An intriguing announcement from the folks at CERN (read here). At one level this is a coincidence. Why should the cosmos sound like European classical music, especially Beethoven? Pattern recognition run amok? But then it does point to a truth I reference in 'Paradise'. The main protagonist Akash Jayarama mentions the Indian philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism, especially the idea of Spanda - that the essence of the cosmos is vibration and that the laws of physics are harmonic patterns.
The children of Eden grow up in a pre-fall Paradise, wild like many tribal children. There is a science behind this - developmental psychology. Many modern Western children grow up with tightly controlled, highly managed lifestyles. There is a growing body of evidence to show that the lack of 'wild' play increases the chance of the child developing neuroses and insecurities. The French photographer Alain Laboile is noted for the photographs of his children engaged in wild play on their rural property. They capture a sense of joyful freedom and do a good job of capturing how the children of [...]
This is an excellent overview - super intelligent humans are coming - of the issue of genetically enhanced intelligence. Sci-fi suffers from a deep prejudice about intelligence. The super intelligent are either mad scientists or emotionless Spocks. Whilst it is true that some with high intelligence in one area can be lacking in other areas (the socially awkward nerd) the reality is that people with a high intelligence are usually gifted in most areas.
I'm not going to publish too many articles on advances in theoretical physics simply because much of it just that, theoretical, and there is still a lot of disagreement. However I did find this article interesting because it digs deeper and questions the fundamentals of space-time, something that the main protagonist of Paradise succeeds in doing."Attempts thus far to incorporate gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes."
One of the more complex areas of genetic engineering is changing the human brain. Human intelligence is controlled by a complex of genes, some of which control other functions. But we can still expect to see progress and maybe, one day, we can enhance intelligence. See this German study.
One of the key plot lines of Paradise is the discovery of exoplanets. There has been a revolution in this field an as more powerful methods come online we can expect more exciting discoveries, perhaps we will even detect life. This article is a good overview of the discoveries made by the Kepler telescope.