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The fluorescing transparent zebrafish will soon make your life better.

Perhaps the event of this last year that will have the greatest lasting impact on humanity has come from the zebrafish, Danio rerio. Varieties of these naturally transparent small fish have been developed with qualities which permit  experiments to be performed that are impossible to do with other methods. Various functions occurring within these fishes can be tagged with molecules that can be made to fluoresce. With that ability it became possible this year to see the function of cholesterol in a living animal, and with that ability research on these zebrafish will lead to more effective control of artery-choking plaque, which is created by cholesterol and other factors. Controlling cholesterol and a myriad of other bodily functions will probably lead to findings that will add many healthy years to the average person’s life expectancy. Many more as yet unknowable discoveries will undoubtedly follow from this new fluorescing technique for working with transparent zebrafish.

Zebrafish with florescent dye

The zebrafish is revolutionizing human health. There are many scientists now working with zebrafish, but George Streisinger of the University of Oregon, who died in 1984, deserves a great share of the credit for developing the present zebrafish technology. It does appear to an outsider such as myself that this transparent fish being linked to visibly fluorescent dyes was a logical development of the existing widespread fluorescent dye marking technology. Therefore instead of picking a single scientist working in 2011 exploiting this fluorescent technology, it seems more reasonable to pick the zebrafish itself as the Probaway Person of the Year.

The complete up-to-present list of – Probaway Person of the Year:

  • 2017 – Albert Einstein for predicting black holes, their collisions creating gravity waves, and the laser for observing the gravity waves.
  • 2016 – Xi Jinping for taking China from a backward economy to the most powerful one on Earth.
  • 2015 – Peter Higgs and Alan Guth created theories that lead to proofs this year of mass and gravity sources.
  • 2014 – Jennifer Doudna created a method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA.
  • 2013 – Plague Inc. is a computer game that explores the problems of creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth.
  • 2012 – Zebrafish research-technique advances made it possible to observe drug interactions within living animals.
  • 2011 – Craig Venter laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.
  • 2010 – Nadya Suleman (Octomom) and the society that created this travesty of good sense will be remembered into the distant future by many hungry people.
  • 2009 – Jimmy Wales for Wikipedia, which will be still be used after our current computer operating systems are surpassed and forgotten.
  • 2008 – Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) because he shows people how to relate to dogs and people much better than anyone else. His videos and techniques will be remembered and used as long as there are people and dogs.

These may seem like strange choices but they are potentially long-term-memorable events which had a major tipping point the year before their selection.


TIME Person of the Year 2011 is The Protester
Introduction: History often only emerges in retrospect. Events only become significant only when looking back.

TIME’s opening quote is an important and well stated concept, but they follow it with an appalling naïve application of those simple ideas! They begin their analysis with why they chose The Protester. They might have chosen Steve Jobs, who had been getting a lot of attention as their possible choice. He would still have been a better choice than their empty term protester because it was the cell-phone, which he was a major pioneer in the development of, that was so important in making the protests so spectacular.

Their analysis was naïve because when they use the word history in retrospect they should project themselves at least several decades into the future and past, and when that is done these protests must be compared to other things like tens of millions of people getting killed in wars. The deadliest war of all time, the Taiping Rebellion, was apparently unknown to TIME or ignored. TIME totally fails in its concept of historical perspective. They publish the words but are oblivious to the ideas behind the words.

With their total lack of historical time-perspective, for them to consider these largely peaceful demonstrations as historically memorable is simply blindly shortsighted. TIME isn’t taking a historical perspective. In the long run, the cell phone was more important than the crowds it enabled. It was the cell phones’ capacity to instantly broadcast videos which was the critical event of the year. TIME was aware of this but they were too shortsighted to acknowledge its importance. TIME Person of the Year – The Cellphone, would have made more sense from a historical perspective.

The guiding concept for Probaway Person of the Year, memorability, is who will have done something or what will have happened in the previous year which will have impact and potentially be remembered in 500 years. As much as I respect Steve Jobs, it was his earlier work, and not his work of last year, which will be remembered in the distant future.

TIME’s Runner-Up category was occupied by real individual humans and not humanized corporations or masses of nameless people, but even these fine people were only place holders of some categorical office. Someone is going to be the General of the US military in Afghanistan, someone is going to be a protesting artist in China, someone is going to be an advocate for lowering US taxes, someone is going to marry the current Prince Charming. Even these wonderful individual people did not do anything of historically memorable importance last year. But what is probably memorable is that …

The zebrafish will soon change everyone’s life for the better.