Archive for the ‘Transhuman’ Category

This video traces the trail of foreign gods that were introduced to the Israelites in Egypt and still remain with us, all the way to the present day. They will play a major role in the coming deception as being portrayed as our creators and as an advanced alien race just as described in the movie Prometheus. They are of course fallen angelic beings and they wish to destroy mankind the end game is approaching.

According to the Book of Enoch, 200 fallen angels descended to the top of Mt. Hermon before Noah’s flood. These corrupt angels entered Earth through a “space portal” and proceeded to pollute the human genome. What is their connection to the UFO crash in Roswell? Was this an orchestrated event? How is this connected to the Transfiguration?

“Keep your nose to the ground and your eyes to the sky.”

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Robots that ‘bleed’ like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator have come one step closer to reality.

Scientists have created a plastic ‘skin’ that oozes red blood when cut.

It can also ‘heal’ itself, building tiny molecular bridges inside in response to damage.

The red ‘blood’ might sound like a pointless Halloween novelty – but the idea is that the ‘skin’ can warn engineers that a structure such as an aicraft wing has been damaged.

The material could provide self-healing surfaces for a multitude of products ranging from mobile phones and laptops to cars, say researchers.

When cut, the plastic turns from clear to red along the line of the damage, mimicking what happens to skin.

It reacts to ordinary light, or changes in temperature or acidity, by mending broken molecular ‘bridges’ to heal itself.

U.S. scientists told how they created the material at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting in San Diego, California.

Lead researcher Professor Marek Urban, from the University of Southern Mississippi, said: ‘Mother Nature has endowed all kinds of biological systems with the ability to repair themselves.

‘Some we can see, like the skin healing and new bark forming in cuts on a tree trunk. Some are invisible, but help keep us alive and healthy, like the self-repair system that DNA uses to fix genetic damage to genes.

‘Our new plastic tries to mimic nature, issuing a red signal when damaged and then renewing itself when exposed to visible light, temperature or pH changes.’

The material could flag up damage to critical aircraft structures, said Prof Urban. A decision could then be taken whether to replace the component or ‘heal’ it with a burst of intense light.

Scratches on vehicle fenders could be repaired the same way.
Prof Urban’s team is now working on incorporating the technology into plastics that can withstand high temperatures.

 
 
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By Christina Ng

Mar 20, 2012 11:32am
 

Nokia Patents Vibrating Tattoo, Lets You Feel Alerts

 
ht nokia vibrating tattoo haptic communication ll 120320 vblog Nokia Patents Vibrating Tattoo, Lets You Feel Alerts

(Image credit: United States Patent and Trademark Office)

Finnish cell phone maker Nokia has filed a U.S. patent application for a magnetic vibrating tattoo that could wirelessly connect to a mobile device and alert users of phone calls, texts and battery status–all via vibration.

The apparatus comprises “a material attachable to skin, the material capable of detecting a magnetic field and transferring a perceivable stimulus to the skin, wherein the perceivable stimulus relates to the magnetic field.”

Diagrams in the patent show examples of the small, square gadget as applicable to a user’s arm, abdominal area or fingernail.

For those wary of an actual tattoo, the patent says the device could potentially be stamped, sprayed, attached with adhesive tape, applied as a decal or even drawn on.

The object could emit different vibrations for “an alert of a message, indication of an incoming call,  indication of a body part in proximity of the electronic device, indication of information displayed on the electronic device, indication of a launch of an application and indication of a least a portion of a displayed image.”

A magnetic field originating from the electronic device would connect to the tattoo device.

The electronic devices may include a cell phone, laptop, music player, tablet, a wrist or neck warn electronic device or a game console, according to the patent.

While the patent does not explain the benefits such a device could provide, one can imagine that it could eliminate the stress of situations where phone ringing is frowned upon—church, theater, work—and the vibrate setting often leads to missed calls. Conversely, the device could lead to an even more intimate, and not necessarily healthy, with cell phones that would become truly omnipresent.

Nokia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the patent.

Article Source Link: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/03/nokia-patents-vibrating-tattoo-lets-you-feel-alerts/

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Radical human modification is coming, like it or not, by the end of this century—if not earlier. How much are you willing to alter yourself?

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This is my first column on TheAtlantic.com, which will regularly cover the interface between new discoveries in the life sciences and how it impacts people and society — and other random topics.

Last fall at the TEDMED meeting in San Diego I watched a man walk who was paralyzed from the waist down. Injured a year earlier, Paul Thacker hadn’t been able to stand since breaking his back in a snowmobile accident. Yet here he was walking, thanks to an early-stage exoskeleton device attached to his legs.

This wasn’t exactly on the level of “exos” we’ve seen in sci-fi films like Avatar and Aliens, which enable people to run faster, carry heavier loads, and smash things better. But Thacker’s device, called eLEGS — manufactured by Ekso Bionics in Berkeley, California — is one harbinger of what’s coming in the next decade or two to treat the injured and the ill with radical new technologies.

Other portents include first-generation machines and treatments that range from deep brain implants that can stop epileptic seizures to stem cells that scientists are using experimentally to repair damaged retinas.

No one would deny that these technologies, should they fulfill their promise, are anything but miraculous for Paul Thacker and others who need them. Yet none of this technology is going to remain exclusively in the realm of pure therapeutics. Even now some are breaking through the barrier between remedies for the sick and enhancements for the healthy.

Take the drug Adderall. A highly addictive pharmaceutical prescribed for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the drug works as a stimulant in people without ADHD — and is now used by at least one out of five college students to bump up their energy and attention when they want to perform well on tests or pull all-nighters.

Saying that college students are popping pills is like Claude Rains in Casablanca saying to Humphrey Bogart: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Yet the widespread use — and acceptance — of Adderall and other stimulants by students to enhance their academic performance is bumping up against something new. It’s pushing us into a realm where taking powerful pharmaceuticals that boost, say, attention or memory is becoming acceptable beyond pure recreation.

Can we be too far from a greater acceptance of surgically implanted devices that increase our ability to hear or see? Or new legs that allow us to run like cheetahs and scramble up walls like geckos?

Or that allow us to run in the Olympics like Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter who may qualify for the games in London this year despite missing his lower legs? He runs using two sleek, metallic “legs” that combine with his natural speed and skill to do far more than overcome a disability.

Which leads us to the crucial question for the approaching age of human enhancement: How far would you go to modify yourself using the latest medtech?

Would you replace perfectly good legs with artificial ones if they made you faster and stronger?

Would you take a daily pill that not only stimulated your brain to help you do your best on a test, but also bumped up your memory?

Would you sign up for a genetic alteration that would make you taller and stronger?

Let’s up the ante and declare that these fixes had no deleterious side effects, and were deemed safe by a newly appointed U.S. Agency for Human Augmentation. Would this change your mind? (As an aside, I’m trying to imagine what the candidates now vying for the Republican nomination for president would say about an Agency for Human Augmentation.)

And what if everyone else at work — or all of the rest of the kids in your child’s class at school — were taking advantage of these enhancements?

Currently, none of these hypothetical modifications would be ethical, and most are illegal. Yet one doesn’t need to spend too much time delving into the world of near-future medtech to understand that each of these possibilities are likely to occur in one form or another in the lifetime of those college kids now swallowing Adderall.

For now, the device attached to Paul Thacker’s legs is clunky. The apparatus is little more than a pair of sophisticated braces with whirring mechanics attached to a computer he wears on his back — which is guided by a technician walking behind him, holding a control box attached to the computer with a wire. But it won’t be too long until this 37-year-old former champion snowmobile jumper will be walking with ease using an advanced exoskeleton.

In a few more years, you might be wearing your own eLEGS to carry heavy loads around the house, or as a soldier on patrol in some distant corner of the world (assuming we aren’t using only drones). Flash forward a few more years, and you may have the option of permanently implanting in your legs the “eLEGS LXII,” an endo-skeletal implant that stays with you like a futuristic hip or knee implant does today.

Back at TEDMED, Paul Thacker wasn’t thinking about anything nearly as grandiose as this. When I asked him what he wishes for most using the new eLEGS technology, he smiled and said something refreshingly mundane considering he is a herald of the future.

“Right now I’d like to be able to stand up and pee,” he said. “I really miss being able to do that.”

Article Source Link: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/02/redesigning-people-how-medtech-could-expand-beyond-the-injured/253236/

JP

 

An intestinal cell monolayer after exposure to nanoparticles, shown in green.
An intestinal cell monolayer after exposure to nanoparticles, shown in green.

Abstract:
Billions of engineered nanoparticles in foods and pharmaceuticals are ingested by humans daily, and new Cornell research warns they may be more harmful to health than previously thought.

Nanoparticles in food, vitamins could harm human health

Ithaca, NY | Posted on February 16th, 2012

A research collaboration led by Michael Shuler, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Chemical Engineering and the James and Marsha McCormick Chair of Biomedical Engineering, studied how large doses of polystyrene nanoparticles — a common, FDA-approved material found in substances from food additives to vitamins — affected how well chickens absorbed iron, an essential nutrient, into their cells.

The results were reported online Feb. 12 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

According to the study, high-intensity, short-term exposure to the particles initially blocked iron absorption, whereas longer-term exposure caused intestinal cell structures to change, allowing for a compensating uptick in iron absorption.

The researchers tested both acute and chronic nanoparticle exposure using human gut cells in petri dishes as well as live chickens and reported matching results. They chose chickens because these animals absorb iron into their bodies similarly to humans, and they are also similarly sensitive to micronutrient deficiencies, explained Gretchen Mahler, Ph.D. ’08, the paper’s first author and former Cornell graduate student and postdoctoral associate.

The researchers used commercially available, 50-nanometer polystyrene carboxylated particles that are generally considered safe for human consumption. They found that following acute exposure, a few minutes to a few hours after consumption, both the absorption of iron in the in vitro cells and the chickens decreased.

But following exposure of 2 milligrams per kilogram for two weeks — a slower, more chronic intake — the structure of the intestinal villi began to change and increase in surface area. This was an effective physiological remodeling that led to increased iron absorption.

“This was a physiological response that was unexpected,” Mahler said.

Shuler noted that in some sense this intestinal villi remodeling was positive because it shows the body adapts to challenges. But it serves to underscore how such particles, which have been widely studied and considered safe, cause barely detectable changes that could lead to, for example, over-absorption of other, harmful compounds.

Human exposure to nanoparticles is only increasing, Shuler continued.

“Nanoparticles are entering our environment in many different ways,” Shuler said. “We have some assurance that at a gross level they are not harmful, but there may be more subtle effects that we need to worry about.”

The paper included Cornell co-authors Mandy Esch, a research associate in biomedical engineering; Elad Tako, a research associate at the Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health; Teresa Southard, assistant professor of biomedical sciences; Shivaun Archer, senior lecturer in biomedical engineering; and Raymond Glahn, senior scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service and courtesy associate professor in the Department of Food Science. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation; New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research; Army Corp of Engineers; and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Article Source Link: http://www.nanotech-now.com/news.cgi?story_id=44525

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A few years from now, when your doctor prescribes a prescription for you, you might not get a bottle of pills. Instead, your drugs might be delivered under your skin, from a small microchip. At least, that’s the promise of a new invention by MIT researchers Robert Langer and Michael Cima, who worked with MicroCHIPS, Inc. to develop a microchip capable of delivering prescription drugs to patients. The chip, which has been in development for over a decade, just completed its first human test, which it passed with flying colors.

Here’s how the chip works. It’s implanted underneath the skin of the patients (who, in the study, reported that they often forgot it was there.) The chip contains tiny reservoirs that the drugs are placed into. The reservoirs are sealed with a layer of platinum and titanium. When a current is applied to the seal, it melts, releasing the drugs into the patient’s bloodstream. The microchips are programmable, as well, so that the drug delivery can be automated.

In the study, the implants were used to deliver a drug to treat 7 women between the ages of 65 and 70 who suffer from osteoporosis. In all seven cases, the chip delivered the correct dose of drugs to the patients, and no adverse side effects were reported.

 

This is a huge benefit for patients with chronic diseases that require daily injections because it automates the process, thereby improving compliance. Let’s face it – most people wouldn’t be thrilled with the thought of injecting themselves with a needle every day. By vastly improving the process, people’s health will benefit.

“Compliance is very important in a lot of drug regimens, and it can be very difficult to get patients to accept a drug regimen where they have to give themselves injections,” said researcher Michael Cima in an MIT press release. “This avoids the compliance issue completely, and points to a future where you have fully automated drug regimens.”

The other benefit of using the microchip is that it can be equipped with biosensors, which means that a doctor can monitor how effectively the drug is treating the disease, and remotely program the device according to adjust to changing circumstances. Right now, the device can only be reprogrammed remotely at very short distances, but the company and researchers are working on improving that aspect.

“This trial demonstrates how drug can be delivered through an implantable device that can be monitored and controlled remotely, providing new opportunities to improve treatment for patients and to realize the potential of telemedicine,” said study co-author Robert Langer in MicroCHIPS’ press release. “The convergence of drug delivery and electronic technologies gives physicians a real-time connection to their patient’s health, and patients are freed from the daily reminder, or burden, of disease by eliminating the need for regular injections.”

The next step for the company is to develop therapeutic regimens for the chip that can work with other diseases. The company intends to apply for regulatory approval to use the devices in 2014.

Article Source Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/02/19/your-next-prescription-might-be-for-a-microchip/

JP

Our ability to “upgrade” the bodies of soldiers through drugs, implants, and exoskeletons may be upending the ethical norms of war as we’ve understood them.

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If we can engineer a soldier who can resist torture, would it still be wrong to torture this person with the usual methods? Starvation and sleep deprivation won’t affect a super-soldier who doesn’t need to sleep or eat. Beatings and electric shocks won’t break someone who can’t feel pain or fear like we do. This isn’t a comic-book story, but plausible scenarios based on actual military projects today.

In the next generation, our warfighters may be able to eat grass,communicate telepathically,resist stress, climb walls like a lizard, and much more. Impossible? We only need to look at nature for proofs of concept. For instance, dolphins don’t sleep (or they’d drown); Alaskan sled-dogs can run for days without rest or food; bats navigate with echolocation; and goats will eat pretty much anything. Find out how they work, and maybe we can replicate that in humans.

As you might expect, there are serious moral and legal risks to consider on this path. Last week in the UK, The Royal Society released its report ” Neuroscience, Conflict and Security.” This timely report worried about risks posed by cognitive enhancements to military personnel, as well as whether new nonlethal tactics, such as directed energy weapons, could violate either the Biological or Chemical Weapons Conventions.

While an excellent start, the report doesn’t go far enough, as I have been explaining to the US intelligence community , National Research Council, DARPA, and other organizations internationally. The impact of neural and physical human enhancements is more far-reaching than that, such as to the question of torturing the enhanced. Other issues, as described below, pose real challenges to military policies and broader society.

Why Enhancements?

Technology makes up for our absurd frailty. Unlike other animals, we’re not armed with fangs, claws, running speed, flight, venom, resilience, fur, or other helpful features to survive a savage world. We naked apes couldn’t survive at all, if it weren’t for our tool-making intellect and resourcefulness.

And therein lies a fundamental problem with how Homo sapiens wage war: As impressive as our weapon systems may be, one of the weakest links in armed conflicts-as well as one of the most valuable assets-continues to be the warfighters themselves. Hunger, fatigue, and the need for sleep can quickly drain troop morale and cause a mission to fail. Fear and confusion in the “fog of war” can lead to costly mistakes, such as friendly-fire casualties. Emotions and adrenaline can drive otherwise-decent individuals to perform vicious acts, from verbal abuse of local civilians to torture and illegal executions, making an international incident from a routine patrol. And post-traumatic stress can take a devastating toll on families and add pressure on already-burdened health services.

To be sure, military training seeks to address these problems, but it can do only so much, and science and technology help to fill those gaps. In this case, what’s needed is an upgrade to the basic human condition. We want our warfighters to be made stronger, more aware, more durable, more maneuverable in different environments, and so on. The technologies that enable these abilities fall in the realm of human enhancement, and they include neuroscience, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, and more.

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While some of these innovations are external devices, such as exoskeletons that give the wearer super-strength, our technology devices are continually shrinking in size. Our mobile phones today have more computing power than the Apollo rockets that blasted to the moon. So there’s good reason to think that these external enhancements someday can be small enough to be integrated with the human body, for an even greater military advantage.

The use of human enhancement technologies by the military is not new. Broadly construed, vaccinations could count as an enhancement of the human immune system, and this would place the first instance of military human enhancement (as opposed to mere tool-use) at our very first war, the American Revolutionary War in 1775-1783. George Washington, as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, ordered the vaccinations of American troops against smallpox, as the British Army was suspected of using the virus as a form of biological warfare. (Biowarfare existed for centuries prior, such as in catapulting corpses to spread the plague during the Middle Ages.) At the time, the Americans largely were not exposed to smallpox in childhood and therefore had not built up immunity to the disease, as the British had.

Since then, militaries worldwide have used caffeine and amphetamines to keep their troops awake and alert, an age-old problem in war. In fact, some pilots are required to take drugs-known as “go pills”-on long-distance missions, or else lose their jobs. And there’s ongoing interest in using pharmaceuticals, such as modafinil (a cognitive enhancer), dietary supplements, as well as gene therapy to boost the performance of warfighters.

The Questions

Some of the issues with military enhancements echo now-familiar debates, such as: whether the use of anabolic steroids by athletes is harmful to their health; whether that would set a bad example for impressionable children; whether Ritalin use in academia is cheating and unfair to others; whether longevity would bankrupt pension plans; whether manipulating biology amounts to ” playing God“; and so on. But there are new concerns as well.

Ethical and safety issues

Established standards in biomedical ethics-such as the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki, and others-govern the research stage of enhancements, that is, experimentation on human subjects. But “military necessity” or the exigencies of war can justify actions that are otherwise impermissible, such as a requirement to obtain voluntary consent of a patient. Under what conditions, then, could a warfighter be commanded (or refuse) a risky or unproven enhancement, such as a vaccine against a new biological weapon? Because some enhancements could be risky or pose long-term health dangers, such as addiction to “go pills”, should military enhancements be reversible? What are the safety considerations related to more permanent enhancements, such as bionic parts or a neural implant? 

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Tactical and logistical implications

Once ethical and safety issues are resolved, militaries will need to attend to the impact of human enhancements on their operations. For instance, how would integrating both enhanced and unenhanced warfighters into the same unit affect their cohesion? Would enhanced soldiers rush into riskier situations, when their normal counterparts would not? If so, one solution could be to confine enhancements to a small, elite force. (This could also solve the consent problem.) As both an investment in and potential benefit to the individual warfighters, is it reasonable to treat them differently from the unenhanced, such as on length of service and promotion requirements? On the other hand, preferential treatment to any particular group could lower overall troop morale.

Legal and policy issues

More broadly, how do enhancements impact international humanitarian law, or the laws of war? The Geneva and Hague Conventions prohibit torture of enemy combatants, but enhanced soldiers could reasonably be exempt if underlying assumptions disappear-that humans respond to a certain level of pain and need sleep and food-as I suggested at the beginning. Further, enhancements that transform our biology could violate the Biological Weapons Convention, if enhanced humans (or animals) plausibly count as “biological agents”, which is not a well-defined term. International law aside, there may be policy questions: Should we allow scary enhancements, which was the point of fierce Viking helmets or samurai masks? Could that exacerbate hostilities by prompting charges of dishonor and cowardice, the same charges we’re now hearing about military robots?

Military-civilian issues

As history shows, we can expect the proliferation of every military technology we invent. The method of diffusion is different and more direct with enhancements, though: Most warfighters return to society as civilians (our veterans) and would carry back any permanent enhancements and addictions with them. The US has about 23 million veterans-or one out of every 10 adults-in addition to 3 million active and reserve personnel, so this is a significant segment of the population. Would these enhancements, such as a drug or an operation that subdues emotions, create problems for the veteran to assimilate to civilian life? Would they create problems for other civilians who may be at a competitive disadvantage to the enhanced veteran who, for instance, has bionic limbs and enhanced cognition.

Soldier 2.0 is a Hybrid

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The military technology getting the most public attention now is robotics, but we can think of it as sharing the same goal as human enhancement. Robotics aims to create a super-soldier from an engineering approach: they are our proxy mech-warriors. However, there are some important limitations to those machines. For one thing, they don’t have a sense of ethics-of what is right and wrong-which can be essential on the battlefield. Where it is child’s play to identify a ball or coffee mug or a gun, it’s notoriously tough for a computer to do that. This doesn’t give us much confidence that a robot can reliably distinguish friend from foe, at least in the foreseeable future.

In contrast, cognitive and physical enhancements aim to create a super-soldier from a biomedical direction, such as with modafinil and other drugs. For battle, we want our soft organic bodies to perform more like machines. Somewhere in between robotics and biomedical research, we might arrive at the perfect future warfighter: one that is part machine and part human, striking a formidable balance between technology and our frailties.

In changing human biology, we also may be changing the assumptions behind existing laws of war and even human ethics. If so, we would need to reexamine the foundations of our social and political institutions, if prevailing norms can’t stretch to cover new technologies. In comic books and science fiction , we can ignore or suspend disbelief about these details. But in the real world-as life imitates art, and “mutant powers” really are changing the world-the details matter.

Acknowledgements: This article is adapted from a research report, in progress, funded by The Greenwall Foundation, with co-investigators Maxwell Mehlman (Case Western Reserve University) and Keith Abney (Cal Poly).

Images: 1. US Marine Corps. 2. Lockheed Martin. 3. US Marine Corps. 4. US Marine Corps. Note: these images have been digitally enhanced.

 
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