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Covering technological, scientific, and cultural trends that are changing–and will change–human beings in fundamental ways.

Editor's Blog

Jonathan Vos Post
September 22, 2010

You’re not in hot water.  Water that used to be very hot is in you… water from the cold depths of Interstellar Space.

Let me ask you a question.  Don’t say anything, just think of the answer.  What is the formula for water?

Jonathan Vos Post
September 21, 2010

Researchers from an international group led by scientists from the University of Bristol announced “a new approach to quantum computing that could soon be used to perform complex calculations that cannot be done by today's computers.”

Science Daily (with editorial adaptations from materials provided by University of Bristol), writes: “Scientists from Bristol's Centre for Quantum Photonics have developed a silicon chip that could be used to perform complex calculations and simulations using quantum particles in the near future.  The researchers believe that their device represents a new route to a quantum computer –  a powerful type of computer that uses quantum bits (qubits) rather than the conventional bits used in today’s computers.”

Samuel H. Kenyon
September 21, 2010

I have a titanium screw in my head.  It is a dental implant (root-form endosseous) covered with a crown.  Osseointegration (fusing implants with bone) is used for many things these days, such as bone-anchored hearing aids and bone-anchored leg prostheses.  

Jonathan Vos Post
September 20, 2010

Professor Philip Vos Fellman is the perfect man to formulate a new approach to making America safe from terrorists. [“Less Is More in the Fight Against Terrorism"] As his middle name and mine are the same, I should disclose that he is my cousin.  Hurt me, and he’ll come after you.  The networks of genealogy are complex, and that’s also true of the networks of terrorism.  And that’s their greatest weakness.

Chris Arkenberg
September 20, 2010

Researchers at the University of Barcelona have been studying the effects of subtle physiological cues on character interaction in virtual environments.  By wiring up users with sensors to record heart rate, respiration, and galvanic skin response, they are able to drive more compelling behavioral characteristics of the person’s virtual avatar.  For example, the user’s heart rate is shown in the “movement of the character's feet; respiration in the rising of their chest; and the galvanic skin response in the more or less reddish colour of the face”.  In this manner the team hopes to understand how such subtle cues might express more realism and evoke more empathy from other users in the same shared environment.

Louizos Alexander Louizos
September 20, 2010

NanoInk, a company that has a line of nanolithography products for biological material, including the NLP 2000 system, has announced a new method of nanopatterning based on PEG hydrogels that enhances the machine’s lithographic skills.

Nanolithography is like having a molecular pen that can write on nanoscale material.  PEG, which stands for polyethyl glycol, is a polymer that is accepted by the human organism. Hydrogels are ultraviolet sensitive chemicals that change their shape under UV lighting. Using this combination, the NanoInk 2000 is the state of the art for nanopatterning on biomaterials. 

Jonathan Vos Post
September 20, 2010

The joke goes:
Q: “Why is a mouse when it spins?”
A: Because the higher, the fewer.

But this is no joke:
Q: “Why is an electron when it spins?”
A: Because it may also allow development of single-spin transistors for coherent spintronics, and solid-state devices for quantum information processing.

R.U. Sirius
September 19, 2010

In writing The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs, Michael Belfiore received rare cooperation from the secretive avant-garde technology and science wing of the US military. 

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects) is noted for its occasional forays into unintentional surrealism — or at least into scientific territories that we journalists can have some fun with.   

R.U. Sirius
September 16, 2010

An article, a rant really, yesterday, in Counterpunch titled "If Only Glenn Beck Were A Cyborg," — in which author David Correia goes to the recent Singularity Summit and finds that the "Singularity Movement" is "made up of university scientists, technocapitalists, and military funders" and is a tool of... "the bourgeois dream of class domination and faith in technoscience"...

R.U. Sirius
September 16, 2010

PopSci reports: "DARPA has been trying to crawl inside the minds of soldiers for a while now, but a new ultrasound technology could let them get deeper inside than ever. Working under a DARPA grant, a researcher at Arizona State is developing transcranial pulsed ultrasound technology that could be implanted in troops’ battle helmets, allowing soldiers to manipulate brain functions to boost alertness, relieve stress, or even reduce the effects of traumatic brain injury."

Point #1:  We want these helmets.

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