Futurology 20 ~ Space DNA, cooling paint, solar, spoon, pain switch, Antikythera, huge block


German scientists discovered a huge cut stone block in Baalbek. It's 19.6 meters long by 6 wide, and is at least 5.5 high with a weight estimated at 1650 tons!
German scientists discovered a huge cut stone block (to the right) in Baalbek. It’s 19.6 meters long by 6 wide, and at least 5.5 high with a weight estimated at 1650 tons!

DNA survives critical entry into Earth’s atmosphere — The genetic material DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere – and still pass on genetic information. A team of scientists from UZH obtained these astonishing results during an experiment on the TEXUS-49 research rocket mission.
~ DNAlien, anyone?

Scientists develop ‘paint’ to help cool the planet — Engineers at Stanford University have developed an ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings but also directs internal heat away using a system called “photonic radiative cooling.” The coating can reflect away 97% of incoming sunlight. When combined with the photonic radiative cooling system it becomes cooler than the surrounding air by around 9F (5C). The material is designed to radiate heat away into space at a precise frequency that allows it to pass through the atmosphere without warming it.
~ And so it shall pass from Global Warming to Space Warming. Expect an angry missive from the Intergalactic Hegemony soon after. 

Large scale solar farm under construction — Large-scale solar plants are monstrous construction projects that cover hundreds or thousands of acres of land in photovoltaic goodness. This amazing video shows how they go from concept to reality.
~ And what of the land beneath? What happens to the eco-system?

Scotland renewable energy milestone — Thanks to a combination of wind, solar and hydroelectric, along with less-publicized sources such as landfill gas and biomass, Scotland produced 10.3TWh in the first half of 2014, which is more than it generated the dirty way.
~ Crikey, if you can do it there …

Magnifying spoon —  Object Solutions’ Magnifying Spoon lets you inspect your meal up close before you eat. Designed by Ernesto D Morales, Carlos Maldonado and Juan Pablo Viedma, there’s a good chance you’ll offend the proprietor of wherever you’re dining when you pull out the Magnifying Spoon, but that’s a small price to pay if it means you don’t end up with a disgusting spoonful of bugs, cigarette ash or coriander.
~ Shame it doesn’t actually make some meals bigger.

Brain switch turns off pain — Scientists working together from several international universities have discovered it is possible to block a pathway in the brain of animals suffering from neuropathic pain, which could have a huge impact on improving pain relief in humans.
A chemical stimulator called adenosine binds to brain receptors to trigger a biological response, and has shown potential for killing pain in humans.
~ I’ll wait for the app.

Antikythera Mechanism older than previously thought — As if the freakishly advanced Antikythera Mechanism wasn’t astounding enough, a new analysis suggests the astronomical device is older than archaeologists assumed.
~ Genius that hasn’t aged.

Largest stone block discovered — German archaeologists working at Baalbek in Lebanon have uncovered the largest known ancient block. The fully exposed block (main picture, to the right) , which dates back to around 27 BC, is located in a stone quarry at the site of the ancient Heliopolis in Lebanon.
~ The stone was unmoved at its discovery.