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Some breakthroughs in 2007

Wired has a list of what it regards as the top scientific breakthroughs of 2007. Some of the technologists and scientifically literate folk who read our blog might disagree, so comment away with your own suggestions.

11 comments to Some breakthroughs in 2007

  • countingcats

    It was the chimps wot done it for me. Gobsmacked, dumbfounded, pick jaw up off the floor time.

    Utterly shocked at the news.

    Changes my view on how they should be treated.

  • Countingcats: really? It has been known for a while now that they are able to make tools.

  • Kevin B

    So transistors are getting smaller and, presumably, faster. The programmers will just find ways to slow everything back down again.

    The new planet discoveries are quite interesting, but even at ‘only’ twenty light years away, I’m still not going to be going there any time soon.

    The new material is much more exciting. I’ve often thought that many of the major breakthroughs of this century will be based on new materials.

    Number 1 is probably of most interest to me as it’s the only one which promises to make a big difference in my lifetime. Hopefully by extending my lifetime far enough to see the fruits of other scientific breakthroughs.

    I also clicked on the link to another story on the page, (as one does on the internet). The one about ‘Big Bang or Big Goof?’ and the following passage leapt out at me.

    Ultimatelly, Verschuur’s claim will stand or fall upon the treacherous terrain of statistics, which means it likely won’t be settled anytime soon. History shows that debates over statistical interpretations can go on forever.

    Anyone who spends any time over at ClimateAudit will recognize the truth of that. I wonder how much of what we know about the world is founded on that same ‘treacherous terrain’?

  • Yeah that bit about the chimps was surprising and worrying. Can’t have chimps running around with firearms demanding…well what ever chimps demand, now can we?!

    Really though, the adaptive behavior is quite stunning.

  • Richard Schweitzer

    And exactly WHO at “Wired” is qualified and how to make such judgments? Do even the editors of the various editions of ” Nature” or “Science” try that? And, has U.S. News & World Report put its imprimatur on any such listing. Is this still the Mkae Believe Media we all deplore?
    Why be so serious?

  • Alice

    From the article:

    Unlike recent years, there were no high-profile cases of scientific fraud — none that went uncovered, anyway.

    Guess that means nobody bothered to read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 4th Assessment Report?

    Hockey stick? We don’t see no God-damned hockey stick? Wasn’t us, gov. Honest!

  • mr_ed

    I kinda assumed that whatever they thought about Anthropogenic Global Warming, they probably chalked up the findings to a different year.

    But say – shouldn’t that be Ape-generated Global Warming, to fully credit our cousins with their status?

    Has the combination of chimps + tools + hunting been noted before? That’s what I’m unsure of. Making hunting tools and then using them.

    I think the question regarding chimps and firearms is whether the existing laws apply to another species. This has the potential for making censorship of criticism of Islam look like a civil-rights tempest in a teapot.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    And exactly WHO at “Wired” is qualified and how to make such judgments? Do even the editors of the various editions of ” Nature” or “Science” try that?

    Richard, don’t be such a grump. Wired magazine decided to have a bit of retrospective fun; they are one of the premier magazines covering science/tech/communications; as for the other magazines you mention, I have no idea.

  • countingcats

    It has been known for a while now that they are able to make tools.

    Yeah, but not to that extent with that level of forethought. That is what I find gobsmacking.

    Still, compare that with the multi generational planning that must have gone into the cats breeding the human race as the perfect servant and can opener. Now that is impressive.

  • Paul Marks

    I am still waiting for the carbon nano tube buildings – and the carbon nano tube other stuff.

  • J

    The dinosaur is the one I find most interesting. The others are all incremental improvements or discoveries, but have soft tissue available for something that died so long ago is pretty interesting.

    Although the tool-making is very interesting, I think it seems more remarkable just because it’s something people used to do. I many ways I find the the ability of beavers to damn a whole river rather more impressive than the ability of a chimp to make a sharp stick.