New Techniques Detect Consciousness in Vegetative Patients

Brain networks in two vegetative patients (left and middle), alongside a healthy person (right). Credit: Srivas Chennu

People in a “vegetative state” may have far more brain activity than previously thought, LiveScience reports: …researchers looked at 32 comatose patients and 26 healthy people. Some of the comatose patients were diagnosed as “minimally conscious,” meaning there was some evidence that they may have retained some awareness of their surroundings (for example, the patient [Read More...]

More of The Pill’s Glorious Legacy: Widespread Animal Mutation

fish

from the Times of Trenton ‘Intersex’ fish found in Delaware, other rivers a result of hormone-disrupting chemicals At first glance, most fish caught in the Delaware River look perfectly normal. But scientists who investigated further discovered something very unusual. A sampling of certain male fish were found to be carrying female eggs. These “intersex” fish [Read More...]

Three-Parent Babies Now Only Two Years Away

egg

Let’s start with the money quote, and then get down to the details: “Are these techniques safe in humans? We won’t know that until it’s actually done in humans. Until a healthy baby is born we cannot say 100% that these techniques are safe, if you think back to when IVF was a new technology [Read More...]

Our Ancestors Weren’t Idiots

Cardinal Hugh of Saint-Cher at study. wearing the first eyeglasses ever depicted in art. (Tommaso da Modena, 1352)

I spend much of my of time reading the words and trying understand the thought processes of the medieval mind. Christendom between about the year 1000 and the Reformation was a time and place with a view of the world profoundly different from ours. (The idea of the Renaissance as some great opening of the [Read More...]

Pat Robertson on Young Earth Creationism

410px-Lemaitre

I didn’t bother covering the “Ham on Nye” debate because I thought it was just dumb. A children’s TV show host debating a quack fundie? What next, a debate about Thetans between Dora the Explorer and Tom Cruise? When I kept seeing “Who will win?!” comments on Twitter, my only thought was: Can’t they both [Read More...]

Turn Your Finger into a Speaker

disney

Disney: finding new ways to creep me out. Okay, it is pretty cool, if pointless. Ishin-Den-Shin allows you to record a message into a special microphone, and then transmit that message directly another person just by touching his ear. The effect is as though you’re whispering right in the person’s ear … through your finger. [Read More...]

A Snail With a Translucent Shell

snail

A new species of snail discovered deep in a Croatian cave has a translucent shell: Zospeum tholussum – belongs to a genus of minute air-breathing land snails that cannot see to find their way around and are considered to be true eutroglobionts that only live in dark, underground caves. The fragile snail has a beautifully [Read More...]

Head Transplants?

twohead

This had been tried on animals since the 1950s, but the problem has always been connecting the spinal chord. I don’t doubt that, at some point in the future, the technology will exist to make this possible, and one scientist thinks he may be getting closer: Canavero describes in a recent paper a step to [Read More...]


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