From intergalactic neutrinos and invisible brains, to the creation of miniature human “organoids”, 2013 was an remarkable year for scientific discovery. Here are some of the biggest scientific breakthroughs, innovations and advances of 2013.
Voyager I Leaves the Solar System
Escaping the solar system is no mean feat. For 36 years, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has putting distance between itself and the Sun at speeds approaching 11 miles per second. At a pace like that, scientists knew Voyager was approaching the fringes of the heliosphere that surrounds and defines our solar neighborhood – but when would it break that barrier? When would it make the leap to interstellar space? After months of uncertainty, NASA finally made the news official this September. "Voyager 1 is the first human-made object to make it into interstellar space" said Don Gurnett, lead author of the paper announcing Voyager’s departure; “we’re actually out there.”
The Milky Way is Brimming with Habitable Worlds
Planet-hunting scientists announced in November that 22% of sunlike stars in the Milky Way are orbited by potentially habitable, Earth-size worlds. This remarkable finding suggests there could be as many as two-billion planets in our galaxy suitable for life — and that the nearest such planet may be only 12 light-years away. Is Earth 2.0 out there? With figures like that, it’s hard to imagine otherwise. Who knows – with all the Kepler data we’ve got to sift through, there’s a chance we’ve already found it.
Curiosity Confirms Mars Was Once Capable of Harboring Life
In March, NASA scientists released perhaps the most compelling evidence to date that the Red Planet was once capable of harboring life. Earlier this year, Curiosity drilled some samples out of a sedimentary rock near an old river bed in Gale Crater. This geological area used to feature a series of stream channels, leaving behind finely grained bedrock indicative of previously wet conditions. Using the rover’s onboard instrumentation, NASA scientists analyzed these samples to detect some of the critical elements required for life, including sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon. The rover is currently on a trek to its primary scientific target – a three-mile-high peak at the center of Gale Crater named Mount Sharp – where it will attempt to further reinforce its findings.
Researchers Detect Neutrinos from Another Galaxy
By drilling a 1.5 mile hole deep into an Antarctic glacier, physicists working at the IceCube South Pole Observatory this year captured 28 neutrinos, those mysterious and extremely powerful subatomic particles that can pass straight through solid matter. And here’s the real kicker: the particles likely originated from beyond our solar system – and possibly even our galaxy. ”This is a landmark discovery,” said Alexander Kusenko, a UCLA astroparticle physicist who was not involved in the investigation, “possibly a Nobel Prize in the making.”
NASA Discovers “A Previously Unknown Surprise Circling Earth”
NASA’s recently deployed Van Allen probes — a pair of robotic spacecraft launched in August 2012 to investigate Earth’s eponymous pair of radiation belts — turned out out some very unexpected findings in February, when they spotted an ephemeral third ring of radiation, previously unknown to science, surrounding our planet.
Human Cloning Becomes a Reality
A scientific milestone 17 years in the making, researchers announced in May that they had derived stem cells from cloned human embryos.The controversial technology could lead to new treatments for diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetes — while bringing us one step closer to human reproductive cloning.
Giant “Pandoravirus” Could Redefine Life as we Know it
Scientists in July announced the discovery of a pair of viruses that defy classification. Bigger and more genetically complex than any viral genus known to science, these so-called “pandoraviruses” could reignite a longstanding debate over the classification of life itself.
Brain-to-Brain Interfaces Have Arrived
Back in February, researchers announced that they had successfully established an electronic link between the brains of two rats, and demonstrated that signals from the mind of one could help the second solve basic puzzles in real time — even when those animals were separated by thousands of miles. A few months later, a similar connection was established between the brain of a human and a rat. Just one month later, researchers published the results of the first successful human-to-human brain interface. The age of the mind-meld, it seems, is near at hand.
There is Life at the End of the World
There is life in Lake Whillans. For millions of years, the small body of liquid water has lurked hundreds of meters below Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, sealed off from the outside world and the scientists who would explore its subglacial depths. Earlier this year, a team of researchers led by Montana State University glaciologist John Priscu successfully bored a tunnel to Whillans and encountered life, making Priscu and his colleagues the first people in history to discover living organisms in the alien lakes at the bottom of the world.
Doctors Cure HIV in a Baby Born With the Disease
In a monumental first for medicine, doctors announced in March that a baby had been cured of an HIV infection. Dr. Deborah Persaud, who presented the child’s case at the 20th annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infection, called it “definitely a game-changer.”
Newly Discovered Skulls Could Prune Humans’ Evolutionary Tree
An incredibly well-preserved, 1.8-million-year-old skull from Dmanisi, Georgia suggests the evolutionary tree of the genus Homo may have fewer branches than previously believed. In a report published in October, a team led by Georgian anthropologist David Lordkipanidze writes that it is “the world’s first completely preserved hominid skull.” And what a skull it is. When considered alongside four other skulls discovered nearby, it suggests that the earliest known members of the Homo genus (H. habilis, H.rudolfensis and H. erectus) may not have been distinct, coexisting species, at all. Instead, they may have been part of a single, evolving lineage that eventually gave rise to modern humans.
Neuroscientists Turn Brains Invisible
Gaze upon the stunning effects of CLARITY, a new technique that enables scientists to turn brain matter and other tissues completely transparent. It’s been hailed as one of the most important advances for neuroanatomy in decades, and it’s not hard to see why.
December 8, 2013 via Mondoweiss
An Israeli sniper killed a child yesterday. Wajih Wajdi Al-Ramahi, 14 was shot in the back by while walking in front of a school in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah. Thousands of mourners turned out for his funeral is today.
Ma’an News reports the family said “their son was “executed” and “assassinated in cold blood,” ” Reportedly, according to locals, there were “no clashes or any kind of rock-throwing incidents that might have provoked the killing.”
The teenager father’s said Israeli soldiers target youths and kill them, in order to amuse themselves.
He added that his son was shot by an Israeli soldier from a watchtower in Bet El with one bullet while he was walking near a school in the camp. He was hit directly in the back…
His mother, sisters and other relatives wept as his body passed by the door to his home as his body was moved to the refugee camp’s mosque for funeral prayers.
His body was finally laid to rest in the camp’s cemetery, with a gunfire salute into the air as his body was lowered into the ground.
Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti said that negotiations by the Palestinians with the State of Israel are being used as “a cover for settlement expansion and in order to carry out crimes and murder against the Palestinian people.”
He called for an “end to negotiations and for the International Criminal Court to try Israel and its leaders for war crimes committed against the Palestinian people, including the murder of the al-Ramahi child.”
It’s urgent the global community snap out of it and step up by take responsibility for seeking justice. The time is long past for the occupying army to be investigating the crimes of either its soldiers or citizens, against Palestinian people whose land they covet.
Saudara-saudara rakyat jelata di seluruh Indonesia
terutama saudara-saudara penduduk kota Surabaya
Kita semuanya telah mengetahui bahwa hari ini
tentara inggris telah menyebarkan pamflet-pamflet
yang memberikan suatu ancaman kepada kita semua
kita diwajibkan untuk dalam waktu yang mereka tentukan
menyerahkan senjata-senjata yang telah kita rebut dari tangannya tentara jepang
mereka telah minta supaya kita datang pada mereka itu dengan mengangkat tangan
mereka telah minta supaya kita semua datang pada mereka itu dengan membawa bendera puitih tanda bahwa kita menyerah kepada mereka
di dalam pertempuran-pertempuran yang lampau kita sekalian telah menunjukkan
bahwa rakyat Indonesia di Surabaya
pemuda-pemuda yang berasal dari Maluku
pemuda-pemuda yang berawal dari Sulawesi
pemuda-pemuda yang berasal dari Pulau Bali
pemuda-pemuda yang berasal dari Kalimantan
pemuda-pemuda dari seluruh Sumatera
pemuda Aceh, pemuda Tapanuli, dan seluruh pemuda Indonesia yang ada di surabaya ini
di dalam pasukan-pasukan mereka masing-masing
dengan pasukan-pasukan rakyat yang dibentuk di kampung-kampung
telah menunjukkan satu pertahanan yang tidak bisa dijebol
telah menunjukkan satu kekuatan sehingga mereka itu terjepit di mana-mana
hanya karena taktik yang licik daripada mereka itu saudara-saudara
dengan mendatangkan presiden dan pemimpin2 lainnya ke Surabaya ini
maka kita ini tunduk utuk memberhentikan pentempuran
tetapi pada masa itu mereka telah memperkuat diri
dan setelah kuat sekarang inilah keadaannya
Saudara-saudara kita semuanya
kita bangsa indonesia yang ada di Surabaya ini
akan menerima tantangan tentara inggris itu
dan kalau pimpinan tentara inggris yang ada di Surabaya
ingin mendengarkan jawaban rakyat Indoneisa
ingin mendengarkan jawaban seluruh pemuda Indoneisa yang ada di Surabaya ini
dengarkanlah ini tentara inggris
ini jawaban kita
ini jawaban rakyat Surabaya
ini jawaban pemuda Indoneisa kepada kau sekalian
hai tentara inggris
kau menghendaki bahwa kita ini akan membawa bendera putih untuk takluk kepadamu
kau menyuruh kita mengangkat tangan datang kepadamu
kau menyuruh kita membawa senjata2 yang telah kita rampas dari tentara jepang untuk diserahkan kepadamu
tuntutan itu walaupun kita tahu bahwa kau sekali lagi akan mengancam kita
untuk menggempur kita dengan kekuatan yang ada
tetapi inilah jawaban kita:
selama banteng-banteng Indonesia masih mempunyai darah merah
yang dapat membikin secarik kain putih merah dan putih
maka selama itu tidak akan kita akan mau menyerah kepada siapapun juga
Saudara-saudara rakyat Surabaya, siaplah! keadaan genting!
tetapi saya peringatkan sekali lagi
jangan mulai menembak
baru kalau kita ditembak
maka kita akan ganti menyerang mereka itukita tunjukkan bahwa kita ini adalah benar-benar orang yang ingin merdeka
Dan untuk kita saudara-saudara
lebih baik kita hancur lebur daripada tidak merdeka
semboyan kita tetap: merdeka atau mati!
Dan kita yakin saudara-saudara
pada akhirnya pastilah kemenangan akan jatuh ke tangan kita
sebab Allah selalu berada di pihak yang benar
Tuhan akan melindungi kita sekalian
Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!
"There is no colour brighter for me than black and white."
I saw him fly as light as an angel, when he still had the face of a cherub.
I saw him invent a shot that become his own and no one else’s, jump among the big men while he was still a boy.
I saw him score for his team, especially in games that really mattered, in the head-to-head matches, in the finals all around the world.
I saw him get angry and show his teeth if there was a principle to defend, and bow his head if what was good for him was not what was good for his teammates.
I have seen him fight selfishness, even his own, because growing up he understood what “team” means.
I have seen him talk about values and behave accordingly.
I saw him stumble and then fall. I followed him while he struggled to get back up.
I have seen him combat managers and nervous stomachaches.
I saw him love the Azzurri shirt and failing to make others understand it. Then I saw him take us to Berlin.
I saw him understand that things change, modify his game, score 11 consecutive goals from the penalty spot if a penalty was the maximum he could give to the team in that given moment.
I have seen him trying to fit into what he didn’t want, to make sacrifices and remind us of it.
I saw him humble and I saw him presumptuous. I saw him suffer when he was wrong.
I saw him come out in a white tuxedo, immaculate, from a landfill.
I never read scandals about him in the newspapers.
I did not see him give up, ever.
There was a night I watched as he sat on the bench, with a frown made by those who want to play.
I saw him applaud his teammates for the goals that they scored, then cheer for team.
I saw him enter the field without warming up, he, who is no longer a child.
I saw him yelling at the boy who talked too much, because respect is important.
I saw him score an artist’s free kick and an accountant’s penalty.
I am happy as I saw Alex Del Piero do all these things in the part of my lifetime.
#Fabio Caressa, 2007