Monthly Archives: August 2008

Robot controlled with living brain tissue! (New Scientist-video embed)

This is nothing short of amazing!

According to an article in New Scientist (see video embed below), a robot has been developed which is controlled by a mass of disembodied rat neurons. The brain cells (about 300,000 of them) live (“IT’S ALIVE!!!”)…

inside a small pot containing a pink broth of nutrients and antibiotics. Inside that pot…neurons have made – and continue to make – connections with each other.

As they do so, the disembodied neurons are communicating, sending electrical signals to one another just as they do in a living creature. We know this because the network of neurons is connected at the base of the pot to 80 electrodes, and the voltages sparked by the neurons are displayed on a computer screen.

[…]

To create the “brain”, the neural cortex from a rat fetus is surgically removed and disassociating enzymes applied to it to disconnect the neurons from each other. The researchers then deposit a slim layer of these isolated neurons into a nutrient-rich medium on a bank of electrodes, where they start reconnecting. They do this by growing projections that reach out to touch the neighbouring neurons. “It’s just fascinating that they do this,” says Steve Potter of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, who pioneered the field of neurally controlled animats. “Clearly brain cells have evolved to reconnect under almost any circumstance that doesn’t kill them.”

[…]

Like a creature with no limbs or senses, the cut-down brain is simply bursting out of boredom, says Whalley. “With no structured sensory input the hypothesis is that you get arbitrarily random and quite often detrimental activity because all these cells are asking for some kind of direction.”

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“Portal to mythical Mayan underworld found!” (Reuters via MSNBC)

Very interesting discovery (article by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Reuters via MSNBC)…

Mexican archeologists have discovered a maze of stone temples in underground caves, some submerged in water and containing human bones, which ancient Mayans believed was a portal where dead souls entered the underworld.

Clad in scuba gear and edging through narrow tunnels, researchers discovered the stone ruins of eleven sacred temples and what could be the remains of human sacrifices at the site in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Archeologists say Mayans believed the underground complex of water-filled caves leading into dry chambers — including an underground road stretching some 330 feet — was the path to a mythical underworld, known as Xibalba.

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Great Crossfit Video (link)

At Crossfit.com today, there is an excellent video which demonstrates how intense Crossfit can be. As you may know, much of the advantage of Crossfit comes from its “intensity of application” (The Tabata Method).

Here’s a link to the video (IMO Maggie Dabe-Colby is an incredible trainer–WOW!)…

“Intensity by Maggie Dabe-Colby, CrossFit Certification Seminar – video”

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Scientists Say Invisibility Cloak Now Possible (Updated 8/13)

UPDATE 8/13/2008 at 7:58 AM: Here is a follow-up article at BBC that provides some additional information on this topic… Invisibility cloak ‘step closer’. And here is the original article by Xiang Zhang in NatureThree-dimensional optical metamaterial with a negative refractive index (there is a fee to access the entire article in Nature).

Original Posting on 8/11/2008

This is a huge step forward.

From FoxNews.com (excerpt and link)…

People can see objects because they scatter the light that strikes them, reflecting some of it back to the eye. Cloaking uses materials, known as metamaterials, to deflect radar, light or other waves around an object, like water flowing around a smooth rock in a stream.

Metamaterials are mixtures of metal and circuit board materials such as ceramic, Teflon or fiber composite. They are designed to bend visible light in a way that ordinary materials don’t. Scientists are trying to use them to bend light around objects so they don’t create reflections or shadows.

[…]

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El Greco (video montage)

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Digital Artist Philip Scott Johnson’s Matisse Video Montage

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Picasso Video Montage–by Digital Artist Philip Scott Johnson

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500 Years of Women In Art (Video Montage by Philip Scott Johnson)

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Women and Men In Film (2 video montages by Philip Scott Johnson)

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Montage of Van Gogh Self-Portraits (Video Embed)

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