Posted by on February 14th, 2012

Just because things can never get weirder, here’s a science-fictional future still waiting for FDA approval: NeonMice™

Here’s some pertinent quotes from the FAQ:

The mice are produced in a laboratory by inserting fluorescent genes into the mice.  The genes were originally extracted from jellyfish and reef coral, which naturally glow.  The mice are genetically modified so they will glow for their entire lifespan, however their fur is the only part of their body that does not glow.  Thus, we have hairless varieties of NeonMice™ as well.

All of the NeonMice™ available commercially are both male and sterile. This ensures the Fluorescent genes are not passed on outside of our breeding facility.

The most common commercially available GM pet are Glofish™, which are found throughout the U.S. in fish stores. Since the inception of GloFish™ over 7 years ago, they have become one of the best selling fish in the industry. As with Glofish™, the breeding of NeonMice™ by individuals or pet shops is strictly prohibited.

NeonMice™ are viewed best with a blue light during the day; however fluorescent, incandescent, and LED light work extremely well for daytime viewing. At night we recommend using a black light or actinic light for best results. As with all mice we suggest a 12 hour of light and 12 hour of darkness to give your NeonMice™ an adequate resting photoperiod.

NeonMice™ are 100% safe to ingest by any animal since they have the same nutritional value as a normal mouse.  The fluorescent protein in their skin is broken down as it is digested, just as with normal tissue.  If your animal eats a GloMouse™ it will NOT glow, nor will it give your pet special powers.  It will however waste a neutered, expensive, and beautiful mouse that would make a much nicer pet than food.  NeonMice™ are NOT to be ingested or in any way consumed by HUMANS!

As of 11/20/2009 NeonMice™ are still not commercially available, as we are patiently waiting our FDA approval process.

thanks bookhling!

The Fall of Man and the Anthropocene Era

Posted by on January 22nd, 2012

Here’s the current title holder of the Comedian’s Comedian, Mr Louis CK explaining the mess that is Civilisation and what The Fall of Man amounts to:

Note: NSFW

During the Enlightenment the state of the human being was critically re-examined, and compared to its imagined origin, in a ’natural state’ (ie. pre The Fall). Of particular note here is Rousseau and his Theory of the Natural Human; consider these words from its entry in the GreatWiki (emphasis mine):

Society corrupts men only insofar as the Social Contract has not de facto succeeded, as we see in contemporary society as described in the Discourse on Inequality (1754).

In this essay, which elaborates on the ideas introduced in the Discourse on the Arts and Sciences, Rousseau traces man’s social evolution from a primitive state of nature to modern society. The earliest solitary humans possessed a basic drive for self preservation and a natural disposition to compassion or pity. They differed from animals, however, in their capacity for free will and their potential perfectibility. As they began to live in groups and form clans they also began to experience family love, which Rousseau saw as the source of the greatest happiness known to humanity. As long as differences in wealth and status among families were minimal, the first coming together in groups was accompanied by a fleeting golden age of human flourishing. The development of agriculture, metallurgy, private property, and the division of labour and resulting dependency on one another, however, led to economic inequality and conflict. As population pressures forced them to associate more and more closely, they underwent a psychological transformation: They began to see themselves through the eyes of others and came to value the good opinion of others as essential to their self esteem. Rousseau posits that the original, deeply flawed Social Contract (i.e., that of Hobbes), which led to the modern state, was made at the suggestion of the rich and powerful, who tricked the general population into surrendering their liberties to them and instituted inequality as a fundamental feature of human society. Rousseau’s own conception of the Social Contract can be understood as an alternative to this fraudulent form of association. At the end of the Discourse on Inequality, Rousseau explains how the desire to have value in the eyes of others comes to undermine personal integrity and authenticity in a society marked by interdependence, and hierarchy. In the last chapter of the Social Contract, Rousseau would ask “What is to be done?” He answers that now all men can do is to cultivate virtue in themselves and submit to their lawful rulers. To his readers, however, the inescapable conclusion was that a new and more equitable Social Contract was needed.


Where Nietzsche speaks of his transcendant Übermensch being Beyond Good & Evil, as a counterpoint we have Rousseau’s “Natural Human” being Before Good & Evil. This is what Terence McKenna speaks of as the Fall into History.

But the situation in this new Anthropocene Era leaves us with no ‘natural state’ left to return to. This is the subject of Bruce Sterling’s Art+Enviroment conference keynote, finally extending upon the seed of an idea he left dangling in DISTRACTION (aka “the book that predicts Occupy Wall Street”):

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via THINKPROGRESS, which has some handy bonus quotes.

Which leads us where?

  • Next Nature as an internet of animals.
  • Bioengineered RFID-tagged stags roam Roundup Ready forests in search of their neural-networked doe harems.” ~ @claytoncubitt

See also:

the coming cuteularity (chimeric monkey pups gonna make ya go awwwwwww)

Posted by on January 16th, 2012

The Guardian informs us that:

The world’s first monkeys to be created from the embryos of several individuals have been born at a US research centre.

Scientists at the Oregon National Primate Research Centre produced the animals, known as chimeras, by sticking together between three and six rhesus monkey embryos in the early stages of their development.

Three animals were born at the laboratory, a singleton and twins, and were said to be healthy, with no apparent birth defects following the controversial technique.

And are clearly part of a program of weaponized cuteness, prototype post-primate super-soldiers, dropped behind enemy lines, able to reduce the hardest veteran into mushiness with a single blink.

Just take a look:

via The Chairman

Festo’s Smart Bird

Posted by on March 27th, 2011
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via a good chunk of the Twittersphere, for good reason.!

TED Talk: It’s time to question bio-engineering

Posted by on March 23rd, 2011

There’s not that much that’s new here, for those of us that have been closely following this over the years, but it’s still quite something to see listed, one after another, the many achievements made recently in genetic and bio engineering.

What I also like about this TED Talk, being by a bio-ethicist, is that he focuses on identifying the areas ethics need to be applied, without prescribing solutions or making immediate value judgements, something that seems to be increasingly rarer these days.

Link Dump 24-02-2011

Posted by on February 24th, 2011
  • Toward computers that fit on a pen tip: New technologies usher in the millimeter-scale computing era

    A prototype implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients is believed to contain the first complete millimeter-scale computing system…

  • Organs-on-a-Chip for Faster Drug Development

    The chips are still in their early stages, but investigators are translating more and more body parts to the interface. Last summer bioengineers at Harvard University..created a device that mimics a human lung: a porous membrane surrounded by human lung tissue cells, which breathes, distributes nutrients to cells and initiates immune responses.

  • The ‘core pathway’ of aging

    DePinho published a study in Nature in January 2011 that demonstrated it was possible to reverse the symptoms of extreme aging in mice by increasing their levels of telomerase, the enzyme that maintains the health of the telomeres.

  • Neuroscientists Create Perception Of Having Three Arms

    To prove that the prosthetic arm was truly experienced as a third arm, the scientist ‘threatened’ either the prosthetic hand or the real hand with a kitchen knife, and measuring the degree of sweating of the palm as a physiological response to this provocation.

  • Learning the Alien Language of Dolphins

    Herzing’s method is effectively the same as that used in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The keyboard allows for dolphins to teach humans as much as the humans teach the dolphins.

Russia approves sale of New Zealand-developed, seaweed-coated xenotransplantation diabetes treatment

Posted by on December 19th, 2010

(Don’t you just love the 2010s?)

From New Scientist:

THE world’s first xenotransplantation treatment – where animal cells are transplanted into humans – has been approved for sale in Russia.

The treatment, developed by Living Cell Technologies in New Zealand, is for type 1 diabetes. It consists of insulin-producing pig cells coated in seaweed, says Bob Elliott of LCT.

LCT’s treatment involves surgically implanting the replacement cells into the pancreas. The “seaweed” coating is alginate, which prevents the immune system from attacking the foreign cells.

In Russian trials, eight people with type 1 diabetes received the treatment in June 2007, while continuing to have daily injections of insulin. After a year, six showed improved blood glucose control and were able to lower their daily dose of insulin. Two of them stopped injections entirely for eight months. One person left the trial and another showed no improvement, which LCT believes was due to problems inserting the cells into the pancreas.

Extinctions Expected to Increase Strongly Over the Century

Posted by on November 25th, 2010

The main factors behind loss of biodiversity are the degradation and destruction of natural habitats, climate change and overexploitation of biological resources. Changes in land use, brought on for instance by urbanization or the conversion of equatorial forest into pasture and arable land, is therefore the principal threat to biodiversity.

Via ScienceDaily.

Trippy Bowls Inspired By Spiders On Drugs

Posted by on November 4th, 2010

The famous NASA doped spider webs, created by French designer Guillaume Lehoux for his SOD Project :


Link and photo via

Prosthetic feet makes this a cyborg kitty cat

Posted by on July 11th, 2010

The Internet loves cats, we all know that. So the Internet will be pleased to learn that when this napping kitty cat got it’s legs chopped off by a combine harvester, while it was lying in the sun, a local vet made sure it could get back on it’s feet.

More now, from BBC News:

The prosthetic pegs, called intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics (Itaps) were developed by a team from University College London led by Professor Gordon Blunn, who is head of UCL’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering.

Professor Blunn and his team have worked in partnership with Mr Fitzpatrick to develop these weight-bearing implants, combining engineering mechanics with biology.

Mr Fitzpatrick explained: “The real revolution with Oscar is [that] we have put a piece of metal and a flange into which skin grows into an extremely tight bone.”

“We have managed to get the bone and skin to grow into the implant and we have developed an ‘exoprosthesis’ that allows this implant to work as a see-saw on the bottom of an animal’s limbs to give him effectively normal gait.”

As this clip from The Bionic Vet shows, science is all about looks of glee, surgical hi-fives and, of course, duct tape:

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via Next Nature


Repair Unit

Posted by on April 20th, 2010

Coming soon to a future near you:

From Worth 1000, via SingularityHub’s short-list of it’s ’cybergenics’ competition.

thanks to Dingo for the tip-off!

Companion Parrot by Tithi Kutchamuch

Posted by on February 19th, 2010

When Tithi Kutchamuch learned that her dog died a month before she was able to return to her parents’ home, she realized that she wished she could have taken her pet with her everywhere. From there, she developed the idea of a secret friend: jewellery that was part of a pet animal that stayed at home. The jewellery acts as the connection when you are out and completes the sculpture when you are safely home again. Parrot Companion Parrot is the largest piece in the collection and the closest to life size, in order that the connection be made stronger.

Link and words via

The Insectary

Posted by on February 4th, 2010

Created by Tessa Farmer, fairies barely a centimeter tall massacre insects and use their carcass as adornment.

Link via

The Animals by Giacomo Brunelli

Posted by on February 1st, 2010

Black and white photos, taken only using natural morning light.

Link via, photo from

IBM simulate feline cortex

Posted by on November 18th, 2009

image ganked from those Happy Mutants at BoingBoing

From Yahoo News:

this week researchers from IBM Corp. are reporting that they’ve simulated a cat’s cerebral cortex, the thinking part of the brain, using a massive supercomputer. The computer has 147,456 processors (most modern PCs have just one or two processors) and 144 terabytes of main memory — 100,000 times as much as your computer has.

The scientists had previously simulated 40 percent of a mouse’s brain in 2006, a rat’s full brain in 2007, and 1 percent of a human’s cerebral cortex this year, using progressively bigger supercomputers.

The latest feat, being presented at a supercomputing conference in Portland, Ore., doesn’t mean the computer thinks like a cat, or that it is the progenitor of a race of robo-cats.

The simulation, which runs 100 times slower than an actual cat’s brain, is more about watching how thoughts are formed in the brain and how the roughly 1 billion neurons and 10 trillion synapses in a cat’s brain work together.

The researchers created a program that told the supercomputer, which is in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to behave how a brain is believed to behave. The computer was shown images of corporate logos, including IBM’s, and scientists watched as different parts of the simulated brain worked together to figure out what the image was.

Dharmendra Modha, manager of cognitive computing for IBM Research and senior author of the paper, called it a “truly unprecedented scale of simulation.” Researchers at Stanford University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were also part of the project.

Modha says the research could lead to computers that rely less on “structured” data, such the input 2 plus 2 equals 4, and can handle ambiguity better, like identifying the corporate logo even if the image is blurry. Or such computers could incorporate senses like sight, touch and hearing into the decisions they make.

One reason that development would be significant to IBM: The company is selling “smarter planet” services that use digital sensors to monitor things like weather and traffic and feed that data into computers that are asked to do something with the information, like predicting a tsunami or detecting freeway accidents. Other companies could use “cognitive computing” to make better sense of large volumes of information.

via Mark Pesce

Lab-grown penis helps rabbits mate … like rabbits

Posted by on November 9th, 2009

Researchers are no longer limited to creating artificial bladders or kidneys:

Researchers have engineered artificial penises in rabbits, using cells from the animals, who then used their new organs to father baby rabbits.

The work takes scientists closer to making other complex solid organs such as livers using a patient’s own cells, the researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

It provides a tailor-made transplant, said Dr. Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, who led the study.

“Once the tissue is there, the body recognizes the tissue as its own,” Atala said in a telephone interview.

Atala focused on the penis because he is a pediatric urologist, who has specialized for years in disorders and congenital defects of the bladder and sexual organs.

“That was the inspiration for this work. We are seeing babies born with deficient genitalia all the time. There are no good options,” Atala said.

He is also a specialist in regenerative medicine, which uses the body’s own cells to repair damage. In this case, Atala’s team used ordinary cells, not the stem cells often used in such research.


Dead Flies Circus

Posted by on October 26th, 2009

Created by Magnus Muhr, dead flies are given life in cute, everyday and sometimes sad poses.

Link via

Yellow Face

Posted by on October 22nd, 2009

Photo via e_monk’s photostream.

Cyborg Beetles

Posted by on September 25th, 2009

“We demonstrated the remote control of insects in free flight via an implantable radioequipped miniature neural stimulating system,” the researchers reported in their new paper for Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. ” The pronotum mounted system consisted of neural stimulators, muscular stimulators, a radio transceiver-equipped microcontroller and a microbattery.”


Golden Silk Spider Cloth

Posted by on September 23rd, 2009

A rare textile made from the silk of more than a million wild spiders goes on display today at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

To produce this unique golden cloth, 70 people spent four years collecting golden orb spiders from telephone poles in Madagascar, while another dozen workers carefully extracted about 80 feet of silk filament from each of the arachnids. The resulting 11-foot by 4-foot textile is the only large piece of cloth made from natural spider silk existing in the world today.

“Spider silk is very elastic, and it has a tensile strength that is incredibly strong compared to steel or Kevlar,” said textile expert Simon Peers, who co-led the project. “There’s scientific research going on all over the world right now trying to replicate the tensile properties of spider silk and apply it to all sorts of areas in medicine and industry, but no one up until now has succeeded in replicating 100 percent of the properties of natural spider silk.”