Why should you, I or anyone have any reason to be excited about making new discoveries? Take a brief moment to read the below passage, which is probably the most motivating thing you will read all day. The passage comes from an exchange between two users on Reddit and despite being a bit lengthy, is completely and 100 percent worth the read.
It is a brilliant metaphor and one that should be taken to heart. Every single week and without fail there are giant leaps and discoveries made by science. Every Friday, Reddit's subreddit for futurology releases a short infograph that talks about the top new discoveries made by science in the past week.
Without fail, here are 5 reasons why you should be excited about making new discoveries. Because after all, the future is an exciting place and we are living in a time when things that only seemed possible in science-fiction are becoming more and more like reality, every single day.
5. Virtual Reality Has Never Been so Cool
If you have not heard of the Oculus Rift before, then you are about to be in for a treat. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality helmet that creates a VR experience unlike anything that has ever existed. The company that designs it was started by Palmer Luckey and got its take-off after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Recently, they won best of CES 2014.
The helmet, which can also be coupled with a "Razor Hydra" for Wii-Mote like sensor control and an "Omni-Directional Treadmill" to make it feel like you are walking around in a VR world, creates an immersive experience that makes it feel as if you are literally inside of an alternate, VR universe. Although the developer kits are currently only available and a public version has not yet been released, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that can give you an idea of what the Oculus Rift will be like.
4. You Might Just Live Forever
Short of getting hit by a bullet or falling off of a cliff, living forever, as impossible as it sounds could actually be realistic. In a documentary about time, Japanese theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku, talks about how scientists have actually narrowed down what causes aging and why the symptoms of aging are not due to a process that starts in our bodies, but "self-repair" mechanisms that are failing to work. In their experiments, scientists changed the genes of worms and found something remarkable.
"Just occasionally, changing a single gene has an astonishing effect. It enhances the worms self-repair mechanisms and enables it to live, much longer." - Michio Kaku.
Okay, so it might be possible some day but it is all just talk right now, right? Actually, there is already a species of jellyfish that exists called the "immortal jellyfish," which is called that because well, it is immortal. As fascinating as it sounds, the possibly of you never dying from old-age might just happen. In fact, some scientists believe that never dying from old-age might be as little as only 20 years away. Futurist Ray Kurzweil believes that nanotechnology would allow humanity to reverse aging and stay young.
The real question is, if you were handed the elixir of life, would you drink it? (start video at 7:24)
3. 3D Printing Is Becoming More Affordable and Common
In fact, just the other day there was a news article that a Dutch architect is building a house by using a 3D printer. Certainly, not the type of news you would expect to see even as little as five or 10 years ago. A little further from terrestrial ground, last August it was announced that NASA has been building a 3D printing station up in space to help further their continuing search for extra-terrestrial life.
Chances are however that you are not an architect or a giant space agency (although to be fair, I cannot say for sure who is reading this), so what does this mean for the average person who is excited about having a 3D printer in their own home? After all, on average, 3D printers could cost anywhere between $5,000 to $100,000. Not the type of funds that your average hobbyist has lying around in the cupboard.
That could all change this year, largely thanks to key patents that are going to expire, which until now have kept the price of the technology at unreasonable amounts for the average consumer. In fact, China is already developing 3D printers that could be purchased for as little as $300. Now, those are prices that just about anyone can afford.
2. New Habitable Planets Are Often Being Discovered
\Back in February it was big news that the Kepler space telescope had discovered 715 potential habitable new worlds that could support life. Well a couple of days ago that number just increased to a whopping 5-year tally of 961 new planets! It might still take a while before technology evolves to a point that will allow humanity actually go visit and explore those new worlds, but still, not too bad when only a few centuries ago we were still stuck in the stone-age belief that the sun revolved around the Earth.
At the highest estimate, this means there could be about 200,000 planets that currently contain intelligent alien life in our galaxy or less than 1 by the lowest estimates. Likely, the real answer falls somewhere in-between these numbers.
Either way, fans of the Mass Effect video-game series will kindly ask scientists to speed up their search and find the Asari home-world, Thessia.
1. Everything Is Becoming Smarter
Imagine you leave your house for work and forget to turn off the air conditioner and lights. By simply speaking a command into your smartphone, smart-watch or Google Glasses, your smart-home could take care of this little problem for you all by itself. In fact, Samsung recently revealed their smart home concept at CES 2014 and gave a live demonstration of exactly how this technology works.
Of course, smart homes are not the only cool thing in development. Google's self-driving cars have been another technological breakthrough. While some people have been cautious of the idea due to safety concerns, Google declares that their self-driving cars are actually much safer than you or I.
Just imagine the possibility of being able to go out to the bar for a few drinks on Friday night and not having to worry about spending excess cash on a taxi or taking a long subway ride back home. Your self-driving car could get you back to your destination both safely and with comfort.
The future is an exciting place and there are plenty of reasons why you should be excited about making new discoveries. Of course, this is only a small list of list of reasons to be excited. What other fun new discoveries are you anticipating and waiting for?
By Jonathan Holowka