30 December, 2014 – Episode 495 – This Week in Science


TWIS deconstructs 2014 in our annual countdown of the top 11 science stories of the year!

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The new year is swiftly approaching!
A year full
of potential new discoveries, each new day a new opportunity to learn new
things about a world we have just begun to truly understand…
And as we
prepare to set sights on new horizons of science-y discovery we pause here at
the end of an amazing year to look back and appreciate the super awesome-ness
of what we have only just learned.
As we do
each year we will be re-selecting the top 11 or so stories that most caught our
eye out of the several hundred we have reported on out of the tens of thousands
of discoveries that occurred…
As with any
top anything list, there was much fierce disagreement, some unequivocal
unanimous-ity, and several times when flipping of coins or rock paper scissors
was used to pick the entries to the final top eleven list…
So here they
are, 2014’s top eleven stories for This Week in Science…
Coming up next!!!

Number 11… Quantum Teleportation
Quantum teleportation sent information over leaps and bounds this year; as well as to multiple places opening the door to multi-party communication.

Number 10… Gravitational Waves
BICEP, or not to BICEP?

Number 9… Water in Earth
Ringwoodite was found in a diamond, and more evidence amounted to suggest that there is a lot of water in the Earth’s mantle.

Number 8… Human evolution
Engravings on 430,000 year old shells suggest that the genus Homo was a lot more complicated than we thought.

Number 7… Gene Therapy
Gene therapy for sight.
Gene modification in monkey embryos.
Gene modification in adult mice with liver disorders.

Crocodiles will destroy us all.

Animals are smart
… And also never forget.

Peacocks – we had them all wrong.

Invertebrate Sex…
It never gets old.

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Number 6… Space launches
Orion success.
Antares explosion.
SpaceShip 2 accident.

Number 5… Ebola
Ebola vaccine

Number 4… Omics
Proteome database
Largest-ever map of the human interactome predicts new cancer genes.
Bird genomics and evolution.

Number 3… Stem Cells
Acid dipping experiment, published, and retracted, suicide and more…
Drop of blood makes stem cells.
Stem cells used to create first operating organ and fish embryo.
Human skins cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells that integrate into the brain successfully.

Number 2… Space exploration
Rosetta/Philae: Rosetta sniffed a comet, and detected cometary water content, which has implications for water on Earth. Philae landed successfully on the comet, and detected organic molecules!
with NASA: Cassini turned 10, and detected water inside Enceladus.
LADEE hit the moon.
Kepler got a second chance, and started finding planets again.
On Mars, the Curiosity mission found traces of organic compounds, methane

Number 1… Synthetic biology
An artificial cell with organelles was created.
Artificial enzymes were designed using XNA.
Synthetic chromosomes were created in yeast cells.
Synthetic DNA was used to create a partially synthetic bacterial organism with no deleterious effects.

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I'm the host of this little science show.