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Jay Dinan
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Jay Dinan

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Thanks +Mark Bruce  for another excellent edition of ScienceSundayDigest.
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 17/2015.
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Human embryo CRISPR, More accurate CRISPR, Programmable DNA photonics, DNA logic gates, Multifunctional neural probes, MRI Temporal boost, Protein structure algorithms, Emotionally aware machines, Invisible perceptual illusions, Single molecule switches. 

1. CRISPR to Modify Human Embryos
Biggest news of the week goes to the Chinese team who used CRISPR methods to produce genetically modified human embryos The group used non-viable (extra chromosomes), pre-implantation embryos from local fertility clinics and used CRISPR-Cas9 to edit and replace a defective ß-thalassemia gene that typically causes a blood disorder. The group achieve low conversion rates and noted a large number of off-target mutations that resulted. However, several commentators noted that the group used an older version of CRISPR (newer versions are far more accurate) and these non-viable cells are probably not an optimal model. 

2. Engineering Even Greater Accuracy into CRISPR
In closely related news newer, accurate versions of CRISPR have been made 25-times even more accurate The new CRISPR is depended on a specific molecule to be active, which is provided to the cells of interest for a relatively short period of time, and so ensures that the CRISPR system is only active for a short period of time. This severely limits the chances of off-target modifications. This work builds on prior studies to create CRISPR systems that require longer (and hence more specific) genetic sequences to recognise and seeks to more subtly alter the cellular equilibrium dynamics of CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes. The team predict that further improvements will lead to CRISPR systems that induce chance mutations at a rate below the level of natural chance mutations that the cell produces on a daily basis anyway. 

3. Programmable Matter with DNA Origami
A new modification to self-assembled DNA origami technology delivers the ability to create programmable, tunable fluorescent arrays This is achieved via two parts, (i) generating DNA nanotubes with defined positioning sites; in this case with spacings of 7nm, and (ii) generating silver nanoclusters bound to complementary DNA strands that bind the nanoclusters to the nanotube. The nanoclusters all have the same number of atoms and depending on the preparation and binding of DNA the number of atoms can be controlled to produce clusters tuned to fluoresce at different wavelengths of light, from green-blue to infrared.

4. Fuzzy & Boolean Logic Gates Made of DNA
In related news self-assembled DNA origami structures have been demonstrated that can sense two environmental signals (different oligonucleotides and miRNAs) and produce fluorescent outputs corresponding to Boolean logic gates AND, NAND, OR, NOR, XOR, NXOR There are a few different labs pursuing DNA computation in this way and good to see competition heating up. Possible applications for this particular embodiment include programmed biosensors that enter cells and only deliver a lethal drug payload if they successfully detect one or more cancer biomarkers for example. 

5. Multifunctional Neural Probes for Interfacing the Brain
Neural probes are becoming increasingly sophisticated as evidenced by these fibers and probes that are able to carry light, sense-collect-and-transmit electricity, and also deliver drugs Such fibers can both stimulate the brain in various ways and also record the resulting activity and allows researchers to controllably alter activity in different ways to see what the effect is. The fabrication process for the probes is quite innovative and involves forming different polymers in the desired pattern and then extruding and shrinking these into tiny fibers. 

6. Boosting Temporal Resolution for MRI
Recent advances in MRI technology provide a boost in temporal resolution that allows image capture at 100 frames per second - this can facilitate for example the detailed capture of the complex anatomical coordination that is necessary for a person to sing Such dynamic real-time recordings offering both high spatial and temporal resolution hasn’t been possible until now, and in this application offers new insights into the complex dynamics of the neuromuscular system and larynx in order to better understand changes that occur due to various influences such as aging and disease. 

7. Improved Algorithms for Generating 3D Structures from 2D Images
A new image-processing algorithm results in a 100,000-fold speedup in determining 3D structures for proteins from sets of 2D images The technique utilises (i) electron cryomicroscopy in which a purified protein solution is is frozen into a thin-film one molecule thick, and (ii) transmission electron microscopy in which the film is bombarded with electrons and those that pass through generate images or “shadowgrams” of the molecules in the film. The molecule structure is unknown and orientation is random. Generating the 3D structure from up to 200,000 images used to take two weeks on 300 cores, but now can be done in under 24 hours on a single workstation. 

8. Adapting to Machines that Know How You Feel
Wired had a good piece this week covering Affectiva and the coming ubiquity of computers that know and can respond to your emotional state Affectiva is offering its system to developers to help create a broad range of applications predominantly (for now) based on determining fine emotional nuances on faces. The promise here includes dynamic entertainment that responds to your emotions to give you a different experience to someone with different emotions, assisting those with emotion-identification handicaps to better understand people, automatically determine the emotional content of video, assist wearers of HUDs to determine a person’s emotion they may be trying to hide, targeting advertising to people based on their emotional state, and many many others.

9. The Perceptual Illusion of an Invisible Body
An interesting new psychological experiment explores the perceptual illusion on participants of having an invisible body Participants were instructed to look downwards as they wore a stereoscopic head mounted display, which received video input from a pair of binocular cameras that were pointed downwards towards the floor. A researcher then simultaneously touched the person’s body with a brush while touching the corresponding areas in empty space under the cameras with another brush. In less than a minute most people had altered body-maps and perceived the brush-touching-empty-air as actually touching themselves, and this was confirmed via measured stress response when a surprise knife was thrust into the same spot of empty space. I’m always fascinated by how easily malleable our sense of embodiment is. 

10. Towards Single Molecule Switches
A new candidate molecule approximately 3nm in size has been demonstrated to function as a single-molecule electronic switch The molecule possesses two stable states, one of which is an insulator and the other a conductor. The group was able to successfully switch the molecule into the “on” conductive state via light, which allowed current to flow between the two nanowire electrodes it was connected to. They can’t yet switch the molecule back to the “off” insulating state but are confident of achieving this in future.

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 Some amazing pictures with informative captions.
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Amigo Jay, imagenes muy hermosas, podrias ser explisito en decirme a que corresponden estas fotos?
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Thanks +Chris Robinson  and +OSU MAD Lab for this excellent poster. I have seen links between HRV and the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous sysytem before particularly with depression but never with infants and AV discrimination. 
Heart Rate Variability and AV Processing in Infants
We recently presented these preliminary data at the International Conference on Infant Studies. Summary is below or you can click on poster and scroll with mouse wheel to enlarge.

*Infants were presented with alternating old and new sounds (E1) or old and new AV pairings (E2), and we recorded infants' heart rates.

*Heart rate slowed down more for novel sounds and novel images, suggesting that heart rate can be used to measure AV discrimination in young infants.

*Infants with more variable heart beats (i.e., increased variability in beat to beat intervals) at the beginning of the study were more likely to detect changes in auditory and visual information.

*Current research is examining if heart rate variability can be used to predict selective and divided attention abilities in young children. 

Robinson, C. W., Miser, T., Williams. D., Thayer, J. F., & Sloutsky, V. M. (2014, July). Heart Rate Variability as a Predictor of Infants’ Auditory and Visual Processing. Poster presented at the Biennial International Conference for Infant Studies, Berlin, Germany.
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Fred and Donna were my roommates on and off for 10 years back in the 1990's when I lived in Boston. I was drinking and drugging too much, and at a time when I wasn't very kind to myself, there were two people who were always kind to me. It breaks my heart to know that one of them is now gone. From his sharp wit to his deep passions(politics, hockey, and family) Fred was Irish through and through and of course he did hold the occasional grudge. But above all else, Fred was a soft touch and a generous one at that. Whether it was a place to stay, a few bucks, or a meal,  Fred could always be counted on to help you out with whatever he had. There was never an expectation of being paid back. For Fred this is simply what people do, they help each other out particularly the less fortunate. He was a proud, card carrying Democrat and he was the living embodiment of the best of the Democratic Parties principle's.
    Fred was a great cook and storyteller too. Some of my fondest memories were of us(Fred, Donna, Sable, Rocky, et al) just hanging around the kitchen table at Sycamore street shooting the breeze as Fred cooked or grilled on the porch with his beloved Tonny Bennett or classical music playing in the background.  I am still stunned and numb by the news of his unexpected passing. Fred you are missed and loved and gone way too soon. My deepest condolences to his wife Donna and his daughters Sheila and Sarah.
Read the Obituary and view the Guest Book, leave condolences or send flowers. | WHITE, Frederick E. Age 56, of Boston and formerly of Everett, passed away on February 18, 2015. He was the owner of the North End Skate Shop and Snack Bar. He was the son of the late Frederick D.
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A short but very illuminating article on the role of acetylcholine in memory and also Alzheimer's.
Nicotine's primary metabolite supports learning and memory by amplifying the action of a primary chemical messenger involved in both, researchers report.
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A great, comprehensive list of websites offering free services. Worth checking out.
H/T +Peter Vogel 
14 totally free things to take advantage of on the Internet

From fonts to coupons. No, money isn't one of them, at least not directly.
Make your personal space on the web a more productive and pleasant place, without surrendering a single shekel.
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Thanks +Mark Bruce for another scintillating week of science!
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 12/2015.
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Consciousness is global, CLIP 3D printing, Neuromorphic optical computing, Silicon photonic switches, DNA molecular transport, Magnetised graphene, More drone advances, Robotic arms, Targeted nucleic acids, Nanoparticles click. 

1. Network Theory and Global Consciousness.
Recent brain imaging studies strongly suggest that consciousness, our rich conscious experience, is indeed a global rather than local phenomenon in the brain Network or graph theory was used in this case to examine the links between various parts of the brain that were related to conscious awareness; in this case subjects reported when they were aware of a small disk flashed briefly on a screen while an fMRI scanner imaged the activity of their brains. The data suggested that the whole of the brain became more functionally connected following reports of awareness. This would also appear to provide experimental support for Tononi’s Integrate Information Theory of Consciousness. 

2. CLIP Optical 3D Printing Technology.
If you missed this one this week you were living under a rock - everyone was sharing and watching the amazing new 3D printing technology unveiled by Carbon3D this week CLIP stands for Continuous Liquid Interface Production and involves the use of a projector to programmably solidify discrete regions of a UV-curable liquid resin as the growing part is pulled out of the resin bath. This is forming solid structures in three dimensions continuously, without a print-head, and is 25x to 100x faster than conventional approaches on the market. A potentially transformative technological evolution, only now emerging from stealth-mode after heavy venture backing. Oh, and it does 1 micron resolution too; be sure to watch the videos if you haven’t already. In related news commercial interests develop open-source algorithms for better 3D printing

3. Brain-Like Computing with Light.
Microofibers produced from chalcogenide glasses possess a range of optical properties that allow them to be used to replicate a range of equivalent neuron and brain functions and signal protocols These can be thought of as photonic neurons that might one day enabled neuromorphic hardware with ultrafast signal transmission speeds, higher bandwidth and lower power consumption than their biological and electronic counterparts. The paper concluded: “we implemented an optical axon in an amorphous metal-sulphide microfiber that enables photonic synapses to perform analogues of fundamental neurophysiological functions of the mammalian central nervous system.” 

4. Large-Scale Silicon Photonic Switches.
In related photonics news the largest-ever silicon photonic switch has been developed, which enables higher bandwidth and lower energy losses Previous photonic switches incorporated just 64 switching elements but the new design manages 2,500 and 10k should be feasible. Existing architectures would never be able to scale to this level due to optical losses, but the new architecture circumvents this problem by incorporating new MEMS switching element that can switch states 1,000 times faster than existing MEMS switches. Applications include computing, networking, data transmission and routing. 

5. Tethered DNA Origami for Molecular Transport.
Advancing on the work of DNA origami “walkers” to transport molecular cargo across a surface this latest work simplifies and accelerates the process by using a tethered DNA origami molecule that is free to swing around and facilitate rapid molecular transport across surfaces in conjunction with natural diffusions processes The concept here is to use partial compartmentalisation that is able to rectify and utilise brownian motion to advantage, and the embodiment was a 30nm atomically-precise DNA arm swinging a molecular cargo around on a 90nm x 60nm platform.  Future hurdles to overcome include interfacing with the outside world and other applications include structured DNA sensing and computing arrays. 

6. The Benefits of Magnetised Graphene.
A simple and robust method for magnetising graphene with hydrogen has been developed The magnetism can be controlled by adding or limiting the amount of hydrogenation, and a commercial electron-beam process can then etch away hydrogen to produce precisely defined magnetic patterns on the graphene. Applications include magnetic data storage of course, but it will be quite a stretch to see if they can actually achieve the million-fold improvement over current hard drives that they claim as “possible”. Tightly packed magnetic graphene might also make for much more powerful permanent magnets and this would also be worth exploring. In related news graphene quantum dots get better

7. More Drone Advancements.
A few of interesting drone developments this week. First, drones can now be used to build high-resolution 3D scans of landmarks and larger areas, and as drone traffic and capabilities increase this might lead to high resultion 3D maps of the entire planet. Second, a new hybrid gas-electric drone has 13 times the range of a battery electric drone, with a flight time of 2.5 hours and a range of 100 miles, which is pretty damn amazing when you think about it. Finally, leading on from last week’s cockroaches, other researchers are flying beetles via remote control

8. Easy-to-Program Robotic Arms Take Another Step.
A couple of important robot arm advances this week. First, Universal Robotics launched its new UR3 robotic arm in three different sizes This is an easy to program multi-articulated robotic arm for a wide range of repetitive tasks that is safe to work near humans. Rethink Robotics also followed up its previous Baxter robot by launching the new Sawyer Robot which is again an easy to program multi-articulated robotic arm (unlike Baxter’s two) that incorporates a range of improvements to make it smaller, faster, stronger, and more precise It’s great to see competition heating up in this area and ongoing technical improvements delivering ever-better robotic capabilities. 

9. Targeted Nucleic Acid Drugs.
Nanoparticles (of gold or lipid in this case) that are coated with 100+ strands of DNA of specific sequence have been termed “spherical nucleic acids” and recently demonstrated very effective immunomodulatory properties The DNA is designed to target different cell receptors and in the this “spherical” form proves to be one of the most simple, efficient, and potent immunomodulators to be developed, with significant promise against cancer and autoimmune disorders. And also this week we had specific microRNAs being used in tissue regeneration, effectively - and temporarily - boosting cell proliferation to take the place of damaged tissue

10. Nanoparticulate Click Chemistry.
A tough choice for number ten this week, but I went with the deceptively simple and innocuous click chemistry technique developed for easily and controllably joining nanoparticles together and to other surfaces Click-chemistries are usually used to precisely control the chemical connection of one molecule to another as part of a defined synthetic step, but in this work the concept was adapted to nanoparticles and allowing the quick and permanent bonding of nanoparticles together and to solid substrates. Think ordered arrays of different nanoparticles, even quantum dots, in defined patterns working to perform some function. 

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This was a particularly exciting week of science stories. From printable skin sensors to biomolecular quantum criticality, just a lot of mind blowing science stories. As always a big hi and thank you to +Mark Bruce  our intrepid editor of this fine blog.
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 10/2015.
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Virtual simulated mouse, Mind controlled flight, Tensegrity robot, Amazing drones, Printable skin sensors, Biological quantum criticality, Conducting microbial nanowires, CRISPR germline engineering, Quantum error correction, Graphene. 

1. Simulated Mouse Brain in Virtual Mouse Body
A new neurorobotics platform developed by the Human Brain Project involves a single simulation that houses both a model mouse brain and model mouse body that interact with each other To build the virtual mouse brain the team integrated data from the Allen Brain Institute and the Blue Brain Project, which included the positions of the 75 million neurons in a mouse brain plus neuron shapes, sizes, and connectivity patterns, and mapped this to different parts of the mouse body. This is a prototype of course, a simplified version with just 200,000 neurons, but still very exciting to see such a platform demonstrated and especially to see it develop into the future. 

2. Intimate Mind Control Over Plane Flight
A woman with electrodes implanted into her brain who previously demonstrated the ability to control a robotic arm by thinking, has now demonstrated the ability to fly a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter simulator with her thoughts The team claims an important distinction: in this case the woman wasn’t thinking about controlling a joystick or robotic arm, but rather more naturally thinking about controlling the plan directly, in a seemingly far more intuitive fashion. If true this marks a fairly significant development for seamless brain computer interfaces. 

3. A Whole Bunch of Freaking Amazing Robots & Drones
First, check out this amazing tensegrity robot developed by NASA, called the Super Ball Bot, and consisting of an array of rods connected by an array of cables Check out the video; this thing looks ungainly but comes with a range of design benefits and I’ve been waiting to see more tensegrity principles incorporated into robotics for a while now. The latest robotics Video Friday is also a gem, with my favourites being first-person-view drone racing crashes, “weaponised” drone dog fights, robotic Oculus Rift surrogate telepresence, and the Taurus II telepresence manipulation system. 

4. More Drones: Bug Vision & Object Tracking
Leading on from some of the cool drone demonstration videos of existing capabilities in the last item I couldn’t help but include some new drone technological developments from this week. First, the development and demonstration of drones with biomimetic insect vision capable of autonomous navigation without on-board inertial control systems; the system is powered by optic-flow sensors that measure changes in the surrounding environment. Second, Perceptiv’s Shift technology represents a new level in autonomous drone autopilot capabilities for easy-to-use and seamless tracking of moving objects and smooth, stabilised video recording; the team is working on advanced object-sense-and-avoid technology. Be sure to check out the video. 

5. Printable Skin Sensors
New conductive bio-inks have been developed that can be applied with an ordinary pen to create sensors on a variety of surfaces including human skin and leaves, and which can measure the presence of different molecules Using fairly standard materials, in the demonstrations so far the inks could measure glucose beneath the skin and pollutants on leaves provided a reading device is brought in contact with the sensor. In related news a new flexible sensor material has been developed called iSkin intended for people to wear as multi-purpose customisable computer touch interfaces

6. The Edge of Conduction: Quantum Criticality in Biological Molecules
A new discovery seems to show that most biomolecules are quantum critical conductors whose electronic properties are precisely tuned to the transition point between a metal and an insulator The electronic states of these molecules are balanced between conduction and insulation and typified by unpredictable currents that flow in avalanches whose size can vary significantly. The insight was enabled by new molecular measurement and modelling tools able to analyse the charge and energy distribution, which revealed that a few biomolecules are conductors and a few are insulators but the vast majority are quantum critical conductors, which was a significant surprise, considered statistically very unlikely and implying that these properties were selected by evolution. A fascinating result and implications. 

7. Conducting Microbial Nanowires
In news perhaps related to biological quantum criticality we have the latest experimental evidence suggesting that protein-based microbial nanowires do indeed possess metal-like conductivity There has been a lot of debate over the last few years whether this is indeed the case. But if this is indeed true then the promise is that these protein-based conductive nanowires are now a tool that might be added and engineered into other cells in order to perform useful functions for example, converting chemical energy into electricity, using electricity to power related or re-engineered enzymes such as artificial photosynthesis, and interfacing with our electronic technologies and devices. 

8. Riding the Slope Towards Germline Engineering
This week we had a fascinating article exploring the rise of CRISPR technology and the fact that it is the easiest germline engineering tool we have ever developed Germline engineering refers to altering the genetic material that will develop into an embryo and subsequent human baby, whether for purposes of fixing disease-causing mutated genes, or for making genetic enhancements. This is already being done in animals, will soon be done in monkeys, and is a matter of when not if it will be done in humans, and could well form a standard part of IVF procedures; a number of companies are already pursuing opportunities in this space that are already tinkering with human egg cells. Personally, I believe we have a moral obligation to correct disease-causing genes for new people if it is possible to do so, and I support the pursuit of human enhancement using these technologies for a range of reasons within certain constraints. 

9. Google’s Quantum Computing Error Correction
Research supported by Google has resulted in the development of the ability to program qubits to detect certain types of quantum error and prevent these errors from ruining a quantum calculation The proof-of-concept only used nine qubits, but successfully demonstrated the ability to monitor and prevent bit-flip errors (a 1 flips to a 0) caused by environmental noise from contaminating the calculation. Future work will focus on other errors caused by environmental noise such as phase alterations and also demonstrate error correction larger arrays of qubits. 

10. Some Interesting Graphene Developments
First, graphene nanoribbons formed into a three dimensional aerogels turn out to be excellent catalysts for fuel cells Second, when graphene is stretched or strained, external electric and magnetic fields can precisely control and switch the movement of electrons that exhibit almost photon-like behaviour in graphene Third, graphene seems to form one of the most efficient thermionic energy conversion materials ever discovered, in which a heat source evaporates electrons that are collected on a condenser anode Finally, modified buckminsterfullerene might produce high-energy buckybomb explosive materials

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Yes it certainly did turn out to be a big week!'

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"Two areas of the brain — the hippocampus (yellow) and the prefrontal cortex (blue) — use two different brain-wave frequencies to communicate as the brain learns to associate unrelated objects."
Two brain regions that are key to learning -- the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex -- use two different brain-wave frequencies to communicate as the brain learns to associate unrelated objects, researchers have discovered.
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Thanks for reminding me of a quote :-)
"“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 
― Nikola Tesla"

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Thanks +Mark Bruce  for another great week of review in science. From light activation of genes to genetically modified apples it has been an intriguing week.
SciTech #ScienceSunday Digest - 07/2015.
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CRISPR via light, Volume graphene production, Spot the robot, Printed DNA hydrogels, Implanted artificial organs, Printing via spinnerets, Scanadu tricorder, Prosthetic arms, Contact lens telescope, GMO apple approval. 

1. Light-Induced CRISPR for Custom Tissue Architectures 
By attaching light sensitive proteins from plants to a specific CRISPR sequence and to gene activation proteins a new controlled gene regulation system has been engineered that enables any desired gene to be switched on and off by simply shining light of a particular wavelength onto the cell The proof-of-concept showed a dish of cells expressing fluorescent proteins only on those areas that had been exposed to light. Future applications include light-induced control over the variable differentiation of stem cell cultures to facilitate better and more realistic tissue engineering, or even skin-based cell therapies that allow you to activate a particular pathway at will.

2. Towards Volume Production of Graphene
An alteration to conventional chemical vapour deposition techniques has resulted in a new method to enable the scalable production of graphene sheets The key insight was simply to grow the graphene on a copper oxide substrate; the process of removing or decoupling the graphene from this substrate preserves the graphene structure and properties and circumvents the risks of breakage or contamination. In related graphene fabrication news, 3D printing of complex 3D graphene-based structures is being facilitated by better graphene-loaded inks

3. Spot, by Boston Dynamics
Leading robotics company Boston Dynamics showed off a new mid-size quadruped robot weighing 160 lbs called Spot this week Smaller but faster and more agile than its big brother Big Dog, Spot is battery powered and actuated by hydraulics, and can recover quickly from even severe knocks - as can be seen in the embedded video and which will test your anthropomorphic tendencies. In other robotics news new flying drone designs prove almost indestructible in most situations

4. 3D Printed Self-Assembled Hydrogel Structures
Complementary DNA strands loaded into a gel enable the gel to carry live cells and be 3D printed into custom structures The complementary DNA self-assembles to impart the mechanical characteristics of the gel, which can be altered as needed by changing the sequence of DNA; this self-assembly obviates the need for high temperatures and so better facilitates the handling of live cells through a print nozzle for tissue engineering applications. In other biological self-assembly news the self-assembled protein coats some microbes use to protect themselves is offering insights for engineering artificial variants for a range of purposes

5. Artificial Organs in Implantable Capsules
Pancreatic precursor cells loaded into a flexible, biocompatible mesh capsule that blocks white blood cells but allows the passage of nutrients, oxygen, waste products, proteins, and secreted factors, successfully treats diabetes in animals for long periods of time and has already been implanted into one person to kick off clinical trials The device was developed by Viacyte and they aren’t the only group developing similar technologies; future work will improve the life of the device and create full differentiated islet cells rather than a mix. It’s fascinating to think how the function of artificial organs can be provided in this way, or even other custom biological functions perhaps; combined with the light-induced CRISPR you could have a subdermal patch that you switch on when needed to pump out some enzyme like alcohol dehydrogenase for example. 

6. Robotic Bio-Mimicking Spinnerets for Amazing 3D Printing
A new 3D printer demonstration combines a robotic arm and an innovative 3D printer that includes multiple dynamically moving print heads that each continuously extrude print filament in a system that mimics a spider’s spinnerets extruding silk fibres The machine can extrude or “print” custom 3D fibres or structures, suspended in space, on the go and results in fibres comprising an internal core fibre surrounded by three looping fibres that help convey structural strength and flexibility. Check out the video; it’s pretty amazing. Think of this attached to a mobile robot or mobile swarm of robots. 

7. Scanadu Personal Medical “Tricorder” Ships
Starting out as a successful Indiegogo crowd-funding project Scanadu has finally launched and shipped their Scout product, a small round device that is held to the forehead and very quickly sends readings to your smartphone with measurements of heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level, and ECG Early users will help with real world calibration and testing and if the measurements are confirmed as accurate (an FDA submission is also in the works) then this would be a pretty powerful consumer device and one I’d definitely buy. They are also working on a “Scanaflo” product, intended to be a urine test kit for measuring  wide range of metabolic factors.

8. Prosthetic Arms by DARPA & OSRF
DARPA and its partners including the Open Source Robotics Foundation continue to develop advanced prosthetic arms and hands for amputees In a couple of recent demonstrations of the ongoing work we can see a man using a prosthetic arm to climb a rock wall, while other amputees use the prosthetic arms to pick grapes, spoon-feed themselves, “hand” objects between each other, pour drinks into glasses and other feats. The ultimate goal of the program is to create artificial limbs that behave like, are controlled like, and for the user feel like, a normal biological arm. 

9. Telescope in a Contact Lens
Another DARPA collaboration, this time with the EPFL, has resulted in the production of a new type of contact lens embedded with thin aluminium mirrors that, in conjunction with a pair of LCD glasses function as a telescopic lens Light passing through the LCD in one polarisation appears normal and conveys normal vision, but switch the LCD to produce a different polarisation that interacts with the contact lens and the result is telescopic magnification. Future work will improve the oxygen permeability of the lens for greater eye comfort and perhaps seek incorporate the switchable liquid crystal elements directly. 

10. Genetically Modified Apples Approved by Regulators
For the first time genetically engineered apples have been granted regulatory approval by the US Department of Agriculture The genetic modifications are pretty simple, and involve altering the activity levels of a particular gene / enzyme to ensure the apples will greatly resist browning when cut or dropped. I can only hope that this paves the way for greater varieties and greater numbers of different GM foods that convey a range of different nutritional benefits such as more vitamins, etc as opposed to the usual pesticide resistance that we usually see with staple crops. 

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Basic Information
April 13
My interest is in the science of Alcoholism,  Addiction, and Recovery with a particular focus on Recidivism.         

From 1988 until 1997 I was a bartender. During this time my alcoholism and cocaine addiction became  much worse and I deteriorated  rapidly  both physically and emotionally.

I was arrested for assault and battery.* 1989

I had three DWI's, two of which I was charged with cocaine possession. 1991, 1993, 1997

I lost my car, condo, job, license and girlfriend.

 I filed for bankruptcy. 1995

I quit drinking and drugging January 22 2000.

AA: I attended AA meetings for the first three years regularly . Being around others who shared a similar problem and goal helped me immensely. The spiritual aspect of A.A. is great, however I began to develop a need to understand from a more physiological/psychological perspective how recovery did and did not work.

THERAPY: This curiosity led me to find a therapist and engage in individual therapy for three years.** This was extremely rewarding, painful and ultimately helpful. I studied therapeutic issues such as transference/counter transference, projection, ego defenses, etc., and schools of thought ( very little Freudian, more self object relations, attachment theory, etc.) in order to understand my underlying developmental deficiencies more clearly.
HOMESCHOOLING: After this I began researching alcoholism, depression and addiction on my own. With no science background, I had a great deal of difficulty reading research papers from Pub Med online. I started exploring neurology, physiology, biology, chemistry, etc. to better understand alcoholism and addiction from a more scientific standpoint.
RESEARCH: Professors at City College of New York up on 138th street have been very kind and allowed me to sit in and audit classes (free of charge) to further my scientific “home schooling” as I like to call it. Another New York University next to where I work  in Greenwich village has not been as kind to my requests to sit in on lectures.


PERSONAL BACKGROUND: My parents were divorced when I was three. I was raised in a single parent alcoholic home with father geographically distant.
Family background: 1 parent is a recovering alcoholic with 2 brothers who committed suicide as adults, a brother and sister who are deceased and were extremely active alcoholics, and a deceased sister with a history of mental illness and nervous breakdowns. The other parent deceased was not an alcoholic but his 2 deceased brothers  were extremely active alcoholics, and his deceased sister  was a relatively high functioning alcoholic. 
WORK: Currently I work  in a restaurant primarily for health benefits and free time to pursue my interest in science.
*The case was overcharged and dismissed on the first court date but it was indicative of a drug and alcohol problem.
**When I started therapy, the co pay was 15 dollars and then increased to 45 dollars per session. I could no longer afford the weekly sessions.
I post primarily on topics related to brain, behavior, and science.
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Cocaine Use Leads to Rapid Growth of New Mouse Brain Structures |

By enhancing this growth, cocaine might be a super-learning stimulus that reinforces learning about the cocaine experience, she said. The fr

NeuroFocus Uses Neuromarketing to Hack Your Brain | Fast Company

.caption {color:#666;font-size:11px;} .caption img {padding-bottom:3px;} Neuroscience Brain Hack Photo by Gene Lee AK. Pradeep knows what yo

Dorsolateral prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortex interactions during sel...

Abstract Drug-related cues induce craving, which may perpetuate drug use or trigger relapse in addicted individuals. Craving is also under t

Magnetic manipulation of the sense of morality : Neurophilosophy

Transcranial magnetic stimulation of a specific region of the brain's right hemisphere impairs certain types of moral judgements

Response to sad movies linked to depression relapse

The brains of people who relapse into depression differ from those of people who maintain a recovery, a new study shows.

NIDA NOTES - Ketamine, PCP, and Alcohol Trigger Widespread Cell Death In...

NIDA-supported study has shown that prenatal exposure to drugs such as phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine, and alcohol causes widespread damage t

The Agony and the Ecstasy: The Quiet Mission to Fight PTSD With Psychede...

Michael and Annie Mithoefer’s patients come to their clinic in Charleston, South Carolina, as a last resort on a grueling tour of duty. Unab

Eric Berlow: How complexity leads to simplicity | Video on

TED Talks Ecologist Eric Berlow doesn't feel overwhelmed when faced with complex systems. He knows that more information can lead to a bette

PsychotherapeuticTechniques Psychotherapiemethoden

Psychotherapy Techniques and their representatives * Vorstellung von Psychotherapiemethoden und ihrer Vertreter

YouTube - SyNAPSE: IBM Cognitive Computing Project - Software

Create AccountSign In. Home. BrowseMoviesUpload. Hey there, this is not a commercial interruption. You're using an outdated browser, whi

Zapping the brain with magnets makes it IMPOSSIBLE to lie

Estonian scientists found that when magnets were applied to either the right or left side of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex it made you

Pregnant 9/11 survivors transmitted trauma to their children

For New Yorkers, the events that transpired on the morning of 11 September, 2001 must have seemed like a nightmare. Immediately after the at

Neural Connections: SfN Recap day I/II & Video: Neural Connectivity

SfN Recap day I/II & Video: Neural Connectivity. At SfN, I have never been so blown away by the amount of posters, at least of those tha

How the brain stores information for short periods of time

Researchers show how the brain stores information for short periods of time. The cells of several neural circuits store information by maint

Secrets of 'magic' antidepressant revealed

Researchers have discovered how a novel antidepressant can take effect in hours, rather than the weeks or months usually required for most d

Of Mice and Men, a Common Cortical Connection

A new study using magnetic resonance imaging data of 406 adult human twins affirms the long-standing idea that the genetic basis of human

Is there a general motivation center in the depths of the brain?

Researchers have identified the part of the brain driving motivation during actions that combine physical and mental effort: the ventral str

Best Juicer Review: Omega VRT350HD Vertical Single Auger Juicer | Best J...

If Dyson started making juicers, the Omega VRT350 would be the result. Here's our full review-including some issues you should know before b