A very cool experiment in virtual reality has shown it is possible to trick the mind into identifying with a virtual body:
Through these goggles, the volunteers could see a camera
view of their own back – a three-dimensional "virtual own body" that
appeared to be standing in front of them.
… Read More “Virtual Out of Body Experiences”
Japanese scientists have developed a technique that can encode 100-bit messages into the DNA of common bacteria. The bacteria replicate and pass the message down from generation to generation for at least thousands of years. Because there are millions or more copies of the message it can survive gradual degradation or mutuations (so they claim).… Read More “Scientists Encode Message into Bacterial DNA”
Nice article in Scientific American about Gordon Bell’s work at Microsoft Research on the MyLifeBits project. MyLifeBits provides one perspective on the not-too-far-off future in which all our information, and even some of our memories and experiences, are recorded and made available to us (and possibly to others) for posterity.… Read More “Capturing Your Digital Life”
And now for some other science news. A new technique called cryotherapy is emerging in which people subject themselves to short bursts of extreme cold, in order to rejuvenate the body:
It’s minus 120 degrees and all I’m wearing is a hat and socks.
… Read More “Cryotherapy — Freeze Yourself, For Health”
Just read an interesting article on the possibility of "intraterrestrial" silicon-based life on Earth:
SETI spends enormous amounts of money
and resources looking for life outside of Earth’s realm, but life forms
so alien that scientists may simply not have recognized evidence of
their existence could inhabit the Earth, according to a leading
… Read More “Scientist Raises Possibility of Silicon-Based Life”
Researchers continue to make progress in fusing living neurons with computer chips:
line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot
blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which
living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together.
… Read More “Neuro-Chips”
The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading.
The history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.
… Read More “Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas”
Here’s a happy story about true love. An Israeli millionaire tourist recently married a captive dolphin in a formal wedding ceremony. There’s something fishy about this wedding though — I mean did the dolphin really love her for HER, or did he just want her for her money?… Read More “Obsessed Tourist Marries Dolphin”
I recently read a report of new neuroscience research in which researchers are able to predict what a person will recall by analyzing their brainstate. You can read a summary here.
This reminds me of an idea I had a while back for using biofeedback to guide brainstates, in order to improve memory.… Read More “A New Kind of Memory Aid”
Now this is really interesting! New research has found that certain parts of the body emit measurable numbers of photons. This may open up new diagnostic techniques. But that’s just the beginning. Spiritual healers from many different faiths have long said that they experience light coming from their hands, and can feel (and even see) energy from the hands, feet and heads of other people.… Read More “New Study: Human Hands, Feet and Foreheads Emit Light”
This article discusses recent research into encoding short 100 word messages into the DNA of living organisms. The error-correcting characteristics of DNA enable such messages to be passed down without degrading across generations. By embedding short messages into hardy organisms such as particular strains of bacteria, it may be possible to preserve information over longer timeframes than by using any other known storage media.… Read More “Using DNA to Send Messages into the Distant Future”
I just read that a Japanese team is actually developing technology to store data in human fingernails. I proposed this concept on this blog last year in this post. That may qualify as prior art. I wonder if they are going to try to patent this?… Read More “Storing Data in Human Fingernails — One of my Past Proposals now Under Development”
A cutting-edge research program is injecting human brain cells into monkey brains, to investigate whether this causes their brains to become more "human." This poses a potential ethical challenge: If the monkeys do become more human, would they be considered "human subjects" and be protected by ethical guidelines governing research onto humans?… Read More “Human-Brained Monkeys Pose Ethical Challenge”
Fascinating article about research which has successfully extracted video from monitoring cat neurons. They have actually reconstructed what the cat actually saw from its neural signals. This opens the door to recording our day-to-day perceptions (lifelogs) and perhaps even to recording our dreams.… Read More “Extracting Video from Cat Brains”
Here is a thought-provoking article that discusses several possible directions for the future evoloution of the human species. It includes comments by Richard Dawkins, as well as several scenarios with pictures of what humans might look like in the distant future.
A recent study by the University of California, San Francisco, has found that stress causes the same changes in cells that are typically caused by aging:
study involved 39 women ages 20 to 50 who had experienced grinding
stress for years because they were caring for a child with a serious
chronic illness, and 19 other women with healthy children.
… Read More “New Study Finds Stress Causes Aging”
In February of 2005, a controversial new anti-aging pill called Protandim is slated for release. This drug is claimed to increase the body’s natural production of anti-oxidants, which in turn is believed to combat damage from free-radicals. Preliminary studies on mice demonstrated "reduction of lipid peroxidation by 60% to 75% in both plasma and liver,
as well as a decrease of more than 90% percent in brain tissue.… Read More “New Anti-Aging Pill To Be Released”
Here’s an interesting speculation. Assume for the moment that our universe is in fact a simulation running on a vast computing system created a race of beings that is far more advanced than we can presently imagine. The next logical question would be, “Why would an advanced civilization want or need to undertake such a project?”… Read More “If the Universe is a Simulation, then What?”
This is pretty cool stuff — growing brains using live tissue and then teaching them to control software:
from an article in Slashdot: “Scientists at the University of Florida made a living ‘brain’ by extracting 25,000 neurons from a rat’s brain and culturing them inside a glass dish.
… Read More “Flying by Brain”
A leading researcher claims that he is certain that some humans alive today will live to be 150 due to changes in the human lifespan. He even bet money on it. Meanwhile another study has found that certain mutations in our DNA may be causing shorter lifespans.… Read More “Humans will live to 150”
Scientists have discovered that by blocking the effect of a gene called D2 in a particular part of the brain they can transform normal monkeys into “drones” that will work as hard as they can, continuously, on repetitive tasks, without needing any expection of reward to keep going.… Read More “New Technique Turns Animals into Drones; Humans Next?”