Image Courtesy: Smithsonian Magazine. Image depicts some of the skull caps excavated from Ngandong.
In development of science, what should matter the most is the findings that help the humanity, the findings that have the potential to open up new paradigms or those which change our understanding of the past or open our eyes to the future. The year 2019 also witnessed several such findings in the science world.
HUMAN HISTORY THROUGH GENETICS
Tracing human history has been achieved with the realm of genetics research as well. Year 2019 also witnessed some of the breakthroughs about human history based on analysis done on ancient DNA found on fossils and other sources.
One of such important findings has come up with a claim about the origin of modern human. What it says is that anatomically, modern humans first appeared in Southern part of Africa. A wetland that covered present day Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe was where the first humans lived some 200,000 years ago. Eventually, humans migrated out of this region. How was the study conducted? Researchers gathered blood samples from 200 living people in groups whose DNA is poorly known, including foragers and hunter-gatherers in Namibia and South Africa. The authors analyzed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), a type of DNA inherited only from mothers, and compared it to mtDNA in databases from more than 1000 other Africans, mostly from southern Africa. Then the researchers sorted how all the samples were related to each other on a family tree. The data reveals that one mtDNA lineage in the Khoisan speakersL0is the oldest known mtDNA lineage in living people. The work also tightens the date of origin of L0 to about 200,000 years ago
Another very important and interesting finding in this field is that Homo Erectus, the closest ancestor of modern humans, marked its last presence on the island of Java, Indonesia. The team of scientists has estimated that the species existed in a place known as Ngandong near the Solo riverbased on dating of animal fossils from a bone bed where Homo Erectus skull caps and leg bones were found earlier. Scientists used to believe that Homo Erectus migrated out of Africa, into Asia, some two million years back. They also believed that the early human ancestor became extinct from the earth around 4 lakh years ago. But the new findings indicate that the species continued to exist in Ngandong even about 117,000 to 108,000 years ago.
So far, anything that is known about the Denisovans, the mysterious archaic human species, was confined to the Denisova caves in Altai Mountain in Siberia. Because the remnants of this ancient species could be discovered in the fossils of the Denisova cave only. But a recent report published in Nature about the discovery of a Denisovan jawbone in a cave in the Tibetan Plateau has revealed many interesting facts about archaic humans. The fossil has been found to be 1,60,000 years old with a powerful jaw and unusually large teeth, resembling the most primitive Neanderthals. Protein analysis of the fossil revealed that they are closer to the Siberian Denisovans.
Image Courtesy: dawn.com
QUANTUM COMPUTING AND SUPREMACY:
Image Courtesy: Quantum magazine.
Computer scientists nowadays are concentrating on going far beyond the speed that the present genre of computing can achieve. Now the principles of quantum mechanics are being tried to incorporate into the next-generation computing. There have been some advances, but the issue in this realm that has sparked controversies is Googles claim to have obtained quantum supremacy.
Sycamore, Googles 53-qubit computer has solved a problem in 200 seconds which would have taken even a supercomputer 10,000 years. In fact, it is a first step. It has shown that a quantum computer can do a functional computation and that quantum computing does indeed solve a special class of problems much faster than conventional computers.
On the other hand, IBM researchers have countered saying that Google hadnt done anything special. This clash indeed highlights the intense commercial interest in quantum computing.
NATURE, CLIMATE AND AMAZON FOREST
Image Courtesy: NASA Earth Observatory.
The man-made climate change has already reached a critical state. Climate researches have already shown how crossing the critical state would bring irreversible changes to the global climate and an accompanying disaster for humanity.
In the year 2019 also, the world has witnessed many devastations in the forms of storms, floods and wildfires.
Apart from the extreme weather events that climate change is prodding, the nature itself is in the most perilous state ever, and the reason is human-made environmental destruction.
The global report submitted by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reviewed some 15,000 scientific papers and also researched other sources of data on trends in biodiversity and its ability to provide people everything from food and fiber to clean water and air.
The report notes that out of 8 million known species of animals and plants, almost 1 million are under the threat of getting extinct and this includes more than 40% of amphibian species and almost a third of marine mammals.
The month of August witnessed an unprecedented wildfire in Amazon rainforest, the biggest in the world. The fire was so large-scale that the smoke covered nearby cities with dark clouds. It has been reported that Brazils National Institute for Space Research (INPE) recorded over 72,000 fires this year, which is an increase of about 80% from last year. More worrisome is the fact that more than 9,000 of these fires have taken place in the last week alone.
The fires have engulfed several large Amazon states in Northwestern Brazil. NASA, on August 11 noted that the fires were huge enough to be spotted from the space.
The main reason attributable to Amazon fires is widescale deforestation due to policy-level changes made by Bolsonaro regime. Many parts of the forest are now made open for the companies to set up business ventureseven the deeper parts of the forest. This has led to massive deforestation.
NEW DIMENSION TO THE TREATMENT OF EBOLA
Image Courtesy: UN News.
In the past, there had been no drugs that could have cured Ebola.
However, two out of four experimental trials carried out in Democratic Republic of Congo were found to be highly effective in saving patients lives. The new treatment method used a combination of existing drugs and newly developed ones. Named as PALM trial, the new method uses monoclonal antibodies and antiviral agencies.
Monoclonal antibodies are antibodies that are made by identical immune cells that are all clones of a unique parent cell. The monoclonal antibodies bind to specific cells or proteins. The objective is that this treatment will stimulate the patients immune system to attack those cells.
Image courtesy: phys.org
Kilogram, the unit to measure mass was defined by a hunk of metal in France. This hunk of metal, also known as the International Prototype Kilogram or Big K, is a platinum-iridium alloy having a mass of 1 kilogram housed at the Bureau of Weights and Measures in France since 1889. The IPK has many copies around the world and are used to calibrate scales to make sure that the whole world follows a standard system of measurement.
But the definition of the Kilogram will no longer be the same. On the International Metrology Day this year, the way a Kilogram has been measured for more than a century has been changed completely. Now, the kilogram would be defined using the Planck constant, something that does not change.
- Quantum Computing Market 2019 Analysis by Key Players, Share, Trend, Segmentation and Forecast to 2026 - Instant Tech News - February 15th, 2020
- Chinese researchers smash the record for realising two entangled quantum memories at maximum distance - www.computing.co.uk - February 15th, 2020
- Quantum Computing: How To Invest In It, And Which Companies Are Leading the Way? - Nasdaq - February 14th, 2020
- DOE Workshop Begins Mapping the Future of Quantum Communications - insideHPC - February 14th, 2020
- Scientists discover how to use time crystals to power superconductors - Big Think - February 14th, 2020
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- Global Quantum Computing Market Newest Research Report In PDF With Forecast [2020-2029] : International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation, Google... - February 14th, 2020
- Budget 2020: Govt bets on AI, data analytics and quantum computing - Livemint - February 2nd, 2020
- This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through February 1) - Singularity Hub - February 2nd, 2020
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- What Is Quantum Computing and How Does it Work? - Built In - January 30th, 2020
- IBM Just Called Out Google Over Their "Quantum Computer" - The National Interest Online - January 30th, 2020
- Quantum Computing releases its new software application called Mukai - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - January 30th, 2020
- Burning Things With Big Lasers In The Name Of Security - Hackaday - January 30th, 2020
- What Is Quantum Computing, And How Can It Unlock Value For Businesses? - Computer Business Review - January 27th, 2020
- The End Of The Digital Revolution Is Coming: Here's What's Next - Innovation Excellence - January 27th, 2020
- Healthcare venture investment in 2020: Quantum computing gets a closer look - Healthcare IT News - January 27th, 2020
- Delta Partners with IBM to Explore Quantum Computing - Database Trends and Applications - January 27th, 2020
- New Centers Lead the Way towards a Quantum Future - Energy.gov - January 27th, 2020
- ASC20 Finals to be Held in Shenzhen, Tasks Include Quantum Computing Simulation and AI Language Exam - HPCwire - January 27th, 2020
- Toshiba says it created an algorithm that beats quantum computers using standard hardware - TechSpot - January 27th, 2020
- Quantum networking projected to be $5.5 billion market in 2025 - TechRepublic - January 27th, 2020
- University of Sheffield launches Quantum centre to develop the technologies of tomorrow - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 27th, 2020
- 5 Emerging Technologies That Will Shape this Decade - San Diego Entertainer Magazine - January 27th, 2020
- Is Quantum Technology The Future Of The World? - The Coin Republic - January 12th, 2020
- Were approaching the limits of computer power we need new programmers now - The Guardian - January 12th, 2020
- Global Quantum Computing Market: What it got next? Find out with the latest research available at PMI - Pro News Time - January 12th, 2020
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- Podcast: The Overhype and Underestimation of Quantum Computing - insideHPC - January 10th, 2020
- Charles Hoskinson Predicts Economic Collapse, Rise of Quantum Computing, Space Travel and Cryptocurrency in the 2020s - The Daily Hodl - January 10th, 2020
- Google and IBM square off in Schrodingers catfight over quantum supremacy - The Register - January 10th, 2020
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- Tucson Morning Blend Top 5 Tech Trends you'll love this year. Heather Rowe 1:27 - KGUN - January 6th, 2020
- Honeywell names Top 11 Innovations of 2019 - wingsmagazine.com - January 6th, 2020
- 19 Most In-Demand Tech Jobs in Silicon Valley (and the Companies Hiring) - Dice Insights - January 6th, 2020
- January 9th: France will unveil its quantum strategy. What can we expect from this report? - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - January 4th, 2020
- US Government Looks To Restrict Exports Of AI, Quantum Computing And Self-Driving Tech - WebProNews - January 4th, 2020
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- Superconductor or not? They're exploring the identity crisis of this weird quantum material. - News@Northeastern - January 3rd, 2020
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- Quantum Computing Market Utilities and Recycling In Global 2020 Outlook, Business Strategies, Challenges and Forecasts - Market Research Sheets - January 3rd, 2020
- Quantum Teleportation Has Been Achieved With the Help of Quantum Entanglement - Dual Dove - January 3rd, 2020
- The science fiction that became science fact in 2019 - SYFY WIRE - January 3rd, 2020
- Global Quantum Computing Market to Witness an Outstanding Growth During 2020-2029 - Neptune Pine - January 3rd, 2020
- Quantum Computing Technologies market by Size | Growth | Analysis | Trends and Forecasts to 2020-2025 Bulletin Line - Bulletin Line - January 3rd, 2020
- The Impact of Quantum Computing on Banking will be gigantic says Deltec Bank, Bahamas - Quantaneo, the Quantum Computing Source - December 28th, 2019
- How This Breakthrough Makes Silicon-Based Qubit Chips The Future of Quantum Computing - Analytics India Magazine - December 28th, 2019
- 2020 Will be a Banner Year for AI Custom Chipsets and Heterogenous Computing; Quantum Computing Remains on the Far Horizon - Business Wire - December 28th, 2019
- Top 5: Scientific Breakthroughs That Made 2019 an Unforgettable Year of Human Progress - The Weather Channel - December 28th, 2019
- 2020 will be the beginning of the tech industry's radical revisioning of the physical world - TechCrunch - December 28th, 2019
- IBM and the U. of Tokyo launch quantum computing initiative for Japan | - University Business - December 25th, 2019
- IBM and the University of Tokyo Launch Quantum Computing Initiative for Japan - Martechcube - December 25th, 2019
- AI, 5G, 'ambient computing': What to expect in tech in 2020 and beyond - USA TODAY - December 18th, 2019
- The Quantum Computing Decade Is ComingHeres Why You Should Care - Observer - December 18th, 2019
- Shaping the technology transforming our society - Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory - December 17th, 2019
- Quantum Technology Expert to Discuss Quantum Sensors for Defense Applications at Office of Naval Research (ONR) - Business Wire - December 17th, 2019
- Comrehensive Report : Quantum Computing Market Global Analysis By Latest Trends, Share, Development And Growth By Regions To 2028 - Sound On Sound... - December 17th, 2019
- Anyscale, from the creators of the Ray distributed computing project, launches with $20.6M led by A16Z - TechCrunch - December 17th, 2019
- What WON'T Happen in 2020: 5G Wearables, Quantum Computing, and Self-Driving Trucks to Name a Few - Business Wire - December 16th, 2019
- Quantum computing leaps ahead in 2019 with new power and speed - CNET - December 12th, 2019
- Quantum computing could be the next big security breakthrough - ITProPortal - December 12th, 2019
- Quantum Computers Are the Ultimate Paper Tiger - The National Interest Online - December 12th, 2019
- D-Wave partners with NEC to build hybrid HPC and quantum apps - TechCrunch - December 12th, 2019
- Security leaders fear that quantum computing developments will outpace security technologies - Continuity Central - December 12th, 2019
- D-Wave Announces Promotion of Dr. Alan Baratz to CEO - HPCwire - December 12th, 2019
- Recent Research: Quantum Computing Market with Future Prospects, Key Players SWOT Analysis and Forecast To 2029 - Sound On Sound Fest - December 12th, 2019
- This Week in Tech: What on Earth Is a Quantum Computer? - The New York Times - December 7th, 2019
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- Amazon is now offering quantum computing as a service with Braket for AWS - The Verge - December 2nd, 2019
- ColdQuanta's Latest Ultracold Technology Heads to the International Space Station - Business Wire - December 2nd, 2019
- Researchers Discover New Way to Split and Sum Photons with Silicon - UT News | The University of Texas at Austin - December 2nd, 2019
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- The Future of Computing could be Magnetic - Robert Lea - Medium - November 30th, 2019
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- Tech news: The quantum internet is on the way - IOL - November 22nd, 2019
- Device Puts Photons in the Fast Lane - Optics & Photonics News - November 22nd, 2019
- Race is on to build quantum-proof encryption - Financial Times - November 21st, 2019