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Archive for February, 2016

The other day my friend sent me some pictures of what I would look like in the future after playing around with an aging app.  If you use Facebook you’ve probably seen some of these photos pop up in your feed of late.  And while it is funny to see what you and your loved ones might look like one day, it’s also a wake up call.  As in, “holy shit, I really need to take better care of myself so that I don’t wind up looking like this!”

Thankfully, help may soon be on the way.  That’s because researchers from Newcastle University have discovered a specific enzyme in the mitochondria (the cell’s battery) that is responsible for keeping skin smooth.  And they believe that they’ll be able to create a product, such as a cream, that would be able to specifically target this enzyme, known as mitochondria complex II, thereby restoring its lost functionality.

The Telegraph adds that, “Findings may also lead to a greater understanding of how other organs in the body age, which could pave the way for drug developments in a number of age-related diseases, including cancer.”

To be clear this doesn’t mean that we’ll be slowing down the aging process or getting to live longer.  It just means that we’ll get to look younger than we actually are.  As if we all suddenly became Rob Lowe overnight.  Which, if you’ve seen what I’m going to look like in forty years, is a very good thing for society.

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Let’s all hope that I don’t wind up looking like this in the future.

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I’d like to think that I’m not easily persuaded by catchy jingles, clever slogans, or any other marketing ploy designed to get me to buy something that I would otherwise have no interest in.  I’ve also never understood why companies go so far as to hire celebrities to endorse their products.  Would someone really buy something just because The Rock told them to?  I certainly wouldn’t.

There is however, one notable exception to this rule.  The one time where I really did get suckered by a ad campaign into making a conscious decision to try something new.  The item in question was Axe body spray and I was convinced that if I used it I would be fighting off women with a stick, just like in the commercials!  News flash: that was false advertising!  Nothing changed!

The reason why I actually thought that something might change was because when it comes to the body’s hormones there’s a real chance, scientifically speaking, that you might actually be able to alter the body’s chemistry.  There are lots of naturally occurring substances that act like aphrodisiacs, increasing our body’s sex drives.  Not to mention pheromones that automatically trigger responses from members of the opposite sex.  Put those together and it’s easy to see why I would be duped by a deodorant company.

Despite my setback I’m not willing to give up on the idea of a product that could help me with the fairer sex.  After all, I need all the help I can get.  Thankfully, there may soon be something else that could help me out: an oxytocin based nasal spray that could make men appear 15% more attractive to women!

As I Fucking Love Science explains:

“The hormone Oxytocin is the body’s own love drug. While it’s most commonly associated with maternal bonding and cuddles, the hormone is also known to be linked to orgasms, trust between people, and loss of social inhibition. Its ability to alter behavior is so strong, scientists have already drawn comparisons between this ‘hug hormone’ and both alcohol and cannabis.  So, in a bid to better understand this hormone, researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany looked into how oxytocin-like chemicals affected the extent to which women found certain men sexually attractive.  In their experiment, the researchers gathered a group of 40 women in their twenties, all of whom were “passionately in love” with their partner. Half of these women were given a placebo while the other half inhaled a spray containing syntocinon, a synthetic form of oxytocin. They then swapped these groups around and gave the hormone to the ones who previously had the placebo, and vice versa.  After both sets of experiments, the groups were presented with photographs of their partner along with a selection of other men and asked to rank their level of attractiveness.  The results showed that a quick pump of the nasal spray made the women find their partners 15 percent more attractive…”

Take that Axe body spray!!

Of course this was just one experiment.  There is still so much that we don’t know about oxytocin and what else it’s capable of so it’ll be quite a while before this turns into a real product.  Hopefully, it does though.  Because as I mentioned earlier, I need all the help I can get.  Scientists, don’t fail me now!

Is a nasal spray that makes men appear 15% more attractive the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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Another day, another outlandish claim about how long distance space travel is now suddenly possible.  First worm holes were all the rage.  Then everyone wanted to fold the fabric of space time itself to bring a distant galaxy closer to us.  Then it was in style to talk about destroying anti-matter to propel a ship so that no fuel would be necessary and before long solar sails were the flavor of the month.  Throw in a half dozen other bat shit crazy ideas that have since gone by the wayside and you can see why everyone would be a little bit skeptical each time a new claim is made.

I’m not one of those people.  Never one to let logic or insurmountable odds stand in the way of getting overly excited about a new idea I say bring it on.  Impress me if you can! What’s that you say?  We now have a way to get to Mars in just thirty minutes!!!  And it can be done using lasers!!! Hhhmmm.  Consider me intrigued.  Especially when you consider that this technology could make it possible to reach some of our closest cosmic neighbors, such as potentially habitable exoplanets in nearby solar systems that we’d otherwise only dream of visiting.

As I Fucking Love Science explains:

“As an example, on the eventual upper end, a full scale DE-STAR 4 (50-70 GW) will propel a wafer scale spacecraft with a one meter laser sail to about 26 percent the speed of light in about 10 minutes, (enabling it to) reach Mars (1 AU [astronomical unit, the Earth-Sun distance]) in 30 minutes, pass Voyager 1 in less than 3 days, pass 1,000 AU in 12 days and reach Alpha Centauri in about 15 years…”

Basically, if this technology works, it would be possible to reach anything within a 25 light year radius during an astronaut’s life span.  That means that we wouldn’t need to build massive spaceships capable of supporting entire generations of human beings during an epic voyage.  Instead we could build smaller craft capable of carrying just a few people at a time since it’s likely that they would survive not only a trip to their destination but also a return journey as well.

If this propulsion system turns out to be the real deal then we’re talking about a real game changer for space flight.  One that could wind up resulting in the human race becoming a true inter-planetary species.  It doesn’t get any greater than that.

Is Directed Energy Propulsion the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Female Viagra was one of the Greatest Ideas of 2015.  Might an on-off switch for sperm be one of the Greatest Ideas of 2016?

That remains to be seen but if it is we’ll have a German carpenter named Clemens Bimek to thank.  Known as the Bimek SLV, the gummy bear sized device that he invented can be implanted during a quick Vasectomy like procedure that lasts only thirty minutes.

Upon getting implanted the device can be toggled by touching the skin above the scrotum.  When activated it prevents sperm from being released during an ejaculation thereby preventing the possibility of getting pregnant.  When switched off everything goes back to normal and the man is once again capable of having children with no change whatsoever to his sperm count.

Discovery adds that the device, “is made of PEEK OPTIMA, a medical-grade polymer that has long been employed in implants. In press materials, Bimek explains that his device is ‘virtually wear-free’ and, barring any complications, should last a lifetime.”

The makers of the device are still hoping to bring this technology to market and are currently looking for men to test it out.  As much as I like the potential that this idea has I’m going to have to go ahead and pass on that offer.

Is an on-off switch for sperm the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I’m not sure I should be writing about this.  Is it even legal?  If it is, do I even want to be encouraging this kind of behavior?  I’m as straight edge as they come.  How can I in good faith promote something that flys in the face of everything that I stand for?

I’ll tell you how.  Because it’s that damn cool.  Welcome to a world where people get high not from narcotics or hallucinogenics but from music.  That’s right.  There are now headphones that stimulate the brain’s release of dopamine giving you a natural high while you rock out to your favorite beats.  In fact, the stimulating of the dopamine is designed to happen in conjunction with the beat.

Science Alert explains how this amazing feat works:

“The headphones will pump music into your ears as normal, but at the same time, an integrated device will deliver a low-power electrical signal through your ear canal to stimulate the Vagus nerve – a nerve that runs from the brain stem to the abdomen and plays a role in the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.”

Those who have tested the headphones claim that they have experienced an extreme high that would register as a 10 on a scale of 10.  Better yet, the effects even linger for up to an hour.

It remains to be seen whether these headphones are the real deal or not.  Lots of products have claimed to alter a user’s brain waves in order to make them happier or calmer and none of those have caught on yet.  Then again, none of those were tied to music.

If you want to find out for yourself whether or not these headphones work they go on sale next month from a company appropriately called Nervana and will cost about $300.  To learn more before then check out the company’s website.

Are dopamine stimulating headphones the Greatest Idea Ever?

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As a picky eater I’ve always hated it when people have questioned me about not liking it when two different foods touch.  “It’s all going to the same place,” they always say.  News flash asshole: when Yellow and Blue mix together they don’t wind up as a yellowish blue mix.  They wind up as Green, something completely different!  Isn’t it entirely plausible then that when two foods mix they wind up tasting like something else entirely different?! Something that I wouldn’t like!?

Thankfully, I no longer have to worry about my foods mixing because a six year old inventor by the name of Ruby Lucken has created plastic food dividers known as food cubbies that suction onto your plate and keep your foods separated!

In addition to keeping your foods from touching the dividers also serve an additional purpose: giving you a mini-wall to push your food up against thereby making it easier to scoop into your mouth.  I’ve always struggled to keep rice on my chopsticks when eating Japanese food but with these dividers on my plate I won’t have that problem any more!

To be clear these dividers may not work on every plate depending on the size and shape of the dish.  But they should work on most plates and even if they don’t they still demonstrate one very important thing: that we’re all capable of coming up with a great idea, even if we are just six years old.  Or happen to eat like one.

Are food dividers the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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I usually do my best thinking while in the shower but I may have just come up with a million dollar idea while food shopping.  Okay, not really a million dollar idea.  More like a 2 for 1 manager’s special idea.  And technically I wasn’t even food shopping.  Just in the parking lot on my way to go food shopping.  But that’s beside the point!

The point is that I came up with a really good idea: driverless shopping carts!   The days of having to get out of your car to move a shopping cart that’s taking up your parking spot are over!  The days of returning to your car and finding a fresh dent from a stray out of control shopping cart are over!  The days of having to walk ten extra feet to return your cart to their designated collection area are over!

Are we really so lazy as to actually need driverless shopping carts?  In a word: YES!  Yes we are.  More to the point, we’re technologically capable of pulling this off, so why wouldn’t we?  If something can be automated, we owe it to ourselves to automate it!

What I’m envisioning then is a smart shopping cart.  When you’re done using it just push the return home button on the handle bar and the cart will follow along a designated path in the parking lot until it returns to the collection area on its own.  It’ll come equipped with rear and front facing cameras and motion sensors so that it’ll know to avoid pedestrians, cars, and other carts.  It’ll also be able to notify you if you left something behind, such as a carton of water bottles on the bottom shelf.

Taking this a step further wouldn’t it also be great if we had smart shopping carts that worked inside the store, not just in the parking lot?  That way instead of having to push the cart ourselves, it would just know to follow us around the store as we walked down the aisles.  Taking this a step further you could even equip the cart with mechanical arms that pull the items off the shelf for you based on your shopping list.

This idea really isn’t far fetched.  We already have shopping carts that are kind of smart.  You know the ones that have wheels that lock when you try to move them past the imaginary boundary surrounding the store so as to prevent theft.  And we also already have a device known as Cruise, capable of being added to any car to turn it into a driverless car.  So is it really that much of a stretch to think that one day we could have driverless shopping carts?

I don’t think so.  And I think we owe it to ourselves to try.  Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go put away my ice cream before it melts.

If we had driverless shopping carts we wouldn’t have to deal with scenes like this anymore.

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