Friday Futures: genetic tests, time crystals and atomic passwords

Image credit: WilleeCole Photography / Shutterstock.com

Welcome to Friday Futures, our weekly guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: Are you a dog or a human – some tests can’t tell; glacial catastrophe; CRISPR; passwords; brainwave espionage; and a close-up of a comet.

Some genetic tests can’t tell if you are dog or human

People don’t usually take home grown genetic tests to figure out whether or not they’re human. That’s probably a good thing, because a recent experiment showed that some of these tests can’t tell. Read more…

A ticking time crystal – in a child’s toy

Physicists have uncovered hints of a time crystal – a form of matter that ‘ticks’ when exposed to an electromagnetic pulse – in the last place they expected: a crystal you might find in a child’s toy. Read more…

Is a glacial catastrophe about to happen?

At the southwestern corner of Antarctic continent, there’s a river of ice dubbed the “most dangerous glacier in the world.” On Monday, American and British scientists officially launched a venture to investigate Thwaites Glacier. Their goal: to figure out whether it’s headed for a catastrophic collapse in the near future. Read more…

Here’s a good guide to what CRISPR actually is

In the early days of gene editing, biologists had a molecular tool kit that was somewhat akin to a printing press. Which is to say, altering DNA was a messy, labor-intensive process of loading genes onto viruses bound for target cells. Read more…

Work in China? Your boss might be watching your brainwaves

Feel like your boss is a bit of a micromanager, always looking over your shoulder? Be grateful that they’re not peering into your brain. That’s now the case for a number of workers in China, the nation competing for the global superlative of Most Dystopian. Read more…

Soon your password might be atomic

For things that need extra levels of security, we might need a totally different type of encryption, one that relies on the periodic table instead of 0s and 1s. Researchers are working on chemical cryptography, synthesizing specific molecules that serve as highly secure passwords based on their atomic structures. Read more…

Stephen Hawking’s final theory about the ‘verse’

The theory, which was submitted for publication before Hawking’s death earlier this year, is based on string theory and predicts the universe is finite and far simpler than many current theories about the big bang say. Read more…

And here’s a quick close-up of a comet

After ten years of traveling through deep space, powered mainly by solar cells, Rosetta neared the comet not far (relatively speaking) from the orbit of Jupiter, and started circling it. Watch now…

(Compiled by Alex Leslie; Edited by John C. Tanner)

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