Can’t be emphasised enough how important reform in this area is, because as the world looks bleaker more people will turn to any available form of escapism. And as the world systems collapse, the New Barbarians, those transnational criminal organisations will be more than happy to be the ones standing the gap.
Because it couldn’t possibly be the intention of the US Gov to create a prison (aka slave) work force, could it?
Joining the dots left as an exercise for the reader.
Longtime readers will know by now that – scientific issues aside – some of us here at Grinding have a fondness for the “Stoned Ape” theory of the evolution of consciousness, language and technology.
The following video details a… version of that theory – with killer videodrome singularity robots, too.
“This is a clip from Duncan Trussell’s Comedy Central Pilot “Thunderbrain.” The animation and voice over was by Will Carsola from daybyday (www.livedaybyday.com) and it was produced by RZO Hothouse (http://www.hhouseproductions.com/)”
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.
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.
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.
The genetics of the plants in your garden could become a police matter. Pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with genetically engineering plants to produce useful and valuable drugs. However, the techniques employed to insert genes into plants are within reach of the amateur… and the criminal. Policing Genes speculates that, like other technologies, genetic engineering will also find a use outside the law, with innocent-looking garden plants being modified to produce narcotics and unlicensed pharmaceuticals
In the ever evolving drama of nature, however, the influenza virus has found its own response to the immune resistance. It reconfigures into a new viral strain by rearranging its binding protein. By doing this, the virus avoids pre-existing antibody immunities. The body is forced to generate a new model of antibodies, which gives the virus time to spread.
However, in a strange twist of fate, it seems that the H1N1 Swine Flu virus is about to close the drama by adding a new character. The antibodies produced in the body for this virus work on swine flu, but they also work for other influenza viral strains. Survivors of swine flu appear to be immune from all forms of influenza for many years into the future.
The researchers from the National Institute of Health who discovered this flu virus immunity are now working with the antibodies to create a universal vaccine. Such a vaccine, once administered, would last 10 years, or perhaps longer. It could be easily given to the population at large.
Unyong Jeong’s team at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, covered a flexible rubber film with a sheet of corrugated microporous polystyrene, with gutters around 3 micrometres wide and 1 micrometre deep. The gutters were then filled with a liquid and sealed with another rubber film. Finally, the first rubber film was peeled away to expose the underside of the liquid-filled polystyrene gutters. Flexing the patch distorts the polystyrene tunnels enough to reduce their volume, squeezing the solution out through the pores in the plastic. Once the strain is removed, the tunnels spring back into shape, ready for the next use
He envisages the first practical use will be skin patches for treating muscle pain and rheumatism. “Current [skin patches] are designed to just continuously release the active agents,” he says. “If we can control the release rate responding to the motion of our muscles, it will make the patches more effective and prolong the time of use.” He is also hoping to develop biodegradable strain-release patches to heal organs and damaged muscles inside the body.
Don Bastardo: ”You want to see the work? Fine, but you won’t understand it, and you won’t replicate it at home. You want to speak with the dead? What do you think you’re going to learn?”
John Reinhardt: “How to permanently change my mind. Because the one I’ve got isn’t big enough.”
Evolutionary Psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa has recently been publishing a version of his Savanna-IQ Interaction Hypothesis over at Psychology Today. His theory, amongst many other things, establishes a connection between intelligence, novelity seeking and the consumption of psychoactive drugs. Or, as the Atlantic Wire put it: “Smart People Do More Drugs — Because of Evolution.” The quick version, hopefully without boiling it down too far, is that Kanazawa believes that more intelligent individuals are better equipped to deal with novel situations – and in fact seek those situations out. Thus, highly intelligent individuals are more likely to seek out experiences with psychoactive drugs, which are essentially novelty sinks. He’s not claiming that this behavior has a traditionally positive effect – in fact his wording shows a pretty strong bias against psychoactive experimentation but simply that people with high IQs are more likely to seek these experiences out. Or in his words:
People–scientists and civilians alike–often associate intelligence with positive life outcomes. The fact that more intelligent individuals are more likely to consume alcohol, tobacco, and psychoactive drugs tampers this universally positive view of intelligence and intelligent individuals. Intelligent people don’t always do the right thing, only the evolutionarily novel thing.
What struck me, is not that he found proof of this tendency – eyeballing the amount of Ph.D’s in the room the last time I tripped has me anecdotally primed for such a conclusion – but how interestingly it matches Terence McKenna’s “Stoned Ape” theory of human cognitive development. While history and the fields of Anthropology or Evolutionary Biology haven’t been too kind to many of McKenna’s theories over the years since he passed away, one that continually strikes me as relevant – perhaps because of my own theories of hybridization and technological development – is the Stoned Ape.
Here’s the Stoned Ape on the back of a napkin: A series of studies in the 1950s revealed that sub-threshold (i.e. not tripping balls) doses of psilocybin resulted in heightened visual acuity and movement perception. So, hunters would have had the ability to consume psilocybin and have an instant upgrade to their hunting abilities.
Let’s resurrect my favourite caveman, Grok Kurzweil as an example:
Grok is a hunter, with his primitive tools and lack of developed linguistic technologies. His chief rival from some other tribe is Throgg. Grok, one day due to conditions or timing, adds the nice tasting mushroom he found under a pile of feces to his diet. Soon, Grok Kurzweil and the Kurzweil tribe is outperforming Throgg’s tribe and developing better living conditions, which as anyone not on the Texas Board of Education can tell you, theoretically resulted in more Smart-Drug using Grok Kurzweils and less Throggs. There also would have been a non-incidental amount of tripping balls. If the Stoned Ape theory is at all true, the times after hunting expeditions probably looked a lot like a shorter, hairier version of Burning Man. This resulted in linguistics skills, which in turn may have been tied to tool-making skills, which may have been tied to the proto-imagination as a targeting adaptation for throwing, which led to better conditions which led, eventually, and more recently to LOLCATS.
There’s a not-inconsiderable connection between the idea that cognition evolved hand-in-hand with exposure to psychoactively generated states of novelty and the idea that intelligence itself can be linked to an ability to “withstand” and seek out novelty. And while Kanazawa himself doesn’t theorize on the outcomes of exposure to psychoactive drugs – and also puts forth that the use of psychoactive substances is an evolutionarily recent event – I’ve got to wonder if this avenue of research isn’t on the cusp of validating at least some of McKenna’s theories on cognitive evolution.
I was trying to ignore this one, but it seems to be the story of the day.
Thankfully, the reaction far and wide seems to be one of incredulity, or else I’d have to have a long slow cry over a glass of scotch regarding the state of the internet. As it is, I’ll stick to the scotch.
That’s right, your standard binaural beats are being packaged by at least one clueless Oklahoma school district and ratings-starved, journalist-devoid local CW affiliate as the newest cyber-danger to cyber-come from cyber-space to cyber-molest your cyber-children under your very own cyber-nose.
Which is to say, that if you live in Oklahoma, your tax dollars are paying for someone at the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics to actually be worried that kids are “getting high” off of music and noise and that it will lead them to harder non-cyber-drugs.
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?
I normally try and restrain myself on here, but I’m out of ways to wittily articulate the tax-dollar supported stupidity on display here, so I’ll try and make this brief.
If you are a school board member/Oklahoma narcotics officer/journalist/parent concerned that there are now cyber-drugs going in the ears of innocent children, I’d encourage you to do one of two things:
Step 1: Get on the internet and make a vague attempt to educate yourself. Yes, we all know that Chris Hanson has told you that the internet is a living meat-pyramid of pedophiles, but really, it’s not that bad. If you don’t at least have a clue regarding cyber-anything, how are you supposed to know a cyber-drug if you see it? And if you’re on the official drug enforcement end of things you have no right to enforce cyber-jack-all without knowing what the hell you’re actually cyber-doing.
And if you can’t be bothered to do the 5 minutes of looking to realize this has been around for ages, and is a technique on CDs, in music, and in movies and not just on shady ripoff websites designed to make a quick buck off of the fact that you won’t let your kids have the good shit, then we move on to the next option:
Step 2:Go fuck yourself. Seriously, if you’re actually, really concerned about iDosing, then you are in fact not tall enough to ride this ride and are a contributing factor to why we can’t have nice things. Stop letting waxen-faced local news personalities fill your head with fear – which might be hard since it is the drug they’re peddling and it’s probably your drug of choice – and check yourself…
…before you wiggity-wreck yourself, or make a goddamn ass out of yourself in front of your kids and the rest of the world.
Merciful Vishnu, wait till they get a load of the the Brown Note.
[*Actually the first time I ever saw it was over on Technoccult, but every panic on the internet makes everything new again.]
Fifteen minutes after researchers intentionally paralyzed this rat by dropping a weight on its back, they injected the rodent with Brilliant Blue G dye, a derivative of common food coloring Blue Number One. The dye reduced inflammation of the spinal cord, which allowed the rats to take clumsy steps—but not walk—within weeks, a new study says.
In both rats and people, secondary inflammation following spinal cord trauma causes more lasting damage than the initial injury: Swelling sparks a small “stroke,” which stops blood flow and eventually kills off the surrounding tissue.
Other than blue skin and eyes, “we can find no clinical effect on the rat,” said Maiken Nedergaard, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.
Six weeks after injecting the blue dye, the research team killed and dissected the treated rat to inspect its spinal cord …. —though not entirely without regrets. “It was so cute, that rat,” study co-author Nedergaard said.
The team was surprised to find that the spinal cord was still blue—the rat’s skin and eyes had returned to normal after one week.
With a blue complexion as the only side effect, the substance may someday be the first major intervention available for people with spinal cord trauma, Nedergaard said.
“The problem is we don’t have any treatment now,” she said, adding that steroids are currently the most common medication used to help spinal-trauma patients. “That was really what prompted the search. … As far as I can see, every patient can receive the blue food dye, because there’s no downside.”
A group of Spanish researchers reported today in Science that they may have stumbled upon a substance that could become the ultimate memory-enhancer. The group was studying a poorly-understood region of the visual cortex. They found that if they boosted production of a protein called RGS-14 in that area of the visual cortex in mice, it dramatically affected the animals’ ability to remember objects they had seen.
Mice with the RGS-14 boost could remember objects they had seen for up to two months. Ordinarily the same mice would only be able to remember these objects for about an hour.
Ever wondered how a Brazilian without a source of disposable income or a reliable drug connection gets high? Us too. So we asked some buddies of ours down there to sate our curiosity. They gave us three simple recipes for frying up neurons that can be made with crap lying around the house. Just so we’re on the same page, we are not to be held responsible if you try these out and end up catatonic. Seriously, do not do this. We are NOT telling you to do this. Bad things will happen to you and we will not apologize to your mom when you become a drooling vegetable.
A new study has found the air in Madrid and Barcelona is also laced with at least five drugs – most prominently cocaine.
The Superior Council of Scientific Investigations, a government institute, said on its website that in addition to cocaine, it found trace amounts of amphetamines, opiates, cannabinoids and lysergic acid -a relative of LSD – in air-quality control stations in the cities.
But it said there was no reason for alarm.
“Not even if we lived for a thousand years would we consume the equivalent of a dose of cocaine by breathing this air,” said one of its scientists, Miren Lopez de Alda, in the statement.
The scientific group added that “in no case should these levels be considered representative of the air in the two cities”.
In Madrid the test site was close to a ruined building believed to be frequented by drug dealers. And in both Madrid and Barcelona, the studies were carried out close to universities
…given the amount of money and research hours being spent on developing drugs to treat cognitive decline, Provigil and Adderall are likely to be joined by a bigger pharmacopoeia.
Among the drugs in the pipeline are ampakines, which target a type of glutamate receptor in the brain; it is hoped that they may stem the memory loss associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s. But ampakines may also give healthy people a palpable cognitive boost.
A 2007 study of sixteen healthy elderly volunteers found that five hundred milligrams of one particular ampakine “unequivocally” improved short-term memory, though it appeared to detract from episodic memory—the recall of past events.
Another class of drugs, cholinesterase inhibitors, which are already being used with some success to treat Alzheimer’s patients, have also shown promise as neuroenhancers.
In one study, the drug donepezil strengthened the performance of pilots on flight simulators; in another, of thirty healthy young male volunteers, it improved verbal and visual episodic memory.
Several pharmaceutical companies are working on drugs that target nicotine receptors in the brain, in the hope that they can replicate the cognitive uptick that smokers get from cigarettes.
TB, or tuberculosis, requires a lengthy multi-drug treatment regimen which people might not finish. China has adpoted a scheme originally develeopled at MIT to combat this problem:
The scheme, originally developed by students at MIT, offers free top-ups to sufferers who send text messages to health care centres with a unique code proving they have taken their drugs.
TB sufferers are often prescribed a cocktail of 15-20 pills, which they must take every day for six months to overcome tuberculosis, but many fail to complete the course, allowing the disease to build resistance to conventional drugs.
The mobile phone incentive scheme works by patients conducting their own urine tests using test-strips which, if they have taken their medicine properly, reveal a unique code which they SMS to a healthcare centre.
Take your pills on time, get mobile phone credits. Simple. Easy.
Before I start, yes. Propranolol. That little geek-ganglion deep inside me just jiggled.
So. A team of Dutch scientists – Merel Kindt being their fearless leader, Marieke Soeter and Bram Vervliet her minions – have successfully weakened fear memories using the beta-blocker drug, Propranolol. And we’re not talking fleeting adrenaline-type halflife here, it’s basically permanent.
Before fear memories are stored in the long-term memory, there is a temporary labile phase. During this phase, protein synthesis takes place that ‘records’ the memories. The traditional idea was that the memory is established after this phase and can, therefore, no longer be altered. However, this protein synthesis also occurs when memories are retrieved from the memory and so there is once again a labile phase at that moment. The researchers managed to successfully intervene in this phase.
The researchers used 2 different pictures of spiders as the ‘fear’ triggers on human volunteers. One of these pictures was accompanied by a pain stimulus, which eventually triggered a startle reaction even when the pain stimulus wasn’t administered. The protein synthesis had been set up.
One day later the fear memory was reactivated, as a result of which the protein synthesis occurred again. Just before the reactivation, the human volunteers were administered the beta-blocker propranolol. On the third day it was found that the volunteers who had been administered propranolol no longer exhibited a fear response on seeing the spider, unlike the control group who had been administered a placebo. The group that had received propranolol but whose memory was not reactivated still exhibited a strong startle response.
Even when the pain stimulus was reapplied, there was still no fear, or anxiety, response. They had weakened the anxiety memory to such an extent that the test subjects could not find the neurolink between ‘spider’ and ‘argh’.
It’s currently being looked at as an alternative form of cognitive behavioural therapy, but personally? I’d like it to hit the market as a way of inhibiting the fear of making mistakes.
Found over at NWO, which was highly difficult for me to read with my pissweak Dutch, so I went to Science Daily instead.
Continuing his efforts to popularize his theory of the Singularity, and I also think make it a self-fulfilling prophesy, Ray Kurzweil has turned his book The Singularity is Near into a movie.
Here be the poster and the synopsis.
At the Onset of the 21st Century, it will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity. While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, celebrated futurist Ray Kurzweil presents a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.
Sure, it’ll be preaching to the converted, but most of us will watch this, yeah?