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Ben “The Blenster” Hibben
I'm a geek! :-)
I'm a geek! :-)

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This is really impressive:
In an incredibly interesting development, an "artificial womb" has successfully grown sheep from 105-120 days in pregnancy (roughly the equivalent of 22-24 weeks in a human) to full term. The womb consists of a sealed transparent bag, inside which an electrolyte fluid flows, keeps the developing lungs supported, and removes waste (much like amniotic fluid does) and an umbilical blood system which provides nutrients, oxygenates blood, and so on. As you can imagine, this was tremendously difficult to develop -- e.g., the umbilical system can't have its own pump, since that would damage the developing heart, and instead fluids must flow easily enough that the fetus' own heartbeat is enough to keep its circulation going.

What's amazing is that this seems to be working. Eight lambs have been born through the system, and researchers are monitoring them closely to see how they develop.

This isn't a complete uterine replicator; the environment in early development is even more complex than it is in late development, and there's no suggestion that you could start from an embryo or a zygote here. What this could have an effect on is extreme prematurity -- infants delivered at or before the 28th week, who currently have a fairly poor prognosis, both for survival and later quality of life. The further effects that such technologies could have in the future are, of course, even more profound. (And have been discussed at length in the science fictional literature, with Bujold being probably its most famous explorer)

Current estimates suggest that this could be 3-5 years away from the first human tests. Those are likely to be difficult, of course, since human development is more complex than sheep development, especially as regards the brain; however, if applied to extremely premature fetuses, it could be a reasonable experimental treatment as the alternative is even worse.

via +David Fuchs

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Parenting in this time is increasingly complex; why not get some help? Check this out:
Sooooo, something I've been patiently waiting to share with you has finally come to fruition. I've partnered with a new organization to offer family coaching around technology use in the home. Along with my host Dr Joanne Orlando, we'll be walking you through a 12-month instructional program to help you parent in the digital age.

There is a cost to this online coaching- which includes a text messaging component and a closed Facebook support group- but I will be giving out some free codes to join up. Let me know if you're interested!

Of course, feel free to share this with any moms and dads you know who may be interested. 

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Today's song is about mental health which is a long topic for me I will endeavor to keep this short.

It's no secret that I was a broken young man who had to endure much, including the sort of bullying that causes people to look you up and apologize for what they did (especially after Columbine).

I had many years of therapy and I am happy to report that I'm happy now. I am a positive member of the community and I work hard to help others and to change the community for the better.

This song, especially with the video where people hold signs showing their innermost thoughts in public, reminds me of the private journey we're all on in this life. It reminds me that everyone has their own story and needs. It reminds me that this life is hard for more folks than just me and that I need to be kind and empathetic towards others.

It also reminds me that I'm fine now and what I had to overcome to reach this point.

I hope you are doing well, my internet friends who are reading this, and if you need someone to talk to I hope I can provide some support.

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This is an amazing build:
We learn about cosplayer VertVixen's beautiful Lich Queen armor build!

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h/t +Yonatan Zunger​

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I wrote a bit about ex's and so naturally I thought I'd play this song for you today:

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Yup; next week me!!
Geek Questioner Podcast #0052
Ryan Toxopeus & The Astromech Wizard
Covering April 14th - April 20th, 2017
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Listen & Subscribe Here:

This week I interview writer, father & driving researcher +Ryan Toxopeus from his home in Guelph, Ontario and geek out over all manner of things with him. From very elaborate D&D games to being gifted sardines & alcohol while in line for Star Wars to passing down geekiness across generations and so much more!

Following the interview, we discuss your answers to the week's questions. We learn about your favorite mystery stories, the surprising talents that you have, skim through your fake Last Jedi spoilers, laugh over your wonderful 'Earth' travel reviews, discover what audio productions are your favorites, and more!

I'm flying solo this week but join us for our latest shenanigans and if you like it, please subscribe and feel free to comment below! Oh and sign up if you want to be a guest!

Next Week's Guest: +Ben Hibben

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Timeline & Question Links:
00:00 - Interview
29:35 - Commercial - Used Landspeeders
30:00 - Friday:
34:00 - Saturday:
38:30 - Sunday:
40:00 - Monday:
44:35 - Tuesday:
51:00 - Wednesday:
54:55 - Thursday:
59:30 - Wrap Up

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I'm really loving the new +Gorillaz stuff; they're back with excellent music, incredible beats, and check out this amazing 360 degree music video experience:

I really like this song; the hook is catchy and I want to hear this bass on my most powerful subwoofer.

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This is well worth reading:

h/t +Lerato Majikfaerie​
Can we include this cartoon in sex ed classes? Please?

To be fair, the idea of male/female relationships as "the battle between the sexes" is not new in this generation (it grounds most of the episodes of I Love Lucy, not to mention Shakespeare, and is still the groundwork of so much TV today). While discussion of rape culture and toxic sexuality seem to make the modern era seem worse than ever, I wonder if, like recognizing racism as being wrong, what we are seeing is simply awareness of how "bros over hoes" and young men focusing on sexual scores is problematic (to put it kindly), not that it's more prevalent than elsewhen.

Anyway, click through to the full cartoon, because it's good stuff. And, frankly, the "Two Super Obvious Points" should be the core of any sexual education curriculum.

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I believe I've posted today's song before, but not as part of this collection.

I have loved difficult women before. When I listen to this I think back to some of them and what it took to be with them.

Maybe this is why I have a cat now, and don't really date. ;-)

All joking aside; if you're worth it to me you're worth it and I'll go to bat for you. Is it too much to expect you to do the same for me? I don't think so.

Someday I'll find that again. For now I'm dealing with a disastrous year with three kidney stones and all the hard work it'll take to overcome the debt and setbacks that caused.

And to my ex's: you were worth it then and I regret only my own behavior, not my choice to be with you. In some cases I wish I could have done better. In others I wish you had done better. I hope we both learned from our experiences.

The most problematic part of this song, for me, is her plea to be lied to. I hate lies and lying, especially in a relationship like this. It never seems to work out well, even when you try to do it for "the right reasons" (if that's actually a thing). For example: I once dated a woman who had inherited some wealth but given its source she wanted nothing to do with it. I grew up in poverty and have been fighting to escape check-to-check drudgery and the lack of options and choices this foists upon you all my life. I wanted to help spare her that and argued that she should at least keep it so she wouldn't ever have to feel that weight on her shoulders (she grew up in a nice family with plenty of money, upper middle class, and so didn't really know what it was like). She eventually relented, which was good, but then wanted my input on what to do with it. Naturally I'm a bit of a hypocrite and I don't want anything to do with her money, either... LOL But that's my stubborn pride; I want to work hard for my success, not find a figurative lottery ticket on the ground and have it handed to me (note: this attitude has changed as I have gotten older; I'll take that lottery ticket any day of the week right now). I couldn't exactly tell her to keep it to herself, however, after having spent so much time and effort convincing her she needed it and should take advantage of something few people get in their lives. I eventually relented under her insistence and agreed to accept an "allowance" of her choosing but secretly vowed to never spend a dime of it on anyone but her. Though our relationship ended for different reasons I feel like this lie I told her factored in her feelings; I think she knew I wasn't being 100% honest (she knew me pretty well by this time). It's one of the few things I regret from that time; all in all it was a pretty good relationship. I should have been more honest about my own hypocrisy with her and myself; maybe I'd have gotten over it and found a better solution.

Next time I'll be stronger and stick to the truth even if it seems like a good idea to lie.
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