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This is incredible and should be reported everywhere

“A 25-year-old quadriplegic sits in a wheelchair with wires coming out of a bottle-cap-size connector stuck in his skull.

The wires run from 100 tiny sensors implanted in his brain and out to a computer. Using just his thoughts, this former high school football player is playing the computer game Pong.

It is part of a breakthrough trial, the first of its kind, with far-reaching implications. Friday, early results were revealed at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation annual conference. Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems, the Foxborough-based company behind the technology, told attendees the man can use his thoughts to control a computer well enough to operate a TV, open e-mail and play Pong with 70% accuracy. “

“Further out, some experts believe, the technology could be built into a helmet or other device that could read neural signals from outside the skull, non-invasively. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding research in this field, broadly known as Brain Machine Interface, or BMI.

DARPA envisions a day when a fighter pilot, for instance, might operate some controls just by thinking.”

Scientists gingerly tap into brain’s power

[Source: Kottke.org]

Science non-fiction

A new fusion technique could someday lead to vehicles that are able to withstand, and indeed, harness the power of tiny nuclear explosions each second, and use the resulting energy given off for power. Or perhaps they could immerse the whole thing in water and use the resulting heat and steam to power a turbine as most other power plants currently do.

The system works by using a burst of 20 million amperes of current which vaporizes tungsten wires generating a magnetic field that accelerates the tungsten vapor toward the center of a cylinder. When the vapor slams into a plastic foam it creates a shock wave, which, in turn, generates X-rays that heat hydrogen (actually deuterium) to more than 20 million degrees Fahrenheit and squeeze it resulting in pressurized conditions similar to those at the center of the sun. [This description has been paraphrased for clarity and brevity from the original NT Times article]

For a few billionths of a second, the power of the X-rays crashing into the hydrogen capsule far exceeds the output of all the world’s power plants.

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Also in science news from the NY Times: the last of the “Great Observatories” telescopes planned for in the 1970’s is due to launch on April 19th. This time its an infrared telescope called Sirtf (Space Infrared Telescope Facility). Those NASA folks sure are clever.

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Don’t come crying to me when you need someone who speaks Elvish.

Pants

I carry my mobile phone in my front pants pocket, but considering that I do not want children, I always considered the radiation a bonus. Now Levi’s is trying to foil my plan with their new anti radiation Dockers. Sure I bet if they had their way my antiperspirant wouldn’t lead to Alzheimer’s either!

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If you don’t like Bush’s policies on the environment, tell him.

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Why is it, in most cases, when aliens are depicted in movies and TV they are very thin. I see nothing in the advancement of our species to indicate that in a thousand years we won’t all be 800-1000 lbs. I have to get to the gym. Let’s hear it for the fat aliens!

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I have determined that this is the year I am finally going to get “in the best shape of my life”. That means I will have to eclipse my former “best shape” of being 5’9″ 130 lbs when I was 15.

If I don’t do it now I will never get in shape – I am approaching 30! I figure walk my dog every day for an hour and then throw in a real cardio workout 2-3 times per week with a weight training session once or twice each week.