Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lovestruck cyborgs set the scene for really strange divorce proceedings

RFID Gazette: Love struck couple implant RFid: "Jennifer Tomblin and Amal Graafstra have implanted RFid chips that would allow them unfettered access to each other’s lives. The couple have implanted RFid chip under their skin so that they can access each other’s computers and front doors. The system functions like a key card, a simple swipe of the wrist across an electronic sensor and they are in. The couple believes that their decision is a modern declaration of love. Amal successfully experimented with the chip and six weeks later Jennifer followed suit. Jennifer believes that the implantation has a romantic appeal to it."

Samantha Bee interviews a cyborg

Future Shock! Part One:

Future Shock! Part Two:

Too bad that Comedy Central forces you to watch a commercial first, plus seems to be inordinately demanding on system resources (load the page, fan starts grinding, mac gets hot, typing becomes a slowww procedure.)

Here's a link to the show on SpikedHumor.com.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The classic tale of SpaceChickens vs. Cyborg Monkeys

pluckyCluck.mov (video/quicktime Object) "I will not allow you into my domain if you are not wearing a het!" says the charismatic cyborg monkey chef to our three valiant chicken heroes, in a moment of unsurpassable turgid suspense.

Bravo, I say, Bravo!

Scientist, Police Thyself

Scientist, Police Thyself -- Bhattacharjee 2006 (1205): 3 -- ScienceNOW: "Scientist, Police Thyself

By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
ScienceNOW Daily News
5 December 2006

"Thanks to advances in synthetic genomics, an aspiring bioterrorist could turn a harmless virus into a deadly strain—or make a killer bug from scratch—by ordering some strands of DNA. Yesterday, an independent group of biologists and security experts confronted this threat by issuing a draft report that lays out options for regulating commercial gene synthesis and academic research in the field.

The group was led by individuals at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, and funded by a $570,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation. The report was presented [in Washington] before an audience of academic scientists, government officials, and industry representatives. Its recommendations for regulating the industry include requiring gene synthesis companies to screen orders, deny services to customers who are not certified by institutional biosafety officers, and maintain a database of orders that can be accessed by federal investigators.

As for supervising research, the report suggests options such as allowing scientists to govern themselves voluntarily through reviews conducted by existing institutional biosafety committees (IBCs) and imposing penalties on institutions and researchers that don't carry out such reviews. And to ensure that terrorists don't get access to scientific information that could be used to develop bioweapons, the report recommends journal editors remove sensitive details from manuscripts--with or without the help of a national advisory group. It also suggests the creation of a restricted database, which would allow researchers to share sensitive information with each other without making it public."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cyborgs will contain implanted pumps driven by living cells

Another interesting instance of the unity of organisms and machines; here, biological parts that have been machines for eons can now be manipulated by humans to build extremely small machines.

Living heart cells drive microfluid pump - tech - 30 November 2006 - New Scientist Tech: "A tiny pump driven by living heart cells has been developed by researchers in Japan. Future versions could perhaps power medical implants or devices that analyse biological samples, the researchers say.

The pump is made from a hollow sphere of flexible polymer with tubes connected to opposite sides. The sphere is coated with a sheet of cultured rat heart muscle cells and these cells drive the pump with pulsing contractions."

Here is one area where Descartes was right: "The only difference I can see between machines and natural objects is that the workings of machines are mostly carried out by apparatus large enough to be readily perceptible by the senses (as is required to make their manufacture humanly possible), whereas natural processes almost always depend on parts so small that they utterly elude our senses," he wrote in Principles of Philsophy (1644). Now that we can visualize the parts, organisms are demonstrably mechanical, and indeed at the cellular level all processes can be seen as "natural machines."

See also the related articles "Tiny 'hamster wheel' turned by bacteria" (28 August 2006), "Robo-scallop could carry drugs through the body" (24 July 006), and "Fluid chip directs wandering sperm" (22 October 2005).