The Future of Body Modification


Near field communication, often abbreviated as “NFC” is the ability for wireless devices to communicate with eachother and has now made its way into the bodies of human beings with some opting to implant small subdermal microchips using a large gauge hypodermic syringe (e.g. 14 – 18 gauge) which is preloaded so that these individuals gain the ability to start their vehicle(s), open their home door locks, send contact information to another persons smartphone etc., wirelessly and without any intervention or effort upon the end user. This adaptation is referred to as “transhuman” as it goes beyond what the biological human body can do by introducing technology which cannot be evolved into existence. Devices have been developed for a number of different purposes (e.g. vibrating when pointed towards magnetic north turning the body into a compass or implanting a small chip containing tritium gas which glows beneath the skin but is radioactive and therefore not battery powered lasting indefinitely as tritium gas has a 12 year half-life etc.). In 2018, at the University of Colorado, Dr. Carson Bruns and his team developed a technology which allows for smart tattooing in that newly and highly specialized tattoo inks will be able to deliver new functions to the artistic medium of tattooing. The first design invented was a tattoo ink which is sensitive to ultraviolet light which allows it to lay invisible under typical lighting conditions and only appear as a blue hue once outside in the presense of sunlight or an artificial ultraviolet light source. This technology would be practical as well as esthetic as it would allow a person to know when they’ve had too much sun exposure while outside. Bruns’ team has also developed tattoo ink which changes color as the temperature of the body changes which again would be functional as well as artistic, acting as a thermometer to indicate when a person has had too much or too little exposure to cold or heat. Nanotechnology is used to engineer and design tattoo particles which have specialized properties and characteristics (e.g. thermal battery and/or storage mechanism). Real world applications could be spurred by this advent like the ability to keep the entire body at a comfortable temperature at all times, regardless of the environment, if the entire body was tattooed, either visibly with color or invisibly with translucent ink. Specially engineered tattooing can also have medical applications such as that of the distribution of a pharmacological medication or hormone which helps regulate biochemistry (e.g. insulin or neural catecholamines to control mood etc.). World militaries may find use with specially engineered tattoos as well, allowing skin to become more resilient to abrasions or epidermal damage. Specialized tattoo pigments are also tactile sensitive in that when touched, they have the ability to turn on or off as well as perform other functions (e.g. manipulate an options menu upon a screen or act as a controller for a game or software etc.). In 2018, billionaire futuristic Elon Musk unveiled Neuralink, a technology which he states provides the ability of “self-directed evolution”. Neuralink will be installed within the human body by using a specialized, robotic hypodermic syringe to inject an ultra thin mesh, referred to as “neuro lace”, into the neurocortex of the brain, to form a body of electrodes which are able to monitor and influence brain function. These microelectrodes will be able read and write onto neurons; a bi-directional information exchange. This will allow for the downloading and uploading of information to and from the internet, wirelessly. This technology will allow for thoughts to be sent between users in the same format that data is shared online during the modern day using peer to peer networking. This technology will also allow for the control of devices, remotely; in principle, telekinesis. Nanotechnology now provides scientists with the technology required to manufacture electronics small enough to become tattooed, which means that in the future, Neuralink will only require a small, cranial tattoo instead of a cranial implant

The Causation and Cure for Colorblindness


Being colorblind is more difficult than most people believe as those affected often cannot match clothing colors, tell when fruit is ripe, tell when meat is cooked, or tell when traffic lights are various colors in certain lighting conditions (e.g. flashing red being mistaken for flashing yellow). Color vision is trichromatic with 3 types of cone cells within the eyes which consist of blue, green, and red, which are sensitive to short, medium, and long wavelengths of light, with each cone permitting an observer to view approximately 100 different shades. When all shades are combined, the human eye can observe approximately 1,000,000 (1 million) different colors. Colorblindness can stem from faulty cone cells or an interruption between the pathway of the cones and the brain. Colorblindness has caused vehicular deaths due to accidents around the world which have occurred most often because a driver perceived a light as yellow when it was red in reality. Neuroscientist Professor Jay Neitz (pronounced “nites”), a color researcher at the University of Washington in the U.S. and his spouse, geneticist Maureen Neitz, have teamed up to try and cure colorblindness. Gene therapy is currently being researched around the world and scientists believe that colorblindness will be cured using gene therapy in the near future. Male squirrel monkeys are naturally red-green colorblind and gene studies have demonstrated that these monkeys can be afforded color vision after having a gene delivered into the cone cells within the eye. The gene produced transforms a subset of the green cones within the male squirrel monkeys eyes to force them to become red cones, red cones which have hijacked the squirrel monkeys neural circuitry which was previously utilized solely for blue-yellow color vision, essentially bifurcating into red-green cones and blue-yellow cones so that the monkeys examined developed full color vision like human beings as of 2019. The Neitz’s confirmed this by providing male squirrel monkeys colorblind examinations which when answered correctly, delivered a small treat of food after having undergone gene therapy. Trials in human beings have yet to start as the Neitz’s believe that this step is still a few years away, but expected to initiate during the 2020’s

A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Oncology Treatment


Cancer kills 9,000,000 (9 million) people each year and despite having searched for centuries, a cure has yet to be discovered by scientists. At the center of the immune system is the T cell, a type of leukocyte which respond against bacterial and viral infections alike in an effort to keep their host healthy and alive. T cells determine between threatening and non-threatening foreign and non-foreign bodies within a host by leveraging a molecule upon the surface of all cells referred to as the “T cell receptor”. Jim Allison was the first person to successfully isolate and purify the molecule which recognizes this lock and key model for infectious disease, auto-immune disease, and other innocuous substances within the body be they foreign or internally created. In 1987, French scientist Pierre Golstein and his team discovered a new protein upon the surface of T cells which he named “CTLA-4”. To study CTLA-4 in laboratory rats, Allison had to build and design a rat antibody, a Y shaped protein which would trigger a reaction by CTLA-4. Cancers are mutations and should in theory be visible to the immune system, which is why the scientific community has struggled with the paradox of why tumors go undetected by the immune system for decades. There is no discernible reason as to why the immune system can recognize and resist influenza or any other foreign or domestic body but not cancer. Allison theorized that tumors have evolved an ability to fool the immune system, engaging CTLA-4 which turns on the T cells response to halt its search and destroy measures. Allison hypothesized that if he inserted a Y shaped antibody to block the gap in between the tumor and T cells, the tumor would no longer have its ability to hide, a trait which has been evolved by tumor cells over hundreds of millions of years. This would allow the T cell to infiltrate, attack from within the tumor, shrink, and ultimately kill the growth. Allison spent the next decade trying to turn this revolutionary breakthrough discovery into a medication which could be provided to cancer patients. Allison found Alan Korman, a scientist creating medications for auto-immune disease which provided him with the expert he required to turn this idea into a reality. Korman was tasked with taking the CTLA-4 antibody which Allison and partner Max Krummell developed for laboratory rats, and turn it into a medication which could safely work within human beings with this medication subsequently being named “Ipilimumab” (pronounced “ipi-lim-ooh-mab”). Korman ended up collaborating with a friend from graduate school, Nils Lonberg to accomplish this task. Ipilimumab consists of an intramuscular injection into the leg and a 90 minute intravenous medication drip in comparison to chemotherapy and radiation therapy which take months of treatment to complete and have devastating effects upon overall health as both bad and good tissue are destroyed in an effort to eradicate all tumor cells. Allison’s work with laboratory rats demonstrated that with the help of this newly developed antibody, T cells gained the ability enter into tumors and expand their size in an effort to destroy them from the inside out. This means that the fact that tumors grow initially upon administration is a positive marker and indicative of the medication working as it demonstrates successful infiltration of the tumor cells themselves. Patients often report feeling better after a few treatment sessions, sometimes even a single session, despite computer tomography scans demonstrating that their tumors are growing larger, which under normal circumstances would make a patient feel worse. Some patients even noted increased improvement after having stopped the Ipilimumab treatment, with no further therapy required. On March 25, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released approval for Ipilimumab. Ipilimumab and its successors have treated nearly 1,000,000 (1 million) patients worldwide with many of these patients achieving permanent remission which is essentially the definition of having been cured of cancer. Although these medications do not work in every single case, they have definitively demonstrated to be a miracle medication for hundreds of thousands of people thus far. After completing this revolutionary discovery, Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2018 for his series of discoveries related to T cells and their ability to halt cancer in its progression in perpetuity

Sweden’s Major Contributions to Vehicular Safety Standards Worldwide


In 1959, Nils Bohlin (pronounced “neels bow-leen”) created the 3 point seatbelt while working for Volvo, an invention which Volvo intentionally designed to be patent free so that the advent could be utilized and implemented globally in a concerted effort to save lives everywhere. This was one of the first examples of open source technology in business and manufacturing. It’s been estimated that the seatbelt has saved more than 1,000,000 (1 million) lives over the past 40 years as of 2020. Swedish company Autoliv (pronounced “ow-tow-leeve”) furthered this pursuit towards safety by creating the seatbelt pre-tensioner which instantaneously reels in seatbelt slack during a vehicular accident and has also helped to design newer, better airbag systems and advanced artificial intelligence automobile visual systems

The First Mass Produced Items of the Ancient World


The first mass produced pieces of artwork were the ancient Egyptians shabtis which were essentially miniature mummies that the ancient Egyptians believed had magical powers and were therefore buried with the dead. Shabtis were comprised of Egyptian faience which is a type of glass ceramic material made from sand. Egyptian faience is referred to as such in order to distinguish it from faience, which is a tin glazed pottery associated with Faenza, Italy. The idea of Egyptian faience was to replicate semiprecious stones like turquoise lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, which at the time was more expensive than gold. The recipe for Egyptian faience is 90% crushed silica, crushed fine natron salt to act as a flux, crushed limestone, and then the coloring with blue being the most popular, a color achieved through the use of pure copper oxide. Water was introduced to turn this composition from a granular mix into a dough like substance. Natron salt which is a type of baking soda, is the key ingredient to this recipe as it rises to the surface when baked and lowers the overall temperature at which sand melts and becomes glass. The statues are left to stand for 24 or more hours as this helps the salt grow on the surface through a chemical reaction process as oxygen within the ambient environment mixes with the ingredients inside the Egyptian faience

The Reason Beer Bottles Are Brown and Green

brown-green-beer-bottlesAlcoholic beverages like beer are brown in color because clear glass allows ultraviolet light to penetrate which can alter the flavor profile. Bottles inevitably became tinted brown to prevent ultraviolet light from achieving full penetration. After World War II, green bottles became popular due to shortages of brown glass

The Advent of Parallax Distance to Measure Immense Distances in Space


Stellar parallax is a measurement technique developed by Friedrich Bessel to measure far away objects in deep space. The process of stellar parallax involves measuring an object from two separate vantage points hinging upon the fact that the object being observed will appear to move a lot more than objects further behind it (e.g. if an observer closes one eye and views their finger in front of a building, and then repeats this act with their second eye closed and the first eye open, the observers finger will appear as though it has moved much further left or right, relative to the other objects behind it). Because Bessel developed a method of calculation to take advantage of this phenomena, astronomers now have the ability to map grand distances with relative accuracy. Bessel worked out that if an observer took an image of a star when the Earth was at either side of its orbit around the sun, it would be possible to observe the star shifting in its position. By knowing how much a star shifts, it is possible to calculate the distance the star is from its observation point on Earth. Bessel surmised that the relatively close star 61 Cygni must be 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) kilometers away from the Earth because of his parallax distance method. This technique unfortunately is severely limited as the diameter of the Earth’s orbit is only 300,000,000 (300 million) kilometers which means that the parallax method can only measure objects up to a factor of 1,000,000x (1 million) the Earths orbital rotation, allowing for a maximum distance of 300,000,000,000,000 (300 trillion) kilometers which is only a tiny fraction of the size of the Milky Way Galaxy or the universe as a whole

The Ancient History of Damascus Steel

Damascus-steel-swordDamascus, Syria, the birthplace of Damascus steel was prized in the ancient world for its durability but unbeknownst to the craftspeople who forged Damascus steel, the region from which the iron ore was taken had naturally occurring nickel which meant that Damascus metalsmiths had composite steel 3000 years before the rest of the world as the idea to mix different kinds of metals had not yet been invented. Damascus steel was shatter resistant and could be sharpened to become sharper than any other type of steel. Having first encountered it during the Crusades of the 11th century, European forgers attempted for centuries to recreate what their Middle Eastern counterparts had already perfected

The Advent and Original Intent of Intelligence Quotient​ Examinations


Intelligence quotient examinations were invented by the French psychologist Alfred Binet as a way of measuring and identifying skill sets which children had or had not yet developed during their adolescence. The idea was to calculate the mental age divided by the chronological age to determine whether a child was ahead or behind their peer group

The Evolution of Primitive and Sophisticated Neural Networks


The human brain has 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) connections and 86,000,000,000 (86 billion) neurons, which is more connections and neurons than there are stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Ironically, the majority of the most successful creatures on Earth do not have a brain; organisms like plants, coral, and jellyfish. The sea squirt is a primary example as it has just 200 neurons, allowing it only to perceive and display simple interaction with the environment by sensing light and moving its flagellum. The sea squirt moves around until it finds a rock, then it dumps its tail and uses those once dedicated neurons for different applications, staying anchored to this spot for the rest of its life. Neurons were originally designed to allow for simple motion and movement, but as evolution progressed steadily, neural networks began to build and design intelligent life which is capable of consciousness and a sense of self but also more abstract concepts like art, mathematics, and science