December 20, 2012
Cloned Humans In 50 Years? Why Not? – The Daily Orbit
A very Merry Christmas cloning?
There’s a new star lighting up planetary research…
And uh-oh where did Santa go — you won’t find him on Google!
Get ready for Day 2 of a Very Daily Orbit Christmas!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
“All I want for Christmas is my own self cloned…” If a clone is on your Christmas list, it might be possible in Christmas Future. Sir John Gurdon, the scientist who inspired the creation of Dolly the Sheep, predicts a fully-functioning human clone could be possible within 50 years. But he admits that it will raise several ethical issues in the beginning. However, human cloning isn’t likely to happen tomorrow. Many of the animal’s cloned using today’s methods emerge deformed. Gurdon says that to create a human clone, scientists would effectively have to produce an identical twin. Wait, if they clone me, does that mean I have to share my Christmas presents with her? Let me think about that.
Maybe I’ll just send Emerald #2 to another planet — perhaps the potentially habitable one that astronomers recently found orbiting a star 12 light-years away. This newly discovered system includes a Sun-like star – Tau Ceti – that hosts five planets and is the closest single star that has the same spectral classification as our Sun. Of the five planets with masses between 2 and 6 times that of Earth, one planet appears to be in the habitable zone. Finding this system is exciting for astronomers who say that this system is bright enough that they may be able to study the atmospheres of these planets in the not too distant future. They say this is further proving the idea that every star has planets, and that the galaxy “must have many such potentially habitable Earth-sized planets.”
Well, the next story reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors! “Seymour, feed me, get it!” Well, I mean, sort of anyway. Researchers from the University of Cambridge have observed for the first time how a Venezuelan pitcher plant uses moisture on its tiny hairs to create a “waterslide of death” that sends unsuspecting ants further down into the plant, where they are eventually digested. The study showed that when the plant’s hairs are wet, ants’ adhesive pads essentially aquaplane on the surface, making the insect lose its grip and slip into the bowl of the pitcher. The wet hairs upped the plant’s batting average by 29%. Mother Nature can sure be a good inspiration for horror stories.
And as that little ant knows, for every action there’s a reaction. And scientists say that’s true with melting ice and volcanoes. The research team explained in times of global warming, the glaciers are melting on the continents very quickly. While the sea level rises, the weight on the continents decreases, and the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. The stress changes within the earth open more routes for ascending magma. The team studied data from over a million years in our Earth’s history, and now plans to investigate the short term variations to better understand how these changes will affect us in the modern day.
Ho, ho, ho! Where did Santa go? Over to Bing. NORAD has ditched Google for its Santa tracker in favor of Bing. Since 1955, NORAD has been keeping tabs on old Saint Nick for kids everywhere as he traverses the globe. Back in the day, kids could call the hotline to keep tabs on Santa, but with the magic of technology Santa’s been trackable online since 2004. And since that time, NORAD had relied on Google Maps. A representative from NORAD said that it was a mutual decision to part ways and pursue other opportunities. The transition has been a smooth one with 922,000 iOS downloads; 558,000 android downloads, and 2500 Windows 8 downloads. I need to download mine now…only 5 days ’til Christmas!
And that’s it for today’s Daily Orbit.