Real Clever Science

My name is Ari Einbinder. This is the journal of my travels into the realm of science and science education.
I've worked at science museums in NY (NYSCI and AMNH) and across Europe. Currently I'm studying "museology" (aka museum studies) at UW in Seattle, WA. I'm also one of Tumblr's Science Section editors.

I discuss anything that fascinates me, but popular topics include evolution, transhumanism (e.g BCI), futurism, psychology, quantum computing, climate change, sustainability, genetic engineering and occasionally politics - to name a few.

Enjoy!

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Talk To Me


For a quick glance at previous posts, check out the Archive

Visit my website: RealCleverName.com
Fri Aug 2

Thought Control: Human Brain Controls Animal’s Tail!!!

Had to report on this (x) amazing article (hat-tip: Nicole). I’ve been interested in Brain-Computer-Interfaces (BCI) for awhile, and Brain-Brain-Interfaces (BBI) are newer still. I know a few months ago they had a report about connecting two rats on different continents to help each-other solve mazes, but connecting a human with another species! That’s amazing. The potential is beyond words. Personally, I’m looking forward to the day when I can “plug into” a bird and feel the wind on “my face” as I fly over valley or a city and watch the people below… 

Highlights:

Researchers at Harvard University have created the first noninvasive brain-to-brain interface (BBI) between a human… and a rat. Simply by thinking the appropriate thought, the BBI allows the human to control the rat’s tail. This is one of the most important steps towards BBIs that allow for telepathic links between two or more humans — which is a good thing in the case of friends and family, but terrifying if you stop to think about the nefarious possibilities of a fascist dictatorship with mind control tech…

We don’t have the power to move your fingers in a specific way — that would require knowing the brain’s encoding scheme — but we can make them jerk around

With the EEG equipped, the BCI detects whenever the human looks at a specific pattern on a computer screen. The BCI then fires off a command to rat’s CBI, which causes ultrasound to be beamed into the region of the rat’s motor cortex that deals with tail movement. As you can see in the video above [see the link], this causes the rat’s tail to move. The researchers report that the human BCI has an accuracy of 94%, and that it generally takes around 1.5 seconds for the entire process…

Moving forward, the researchers now need to work on the transmitting of more complex ideas, such as hunger or sexual arousal… Finally, we’ll need to combine an EEG and FUS into a single unit, to allow for bidirectional sharing of thoughts and ideas. Human-to-human telepathy is the most obvious use, but what if the same bidirectional technology also allows us to really communicate with animals, such as dogs? There would be huge ethical concerns, of course, especially if a dictatorial tyrant uses the tech to control our thoughts — but the same can be said of almost every futuristic, transhumanist technology.

Sat Jun 29

Update

Hey guize,

I can hardly believe it, but I graduated! I finished my Masters degree in Museology (aka Museum Studies) from the UW and will be job hunting soon for a good fit at a science museum.

My Masters thesis was about Science Cafes, which was a lot fun. Maybe I’ll write up a post or two about that.

Also, now that that’s all over, I hope to start posting here again a bit more regularly. (But can’t guarantee. Summertime in Seattle seems to suck you in!)

So that’s the update, Cheers! =]

Tue Mar 5

Speaking of “Jedi Mind-Meld”

Obama is in the news for mixing up star wars and star trek, but the big story  is this recent report that scientists were able to connect the brains of two rats so that one could telepathically help answer riddles for the other. Oh, and they were able to do this with pairs of rats on different continents!

Yes, this is real.

RCS Highlights:

…The results of these projects suggest the future potential for linking multiple brains to form what the research team is calling an “organic computer,” which could allow sharing of motor and sensory information among groups of animals…

To test the transmission limits of the brain-to-brain communication, the researchers placed an encoder rat in Brazil… and transmitted its brain signals over the Internet to a decoder rat in Durham, N.C. They found that the two rats could still work together on the tactile discrimination task….

Nicolelis added, “These experiments demonstrated the ability to establish a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between rat brains, and that the decoder brain is working as a pattern-recognition device. So basically, we are creating an organic computer that solves a puzzle.”

"… So, we are creating a single central nervous system made up of two rat brains," said Nicolelis. He pointed out that, in theory, such a system is not limited to a pair of brains, but instead could include a network of brains, or “brain-net.” …

"We cannot predict what kinds of emergent properties would appear when animals begin interacting as part of a brain-net. In theory, you could imagine that a combination of brains could provide solutions that individual brains cannot achieve by themselves," continued Nicolelis. Such a connection might even mean that one animal would incorporate another’s sense of "self," he said…

Wed Feb 13
ahaha, morbid science humor.
And remember, no-one can hear your cussing in space… unless you’re in a space-suit and have a radio.
Remember, play it safe in space: low-fives only!

ahaha, morbid science humor.

And remember, no-one can hear your cussing in space… unless you’re in a space-suit and have a radio.

Remember, play it safe in space: low-fives only!

(via slympikkinz)

Tue Feb 12
eat-a-baby:

galapagos-style

hahah love it!
Happy Darwin Day everyone =]

eat-a-baby:

galapagos-style

hahah love it!

Happy Darwin Day everyone =]

(via godless-apostate-deactivated201)

In which NASA wins at Gangnam Style parodies now and forever.  Everyone else go home.

Honestly, I enjoyed it.
Esp that eye roll from the tall white guy in the blue jumpers lol

(Source: expositionfairy, via murder-of-corvids)

Mon Feb 11
Preparing for Darwin Day Tomorrow =]

Preparing for Darwin Day Tomorrow =]

(Source: thedragoninmygarage)

How (Not) to Make an Apple Pie From Scratch

How (Not) to Make an Apple Pie From Scratch

Sun Feb 10

parislemon:

stoweboyd:

What Intersections Would Look Like in a World of Driverless Cars

Yikes.

Watch the center. It’s terrifying. But presumably more efficient?

Self driving cars… efficient and terrifying =]

Also, this reminded me of s/t I’ve been kinda musing about: Walking through crowds. So, yes, I know this sounds kinda odd, but I’ve been thinking about how people seemlessly (or not) weave through crowds of people. For instance, when I’m in red square on the UW campus, it’s a fairly busy area, yet I and others are able to weave through effortlessly. Considering the complexity of the traffic - esp compared to something like road traffic - it’s pretty amazing that people aren’t bumping into each-other all the time. In fact, it seems to work seemlessly.

Of course, if you’re in packed crowd, you’re going to bump into people, but I’m just talking about busy areas. I’m just kind of amazed that we can navigate so many variables (multiple people, different paces, irregular paths, random obstacles, etc), and kinda curious what is the breaking-point or factors at which point we can no longer navigate easily. (Seems like the kind of research which could potentially inform the design of high-traffic areas.) And note how much more… human or natural the movement of cars in the video appears to be.

Thoughts?

(via slympikkinz)

Sat Feb 9
scienceyoucanlove:

 This is the Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus), and its green mohawk is made up of algae. This often covers the shell as well as the head, and helps to camouflage the animal.

Is this symbiosis? If so, should we consider this turtle as being part-algea? (Though I guess we’re then largely bacteria, considering how much we have 10x as many bacterial cells inside us than human cells!)
Also, this photo is awesome.

scienceyoucanlove:

 This is the Mary River turtle (Elusor macrurus), and its green mohawk is made up of algae. This often covers the shell as well as the head, and helps to camouflage the animal.

Is this symbiosis? If so, should we consider this turtle as being part-algea? (Though I guess we’re then largely bacteria, considering how much we have 10x as many bacterial cells inside us than human cells!)

Also, this photo is awesome.

(via cognitivedissonanzzz)

Fri Feb 8
When you look into space, you’re not just seeing a place, but also seeing a time.

When you look into space, you’re not just seeing a place, but also seeing a time.

(Source: afro-dominicano, via thedragoninmygarage)

Thu Feb 7

teamepiphany:

Smart car takes on a different meaning this time around with Audi’s new Pilot parking vehicle. Audi demonstrated the new technology at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show.The protoype Audi has numerous sensors to get in and out of parking spots while communicating with the driver via a smartphone app. The Pilot Parking feature is available on Audi’s iOS app. The software is still in early development phases and is expected to hit the within the decade.

Smart cars! Soon we’ll all have bat-mobile-esque technology =)

Though I think I’m most looking forward to taxis or rental cars that come pick you up at home and drive themselves back. Aside from being convenient for non-car owners, I think it could make it easier for collaborative consumption models like zipcar.

Oh, and it’ll be nice when I don’t have to worry about parallel parking myself!

(And btw, why can’t they just make a car which rolls sideways into a spot? We landed on the moon ages ago, we should be able to tackle this!)

(Source: nbcnews.com, via slympikkinz)

Sat Jan 12
Question: Does anyone know if there’s a system for an absolute-time scale? By that I mean, by comparison, 2pm Seattle-time is 5pm NY-time. But imagine a system where both use the same time to refer to the same instant. Of course, we could just convert the time by adding three hours, but I’m curious if there’s a system we could use on a universal level, so that people hanging out on jupiter or betelgeuse or wherever could be referring to the exact same instant (even if, bc of the speed of light, we couldn’t communicate simultaneously in that moment as we basically can here across time-zones).
Does something like this exist? What would be the frame of reference? (The big-bang?) Any info or ideas?

Question: Does anyone know if there’s a system for an absolute-time scale? By that I mean, by comparison, 2pm Seattle-time is 5pm NY-time. But imagine a system where both use the same time to refer to the same instant. Of course, we could just convert the time by adding three hours, but I’m curious if there’s a system we could use on a universal level, so that people hanging out on jupiter or betelgeuse or wherever could be referring to the exact same instant (even if, bc of the speed of light, we couldn’t communicate simultaneously in that moment as we basically can here across time-zones).

Does something like this exist? What would be the frame of reference? (The big-bang?) Any info or ideas?

Fri Jan 11
Bruce: Hey that license plate says “U-235.”
Sharon: Is that a U-boat number?
Bruce: That’s uranium in the periodic table and the number of electrons.
Lance: 235 is the atomic weight.
Bruce: That or the other weight is the kind of uranium used in the bomb.
Sharon: NERDS!
Lance: I heard a couple bought that car and split it.
Sharon: That’s terrible.
Bruce: That joke is a bomb.
Sharon: That’s terrible too.

-
Conversation excerpt from 2-hour drive back from Olympia with The Seattle Times editorial board (via sharonchan)

gotta admit, I really like nerd jokes and puns.