Time's Top 10 Inventions of 2008

Another year is drawing to a close, and what better than to reflect upon what we've gained from it. Compliments of Time Magazine, here is a list of the Top 10 Inventions of the past year.

10. The Retail DNA Test
  • With a swab of your saliva, this test will be able to tell you what the chances are your children will contract a certain genetic trait. Here's a quote from Time:
"Learning and sharing your genetic secrets are at the heart of 23andMe's controversial new service — a $399 saliva test that estimates your predisposition for more than 90 traits and conditions ranging from baldness to blindness. Although 23andMe isn't the only company selling DNA tests to the public, it does the best job of making them accessible and affordable. The 600,000 genetic markers that 23andMe identifies and interprets for each customer are "the digital manifestation of you," says Wojcicki (pronounced Wo-jis-key), 35, who majored in biology and was previously a health-care investor. "It's all this information beyond what you can see in the mirror."

9. The Tesla Roadster
  • Finally- a cool environmentally friendly sports car. It's sexy, fast, and (somewhat) cheap. Listed right at about $100,000.00, this battery-operated sport's car can top out at 125 m.p.h. Celebs of the likes of George Clooney have been on this car's waiting list since 2003.

8. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
  • This expensive piece of NASA hardware will, in the word's of Time, "...study the things lunar orbiters always study — gravity, temperature — but it will also look for signs of water ice, a vital resource for any future lunar base..."
  • Not too useful from a consumer standpoint, but epic nonetheless.

7. Hulu.com
  • For those who don't have Cable or Satellite, but want to keep up with their favorite episodes of The Office, Fringe, or House, this is the site for you. And I know, I know: you could watch each of these shows on their individual or their parent network's site, but it's so much easier to have ALL OF THEM sent to one place. Kudos to Hulu.

6. The Large Hadron Collider
  • Yup. That's right. The machine that's going to END THE WORLD! Just kidding... I hope. On a more philanthropicnote, this machine will attempt to answer such questions as "Why does mass exists?" and "Does the universe have extra dimensions?"

5. The Global Seed Vault
  • I think Time says it best:
"The Global Seed Vault, opened this year on the far-northern Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, is a backup for the backups. It's badly needed — as many as half the seed banks in developing countries are at risk from natural disasters or general instability. The vault can hold up to 4.5 million samples, which will be kept dry at about 0°F (-18°C). Even if the facility loses power, the Arctic climate should keep the seeds viable for thousands of years. Let's just hope we still like corn then."

4. The Chevy Volt
  • The name sounds like some kind of truck/VW Bug hybrid, but it's actually the best (my opinion) electric sedan on the market (2010's market, that is). With a single charge, the Volt's battery has enough juice for trips up to 40 miles.
  • I wonder if this is a sign of things to come.
3. Bullets That Shoot Bullets
  • Oh yeah- you read that right. BULLETS THAT SHOOT BULLETS.
  • Actually, it's a missile that locks in on other missiles. The "good" missile contacts the "bad" missile mid-flight, causing a safe detonation without any harm to the good guys.
  • If all goes to plan, Army vehicles will be outfitted with these defense systems, which would mean less armor plating, which means faster vehicles.

2. The Orbital Internet
  • It might seem like a small feat, but it really is a monumental accomplishment. There are no wires or cords, so a "dedicated" server to space would be spotty at best. Here's Time's take:
"In space, no one can hear you scream. But you will be able to send e-mail, thanks to a new protocol being developed for use there. It's hard to maintain a stable connection in orbit, so the interplanetary Internet will have to be especially tolerant of delays and disruptions. In September, a satellite used the new protocol to relay an image of the Cape of Good Hope back to Earth."

1. The World's Fastest Computers
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory currently employs the world's fastest computer. Built by IBM, this $133 million super computer (dubbed "Roadrunner") broke the petaflop barrier in the computer universe: 1 quadrillion calculations per second. It will be used to study the effects of aging on nuclear weapons.

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