2015 Synthetic Biology Highlights

Top ten synthetic biology accomplishments. 1. Leukemia patient in remission after treatment with SynBio immune cells One-year-old Layla’s life was saved after cutting-edge gene-editing technology was used to successfully treat her leukemia when all other treatments had failed. After destroying her own cancerous lymphocytes Layla was injected with donor T-cells modified using a synthetic DNA-cutting …

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China should complete a 50,000 ton domestic aircraft carrier early in 2016

China is building its second aircraft carrier in Dalian of northeast China’s Liaoning province, said a Defense Ministry spokesperson in Beijing on Thursday. A spokesman for the ministry, Col. Yang Yujun, told a monthly news briefing in Beijing that the second aircraft carrier was being built in Dalian, a port city in northeast China. He …

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Spiders sprayed with water containing carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes have produced the toughest fibers ever measured

Spider silk is one of the more extraordinary materials known to science. The protein fiber, spun by spiders to make webs, is stronger than almost anything that humans can make. Nextbigfuture covered this work in May but here is some more details. The dragline silk spiders use to make a web’s outer rim and spokes …

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16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses in a carry on suitcase form factor

A few months ago, IBM unveiled the NeuroSynaptic Evaluation (NS1e) board, which contained a single TrueNorth chip, along with circuitry for interfacing the chip to sensors and real-world data. These boards were used in their August 2015 “Boot Camp” event, in which participants learned how to program the chip to implement cognitive systems [Brain-Inspired Computing …

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Taiwan would need 200 or more fifth generation fighter jets for a credible deterrence by 2017-2019

New advances by China on its J-20 stealth fighter diminishes deterrence across the Taiwan Strait, a leading weapons expert in the US said. “It is crucial that Washington begins to consider Taiwan’s next-generation requirements for air defense,” International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC) senior fellow Rick Fisher said. “Given over a decade’s worth of global …

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DARPA funding ten approaches for millimeter sized products with nanometer/atomic precision

DARPA has a program to use nanoscale manufacturing while upsizing products to a more practical millimeter scale. The agency has now set that challenge to 10 laboratories nationwide in its Atoms to Products program. The goal of the Atoms to Product (A2P) program is to develop the technologies and processes required to assemble nanometer-scale pieces, …

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Ten new nuclear reactors were connected to the grid in 2015

Unit 1 of the Changjiang nuclear power plant on China’s southern island province of Hainan has entered commercial operation, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced on 25 December. The 650 MWe CNP-600 pressurized water reactor was connected to the electricity grid on 7 November. Initial approval for the Changjiang plant’s construction was granted by China’s …

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Speculation on Spacex Mars Colonization Transport

Musk has previously said that he would publicly present some specifics of his Mars-colonization plans later in 2015, but it will now be early in 2016. Elon Musk has clarified his fast Mars terraforming strategy. He wants to have a small repeatedly detonating fusion bomb at each pole. “Not really nuclear weapons,” he says. “I …

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Electronic Warfare version of China J-16 twin seat fighter similar to USA EA-18 Growler

A possible new electronic warfare (EW) variant of the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-16 twin-seat strike fighter made its first flight on 18 December, according to Chinese sources, potentially adding a significant offensive capability to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). Images of the new variant have emerged on several Chinese military web pages, …

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World Economy will have weak growth for a few years

Global growth for 2015 is projected at 3.1 percent, 0.3 percentage point lower than in 2014, and 0.2 percentage point below the forecasts in the July 2015 World Economic Outlook (WEO) Update. Prospects across the main countries and regions remain uneven. Relative to last year, the recovery in advanced economies is expected to pick up …

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