Tag Archives | Science & Technology

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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More Evidence That Plants Get Their Energy Through Quantum Entanglement

fern plantAs top human scientists dream of someday creating a quantum computer, are we lagging far behind plants? io9 reports:

Biophysicists theorize that plants tap into the eerie world of quantum entanglement during photosynthesis. Evidence to date has been purely circumstantial, but now, scientists have discovered a feature of plants that cannot be explained by classical physics.

In a way, they’re like mini-quantum computers capable of scanning all possible options in order to choose the most efficient paths or solutions. For plants, this means the ability to make the most of the energy they receive and then deliver that energy from leaves with near perfect efficiency.

The going theory is that plants have light-gathering macromolecules in their cells that can transfer energy via molecular vibrations — vibrations that have no equivalents in classical physics.

In the new study, UCL researchers identified a specific feature in biological systems that can only be predicted by quantum physics.

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Advocacy Groups Plan Day of Protest Against NSA Surveillance

Pic: DWFB (C)

Pic: DWFB (C)

As football season gears up for its climax, many people are overlooking a much bigger game that is being played at the moment.  Grant Gross for PC World reports on the Day We Fight Back protest:

A group of activist groups and Internet companies are planning a coordinated protest of U.S. National Security Agency surveillance on Feb. 11, with the hope that millions of people will join them.The protest, called the Day We Fight Back, comes a month after the anniversary of Internet activist Aaron Swartz’s death. Swartz committed suicide last January while facing a 35-year prison sentence for hacking into a Massachusetts Institute of Technology network and downloading research articles.Among the organizations participating in the protest are Demand Progress, an activist group Swartz co-founded, as well as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press, Reddit and Mozilla.”Today the greatest threat to a free Internet, and broader free society, is the National Security Agency’s mass spying regime,” David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, said in a statement.… Read the rest
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Cameras And Devices Will Soon Decode, Store, And Track Your Emotions

Emotient is one of many companies that plan to capture, analyze, and sell emotional information:

Emotient is the leading authority on facial expression recognition and analysis technologies that are enabling a future of emotion aware computing.

The company began at the Machine Perception Lab at University of California, San Diego, and has since attracted industry leaders across the realms of business, technology and science.

Emotient’s flagship products are the FACET™ SDK, a high-accuracy, cost effective and adaptive software development kit, and FACET™ Vision, a fully featured desktop application for automated facial expression analysis and video annotation. With a camera-enabled device, our system can quickly process facial detection and automated expression analysis in real-time.

Our leading-edge software detects and tracks primary expressions of emotion and blended composites of multiple emotions. Fortune 500 companies, market research firms, and a growing number of vertical markets are ideally suited to leverage facial expression data.

 

emotient

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Mars One Mission Selection Will Be A Reality TV Show

mars oneEver wish that reality TV stars could be hurtled off to Mars with no possibility of ever coming back? They've made a show out of it. Via the Telegraph:
Mars One hopes to announce a Big Brother-style reality show to help choose which of the 1,058 candidates for the one-way trip to Mars in 2025 will be among the 40 who make the final selection, with viewers voting on who should colonise the Red Planet. Paul Römer, co-creator and the first producer of The Big Donor Show and the Big Brother, is an ambassador for the project. CEO Bas Lansdorp has said: "We're in advanced negotiations with a major studio for an overall deal for film and television properties." 1,058 candidates survived the round one application process, which has weeded out more than 200,000 people since April last year. Organisers said they ruled out anyone "not taking the mission seriously". The shortlisted candidates come from 107 countries.
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Polish Company Developing A Star Wars-Style Hologram Phone

Leia Display Systems is working on reducing the size of their impressive hologram-video machines to the point where you will make three-dimensional phone calls. Via the Mirror:
A Star Wars-style phone which allows users to see 3D hologram images of the person on the other end of the line has been pioneered by experts at Leia Display Systems, a Polish company named after the film’s heroine. To make a call, the person sits in front of a camera which has two lenses and a microphone. The two images formed by the lenses are streamed through to the person on the other end. A hologram machine then projects them onto a screen of water vapour. “At the moment, our holograms are made using machines that are more than six feet high but we are designing smaller versions. We hope to sell hologram telephone devices within the next five years,” Chief executive Marcin Panek said.
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Epilepsy Drug Allows Adults To Learn Perfect Pitch And New Languages As If They Were Children

valproateEarly childhood-style learning abilities as a side effect? Via NPR:

Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard, is studying a drug which might allow adults to learn perfect pitch. Hensch says the drug, valprioc acid, allows the brain to absorb new information as easily as it did before age 7.

“It’s a mood-stabilizing drug, but we found that it also restores the plasticity of the brain to a juvenile state,” Hensch says.

Hensch gave the drug to a group of young men who had no musical training as children. They were asked to perform tasks to train their ears, and at the end of a two-week period, tested on their ability to discriminate tone.

The results were that those who took the valproate scored much higher on pitch tests than those who underwent similar training but only took the placebo. In other words, Hensch gave people a pill and then taught them to have perfect pitch.

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