March 15, 2016

Faster Internet and Other Technological Developments

By Chelsea German
Here is another update on the scientific and technological breakthroughs making a difference in people's lives. Recent developments include faster Internet cables, better cancer identification, plans to mine asteroids, and another step towards lab-grown meat.

Internet cables 50,000 times faster than the fastest broadband created by scientists


New fiber-optic cables can download up to 1.125 terabits of data a second, much faster than the best fiber optic cables on the market. In British households, the average download speed is 24 megabits a second. The new cables would be a ten-fold improvement in download speeds for consumers. 

Blood test can detect five deadly cancers

Researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute have found connections between a particular gene in DNA and five prominent cancer types. It is an important breakthrough since current blood tests are specific to cancer types, making it difficult for doctors to identify what type of cancer an individual might have. The blood test would be more versatile and less invasive than current tests such as mammograms or colonoscopies.

Luxembourg wants to mine asteroids

For a nation of 543,000, the notion that Luxembourg wants to mine asteroids orbiting the sun might seem absurd. But, Luxembourg recently established a haven for industries pursuing technologies to mine precious metals like platinum from asteroids. Some of these asteroids have been estimated to contain more platinum than all the platinum that has ever been mined on earth.


Memphis start-up successfully grows cultured meat

Scientists at the firm Memphis Meats have successfully grown cultured meat from the cells of pigs, cows, and chickens. If the process can become cost effective, it would make raising animals for consumption obsolete. The current price for one pound of the grown meat is $18,000, so it may take some time before the process becomes common practice.