The Ratcar is Awesome, Kinda Gross

Another genius/disgusting scientific breakthrough is careening your way: Scientists at the University of Tokyo have developed a motorized system they call “Ratcar,” which is controlled by electrodes in Master Splinter’s motor cortex that read his brain and respond accordingly.  Suck on that, PETA!

The researchers first implanted electrodes in the motor cortex of each rat’s brain, and then trained it to tow the contraption around while the motor was turned off. Next the rat was suspended beneath the car so that it could only lightly touch the ground, and couldn’t actually move the robo-car with its limbs. Then the car was switched to brain-reading mode and researchers watched to see if the rat could control the car’s movements with only the pulses from its motor cortex.

“We wanted to develop a brain-machine interface system aiming for future wheelchairs that paralyzed patients can control only with thought,” says Osamu Fukayama of the university’s Medical Engineering and Life Science Laboratory. “RatCar is a simplified prototype to develop better electrodes, devices, and algorithms for those systems.”

Discover Magazine

How could they possibly call it anything besides the “RatMobile”?? Is there no love for cheap puns anymore? Anyway, sounds like a solid cause, but c’mon, we Americans know what this thing will really be used for: Lazy fatasses like myself who tire of pushing the accelerator buttons on our Rascals.  I may have legs but YOU CAN’T FORCE ME TO USE ‘EM. And have we discovered which region of the brain is responsible for milkshake cravings? If you could hook that up to my blender, that would be great.  But maybe we should leave rats out of the testing phase for this one…

I Have to Admit, I Expected Worse Grammar

Proudly representing his native Knoxville, TN, some guy decided to take a little time out from this killer ho-down to write his local newspaper a nice little opinion piece on why evolution shouldn’t be taught in public schools.  SPOILER ALERT: there are some logical holes in his treatise.  I mean without evolution, how do you explain a chimp like me blogging my little heart out?  Dude, I’m so evolved that I type with my chimp-feet.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER

Now I’m not into Creationism.  It’s not really my thing.  But does it have a place in schools?  Sure, in religion class, where you talk about religions and their history and such.  I learned about Christianity, Islam, and several other religions that I went on to nonchalantly disregarded in my personal life.  So why wouldn’t you want to teach science in science class? One guy who is into Creationism is the Pope, so let’s see what he has to say on the subject:

There is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such.

-Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 via MSNBC

Wait, what?  You’re telling me the freaking Pope has said on the record that Creationism and evolution are NOT mutually exclusive? That’s awesome.  He respects science and all that it has discovered, while pointing out that the wealth of scientific knowledge we’ve amassed over the last few thousand years only represents a drop in the bucket.  And that’s true.  The only place his Popeness and I diverge is where he chooses to explain everything we don’t know yet by attributing it to the Catholic idea of God, while I choose to sit back and wait for the science to do its thing.  But here’s one piece of advice for the Holy Roller: tell these people to shut the fuck up every once in a while – they are NOT helping your cause.  I know every time I hear some guy like Anthony here open up his mouth all I can think is “JEBUS, the one thing I know is THIS GUY ain’t got it right.”

But he DID go back a whole 200 years into his family tree to look for an ancestor with scales (why am I not surprised that a guy from Tennessee thinks that the history of the human race couldn’t predate the USA?).  Look, Anthony, there is a problem with evolution: it’s slow.  Next time try praying for watermelons.

The Daily What via Geekologie

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman Will Make You High

morgan freeman haz cotton candy

Up late, and just caught this show on the Science Channel.  Lemme just say that I don’t have any weed at home, nor have I been smoking recently, but goddamn am I jonesing for a toke right now.  First of all you’ve got the new Voice of God in Morgan Freeman (respect to Bob Sheppard), and not just covering penguins being cold [spoiler alert] cold penguins are cold[/spoiler].  Here you’ve got him narrating a debate on the existence of God between a beachbum surfer in Hawaii who’s poking holes in philosophical models and a physicist who is speculating that since matter can be split into “pixels” millions of times smaller than atoms and we continue to develop our computers’ abilities replicate human behavior, it’s entirely possible that our “world” is being played out on the PS12 (which btw I heard from my cousin they have in Japan) of some god who’s just an evolved form of us.  They even threw a little interview with Will Wright in there.

I only caught the end of that episode but the next one is on black holes and your boy Pavlov is just killing me right now.  Just the fact that I’m sitting on the couch with my laptop speculating about the cosmos is giving me the munchies (and Loooord knows I don’t need that).  Anyway, as a wannabe astrophysicist, I have to say, “I am excite.”

The show is on the Science Channel at 10 pm on Wednesdays, set your DVRs to “stoned.” Official site: http://science.discovery.com/tv/through-the-wormhole/