Tag Archives | Science & Technology

Future Drugs Will Allow Prisoners To Serve A ‘1,000-Year Sentence In 8 Hours’

jail-toiletHow will the worst villains of the future be made to atone for their crimes? Aeon Magazine speaks to University of Oxford professor Rebecca Roache, who hauntingly forecasts that punishment will someday revolve around the dilation of time:

As biotech companies pour billions into life extension technologies, some have suggested that our cruelest criminals could be kept alive indefinitely, to serve sentences spanning millennia. But private prison firms could one day develop drugs that make time pass more slowly, so that an inmate’s 10-year sentence feels like an eternity. One way or another, humans could soon be in a position to create an artificial hell.

Take someone convicted of a heinous crime. There are a number of psychoactive drugs that distort people’s sense of time, so you could imagine developing a pill or a liquid that made someone feel like they were serving a 1,000-year sentence.

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1 In 4 Americans Does Not Believe That The Earth Revolves Around The Sun

planet earthVia NPR, a quarter of Americans know not to trust scientists and their Earth-sun rotation hoax:

A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation.

The survey of 2,200 people in the United States was conducted by the NSF in 2012 and released on Friday at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

In the same survey, just 39 percent answered correctly (true) that “The universe began with a huge explosion” and only 48 percent said “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.”

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Study Suggests Marijuana Could Prevent The Spread Of HIV

HIV-budding-ColorShould weed be part of AIDS prevention? Daily marijuana use by the HIV-positive could block them from infecting others, the Daily Beast reports:

The study itself was fairly simple. For 17 months, Dr. Molina and her team at Louisiana State University administered a high concentration of THC to 4-to-6-year-old male rhesus monkeys who were RIV-positive (a virus in chimps similar to HIV), twice daily. An examination of the tissue in their intestines before and after the chronic THC exposure revealed dramatic decreases in immune tissue damage in the stomach and a significant increase in the numbers of normal cells.

During HIV infection, one of the earliest effects is that the virus spreads rapidly throughout the body and kills a significant part of cells in the gut and intestine. This activity damages the gut in a way that allows the HIV to leak through the cell wall of the intestines and into the bloodstream.

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NYPD Is Beta-Testing Google Glass For Law Enforcement

google glassSoon police may instantly know the identity and personal background of everyone they see, VentureBeat reports:

Google Glass may soon become a favored tool for law enforcement agencies in the United States.

The New York City Police Department’s massive and controversial intelligence and analytics unit is evaluating whether Google Glass is a decent fit for investigating terrorists and helping cops lock up bad guys, VentureBeat has learned.

The department recently received several pairs of the modernist-looking specs to test out. “We’re trying them out, mostly for patrol purposes,” a ranking New York City law enforcement official told VentureBeat. Wireless facial recognition software is one potential use.

The glasses are currently only available through Google’s Glass Explorer program, in which people who interested in acquiring them first apply and then receive notification from Google on whether it accepts or denies their application. Respondents who get the green light must pay $1,500 for the privilege.

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Skynet Has Arrived? European Union Unveils RoboEarth, An Internet Just For Robots

tape_robotScientists have created a network which various smart devices and artificial intelligences will use autonomously to share information and learn from each other – increasing their capabilities. Should we just surrender now? The BBC reports:

A world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being shown off for the first time. The system has been developed by research scientists from Philips and five European universities including Eindhoven.

It is the culmination of a four-year project, funded by the European Union. The eventual aim is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloud-based database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines.

“At its core RoboEarth is a world wide web for robots: a giant network and database repository where robots can share information and learn from each other,” said Rene van de Molengraft, the RoboEarth project leader.

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Scientist Says Ayahuasca May Fight Cancer

ayahuascaVia SAGE Open Medicine, Brazilian scientist Eduardo E. Schenberg lays out psychedelic shamanic drug’s possible anti-tumor properties in great detail and calls for further investigation into its use as an alternative cancer treatment:

Used for centuries in the Amazon basin by healers and shamans for many different purposes, including the healing and curing of illnesses, ayahuasca is a plant decoction that may be useful in the treatment of some types of cancer. The decoction is most commonly made of two plants in two possible combinations: Banisteriopsis caapi with Psychotria viridis or B. caapi with Diplopterys cabrerana.

There are at least nine reports of cancer patients who consumed ayahuasca during their treatment. Four were reported in a peer-reviewed article, one in an institutional magazine, one in Internet sources, two in a scientific conference (later mentioned in a peer-reviewed article), and one in a book. The origins of these cancers were the prostate, colon, ovaries, breast, uterus, stomach, and brain.

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GMO Purple Tomatoes To Be Sold In Stores

tomatoIs the public ready for genetically modified, nutrient-packed super-foods in unnatural colors? Via the BBC:

The prospect of genetically modified purple tomatoes reaching the shelves has come a step closer. Developed in Britain, large-scale production is now under way in Canada with the first 1,200 litres of purple tomato juice ready for shipping.

Their dark pigment is intended to give tomatoes the same potential health benefits as fruit such as blueberries. The pigment, known as anthocyanin, is an antioxidant which studies on animals show could help fight cancer. The purple pigment is the result of the transfer of a gene from a snapdragon plant.

Scientists say the new tomatoes could improve the nutritional value of everything from ketchup to pizza topping. The tomatoes are part of a new generation of GM plants designed to appeal to consumers – the first types were aimed specifically at farmers as new tools in agriculture.

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The Forgotten Discoveries Of Alchemy

alchemyIs alchemy not the sham science we have been led to believe it is? The Smithsonian on how alchemists’ breakthroughs were pillaged by the forefathers of modern science:

In the 1980s, some revisionist scholars began arguing that alchemists actually made significant contributions to the development of science.

Historians of science began deciphering alchemical texts—which wasn’t easy. The alchemists, obsessed with secrecy, deliberately described their experiments in metaphorical terms laden with obscure references to mythology and history. For instance, text that describes a “cold dragon” who “creeps in and out of the caves” was code for saltpeter (potassium nitrate).

Growing evidence that the alchemists seem to have performed legitimate experiments, manipulated and analyzed the material world in interesting ways and reported genuine results. And many of the great names in the canon of modern science took note.

Robert Boyle, one of the 17th-century founders of modern chemistry, “basically pillaged” the work of the German physician and alchemist Daniel Sennert, says Newman.

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An App To Make Your Smartphone Sense Collective Consciousness

collective consciousnessBased on the controversial idea that spikes in mass consciousness can influence seemingly chaotic phenomena, the Collective Consciousness app turns users' phones into random number generators and then pings you at times when spooky, anomalous patterns emerge in your area:
Collective Consciousness is a free mobile app. Data will be collected in formal investigations into "collective consciousness" effects. In the simplest sense, labs have produced good evidence that conscious intention or attention can influence probabilistic physical systems, such as random number generators (RNGs). The Global Consciousness Project [at Princeton University] has also shown that RNGs spread around the world produce statistical anomalies (unexplained coherence) when global events synchronize the attention and emotions of millions of people. Recent examples include the death of Nelson Mandela, and the attacks of 9/11.
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Signs Of Consciousness Found In Rats Brains After Death

ratsDo rats go to heaven? Via Ghost Theory:

Jim Borjigin of the University of Michigan’s team implanted electrodes on the surface of the brains of nine rats, then injected the animals with potassium chloride, stopping their heart and blood flow. At that point the rats are considered “clinically dead”.

Yet for up to 30 seconds, the researchers’ electrodes detected patterns of synchronized, high-frequency activity known as gamma waves. In humans, some scientists have suggested that gamma waves could play a role in the interplay of perception, awareness, and intent known as consciousness.

“By presenting evidence of highly organized brain activity and neurophysiologic features consistent with conscious processing at near-death, we now provide a scientific framework to begin to explain the highly lucid and realer-than-real mental experiences reported by near-death survivors,” wrote Borjigin’s team.

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