Archive for the ‘Experiments’ Category

Researcher Wires Four Rats’ Brains Together – Creates Bizarre Organic “Brainet”

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

At Duke University a researcher who’s pioneering brain-computer interfaces has circuited four rats’ together via their brains and created a gooey and organic “Brainet”.

Miguel Nicolelis, the neurobiologist pioneering this neuroengineering at Duke University has spent 30 years doing similar experiments in hopes of uncovering the secrets of the human mind.

Earlier, in 2011, Nicolelis connected the brain of individual monkeys in order to get them to work a virtual monkey arm and grab virtual objects with it using only their mind. It didn’t take long for the each monkey to grasp the process mentally and move their extra invisible monkey hand.

Nicolelis then wondered if it were possible to string together several brains and have the work together to perform particular tasks. He used four rats to test the idea.

In order to get a drink of water the rats would have to learn to work together mentally to get a drink. In a short amount of time the rats were drinking regularly as normal.

Currently the rats have Frankenstein-like electrodes embedded in their heads. That will change as the technology progresses until it’s completely non-invasive.

What can we gain from a “brainet” as humans? Will we eventually become Borg-like? Is it smart to move toward a hive-mind? Who knows.

Downside? Enough people are connected via their brains and someone hacks the “brainet” to make the world bow before them. Upside? Natural disaster takes place and we use the “brainet” to locate those in need of help and almost telepathically send the information needed to medically aid those people even though the person at the receiving end might not be trained in life-saving techniques.

The entire idea is still in its infancy as to the possible applications but as Nicolelis points out:

“These computers will not do word processing or numerical calculation or internet searches, they will be tailored for very specific tasks like what animals are tailored for. It’s a totally different kind of vision for computation that we’re not used to.”

The whole process is intriguingly involved and fascinating….and somewhat terrifying.

Imagine waking up and being hooked to someone else’s brain?

Or imagine that this is slowly becoming a reality….


Bird Flu Goes Viral in Lab Ferrets!

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Virologists and epidemiologists sure can be a fun bunch.

Put enough money behind one of their projects and who knows what you’ll end up with.

In this case we may end up with the end of the human race.

Remember the bird flu scare? Total Year 2000-style panic. Many people just took it as another sign that those silly Mayans weren’t so silly and 2012 was the last time they’d have to buy a calendar from one of those kiosks in the mall.

After an article in the L.A Times, that panic could start to rear its ugly head if current research results on the H5N1 virus mentioned in the story begin making rotation on televised news sources.

Scientists have been playing with the bird flu virus in order to see if it would ever mutate enough to become a pandemic among humans spreading merely through someone sneezing on someone else.

And guess what? It could. Since 2003 there have been 606 confirmed cases of H5N1 in humans…almost 60% of those proved fatal. Fatalities among birds, where the virus gets its ‘bird flu’ monicker, have been in the millions. Scientists want to get a lead on the pathogen to see what evolutionary process it would have to take to become a global pandemic amongst humans.

They have an answer and it’s not pretty.

Using ferrets, Dutch researchers led by virologist Ron Fouchier, have developed a strain of the virus that is transmitted through droplets in sneezes. Passing ten times between infected ferrets and mutating five times in the process, H5N1 became airborne and a very real threat to all of us.

After injecting one ferret with H5N1 via droplets to their nose, scientists would let the virus mutate inside the ferret’s body. Once the virus mutated, researchers would then infect another ferret with the mustation. Ten ferrets and five mutations later? Lots of ‘uh ohs’ and nervous, unspoken glances at the other scientists in the room.

As the government continues to provide funding for studies like this in ongoing biological weapons research, scientists, researchers and world leaders are trying to put safeguards in place and determine just how far developing mankind-destroying viruses should go.

The public, because we’ve seen the movies, are worried that scientists may create something that would wipe us all out either because they felt like being a jerk that day, want to swim in a pile of cash like Scrooge McDuck or are making up for all those times people picked on them as a child and would like to pay everyone back for that.

What most people are concerned about is when controversial papers like this are published for the world to see. All we need is one of those scientists with the back-stories mentioned above or a crazy person with enough tenacity and hatred for all of us to peruse a detailed document like the paper for this study to wake up on the wrong side of bed one day.

Brakes had been applied to publishing this research. After six months of red-tape? That paper is about to go public. The Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science (which publishes Science where the paper will appear) want the paper to see publication so that work can continue on the H5N1 virus. Both the Dutch and US government are seeking to add addtional guidelines concerning publishing research like this in order to prevent individuals from having complete access to the process of creating something like the airborne H5N1 mutation so it doesn’t end up at some local elementary science because some super-nerdy ‘pageant parents’ wanted little Billy to get first place at any price.

Director of the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science (seriously…have a title), Mark Frankel, stated that the beneifit of studying H5N1 “far outweighs” any potential danger.

“There’s a risk in everything in life”, he said.

To which many of us would probably think that too.

Especially when we decide to manufacture deadly-to-mankind, airborne viruses.

I’m running to the mall…anyone else want me to pick them up one of those Mayan calendars?

[LA Times]

Horrifying Soviet Tests To Determine If Animals Experience An Afterlife

Friday, May 13th, 2011

The Cold War has just begun. The next several decades will be defined by an escalating race of espionage and technological one-upsmanship. You owe it to yourself to give your nation every advantage. That includes investigating the shadowy world of ESP and the transmission of messages from one brain to another.

So the tests begin. On animals at first. A hypothesis is formed that two bonds would be universally easy to detect changes in: A) the natural relationship between mother and child B) the continuity of life itself. Logical, no?

Comrades, this is the gilded pathway to hell as you blink to reality and find yourself on a Soviet submarine killing baby rabbits.

The document continues: “According to Naumov, Soviet scientists placed the baby rabbits aboard the submarine. They kept the mother rabbit in a laboratory on shore where they implanted electrodes (EEG?) in her brain. When the submarine was submerged, assistants killed the rabbits one by one. At each precise moment of death, the mother rabbit’s brain produced detectable and recordable reactions.”

Experiments like this when on through the 1970s with a particular focus on documenting if other animals could innately sense one of their own kicking the bucket.

[Mysterious Universe]

Bees Shame Computers, Travelling Salesmen

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

A complex mathematical problem known as the Travelling Salesman Problem, and which is known to take a supercomputer days to solve, is effectively being solved by bees in real time. Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and Royal Holloway have discovered that bees can quickly determine the shortest route between flowers even when they learn about the flowers in a different order. The problem that the Travelling Salesman must solve is finding the shortest route that allows him to visit all the locations on his route. The current method used by computers to solve it is by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the shortest. Scientists hope to study the bees to better manage our own networks while also learning the “minimal neural circuitry required for complex problem solving.”

[Queen Mary via]

How we plan to protect you from all the wicked evil demonic ghosts we’re going to capture

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Wicked Woods

So Justin Robert Young and I have been scoping out murder scenes, ancient burial grounds and sites of all out massacres in research for our Weird Things Live project (where we investigate paranormal phenomena in front of a live internet audience). On a recent moonlit night standing in the middle of a mass killing field I had an epiphany. What are we going to do when we make contact with some kind of demonic spirit that may have caused people to go on murderous rampages and infect the scene with some kind of contagious inter-dimensional gloom? We need protocols and stuff.

Sure, we’re skeptics and we don’t actually believe in ghosts and spirits, but to be scientific about it, we have to accept the possibility that our premise could be wrong and this stuff is pure concentrated wickedness. We have a moral imperative to do something when we come face to face with wicked evil supernatural forces. So I decided to develop a plan and protocol for capturing and containing all that evil we’re going to encounter for your entertainment pleasure. I’ll describe our method for the capturing process in a later post. Here I’ll describe how we plan to contain it for transport and permanent confinement.

Level 1: Ghosts aren’t real Our first level of protection is based upon the virtual scientific fact that ghosts aren’t real. While we’re confident this should protect us and you, it’s only our first defense.

Level 2: Physical confinement We’re going to use airtight glass jars to physically contain the malevolent spirits. If there is some unknown physical property to dark spirits (like some kind of intelligent airborne bacteria) this should help confine them inside a physical medium.

Level 3: Sacred ground Inside each jar we plan on putting dirt from some kind of sacred holy ground where spirits are able to chill out peacefully. Our plan is that this should contain the spirit long enough to transport it to our final containment area.

Level 4: Sacred seal Using the Egyptians as a guide, we’re going to seal the jar with some kind of inscription designed to keep evil spirits inside. As we know from movies, breaking sacred seals are a bad thing, so we’re going to get some and put them on our jars. So don’t break them.

Level 5: Super Evil Super Max We’ve staked out a couple of remote plots of land located near burial grounds. We plan to bury these jars of tortured souls in this resting spot that will then be festooned with a variety of religious artifacts. We plan on bringing in some kind of Holy Man (under blindfold) to consecrate the grounds. We also plan on creating a ring of powder and pouring holy water everywhere.

That’s just the starting point. Your suggestions are welcome. Our goal is to keep adding to our final resting spot of evil as we capture more spirits. For it to work we’re going to have to keep the actual location a very closely held secret. We don’t want some interlopers to stumble in there and unleash what may be the greatest concentration of evil ever.

If this sounds silly to you, ask yourself this: Would you want these jars filled with the presumed spirits of serial killers and maniacs under your bed at night? When asked if they’d briefly wear a sweater that belonged to a serial killer (dry cleaned no less) most people flat out refuse. I’m sure they’d be even less happy to have our jars buried in their garden.

Revealing Footage Shows How Humans Speak

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Check out this creepy full-motion x-ray of a human being speaking. The human being in question is Christine Ericsdotter and she recorded herself speaking to study how the different parts of our mouths work together to make words. You can read more about the study here and watch a full video here (Quicktime required).

Listen now


Control A Flame With Nothing But Brainwaves

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Pyrokinesis Tinkerers from the Site3 coLabratory have discovered how to make fire… with your mind!

The PK4A Project uses a headset to read brain patterns and a small homemade computer to increase or decrease the flame based on the user’s cerebral input.

The headset is called the NeuroSky MindSet and uses four sensors to detect two of the eight energy bands the brain produces. The computer interprets the brainwaves using a custom algorithm and reflects the level of activity with a massive propane flame.

Safety is obviously a concern so the inventors use a ‘dead-man switch,’ which constantly has to be pressed for the device to function.

While there are no plans to put the item up for sale basic specs are available on the project site.

If you can’t wait to see this thing in action, here’s a video of them using it at Firefly 2010.

Russian Researchers Prepare For Mars With Isolation Experiment

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Big Brother... In Space!

Six men have sequestered themselves in a Russian Bunker for a 520-day experiment to study how a mission to Mars would effect astronauts.

The experiment will simulate the isolation of space travel and offer limited access to the outside world. Much like an actual space mission the scientists will only be able to communicate with “Mission Control” when they need assistance. Unlike an actual space mission the researchers will also be participating in simulated Inter-planetary chess with chess master Anatoly Karpov.

Participants can end the study at any time by simply walking out, which is a bit of a cop out. If nobody leaves please join us back here in about a year for our follow-up story: “Russian Researchers Bugger, Eat Each Other.”


Podcast: Super-Awesome Juice

Monday, May 17th, 2010

weird things podcast SM

The crew invents a new form of inter-species prejudice, declares their willingness to do stupid things in the name of science and then goes metaphysical.

Subscribe to the Weird Things podcast on iTunes
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Listen now


Pentagon Releases Details On LSD, Mind Control Experiments

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010


Not exactly Men Who Stare At Goats, but here is some recently FOIA’d info about how the Pentagon oversaw experiments into forced narcotics dosing and mind control, all in an effort to get an edge on the godless communists in the Cold War.

Initially funded by the Navy, the project set out to study the effects of brain concussion. Soon after, scientists noted that a blow to the head prompted amnesia, leading to the pursuit of a drug-based technique to “induce brain concussion…without physical trauma.” Shortly thereafter, the project was transferred entirely to the CIA, because it involved “human experiments…not easily justifiable on medical-therapeutic grounds.”

Other programs, described briefly focused on mind-control. MK-NAOMI was after “severely incapacitating and lethal materials… [and] gadgetry for their dissemination,” and MK-CHICKWIT was designed to “identify new drug developments in Europe and Asia,” and then “obtain samples.”

Edgewood Laboratories, where many of the programs were carried out, is also identified as having tested an incapacitating chemical on prisoners and military personnel without the agency’s approval. The drug, EA#3167, was “appl[ied] to the skin” of subjects using an adhesive tape.

Read way more at the Danger Room blog.