100 new scientific discoveries from Time Books

    Jurassic Park is becoming more and more possible, as scientists around the world work on bringing back extinct creatures.  This is just one example of the fascinating ideas in the new 100 new scientific discoveries. Divided into logical chapters such as the mind, genetics, physics, the earth, and so on, the book is a quick way to catch up on all the science reading you've missed.  And to be amazed and dazzled anew by our wondrously complex universe.  
    Recent DNA studies in Sweden show environmental influences can, in fact, change the genes of later generations. "The answer lies beyond both nature and nurture, and instead with a new science called epigenetics. At its most basic, epigenetics is the study of changes in gene activity that don't involve alterations to the genetic code, but still get passed down to at least one successive generation."
    A new biofuel company may well try to get us to eat pond scum.  That's right--algae flour. Algae has been a dietary ingredient for a long time in Asia, but scientists say it is similar to olive oil in its makeup, and food made with it has less calories and fat but more protein.  Pass the skimmer net?
    On the physics front, Chinese military scientists have "composed coded...messages with photons."  So what, you ask?  This is guaranteed secure communications, that's why. Transmitted via a blue laser, Chinese satellites may soon be able to communicate with completely submerged submarines in an unbeatable, unbreakable code.
    Mono LakeOne intriguing and heatedly debated discovery included in the book is a strange bacteria found in Mono Lake, CA, that may utilize arsenic for the backbone of its DNA, rather than phosphorous. A young scientist with NASA and Nova backing announced the discovery in December 2010, after which a firestorm of criticism destroyed its credibility. The story remains contested, and no one has tackled the problems with the science.  Hmm.  Well, at least we are all well-informed of the media fight, right?
     ~Tessa Eger    3 out of 5 stars

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