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How Science Can Build a Better You

How Science Can Build a Better You | Arte 25 Scenarii | Scoop.it
How far would you go to modify yourself using the latest medical technology?

 

IF a brain implant were safe and available and allowed you to operate your iPad or car using only thought, would you want one? What about an embedded device that gently bathed your brain in electrons and boosted memory and attention? Would you order one for your children?

 

In a future presidential election, would you vote for a candidate who had neural implants that helped optimize his or her alertness and functionality during a crisis, or in a candidates’ debate? Would you vote for a commander in chief who wasn’t equipped with such a device?

 

If these seem like tinfoil-on-the-head questions, consider the case of Cathy Hutchinson. Paralyzed by a stroke, she recently drank a canister of coffee by using a prosthetic arm controlled by thought. She was helped by a device called Braingate, a tiny bed of electrodes surgically implanted on her motor cortex and connected by a wire to a computer.

 

Working with a team of neuroscientists at Brown University, Ms. Hutchinson, then 58, was asked to imagine that she was moving her own arm. As her neurons fired, Braingate interpreted the mental commands and moved the artificial arm and humanlike hand to deliver the first coffee Ms. Hutchinson had raised to her own lips in 15 years.

 

Braingate has barely worked on just a handful of people, and it is years away from actually being useful. Yet it’s an example of nascent technologies that in the next two to three decades may transform life not only for the impaired, but also for the healthy.

Other medical technologies that might break through the enhancement barrier range from genetic modifications and stem-cell therapies that might make people cognitively more efficient to nano-bots that could one day repair and optimize molecular structures in cells.

 

Many researchers, including the Brown neuroscientist John Donoghue, leader of the Braingate team, adamantly oppose the use of their technologies for augmenting the nonimpaired. Yet some healthy Americans are already availing themselves of medical technologies. For years millions of college students and professionals have been popping powerful stimulants like Adderall and Provigil to take exams and to pull all-nighters. These drugs can be highly addictive and may not work for everyone. While more research is needed, so far no evidence has emerged that legions of users have been harmed. The same may be true for a modest use of steroids for athletes.

 

Which leads us to the crucial question: How far would you go to modify yourself using the latest medical technology?

 

Over the last couple of years during talks and lectures, I have asked thousands of people a hypothetical question that goes like this: “If I could offer you a pill that allowed your child to increase his or her memory by 25 percent, would you give it to them?”

 

The show of hands in this informal poll has been overwhelming, with 80 percent or more voting no.

Then I asked a follow-up question. “What if this pill was safe and increased your kid’s grades from a B average to an A average?” People tittered nervously, looked around to see how others were voting as nearly half said yes. (Many didn’t vote at all.)

“And what if all of the other kids are taking the pill?” I asked. The tittering stopped and nearly everyone voted yes.

 

No pill now exists that can boost memory by 25 percent. Yet neuroscientists tell me that pharmaceutical companies are testing compounds in early stage human trials that may enable patients with dementia and other memory-stealing diseases to have better recall. No one knows if these will work to improve healthy people, but it’s possible that one will work in the future.

 

More intriguing is the notion that a supermemory or attention pill might be used someday by those with critical jobs like pilots, surgeons, police officers — or the chief executive of the United States. In fact, we may demand that they use them, said the bioethicist Thomas H. Murray. “It might actually be immoral for a surgeon not to take a drug that was safe and steadied his hand,” said Mr. Murray, the former president of the Hastings Center, a bioethics research group. “That would be like using a scalpel that wasn’t sterile.”

 

HERE is a partial checklist of cutting-edge medical-technology therapies now under way or in an experimental phase that might lead to future enhancements.

 

More than 200,000 deaf people have had their hearing partially restored by a brain implant that receives sound waves and uses a minicomputer to process and deliver them directly into the brain via the cochlear (audio) nerve. New and experimental technologies could lead to devices that allow people with or possibly without hearing loss to hear better, possibly much better.

 

The Israel-based company Nano Retina and others are developing early-stage devices and implants that restore partial sight to the blind. Nano Retina uses a tiny sensor backed by electrodes embedded in the back of the eye, on top of the retina. They replace connections damaged by macular degeneration and other diseases. So far images are fuzzy and gray-scale and a long way from restoring functional eyesight. Scientists, however, are currently working on ways to mimic and improve eyesight in people and in robots that could lead to far more sophisticated technologies.

 

Engineers at companies like Ekso Bionics of Richmond, Calif., are building first-generation exoskeletons that aim to allow patients with paralyzed legs to walk, though the devices are still in the baby-step phase. This summer the sprinter Oscar Pistorius of South Africa proved he could compete at the Olympics using artificial half-leg blades called Cheetahs that some worried might give him an advantage over runners with legs made of flesh and blood. Neuroscientists are developing more advanced prosthetics that may one day be operated from the brain via fiber optic lines embedded under the skin.

 

For years, scientists have been manipulating genes in animals to make improvements in neural performance, strength and agility, among other augmentations. Directly altering human DNA using “gene therapy” in humans remains dangerous and fraught with ethical challenges. But it may be possible to develop drugs that alter enzymes and other proteins associated with genes for, say, speed and endurance or dopamine levels in the brain connected to improved neural performance.

 

Synthetic biologists contend that re-engineering cells and DNA may one day allow us to eliminate diseases; a few believe we will be able to build tailor-made people. Others are convinced that stem cells might one day be used to grow fresh brain, heart or liver cells to augment or improve cells in these and other organs.

 

Not all enhancements are high-tech or invasive. Neuroscientists are seeing boosts from neuro-feedback and video games designed to teach and develop cognition and from meditation and improvements in diet, exercise and sleep. “We may see a convergence of several of these technologies,” said the neurologist Adam Gazzaley of the University of California at San Francisco. He is developing brain-boosting games with developers and engineers who once worked for Lucas Arts, founded by the “Star Wars” director George Lucas.

 

Which leads to another question: How far would you go to augment yourself? Would you replace perfectly good legs with artificial ones if they made you faster and stronger? What if a United States Agency for Human Augmentation had approved this and other radical enhancements? Would that persuade you?

 

Ethical challenges for the coming Age of Enhancement include, besides basic safety questions, the issue of who would get the enhancements, how much they would cost, and who would gain an advantage over others by using them. In a society that is already seeing a widening gap between the very rich and the rest of us, the question of a democracy of equals could face a critical test if the well-off also could afford a physical, genetic or bionic advantage. It also may challenge what it means to be human.

 

Still, the enhancements are coming, and they will be hard to resist. The real issue is what we do with them once they become irresistible.


David Ewing Duncan is a journalist who has contributed to the science section of The New York Times.

 

 


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Wall Photos | Facebook

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Collect, Organize And Share Your Interests With Collective.li

Collect, Organize And Share Your Interests With Collective.li | Arte 25 Scenarii | Scoop.it

Robin Good: Collective.li is a new web-based curation platform which allows anyone to pull together images, text, web clippings and video into one curated set, that can be published and shared on social media.

 

Content can be gathered via a browser clipping extension, as well as from your cloud-based storage via a dedicated importing tool or by simply uploading your favorite files from your computer.

 

Collections are as easy to create as a file folder, and any collection can be made part of another one, allowing for more complex and hierarchical topical structures.

 

Multiple "themes" / layouts are available for publishing any collection, which can be set to "public" or "private" depending on need.

 

Free to use.

 

More info: http://www.collective.li/AboutUs

 

Try it out now: http://www.collective.li

 

 


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Nobuhiko Ota's Photos | Facebook

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Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.
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abdulvahap ertekin.. Burcsanat Evi's Photos | Facebook

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Universal consciousness is the radiant luminosity of Love Jeff Andrews's Photos | Facebook

Universal consciousness is the radiant luminosity of Love Jeff Andrews's Photos | Facebook | Arte 25 Scenarii | Scoop.it

Universal consciousness is the radiant luminosity of Love, which has no mass at all.All creation is the result of consciousness. The Super Conscious Mind containswithin itself the possibility as well as the probability of creating anything andeverything that can be conceived with mind...The possibilities are "Infinite."“As an entity, a soul, a mind, enters [the spiritual dimensions] put about self the cloak, the garment, yea the mantle of Christ; not as a man, not as an individual but the CHRIST ­ that universal consciousness of love that we see manifested in those who have forgotten self but, as Jesus, give themselves that others may know the truth.” Edgar CayceThe ESSENCE is where we perceive states of consciousness and feel and experience them through a matrix of what is known in allegorical metaphysics as THE GARDEN OF EDEN. This ESSENCE has infinite states of consciousness. "The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power."Nikola TeslaUniversal Consciousness.http://youtu.be/cAk542YkgSQDivine Intelligence.http://youtu.be/YzRzH00MTmoOpen Your Mind!http://youtu.be/AqnEGu8VF8YCosmic Consciousness and Divine Illuminationhttp://youtu.be/GVBq320cmJoThere is a single Consciousness, the Universal Mind, which pervades the entire Universe. It is all knowing, all powerful, all creative and always present everywhere at the same time. Your consciousness is part of it - it is It. All is One. You are connected to everything and every one. You are already connected what you want. To the degree that you truly comprehend and internalise this Truth, you will be able to become the master of your mind and the director of your life.Ovnimoon & Via Axis ~ Galactic Mantra ~ The I Am Presence http://youtu.be/OKNiY4pLxLA

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Jeff Andrews's Photos | Facebook

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“Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the forces of life consciousness which rule the world of plants and animals, and with the powers which determine the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man's heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain.”
― Franz Winkler
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The Simple Science of Facebook Engagement

The Simple Science of Facebook Engagement | Arte 25 Scenarii | Scoop.it
Even though Facebook is a social platform populated with seemingly random posts, there is a tested method to getting your fans to engage with your brand & content...

Here AMEX Open Forum distils the methodology of getting people to visit your Facebook page, keep them reading as well as having them return.

 

Summarizing the Infographic:

 

Post Short Updates - less than 80 characters get 23% higher engagement rates

 

Post Images - Photos get a 39% higher rate of engagement than all types of content averaged

 

Use Emoticons - Using emoticons increase shares and likes by 33%

Try Caption Contests - Asking fans to write captions to interesting photos increases comments by 550%

Respond Quickly - 25% of Facebook and Twitter users expect a response to inquires and complaints within 60 minutes

Run a Photo Contest - Encourage fans to post photos for a chance to win something

NB. Third-party apps need to be used for photo and video contests

In order to use this effectively for Community Engagement or Brand Marketing you need to:

#Develop clear objectives

#Understand the people you are targeting and

#Create a smart integration strategy


Source. http://amex.co/RPVEXm


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Martin (Marty) Smith's curator insight, December 4, 2012 6:54 AM

Great Infographc explains what works on Facebook.

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How Science Can Build a Better You

How Science Can Build a Better You | Arte 25 Scenarii | Scoop.it
How far would you go to modify yourself using the latest medical technology?

 

IF a brain implant were safe and available and allowed you to operate your iPad or car using only thought, would you want one? What about an embedded device that gently bathed your brain in electrons and boosted memory and attention? Would you order one for your children?

 

In a future presidential election, would you vote for a candidate who had neural implants that helped optimize his or her alertness and functionality during a crisis, or in a candidates’ debate? Would you vote for a commander in chief who wasn’t equipped with such a device?

 

If these seem like tinfoil-on-the-head questions, consider the case of Cathy Hutchinson. Paralyzed by a stroke, she recently drank a canister of coffee by using a prosthetic arm controlled by thought. She was helped by a device called Braingate, a tiny bed of electrodes surgically implanted on her motor cortex and connected by a wire to a computer.

 

Working with a team of neuroscientists at Brown University, Ms. Hutchinson, then 58, was asked to imagine that she was moving her own arm. As her neurons fired, Braingate interpreted the mental commands and moved the artificial arm and humanlike hand to deliver the first coffee Ms. Hutchinson had raised to her own lips in 15 years.

 

Braingate has barely worked on just a handful of people, and it is years away from actually being useful. Yet it’s an example of nascent technologies that in the next two to three decades may transform life not only for the impaired, but also for the healthy.

Other medical technologies that might break through the enhancement barrier range from genetic modifications and stem-cell therapies that might make people cognitively more efficient to nano-bots that could one day repair and optimize molecular structures in cells.

 

Many researchers, including the Brown neuroscientist John Donoghue, leader of the Braingate team, adamantly oppose the use of their technologies for augmenting the nonimpaired. Yet some healthy Americans are already availing themselves of medical technologies. For years millions of college students and professionals have been popping powerful stimulants like Adderall and Provigil to take exams and to pull all-nighters. These drugs can be highly addictive and may not work for everyone. While more research is needed, so far no evidence has emerged that legions of users have been harmed. The same may be true for a modest use of steroids for athletes.

 

Which leads us to the crucial question: How far would you go to modify yourself using the latest medical technology?

 

Over the last couple of years during talks and lectures, I have asked thousands of people a hypothetical question that goes like this: “If I could offer you a pill that allowed your child to increase his or her memory by 25 percent, would you give it to them?”

 

The show of hands in this informal poll has been overwhelming, with 80 percent or more voting no.

Then I asked a follow-up question. “What if this pill was safe and increased your kid’s grades from a B average to an A average?” People tittered nervously, looked around to see how others were voting as nearly half said yes. (Many didn’t vote at all.)

“And what if all of the other kids are taking the pill?” I asked. The tittering stopped and nearly everyone voted yes.

 

No pill now exists that can boost memory by 25 percent. Yet neuroscientists tell me that pharmaceutical companies are testing compounds in early stage human trials that may enable patients with dementia and other memory-stealing diseases to have better recall. No one knows if these will work to improve healthy people, but it’s possible that one will work in the future.

 

More intriguing is the notion that a supermemory or attention pill might be used someday by those with critical jobs like pilots, surgeons, police officers — or the chief executive of the United States. In fact, we may demand that they use them, said the bioethicist Thomas H. Murray. “It might actually be immoral for a surgeon not to take a drug that was safe and steadied his hand,” said Mr. Murray, the former president of the Hastings Center, a bioethics research group. “That would be like using a scalpel that wasn’t sterile.”

 

HERE is a partial checklist of cutting-edge medical-technology therapies now under way or in an experimental phase that might lead to future enhancements.

 

More than 200,000 deaf people have had their hearing partially restored by a brain implant that receives sound waves and uses a minicomputer to process and deliver them directly into the brain via the cochlear (audio) nerve. New and experimental technologies could lead to devices that allow people with or possibly without hearing loss to hear better, possibly much better.

 

The Israel-based company Nano Retina and others are developing early-stage devices and implants that restore partial sight to the blind. Nano Retina uses a tiny sensor backed by electrodes embedded in the back of the eye, on top of the retina. They replace connections damaged by macular degeneration and other diseases. So far images are fuzzy and gray-scale and a long way from restoring functional eyesight. Scientists, however, are currently working on ways to mimic and improve eyesight in people and in robots that could lead to far more sophisticated technologies.

 

Engineers at companies like Ekso Bionics of Richmond, Calif., are building first-generation exoskeletons that aim to allow patients with paralyzed legs to walk, though the devices are still in the baby-step phase. This summer the sprinter Oscar Pistorius of South Africa proved he could compete at the Olympics using artificial half-leg blades called Cheetahs that some worried might give him an advantage over runners with legs made of flesh and blood. Neuroscientists are developing more advanced prosthetics that may one day be operated from the brain via fiber optic lines embedded under the skin.

 

For years, scientists have been manipulating genes in animals to make improvements in neural performance, strength and agility, among other augmentations. Directly altering human DNA using “gene therapy” in humans remains dangerous and fraught with ethical challenges. But it may be possible to develop drugs that alter enzymes and other proteins associated with genes for, say, speed and endurance or dopamine levels in the brain connected to improved neural performance.

 

Synthetic biologists contend that re-engineering cells and DNA may one day allow us to eliminate diseases; a few believe we will be able to build tailor-made people. Others are convinced that stem cells might one day be used to grow fresh brain, heart or liver cells to augment or improve cells in these and other organs.

 

Not all enhancements are high-tech or invasive. Neuroscientists are seeing boosts from neuro-feedback and video games designed to teach and develop cognition and from meditation and improvements in diet, exercise and sleep. “We may see a convergence of several of these technologies,” said the neurologist Adam Gazzaley of the University of California at San Francisco. He is developing brain-boosting games with developers and engineers who once worked for Lucas Arts, founded by the “Star Wars” director George Lucas.

 

Which leads to another question: How far would you go to augment yourself? Would you replace perfectly good legs with artificial ones if they made you faster and stronger? What if a United States Agency for Human Augmentation had approved this and other radical enhancements? Would that persuade you?

 

Ethical challenges for the coming Age of Enhancement include, besides basic safety questions, the issue of who would get the enhancements, how much they would cost, and who would gain an advantage over others by using them. In a society that is already seeing a widening gap between the very rich and the rest of us, the question of a democracy of equals could face a critical test if the well-off also could afford a physical, genetic or bionic advantage. It also may challenge what it means to be human.

 

Still, the enhancements are coming, and they will be hard to resist. The real issue is what we do with them once they become irresistible.


David Ewing Duncan is a journalist who has contributed to the science section of The New York Times.

 

 


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The Science & Art of Cheese

A mixture of milk, binder, salt, and bacteria, cheese has entranced our taste buds for thousands of years. The delicate balance of the art and science of creating this superfood allows us to create thousands of cheeses from these simple ingredients.
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"All matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves."

Bill Hicks

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The cosmic web and its relation to the human neurons is astounding. According to the European Southern Observatory (ESO), "All recent computer-simulations of the early universe have one prediction in common: the first large-scale structures to form in the young universe are long filaments connected at their ends in 'nodes'. The models typically look like a three-dimensional spider's web, and resemble the neural structure of a brain." Now, astronomers have actually detected a "universal web" - vast filaments of hot gas tracing the web have been "seen" in the current universe. Astronomers using NASA's X-ray satellite observatory, Chandra, "viewed" the filaments stretching for millions of light years through space, with one passing through our own galaxy. Astronomers say that the filamentary structures are so hot that it would generally be invisible to optical, infrared, and radio telescopes. These invisible filaments are detected only because higher density ordinary matter tends to accumulate and condense in them - generating radiation which can be measured by scientists to confirm their existence in intergalactic space.

The visible galaxies in the universe are not isolated and disconnected but are interwoven by a filamentary web-like structure - which is the invisible dark matter scaffolding of the universe. The web-like structure is both a signature feature of invisible dark matter and magnetic plasma. The appearance of this web bears an uncanny resemblance to a cross-section of the brain. (Refer: Brain vs Universe)

But it is not only the morphology (i.e. structural aspects) of the large scale structure of the universe which is similar to the human brain but also the
physiology (i.e. the functions). These filaments carry currents of charged particles (ions) over large distances that generate magnetic fields - similar to
a nerve fiber. And they form circuits, just like the neural circuits in the brain.

The high degree of connectivity is what sets the brain apart from an ordinary computer. Connectivity is also apparent in the cosmic web. Galaxies are formed when filaments pinch or cross each other. A nexus of filaments (including thousands of tiny filamentary currents) will provide the connectivity for the transfer of not only energy but information from one galactic nucleus to another. This web-like structure of filaments and vortexes is also similar to
the acupuncture meridian system - which includes vortexes called "chakras". According to Dr David Tansely, "The seven major chakras are formed at points where standing lines of light (or meridians) cross each other 21 times. The 21 minor chakras are located at points where the energy strands cross 14 times." These meridians are supported by probably thousands of other smaller filamentary currents. This provides a significant amount of connectivity in our subtle bodies. Similar filamentary currents in the large-scale structure of the universe also provide a high degree of connectivity in the "cosmic brain".

Over time, tiny filamentary currents grow into large filaments as the amount of current flowing through them increases; in others the current decreases
according to plasma dynamics. These filaments form networks that reflect the state of the universe at a point in time. The filamentary currents therefore
appear to be able to generate the same mechanics that occurs in a brain - enabling memories to be encoded.

Magnetic fields are generated across vast regions of space and have been detected by astrophysicists. Electrical currents in the brain also generate
magnetic fields which can be observed by measuring the magnetic fields they generate outside the skull in a technique called magneto-encephalography, or MEG.

Cosmic and planetary consciousness can have a valid scientific basis once we realize that the filaments and galaxies in space, and the web-like structure of filaments and vortexes on Earth, can encode information. Surely, if we can
accept an electro-chemical basis for the encoding of memories, why not an electromagnetic one in space and interpenetrating the Earth (as in computers
using neural networking technology)? These vortexes are also seen on the back of each human head which display the spiral of torsion fields and spiral galaxies.

Larry Thomas
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