Paralyzed Rats with Spinal Cord Injuries Successfully Regain Control of Limbs.
I will admit this story sounds both amazing and painful. Using a combination of therapies including electrical stimulation, neurotransmitter injections and forced movement, dormant neurons in the spinal cord began to form new pathways and connections. Just goes to show what you can with a lot of force and hard work.
A video provided by National Geographic:
I don’t need to tell you the news.
I’ve done a lot of personal mourning this year, and losing one of my heroes has me in a state of disbelief. It is true that I have not been happy with the direction in which the quality of Apple products have been heading in the past few years, but I have remained loyal to the brand since my first IIGS in 1987. I have experienced many sad days recently, and this one is no different. Mr. Jobs, your work helped shaped me as both a geek as well as a perfectionist, and you are already missed very much.
Spotification Has Begun!
Figures from Spotify’s launch in the United States has begun trickling in, and they reveal a disturbing truth. Compared to Europe, where almost 15% of subscribers to the service have paid accounts, only 12.5% choose to pay in the United States. While that seems like an awfully close percentage, the actual difference is more than 1.4 million more users in Europe than the United States who are willing to pay for the service.
Now, there are caveats to these figures. First of all, Spotify has only been in the United States for one month. Also, upon launch, they made it almost impossible to get a free account, putting everyone on a waiting list unless they had a special invitation or were willing to pay money right off the bat for a premium account. Honestly, who the hell is going to pay for a service that they’ve never used before and have no experience with? I am sure there are a handful of people, but that’s not the majority. So these numbers definitely have the potential to change dramatically over the coming months as more and more people warm up to the service, or at least have a chance to try it. So some may say that 1.4 million user difference isn’t a bad number after all.
I like Spotify. I really do. They are not trying to scam you like some other companies, making you think that you own the music when you really don’t. I like the way that they make it accessible on your phone as well, and their iPhone application is excellent. I like that you can collaborate with a group of individuals to make a pot-luck style playlist. I like that it’s all cloud based and there is no need for me to take up massive amounts of hard drive space for silly mp3s or enormous WAV files. I’m also not going to lose all of those worthless digital files when my hard drive dies, nor do I have to worry about moving the files when that happens. I like that there is a large library (though not as large as I would prefer it to be), they have a plethora of indie artists, and I don’t have to commit myself to purchasing an album that wasn’t wonderful just to have a few decent tracks. At the same time I do not have to waste my money on a bunch of mp3s to get the same effect.
Of course, I do have issues with the quality of the music, but hey, it’s digital, so I can’t ask for much anymore. Especially since I belong to a very small minority of people who care about the quality of sound in their music. Yes, it’s a rental service, but I feel like I’m wasting my money a lot less than I would if I were buying mp3s. If I want my quality, I just buy the physical album, which I still do on a weekly basis. We both know that you spend $15 a week on things that are worth a lot less than your music. xxx ~Bunny
As Martha would say, “It’s a Geek Thing.”
Ok, so maybe only in my fantasies would Martha Stewart give half a thought to geek culture infiltrating the DiY home crafts world. However, the phenomenon is very real. From Space Invader cupcakes to video game themed cross stitch patterns like the one I have pictured here, geeking out is becoming a domestic hobby. This pattern in particular made me laugh when not much else can right now, and so I decided it was worth sharing and promoting the website where you can purchase this, as well as other awesome gamer geek inspired patterns. Click here to check out Argenta Collaborative’s store and drop a fiver to help support the talent!
Hot Geek Girls Do Awesome Things.
Yes, I am going to perpetuate a tabloid story about a celebrity. The story is that 26 years old Ukrainian import turned video game geek, turned actress, Mila Kunis, publicly accepted a date to the United States Marine Corps Ball from a stranger who posted a video (on a dare) asking her out. And better than just the story is the video attached to this link here.
Mila only seems hesitant with the drawback after-though of ‘What if this dude is crazy?’, which is implied, but never spoken. Who could blame her? Marines are awesome, but scary at the same time. For the same reason why a trained pit bull is adorable but scary as well.
All I can say is that I am among the millions thinking to myself ‘Why didn’t I come up with this idea?’
Quantum Crap, As I Like To Call It
Engadget and Gizmodo have been talking recently about D-Wave’s claim to be selling the ‘first commercial quantum computer system on the market’, having just sold their first model to Lockheed Martin for an estimated $10,000,000.
This alleged quantum computer doesn’t come without its many critics. Umesh Virkumar Vazirani, one of the most well known and qualified names in quantum computing theory, puts forth several reasons to be skeptical of D-Wave’s claims. From lack of demonstrative evidence (the computer performs equations that even a classic, non-quantum computer could perform in the same amount of time) to a complete misunderstanding of the algorithmic processes required of a true quantum computer, D-Wave’s credibility is s shrinking faster than the infinite fractals in a Koch snowflake. *cue rimshot*
In attempt to be kind, but adding insult to injury, Vazirani concluded that even if D-Wave has concocted a legitimate quantum computer, it “would likely not be more powerful than a cell phone.”
So is Lockhead Martin getting ripped off?
My answer: Who cares??
Certainly Lockhead doesn’t; they have enough money to fill a room with these babies and not bat an eye. Although you would think that the superior minds at the company would prevent a nonsensical large ticket purchase from being made, all it takes is one good sales pitch and one credulous person with power. Trust me, there’s plenty of both to go around.
Bionic limb replacement is not much of an extreme thought anymore, as we have seen the concept come into fruition and practical use in the past decade. The whole scope of it though still fascinates me, which is why I want to bring about this story of a Serbian gent called Milo who lost the use of his hand some years ago in a motorcycle accident, and recently elected to have the dead hand amputated to make way for a new, bionic hand. He is not a military officer, the hand was not infected or bothering him (other than it being useless). He simply wanted to have a functional appendage again.
While there are new technologies and procedures that could have possibly restored at least some of the use of his natural hand, Milo didn’t have the patience for trial and error. For some people, the integrity of their natural hand is more important, but for others it’s the functional use of the appendage that matters most to them. So far Milo seems to be very happy and content with his choice.
On a note, what I find most fascinating about these sorts of bionic appendages is the ability to have them hardwired to your brain, allowing command signals to be sent down the nerve pathways to control the movements. We really are seeing the (almost) seamless integration between man and machine.
To read more about this story, and to see two fascinating videos about the engineering aspects of the hand (including an intriguing display of its every day functions) click here to visit the BBC’s coverage of the story. Be sure to scroll down at least half of the way in order to find the 2nd video.
So it wasn’t aliens who crash landed in Roswell after all - it was those crazy Russians!
A new book from journalist Annie Jacobsen presents an in-depth historical look at our nation’s most prized hub for military testing and conspiracy theories. Candid interviews with aging scientists who worked at Area 51 during the golden years of alien paranoia revealed to Jacobsen that the infamous crash in Roswell did not produce aliens, but instead mutilated children which the Soviets (with possible contributions from Josef Mengele) had engineered to pilot their unusual space crafts. Whether it was merely a sick way of spying on the United States or an all out plan to try to hoax our citizens into a terror panic á la War of the World, either way the revelation is no doubt disturbing.
Even better yet, our government allegedly hid this information because we in turn did experiments on these children (2 of which survived the crash), and were also similarly doing genetic and mutilation manipulation to human test subjects. This all links back to the infamous cold-war era nuclear weapons contractor EG&G and their ethically questionable cooperation with the United Sates Atomic Energy Commission, an issue which President Clinton created an Advisory Committee in 1994 to investigate Human Radiation Experiments conducted between 1944 and 1974. The Committee concluded that yes, these experiments were factual and recommended ‘personal, individualized apology and provide financial compensation to those subjects of human radiation experiments, or their next of kin’. This information is available to the public through the website for the government’s Office of Heath, Safety and Security. No one ever said that the United States was exempt from crimes against humanity. We’re just better at internalizing these situations, even when they’re drug out into the open.
Overall, I’m surprised by this twist, but not skeptical of it.