It doesn’t always get the future right, mind you — we may technically have jetpacks and flying cars, but they’re not nearly as sleek and omnipresent as we’d been hoping for. One of the genre’s premiere futurists was Isaac Asimov, who was a science fiction titan but who also wrote fantasy, mysteries, and volumes of nonfiction encompassing subjects such as history, science, Shakespeare, and even the Bible. But in 1964, Asimov sat down to imagine a very specific future: that distant and mysterious year of “2014 A.D.”

In an article penned for the New York Times on August 16, 2014, Asimov uses the hopeful visions of the 1964 World’s Fair to imagine what our own impending future, a few short months away, might look like, and what wonders the World’s Fair of 2014 might hold. Asimov’s predictions range from the simple to the fantastic, but it’s intriguing to see what he got right, and what he got wrong. Below we’ll excerpt some of those predictions, and see how well the late Asimov’s foresight predicted the world we all live in.

Early on he predicts that underground dwellings will be all the rage, “with easily controlled temperature, free from the vicissitudes of weather, with air cleaned and light controlled.” The surface, Asimov claims, will be largely used for agriculture and parklands. While there’s no reason we couldn’t all chilling in snazzy underground hobbit holes, subterranean housing hasn’t caught on nearly as much as Asimov thought. Instead, we continue spreading up and out, but rarely down.

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How To Make A Paralyzed Dog Walk Again

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It looks like every dog really does have its day. Scientists and researchers have successfully regenerated spinal cord cells of a paralyzed dachshund’s injured spinal cord, giving the dog the ability to use his hind legs again. The procedure involved injecting the dog with his own olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), which are found in his nose.

As part of the study at the Regenerative Medicine Centre and Cambridge University’s Veterinary School, researchers have conducted tests on the injured spinal cords of 23 dachshunds. But one 10-year-old dachshund named Jasper has regained feeling and movement in his spinal cord after the series of injections and treatments. The study was conducted exclusively on dachshunds because they are prone to spinal cord injuries.

The results and findings of the study will be published in The Brain — a neurology journal — and involved taking the dachshund’s olfactory ensheathing cells from their nose and continuing to grow the cell cultures. The OECs are found at the back of the nasal cavity and are the only nerve fibers in the body that continue to grow well into adulthood. These are the only cells that have the potential ability to repair damaged spinal cord injuries. Researchers have found success in the past by performing these treatments on rats.

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Find Out Where Obama And Romney Stand On 14 Important Science Questions

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With the Republican and Democratic conventions playing out over the past two weeks, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s stances on various subjects have been even more in the spotlight than during the preceding months. But while much of the discussion is focused on the economy and whichever supposed culture war is being fought at that particular moment, we haven’t heard that much about where the candidates stand on important scientific issues. Thankfully, both candidates’ responses to 14 important scientific questions have been collected in one handy website.

ScienceDebate.com consulted thousands of scientists and engineers to generate a list of 14 questions determined to be “the most important science policy questions facing the United States.” The two candidates (or more likely some of their staffers) provided lengthy responses. While these scientific issues likely aren’t going to be the ones deciding the election for either party, it is good for those of us passionate about science to see where the candidates stand – or at least where they claim to. Here are their responses, in the order originally posted (lest anybody cry favoritism, we’re just cutting and pasting here, folks).

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Curiosity Draws Us To Mars This Week In Science Fiction

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Martian Mega Rover
(National Geographic, Thursday 10/9c)

It’s always exciting when the boundaries between science and science fiction blur, and there was definitely a sense of that last night while people around the world watched as NASA’s Curiosity rover (otherwise known as the Mars Science Laboratory) landed successfully in Gale Crater at 1:31 a.m. EDT. Watching not just the live feed from mission control, but also the Facebook updates coming from friends who were doing likewise was powerful and moving. If only that feeling could last.

To most people, after all, the Curiosity rover was merely that: an idle curiosity soon forgotten. But let’s be better than that. Wiser men than I have pointed out that when we stopped making the space program a priority, we also stopped dreaming. If you thrilled to Curiosity’s landing with the rest of us, maybe check out National Geographic’s special on Thursday and just what Curiosity hopes to learn from its new Martian stomping grounds, and just how much work went into getting it there. Maybe take a few minutes to look upward and marvel. Maybe take a few minutes to dream.