My Science and Technology review for 2019

I like to end every year with my selection of the most significant science and technology events.

  1. In 2019, you could buy a computer from Apple with 1.5 terabytes of memory. And by memory, I mean fast internal memory (RAM). Of course, it would cost tens of thousands of dollars. You and I are unlikely to have that much memory on our computers in the near future. Yet we are all benefiting from faster disks, making the distinction between disk and memory harder. (Note that it has been possible to buy computers with a terabyte of memory and more from other vendors, but not typically in a mainstream desktop form.)
  2. A team lead by Conboy showed that we could rejuvenate multiple organs in old mice merely by giving them Alk5i and oxytocin. Quoting from the paper:

    Alk5i plus OT quickly and robustly enhanced neurogenesis, reduced neuro-inflammation, improved cognitive performance, and rejuvenated livers and muscle in old mice.

    You can purchase oxytocin on the Internet and many people take it already to improve their sleep.

  3. We can tell how old someone is by looking at “epigenetic markers”. That is, from one of your cells, we can look at how your DNA is arranged and expressed, and it tells us your age. In some sense, it defines your “biological age” as opposed to your “chronological age”. As far as we could tell, there was no way to intervene and reverse this age. However, in a study reported in Nature, researchers found such age reversal in a small clinical trial. This age reversal came about accidentally when trying to regrow the “thymus” in older people. The thymus naturally disappears with age, leaving older people with weakened immune systems. The small clinical trial also showed that the thymus was regrown, something that is unexpected.
  4. Apple released a smart watch with an integrated ECG, to monitor your heart conditions.
  5. As we age, we accumulate “senescent cells”. These are old cells that create trouble and refuse to die. We know now to wipe them out in mice, using Dasatinib and Quercetin. It turns out that the exact same approach works in human beings. At least in mice, clearing senescent cells lead to all sorts of health improvements.
  6. A drone attack wiped out 50% of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply for several days. This is a huge impact given that Saudi Arabia provides about 10% of the oil supply worldwide. It is a testimony of how good drone technology has become.
  7. Surgeons are putting patients in suspended animation (they stopped their biological functions) during surgery, replacing their blood with a cold saline solution.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

3 thoughts on “My Science and Technology review for 2019”

  1. The drone attack listed for point number six did not “[wipe] out 50% of Saudi Arabia’s oil supply,” but instead forced a temporary 50% cut to their daily production.

    The attack was on two sites, one of which was attacked with cruise missiles while the other was attacked with drones.

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