We Have the Technology

Posted by on December 23rd, 2012

Fifteen years ago, Gulf War vet Authur Boorman was told that he would never walk without assistance again.

Now ignoring that this is also marketing for former WWE wrestler Diamond Dallas Page‘s yoga products, I wanted to highlight this video for a few reasons – its schmaltzy soundtrack not being one of them.   A lot of Grinders focus on body mods like magnetic implants and internal compasses and prosthetics like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation rigs, AR glasses and brain-controlled arms and legs.  But what Authur is doing is no less “Grinding” than any of those things.   We use what works, and sometimes what works are systems people have been using to repair and enhance their bodies for thousands of years.

In a world where even some of our staunchest allies in the H+ movement are more interested in what price tag they can place on a posthuman future, it is important to remember that there exists technology beyond what we’ve been sold.   This isn’t a defense of “woo” – my interests here are practical –  this is a reminder that while many of us love cutting edge tech, there are technologies on the ground to be picked up and used to heal,  control, and enhance our bodies and minds.   I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in building a future that has a cover charge.

Of course, if you find something doesn’t work for you, move on to something else.    There’s no right or wrong way to rebuild and temper yourself.

Enjoy the work.

 

 


XFF wants your Grinder tales

Posted by on November 14th, 2012

Our friends at the Extreme Futurist Festival are looking for true tales of DIY Transhumanism to feature in a short film. Details follow:

This will be a 20 minute film focusing on the Transhumanist/Futurist/Biohacking underground. We are interested in hearing your stories and would like to screen this film at the next Extreme Futurist Festival.

Please send us clips of you discussing your views on this new emerging subculture. extremefuturistfest2012@gmail.com


Magnetic Dreams

Posted by on October 13th, 2012

Our artist, Mike Seeler, has larger than average magnet implants in both hands. Traveling through New York City is a very different experience for the both of us. He is constantly discovering magnetic fields pouring out of the street, the subway, the bus, and buildings. He has even had a few dreams including his magnetic sense.

There is a lot in this Fast Company piece,”Biohackers And DIY Cyborgs Clone Silicon Valley Innovation”, but it is that quote in particular that interests me now.


Like Living Organisms [FASHION | NSFW]

Posted by on October 7th, 2012
http://www.vimeo.com/44993153

Like living organisms; a breathing artificial skin garment with pulsing veins (air is pumping through the veins to simulate a pulse), the pulse increases when you approach and the neckpiece deflates on touch as sign of trust.

via @corvus_blue


Hacking your Enlightenment and other transhuman future titbits

Posted by on August 22nd, 2012
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Particularly fascinating interview with Jeffery A. Martin here, not just for his research into the Enlightened, but for his eventual synthesis towards a speculative life for the newly near-immortal.

Other transhuman future titbits from around the web of late:


The Mutant Future is NOW

Posted by on June 6th, 2012

Let’s get this TED Talk out of the way first: Juan Enriquez: Will our kids be a different species?

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Next, as we remind ourselves, anything that can be done to a rat…

The new study, which appears in Science today, takes a different approach. Instead of trying to repair the main information superhighway from the brain to the body, Grégoire Courtine, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and colleagues focused on alternative routes. Most spinal injuries in people do not sever the spinal cord completely, explains Courtine. To approximate this situation in rats, his team made two surgical cuts in the spinal cord, severing all of the direct connections from the brain, but leaving some tissue intact in between the cuts. Then they had the rodents begin a rehab regime intended to bypass the fractured freeway, as it were, by pushing more traffic onto neural back roads and building more of them.

This regime, which began about a week after the rats were injured, lasted about 30 minutes a day. During each session, the researchers injected the animals with a cocktail of drugs to improve the function of rats’ neural circuits in the part of the spinal cord involved in leg movements, and they stimulated this area with electrodes. With its spinal cord thus primed for action, a rat was fitted into a harness attached to a robotic device that supported its weight and allowed it to walk forward on its hind legs to the extent that it was able. At first, the rats could not move their legs at all, let alone walk.

But after 2 or 3 weeks, the rodents began taking steps toward a piece of food after a gentle nudge from the robot. By 5 or 6 weeks, they were able to initiate movement on their own and walk to get the food. And after a few additional weeks of intensified rehab, they were able to walk up rat-sized stairs and climb over a small barrier placed in their path. Rats that did not undergo rehab, in contrast, showed no improvement at all. Rats suspended over a moving treadmill that elicited reflex-like stepping movement, did not improve either, suggesting that full recovery depends on making intentional movements, not just any movement.

 

 

What does every Mutant teen want? Mutant kicks:

Rayfish, a custom footwear company, is marketing leather sneakers that come in every color from shimmering gold to neon green, in patterns that mimick giraffes, zebras, leopard, and lady bugs. And they claim that these designs are grown directly on the hides of custom-engineered stingrays.

 

 

And again via our good, good acquaintances at io9:

Susan Dominus has penned a remarkable piece for the New York Times about Krista and Tatiana Hogan, the 4-year old conjoined twin girls from British Columbia who are attached at the head. Scans show that the two girls have brains that are interconnected by a never-seen-before “thalamic bridge,” an indication that they might share conscious thoughts. And if their early behavior is any indication, this may very likely be the case.

 

Finally, our friend Chris Arkenberg tells us to ‘ware the body net hackers. That’s right, #transhumanproblems:

Security concerns for the nascent field of wireless implants are certainly welcomed but the event stands more broadly as a glowing sign of the times. The relentless ubiquitizing of computation is working its way into our bodies. As has been noted elsewhere [pdf] the path of finance and innovation for these waves of emerging technology typically follows the military-medical-consumer pipeline, walking down the line of survivability from being blown up by an Afghani IED, past spastic hearts and hungry cells, into urban navigation and caffeine acquisition. And maybe transdermal metabolic sleeves for networked jogging or ward implants for not-so-bad convicts squeezed out of overcrowded prison farms and remotely monitored for geofencing violations or the odd spike in muscular adrenergics. The military has the money to develop the tech and treat its soldiers, who are summarily discharged into hospitals that facilitate the transfer of technology into the private sector. Point being, if you’re starting to save up for that cybernetic occipital mat implant, you’d be most well-served to enlist the ready hand of McAfee Security to guard your mind meats from the shady legions of digital malcontents. Standard fees, of course, do apply.


who wants to live forever?

Posted by on May 21st, 2012

This is a bit big. As Bruce Sterling reminds us, “Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being.”

Researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), led by its director María Blasco, have demonstrated that the mouse lifespan can be extended by the application in adult life of a single treatment acting directly on the animal’s genes. And they have done so using gene therapy, a strategy never before employed to combat aging. The therapy has been found to be safe and effective in mice.

The results were recently published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine. The CNIO team, in collaboration with Eduard Ayuso and Fátima Bosch of the Centre of Animal Biotechnology and Gene Therapy at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), treated adult (one-­‐year-­‐old) and aged (two-­‐year-­‐old) mice, with the gene therapy delivering a “rejuvenating” effect in both cases, according to the authors.

Mice treated at the age of one lived longer by 24% on average, and those treated at the age of two, by 13%. The therapy, furthermore, produced an appreciable improvement in the animals’ health, delaying the onset of age-­‐related diseases — like osteoporosis and insulin resistance — and achieving improved readings on aging indicators like neuromuscular coordination.

The gene therapy consisted of treating the animals with a DNA-­modified virus, the viral genes having been replaced by those of the telomerase enzyme, with a key role in aging. Telomerase repairs the extreme ends or tips of chromosomes, known as telomeres, and in doing so slows the cell’s and therefore the body’s biological clock. When the animal is infected, the virus acts as a vehicle depositing the telomerase gene in the cells.

This study “shows that it is possible to develop a telomerase-­based anti-­aging gene therapy without increasing the incidence of cancer,” the authors affirm. “Aged organisms accumulate damage in their DNA due to telomere shortening, [this study] finds that a gene therapy based on telomerase production can repair or delay this kind of damage,” they add.

In 2007, Blasco’s group demonstrated that it was feasible to prolong the lives of transgenic mice, whose genome had been permanently altered at the embryonic stage, by causing their cells to express telomerase and, also, extra copies of cancer-­‐resistant genes. These animals live 40% longer than is normal and do not develop cancer.

The mice subjected to the gene therapy now under test are likewise free of cancer. Researchers believe this is because the therapy begins when the animals are adult so do not have time to accumulate sufficient number of aberrant divisions for tumours to appear.

Also important is the kind of virus employed to carry the telomerase gene to the cells. The authors selected demonstrably safe viruses that have been successfully used in gene therapy treatment of hemophilia and eye disease. Specifically, they are non-­‐replicating viruses derived from others that are non-­‐pathogenic in humans.

This study is viewed primarily as “a proof-­‐of-­‐principle that telomerase gene therapy is a feasible and generally safe approach to improve healthspan and treat disorders associated with short telomeres,” state Virginia Boccardi (Second University of Naples) and Utz Herbig (New Jersey Medical School-­‐University Hospital Cancer Centre) in a commentary published in the same journal.

With regard to the therapy under testing, Bosch explains: “Because the vector we use expresses the target gene (telomerase) over a long period, we were able to apply a single treatment. This might be the only practical solution for an anti-­‐aging therapy, since other strategies would require the drug to be administered over the patient’s lifetime, multiplying the risk of adverse effects.”

This is a good start. Read it in full at Science Daily.


Back to the Futurist interview with Anab Jain

Posted by on April 28th, 2012

One of our current project investigating some of these themes is ‘Mutations’, in which we’re looking at new products and services at the intersection of synthetic biology and deviant globalization – a murky world of illegal, informal and pirate economies, new patent laws, cross-border flows of technology and expertise, and home DNA printing. Both here, and elsewhere, it is important to remember that science and technology do not emerge in a vacuum, but condition, and are conditioned by the social and political context in which they emerge.

Just a fraction of a great interview with Anab Jain on URBNFUTR.


NeonMice™

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™

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6329316714275451018 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1864803711361905964

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 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:

http://www.vimeo.com/34523980

via The Chairman


FuturePresent News Special – 1-11-11

Posted by on November 1st, 2011

Here’s your menu for today’s FuturePresent news round-up:

  • MSFT’s “Productivity Vision 2011″ video:
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    via GeekWire who give this nice description:

    As the new video opens, special eyeglasses translate audio into English in real-time for a business traveler in Johannesburg. A thin screen on a car window highlights a passing building to show where her meeting will be the next day, based on information from her calendar. Office workers gesture effortlessly to control and reroute text and charts as the screens around them morph and pulse with new information.

    And on and on from there, making our modern-day digital breakthroughs seem like mere baby steps on the road to a far more spectacular future.

    Now I want my fucking spex now as much as the next cyberpunk, BUT… actual world problems solved here? ZERO. When the current estimate is that 80 Million new jobs need to be created to replace the ones lost during this recent period of disaster capitalism, building a shinier operating system hardly seems likely to help.

  • In better cyberpunky news, from the very same Microsoft, there’s OMNITOUCH:
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    via Design Taxi, who give us this succinct description:

    OmniTouch is depth-sensing projection system worn on the shoulder.

    With the system, hands, legs, arms, walls, books and tabletops, become interactive touch-screen surfaces—without any need for calibration.

    If only they didn’t look so terrible. Get ya mod on there future-dwellers!

  • It may have over 5Million views, but let’s take a look at the QUANTUM LEVITATION video again
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    via Gizmodo. Advances in basic science and engineering, now we’re talking!

  • If you like SCIENCE! you’ll love simulated pocket universes:

    Some of these universes would collapse instants after forming; in others, the forces between particles would be so weak they could not give rise to atoms or molecules. However, if conditions were suitable, matter would coalesce into galaxies and planets, and if the right elements were present in those worlds, intelligent life could evolve.

    Some physicists have theorized that only universes in which the laws of physics are “just so” could support life, and that if things were even a little bit different from our world, intelligent life would be impossible. In that case, our physical laws might be explained “anthropically,” meaning that they are as they are because if they were otherwise, no one would be around to notice them.

    MIT physics professor Robert Jaffe and his collaborators felt that this proposed anthropic explanation should be subjected to more careful scrutiny, and decided to explore whether universes with different physical laws could support life.

    The MIT physicists have showed that universes quite different from ours still have elements similar to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and could therefore evolve life forms quite similar to us, even when the masses of elementary particles called quarks are dramatically altered.

    Jaffe and his collaborators felt that this proposed anthropic explanation should be subjected to more careful scrutiny, so they decided to explore whether universes with different physical laws could support life. Unlike most other studies, in which varying only one constant usually produces an inhospitable universe, they examined more than one constant.

    Whether life exists elsewhere in our universe is a longstanding mystery. But for some scientists, there’s another interesting question: could there be life in a universe significantly different from our own?

    In work recently featured in a cover story in Scientific American, Jaffe, former MIT postdoc, Alejandro Jenkins, and recent MIT graduate Itamar Kimchi showed that universes quite different from ours still have elements similar to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and could therefore evolve life forms quite similar to us. Even when the masses of the elementary particles are dramatically altered, life may find a way.

    “You could change them by significant amounts without eliminating the possibility of organic chemistry in the universe,” says Jenkins.

    Keep reading… And if that’s not heavy enough for you, how about a paper on the Mass of the universe in a black hole (via reddit)

  • From the macro to the micro – Scientists create computing building blocks from bacteria and DNA [PhysOrg]:

    The scientists constructed a type of logic gate called an “AND Gate” from bacteria called Escherichia coli (E.Coli), which is normally found in the lower intestine. The team altered the E.Coli with modified DNA, which reprogrammed it to perform the same switching on and off process as its electronic equivalent when stimulated by chemicals.

    The researchers were also able to demonstrate that the biological logic gates could be connected together to form more complex components in a similar way that electronic components are made. In another experiment, the researchers created a “NOT gate” and combined it with the AND gate to produce the more complex “NAND gate”.

    The next stage of the research will see the team trying to develop more complex circuitry that comprises multiple logic gates. One of challenges faced by the team is finding a way to link multiple biological logic gates together, similar to the way in which electronic logic gates are linked together, to enable complex processing to be carried out.


100 Years of Synthetic Biology

Posted by on October 9th, 2011
http://www.vimeo.com/27815907

via Scientific American


Synthetic Biology Explained

Posted by on August 17th, 2011
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via Justin Pickard


No Cure For Cancer

Posted by on May 15th, 2011

I’ve gotten a lot of mail this weekend about the supposed new “Canadian cure for cancer” and while I hate to rain on parades, I thought I’d do a bit of fact checking before getting too excited.  There were a few things that made me scratch my head when reading the initial article. (Starting with the fact it’s a four-year-old piece on a notorious Content Mill site that is just now circulating.)  So, I went to a friend of mine, who has worked extensively in the field of nuclear medicine and this is what she had to say:

If you read the article it talks about how University of Alberta scientists have used a drug called dichloroacetic acid (DCA), and according to the article, Big Pharma aren’t interested because the drug is off-patent and they can’t make money off of it. So bang, the Canadians cured cancer and no one cares.

…Except that’s not really true.

University of Alberta scientists are currently working on small-scale clinical trials of DCA; according to their most recent update, they’ve trial-ed this on five patients–five–which is not a large enough sample for us to go ahead and say that cancer has been ‘cured.’

Furthermore, they don’t go into great detail, but what they do say isn’t that they cured any of those patients. “In some patients there was also evidence for clinical benefit, with the tumors either regressing in size or not growing further during the 18 month study.” No idea how many “some” of the five patients are, but clearly at least one of the five had further tumor growth during the 18 months. There’s also a note mentioned about how it took 3 months for the drug to reach therapeutic levels; three months in a glioblastoma patient is pretty damn long (a GBM is a fast-growing brain tumor that untreated will kill you in two to four months, on average; with treatment it tends to kill you in fourteen months, and it has a ridiculously low five year survival rate. The wikipedia page gives a decent overview.)

Anyway. Point being, this ‘magic bullet’ has been trial-ed on five people at this point, and they’re still very much in the clinical trials stage. This means we’re likely years off from the point where we have to start worrying who’s going to make money off of DCA as a cancer treatment, because we’re years off from knowing whether or not it’s actually, well, a cure. (Or, like most things in cancer treatment, just a promising treatment that helps some people and has some unpleasant side effects.)

If you’re worried about whether or not they’ll be able to get adequate funding (which, in all things scientific these days, is a well-founded concern), visit the U of A team’s home page, read what they’re doing, and make a donation if you think it’s something worth exploring further. But please, for the love of god, let’s not continue to propagate mistruths and obfuscations published by a website whose advertising slogan is ‘publish easily, attract readers, earn rewards.’ There’s a reason publishing is hard, and it’s not because Big Pharma makes it so–it’s because we publish scientific results in peer reviewed journals, and they’re held to fairly rigorous standards there.

I’m under no illusion that we will see a FDA approved, Big Pharma approved cure for cancer until pharmaceutical companies can figure out a way to charge more for it than the billions they rake in from cancer treatment each year.  But it’s way too early to imply that this avenue of research is the suppressed holy grail of cancer research.   Trust me – I’ve lost my father, my sister and all of my aunts and uncles to cancer and I’ve had my own scare – when a cure is developed, no matter how off the grid it may be, I’ll be thrilled beyond words.  But an out of date, poorly researched Hubpages article misrepresenting the work of a group of hard-working scientists is no reason to uncork the champaign and thaw out the Duke…

…not just yet at least.


Digital Skins Body Atmospheres: a glimpse of 2050?

Posted by on March 25th, 2011

This short-film by Interdisciplinary Fashion Designer Nancy Tilbury and Visual Artists 125 Creative gives us a glimpse at what they think fashion in 2050 might look like:

Couture becomes a biological experience, gowns are assembled by gas and nano-electronic-particles, where tailoring and cosmetics are constructed by 3D liquid formations, including swallowable technologies exciting the mind, body and soul through physical expression. It is a time when couture will be cultured and farmed as fashion facets of human flesh. A Fashion Futures Film to provoke…

http://www.vimeo.com/9962212

thanks for the tip-off Emily Crane!
In fact, check out this film of her work too:

http://www.vimeo.com/15801130

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.


Scientists train mouse nerves to grow through series of tubes

Posted by on March 22nd, 2011

It’s got a long way to go before there are practical applications, but this is still seriously cool stuff. From Science News:

The discovery that offshoots from nascent mouse nerve cells explore the specially designed tubes could lead to tricks for studying nervous system diseases or testing the effects of potential drugs. Such a system may even bring researchers closer to brain-computer interfaces that seamlessly integrate artificial limbs or other prosthetic devices.

When the team seeded areas outside the tubes with mouse nerve cells the cells went exploring, sending their threadlike projections into the tubes and even following the curves of helical tunnels, the researchers report in an upcoming ACS Nano.

“They seem to like the tubes,” says biomedical engineer Justin Williams, who led the research. The approach offers a way to create elaborate networks with precise geometries, says Williams. “Neurons left to their own devices will kind of glom on to one another or connect randomly to other cells, neither of which is a good model for how neurons work.”

At this stage, the researchers have established that nerve cells are game for exploring the tiny tubes, which seem to be biologically friendly, and that the cell extensions will follow the network to link up physically. But it isn’t clear if the nerves are talking to each other, sending signals the way they do in the body. Future work aims to get voltage sensors and other devices into the tubes so researchers can eavesdrop on the cells. The confining space of the little tunnels should be a good environment for listening in, perhaps allowing researchers to study how nerve cells respond to potential drugs or to compare the behavior of healthy neurons with malfunctioning ones such as those found in people with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s.

Eventually, the arrangement may make it easier to couple living cells with technology on a larger scale, but getting there is no small task, says neuroengineer Ravi Bellamkonda of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

“There’s a lot of nontrivial engineering that has to happen, that’s the real challenge,” says Bellamkonda. “It’s really cool engineering, but what it means for neuroscience remains to be seen.”


“My Body, My Laboratory” in TIME

Posted by on March 17th, 2011


One of a rare breed of scientists willing to volunteer their own bodies in the service of science, professor Warwick let British surgeons place a silicon chip with 100 spiked electrodes directly into his nervous system in March 2002.

Any excuse to post a pic of Kevin Warwick, but this is taken from TIME’s overview of the advances made via self-experimentation and how it’s continuing today amongst enthusiasts on the internet; My Body, My Laboratory:

For centuries, self-experimentation was an accepted form of science. Sir Isaac Newton almost burned his cornea because he could think of no other means of understanding visual hallucinations than staring at the sun. But in recent years, the academic institutions, grant agencies and journals that have codified the scientific method have come to view self-experimentation with suspicion, worrying that it leads to bias or misleading results. Nevertheless, the practice continues among a small number of professors and doctors who see it as the last chance to prove an underfunded theory, as an act of solidarity with other study subjects. Or simply as an avenue to fame.

Self-experimentation has also found new life on the Internet. So-called self-tracking has already made lay scientists of many of us as we buy the latest exercise device or nutritional supplement and then log into forums to compare our findings with other investigators. What the practice lacks in rigor, it makes up for in zeal, not to mention the sheer number of subjects running their mini-studies. Somewhere in there, real — if ad hoc — science might occur. “To me, [self-tracking] is the future of self-experimentation,” says Seth Roberts, a professor of psychology at Tsinghua University in China, whose work led to the quirky best-selling diet book The Shangri-La Diet. The practice will continue among “normal people who are simply intent on discovering what works for them.”

Denis Harscoat, co-organizer of the Quantified Self group in London, agrees. Workers are more productive if they complete regular, small tasks rather than an occasional large project; the same is true of do-it-yourself science, he says. At the meetings Harscoat convenes, members discuss everything from monitoring their blood pressure to which behaviors best facilitate writing a play. “You might think we are a bunch of data-crunching geeks,” he says, “but it’s good to track.”

And track the Quantified Selfers do, often aided by new products designed for them: Zeo headbands, said to monitor sleep phases; Nike plus, shoes with a distance, speed and time sensor embedded in them; Asthmapolis, which records the location, time and date of each breath so asthmatics can monitor their attacks. Every bit of data is shared in meetings so it can be considered in the aggregate.


BBC Horizon – Are We Still Evolving?

Posted by on March 9th, 2011
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=16FBAD91EDAA3B80

This BBC Horizon documentary, Are We Still Evolving? is an excellent overview of the current research into evolution in general, continuing human evolution and genetic engineering. It does stop short of the really interesting implications though; with radical technological change affecting the selection criteria, will we see an explosion in human evolution in the coming generations? We’ll soon find out.

Meanwhile, Danish researchers are attempting to create ‘cyborg DNA’, adding an extra strand to create a triple helix. Yep, things haven’t even started to get interesting yet.


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.