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27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012


Stashed in: Science!, The Universe, Awesome, Longevity!, BuzzFeed!, Higgs Boson!, Eyes, @nealstephenson, Sci Fi, SciFi!

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Nice breakthrough for longevity: "When fast-aging elderly mice with a usual lifespan of 21 days were injected with stem cells from younger mice at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh, the results were staggering. Given the injection approximately four days before they were expected to die, not only did the elderly mice live — they lived threefold their normal lifespan, sticking around for 71 days. In human terms, that would be the equivalent of an 80-year-old living to be 200."

Regenerative medicine elderly mice

Higgs Boson was a major breakthrough:

Higgs boson magnetic fields

"Over the summer, multinational research center CERN confirmed it had discovered a particle that behaved enough like a Higgs boson to be given the title. For scientists, this meant there could be a Higgs field, similar to an electromagnetic field. In turn, this could lead to the scientists' ability to interact with mass the same way we currently do with magnetic fields."

I love the rogue planet finding:

Free floating planet

"Until this year, scientists knew planets orbited a star. Then, in came CFBDSIR2149. With four to seven times the mass of Jupiter, it is the first free-floating object to be officially defined as an exoplanet and not a brown dwarf."

I also love the planet with four stars:

Planet with four stars

"Discovered by amateur astronomers, the planet closely orbits a pair of stars, which in turn orbit another set of more distant stars. It's approximately the size of Neptune, so scientists are still trying to work out how the planet has avoided being pulled apart by the gravitational force of that many stars."

And the planet made of diamonds is quite cool:

Diamond planet

"An exoplanet made entirely of diamonds was discovered this year by an international research team. Approximately five times the size of Earth, the small planet had mass similar to that of Jupiter. Scientists believe the short distance from its star coupled with the exoplanet's mass means the planet, remnants of another star, is mostly crystalline carbon."

One more: the story of restoring eyesight is amazing:

Eyesight restoring surgery

"Two blind men in the U.K. were fitted with eye implants during an eight-hour surgery with promising results. After years of blindness, both had regained "useful" vision within weeks, picking up the outlines of objects and dreaming in color. Doctors expect continued improvement as their brains rewire themselves for sight."

Thank you.  This is actually a gift--I'm teaching a course in Science Fiction--it's random and landed on my schedule. Problem: It is so not my genre. Never liked it, and have a bad schedule for teaching it (every other week--so 10 periods a month). Trying hard to really drum up some vision. This quarter I'm designing LOTR to go with the recent Hobbit... So this will actually get me some instructional mileage.  

Dawn, that's excellent.

I'm a fan of Ray Bradbury, whose Martian Chronicles may very well foreshadow human missions to Mars soon.

The more advanced sci fi reader might want to venture into the works of Neal Stephenson.

We have yet to "read" anything. I have used documentary and movie--I get them every other week. I need very short stories--I tried a few and found the literacy just so darned low that I couldn't assign it and let them take it away... Might look for some short shorts to post on the website, then I can cue in on the vocab/link to defs and stuff...