Technology Finally Catches Up with Imagination

Posted by Trevor on 6 June 2013 | 2 Comments

brain 3 dI love it when technology catches up with imagination. The journal of Nature published a fascinating story this week[1] about the development of an invisibility cloak. They conclude:

 

“We succeed in cloaking 46 per cent of the entire time axis and conceal pseudorandom digital data at a rate of 12.7 gigabits per second. This potential to cloak real-world messages introduces temporal cloaking into the sphere of practical application, with immediate ramifications in secure communications.”

I don’t know what that means either, but I’d like to buy one. Then I wouldn’t have to keep imagining an invisibility cloak descending from the sky to surround and protect me from all the negative communications that bombard me everywhere I go.

Never leave home without your invisibility cloak.

On Monday we had the first of three live seminars hosted by The Intelligent Optimist, (hence no podcast this week) and at the outset I was able to share a couple of slides from the www.humanconnectomeproject.org which is a project to construct a map of the complete structural and functional neural connections in vivo within and across 1200 healthy individuals. It represents the first large-scale attempt to collect and share data of a scope and detail sufficient to begin the process of addressing deeply fundamental questions about human connectional anatomy and variation. One of the great things about this project is that all data is released for free and some of the latest scans of the neural pathways are posted in a gallery at their site. Well worth a look. The project involves most of the top institutions and scientists in the world of neuroscience. It is groundbreaking but of course unlikely to make any sensational news headlines on Fox because no image scanners get blown up or scientists fried.

The significance for future brain ailments treatment, however, is exciting.

Keep in mind that until this project started most scientists believed that neural pathways were randomly arranged in the brain. I never understood that perspective when nature is never random. Take a look at the gallery and you’ll see that the organization of the neurons is anything but haphazard and the scans of all 1200 volunteers look identical. We all have the same phenomenal potential… which is 100 billion neurons making 500 trillion connections that produce 600,000 trillion signals every second. What do most people do with that? Play violent computer games and watch reality TV?

Also read the short article by one of the research leaders:

“The Symphony Inside Your Brain By Dr. Francis Collins Ever wonder what is it that makes you, you? Depending on whom you ask, there are a lot of different answers, but these days some of the world’s top neuroscientists might say: “You are your connectome.” Read the full article at: http://directorsblog.nih.gov/the-symphony-inside-your-brain/

Next week at the second Intelligent Optimist seminar we will delve into step two and I hope get to discuss what I believe to be the biggest technological breakthrough of all time, the confirmation of the Higgs-bosun and the explanation why plugging into nature is essential for anyone wanting to reinvent their lives or attain even more success. I look forward to meeting more of you there.

(The picture accompanying this update is an actual scan of the neural pathways of a normal, live, human brain. The colors simply represent the direction of flow of water between nerve cells.)

 

Have a brilliant and successful rest of the week.



[1] A temporal cloak at telecommunication data rate. Joseph M. Lukens, Daniel E. Leaird & Andrew M. Weiner Nature (2013) doi:10.1038/nature12224 Received 18 February 2013 Accepted 12 April 2013 Published online 05 June 2013

2 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Dear Trevor, Have you planned whether to make a replay of the webinar available? I’m 9 hours ahead of you and the time zone for attending live is an obstacle.
    Best regards, Chris

    • Trevor says:

      All sessions are recorded and made available to anyone registered at Intelligent Optimist. I am not involved in the set up of this other than the fact I volunteered to do it for free.

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