The Anatomy Of An Internet Rumor by Chas Danner Last week a design company in Sweden did an experiment to study the effect of rumor on the Internet. They designed the bizarre screw seen above and then posted it on Reddit with the implication it was a new proprietary screw Apple had designed to keep end users from opening their devices (a certainly plausible idea). While the experiment was hardly scientific, what they noticed points to a severe gullibility among end-readers on the net: [T]he blogs and newspapers that reported on the screw all fell back on that this was a vague rumor, unconfirmed, but yet discussed what impact the screw could get for the Mac world if it was in use.
Anti-ageing compound set for human trials after turning clock back for mice Australian and US researchers hope an anti-ageing compound could be trialled on humans as early as next year, following a key breakthrough that saw the ageing process reversed in mice. The study, involving Harvard University and the University of NSW, discovered a way of restoring the efficiency of cells, completely reversing the ageing process in muscles. Two-year-old mice were given a compound over a week, moving back the key indicators of ageing to that of a six-month-old mouse. Researchers said this was the equivalent of making a 60-year-old person feel like a 20-year-old. It’s hoped the research, published in Cell, will be expanded to humans as early as next year, with scientists set to look at how the theory of age reversal can be used to treat diseases such as cancer, dementia and diabetes.
Skin transformed into brain cells 31 January 2012Last updated at 00:13 By James Gallagher Health and science reporter, BBC News Skin cells have been converted directly into cells which develop into the main components of the brain, by researchers studying mice in California. The experiment, reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, skipped the middle "stem cell" stage in the process. The researchers said they were "thrilled" at the potential medical uses. Far more tests are needed before the technique could be used on human skin. Stem cells, which can become any other specialist type of cell from brain to bone, are thought to have huge promise in a range of treatments.
Tyler Clementi’s Suicide and Dharun Ravi’s Trial Dharun Ravi grew up in Plainsboro, New Jersey, in a large, modern house with wide expanses of wood flooring and a swimming pool out back. Assertive and athletic, he used “DHARUNISAWESOME” as a computer password and played on an Ultimate Frisbee team. At the time of his high-school graduation, in 2010, his parents bought space in the West Windsor and Plainsboro High School North yearbook. “Dear Dharun, It has been a pleasure watching you grow into a caring and responsible person,” the announcement said. “You are a wonderful son and brother. . . .
Synthetic biology and the rise of the 'spider-goats' Freckles looks like a perfectly normal kid. She has bright eyes, a healthy white pelt and gambols happily with Pudding, Sweetie and her five other siblings, exactly as you might imagine young goats do. Until I fend her off, she's very keen on chewing my trousers. Mind Controlled Bionic Limbs In the George Lucas classic Star Wars, hero Luke Skywalker’s arm is severed and amputated during a lightsaber fight and consequently fitted with a bionic arm that he can use as if it were his own limb. At the time the script was written, such a remedy was pure science fiction; however, the ability to manufacture bionic arms that have the functionality and even feel of a natural limb is becoming very real, with goals of launching a prototype as soon as 2009. Already, primates have been trained to feed themselves using a robotic arm merely by thinking about it, while brain sensors have been picking up their brain-signal patterns since 2003. The time has come for implementing this technology on paralyzed human patients and amputees. This article will provide a brief explanation of the technology, its current status, and the potential future it holds. Bionic Research Background
David Beer: Generation Generating Trainsition IIII, Richard Hamilton, 1954 by David Beer It has become an accepted motif of the day, perhaps even a cliché, that data about our lives are captured and harvested in multifarious ways. The Living Factory: Designing and Manufacturing with Synthetic Biology Central Saint Martins, Textile Futures Research Centre (TFRC) and InCrops are holding an evening of talks and discussion on the opportunities, risks and challenges associated with designing and manufacturing with synthetic biology horizon 2050. The word factory conjures up very specific images, but what if in future a factory resembled a greenhouse? Synthetic biology is an emerging science which allows us to reprogram living organisms with the purpose of generating custom-made materials. Bacteria and algae are re-programmed to produce biofuel or silk, yeast is engineered to make vanilla flavour. Still in its infancy, this science is fast developing and is often presented as a technology which can help us face future sustainable challenges, such as how to produce enough food for 9 billion people, how to develop efficient carbon capture technologies to combat climate change, or even how to use synthetic organisms for bio remediation.
Science Can Now Turn Human Urine Into Brain Cells It turns out urine isn't just human waste. Chinese researchers have managed to reprogram kidney cells harvested from urine samples into neural cell progenitors--immature brain cells that can develop into various types of glial cells and neurons. Reprogramming cells has been done before, of course, but not with cells gleaned from urine and not via a method this direct (more on that in a moment). The technique could prove extremely helpful to those pursuing treatments for neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The innovation here is in the source and the method.
Ariel Levy: Was Justice Served in Steubenville? One Saturday last August, a sixteen year-old girl in West Virginia did something that teen-agers do: she told her parents that she was sleeping at another girl’s house, across the Ohio River, and then, after her mother dropped her off there, she and a few friends headed into the hot summer night to a party. She brought a bottle of vodka with her, and she used it to spike a slushy that she bought at a gas station on the way to their destination, in a town called Steubenville. At the party, she met up with a sixteen-year-old named Trent Mays, a good-looking, dark-haired football player with whom she’d been flirting by text and tweet.
Weekend Diversion: Spider Webs… on drugs? “If I see a spider in my house, I put it in a cup, and then I take it outside. I save it. What is wrong with me?” -Jacqueline Emerson There’s something not only incredibly useful but also beautiful about the intricate structure of a spider web. U.S. Spies See Superhumans, Instant Cities by 2030 Artificial limbs like these could be only the beginning of man-machine interfaces, the National Intelligence Council predicts. Photo: DoD 3-D printed organs. Brain chips providing superhuman abilities. Megacities, built from scratch.
Rebecca Solnit · Diary: In the Day of the Postman · LRB 29 August 2013 In or around June 1995 human character changed again. Or rather, it began to undergo a metamorphosis that is still not complete, but is profound – and troubling, not least because it is hardly noted. When I think about, say, 1995, or whenever the last moment was before most of us were on the internet and had mobile phones, it seems like a hundred years ago. Letters came once a day, predictably, in the hands of the postal carrier. News came in three flavours – radio, television, print – and at appointed hours.