Archive for the ‘Weird Science’ Category

In what can only be called a groundbreaking experiment, scientist at UC Berkley have managed to record video of what a person is seeing by using functional MRI. After showing subjects a set of baseline images and recording the corresponding brain activity, the researchers were able to create composite images that reflected, quite eerily, what the test subjects saw. As you can see from the video above, the images being produced are blurry, though I would imagine early photographs looked similar as the technique was being developed. Currently the researchers are only able to reproduce images that the subject is seeing, though they hope to be able to extend the technology to allow the viewing of dreams and possibly even memories.

While from a scientific standpoint this is amazing, I can’t help but feel a little creeped out by it on a personal level. This really is the stuff of science fiction (not the fun, happy utopia kind either) and while now researchers can only see what you are seeing using a huge machine where will the technology be in 10 or 20 years, especially if they are able to refine the technology to view memories and dreams? The US government already ignores the 4th Amendment wholesale, how long until they ignore the 5th? I can imagine there are some very excited people at Homeland Security imagining setting up scanning stations to pick out people thinking about committing a crime or act of terrorism.

Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind [via Engadget Alt]


Could having long hair be linked to having increased perception? According to one anecdote uncovered by Scott McMan on Ghost Theory it may very well be, at least that is supposedly what the US Army thought during Viet Nam.

The story goes that faced with fighting in inhospitable terrain that was familiar to their foe, the US Army turned to Native American trackers to help find the enemy. Undercover recruitment teams were sent to reservations across the country to find the best trackers available, and they did. There was only one problem. Once enlisted, the trackers seemed to lose their ability to track. When questioned about their failure to perform, the recruits replied that their intuition was no longer reliable after receiving their military hair cuts. With no other possible explanation for why expert trackers suddenly were useless, the Army performed a series of tests. Trackers were separated into pairs and one member of the team received a short military cut, while the other retained their long hair. Consistently the tracker with short hair failed to perform while the other excelled at every test. Based on the results of this testing, the Army required all Native trackers to have long hair. While I can’t say if this is true or not, it does make you think.

Interestingly enough, according to Wikipedia, throughout history short hair has been used to control. In fact, prior to World War One longer hair and beards were far more common among western men. During the war (and the Second World War) much of the male population was indoctrinated the vary disciplined and controlled military life. With this subservience came shorter hair. These global conflicts spawned today’s military industrial complex which many claim controls the world. One could postulate that there is a vested interest in keeping the population’s hair shorter to make it easier to control. Even women’s hair styles seem to be growing shorter on average. If longer hair is linked to enhanced perception then it would make sense that it would be easier to control a group by limiting their awareness (think blinders on horses).

What do you think? Is our ability to be aware of the world around us helped or hampered depending on the length of our hair? Is modern fashion being manipulated to create a more submissive population? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Supernatural Science: It’s in the Hair

photo courtesy SpeakDolphin  

With some estimating Apple has sold over 2 million iPads, there is no disputing that the device is currently the hottest gadget on the planet. If researchers with SpeakDolphin are successful in their quest to build a language interface allowing cross species communication, Apple may have an entirely new user base. Currently the project is in its infancy, but the researchers hope that by using touch screen technology they will be able to build a system that will allow dolphins to communicate fully with humans. While they are still evaluating other touchscreen devices to use in their program, researchers have begun to introduce the iPad to the dolphins at their Puerto Aventuras facility. To acclimate the creatures to the touch pad, the SpeakDolphin team show a real object to the dolphin and then ask it to touch photos of the same object on the screen. According to dolphin researcher Jack Kassewitz, “This is an easy task for a dolphin, but it is a necessary building block towards our goal of a complete language interface between humans and dolphins.”

Dolphin Uses iPad To Communicate (PDF Link) [via BoingBoing]