"We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals," according to John Hawks -University of Wisconsin anthropologist. "Five thousand years is such a small sliver of time - it's 100 to 200 generations ago. That's how long it's been since some of these genes originated, and today they are in 30 or 40 percent of people because they've had such an advantage. It's like 'invasion of the body snatchers. 'What's really amazing about humans," Hawks continued, "that is not true with most other species, is that for a long time we were just a little ape species in one corner of Africa, and weren't genetically sampling anything like the potential we have now."
“Tumors are a re-emergence of our inner Metazoan 1.0, a throwback to an ancient world when multicellular life was simpler,” says Paul Davies of Arizona State University’s Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science . “In that sense, cancer is an accident waiting to happen.”
In a twist that evokes the dystopian science fiction of writer Philip K. Dick, neuroscientists have found a way to predict whether convicted felons are likely to commit crimes again from looking at their brain scans. Convicts showing low activity in a brain region associated with decision-making and action are more likely to be arrested again, and sooner.
World leaders at at the 2013 World Economic Forum held in Davos, Swtizerland this January, asked the attending editors and journalists to identify five of the most potentially disruptive of the "unheralded" risks, which they dubbed ‘X factors'" according to Nature.com.*The report put together by Nature, titled "Global Risks 2013," came up with a list of five "X factors" that world leaders need to prepare for to avoid what it described as "systemic shocks and catastrophic events.
The "X factors" are described in the reports as factors that "no country alone can prevent," and illustrates the notion of an "X factor" as an "unheralded" event that may suddenly confront humanity.
Among the five "X factors" identified was “Discovery of Alien Life." "Given the pace of space exploration, it is increasingly conceivable that we may discover the existence of alien life or other planets that could support human life," said the WEF. "What would be the effects on science funding flows and humanity’s self-image?"