10 Amazing Discoveries That Should Be Worth Millions
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4. Nature photography and medical research: Clearly deserving
After seeing museum shows like “ Bodies: The Exhibition ,” we thought that if we could actually see what some of our choices -- like unhealthy foods -- do to our bodies, we might change our habits more quickly. Being opaque allows us to be in denial about lots of things.
There is one creature you can look right through: the jewel caterpillar, a dazzling gem of an insect, revealed to the world this week by an amateur wildlife photographer named Gerardo Aizpuru who spotted one on a red mangrove leaf in Cancun and posted pictures on Project Noah .
The crystalline beauty of the jewel caterpillar also gave us an interesting window into the different places it took the minds of two science writers. First there was Ferris Jabr over at Scientific American . Click there and you can see the yellow-orange Acraga coa moth the caterpillar may turn into and a larvae from the Dalceridae family, to which the caterpillar probably belongs -- it looks like something made by glass master Chihuly. Jabr tells how the insects’ stickiness may be what protects it from predators -- ants who tried to bite it were quickly grossed out by its texture, plus the spines snap off easily, possibly allowing it to evade getting entirely eaten. Jabr said the jewel caterpillar “ reminded me immediately of nudibranchs, a group of strikingly colored mollusks whose appearance is perhaps best summarized as 'trippy.'"
The little jewel caterpillar, meanwhile, reminded io9’s, Robert T. Gonzales of a decidedly different image: “ Looking at A. coa 's naturally translucent body, I can't help but be reminded of the work of researchers like Atsushi Miyawaki , whose team is working to develop chemical agents that could turn otherwise opaque biological tissue transparent,” like that of the mouse embryos pictured on both io9 links, one opaque, the other, treated with that chemical reagent, as transcluscent as “a pineapple gummi bear.” It’s a must-click.
Miyawaki says a gentler kind of chemical reagent “would allow us to study live tissue the same way.”
Living tissue? So could our dream of one day being transparent (in more than a social sense) really be possible, allowing us not only to avoid invasive tests, but romantic interludes with the TSA? The hope alone is worth $40 mil.
5. Discreet new tech: Priceless?
Sometimes you want a lot of you to be seen but usually you don’t want everyone in the entire world seeing it. Just one special person. That’s why the minute people could send digital pictures they invented sexting.
The problem with those intimate pictures is that they can quickly become public (didn’t we post this guy already ?). Enter Snapchat, an iPhone app that allows you to send someone a picture and control how long they will be able to look at it -- up to 10 seconds, and then it disappears. In other words, even if you can’t resist sending it you’re less likely to suffer negative consequences …we think it’s like digital Olestra.
Snapchat will also alert you if the recipient tries to take a screenshot of your picture, but the New York Times' Nick Bolton notes in the Bits blog that you shouldn’t feel too safe because “ even if a Snapchat image is set to vanish after a few seconds, there’s nothing to stop someone from taking a photograph of his smartphone screen with another camera.” We’re not sure that would be a huge problem since only superheroes would have the cat-like reflexes to find and use a camera that fast.