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Here are 10 innovations or discoveries that went unnoticed (or almost) in 2020 – Inspired Traveler

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There is no doubt that COVID-19 vaccines are THE biggest innovation of 2020 on a planetary scale.

Nevertheless, other discoveries and innovations in laboratories here and elsewhere are worthy of mention since they risk having an impact on our lives.

Here are 10 that may have gone unnoticed, but deserve our attention.

DeepMind detects breast cancer.

Breast cancer: the crucial role of the BRCA1 gene

Photo d’archives, Agence QMI

In January 2020, we learned that the new artificial intelligence (AI) of DeepMind, a subsidiary of the parent company of Google Alphabet, could detect breast cancer “as well” as a doctor.

Early research suggests that the algorithm developed may even improve the accuracy of mammography screenings. This technological advance published in the journal Nature 1is January 2020 was reported by CNBC and the magazine Wired.

Destination March

2020 was a pivotal year for space exploration.

Three missions to Mars have been launched in July, when Earth and Mars aligned in a way that made it easier to send spacecraft to the Red Planet.

Planet Mars Block

Photo d’Archives, AFP

The United Arab Emirates have launched their first interplanetary mission, Hope, which will orbit around Mars and study its weather.

China launched Tianwen-1, which includes a rover and is the country’s first attempt to land on Mars.

And the United States sent Perseverance, a rover that will drill and collect rock samples in the still unexplored Jezero Crater just north of the Martian equator. A Quebecer will be at the controls of the robot Perseverance, which will arrive on the red planet on February 18, 2021. The robot is to bring Martian rocks back to Earth for the first time for study.

At the beginning of the month of december 2020, NASA unveiled these unpublished images taken by Curiosity, another robot whose mission is to study the Martian environment:

[embedded content]

Discovery: source of a “radio burst”.

Since the first detection of this cosmic phenomenon in 2007, scientists have been wondering about the explanation of these flashes of electromagnetic waves or FRB (Fast Radio Burst). Fast radio bursts are short bursts of radio waves (lasting a few milliseconds).

Photo d’archives, AFP

In April 2020, Canadian and American astrophysicists have identified for the first time a magnetar in our galaxy as the source of a “rapid radio burst”.

The two teams attributed it to the SGR 1935 + 2154 magnetar, located in our Milky Way, according to their respective studies published in the journal Nature.

The magnetar (contraction of “magnetic star”) is a kind of neutron star with an extremely strong magnetic field.

Photo courtesy CHIME

Superconducting at room temperature

Courtesy photo

Scientists have created a mysterious material that appears to conduct electricity without any resistance at temperatures up to around 15 ° C.

This is a new record for superconductivity, a phenomenon generally associated with very cold temperatures.

The material itself is not well understood by scientists, but it holds enormous potential in creating a new class of superconductors.

3D Map of the Universe

Astrophysicists around the world have published in July 2020 the largest 3D map of the Universe ever.

Photo Sloan Digital Sky Survey

This map results from the analysis of more than four million galaxies and quasars, ultraluminous objects emitting colossal energy.

[embedded content]

The data is based in particular on the latest observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a program dedicated to the survey of different celestial objects, via a telescope located in New Mexico.

Neuralinks et SpaceX

In August 2020, entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, announced the first implantation of a Neuralinks microchip in the brain of a pig.

Photo d’archives, AFP

The guinea pig, named Gertrude, will test and develop a prototype for adaptation to humans. The prototype, according to the wishes of the businessman, could eventually give speech and mobility to paralyzed people.

[embedded content]

And since we are talking about Musk, we cannot ignore his SpaceX rocket program, which has increased the number of launches in 2020.

[embedded content]

In May, the Falcon 9 of the SpaceX program launched the second demonstration mission of Crew Dragon at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida with two NASA astronauts on board. After a two-month mission to the International Space Station, the test flight returned to Earth and landed successfully. A first in aerospace history!

Two Quebec inventions

A robot that detects viruses in the sewers!

DM legionelle-01

Photo d’archives

The Environex company claims to be able to identify the areas of a city that are the most contaminated by collecting samples directly from municipal sewers.

An invention to curb microbes

Inventor Raymond Boisvert and the mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

Inventor Raymond Boisvert and the mayor of Quebec, Régis Labeaume

And at the end of the year marked by unparalleled health measures, a Quebec invention could help reduce the spread of the virus with a new “self-cleaning and antimicrobial elevator button”.

Called LIBU (contraction of “Life Button”), the antibacterial button turns on itself after each press. It will be tested shortly in a hospital in Quebec City.

Quebec discovery

Maxime Aubert, archaeologist

Courtesy photo

Maxime Aubert, archaeologist

At the end of 2020, the review Science ranked among the 10 most important discoveries of the year that of a Quebec archaeologist!

Maxime Aubert, a native of Lévis, discovered and dated the oldest known figurative work in the world.

This cave painting dates back at least 44,000 years, according to the work of archaeologist Maxime Aubert and his team.

Photo AFP

This cave painting dates back at least 44,000 years, according to the work of archaeologist Maxime Aubert and his team.

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B.C. researchers find evidence of ancient predatory sand worms that were two metres long – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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The trace fossils showed feather-like structures around the upper parts of the burrows, which the researchers believe would have been caused by the worms dragging their struggling prey under the ocean floor to eat them.

The lower, horizontal part of the burrow. Photo by Yu-Yen Pan /Simon Frazer University

The study’s lead author, earth sciences student Yu-Yen Pan, said the giant burrows are much larger than other trace fossils of ocean worms found in the past.

“Compared to other trace fossils which are usually only a few tens of centimetres long, this one was huge; two-metres long and two to three centimetres in diameter,” she said in a press release. “The distinctive, feather-like structures around the upper burrow were also unique and no previously studied trace fossil has shown similar features.”

The researchers say that these worms likely would have fed similarly to the bobbit worm, often called the “sand striker.”

Bobbit worms wait in their burrow for unsuspecting prey, then explode upwards, grabbing the prey in their mouths and pulling them back down into the sediment.

Field excursion at Yehliu, Taiwan. Photo by Masakazu Nara /Simon Frazer University

The researchers also found evidence that led them to believe the worms secreted mucus after each feeding that rebuilt and reinforced their burrows, allowing them to lie in wait for their next victim without being seen.

Pan and an international team that studies the ancient sea floor has named the homes of these worms Pennichnus formosae.

According to the study, previous research on Eunicid polychaetes, the family that these ancient worms and bobbit worms belong to, was limited because they only stuck a small portion of their bodies out from the ocean floor.

These trace fossils have allowed researchers to better understand the activity and habits of the ancient species.

Predatory ocean worms have existed for over 400 million years, and while these ancient burrows are long when compared to others that had previously been studied, giant marine worms are not just creatures of the ancient past.

Bobbit worms can grow up to three metres long themselves, and lay in their burrows just beneath the ocean floor today.

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ESC Algonquin students auctioning of quilts for a worthy cause – BayToday.ca

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A group of grade 11 Algonquin high school students has started a unique fundraising auction that will take place online Friday through the ESC Algonquin’s Facebook page. 

Emilie Perron, and her classmates have helped created custom-made quilts that will be auctioned off to support five charities including Wounded Warriors, One Kids Place, The Nipissing Transition House, #NoahStrong and the Crisis Centre.  

“A lot of people, including our teachers, staff, and the whole school board are proud of us,” Emilie told BayToday.  

“Many people in the community feel the same way. We just hope we can reach more of the community and get more people to be aware of this project that we are doing.”  

As part of their grade 11 English course, this authentic and engaging project known as “Barons Quilts for Causes” was presented to students in September in order to raise their awareness of the importance of good citizenship.

The community-oriented project was designed to develop core skills such as collaboration, communication, and creative thinking as well as inspire kindness, hope, compassion, and service.

In addition, with the expertise, equipment and efforts of Mrs. Kelly Schroeder from The Cottage Quilter, students successfully fabricated five beautiful quilts for this fundraiser.

Perron says the students were even more engaged since the project gave the students a chance to express themselves through the quilts.  

“We could pick group members that reflect well with our personal beliefs,” said Perron.  

“Each group then picked a quilt pattern and chose an organization they all stood by. We have been working hard since the beginning of September to ensure a good quality project that will bring success. Our goal as a group is to be able to raise the most amount of money possible to maximize the impact of this project. In order for us to be successful in raising money for the organizations, we will need an ample amount of publicity.”

Dr. Emily Weiskopf-Ball, the project leader and English teacher at the school, has been impressed by the student’s enthusiasm for the project. 

“I congratulate the students for having such an open mind and being so willing to undertake such a great challenge as well as the other partners who accepted to work with us,” said Dr Weiskopf-Ball.

Bids must be made directly to ÉSC Algonquin’s Facebook page before 4 p.m. on Friday, January 22, 2021.

Here is the link to our website HERE or to the Algonquin Facebook page. 

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Tonight, Uranus will be on display for all to see – BGR – BGR

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  • Uranus isn’t the easiest planet to spot in the night sky, and most of the time we can’t see it at all, but tonight it’ll be a bit easier to spot the distant, frosty world.
  • NASA says that Uranus will be near Mars in the night sky, and if you have something like a nice pair of binoculars or, better yet, a telescope, you should be able to see it.
  • The planet, which is a pale blue and white, will appear tiny at such a distance, but it’s actually nearly 15 times more massive than Earth.

When you gaze up at the night sky you see plenty of stars, but can you pick out planets when you see them? Sometimes it’s possible to spot the likes of Jupiter and Mars without a telescope, but more often than not, folks with “average” eyes can’t tell much of a difference. Tonight, however, you might be able to catch a glimpse of Uranus, and all you should need is a decent pair of binoculars.

Uranus huge, blue, and stinky. It’s also one of the most interesting planets in our system, and it’s not often that we have guideposts in the sky in order to see it. This time around, Uranus will appear close to Mars in the sky, making it a bit easier to spot, especially if you have the hardware to zoom in a little closer.

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Tonight, Uranus will appear between our own Moon and Mars in the sky. It’ll be tiny and very faint, but it’ll be there, shining a pale blue and just waiting for someone to come visit in search of life.

“The distant, outer planet Uranus is too faint for most of us to see with the unaided eye, and it can be tough to locate in the sky without a computer-guided telescope,” NASA explains in its weekly skywatching tips post. “But Uranus can be located now right between the Moon and Mars.”

Uranus is strange and special for a variety of reasons. It’s very cold, which isn’t particularly unusual, but the planet happens to rotate on a 90-degree angle compared to the rest of the planets in our system. The theory is that something huge slammed into Uranus a long time ago, causing it to shift and ultimately rotate at an angle that doesn’t match up with its own orbit around the Sun.

Additionally, the planet’s moons have been of interest to scientists for some time, mainly because they’re thought to be covered in ice that may hide liquid water beneath it. If that’s the case, those moons could harbor life in some form, but we wouldn’t know for sure until we actually went and checked it out.

In any case, Uranus will be in the sky tonight, and if you have a pair of binoculars or a telescope, you’ll have a great shot at seeing it. Assuming the weather cooperates, of course.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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