This week: The genes that create intelligence, Congress tells NASA to build deep space module, bionic eyes that let the blind see again, new elements added to the periodic table, and a driverless taxi service.
Scientists Discover Gene Clusters Linked To Human Intelligence
What creates intelligence? Are the super-smart intelligent because of the way that their brains are wired? Is it because of genes, or is it just because of the way that they were raised?
Now, we have new information to help us answer these complicated questions.
For the first time, scientists have discovered brain networks that, they believe, could be linked to human intelligence. The clusters, named M1 and M3, are composed of hundreds of individual genes. These two clusters are believed to have an influence on humans’ major cognitive functions, including attention, reasoning, processing speed, and memory.
US Congress Instructs NASA to Build Space Habitat
Some of NASA’s successes in 2015 include finding liquid water on Mars and icy mountains on Pluto. In fact, the agency has been making so much waves that the US Congress has decided to give it a raise.
However, there’s a catch.
Congress is instructing NASA to use some of that money, which is at least US$55 million, to construct a prototype model of a deep space habitat. An omnibus bill passed by Congress this month directs NASA to accelerate work on a “habitation augmentation module” that could be used for future deep space missions.
Bionic Eyes Let The Blind See Again
There are more than 285 million people worldwide who have vision problems. By the time that they reach 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts, and severe vision problems as a result. However, each year brings new advancements in science and technology that help us to combat these issues, and now, people with vision problems may have new hope.
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System is a retinal implant system that gives people who have gone blind from degenerative eye diseases (like macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa) a limited degree of vision. It’s not full 20/20 sight, but it is an amazing step forward, especially considering that one in ten people over the age of 55 suffer from various stages of macular degeneration and, on the other hand, retinitis pigmentosa is a disease that affects about 1.5 million people worldwide.
Scientists Discover New Elements to Fill Out Periodic Table
Chemistry students will now have a tougher time memorizing the periodic table.
Four elements have been added to the table, according to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
The elements, which have yet to be officially named, are being called Element 113, Element 115, Element 117 and Element 118.
The new elements also provide a certain symmetry to the periodic table, filling out the seventh row of the chart.
South Korean University Tests Self Driving Taxi
A South Korean university is testing a sedan that can pick up and transport passengers without a human driver, giving a glimpse into the future of autonomous public transport.
Seo Seung-Woo, director of the Intelligent Vehicle IT Research Center at Seoul National University, said the university has been testing the driverless taxi to transport disabled students around campus.
The vehicle, called Snuber, has been navigating the 4,109 square meter (44,200 square foot) campus for the past six months without any accidents. It works in conjunction with a hailing app created by the university.
Companies around the world are betting that automated driving technology will transform public transportation.
Know any interesting stories we missed?Let us know in the comments!
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