Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are somatic cells that are reprogrammed into becoming stem cells and these can then become a wide range of cells and tissues. The ability to turn, say, skin cells into muscle or nerve cells is the foundation of the emerging field of regenerative medicine.
George Manbiot has an interesting opinion piece in The Guardian: Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming – and save the planet. To quote him:
It’s a primordial soup of bacteria, taken from the soil and multiplied in the laboratory, using hydrogen extracted from water as its energy source. When the froth was siphoned through a tangle of pipes and squirted on to heated rollers, it turned into a rich yellow flour. Continue reading Future Food: Ferming
Technological progress and innovation are by no doubt important issues for the success of the humanization of outer space. Hence we need to consider the role patents will have to play in the society and economy of future space settlements. Continue reading On Patent Reform
In orbital space settlements water recycling is essential. So it is quite worrisome when we read the following article on ScienceDaily:
To cite from this article (my emphasis):
If people are educated on recycled water, they may come to agree it’s perfectly safe and tastes as good — or better — than their drinking water. They may even agree it’s an answer to the critical water imbalance in California. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to use recycled water — and it sure doesn’t mean they’ll drink it.
The problem is that educated people are disgusted to use a perfectly safe product that is necessary for staying alive. Perhaps people should not think too much about the origin of their tap water – if education is apparently not sufficient in this case.
On ScienceDaily we found an interesting study:
The Guardian reports that Dutch researchers have been awarded a €2.9 million grant to develop a prototype artificial uterus. Though artificial uteri have several benefits, they also raise a multitude of ethical questions.
Last week Japan announced it would allow experiments to grow human organs in animals. These experiments are controversial, not in the least place because of animal welfare concerns and the possibility of cross-species diseases. However, xenotransplantation is not the only line of research pursued to solve the shortage of donor organs. Continue reading Organ cultivation
Not directly related to space settlement, but still interesting to think about.
The age of (cheap) oil is doomed in the long run, even if we do not care about climate change, as petroleum is a finite resource which would eventually be depleted. However, our modern industrialized society requires a lot of energy and without it our planet cannot sustain a ten billion population.
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Our regular reader will know that we are quite hawkish when it comes to air quality and public health. One of the measure we have proposed is for space habitats to ban the use of internal combustion engines. A study by researchers from Cornell University provides a solid scientific base for a complete ban on internal combustion engines. Continue reading Electric vehicles and public health