When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.

Friedrich Nietzsche (via hienny)

Same goes for hungry, sick, dehydrated and drunk, and if you’re any of these things regularly enough, you’ll start to be defined by these ideas all over again, because everything feels insurmountable when you’re too physically drained to process anything properly.

(via meta-maieutics)

I’ve been reading Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Jonah writes about Walt Whitman, who (ahead of his time) thought of mind and body as inseparable (as we now know, via neurology) and how ironic it was that when he died, his body was found to be entirely sickly — ravaged by neglect. Typical artist.

It was just amazing to me that you could have a little more or less of some chemical and your whole worldview would be different,” he recalls, smiling with boyish wonder. “If you can switch a chemical and your personality changes, who are you?

The $1.3B Quest to Build a Supercomputer Replica of a Human Brain | Wired Science | (via wildcat2030)

Yes! But not only part of your personality. Chemicals are intertwined within systems, so there’s no such thing as a gene-for-this-or-that-alone. Change your mind, change your body.

Braintrust contains a lot of interesting information about this.


Amazing Facts About Our Bodies


Swallow and Breathe

Fact: Humans are the only mammal that can’t swallow and breathe at the same time.

Every other mammal, and many other non-mammalian animals, can breathe while they eat. In fact, human infants are also able to do so, which lets them breathe while they nurse. We lose this ability around the age of 9 months, when our voice box drops as part of our development. As children and adults, the human voice box lays unusually low in the neck compared to other animals. This allows sound to resonate much more, which is why we are able to produce the wide range of sounds that makes up our speech.

Second Brain

Fact: You have a second brain in your gut.

Well, sort of. You have around 100 million neurons, more than are in your spinal cord, that line your gut from your esophagus to your anus. This is known to scientists as the enteric nervous system. This second brain is incapable of conscious thought and is largely responsible for digestion, but it does more than that. If you’ve ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach or felt as if you’ve been punched in the gut when receiving bad news, that was caused by your enteric nervous system. This also plays a roll in your overall mood, why certain foods can alter your mood and why bad situations or feelings often cause you to lose your appetite.


Fact: Loneliness is physically painful.

Ok, you probably knew that. But do you know why? Researchers at the University of California asked volunteers to play a computer game that simulated a simple game of catch with two other players. What they didn’t know was that the other “players” were just the computer and it was designed to leave them out after a few minutes of play, resulting in feelings of loneliness and rejection. They found that the feeling of loneliness is actually processed in the same part of your brain as physical pain, called the anterior cingulate cortex. This explains the human desire to fit in, to seek out companionship and helps to understand the power of peer pressure. Scientists are also hoping to use this information to help explain and treat some forms of depression.


Fact: You salivate more before you vomit.

This is an automatic bodily reflex designed to protect your throat, mouth and teeth. Stomach acid is, of course, highly acidic and if it weren’t for the lining in your stomach it would eat a hole right through it. Unfortunately, you don’t have that same lining in your throat or mouth. Salivating before vomiting helps to dilute and rinse away the acid so it won’t harm the rest of your body. Your saliva can also help to neutralize the acid somewhat. This is also why it’s a good idea to rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth after you vomit.

Bitter Sweet

Fact: Cut yourself? Put sugar on it!

Healers in Africa have been putting crushed sugar cane on wounds for generations. Moses Murandu is a nurse who grew up watching his father use the remedy in Africa and was surprised to find that doctors in England didn’t use it. He started a study to research the idea, testing it on patients with bed sores, leg ulcers and amputations before dressing the wounds. They found that the sugar can reduce pain and kill bacteria that slow healing. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it naturally absorbs water which the bacteria need to survive. Sugar is also much cheaper than more modern antibiotics. So the next time you cut yourself, give it a sprinkle of sugar before putting on a band-aid!


Fact: Forget why you walked into a room? There is a reason.

Have you ever walked into a room and forgot why you were there? And after that, have you ever noticed that you can sometimes remember if you go back through the doorway? There is actually a reason for that. Researchers in Notre Dame conducted several experiments on rooms and their effect on memory. Subjects in the study were divided into two groups and given a simple task while traveling the same distance. The only difference is one group went through a doorway and the other didn’t. They found that people who traveled through the doorway were three times more likely to forget their task. Researchers concluded that our mind perceives doorways as “event boundaries” and that decisions you made in that room are “stored” there when you leave. That is also why you can remember if you go back into that room.

Color Vision

Fact: Some woman actually see more colors.

Frustrated because you told your hubby to bring your peach shirt and he grabbed a pink one? It might not be his fault. A study from the University of California shows that up to 50% of women carry four types of color receptors, or iodopsins, rather than the usual three. Normal visioned people will look at a rainbow and see seven different colors, while one with four receptors will see around 10 colors. The reason this happens in woman is that the red and green receptors are located on the X chromosome, while the blue is on the Y. The red and green receptors can be slightly shifted allowing for a greater range of color vision. There are also a small number of women who will have both kinds of red and green, resulting in 5 color receptors. This is also why color blindness is much more common in men than women.


Fact: Eating your boogers may been good for you!

Your nasal mucus (booger) is designed to filter out airborne contaminants and so eating it has long thought to be bad for you, but recent study shows that it may actually help to boast your immune system by introducing those contaminants in small amounts, training your body to recognize and fight against them. But don’t worry, you don’t have to start picking your nose. You have most likely already eaten your boogers, even if you are unaware of it. Mucus accumulated in your nasal passages is often directed backwards and down your throat by the motion of your cilia (hair like structures on your cells used to move things). Yum…

Redundant Nostril

Fact: You probably only breath through one nostril at a time.

This happens in about 85% of people. The truly interesting thing about that is in those people the body with automatically switch between nostrils every four hours or so, although it can vary based on body position, illness or just from person to person. This is accomplished through erectile tissue in your nose similar to that in a penis or clitoris. The erectile tissue will slowly swell up in one nostril, eventually blocking most of it while the tissue in the other one will shrink, allowing for more air flow. It has been found that which side you are breathing from can have an effect on your body. If you are breathing from the right side, for example, your blood glucose levels will rise and you will use much more oxygen. Also, breathing through the right will cause higher activity in the left side of your brain and vise versa. This could be useful in stimulating your right (creative) side or your left (logical) side as needed.

Blood Vessels

Fact: Every pound of fat gained causes your body to make 7 new miles of blood vessels.

Knowing this, it’s easy to see why obesity and heart disease often go together. Most of the new blood vessels are tiny capillaries, but also include small veins and arteries. This means if you are “only” 10 pounds overweight your heart has to pump blood through an extra 70 miles of blood vessels. The good news is that this also works in reverse. If you lose a pound of fat, your body will break down and reabsorb the no longer needed blood vessels. This is encouraging to dieters, as one pound does not seem like a lot to lose, but even that little bit of difference will result in a large benefit for your heart!

©List Verse

Here’s the thing: For most of us, cyborg ends at the human-machine hybrid. The point of the cyborg is to be a cyborg; it’s an end unto itself. But for Clynes, the interface between the organism and the technology was just a means, a way of enlarging the human experience. That knotty first definition? It ran under this section headline: “Cyborgs — Frees Man to Explore.” The cyborg was not less human, but more.
Adherents of “transhumanism”—a movement that seeks to transform Homo sapiens through tools like gene manipulation, “smart drugs” and nanomedicine—hail such developments as evidence that we are becoming the engineers of our own evolution. Enhanced humans might inject themselves with artificial, oxygen-carrying blood cells, enabling them to sprint for 15 minutes straight. They could live long enough to taste a slice of their own 250th birthday cake. Or they might abandon their bodies entirely, translating the neurons of their brains into a digital consciousness.

Transhumanists say we are morally obligated to help the human race transcend its biological limits; those who disagree are sometimes called Bio-Luddites.

{ How to Become the Engineers of Our Own Evolution }
The “transhumanist” movement says better technology will enable you to replace more and more body parts—even your brain
By Abigail Tucker
Smithsonian magazine, April 2012


Also in response to: { Anonymous asked: …How can we -physically- transcend our sexes? }

abstractcolor asked:

I just meant to propose some counter-examples for your ideas, to test/refine them. There are cases where the body(/machine) exists but the mind(/self) doesn't, and therefore the mind and body are not synonymous, is what I meant to suggest. I could be wrong, if you meant within the definition of body that the parts are all functioning together in the way that we call being alive, in the way to generate the high-level abstraction of mind. But we call some things bodies that are not like this.

Interesting. I liked that last sentence, but can you give a more concrete example? I’m thinking of something like a person in a coma or otherwise disabled… Is that what you mean? But I think this is more of a consciousness issue. I’m guessing you’re referring to the first and last “answers”, about the malleability of a body that once seemed a concrete figure purposefully made, and against Descartes’ dualism & the soul. When I say body, I imagine a collection of ordered atoms which have connected in such a way that they become a macroscopic (from our view) thing, functioning. The thing we call mind or soul or what have you, recently, we’re finding to be more of a manifestation due to those ordered atoms recognizing their own being… Rather than something separate from them, some non-physical magical thing. Anyway I appreciate it, though my answers/ideas were not to be solid and incontestable — just directions to explore as I continue this project; starting points for work.

We are neural beings,” states Berkeley cognitive scientist George Lakoff. “Our brains take their input from the rest of our bodies. What our bodies are like and how they function in the world thus structures the very concepts we can use to think. We cannot think just anything – only what our embodied brains permit.” His recent book Philosophy In The Flesh, coauthored by Mark Johnson, makes the following points: “The mind is inherently embodied. Thought is mostly unconscious. Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.

We are not only eating ‘materials’, we are also eating ‘information’

in a new study, Chen-Yu Zhang’s group at Nanjing university present a rather striking finding that plant miRNAs could make into the host blood and tissues via the route of food-intake. Moreover, once inside the host, they can elicit functions by regulating host “target” genes and thus regulate host physiology. MicroRNAs are a class of 19-24 nucleotide non-coding RNAs that do not code for proteins. MicroRNAs bind to target messenger RNAs to inhibit protein translation. In previous studies, the same group has demonstrated that stable microRNAs (miRNAs) in mammalian serum and plasma are actively secreted from tissues and cells and can serve as a novel class of biomarkers for disease and act as signaling molecules in intercellular communication. Here, they report the surprising finding that exogenous plant miRNAs are present in the sera and tissues of various animals and that these exogenous plant miRNAs are primarily acquired orally, through food intake. MIR168a is abundant in rice and is one of the most highly enriched exogenous plant miRNAs in the sera of Chinese subjects. Functional studies in vitro and in vivo demonstrated that MIR168a could bind to the human/mouse low density lipoprotein receptor adapter protein 1 (LDLRAP1) mRNA, inhibit LDLRAP1 expression in liver, and consequently decrease LDL removal from mouse plasma. These findings demonstrate that exogenous plant miRNAs in food can regulate the expression of target genes in and thus physiology of mammals.

{ Ignatio Torres }: Stellar

This project began from the theory that humans are  made of cosmic matter as a result of a stars death. I created imagery  that showcased this cosmic birth through the use of dust and reflective  confetti to create galaxies. The models organic bodily expressions as  they are frozen in time between the particles suggest their celestial  creation. In addition, space and time is heightened by the use of  three-dimensional animated gifs. Their movement serves as a visual  metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their  separateness through time.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but please see the whole project (in larger sizes, also) on the artist’s website. It’s wonderful.

{ Ignatio Torres }: Stellar

This project began from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a stars death. I created imagery that showcased this cosmic birth through the use of dust and reflective confetti to create galaxies. The models organic bodily expressions as they are frozen in time between the particles suggest their celestial creation. In addition, space and time is heightened by the use of three-dimensional animated gifs. Their movement serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time.


Perhaps it goes without saying, but please see the whole project (in larger sizes, also) on the artist’s website. It’s wonderful.

June 8, 2011

Single stem cell capable of regenerating the entire blood system found *
Speech-related gene helps wire developing brain
Meditation effects on left frontal lobe found
Capturing ambient electromagnetic energy to drive small electronic devices *
Brain cells made from skin could treat Parkinson’s
How America is losing its tech mojo (and how it can get it back)
Bionic glasses for poor vision *
Nanomagnet memory and logic could achieve ultimate energy efficiency
Facebook announces video calling, powered by Skype
Can taking probiotics improve your mental health?
How to live forever film opens in S.F. Friday
IBM weighs Watson for internal use
In eyes, a clock calibrated by wavelengths of light *
Speed of brain signals clocked
Robo-worm to wriggle through rubble to quake survivors
Researchers engineer functioning small intestine in laboratory experiments *
How to measure emotions
Laser, electric fields combined for new ‘lab-on-chip’ technologies
Control your home with thought alone
Drug reverses accelerated aging
Kinect knows what you are doing
Bionic body parts offer hope to the disabled
Samsung windfall: all of South Korea’s textbooks to go digital by 2015
Evolution machine: genetic engineering on fast forward
Magnetic nanoparticles fry tumors
Internet is ‘victim of vicious smear campaign,’ finds report *
Stoner alert: McDonald’s gets you legally high *
IBM chip 100x faster than most advanced flash memory
How to remote-control a robot on another planet
How your memories can be twisted under social pressure
Two-layer solar cell to achieve 42 percent efficiency
Predicting future actions from human brain activity
New light on how the retina sees
Better bioprinting with stem cells
Change in material boosts prospects of ultrafast single-photon detector

via my { Kurzweil AI } weekly feed.

the accelerating future is laughing.