March 16, 2009

Prosthetic USB finger

Posted in Fun, Life, Science, Science Fiction, Technology at 4:37 pm by deadlikeme

usb-finger

Software developer Jerry Jalava lost part of his ring finger in a motorcycle accident. But instead of replacing it with a regular prosthetic finger he decided to enhance it with a USB flash drive.

read more about it on his blog.

for more pictures visit his Flickr account.

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January 24, 2009

May the “Force” be with you… for $90!

Posted in Science, Science Fiction, Star Wars, Technology at 6:50 pm by deadlikeme

forcetrainer

This fall toymaker Uncle Milton will let you test your Jedi abilities with “The Force Trainer”.

A wireless headset (that can “read” your mind via EEG) lets you manipulate the height of a ball in a clear cylinder with your mind.

Anyone remember the scene from Back To The Future: Part II  where Marty McFly shows two kids (one of them Elijah “Frodo” Wood) in the 80’s Cafe how to play a videogame? After Marty shows them there is an electronic gun involved Kid#1 says:  “You mean you have to use your hands?”

USA Today article

 

August 11, 2008

If I can’t be beautiful, I want to be invisible

Posted in Science, Science Fiction, Technology tagged at 7:29 pm by deadlikeme

Invisibility

This quote by Chuck Palahniuk might soon be possible. A team of Scientists led by Xiang Zhang at the UC Berkeley managed to render small objects invisible with the use of so called metamaterials.

The magic word here is negative refraction. In nature there are only materials with a positive refractive index. Until now 3D-metamaterials with negative refraction have only been reported for microwaves.

This week Nature and Science are publishing two articles about metamaterials that work in the near-infrared and visible light range.

Of course we are still far away from a cloaking device á la STAR TREK, but the future comes only one day at a time.

BBC article

November 2, 2007

Super Mouse created in lab: Superhero or Supervillain?

Posted in Animals, Biology, Comics, Evolution, Genetics, Nature, Science, Science Fiction, Technology at 8:13 pm by deadlikeme

supermouse.jpgThese mice are super fast, super fit, super long living and super sexy. But they also seem to be super aggresive.

Richard Hanson and his team of researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland conducted a standard genetic modification to a single metabolism gene to study the biochemistry at play in metabolism. To their own surprise they created a breed of super mice.

They can run non-stop for five hours at a speed of 20 metres per minute. They are 10 times more active than ordinary mice. They do eat twice as much though, but without getting fat. They also live longer, have more sex and can breed well into old age. But one downside is, they are very aggressive.

The first super mouse was created four years ago by injecting a highly active form of a gene for an enzyme called Phosphonenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (PEPCK-C) into a mouse embryo. The results of the studies are puplished in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

By the way, the gene that got manipulated in the mice is also present in humans. Super athlets, super soldiers… super villains? Que sera sera, the future’s not ours to see.

Read more at The Independant

June 20, 2007

Mission To Mars: ESA calls for candidates

Posted in Education, Events, Life, Mars Mission, News, Psychology, Science, Technology at 8:00 am by deadlikeme

missiontomars.jpg

The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for candidates to participate in up to three isolation and confinement studies. The first study starts in May 2008.

Except for weightlessness and radiation, the simulation will be as close to a real Mars mission as possible. The candidates will be selected based on education, professional experience, medical fitness and social habits.

All in all the studies can take more than two years (Pilot study: 100 days, Mars Mission: 520 days, Follow-up studies: up to one year).

Some criterias for applicants:

– 25 to 50 years
– English and Russian (fluency in one and working knowledge of the other language)
– Non-smokers, no addicitons (alcohol, illicit drugs, etc.)
– Availability for the whole duration of the studies
– Candidates nationality is restricted to following ESA member states: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom, Canada)

For successful conpletion of the entire study, the respective volunteer will receive a fixed compensation (I hear it’s 120 Euros per day).

Submission deadline is September 30th, 2007.

For more information and the application form visit the ESA website.

June 5, 2007

How to catch a leopard with your cell phone

Posted in Animals, Biology, Fun, Humor, India, Life, Nature, Technology at 8:26 am by deadlikeme

leopardphone.jpgForest guards in Ahmedabad (western India) use their cell phones to catch leopards that have wandered into human settlements.

Instead of using live bait to lure the leopards, the guards have downloaded the sounds of cows mooing, goats bleating and roosters crowing as ringtones onto their cell phones. Using speakers behind cages they play the ringtone continuously until a curious leopard appears and wanders into the cage.

Since its introduction a month ago this new trapping method has worked on five leopards. They have all been released back into the wild.

Reuters

June 1, 2007

Homeland Security calls upon Sci-fi writers

Posted in Life, Media, Politics, Science, Science Fiction, Society, Technology at 8:04 am by deadlikeme

sci-fi.jpgThe group is called SIGMA and was put together 15 years ago. Now, the Homeland Security Department is calling on the group for help.

Homeland Security invited SIGMA to attend a conference on Science and Technology last week. SIGMA‘s motto is “Science Fiction in the National Interest.” To join the group, you have to have at least one Ph.D or medical degree.

Christopher Kelly, spokesman for Homeland Security’s Science and Technology division: “We need to look everywhere for ideas, and science-fiction writers clearly inform the debate.

Read the STL Today and USA Today articles for more.

On why they offer their ideas to the government, Ringworld author Larry Niven:

“To save civilization. We do it in fiction. Why wouldn’t we want to do it in fact?”

May 8, 2007

Anti-terror beer yeast

Posted in Biology, Education, Life, Nature, Science, Technology at 10:34 am by deadlikeme

yeast.jpgSaccharomyces cerevisiae has been genetically altered to “sniff” for explosives.

Danny Dhanasekaran and his team (Temple University in Philadelphia) have engineered yeast cells to “express mammalian olfactory receptors and the related signaling pathway, such that cells turned green in response to an odorant“.

The genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, commonly known as baker’s or brewer’s yeast, has been enhanced with a rat gene (olfactory receptor Olfr226) so that the yeast cells react to molecules of 2, 4 Dinitrotoluene (DNT). DNT is a residue from the making of the Trinitrotoluene (TNT). It is believed that dogs who are trained to sniff for explosives in fact respond to DNT molecules.

Maybe one day we can also use beer-yeast-biosensors to detect biological and chemical weapons, who knows?

Original article published in Nature Chemical Biology

April 12, 2007

LHC reaches temperatures colder than deep outer space

Posted in Education, Science, Technology at 12:35 am by deadlikeme

lhc4.jpgOne sector of the world’s largest particle accelerator, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider), has been cooled down to a temperature of 1.9 K (‑271°C). This is colder than outer space (2.7 K). These low temperatures are needed for the superconducting magnets to work properly (no resitance for the current flow).

Cooling down the entire 27 kilometer long LHC would cause a very noticeable shrinkage of about 10 meters.

The LHC is scheduled to switch on in late 2007. Personally, I am very interested if the Higgs Boson(s) will experimentally be verified. Though I am sceptical if the energies are high enough to verify extra space dimensions. But depending on how large those extra dimensions are, we might see the creation of a mini black hole.

Press Release