On 10 August 2011, researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Lab announced that they had developed a technology that could essentially cure all viruses. This new technology has been tested on the common cold, the swine flu (I’m sticking with the laymen’s name, but you can call it H1N1 if you want), a stomach virus, and twelve other viruses. According to Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist at the Lincoln Laboratory, “in theory, it should work against all viruses.” This means that the technology, known as DRACO (double-stranded RNA activated caspase oligomerizers), could potentially wipe out HIV, HPV, Herpes, Ebola, Smallpox, SARS, etc. I’m no scientist, but if you’d like to see one describe how this works, read the article above; or you can take my word for it that this is absolutely brilliant.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Science: It Works
In light of the fact that the past week or four have been politically asinine, I thought it would be nice to take a detour from our usual musings on politics, economics, and whatnot. I’ve chosen instead to focus my attention today on a topic that has never once let me down like ridiculous budget deals and underwhelming elections so frequently do, and that topic is science. In just a few short weeks, we’ve had announcements of mind blowingly important discoveries ranging from water on Mars to an almost unbelievable cure all for viruses that doesn’t seem to be possible. With this much progress taking place it’s hard to believe that these magnificent scientific developments aren’t on the front page of all of the important blogs and newspapers.
Elsewhere in the scientific community, scientists working for NASA/JPL and the University of Arizona have announced the discovery of potential flowing water on the surface of Mars during the warmest months. As anyone who is familiar with junior high-level science knows, this is a truly monumental landmark find. In the search for extra-terrestrial life, the existence of free flowing water is thought to be essential. This means that the possibility of actual life being discovered within our lifetimes is actually conceivable. Earth, Mars, possibly Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, all have at least water ice, and potentially liquid water. The odds of finding other life in the solar system, not on Earth, now seem to be climbing rapidly. Even if that doesn’t happen, this will still make it easier for humans to explore and colonize space. If you’re wondering why human space exploration is important, look here.
These epic discoveries, and others like them (including stopping the spread of cancer in an afflicted patient, solar-powered electronic tattoos to monitor patients’ health in hospital, and the discovery of the darkest exoplanet known to man) truly outline what humans are capable of when we’re not dealing with absurd post-modernist politics. And isn’t it nice that we have a federal government to help invest in these things!