The Most Disturbing Scientific Discoveries From The Last 10 Years

Posted by Editorial Staff in Science and Technology On 11th October 2017

Some scientific breakthroughs are so unbelievable you’d think they are straight out of a sci-fi film. Most of these scientific accomplishments are truly baffling and have undoubtedly been a blessing to the human race.

They have been a manifestation that scientists and researchers can go out of their way to further our understanding of the universe. New ideas have been invented while old ones have been scrapped. In some cases, old ideas have been tweaked to make them better.

However, some of these inventions have occasionally left us more vulnerable and have made us question the motive of their creator. For example, artificial amnesia is great in helping us overcome our fears, but doesn’t it expose us to the risk of memory manipulation? And what about the use of robots in medicine? Are scientists confident that it’s time to entrust our lives to machines? We all know the history of man and machines isn’t that great.

In last decade alone, so much has happened in the world of science, so much that we can hardly keep up. But we are going to dwell on those breakthroughs that are most disturbing.

#1 HUMAN HEAD TRANSPLANT

A human head transplant means an entire decapitated head is transferred to a new body. Of course, with consent from both parties.

Successful transplants have already been performed on monkeys, dogs, and rats though without reattachment of the spine. Therefore, those heads have been unable to control the new bodies.

Controversial Italian surgeon Sergio Canavero and his counterpart Xiaoping Ren have been toying with the idea for a long time. They even claimed that they attached the head of a smaller rat to a larger rat and maintained the brain activity of the donor. They performed the experiment on other rats and made the photos public.

Canavero has reportedly also performed the same procedure on a dog. In 2016, he claimed that he had successfully performed a head transplant on a monkey, but the primate had to be euthanized after a short while.

Canavero insists that he has a way of reattaching the spinal cord and that his procedure will likely work. In fact, in 2016, Canavaro made a proposal to have the surgery performed before the end of 2017.

But the first volunteer, Valery Spiridonov, pulled out. The operation may likely take place in 2018, but even if he succeeds, the thought of a head gaining a new body is scary and disturbing.

#2 ARTIFICIAL AMNESIA: WIPING OF MEMORIES AND FEARS

Researchers have established a method that can wipe out specific fears from the human brain using a combination of brain scanning technology and artificial intelligence.

The procedure can treat phobias and anxieties and was developed in 2016 by neuroscientists from the University of Cambridge. It can read and identify a fear memory and it relies on brain scanning to monitor brain activity and to identify patterns that resemble a specific fear memory.

It may be great news to those who suffer from anxieties, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorders because the method is able to overwrite or wipe out any unpleasant memories and to leave a patient feeling neutral. If it offers treatment to such patients, the procedure can help reduce pressure on mental health services.

This is a useful discovery, but there are concerns: what if it is used to manipulate the brain? What if you are captured and made to forget some experiences or your brain is reprogrammed with an ulterior motive? Now, that is disturbing.

#3 THERE IS A FROZEN LAKE ON MARS

In 2016, NASA revealed that they had discovered a frozen lake on Mars and that it had almost the same amount of water as America’s Lake Superior. This got everyone confused because it suggested that the Red Planet can sustain life; an idea that NASA has consistently refuted in the past. Water is one of the essentials for life and its presence on Mars likely suggested that there may have been life there in the past.

The ice was found around the northern hemisphere in a region of cracked and pitted plains, better known as the Utopia Planitia region of Mars, and was measured using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Covering the ice is a layer of Martian soil that is about 1-10 meters in thickness, which means the water is likely accessible.

The discovery of the water is proof that we cannot completely rule out the idea of little green men on Mars. We also have to ask ourselves what is likely to happen when the temperature there increases? Will the ice melt and support life?

#4 ‘KRYPTONITE’ DISCOVERED IN A MINE IN SERBIA

In 2007, a new mineral whose composition resembled that of Superman-felling kryptonite was discovered in a mine in Serbia. This was confirmed after one of the mineral curators tried to figure out the structure and discovered that it was sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide: the same composition as the fictional substance, Kryptonite, used in the Superman movies.

However, it was lacking its radioactive green crystal look that is normally depicted in Superman comics. Rather, it was white, powdery, and not radioactive. Based on International nomenclature rules, the mineral had to be named Jadarite.

People started wondering whether it was the fictional substance that sapped Superman’s power.

While the mineral lacks the mysterious glow and has not caused any harm whatsoever, the question of what it is capable of doing still lingers.

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