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The 7 Most Important Scientific Breakthroughs of 2017

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The pace of technological change is accelerating – and every new year seems to bring a more incredible list of scientific breakthroughs than the last.

This time 2017 is no exception, and the year was filled with game-changing innovations that are on the cutting edge of science. These breakthroughs will surely alter how we think of the world, and they will likely also translate into future unknown technologies that will affect how our society operates.

Scientific Breakthroughs in 2017

Today’s infographic comes to us from Futurism, and it highlights the big scientific advancements that happened over the course of the year.

The 7 Most Important Scientific Breakthroughs of 2017

Key discoveries happened in the fields of gene editing, space travel, quantum communications, astronomy, and quantum physics.

Let’s take a deeper dive into these incredible scientific breakthroughs.

The Subatomic Level

At the subatomic particle level, there were a couple of noteworthy advances that will help us better understand the complex inner-workings of quantum mechanics.

New particles: Using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a team of scientists discovered five new particles – all from a single analysis. These particles may give us a better understanding of the correlation between quarks and multi-quark states, as well as some clues about the earliest moments of the universe.

Quantum communications: The first unhackable video call happened between China and Vienna in September. Rather than using traditional cryptography, it relied on quantum key distribution (QKD) to protect the call. Using single photons in quantum superposition states is a way to raise the level of security so high, that it’s not even hackable by quantum computers.

The Final Frontier

Important progress was also made in space travel and astronomy:

Reusable rockets: Elon Musk and his SpaceX team launched a previously used Falcon 7 rocket booster. For humans to be able to do anything significant off the planet, cutting down the cost of commercial space travel is a crucial step in the right direction.

New Earth-like planets: In a remote star system called TRAPPIST-1, scientists discovered seven Earth-like exoplanets in the “goldilocks zone” – where life (as we know it) can exist.

Life Sciences

Lastly, the other three major discoveries fall under the category of life sciences:

Embryo gene editing: Researchers successfully edited a one-cell human embryo in Portland, Oregon. This could make it easier to cure heritable diseases or defective genes in the future.

Gene editing in body: A 44-year-old patient suffering from a rare disease, Hunter syndrome, had his genome successfully edited using CRISPR.

Artificial womb: An artificial womb successfully imitated the environment inside a uterus, housing a 23-week old lamb. Premature births are a leading cause of death for newborns.

With the speed of science and technological change continuing to accelerate, it should not be surprising to see an even more exciting list of breakthroughs in 2018.

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Cannabis

The Science Behind the $13 Billion Medical Cannabis Industry

A deep-dive into the science behind the medical cannabis industry can provide some investor insight into what makes it a multi-billion dollar market.

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The Science Behind the Medical Cannabis Industry

There’s nothing quite like cannabis in the plant kingdom. Beneath its humble surface, over 750 unique compounds exist within – all of which have helped propel the cannabis industry into the multi-billion dollar market it is today.

Today’s infographic from The Green Organic Dutchman takes a deep dive into the cannabis components which contribute to its therapeutic potential, how it interacts with the human body, and the ways it can be consumed.

The Chemical Effects of Cannabis

While many people would be familiar with THC and CBD as the two major cannabinoids, there are a few lesser-known cannabinoids which also play important roles: Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Tetrahydrocannbivarin (THCv), and Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa).

In different combinations, they work together with terpenes – aromatic oils that are present in most plants – to provide relief for a variety of ailments.

CategoryCannabinoidAilment
Pain/ SleepCBD, THCCramps, Migraine
CBC, CBD, CBN, THCInsomnia
CBC, CBD, CBN, THC, THCvPain
CBC, CBD, CBDa, CBG, CBN, THC, THCaArthritis, Inflammation
Gastro-IntestinalTHCAppetite loss
CBD, THCNausea
CBD, THCvDiabetes
CBD, THC, THCaCrohn’s disease
Mood/ BehaviorCBD, CBGAnxiety
CBD, THCADD/ADHD, Stress
CBD, CBG, THCBipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD
CBC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THCDepression
NeurologicalCBC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, THCaAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
CBC, CBD, CBG, THC, THCaParkinson’s, Alzheimer’s
CBD, CBN, THC, THCaMultiple Sclerosis
CBD, CBN, THCa, THCvEpilepsy, Seizures
OtherCBC, CBD, CBDa, CBG, THC, THCaCancer
THCFatigue

When cannabinoids and terpenes interact, the human endocannabinoid system is already equipped to deal with the entourage effects that are created.

Modern-Day Medical Cannabis

It’s clear that many cultures embraced cannabis long before scientific research came into play. Its therapeutic properties were widely recorded and extolled around the world.

After decades of restricted access and stigma, the tide is turning back towards what our ancestors discovered long ago. Millions of patients rely on medical cannabis today, with Canada and Israel paving the way in cannabis research.

  • Canada
    Medical cannabis has been legal nationwide since 2001, aiding scientists in studying its effects.
    Funding: CAD$1.4 million (US$1.05 million) invested by the government towards research projects.
  • Israel
    Since the 1990s, medical cannabis has been legal for patients of cancer, chronic pain, and PTSD.
    Funding: 8 million shekels (US$2.16 million) annual government funding to support innovation.

Back in the day, typically only dried cannabis flower was used. However, consumption methods have evolved into three broad categories today: ingestion, inhalation, and application.

  • Ingesting
    The dosage of cannabis consumed is easy to control using edibles or beverages, tinctures or sprays, and capsules.
  • Inhalation
    The effects of cannabis are quickly felt through smoking, vaporizing, and/or dabbing concentrates.
  • Application
    Transdermal patches and topicals like balms offer localized relief through a controlled dose.

Each of these methods have their own pros and cons, but in the end, they all offer the medical cannabis patient with a wide variety to choose from. Some of these forms, such as topicals and edibles, even lend themselves to the rapidly growing consumer cannabis segment.

In the seventh part of this series, we’ll delve into the rise of retail that’s set to disrupt the cannabis industry.

The Story of Cannabis: What Investors Need to KnowAnatomy of a Cannabis PlantA Quality Cannabis ProductThe Rise of OrganicA Sustainable Cannabis ProductThe Science Behind the Medical Cannabis IndustryComing soonComing soon

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Base Metals

Everything You Need to Know on VMS Deposits

Deep below the ocean’s waves, VMS deposits spew out massive amounts of minerals like copper, zinc, and gold, making them a key source of the metals we use.

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Everything You Need to Know about VMS Deposits

People are often not aware of where their most prized devices really come from.

Phones, cars, and computers might not seem like the most natural objects. But the metals that make them come from natural processes deep in the earth’s crust – processes that have been going on for 3.4 billion years, and continue to this day.

Today’s visualization comes to us from Foran Mining Corp. and goes in depth to show how one type of mineral deposit, Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide or “VMS”, forms and is the primary source for many of the materials that make the modern world.

What is a VMS Deposit?

Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide (VMS) deposits are one of the richest sources of metals such as copper, lead, and zinc globally. VMS deposits can also produce economic amounts of gold and silver as byproducts of mining these deposits.

Currently, global metal production from VMS deposits account for 22% of zinc, 9.7% of lead, 6% of copper, 8.7% of silver and 2.2% of gold.

Where are VMS deposits found?

VMS deposits occur around the globe and often form in clusters or camps, following the tectonic plate boundaries in areas of ancient underwater volcanic activity.

Natural processes underway today are forming the VMS deposits of tomorrow. This gives scientists an incredible advantage in witnessing how VMS deposits form and gives a special advantage to geologists for what to look for.

Mineralization and Formation

The geological processes that form VMS deposits occur at the depths of the ocean and are associated with volcanic and/or sedimentary rocks.

At sections where the Earth’s crust is thin due to faulting or separation of tectonic plates, the magma heats up the ocean floor.

As the Earth’s crust heats up, the ground softens and allows heated magma to escape towards the ocean or crust contact, the early beginning of a volcano and the deposition of minerals into the ocean floor from magma. Also, the heated ground cracks and begins a process that draws in sea water into the crust which becomes super-heated and imbued with minerals. Black and white smokers expel this seawater back to the surface.

Black and white smokers exhale a mineral rich-plume that spreads out over the ocean floor. As it moves farther and farther away from its heat source, the plume precipitates minerals onto the ocean floor. Over time, the continual activity of the smokers and their mineral rich plumes create mineralized beds that become VMS deposits.

With the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates, these mineral rich beds are transposed and can be found on land that was once underwater.

How Big Can VMS Deposits Get?

Current resource and historical production figures from 904 VMS deposits around the world average roughly 17 million tonnes (“Mt”), of which is approximately 1.7% copper, 3.1% zinc, and 0.7% lead.

A few giant mineral deposits (greater than 30 Mt) and several copper-rich and zinc-rich deposits of median tonnage (~2 Mt) skew the averages.

Several large VMS camps are known in Canada, including the Flin Flon, Bathurst and Noranda camps. The high-grade deposits within these camps are often in the range of five to 20 million tonnes of ore and can be much larger.

Meanwhile, approximately 90 VMS deposits have been discovered in the Iberian Pyrite Belt which runs through Portugal and Spain. Several of these are larger than 100 million tonnes, making this region one of the most significant hosts to VMS deposits in the world.

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