Archive for December, 2009

Neutrinos

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Photo via flickr by The Nothing Corporation

Most neutrinos passing through the Earth emanate from the Sun, and more than 50 trillion solar electron neutrinos pass through the human body every second.

Following, artist Hiro Yamagata, discusses the mystery behind these weak-powered traveling particles.

“We base everything we think, we capture thought in 3D. There is something we call zone, area, territory, or another world or this other world we talk about so many things explain, but we don’t know. For example neutrino, neutrino, the most weakest power from the edge of the cosmos. They go through Earth to the edge of the cosmos. They journey, travel. The neutrino is the most weakest power and their frequency travel. But the neutrino particles we know people capture now the neutrino. Might neutrino carry something else with each particle, for example? We don’t know. We call the focus of neutrino here. Now we capture the neutrino, but not only neutrino. There’s a neutrino carry something else together, stick on, or time-wise, field-wise, we don’t know where the neutrino come, how it comes through your body. We don’t know. Just basic we capture it now, the neutrino now, but we don’t know. 2.7% we know about light. 99% we don’t know what’s going on the light or all the knowledge of the light. How they put on the 2.7%, even that number we don’t know. So there are so many where light come from: original light, meta particle, or proton between the electron; one of the particle of the electron, they are hitting the light and releasing like gravity, they come to light. All light like that.”

The Magic of Mind

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Photo via flickr by Growing Minds

For over a millennium, mankind has dreamed of the ability to control objects with the power of thought.

Inside the recent edition of H+ magazine, is an advertisement for Emotiv, a human-computer interface system based on the latest developments in neurotechnology that uses electric signals produced by the brain to wirelessly detect player thoughts, feelings and expressions while gaming.

The Emotiv website claims: “Fulfill the fantasy of having supernatural powers controlling the world with your mind!”

Emotiv Systems, headquartered in San Francisco, California, was founded in 2003 by four award-winning scientists and executives: internationally recognized neuroscientist Professor Allan Snyder, chip-design pioneer Neil Weste, and technology entrepreneurs Tan Le and Nam Do.

While Emotiv is currently focusing on the electronic gaming industry, the applications for the Emotiv EPOC™ technology and interface span an amazing variety of potential industries— interactive television, accessibility design, market research, medicine, even security.

The Federation of Damanhur

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Photo via Damanhur.org

In the Alpine foothills of Northern Italy is The Federation of Damanhur. Damanhur is an eco-society based on ethical and spiritual values awarded by an agency of the United Nations as a model for a sustainable future. Founded in 1975, the Federation has about 1,000 citizens and extends over 500 hectares of territory. Every year thousands of people visit Damanhur to experience its social model, study the philosophy and meditate in the Temples, an underground construction that advocates describe as “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” At its university and mystery school, courses, workshops and conferences range from Music of the Plants to Astral Travel.

Birth of Psychedelic Culture

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

Photo via flickr by oh snap

The latest alert from Barlowfriendz, care of John Perry Barlow, Peripheral Visionary; Managing Partner, Algae Systems, and Co-Founder and Rocking Chair at Electronic Frontier Foundation, announces the book release of Birth of A Psychedelic Culture—Conversations about Leary, the Harvard Experiments, Millbrook and the Sixties, by Ram Dass and Ralph Metzgner, from Synergetic Press. The book’s Forward was written by Barlow and can be downloaded here.

Following is an excerpt:

“It’s now almost half a century since that day in September 1961 when a mysterious fellow named Michael Hollingshead made an appointment to meet Professor Timothy Leary over lunch at the Harvard Faculty Club.When they met in the foyer, Hollingshead was carrying with him a quart jar of sugar paste into which he had infused a gram of Sandoz LSD. He had smeared this goo all over his own increasingly abstract consciousness and it still contained, by his own reckoning, 4,975 strong (200 mcg) doses of LSD. And the mouth of that jar became perhaps the most significant of the fumaroles from which the ‘60s blew forth.”

We Feel Fine

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Congratulations to Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris on the launch of the book, We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion, published by Scribner.

The Methuselah Manifesto

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Photo via flickr by Pete Reed

Extreme human life extension will become a possibility within a couple of decades according to Maximum Life Foundation president David Kekich and a group of scientists, entrepreneurs and visionaries who convened to develop a scientific and business strategy to make longevity possible—an effort dubbed the Manhattan Beach Project.

Tech entrepreneur and futurist Ray Kurzweil opened the conference with a virtual presentation on exponential technology trends that are bringing the prospect of achieving longevity escape velocity ever closer. Kurzweil asserts that “We are about 15 years away from adding more than one year of longevity per year to remaining life expectancy.” This has been labeled by life-extension expert Aubrey de Grey as ‘longevity escape velocity.’

Several science advancements are underway. William Andrews, head of Sierra Sciences (motto “Cure Aging or Die Trying”), disclosed his company’s project to identify compounds that lengthen telomeres. Telomeres are repeated sequences of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes to keep them from unraveling and to keep them from binding to other chromosomes. At conception, telomeres are about 15,000 repeats long. Each time a cell divides it loses about 100 repeats, growing ever shorter. When the repeats get short enough, cells generally receive a signal that tells them to die. Andrews argues that telomeres control aging in cells and thus control aging in us.

via KurzweilAI.net and Reason.com

Trees Communicate with Aspirin-Like Chemical

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Photo via flickr by Daleberts

Plants in a forest respond to stress by producing significant amounts of a chemical form of aspirin, scientists have discovered. The finding, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), opens up new avenues of research into the behavior of plants and their impacts on air quality, and it also has the potential to give farmers an early warning signal about crops that are failing.

“Unlike humans, who are advised to take aspirin as a fever suppressant, plants have the ability to produce their own mix of aspirin-like chemicals, triggering the formation of proteins that boost their biochemical defenses and reduce injury,” says NCAR scientist Thomas Karl, who led the study. “Our measurements show that significant amounts of the chemical can be detected in the atmosphere as plants respond to drought, unseasonable temperatures, or other stresses.”

For years, scientists have known that plants in a laboratory may produce methyl salicylate, which is a chemical form of acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin. But researchers had never before detected methyl salicylate in an ecosystem or verified that plants emit the chemical in significant quantities into the atmosphere.

Researchers had not previously thought to look for methyl salicylate in a forest, and the NCAR team found the chemical by accident. They set up specialized instruments last year in a walnut grove near Davis, California, to monitor plant emissions of certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These hydrocarbon compounds are important because they can combine with industrial emissions to affect pollution, and they can also influence local climate.

When the NCAR scientists reviewed their measurements, they found to their surprise that the emissions of VOCs included methyl salicylate. Karl and his colleagues speculate that the methyl salicylate has two functions. One of these is to stimulate plants to begin a process known as systemic acquired resistance, which is analogous to an immune response in an animal. This helps a plant to both resist and recover from disease.

The discovery raises the possibility that farmers, forest managers, and others may eventually be able to start monitoring plants for early signs of a disease, an insect infestation, or other types of stress. At present, they often do not know if an ecosystem is unhealthy until there are visible indicators, such as dead leaves.

The discovery also can help scientists resolve a central mystery about VOCs. For years, atmospheric chemists have speculated that there are more VOCs in the atmosphere than they have been able to find. Now it appears that some fraction of the missing VOCs may be methyl salicylate and other plant hormones. This finding can help scientists better track the impact of VOCs on the behavior of clouds and the development of ground-level ozone, an important pollutant.

via National Science Foundation

In a conversation with Sputnik Observatory, artist Hiro Yamagata reveals how the frequency in which trees talk to each other is a calming energy:

Most of the people we test, we did testing over in Japan, most of the people in the deep forest, people get healing or calm or get energy because the tree to tree they release frequencies. They talk to each other. They communicate with each other. One piece I made for sensory system of the frequency captured and transferred through this sensory system to canvas walls. So you can see the visual, you cannot see the visual, but visualize a frequency.

Energy Harvesting

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Photo via flickr by sinkdd

Vibrations from the environments we live and work in could be much more widely harnessed as a clean source of electricity, due to cutting-edge UK research.

Known as ‘energy harvesting’, the concept has been around for over a decade, but researchers from the University of Bristol aim to make use of a much wider range of vibrations than is currently possible. It’s hoped that within five years ‘energy harvesting’ could be powering many more of our devices from heart monitors to mobile phones. The work is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The team are exploring how vibrations caused by machines such as helicopters and trains could be used to produce power. Vibrations from household appliances and the movement of the human body could also be harnessed in this way.

Commercial energy-harvesting devices already exist which, for instance, use vibrations from industrial pumps to power sensors monitoring the pumps’ condition.

“Vibration energy-harvesting devices use a spring with a mass on the end”, says Dr Stephen Burrow, who is leading the project. “The mass and spring exploit a phenomenon called resonance to amplify small vibrations, enabling useful energy to be extracted. Even just a few milliwatts can power small electronic devices like a heart rate monitor or an engine temperature sensor, but it can also be used to recharge power-hungry devices like MP3 players or mobile phones.”

But existing devices can only exploit vibrations that have a narrow range of frequencies (the frequency is the number of vibrations occurring per second). If the vibrations don’t occur at the right frequency, very little power can be produced and it will be too low to be useable. This is a big problem in applications like transport or human movement where the frequency of vibrations change all the time.

However, the Bristol team are developing a new type of device where the mass and spring resonate over a much wider range of frequencies. This would enable a much wider range of vibrations to be exploited and so increase the overall contribution that energy harvesting could make to energy supplies. The team believes it can achieve this by exploiting the properties of non-linear springs which allow the energy harvester to respond to a wider range of vibration frequencies than conventional springs.

“There’s a huge amount of free, clean energy out there in the form of vibrations that just can’t be tapped at the moment,” says Dr Burrow. “Wider-frequency energy harvesters could make a valuable contribution to meeting energy needs more efficiently and sustainably.”

via PhysOrg.com

The Brain Filter

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Photo via flickr by PhOtOnQuAnTIQuE

A mechanism that the brain uses to filter out distracting thoughts to focus on a single bit of information has been discovered by researchers at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

They found that the hippocampus selectively tunes in to different frequencies of gamma waves coming from different brain areas. The lower gamma wave frequencies are used to transmit memories of past experiences, and the higher frequencies are used to convey what is happening where you are right now.

“The classical view has been that signaling inside the brain is hardwired, subject to changes caused by modification of connections between neurons,” says Edvard Moser, Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience director. “Our results suggest that the brain is a lot more flexible. Among the thousands of inputs to a given brain cell, the cell can choose to listen to some and ignore the rest and the selection of inputs is changing all the time. We believe that the gamma switch is a general principle of the brain, employed throughout the brain to enhance inter-regional communication.”

via KurzweilAI.net