Optogenetic therapy

Anything NEWWorthy typically has the distinction of being first in some scientific, technological, creative, or other kind of endeavor.  But sometimes the potential far exceeds the initial effort.  Such may be the case with optogenetic therapy.

MIT Technology Review reports that “A blind woman in Texas is the first person to undergo therapy based on an emerging technology called optogenetics.”  If all goes well, she may be able to see again.  Not only that, but neuroscientists may be watching to see if the science has potential to provide therapy for persons with Parkinson’s and schizophrenia.

It’s too early to tell what the results will be.  But I certainly wish them the best of luck.

Rays versus Cuba

Professional baseball in America is more than 100 years old.  That’s OLDWorthy.

In 1999, the Baltimore Orioles played Cuba, but no Major League Baseball team has played in Cuba since.  Today (2pm Eastern Time), the Tampa Bay Rays play Cuba at Estadio Latinoamericano in an exhibition game before the regular season starts.  President Obama will attend the game — and possibly throwing out the first pitch.

Will this become an annual event?  It is too early to tell, but the first MLB game in Cuba in 17 years makes the match-up feel NEWWorthy once again.

If you want to watch the game on ESPN streaming and you have a sign-in through your cable provider to Watch ESPN, you can download the app or watch it from ESPN’s website.

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Making progressives less progressive

In case you were thinking this is a political analysis, it’s not.  I’m talking about progressive lenses, and a new technology that may eliminate the need for them.  MIT Technology Review wrote about a new kind of eyeglasses that can focus themselves, rather than requiring the wearer to look up or down to change the focus.  They are not here yet, but maybe in 5 years.  If the technology makes it to market, it could be NEWWorthy.

Universal cooling

Cooling by the universe — the sky?  That’s what MIT Technology Review reports on this week, particularly about a company called SkyCool Systems.  The concept is simple to understand: Use the coldness of space to cool warehouses and buildings.  But at what cost?  If the dollars needed to install and maintain these systems produces a large net savings over time, that equals NEWWorthy!

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Game of Go: Human expert versus AlphaGo AI

Computerworld reports today on the match between Google’s Deepmind AlphaGo AI that plays the game of Go at an expert level and Lee Se-dol, a South Korean who is one of the top Go players in the world.  For game 1 (airing sometime March 8, 2016 in the U.S.), below is the streaming video from the tournament on YouTube.  I don’t know if this link will work for games 2 and on, so you might need to check on YouTube for further streaming of the tournament.

World’s record flight — by any species

According to “The Scientist”, Pantala flavescens, a 4.5-cm-long dragonfly, holds the record for the world’s longest flight by any species.  “This is the first time anyone has looked at genes to see how far these insects have traveled,” study coauthor Jessica Ware said in a statement.  A first and a record in one.  That’s NEWWorthy.

But, as someone points out in the comments on that website, how do the researchers know that the dragonfly didn’t travel thousands of miles on a boat instead of flying?

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