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While artificial photosynthesis works in the lab, it's not ready, however, for mass consumption. Replicating what happens naturally in green plants is not a simple task. Research in artificial photosynthesis is progressing, but it won't be leaving the lab any time soon. It'll be at least 10 years before this type of system is a reality. And that's an exceedingly optimistic estimate. Some people aren't sure it'll ever happen. Still, who can resist hoping for artificial plants that behave like the real thing?

can anybody please explain me this passage? especially the first two lines and the last once. Also what does "who can resist hoping for artificial plants that behave like real thing?" mean and imply?

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    This is not a question about the language, it is a reading comprehension question. A specific question about a word or grammatical construction that is confusion would be on-topic for this site, but general questions about the meaning of a passage are not.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 16:16

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Research in artificial photosynthesis is progressing, but it won't be leaving the lab any time soon.[1]

It'll be at least 10 years before this type of system is a reality. And that's an exceedingly optimistic estimate.[2]

Still, who can resist hoping for artificial plants that behave like the real thing?[3]

If one would have asked that what perspective the author is in, I would have replied that "it seems that the author was writing a article as an objection against false hopes about the synthesis of artificial plants".

Statement 1 indicates that though there is progress in the labs that do research about these plants, but getting the results to real life is not going to happen soon.

In statement 2, the writer expands his claim. He backs up his last sentence saying that even considering that it's going to happen ten years later is a very optimistic assertion.

Finally, in statement 3, since the author wants the audience to make sure he isn't unreasonably biased, he gives a reason of why people like having 'false hopes'; by saying that "Imagine artificial plants that behave like normal ones (plants). Wouldn't it be awesome?" The use of "thing" here, as I believe, is to prevent "plants" from being used twice.

So, by statement 3 the author tells us that though the technology will not be available for at least the next ten years, people tend to make 'very soon' predictions because they like hoping for this technology to be out sooner than its real time; but he does this in the form of a "rhetorical question".

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Artificial photosynthesis works only in controlled laboratory settings; the technology is not yet ready for production on a mass scale. To replicate actual photosynthesis is a difficult undertaking.

Who is not excited by the prospect of artificial photosynthesis that behaves like real photosynthesis?

The real thing = the actual process or item on which a simulacrum is based.

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