These days, it’s hard to think about anything other than the wars and humanitarian crises raging around the world. Climate change is leaving its mark in what is arguably the hottest year in human history. There was an unprecedented heatwave, intensifying forest fires, torrential rains, and devastating floods like the one in Libya, where two dams collapsed, causing devastating damage.
But this doesn’t stop scientists, innovators, and decision makers from successfully working on solutions to society’s biggest challenges. We have compiled a list of positive news that will be announced in 2023.
A powerful laser redirected lightning bolt throws them off course.
Unless lightning can be redirected, millions of volts can instantly damage buildings, start fires, and harm people. Experiments using laser beams suggest that this is possible. Scientists behind it have to demonstrate that the multimillion-dollar laser actually works better at critical sites like airports and rocket launch pads than the widely used cheaper lightning rods. It won’t.read more science.
Asteroid rocks and dust were brought to Earth
OSIRIS-REx, the first US mission to collect asteroid samples, successfully returned a capsule of particles and dust from the asteroid Bennu. Initial analysis conducted in a NASA lab suggests that the sample is rich in carbon- and water-rich minerals, the building blocks of life on Earth. For more information, please see WIRED.
Scientists grow the first mouse embryo in space
What would make humans a truly spacefaring species? What if we could reproduce and grow outside of Earth’s atmosphere? Experiments in mice suggest that it may be possible. Scientists have successfully grown mouse embryos on the International Space Station and safely returned them to Earth. Their early growth seemed unaffected by low gravity and high radiation.read more new scientist.
A rare egg-laying mammal has been rediscovered for the first time in decades.
It seems hard to miss a species with the spine of a hedgehog, the snout of an anteater and the feet of a mole.However, the long-beaked echidna Zagrossos AttenboroughThe animal, named after British naturalist David Attenborough, had been in hiding since being scientifically recorded in 1961 until it was caught on camera for the first time. This egg-laying mammal is only known to live in the Cyclops Mountains of Papua, Indonesia.read more mongabay.
Countries sign landmark treaty to protect high seas
After nearly two decades of negotiations, United Nations member states have agreed to protect marine life in the high seas, the two-thirds of the world’s oceans that lie outside their borders. This legal framework enables, for example, the creation of vast marine protected areas (MPAs). It also states that “genetic resources,” such as substances derived from plants and animals discovered for medicine or food, must benefit society as a whole.read more guardian.
California national parks recover from wildfires
Two years after California’s largest single wildfire destroyed nearly 70 percent of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the ecosystem still stands. Shrubs and grasses are growing in the burnt areas, while fungi and insects are decomposing the trunks of dead trees, slowing recovery.read more guardian.
Brazil’s Supreme Court rules on indigenous rights in landmark case
A powerful agribusiness lobby sought to place time limits on indigenous land rights. They will need to prove they lived on the land in 1988, when Brazil’s current constitution was ratified. However, during the military dictatorship that lasted from the 1960s to the 1980s, many indigenous peoples were expelled from their ancestral lands. Brazil’s Supreme Court has thrown out the proposed deadline for land claims.read more Associated Press.
There may be large reserves of hydrogen deep underground in France
In the future, hydrogen could power factories, trucks, ships, and planes, but its production requires large amounts of energy and is expensive. But the gas also occurs naturally deep in the Earth’s crust, and French researchers have accidentally discovered a potentially large deposit. Next year, they plan to begin drilling to collect gas samples from up to 2.8 miles deep. For more information, conversation.
The world may have passed the tipping point for solar power
New research suggests that solar power is on track to become the world’s main energy source by 2050, even without more ambitious climate change policies being introduced. Renewable energy is already cheaper than fossil fuels. But in the case of solar energy, it still needs to overcome obstacles such as integration into the grid and financing in developing countries to continue to grow as it has in recent years. For more information, conversation.
A new type of geothermal power plant makes the internet a little greener
The pilot plant is currently harnessing the earth’s heat deep underground to help power a Google data center in Nevada. Engineers drilled two boreholes 7,000 feet deep and connected them using hydraulic fracturing, a technique traditionally used in the oil and gas industry. Water sent into one borehole travels through the cracked rock below and returns to the heated surface through the other borehole. For more information, please see WIRED.
World’s first methanol-fueled container ship completes maiden voyage
Laura MaerskThe ship, the world’s first methanol-fueled ship, arrived in the UK in September. This was a milestone for the shipping industry, which accounts for about 3 percent of global emissions and is struggling to decarbonize. Methanol can be made from food waste in landfills. For more information, BBC.
A cheap and effective vaccine against malaria has been approved
A second malaria shot is now being developed that could be manufactured even more quickly and given to more children than the first shot. It received recognition from the World Health Organization in October, two years after it was first proposed. Malaria is the leading cause of death among children in sub-Saharan Africa.read more statistics news.
Largest study of migraine patients promises new treatment pathway
In the largest genetic study of migraine to date, researchers have identified more than three times the number of previously known genetic risk factors. This could help us better understand the biological basis of migraine and its subtypes and accelerate the search for new treatments.read more science daily.
Scientists make breakthrough in cervical cancer treatment
In a British trial of 500 women, half received an existing, inexpensive drug before standard radiotherapy. The results showed that the combination therapy reduced women’s risk of death or recurrence by 35 percent. Researchers say this is the biggest advance in treating the disease in the past 20 years. For more information, Independent.
Gene therapy shows early promise for children
Chinese scientists have reported that some children who were born deaf can now hear after a gene therapy trial. Meanwhile, experiments are underway in the United States and France on children with a rare form of genetic hearing loss. For more information, please see WIRED.
Implant restores walking ability in Parkinson’s disease patient
A man with advanced Parkinson’s disease is able to walk miles again thanks to a special implant. An implant placed in the lumbar region of the spinal cord sends electrical signals to the leg muscles. The scientists behind this innovation plan to conduct further clinical trials in other patients next year.read more SWI swissinfo.ch.
DeepMind’s new AI can predict whether genetic mutations are likely to cause disease
Researchers at Google’s AI company DeepMind have trained an AI model to detect DNA mutations that could speed up the diagnosis of rare diseases. Similar to language models like ChatGPT, this model knows the protein’s amino acid sequence and can detect anomalies. For more information, please see WIRED.
AI-powered predictions help Chileans evacuate from floods
Google’s forecasting tools can use small amounts of data about river flows to predict flooding in South America and other regions with surprising accuracy. In August of this year, a flood warning issued two days earlier in Chile allowed many people to safely evacuate with their belongings.read more fast company.
Hollywood actors and screenwriters’ fight against AI is over for now
Generative AI is coming to Hollywood, too, with both the Writers Guild and Actors Guild successfully negotiating guardrails for how the technology can be used in film and TV projects after months of strikes. Did. For example, AI cannot be used to create or rewrite scripts. Additionally, studios are not allowed to use scripts to train AI models without the writer’s permission. For more information, please see WIRED.
Lego blocks teach children Braille
LEGO bricks’ iconic studs allow you to stack LEGO blocks. Now you can learn a new language as you go. The company began selling bricks with varying amounts of studs for teaching the Braille alphabet. Children can learn codes because each brick has a corresponding letter or number printed on it, represented by a brick stud.read more tech crunch.