Moonbell: Lunar musick

August 31, 2009 at 3:10 pm (mad science) (, , )

moonbell

Moonbell is an automated music generator that plays musical scores based on lunar topographical data obtained by Japan’s Kaguya (SELENE) explorer during its orbit around the moon from late 2007 to June 2009.

[Launch Moonbell in a new window]

Full Story: Pink Tentacle

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A SHORT COURSE ON SYNTHETIC GENOMICS

August 27, 2009 at 6:17 pm (mad science, mutate) (, , , , , )

6 hours worth of videos on synthetic genomics presented by George Church and J. Craig Venter.
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Link to lecture videos via Edge

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This is Your Brain on Neurotechnology

August 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm (mad science, mutate) (, , , )

An Interview with Zack Lynch, author of The Neuro Revolution

Colorful brain

Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin’s Press, July 2009). Neurotechnology is the emerging science of brain imaging and other new tools for both understanding and influencing our brains.

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=This well-received and well-written book was conceived as a work of popular science “to broaden the conversation” on what Lynch characterizes as the coming neurosociety. Lynch looks at how neurotechnology will impact the financial markets, law enforcement, politics, advertising and marketing, artistic expression, warfare, and even the nature of human spirituality.

The book has received accolades in the mainstream press (including Jane Pauly, at NBC) and from tech figures like Vint Cerf at Google.

Lynch is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company.

He earned an M.A in economic geography, and a double B.S. in evolutionary biology and environmental science with high honors from UCLA. His master’s thesis examined how the Internet transforms communications and commerce.

You can follow Zack on Twitter at @neurorev

h+: You characterize the Neuro Revolution as the next revolution after the agricultural, industrial, and information revolutions. Others have characterized the Nanotechnology Revolution (for example, the ability to assemble goods at the molecular level) as such a paradigm-shattering period. Do you see a relationship between these two upcoming “revolutions?”

ZACK LYNCH: Nanotechnology is an enabling technology that will fundamentally drive progress in the neurotech sector. What makes this fundamentally unique, and why the neurotechnology revolution is so profoundly important, is that we are directing our informational and nano technologies at an entirely new domain of human progress: tools for the human mind.

We’ve spent human history — the past several thousand years as I said in the book — developing tools to improve our physical world. Now we are focused on developing tools that will take our wisdom, knowledge, and capital to develop tools that will improve our inner domain. Nanotechnology will be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of drugs, devices, diagnostics, and brain imaging technologies.

h+: You describe a number of emerging neurotechnologies in your book, fMRI being somewhat the granddaddy of the Neuro Revolution. Where should the smart investor be watching for the next fMRI?

ZL: Physics and biochemistry labs. The latest trend in imaging is combined systems –- fMRI and a whole host of other imaging technologies. One of the issues with fMRI is that it’s not very good at temporal resolution. What we’re trying to do is marry multiple types of imaging technologies to get more refined spatial and temporal resolution in our imaging systems. GE, Philips, and Siemens are developing these combined systems.

h+: Neurotechnology seems like it’s an emerging market.

ZL: It’s actually a relatively mature market if you consider first generation neurotechnologies. Last year, companies involved in neurotechnology generated about 140 billion dollars in revenue. This includes drugs, medical and neurological devices, and diagnostics for neurological diseases, psychiatric illness, and nervous system injuries. One of the hallmark characteristics of each technological revolution is that when a technology is developed for one purpose — let’s say for the purpose of creating treatments for brain or nervous system illnesses — you then begin to see it in a wide variety of different endeavors far beyond it’s original intended use.

Who would have thought 10 years ago that we would be using imaging technologies to improve the effectiveness of marketing and advertising? Who would have thought that we would be on the cusp of developing truth detection technologies? Who would have thought that these technologies would be used to understand and perhaps help traders improve their profitability?

What we’re seeing across law enforcement, the arts, marketing, entertainment, and warfare is what is means to be human. These technologies are penetrating a wide variety of different endeavors across human society. That — in and of itself — highlights the fact that we are witnessing the very early stages of a Neuro Revolution.


Via: H+

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Is LSD Good for You?

August 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm (mad science, mutate) (, , , )

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As the FDA paves the way for clinical LSD trials, scientists are exploring its medical benefits. Is acid the new Xanax? Plus, from Angelina to The Beatles, a gallery of celebrity trippers.

Bob Wold doesn’t seem like your typical acid tripper. A happily married 56-year-old contractor with four kids who lives the suburbs of Chicago, he had never considered taking psychedelic drugs until about 10 years ago. At the time, he was suffering from cluster headaches—known as “suicide” headaches because they’re so painful—for 12 hours a day, and he was spending more than $20,000 a year on medication. Then he read a post on a support-group Web site from someone who said they’d found a miracle cure for their own cluster headaches: LSD.

Wold decided to try it. “Compared to brain surgery,” he says, “taking a couple hits of LSD looked a lot more attractive.” But ever since a bust of the country’s biggest LSD lab nine years ago, the drug has become much harder to find. So Wold got his hands on the closest equivalent he could think of: psilocybin “magic” mushrooms (though he has since switched to LSD, which he says works better). The psychedelics arrived in a brown box at his doorstep from a long-distance dealer. He took one dose: about 1.5 grams. “In 15 minutes I could feel the difference,” he says. “My head was clearer than it had probably been in the past 20 years. Other medications felt like they were just covering it up.” But on acid, “All the pressure was gone.”

Thanks Dose Nation

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Jurrasic park is scary in the dark

August 26, 2009 at 5:33 am (ecology, mad science, mutate) (, , , )

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Jack Horner has a vision. A world-famous paleontologist who gives “an awful lot of lectures,” Horner pictures himself strolling out on stage before a crowd, just as he’s done countless times before. Instead of carrying the standard sheaf of notes or dusty slides, though, he has with him the ultimate prop: a real live dinosaur on a leash. “It’s small, but bigger than a chicken,” he writes in his new book, How to Build a Dinosaur. “Let’s say the size of a turkey, one day maybe even the size of an emu.” The emu-size dinosaur, he adds, “might have a muzzle or a couple of handlers.”

If it sounds straight out of Jurassic Park, it’s no coincidence: Horner served as scientific advisor on all three films, and is said to be an inspiration for the rugged protagonist, Alan Grant. Unlike in the movie, though, Horner thinks he can bring back a dinosaur without using its DNA—a crucial difference, because in real life, dino DNA hasn’t been recovered. Horner has a different plan. By making a few genetic tweaks to its modern-day ancestor, the bird, he wants to hatch a dinosaur straight from a chicken egg.

It’s Horner’s vision, and McGill University paleontologist Hans Larsson is working to make it happen. With Horner’s encouragement, Larsson is experimenting with chicken embryos to create the creature Horner describes: a “chickenosaurus,” they call it. If he succeeds, Larsson will have made an animal with clawed hands, teeth, a long, dinosaurian tail and ancestral plumage, one that shares characteristics with “the dinosaur we know that’s closest to birds, little raptors like the velociraptor,” Horner says.

The rest via: Next Big Future

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UFO shaped, solar powered water purifiers in Japan

August 25, 2009 at 4:30 pm (ecology, mad science, mutate) (, , )

solar_ufo

As part of the upcoming Aqua Metropolis festival in Osaka, engineering firm NTT Facilities has developed a pair of solar-powered, UFO-shaped floating water purifiers that will be deployed in the city’s canals and in the moat at Osaka Castle.

Pink Tentacle: ‘Solar UFO’ water cleaners afloat in Osaka canals

thanks mutateweb

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Brain hacking

August 15, 2009 at 3:46 am (mad science) ()

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The Next Hacking Frontier: Your Brain?

By Hadley Leggett

Hackers who commandeer your computer are bad enough. Now scientists worry that someday, they’ll try to take over your brain.

In the past year, researchers have developed technology that makes it possible to use thoughts to operate a computer, maneuver a wheelchair or even use Twitter — all without lifting a finger. But as neural devices become more complicated — and go wireless — some scientists say the risks of “brain hacking” should be taken seriously.

“Neural devices are innovating at an extremely rapid rate and hold tremendous promise for the future,” said computer security expert Tadayoshi Kohno of the University of Washington. “But if we don’t start paying attention to security, we’re worried that we might find ourselves in five or 10 years saying we’ve made a big mistake.”

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Building off-planet human environments

August 15, 2009 at 3:18 am (ecology, mad science, mutate) (, , )

Here is a slide show from the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) highlighting current work done in the pursuit of terraforming.

Building off-planet human environments: The role of microbial engineering. Building self fertilized food ecosystems.

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Snorting stem cells, effective route to brain

August 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm (mad science, mutate)

Snorting can deliver cells to the brain, research shows

William Frey.
William Frey and his colleagues have found that “snorted” cells can bypass the blood-brain barrier and reach the brain.
Photo: Erika Gratz

By Deane Morrison

If you had a brain malady that could be treated with stem cells, how would you like them delivered—by having surgeons cut open your skull to implant the cells, or by snorting them like a nasal decongestant?

Not really a hard choice, is it?

A University of Minnesota researcher has taken the first step toward making this kind of medical delivery service a reality by showing that when stem cells suspended in fluid are snorted, they rapidly migrate into the brain. William Frey, an adjunct professor of pharmaceutics, and his colleagues in Tuebingen, Germany, describe their work in a recent article in the European Journal of Cell Biology.

The method holds promise for delivering not only stem cells, but other therapeutic cells or drugs that can’t easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
Full Story

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