From this Wired article, on de-extinction:
“In the past 10 years, [DNA] sequencing has gotten approximately 500,000 times more efficient,” said biostatistician Steven Salzberg of Johns Hopkins University. “Nothing in the history of civilization or technology has ever gotten that much more efficient that fast.”
I was awestruck when I first read this, but it took me a bit to figure out why. It turns out it was for two reasons: the first was simply due to the fact that the pace of change in any area of human endeavor was so rapid. Then I thought, “These days, I’m surprised 500,000 is the maximum.” Then I was really awestruck: my unconscious assumptions for advancement don’t consider a change of five orders of magnitude in ten years to be abnormal. It truly is an amazing time to be alive.
I’m not the first to have thought of this, but since I didn’t know that when I did so, I’m adding my voice to the other proponents of, and researchers working on, wearable heat engines. Take a full-body, insulating, form-fitting suit, and run wires from all parts of its interior to a thermoelectic generator in the suit, whose low temperature side is exposed to outside air, 30 degrees cooler. This could provide power to, for instance, recharge pacemakers, or insulin pumps, or personal electronic devices. And if I’m understanding their operation correctly, generators would actually reduce the warm (so the human’s) temperature, cooling the body, and forcing it to burn more calories to compensate.
From what I’m reading the hardest part of making this idea work is developing materials that are electrically, but not thermally, conductive. Here’s hoping they’re able to do so, with resultant efficiencies high enough that production is viable. I want my calorie-burning, cell phone-charging super suit. :)