neuromorphogenesis:

The Cyborg Age is Upon Us
We live in a world full of cyborgs, though most of us don’t notice it.
More than 200,000 men and women around the world wear cochlear implants - devices that look like hearing aids, but which actually convert sounds into direct nerve impulses that travel down the auditory nerve bundle and into the wearer’s brain.
On February 13th of this year, the FDA approved the world’s first bionic eye, the Argus II. The Argus uses a small video camera on the eye glasses to pick up light. That then wirelessly sends signals to a retinal implant that converts the image into impulses in the optic nerve, sending them straight into the brain.
Meanwhile, in the lab, we’ve placed implants in the brains of paralyzed men and women that allow them to move robot arms just by thinking about it.
In animals, we’ve gone further - augmenting memory and intelligence, and even bridging the gap between multiple animals. In rats we’ve used implants to restore and boost memory, even beyond normal rat memory. In monkeys we’ve used a brain implant to boost primate IQ, improving their performance on a pattern matching test well beyond those of un-enhanced monkeys. We’ve even wired the brains of two rats together allowing them to transmit crude thoughts back and forth while they were thousands of miles apart.
The technology behind this - brain computer interfaces, neural prosthetics, cyborg tech, or whatever you want to call it - is opening up a whole new frontier. Starting with the goal of helping people who are paralyzed, blind, deaf, or have suffered some sort of brain damage, we’re inching up on the ability to make humans smarter, faster, and more able to communicate with one another than ever before.

There is also a cybernetic treatment for epilepsy called a Vagus Nerve Stimulator!  It’s essentially a tiny implanted generator with electrodes that wrap around the vagus nerve (one of the ten cranial nerves that run directly into the medulla and project out to control all kinds of autonomic nervous system functions).  It works in a couple different ways: by sending regular electrical stimulation along the vagus nerve to help regulate electrical impulses in the brain and raise the seizure threshold, and by directly interrupting seizures by use of a magnet passed over the device by the patient if they feel a seizure coming on.  
Research is being done to see if VNS might not be able to provide relief in other neurological and psychiatric conditions, like refractory (treatment-resistant) migraines, depression and anxiety disorders.  It’s super-cool stuff and I’m still sad that I am not a good candidate for VNS myself (I’m epileptic but the type of seizures I have and their distribution in the brain don’t respond well to VNS enough of the time to warrant it.)

neuromorphogenesis:

The Cyborg Age is Upon Us

We live in a world full of cyborgs, though most of us don’t notice it.

More than 200,000 men and women around the world wear cochlear implants - devices that look like hearing aids, but which actually convert sounds into direct nerve impulses that travel down the auditory nerve bundle and into the wearer’s brain.

On February 13th of this year, the FDA approved the world’s first bionic eye, the Argus II. The Argus uses a small video camera on the eye glasses to pick up light. That then wirelessly sends signals to a retinal implant that converts the image into impulses in the optic nerve, sending them straight into the brain.

Meanwhile, in the lab, we’ve placed implants in the brains of paralyzed men and women that allow them to move robot arms just by thinking about it.

In animals, we’ve gone further - augmenting memory and intelligence, and even bridging the gap between multiple animals. In rats we’ve used implants to restore and boost memory, even beyond normal rat memory. In monkeys we’ve used a brain implant to boost primate IQ, improving their performance on a pattern matching test well beyond those of un-enhanced monkeys. We’ve even wired the brains of two rats together allowing them to transmit crude thoughts back and forth while they were thousands of miles apart.

The technology behind this - brain computer interfaces, neural prosthetics, cyborg tech, or whatever you want to call it - is opening up a whole new frontier. Starting with the goal of helping people who are paralyzed, blind, deaf, or have suffered some sort of brain damage, we’re inching up on the ability to make humans smarter, faster, and more able to communicate with one another than ever before.

There is also a cybernetic treatment for epilepsy called a Vagus Nerve Stimulator!  It’s essentially a tiny implanted generator with electrodes that wrap around the vagus nerve (one of the ten cranial nerves that run directly into the medulla and project out to control all kinds of autonomic nervous system functions).  It works in a couple different ways: by sending regular electrical stimulation along the vagus nerve to help regulate electrical impulses in the brain and raise the seizure threshold, and by directly interrupting seizures by use of a magnet passed over the device by the patient if they feel a seizure coming on.  

Research is being done to see if VNS might not be able to provide relief in other neurological and psychiatric conditions, like refractory (treatment-resistant) migraines, depression and anxiety disorders.  It’s super-cool stuff and I’m still sad that I am not a good candidate for VNS myself (I’m epileptic but the type of seizures I have and their distribution in the brain don’t respond well to VNS enough of the time to warrant it.)

(via numb3r5ev3n)

electricspacekoolaid:

Unusual Binary Neutron Stars With Gravity 300 Billion Times the Earth

An exotic pair of binary stars have proved that Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity is still right, even in the most extreme conditions tested yet.  ”The unusual pair of stars is quite interesting in its own right but we’ve learned it is also a unique laboratory for testing the limits of one of our most fundamental physical theories, general relativity” says University of Toronto astronomy professor Marten van Kerkwijk, a member of the research team.

What makes the pair of stars exceptional are the unique characteristics of each and their close proximity to each other. One is a tiny but unusually heavyneutron star– one of the most massive confirmed to date. NamedPSRJ0348+0432, it is the remnant of a supernova explosion, and is twice as heavy as the Sun yet is only 20 kilometres across. The neutron star is a pulsar that gives off radio waves that can be picked up on Earth by radio telescopes.

The gravity at its surface is more than 300 billion times stronger than that on Earth and at its centre every sugarcube-sized volume has more than one billion tonnes of matter squeezed into it, roughly the mass of every human past and present.

The massive star spins 25 times each second and is orbited by a rather lightweight dwarf star every two and a half hours, an unusually short period. Only slightly less exotic, the white dwarf is the glowing remains of a much lighter star that has lost its envelope and is slowly cooling. It can be observed in visible light, though only with large telescopes – it is about a million times too faint to be visible with the naked eye.

In the new work, led by Bonn PhD student John Antoniadis, very precise timing of the pulsar’s spin-modulated emission with radio telescopes was used to discover a tiny but significant change in the orbital period of the binary, of eight-millionths of a second per year. Given the masses of the pulsar and the white dwarf, inferred with the help of observations of the light emitted by the white dwarf – using techniques perfected by Antoniadis and van Kerkwijk – this turns out to match exactly what Einstein’s theory predicts.

Einstein’s general theory of relativityexplains gravity as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime created by the presence of mass and energy. As two stars orbit each other, gravitational waves are emitted – wrinkles moving out in spacetime. As a result, the binary slowly loses energy, the stars move closer, and the orbital period shortens.

The test posed by PSR J0348+0432 is particularly interesting because the massive star is a truly extreme object in terms of gravity, even compared to other pulsars that have been used to test general relativity. As a result, it causes exceptionally strong distortion of spacetime. In many alternatives to Einstein’s theory, this would cause the orbit to lose energy much faster than is observed.

“The observations disprove these alternatives,” says van Kerkwijk, “and thus give further confidence that Einstein’s theory is a good description of nature – even though we know it is not a complete one, given the unresolved inconsistencies with quantum mechanics.”

Read Article

What I find fascinating about this is that we’ve found something so completely, brain-bustingly bizarre and yet it actually supports some of what we do think we know about how the universe works.  

(via icarus-suraki)

lizzy-lue:

thenewenlightenmentage:

Found! 3 Super-Earth Planets That Could Support Alien Life

The habitable zone of a nearby star is filled to the brim with planets that could support alien life, scientists announced today (June 25).

An international team of scientists found a record-breaking three potentially habitable planets around the star Gliese 667C, a star 22 light-years from Earth that is orbited by at least six planets, and possibly as many as seven, researchers said. The three planet contenders for alien life are in the star’s “habitable zone” — the temperature region around the star where liquid water could exist. Gliese 667C is part of a three-star system, so the planets could see three suns in their daytime skies.

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Mass Relays, warp drives, wherefore art thou?

/rolls up in the Insufferable Pedantmobile, rolls down the window

wherefore means whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy~

Ahem.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, though, 1000% in agreement with the spirit of your statement.

spaceplasma:

Tabletop Particle Accelerator

Black holes and pulsars emit dense jets of particles that are made of electrons and positrons (the antiparticle of the electron). But many important and basic features of the jets remain unclear: What is their precise particle makeup? How much energy do they contain? How do the particles in the jets interact in the low-density environment of outerspace? The main difficulty in answering these questions is that astronomical systems can only be measured indirectly: the closest jet is almost 1024 miles away. As Gianluca Sarri from The Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and colleagues report in Physical Review Letters, a new tabletop method for generating electron-positron streams could bring measurements closer to home by enabling the scaled-down reproduction of matter-antimatter flows in the lab.

Sarri et al. used the University of Michigan’s powerful HERCULES petawatt laser to ionize an inert gas and produce a high-energy electron beam. By bombarding copper, tin, tantalum, and lead targets with this beam, they were able to form dense, narrow streams of high-energy electrons and positrons. The jets emerged in shorter duration, denser pulses than those generated in traditional large-scale (km size) particle accelerators.

The laser-based system, which is less than a meter in size, is able to simultaneously form jets and plasmas, something that cannot be done easily using other methods. This simple setup could therefore be used to directly probe the interaction between the jets and plasmas in well-controlled laboratory experiments. Such studies could provide answers to some of the fundamental questions about antimatter, astrophysical jets, and, ultimately, the physics of black holes and pulsars.

via physics.aps.org

Image Credit: NASA/CXC/CfA/R. Kraft et al.

I refuse to believe that Lora Baines-Bradley does not have one of these bad boys set up in her sewing room.

(via arcadiasilver)

You’re a gorgeous, majestic spiral galaxy, a colony of billions and billions of stars spinning sedately out in deep space, waiting patiently for your moment to shine in front of the Hubble.  Even your vast clouds of dirt are majestically, artistically arranged.
…and then some emo teen of a blue star suddenly walks onto the stage from the corner of gracious nowhere, blows itself up and photobombs the whole shot.

You’re a gorgeous, majestic spiral galaxy, a colony of billions and billions of stars spinning sedately out in deep space, waiting patiently for your moment to shine in front of the Hubble.  Even your vast clouds of dirt are majestically, artistically arranged.

…and then some emo teen of a blue star suddenly walks onto the stage from the corner of gracious nowhere, blows itself up and photobombs the whole shot.

numb3r5ev3n:

kijikun:

sl0thprincess:

rolypolyincopacabana:

do you have a moment to talk about our lord medusa?

fuck that

Shouldn’t that be our ‘Lady Medusa?’

Lady Tiamat.

So I thought for sure that this had to be a constrictor of some variety or other but NOPE, it is, in fact, a motherfucking King Cobra.
I had no idea they could grow this large jfc.

numb3r5ev3n:

kijikun:

sl0thprincess:

rolypolyincopacabana:

do you have a moment to talk about our lord medusa?

fuck that

Shouldn’t that be our ‘Lady Medusa?’

Lady Tiamat.

So I thought for sure that this had to be a constrictor of some variety or other but NOPE, it is, in fact, a motherfucking King Cobra.

I had no idea they could grow this large jfc.

(Source: malformalady)

spaceplasma:

Sunlight on the Moon

The moon orbits the earth with a period of four weeks ( a month) and during the orbit it always has the same side facing the earth. So this means that on the moon there is day and night, but they are both two weeks long instead of 24 hours.

The Moon’s daylight is brighter and harsher than the Earth’s. There is no atmosphere to scatter the light, no clouds to shade it, and no ozone layer to block the sunburning ultraviolet light.

The nights are also brighter, at least on the side of the Moon near to us. The night is lit up by sunlight reflected from Earth, while the night on Earth is lit up by sunlight reflected from the Moon. Earth is much bigger than the Moon, and Earth is also more reflective (with its clouds and oceans, it reflects more light than the dark Moon rocks). Earthlight on the Moon is much brighter than Moonlight on the Earth.

Credit: Jeff Silvis and David Palmer

This photoset leaves me flat on the floor.

(via captxandri)

Drugging unborn babies to prevent fat

thisisthinprivilege:

Thin privilege is not having people do dangerous trials on you before you are even born!

Thin privilege is not thinking that it’s better for your baby to risk birth defects than be the same size as you.

“Unborn Babies Drugged in Mother’s Womb in Attempt to Prevent Obesity”:

article

w h a t

Okay, first of all, metformin is not an “anti-obesity” drug.  It is an oral hypoglycemic, meant to combat insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetics and others with conditions that predispose them to blood sugar regulation issues, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (I happen to take it myself for that second reason).  

Second of all…what the hell is the proposed mechanism of action, here? What’s the hypothesis?  ”Overweight women are somewhat more prone to Type 2 Diabetes and metformin treats this condition, ergo exposing unborn babies to metformin in utero will…somehow magically prevent obesity by second-or-third-degree association”?  Buh??  What the hell kind of bullshit pseudoscience is this?  And they’ve somehow already managed to push ahead and go to human trials—on pregnant women—despite previous warnings about metformin being a possible teratogen based on a hypothesis that makes less than no sense.  

Wow.  Wow.

(via arcadiasilver)

theycallmeparrot:

writeroffates:

sweetsangelanarchystocking:

betsycrocker:

fuckyeahsexanddrugs:

modifyourown:

tentaclesandteacups:

Octopus have no real bones in their body, except for a tough beak made from chitin, so they can squeeze into small places when fleeing predators. They’re highly intelligent creatures and have shown to demonstrate observational learning, they’re known for escaping from their aquarium enclosures and occasionally breaking into others for a snack.

Also, captive octopi occasionally show affection to their caretakers after an extended absence.

They’re boneless puppies! <3_<3

WHAT THE FUUUUUUCKKK

I remember hearing a while ago that if its beak can fit through its entire body can

another fun fact, if octopi in captivity get too bored they just stop eating untill they die, thats why you always see them with childrens toys in their aquariums or boxes they have to open

thats also why they try to break out to go somewhere else more interesting

And this is why they are my favorite creatures in the sea.

first, they stick a tentacle through an opening to gauge its size. If an opening is too small for their beak (which they seem to know without ever having seen their own beak), they don’t even try to get out.

Cephalopods are intelligent to a degree that we can’t quite get a handle on (perhaps we can’t bring ourselves to get a handle on it) because invertebrates???  It is endlessly fascinating.

(Source: dralanabloomphd, via theycallmeparrot-deactivated201)

blua:

This is what happens when a thunderstorm meets a volcano. Photos were taken February 2013 at the Sakurajima Volcano by photographer Martin Rietze.

You don’t even need a thunderstorm to be present to get volcanic lightning! Static discharge between ash particles in eruption columns will generate its own lightning; larger eruptions will generate their own weather patterns.

(via ensignw-deactivated20130725)

prostheticknowledge:

Prototype Real / Digital Info Interface System

Using projection and gestures to create interactive relationship with information - video embedded below:

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a next generation user interface which can accurately detect the users finger and what it is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real word.

“We think paper and many other objects could be manipulated by touching them, as with a touchscreen. This system doesn’t use any special hardware; it consists of just a device like an ordinary webcam, plus a commercial projector. Its capabilities are achieved by image processing technology.”

Using this technology, information can be imported from a document as data, by selecting the necessary parts with your finger.

More at DigInfo here

RELATED: This is very similar to a concept developed in 1991 called ‘The Digital Desk’ [link]

I love living in the future.

(via mydetheturk)

the-fake-commander-shepard:

dnotive:

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WHAT THE GOD DAMN HELL IS THAT FUCKING THING

Real life Thresher Maw

The Ocean: proving Lovecraft right, one deep-sea lifeform at a time.

the-fake-commander-shepard:

dnotive:

JESUS FUCKING CHRIST WHAT THE GOD DAMN HELL IS THAT FUCKING THING

Real life Thresher Maw

The Ocean: proving Lovecraft right, one deep-sea lifeform at a time.

(via civilized-lava)

3go:

jetgreguar:

adimals:

spaceplasma:

NASA Probe Gets Close Views of Large Saturn Hurricane

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has provided scientists the first close-up, visible-light views of a behemoth hurricane swirling around Saturn’s north pole.

In high-resolution pictures and video, scientists see the hurricane’s eye is about 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide, 20 times larger than the average hurricane eye on Earth. Thin, bright clouds at the outer edge of the hurricane are traveling 330 mph(150 meters per second). The hurricane swirls inside a large, mysterious, six-sided weather pattern known as the hexagon.

“We did a double take when we saw this vortex because it looks so much like a hurricane on Earth,” said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “But there it is at Saturn, on a much larger scale, and it is somehow getting by on the small amounts of water vapor in Saturn’s hydrogen atmosphere.”

Scientists will be studying the hurricane to gain insight into hurricanes on Earth, which feed off warm ocean water. Although there is no body of water close to these clouds high in Saturn’s atmosphere, learning how these Saturnian storms use water vapor could tell scientists more about how terrestrial hurricanes are generated and sustained.

Both a terrestrial hurricane and Saturn’s north polar vortex have a central eye with no clouds or very low clouds. Other similar features include high clouds forming an eye wall, other high clouds spiraling around the eye, and a counter-clockwise spin in the northern hemisphere.

A major difference between the hurricanes is that the one on Saturn is much bigger than its counterparts on Earth and spins surprisingly fast. At Saturn, the wind in the eye wall blows more than four times faster than hurricane-force winds on Earth. Unlike terrestrial hurricanes, which tend to move, the Saturnian hurricane is locked onto the planet’s north pole. On Earth, hurricanes tend to drift northward because of the forces acting on the fast swirls of wind as the planet rotates. The one on Saturn does not drift and is already as far north as it can be.

“The polar hurricane has nowhere else to go, and that’s likely why it’s stuck at the pole,” said Kunio Sayanagi, a Cassini imaging team associate at Hampton University in Hampton, Va.

Scientists believe the massive storm has been churning for years. When Cassini arrived in the Saturn system in 2004, Saturn’s north pole was dark because the planet was in the middle of its north polar winter. During that time, the Cassini spacecraft’s composite infrared spectrometer and visual and infrared mapping spectrometer detected a great vortex, but a visible-light view had to wait for the passing of the equinox in August 2009. Only then did sunlight begin flooding Saturn’s northern hemisphere. The view required a change in the angle of Cassini’s orbits around Saturn so the spacecraft could see the poles.

“Such a stunning and mesmerizing view of the hurricane-like storm at the north pole is only possible because Cassini is on a sportier course, with orbits tilted to loop the spacecraft above and below Saturn’s equatorial plane,” said Scott Edgington, Cassini deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “You cannot see the polar regions very well from an equatorial orbit. Observing the planet from different vantage points reveals more about the cloud layers that cover the entirety of the planet.”

Cassini changes its orbital inclination for such an observing campaign only once every few years. Because the spacecraft uses flybys of Saturn’s moon Titan to change the angle of its orbit, the inclined trajectories require attentive oversight from navigators. The path requires careful planning years in advance and sticking very precisely to the planned itinerary to ensure enough propellant is available for the spacecraft to reach future planned orbits and encounters.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

SPACE IS FUCKING COOL

this is so incredible 

THIRD IMPACT

You do not even understand my undying, overwhelming passion for the Cassini mission, and how hard I am chewing my nails for Juno (basically Cassini: Jupiter) to get where it’s going.

(via skullvis)

colchrishadfield:

I don’t know what the people are doing here, but I sure like how it looks from space.

It looks like the Widmanstatten pattern that you see in cross-sections of nickel-iron meteorites!

colchrishadfield:

I don’t know what the people are doing here, but I sure like how it looks from space.

It looks like the Widmanstatten pattern that you see in cross-sections of nickel-iron meteorites!

thatscienceguy:

thatscienceguy:

What happens when you rotate Copper Sulfate while it is on fire!

GUYS! how does this not have 10000 notes already?! Seriously! this is awesome…

thatscienceguy:

thatscienceguy:

What happens when you rotate Copper Sulfate while it is on fire!

GUYS! how does this not have 10000 notes already?! Seriously! this is awesome…

(via mydetheturk)