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Cyborg Man Implants Computer Chip Into Body Without Anesthesia

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cyborg implantIf I told you right now that the age of the cyborg was upon us, and that people everywhere were hacking their own bodies in an effort to extend their lifespan, you’d be impressed, right? You’d probably start picturing people implanting cure-developing devices under the skin, or eyeballs that can see through walls or read really small print. I mean, at least some kind of a thermonuclear weapon attached to the chest, right? Well, one man has indeed taken it upon himself to usher in an era of half-man/half-machines, but he decided to go for the oversized thermometer rather than anything truly awesome. Still, cyborgs.

No, this isn’t the plot of the next Terminator flick. American Tim Cannon, of the biohacker group Grindhouse Wetware, recently took a trip to Essen, Germany in order to get a box-encased computer chip, called the Circadia 1.0, implanted into his arm. As if the tattoo wasn’t already a pain to get, Cannon decides to get the skin around it stretched out beyond all imagination, so that he can get text messages whenever he might be getting the flu. That sounds ridiculous, and probably isn’t part of the chip’s current capabilities, but it’s an actual goal.

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Carbon Nanotube Sensors Can Monitor Molecules In Your Body For Over a Year

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nanotube sensorMIT chemical engineering professor Michael Strano has devoted a lot of lab time, resources, and postdocs to figuring out ways to measure and better understand the role of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that exists in living cells, and while scientists know that it transfers information within the brain and helps coordinate bodily systems and functions such as the immune system, they’ve never really understood how nitric oxide works. They do know, though, that in cancerous cells, the nitric oxides levels are off, indicating that it has some role in the progression of cancer. In an attempt to learn more about that role, Strano and his lab have devised a measurement tool.

The tool is a nitric oxide-monitoring sensor that can remain under the skin of a living being for over a year. The sensor would specifically monitor inflammation, which produces nitric oxide. The sensor is made of carbon nanotubes, which are about one nanometer (one billionth of a meter — the average germ is about 1,000 nanometers) thick. A carbon nanotube sensor works when scientists wrap them with a molecule that attaches to a specific target. When the binding occurs, the natural fluorescence of the carbon tube gets brighter or dimmer.

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Elephants Can’t Deal With Death

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elephants
I’ll start by saying that this is the saddest post I’ve done for a while—probably the saddest since the one on climate change. So if you’re one of those folks who reads GFR for its pop culture news and sci-fi reviews, you may want to skip this one. But if you’re here for the science, well, then we’ll do this together.

I’m sure it’s not news to anyone that elephant poaching is horrible, and if you’ve been following the news recently you know that it’s gotten completely out of control. Estimates indicate that during 2012 in Africa, 32,000 elephants were killed. That’s 96 elephants each day or one elephant every 15 minutes. In Kenya, the elephant population has fallen from 167,000 to 35,000 in the last 30 years; the African forest elephant population has plummeted by 72% in the last decade. Elephant poaching is among the world’s most profitable criminal activities, raking in over $6 billion each year. And even though it’s illegal, and even though selling ivory internationally has been banned since 1989, laws don’t seem to work as deterrents—people are after elephant tusks more vehemently than ever. There was a 50% increase in the seizure of illegal ivory in 2012. Recently, poachers used cyanide to kill 300 elephants in a Zimbabwe nature reserve. Yeah, I’m ready to cry. But it gets worse.

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How Long Can You Survive Being Buried Alive? Not Long, But Still Too Long

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kill bill
While I may get creeped out by walking down a dark alley in the middle of the night, it’s not a real fear I have, as I try to keep those to a minimum. I have enough problems without having to worry about being scared of things. But when the subject of being buried alive comes up, as it often does at dinner parties and in grocery store lines, I freely cop to getting bogged down with the heebie jeebies. Perhaps purposefully, I’ve never considered just how long it would take for someone to meet their solitary demise in such a way. Luckily, PopSci figured it out, and it turns out it doesn’t really take all that long for someone to die in that situation.

But it still sounds like a goddamned eternity.

It all comes down to how big the coffin is, and how big the person is. An average coffin will measure out to 84 x 28 x 23 inches, with a total volume of around 54 cubic inches, or 886 liters. Air is the most important element here, so don’t go thinking that having water or food down there would help you; you’d be dead long before your survival would rely on that Philly steak sandwich shoved inside your pocket.

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10-Year-Old Discovers Ancient Supernova

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The Gray family of Nova Scotia, Canada has some intense sibling rivalry going on. But unlike with my brother and me, this rivalry goes beyond outsmarting parents or drawing invisible property lines in the back seat of the car. Nathan and Kathryn Gray’s competition of choice involves hunting for supernovas, the dramatic explosions of dying stars. Kathryn was previously recognized by the International Astronomical Union as the youngest person to ever make such a discovery—a legacy she inherited from her father, Paul, who discovered a supernova at age 22 and at the time was the youngest person to ever do so. But on Wednesday, Nathan Gray spotted something interesting while stargazing, and is poised to unseat his older sister as the youngest person ever to find a supernova.

Nathan Gray

The Gray’s family friend, David Lane, owns the Halifax, Nova Scotia Abbey Ridge Observatory. With friends like that, it makes sense that the Grays would be cosmically-inclined. And Lane benefits too—he uses the keen eyes and minds of his friends to help him compare older and newer images of galaxies to see if anything new has come up—or, you know, exploded.

Nathan has seen a few supernovas before, but they had all been previously discovered. For the past eight months he’s been trying to find a new one, and it appears that he has—a supernova in the PGC 61330 galaxy inside the Draco constellation. When comparing images given to him by Lane, Nathan noticed something that was absent from photos take a couple years ago. The supernova he found might be as far as 600 million light years away, which means that star is putting on some serious fireworks and going out in a blaze of glory.

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Meet Dreamer, The Humanoid Robot Getting Screentime With Mark Wahlberg In Transformers

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DreamerRobots can do most tasks humans can do, including making cameos in movies. I’m not talking about Haley Joel Osment or Short Circuit — this time I’m talking about Dreamer, the humanoid robot created by the University of Texas Human Centered Robotics Lab, which will appear in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

I love pretty much all things robot, but before we talk about the virtues of this particular model, I just have to say that Dreamer is a pretty terrible name for a robot — or for anything, for that matter. Robots have all kinds of cool names: Voltron, R2D2, HAL, Marvin, Bishop, Twiki, Data, Tom Servo, Asimo…even Siri’s better than that. We get it! It’s supposed to be human-like! Except one of the things it can’t do yet is to dream or be sentimental. It doesn’t need an anthropomorphizing name! Okay. Rant over. I should really be talking about how this robot is going to get 30 seconds of screen time in the new Transformers movie. It’s unclear exactly what these 30 seconds will involve, so I’ll just tell you about this robot and you can let your imaginations go wild.