It *IS* All Just a Theory! (but it's so successful and prophetic)

Something along the same lines of my blog "It Was All Just a Theory", I want to build up a list of stuff that hasn't happened yet, but that Science will make happen.

If religionists can't appreciate all that science has learned and found to be true and presented to humanity--such as all the medicine and technology that has increased our health and lifespan and provided for our daily needs and comfort--perhaps they will appreciate science prophecy, more?

Science has such an incredible track record, we just take it for granted now that there is a lot more of its success to come. So what is science unable to do right now, but is going to do, probably within our lifetimes?

I would also invite religionists to dispute these powers of science, and maybe even show us in the bible (or other religious dogma) which prophesies will override ours. See, we're talking about real miracles coming, folks, like helping the blind to see, cripples to walk, and sustenance for the starving. Bring it on!

Views: 104

Tags: future, miracles, prophesy, science

Comment by Dr.Grixis on November 5, 2012 at 6:35am

I think the first step would be to explain science, most theists haven't got the faintest idea how science works, what a fact is (evolution) and what a theory is (natural selection). By pointing their attention to the accomplishments of science, we might be able to gain some respect from some theists, but for them to truly understand it and accept it would entail for them to learn the operating principles of science.

Learning takes effort, and why would you learn anything if you're already certain that you know the truth?

There's a huge complex wall of interlocking principles, ideas and emotions that form the barrier between the logical mind of a theist and their idea of god. There are no shortcuts between the two and it takes hard work to break through.

Comment by Pope Beanie on November 5, 2012 at 12:35pm

You're right that learning and critical thinking are important ingredients. But I'm thinking more and more these days that people have so much evidence of the effectiveness and products of science before them, yet they don't even notice it. Do most people even realize how many man-years of science and engineering has gone into a personal computer, or the ability to communicate like this? I haven't seen estimates, but a number like a million man-years wouldn't surprise me. High (intellectual and practical) benefits from such high investments, yet people just don't see the enterprise of science and tech in perspective. To a lot of them, scripture is the only "evidence" they're motivated to accept, and then religion adds blinders to aid the ignorance/denial of the larger, real world.

Comment by Pope Beanie on November 20, 2012 at 2:17am

Wax-Filled Nanotech Yarn Behaves Like Super-Strong Muscle

Here is an excerpt from the full article:

New artificial muscles made from nanotech yarns and infused with paraffin wax can lift more than 100,000 times their own weight and generate 85 times more mechanical power than the same size natural muscle, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas and their international team from Australia, China, South Korea, Canada and Brazil.

The artificial muscles are yarns constructed from carbon nanotubes, which are seamless, hollow cylinders made from the same type of graphite layers found in the core of ordinary pencils. Individual nanotubes can be 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, yet pound-for-pound, can be 100 times stronger than steel.

“The artificial muscles that we’ve developed can provide large, ultrafast contractions to lift weights that are 200 times heavier than possible for a natural muscle of the same size,” said Dr. Ray Baughman, team leader, Robert A. Welch Professor of Chemistry and director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas. “While we are excited about near-term applications possibilities, these artificial muscles are presently unsuitable for directly replacing muscles in the human body.”

Coil with paraffin with scale bar

UT Dallas researchers have made artificial muscles from carbon nanotube yarns that have been infiltrated with paraffin wax and twisted until coils form along their length. The diameter of this coiled yarn is about twice the width of a human hair.

Described in a study published in the Nov. 16 issue of the journal Science, the new artificial muscles are made by infiltrating a volume-changing “guest,” such as the paraffin wax used for candles, into twisted yarn made of carbon nanotubes. Heating the wax-filled yarn, either electrically or using a flash of light, causes the wax to expand, the yarn volume to increase, and the yarn length to contract.

Comment by Pope Beanie on August 11, 2013 at 9:36pm

Nanodrug Targeting Breast Cancer Cells From the Inside Adds Weapon:...

The multipronged approach directly attacks cancer cells, blocking the growth of cancer-supporting blood vessels and stimulating an antitumor immune response

Released: 8/10/2013 10:00 AM EDT

Newswise — LOS ANGELES (Aug. 9, 2013) – A unique nanoscale drug that can carry a variety of weapons and sneak into cancer cells to break them down from the inside has a new component: a protein that stimulates the immune system to attack HER2-positive breast cancer cells. 

[...]

Unlike other drugs that target cancer cells from the outside, often injuring normal cells as a side effect, this therapy consists of multiple drugs chemically bonded to a “nanoplatform” that functions as a transport vehicle.

HER2-positive cancers – making up 25 to 30 percent of breast and ovarian cancers – tend to be more aggressive and less responsive to treatment than others because the overactive HER2 gene makes excessive amounts of a protein that promotes cancer growth. One commonly used drug, Herceptin (trastuzumab), often is effective for a while, but many tumors become resistant within the first year of treatment and the drug can injure normal organs it contacts.

But Herceptin is an antibody to the HER2 gene – it naturally seeks out this protein – so the research team used key parts of Herceptin to guide the nanodrug into HER2-positive cancer cells.

“We genetically prepared a new ‘fusion gene’ that consists of an immune-stimulating protein, interleukin-2, and a gene of Herceptin,” said Julia Y. Ljubimova, MD, PhD, professor of neurosurgery and biomedical sciences and director of the Nanomedicine Research Center. “IL-2 activates a variety of immune cells but is not stable in blood plasma and does not home specifically to tumor cells. By attaching the new fusion antibody to the nanoplatform, we were able to deliver Herceptin directly to HER2-positive cancer cells, at the same time transporting IL-2 to the tumor site to stimulate the immune system. Attaching IL-2 to the platform helped stabilize the protein and allowed us to double the dosage that could be delivered to the tumor.”

[...]

The researchers also attached other components, such as molecules to block a protein (laminin-411) that cancer cells need to make new blood vessels for growth.

The nanodrug, Polycefin, is in an emerging class called nanobiopolymeric conjugates, nanoconjugates or nanobioconjugates. They are the latest evolution of molecular drugs designed to slow or stop cancers by blocking them in multiple ways. Polycefin is intended to slow their growth by entering cells and altering defined targets. The new version also stimulates the immune system to further weaken cancers.

“We believe this is the first time a drug has been designed for nano-immunology anti-cancer treatment,” Ljubimova said.

[...]

Nano researchers manipulate substances and materials at the atomic level, generally working with substances smaller than 100 nanometers. Cedars-Sinai’s nanoconjugate is estimated to be about 27 nanometers wide. A human hair is 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide.

This study was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute (R01CA123459, U01CA151815, R01CA136841, K01CA138559. Additional support came from the UC MEXUS-CONACYT Fellowship Program, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship, the Whitcome Fellowship of the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA, [...]

Comment by Pope Beanie on October 7, 2013 at 8:35pm

Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

Harnessing fusion - the process that powers the Sun - could provide an unlimited and cheap source of energy.

But to be viable, fusion power plants would have to produce more energy than they consume, which has proven elusive.

Now, a breakthrough by scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) could boost hopes of scaling up fusion.

NIF, based at Livermore in California, uses 192 beams from the world's most powerful laser to heat and compress a small pellet of hydrogen fuel to the point where nuclear fusion reactions take place.

The BBC understands that during an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel - the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world.

This is a step short of the lab's stated goal of "ignition", where nuclear fusion generates as much energy as the lasers supply. This is because known "inefficiencies" in different parts of the system mean not all the energy supplied through the laser is delivered to the fuel.

Nuclear fusion at NIF

Hohlraum
  • 192 laser beams are focused through holes in a target container called a hohlraum
  • Inside the hohlraum is a tiny pellet containing an extremely cold, solid mixture of hydrogen isotopes
  • Lasers strike the hohlraum's walls, which in turn radiate X-rays
  • X-rays strip material from the outer shell of the fuel pellet, heating it up to millions of degrees
  • If the compression of the fuel is high enough and uniform enough, nuclear fusion can result

But the latest achievement has been described as the single most meaningful step for fusion in recent years, and demonstrates NIF is well on its way towards the coveted target of ignition and self-sustaining fusion.

For half a century, researchers have strived for controlled nuclear fusion and been disappointed. It was hoped that NIF would provide the breakthrough fusion research needed.

In 2009, NIF officials announced an aim to demonstrate nuclear fusion producing net energy by 30 September 2012. But unexpected technical problems ensured the deadline came and went; the fusion output was less than had originally been predicted by mathematical models.

Soon after, the $3.5bn facility shifted focus, cutting the amount of time spent on fusion versus nuclear weapons research - which was part of the lab's original mission.

However, the latest experiments agree well with predictions of energy output, which will provide a welcome boost to ignition research at NIF, as well as encouragement to advocates of fusion energy in general.

It is markedly different from current nuclear power, which operates through splitting atoms - fission - rather than squashing them together in fusion.

NIF, based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is one of several projects around the world aimed at harnessing fusion. They include the multi-billion-euro ITER facility, currently under construction in Cadarache, France.

However, ITER will take a different approach to the laser-driven fusion at NIF; the Cadarache facility will use magnetic fields to contain the hot fusion fuel - a concept known as magnetic confinement.

Comment by Pope Beanie on October 12, 2013 at 1:29pm

FDA Approves 'Bionic Eye' for Rare Vision Disorder

THURSDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- An implanted, sight-enhancing device some are calling a "bionic eye" is the first to gain approval for use in the United States, officials announced Thursday.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the new Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System can help patients with a genetic eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa regain some sense of vision. About 100,000 Americans are believed to be affected by the illness, which causes a gradual deterioration of the eyes' photoreceptor cells.

The new device uses a tiny video camera attached to eyeglasses that transmits images to a sheet of electrode sensors that have been sewn into the patient's eye. These sensors then transmit those signals to the brain via the optic nerve. The device helps replace the damaged cells of the retina and helps patients see images or detect movement.

"It's a start, it's a beginning," said Dr. Mark Fromer, an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "It's going to be exciting for people who get this device who are currently just seeing light or dark, [they] will see shapes and that will be life-altering for them."

[Full story]

Comment by Pope Beanie on October 16, 2013 at 11:22pm

Extinct 'Mega Claw' Creature Had Spider-Like Brain

UA Regents' Professor Nicholas Strausfeld and an international team of researchers have discovered the earliest known complete nervous system exquisitely preserved in the fossilized remains of a never-before described creature that crawled or swam in the ocean 520 million years ago.

Close-up of the head region of the Alalcomenaeus fossil specimen with the superimposed colors of a microscopy technique revealing the distribution of chemical elements in the fossil. Copper shows up as blue, iron as magenta and the CT scans as green. The coincidence of iron and CT denote nervous system. The creature boasted two pairs of eyes (ball-shaped structures at the top). (Photo: N. Strausfeld/UA)

Close-up of the head region of the Alalcomenaeus fossil specimen with the superimposed colors of a microscopy technique revealing the distribution of chemical elements in the fossil. Copper shows up as blue, iron as magenta and the CT scans as green. The coincidence of iron and CT denote nervous system. The creature boasted two pairs of eyes (ball-shaped structures at the top). (Photo: N. Strausfeld/UA)
A team of researchers led by University of Arizona Regents' Professor Nick Strausfeld and London Natural History Museum's Greg Edgecombe have discovered the earliest known complete nervous system, exquisitely preserved in the fossilized remains of a never-before described creature that crawled or swam in the ocean 520 million years ago.
 
The find suggests that the ancestors of chelicerates – spiders, scorpions and their kin – branched off from the family tree of other arthropods – including insects, crustaceans and millipedes – more than half a billion years ago.
 
Described in the current issue of the journal Nature, the specimen belongs to an extinct group of marine arthropods known as megacheirans (Greek for "large claws") and solves the long-standing mystery of where this group fits in the tree of life.    
 
"We now know that the megacheirans had central nervous systems very similar to today's horseshoe crabs and scorpions," said Strausfeld, the senior author of the study and a Regents' Professor in the UA's Department of Neuroscience. "This means the ancestors of spiders and their kin lived side by side with the ancestors of crustaceans in the Lower Cambrian."
Illustration of the nervous systems of the Alalcomenaeus fossil (left), a larval horseshoe crab (middle) and a scorpion (right). Diagnostic features revealing the evolutionary relationships among these animals include the forward position of the gut opening in the brain and the arrangement of optic centers outside and inside the brain supplied by two pairs of eyes. (Illustration: N. Strausfeld/UA)
Illustration of the nervous systems of the Alalcomenaeus fossil (left), a larval horseshoe crab (middle) and a scorpion (right). Diagnostic features revealing the evolutionary relationships among these animals include the forward position of the gut opening in the brain and the arrangement of optic centers outside and inside the brain supplied by two pairs of eyes. (Illustration: N. Strausfeld/UA)
 
The scientists identified the 3-centimeter-long creature unearthed from the famous Chengjiang formation near Kunming in southwest China, as a representative of the extinct genus Alalcomenaeus. Animals in this group had an elongated, segmented body equipped with about a dozen pairs of body appendages enabling the animal to swim or crawl or both. All featured a pair of long, scissor-like appendages attached to the head, most likely for grasping or sensory purposes, which gave them their collective name, megacheirans.    
Co-author Greg Edgecombe said that some paleontologists had used the external appearance of the so-called great appendage to infer that the megacheirans were related to chelicerates, based on the fact that the great appendage and the fangs of a spider or scorpion both have an "elbow joint" between their basal part and their pincer-like tip. 
 
"However, this wasn't rock solid because others lined up the great appendage either a segment in front of spider fangs or one segment behind them," Edgecombe said. "We have now managed to add direct evidence from which segment the brain sends nerves into the great appendage. It's the second one, the same as in the fangs, or chelicerae. For the first time we can analyze how the segments of these fossil arthropods line up with each other the same way as we do with living species – using their nervous systems." 
 
The team analyzed the fossil by applying different imaging and image processing techniques, taking advantage of iron deposits that had selectively accumulated in the nervous system during fossilization. 

[entire story here]

Comment by Pope Beanie on January 8, 2014 at 8:57pm

Newly discovered three-star system to challenge Einstein’s theory of General Relativity

pulsar 770

Millisecond pulsar, left foreground, is orbited by a hot white dwarf star, center, both of which are orbited by another, more-distant and cooler white dwarf, top right. Illustration: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF.

A newly discovered system of two white dwarf stars and a superdense pulsar–all packed within a space smaller than the Earth’s orbit around the sun–is enabling astronomers to probe a range of cosmic mysteries, including the very nature of gravity itself.

The international team, which includes UBC astronomer Ingrid Stairs, reports their findings in the journal Nature on January 5.

Originally uncovered by an American graduate student using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope, the pulsar – 4,200 light-years from Earth, spinning nearly 366 times per second – was found to be in close orbit with a white dwarf star and the pair is in orbit with another, more distant white dwarf.

The three-body system is scientists’ best opportunity yet to discover a violation of a key concept in Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity: the strong equivalence principle, which states that the effect of gravity on a body does not depend on the nature or internal structure of that body.

“By doing very high-precision timing of the pulses coming from the pulsar, we can test for such a deviation from the strong equivalence principle at a sensitivity several orders of magnitude greater than ever before available,” says Stairs, with UBC’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Finding a deviation from the strong equivalence principle would indicate a breakdown of General Relativity and would point us toward a new, revised theory of gravity.”

“This is the first millisecond pulsar found in such a system, and we immediately recognized that it provides us a tremendous opportunity to study the effects and nature of gravity,” says Scott Ransom of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), who led the study. “This triple system gives us a natural cosmic laboratory far better than anything found before for learning exactly how such three-body systems work and potentially for detecting problems with General Relativity that physicists expect to see under extreme conditions.”

Background

When a massive star explodes as a supernova and its remains collapse into a superdense neutron star, some of its mass is converted into gravitational binding energy that holds the dense star together. The strong equivalence principle says that this binding energy will still react gravitationally as if it were mass. Virtually all alternatives to General Relativity hold that it will not.

Under the strong equivalence principle, the gravitational effect of the outer white dwarf would be identical for both the inner white dwarf and the neutron star. If the strong equivalence principle is invalid under the conditions in this system, the outer star’s gravitational effect on the inner white dwarf and the neutron star would be slightly different and the high-precision pulsar timing observations could easily show that.

“We have made some of the most accurate measurements of masses in astrophysics,” says Anne Archibald of the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy and one of the authors of the study. “Some of our measurements of the relative positions of the stars in the system are accurate to hundreds of meters.” Archibald led the effort to use the measurements to build a computer simulation of the system that can predict its motions.

The NRAO’s Scott Ransom adds: “This is a fascinating system in many ways, including what must have been a completely crazy formation history, and we have much work to do to fully understand it.”

The scientists’ observational program used the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope, the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, and the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope in the Netherlands. They also studied the system using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the GALEX satellite, the WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Animation available here

Comment by David Smith on January 8, 2014 at 10:00pm

ever notice the religious predictions are vague prophecies mostly of destruction, where as scientific predictions are, well, of anything really, but with the aim of bettering out collective lot anyway.

Religious types are such a pessimistic bunch :P

Comment by Pope Beanie on January 31, 2014 at 1:24pm

News release, January 30, 2014

Blood and lymphatic capillaries grown for the first time in the lab

Researchers at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich and the University of Zurich have engineered skin cells for the very first time containing blood and lymphatic capillaries. They succeeded in isolating all the necessary types of skin cells from human skin tissue and engineering a skin graft that is similar to full-thickness skin.

Every year around 11 million people suffer severe burns. The resulting large, deep wounds caused by burning only heal slowly; this results in lifelong scars. What is needed to reduce this kind of scarring is the grafting of functional full-thickness skin. Only a very limited area of skin can be removed from the individual patient as the surgery, in turn, creates new wounds. Besides conventional skin grafting, another option is to engineer a skin graft in the lab which firstly is composed of the patient’s cells and secondly is very similar to natural human skin.

Up to now these complex skin grafts didn’t contain any blood or lymphatic capillaries, pigmentation, sebaceous glands, hair follicles or nerves. The researchers at the Tissue Biology Research Unit, the research department of the Surgical Clinic and at the Research Centre for Children at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich have been engineering dermo-epidermal skin grafts for some time but now they have succeeded in constructing a more complex organ. “We were able to isolate all the necessary skin cells from a human skin sample and to engineer a skin graft similar to full-thickness skin that contains for the first time blood and lymphatic capillaries too”, says Martin Meuli, Head of the Surgical Clinic at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich.

Fully functional lymphatic capillaries generated for the first time

Tissue fluid is excreted from a wound which accumulates in a cavity on the skin’s surface and can impede wound healing. Lymphatic vessels drain off this fluid. The researchers isolated lymphatic capillary cells from the human dermis. Together with the blood capillaries that were also engineered, this guarantees rapid, efficient vesicular supply of the skin graft. Up to now, this had been a major unsolved problem in molecular tissue biology and regenerative medicine.

The scientists in the team of Ernst Reichmann, Head of the Tissue Biology Research Unit, were surprised by three findings. The individual lymphatic cells spontaneously arranged themselves into lymphatic capillaries with all the characteristics of lymphatic vessels. In preclinical trials both the human lymphatic capillaries and the blood capillaries engineered in the laboratory connected with those of the laboratory animals. “What’s novel is that the lymphatic capillaries collected and transported tissue fluid; hence they were functional”, explains Ernst Reichmann and goes on to add, “We assume that skin grafts with lymphatic and blood capillaries will, in future, both prevent the accumulation of tissue fluid and ensure rapid blood supply of the graft”. This could markedly improve the healing process and the typical organ structure of this type of skin graft.

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