Heads Up: 5 Most Incredible Discoveries of the Week
Including a new history for Easter Island and good news for optometrists
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2016 5:07 AM CST
Make tattoos, not war.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Hopeful news on cancer and not-so-hopeful news about our eyesight make the list:

  • Cancer Treatment Yields Unprecedented Results: A novel therapy used on leukemia patients with just months to live made big headlines this week. Researchers re-engineered patients' own cells by arming them with molecules that go after cancer, then reinjected the cells back into their bodies. The success rate was amazing, though a few big caveats are at play.
  • Easter Island May Not Have Collapsed During War After All: The ancient civilization of Rapa Nui (now Easter Island) has long been thought to have been brought to its knees by violent infighting. But anthropologists have now determined that objects thought to be weapons of war were instead fairly ordinary artifacts—provided you consider tattoos ordinary.
  • That Grated Parm May Not Be All Parm: A Bloomberg investigation has some troubling news for lovers of parmesan cheese. It turns out that lots of grated parm sold in supermarkets has a surprising amount of non-parm filler. And by "non-parm," we're talking wood pulp.

  • Half of Humans Will Be Nearsighted by 2050: The rate of nearsightedness nearly doubled between the 1970s and early 2000s and jumped five-fold since 2000, and at this rate, one in two humans is likely to have myopia by 2050. The reason is, ahem, unclear, but a common trait of modern life is thought to play role.
  • New Flower Species Found in Unusual Place: A beautiful and probably deadly plant preserved in amber has turned out to be a species new to science. The new species was identified from two tiny flowers perfectly preserved in amber found in a mine in the Dominican Republic, and the incredible part is they might be tens of millions of years old.
Click to read about more discoveries.