Newspace: Science Stories, 2013

We’ve reported (and missed) an assortment of science and tech stories in Newspace, and we’re listing our top ones at year’s end. What did we still miss? And in what order would you rank these?

Also– just for fun– we’re going to bookend these with Batman-related footage. Above, the Dynamic Duo fights Spider-man at an MMA bout.

Below: the future, in progress.

The Final Frontier

Voyager 16 left our solar system this year:

And Terrans identified three Kepler planets that could be life-supporting.


Scientists at Stanford created the world’s first carbon nanotube computer, while Western Digital released the first helium-filled harddrive.


Fusion power remains a dream, but 2013 saw the first net-positive fusion reactor

Brain Tech

Miguel Nicolelis developed a brain-to-brain interface, while Brown University gave us the first brain-computer interface.


The replicator came a little closer to reality, in the year that you could (sort of) print human stem cells (Expect an organ in 2014)….

…and a functional gun.


A completely preserved Plioscene skull found in Dmanisi, Georgia suggests much about our evolutionary biology:

Meanwhile, our studies of genetics reveals more about how Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with our ancestors—and that some groups, at least, bred a little too close to home.

Zoology Daikaiju

The Japanese captured a giant squid on film:


And, in really important news, back in November, Batman and Robin went mentor-to-sidekick in a car race:

6 replies on “Newspace: Science Stories, 2013”

  1. Ranking:

    8. Big Squid Story: I’m holding out for the reality show. Squid Nation.

    7. Anthropology: So we know a little more about the family history, and creationists have something else to misunderstand. None of this is really groundbreaking.

    6. Computers get better, but will this mean anything except we’ll keep doing what we’re doing, faster and smaller?

    5. Final Frontier: cool stories, bro, but they will no immediate effect. Voyager may never have any effect. If we actually find an inhabited planet it will make us think and rethink things, but it’s not like we’re going there in anyone’s lifetime.

    4. Fusion: Ah, Fusion! How often you have let us down! Wake me when I can buy my Back to the Future Mr. Fusion. Wait, isn’t that in 2015?

    3. Brain Tech: we’ll see the applications of these stories soon.

    2. Replicators: will likely have a really really major effect on everything sooner than we think.

    1. Batman/Robin race—okay, clearly the most important story ever.

  2. With the love this site has for math, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more on cryptography lately what with all the news about the NSA and what they may or may not have compromised mathematically in encryption standards.

    • I do most of the math content, and illness and heavy day job workloads have kept me from digging into that in detail. I haven’t even finished the January 1 “Math from Scratch” yet, which is the closest I’ve ever cut the deadline for that series. I also haven’t found anything about what mathematical mechanism they’d be using to get the job done, which means that the exciting mathematical bits aren’t accessible.

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