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So what’s new in 2013?

Or should we say what was new in 2013? Well, a lot. Elements were discovered, species were christened and innovations were made to make our lives easier. We have kept you updated with all that. Now, let us take a look at what 2013 brought with it that we might have missed, but cannot overlook. There are discoveries and then there are inventions bouncing off those discoveries. Here is a list of the one’s for which we must keep a constant vigil.

2013 is the year of Google Glass, iPhone 4,5,6…, discoveries on Mars and the moon and many exciting innovations like the 3D printer. It has certainly been a year of some eye-popping stuff…

Inventions that made the year
imageThe 3-D Doodler

Bored in class? Drawing random shapes and doodling in your notebook not working for you anymore? Want more three-dimensional doodling fun? Maxwell Bogue, Peter Dilworth and Daniel Cowen from the Boston-based toy company WobbleWorks, have just the thing for you! The 3D Doodler is a 3D printer pen that melts and cools coloured plastic to create rigid, tangible structures in any shape imaginable!

imageThe Edible Password Pill

Do you have trouble remembering your Facebook password and your email password and your bank account password? Motorola has figured out a way for you, which may not be easier than keeping one password for all, but is definitely more foolproof. Motorola’s Edible Password Pill, is exactly what it sounds like. You swallow it once a day and the tiny chip inside it uses the acid in your stomach to run. Once activated, it emits a signal that can be detected by your phone or computer, essentially turning your body into a password!

imageFossils that remain

Fossils are important discoveries for man. With each new discovery, we get a clearer picture of history and evolution. Scientists at Australia’s University of Newcastle have taken this one step further. They brought back a species of frog from the dead! Using DNA from frozen tissue samples they recreated embryos of the Gastric-Brooding Frog, extinct since 1983. This frog is named thusly because it gives birth through its mouth! The male gastric-brooding frog fertilizes the eggs externally. Then, the female swallows them, gestates them in her stomach and regurgitates baby frogs. Easy as eating apple pie
(or frog eggs, in this case).

Going viral:
imageBig bad HIV virus

So for some bad news now. Researchers from the Lund University in Sweden have discovered a new ‘recombinant’ strain of the HIV virus. Recombinant means it is a combination of two virus strains. Called A3/02 — a cross between the 02AG and A3 viruses — the strain can develop into AIDS in just five years after the first infection — one of the shortest time periods for HIV-1 types. Currently found only in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, it is spreading quickly, declare experts.

imageXXXL-size virus

The Pandoravirus is about a micrometer, or a millionth of a meter, in size. And stuffed with 2,500 genes! The size and genome complexity make it the most gigantic virus in the world.

But so what, right?

Well, it is not known how the Pandoravirus relates to human beings or the other life forms. But the Pandoravirus itself was a surprise discovery. The bad news is that there could be more in store for us, than we bargained for…

imageElementary discoveries

We told you about the new element on the block (or periodic table) — the tentatively (and cumbersomely) named 'ununpentium', right? And we all know of how scientists are constantly looking for ways to know more about this universe. In particle physics, researchers are forever seeking answers to questions of how subatomic particles interact with each other. All this research is supposed to lead them to answers to the human race’s most pressing queries — what is gravity? What is time? What is the origin of life?

So physicists at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, the US, have discovered a major shortcut for predicting ­subatomic-particle collisions. Called The Amplituhedron, it has probability and pyramids and particle interactions — all the stuff that would make a physicist drool. Basically, it is an arrangement of probabilities of particle interactions that makes it easier to predict whether particular subatomic particles would collide or not.

How does it help? Well, it could only lead to the long-sought quantum theory of gravity, which could quantify gravity for us. So…

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So what’s new in 2013?