8.30.2007

9 million MPH waves are emanating from the sun
>



Scientists have detected waves following magnetic lines that radiate from the sun at a velocity of 9 million miles per hour.

From the article:

Like a wave traveling along a string, Alfven waves run along the sun's magnetic field lines and reach deep into space. While astrophysicists have identified the waves far away from the sun, they've never been detected close to our star-the ripples were too small and too fast to spot.


If you could surf this wave and harness its force, at such a speed, it would take only 10 hours to reach the sun from the earth and 1 minute and 45 seconds to reach the moon; going to Mars from the earth would be about the duration of a flight to Hawaii.

Christened the alfven waves, scientists at the National Solar Observatory's Sacramento Peak Observatory in New Mexico believe they are the mechanism that transfers energy from the sun to the Corona, or sun's atmosphere, which heats up to millions of degrees - far hotter than the sun's surface.

Read the original postulation of Hannes Alfven (1942) towards a theory of this class of electromagnetic waves at Nature.com

Labels: ,


8.28.2007

Useful Mutants - Bred with Radiation
>



Mutations relating to radiation are well-known in agriculture and have resulted in some of the recognizable advances in food science - see here in what might be considered an interesting harvest.

Labels: , , , ,


Alzheimers Will Not Slow You Down
>

Who says Alzheimer's slows you down? Case in point is Don Hayen, a 73-year old retired physician who blogs and even knows how to install an Internet 'widget' better than people on Facebook.

He was just interviewed by the Chicago Sun Times and is becoming an Internet celebrity of self-actualization.

As he says he was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's, not early onset Alzheimer's, which can affect anyone around 45 or so, sometimes in the 30's.

Labels: , ,


Statins Offer Hope
>

Statin drugs, commonly used to lower cholesterol, may offer potential in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's according to a study mentioned here.

Labels: , , ,


8.26.2007

Impact of Early Alzheimer's
>

A case study appearing in the Chicago Tribune:

Three years ago, Ginny and Gene Neal of Rockford were looking forward to a sunny retirement, when they could cut back on work and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Then an incurable disease robbed them of the future they had planned.

At age 55, Gene was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. He had to give up his truck-parts business, leaving Ginny as the sole breadwinner.

"What was supposed to be our retirement money will have to go toward help for Gene," Ginny said. Mornings, a caregiver comes to their house to help Gene. Afternoons, one of his grown daughters stays with him.

"Talking to people ..." was Gene's response when asked what he misses the most, now that he can no longer work or drive. "The loneliness -- that's the hardest part," said Ginny, who has to finish her husband's sentences.

When Gene said he can "do some things," Ginny added that he can, for example, mow the lawn if someone starts the mower for him.

Each year, about 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, said Melanie Chavin, vice president of program services for the Alzheimer's Association -- Greater Illinois Chapter. Although doctors cannot diagnose this disease conclusively without autopsies, she added, they can be "95 percent sure by conducting memory and language tests."

Read the article

Labels: , , ,


8.24.2007

Scientists Induce Out of Body Experience
>



NY Times - Using virtual reality goggles, a camera and a stick, scientists have induced out-of-body experiences — the sensation of drifting outside of one’s own body — - in healthy people, according to experiments being published in the journal Science.

A representation of one of the scenarios that scientists used to study out-of-body experiences.

When people gaze at an illusory image of themselves through the goggles and are prodded in just the right way with the stick, they feel as if they have left their bodies.

The research reveals that “the sense of having a body, of being in a bodily self,” is actually constructed from multiple sensory streams, said Matthew Botvinick, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Princeton University, an expert on body and mind who was not involved in the experiments.

read all of it

Labels: , , ,


8.23.2007

Igneous Rock Found on Asteroid; Google Launches Encyclopedia Galactica
>



Scientists exploring the asteroid belt with instrumentation have found an asteroid that contains the igneous (volcanic)rock basalt. Basalt forms from magma that is subject to tidal flows of gravity in a large body or radioactive decay. The analysis suggests that either a new class of asteroid has been found or that perhaps, remains of a planet have been found.


m51 the Whirpool Galaxy

In other news, Google launched Google Sky, organizing and making the heavens accessible like Asimov's Encyclopedia Galactica. However, this digital universe exists entirely within the bounds of clustered server farms. Given additional computational power, telescopic reach, and granularity - maybe there will be no need to travel to the stars - when it can be accomplished digitally, and the 'hyperspace' algorithm reduces the conceptual distance like a needle through folded fabric. Traveling faster than light then, is really the wrong question to ask in discovering the solution.

Labels: , , , , ,


8.20.2007

Artificial Life is Coming
>



Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."

"It's going to be a big deal and everybody's going to know about it," said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways — in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

That first cell of synthetic life — made from the basic chemicals in DNA — may not seem like much to non-scientists. For one thing, you'll have to look in a microscope to see it.

read more at yahoo

-Foundation for Advanced Molecular Evolution

Labels: , , ,


8.18.2007

Deconstructing Philip K. Dick
>



The New Yorker pyschoanalyzes the writer, post-mortem. He is Poe, reborn.

Labels: , , , , ,


8.17.2007

When SETI Succeeds
>



We have a link to the Washington-based foundation for the future on our site, originally related to Arthur Jensen being awarded the Kistler prize.

Rocketplane-Kistler is one of the companies competing in the private space industry, offering an independent launch platform.

In perusing their site, I noticed this document - dating back to 2000, but interesting nonetheless. It's titled "When Seti Succeeds: the Impact of High Information Contact"

It's a series of scientific aticles on astrobiology, sociological, and societal impact of such an event, and speculates as to what shape it might take.

Among them a Dyson sphere, a probe, and other possibilities. Fascinating.

Labels: , , , ,


8.16.2007

The World Beyond Alzheimer's - Cognitive Fitness reaches the boardroom.
>



The World Beyond Alzheimer's - Cognitive Fitness reaches the boardroom.

Even business tomes such as Business Week in the piece below are targeting the cognitive revolution. Cognitive enhancement could indeed be a source of competitive advantage for companies that decide to make it so. While not necessarily common in the corporate world, various military information systems depend on operator cognitive sharpness - such as the latest iteration of sonar in the U.S. Navy, which scans the operator for signs of fatigue at the same time it sends sharp audio pulses across the seascape.

Our testimonials include many programmers who credit our exercises with boosting their ability to code at a much faster pace, real estate pros who close more trumpesque deals, and amateur and pro traders - whose avocation requires cognitive fitness and instantaneous reading of multiple data sources.

What of averting Alzheimer's through a combinatorial approach? (1)the right kind of speed-enhancing exercises (2) the right personal mix of memory compounds (3) partioning and uploading of memory into a digital substrate, then re-population of memory into new brain tissue or asynchronous storage unit - o.k., the latter is not possible yet...

That's just a few of the business examples. Welcome to the brave new world.


Boosting Our Gray Matter - Business Week, 8/20/07

Bright idea or not, brain enhancements may become as available—and compulsory—as software updates

There's a famous scene in the sci-fi film The Matrix where the heroine, Trinity, learns to fly a helicopter by uploading instructions straight to her brain. Neuroscientists would love to master that trick so they could help patients suffering from brain injuries and diseases.


In fact, in animal experiments, scientists are already tackling all aspects of brain repair and enhancement, using electronic implants and biological techniques to boost memory and other functions. A few labs have even given human test subjects the ability to control a computer cursor with their thoughts.

There's no telling how today's research will change the world of work in 10 or 20 years' time. But once the tools and techniques are perfected, there's little question competitive individuals will get swept up in a race to expand their brain capacity. As that gets under way, it's destined to overturn today's paradigm of cubicled executives laboring on laptops, palm devices, and cell phones, besieged by constant software updates.

Perhaps the electronically augmented executive in 2025 will be able to absorb whole new fields of information by beaming it, Matrix-style, straight to circuits in his modified cortex. But even this scenario probably understates the workplace revolution that lies ahead. If you think Wi-Fi, BlackBerries, blogs, social networks, and Second Life are changing the way we work, wait until you see what enhanced cognitive equipment can do.

Medical scientists today spend little time dreaming about enhanced humans. They're too busy aiding the ill or injured, trying to reverse the ravages of Parkinson's disease or struggling to help patients cope with anxiety or depression. But where demand exists, supply follows. "Anything for therapeutic purposes has the potential to be used for the improvement of normal people," says Arthur L. Caplan, professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

This prospect raises some troublesome ethical issues. Many people are put off by the notion of physically bettering the brainthe root of thought, personality, individuality, and human nature itself. And some ethicists question the wisdom of handing new brain tools over to society so that privileged individuals can exploit them to get even further ahead of everyone else.

Other scientists don't see the harm. If the cost of advanced brain technologies drops quickly and the surgical risks become less dire, people may request brain chips as casually as they receive a shot of Botox. And if that enhances their performance, then customers and clients are bound to share in the benefits. "Don't we want our medical interns and pilots to have optimal brain function?" asks James J. Hughes, a professor of health policy at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. "Wouldn't that be an obligation of the job?" It's a good question for our grandchildren to ponder, with their medically enhanced minds.

Labels: , , , , ,


Origins Genome Resources
>



The Origins Genome Resources Blog is one of the newest widget users. This is a publication of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, near Central Park in NY, Genome Behavior Project.

In their words...

"We are using neuroimaging and genetic methods to try to understand how genetic variation relates to individual differences in cognitive development, particularly in the area of attention and inhibitory control. Our research is one example of basic research that seeks to generate genomic- and biomarker-based tools to guide medical treatment and early intervention."

They have links to the best browser-based genomic expression databases including Allen and UC Santa Cruz. The lab is run by Dr. John Fossella.


The widget is spreading across the web...conceived, developed, and programmed by Dr. Michael Addicott.

We'll be posting our latest presentation shortly, so stay tuned.

Labels: , , , , , , ,



// posted by neurofuture12:07 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.13.2007

Astronauts go underwater to develop Cognitive tools
>



U.S. scientists have gone underwater to develop psychological tools that can be used in space to assess stress, fatigue and cognitive fitness.

"On exploration missions, quick self tests could allow astronauts to assess how they are functioning," said David Dinges of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute's Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team. "In this mission, we'll gather data to help refine the self tests and develop an interface component that provides immediate feedback to the user."

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Extreme Environment Mission Operations Project 13, or NEEMO 13, is based in Aquarius -- the world's only underwater research habitat -- in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 63 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

The NEEMO 13 environment is similar to lunar and other exploration missions in many respects, said Dinges. There is isolation, confinement to a small habitat and work area, the need to work together as a team, extravehicular activities, and no immediate rescue in the event of an emergency.

NASA astronaut and aquanaut Nicholas Patrick is leading the Aug. 6-15 NEEMO 13 project, with astronaut Richard Arnold, Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Christopher Gerty, a NASA engineer.

Labels: , , , , ,


// posted by neurofuture6:09 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.12.2007

Cognitive Avatar? Exploration at Sandia Labs
>



Imagine a world where a machine creates a 'virtual you' by modeling how you think and your expertise on a subject. Or one where your car’s computer appreciates your driving skills and compensates for your limitations.

Sandia researcher Rob Abbott uses a joystick and plays the role of a student in a training exercise driving an amphibious assault vehicle simulator used by the Navy and Marines. The second monitor is an instructor/operator application called CDMTS. In the background is a thermal image of a student's face used for investigating biometrics to monitor the student in various ways including the level of engagement and focus of attention. (Credit: Photo by Randy Montoya)

That’s the world Sandia National Laboratories has entered full throttle through its Cognitive Science and Technology Program (CS&T).

A revolution is at hand, says Chris Forsythe, member of the Labs’ cognition research team. It’s not one of just better guns and weapons for national security. Instead, "it’s a revolution of the mind — of how people think and how machines can help people work better."

Focus on individual

A large portion of Sandia’s program today focuses on the uniqueness of the individual interacting with others and with machines. It involves using machines to help humans perform more efficiently and embedding cognitive models in machines so they interact with users more like people interact with one another. The result is the ability for researchers to take advantage of the basic strengths of humans and machines while mitigating the weaknesses of each.

Cognitive projects and research at Sandia span a whole gamut of areas, ranging from student training to assisting with Yucca Mountain licensing, from designing “smart” cars to using video-like games to train military personnel, and from determining how neurons give rise to memory to global terrorist threat detection.

The initial decision for Sandia to develop cognitive technologies is based on the belief that "there are numerous positive impacts cognitive systems technologies can have on our national security," says Russ Skocypec, senior manager of Sandia’s Human, Systems, and Simulation Technologies Department.

Today’s conflicts, he says, are unlike others over the past century. Although all wars are driven by humans, major influences on the outcomes have differed. World War I was a chemists’ war, World War II a physicists’ war, and the Cold War an economic war. Today, he believes, "we are engaged in a human war that is influenced primarily by individual human beings rather than technology or bureaucracy."

That is why he considers it appropriate for Sandia, a laboratory with national security as its mission, to use its resources to better understand the minds of this country’s adversaries, as well as to use machines to enhance the Labs’ abilities to recognize patterns, deal with massive amounts of data, solve perplexing problems, and perform complex activities.

While Sandia dipped its toes in cognitive research in the late 1990s, the Labs’ real effort in the area started in 2002 when the program won an internally funded LDRD grand challenge. Based in part on the success and path set by the grand challenge in 2005, the former Mission Council — a group that consisted of senior Sandia vice presidents — selected cognitive science and technology (CS&T) as a research focus area for the Labs.

Labels: , , ,


// posted by neurofuture9:54 AM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.09.2007

Meet the Father of the Atomic Bomb
>



Meet the father of the atomic bomb, J.R. Oppenheimer who led the Manhattan project. He also studied sanskrit at Berkeley (post-doctoral).

In other news, Russia has restarted flights of the Tupolev Tu-95 ("Bear"), as evidenced by the non-confrontational interception of two Tu-95s over Guam today by U.S. jets, believed to be the resumption of "probing" of U.S. defenses common during the Cold War from the 1950's to the mid-80's. The Tu-95 has been Russia's premiere strategic bomber since the latter 1950's.


The Tsar Bomb is Tested- the Largest Nuclear Explosion ever

In 1961, a "Bear" dropped the Tsar Bomb - the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated on Earth at 100 megatons in a remote Artic sea archiplelago at the instigation of Khrushchev. The blast was seen 1,000 kilometers away and broke glass windows in Finland.

Labels: , , , , ,


// posted by neurofuture11:02 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

The Industrial Revolution: Blame Genetics
>


Latin caption: Count Guy has led Harold to William duke of the Normans


According to Gregory Clark, a researcher at UC-Davis, the Industrial Revolution is as much about Genetics as anything else. Examining population data, he finds that most people alive in the U.K. today are descended from the upper classes during the Middle Ages. The reason for this is that the wealthy had far larger families than the typical peasant. Over a span of less than 1,000 years - an increasing percentage of the population was descended from these progenitors.

The surge in economic growth that occurred first in England around 1800 — occurred because of a change in the nature of the human population. The change was one in which people gradually developed the strange new behaviors required to make a modern economy work. The middle-class values of nonviolence, literacy, long working hours and a willingness to save emerged only recently in human history, Dr. Clark argues.

Because they grew more common in the centuries before 1800, whether by cultural transmission or evolutionary adaptation, the English population at last became productive enough to escape from poverty, followed quickly by other countries with the same long agrarian past. The approach is innovative, but somewhat controversial, and was influenced by the work of Jared Diamond, a popular geographer. Read the article at the NY Times. (you may need to register)

Labels: , , , , ,


// posted by neurofuture12:55 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.07.2007

Myriad Genetics- Alzheimer's
>



Flourizan, from Myriad Genetics, may offer an opportunity to turn back the tide of Alzheimer's progression.

Labels: ,


// posted by neurofuture8:42 AM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.06.2007

Games, Lies, Sex, and a Password
>


GunBound

A gang kidnapped one of the world's top RPG players and held a loaded revolver against his head , apparently in an attempt to get him to divulge his password, which they planned to sell for a sum of cash.

The role-playing snare was set up using Google's orkut social network with a date with one of the gangsters' girlfriend as bait.


The RPGing neo fell for the gambit and wound up in the trap. After a few tense hours during which he wouldn't give up his password - the keys to his online uber he-man status of the gaming world - he was released.

According to the police, the captive is the world leader in GunBound, a turn-based RPG-style multiplayer online game. Developed in South Korea, in this artillery game you get more experience points, offensive and defensive capabilities depending on your skills during battle, as well as money to buy more weapons, armor and all kinds of gear for your multiple avatars. You can only play with one of your avatars each time, but all of them belong to a single account.

This may be the first case where an online identity is more important than a real person.

read more on gizmodo

Labels: , ,


// posted by neurofuture6:44 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.05.2007

See Real Time DNA replication
>

Real time DNA replication is featured in the following visualization video...Fascinating. Then test your brain

Labels: , , , , ,


// posted by neurofuture2:54 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.04.2007

Flavenoids in Apples May Prevent Alzheimer's
>

A new study asserts that an antioxidant in apples may prevent cognitive decline. The substance quercetin contains even more antioxidants than Vitamin C and resides primarily in the skin of fresh apples.

Labels: , , ,


// posted by neurofuture10:07 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

8.03.2007

Acid Blockers May Increase Risk of Cognitive Impairment
>

Eureka Alert reports that antacid drinks, or Acid Blockers, when used regularly by certain populations, may lead to increased risk of Cognitive Impairment.

Labels: , ,


// posted by neurofuture4:21 PM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

Sword and Sandals
>

The LA Times mentions a real gladiator training school which you can participate in on you next trip to Rome.

Labels: , ,


// posted by neurofuture9:05 AM permanent link
links to this post
tags:   

  tags: help build archive | brain games | more brain games

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?