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  1.  (442.1)
    So what are the really crazy, freaky things people expect/hope to see in 2008.

    I'm hoping 2008 will see the em-drive get off the ground.

    The em-drive purports to be a super-efficient electromagnetic drive system which will see us zipping around the solar system and deliver something very like an antigravity drive.

    The realist in me says it'll never work - and there are plenty of scientists ready to agree.

    But the em-drive's inventer, Roger Shawyer, is a respected aerospace engineer with a solid track-record and he's got some major financial backers.

    Supposedly in 2009, he'll deliver a finished unit for use as a satellite adjustment motor.

    It likely won't happen - but wouldn't it be cool if it did?

    Much more likely (and much less mad alas): the Magenn flying wind turbine is supposed to go into mass production.

    If all goes according to plan, wind power will get a lot cheaper and will be available much more widely.

    So what are other people looking forward to?
      CommentAuthorJoe Paoli
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008
    I've said it in other threads, but Nanosolar's cheap, thin, and flexible solar panels will likely also be part of a big alt-energy revolution.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 5th 2008 edited
    May 2008: the Large Hadron Collider goes on-line at CERN.

    Experts assure us that this will almost definitely not result in Earth being eaten by a black hole.

    Assuming they're right, the LHC will either verify the so-called Standard Model of particle physics opening the way for a Grand Unified Theory or invalidate the Standard Model meaning all bets are off.
  2.  (442.4)
    Millenium Cell Company kinda-sorta say they'll deliver on that old stand-by the water engine this year.

    Well, not exactly, see they store energy in Sodium Borohydrate. Add water and the reaction generates large volumes of hydrogen which is then fed into a fuel cell to generate power (with water vapor as the only emission).

    There's lot of talk on their site about the just-add-water aspect, not so much on how often the Sodium Borohydrate cartridge needs ot be recharged or what happens to the cell in a fire or other accident - sodium's highly reactive.
  3.  (442.5)
    The Tesla Roadster goes into production next year- it outperforms a Lambourghinni at 1/4 the price, plus it's electric.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2008
    Clinical trials on supposed cancer miracle drug DCA start this year.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 11th 2008 edited
    Chinese company BYD claim they'll release the first plug-in hybrid production model this northern summer.
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2008
    Experts assure us that this will almost definitely not result in Earth being eaten by a black hole.

    Yeah. We're all gonna die.
  4.  (442.9)
    The following is mundane compared to the above but:

    That may need to be my new TV depending how reviews pan out.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008

    Entrepreneur Richard Branson on Wednesday unveiled a model of the spaceship he hopes will be the first to take paying passengers into space on a regular basis.

    SpaceShipTwo, and its launch aircraft White Knight Two, also unveiled on Wednesday, were designed by Burt Rutan, whose SpaceShipOne collected the Ansari X Prize for privately funded space flight in 2004.

    The main spacecraft, made entirely of carbon composite materials, will be about 18 metres long, with large, movable feather-shaped vertical fins at the back, which will make re-entry into the earth's atmosphere safer, Rutan said. The ship, which will carry six passengers and two pilots, is 60% complete, Virgin said.

    So apparently, this is a model of the "This is what Burt Rutan says he'll have flying this year" variety rather than the "This is an artist's concept, can we have some money?" variety.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2008
    I don't mean to drag this thread out indefinitely or turn it into a grab-bag science news thread but it occurred ot me I missed another big upcoming story.

    Craig Venter claims he's going to create "synthetic life" this year.

    This isn't the really spiffy villagers-with-torches and burning-windmills version but the nerdy version that involves taking a bacterium, destroying its DNA and replacing it with artificial chromosomes.

    The theory is you'll be able to predict and control the metabolism of these cells and, for example, set them to churning it biofuels.

    This is the point where Jeff Goldblum wanders in muttering about Chaos Theory.