If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Scientific American)   Scientists: "Flowers for Algernon" we can do today. "Planet of the Apes" will take us a bit longer   (scientificamerican.com) divider line 52
    More: Cool, stem cells, cell phones, great apes, neurons, mice, Cell Stem Cell  
•       •       •

5026 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Aug 2013 at 6:57 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



52 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all
 
2013-08-04 05:56:53 PM  
Secret of NIMH apparently too.
 
2013-08-04 06:34:35 PM  

Makh: Secret of NIMH apparently too.

lh3.ggpht.com


Demands sparkly.

/tfa should spook us all
 
2013-08-04 07:00:31 PM  
Just as long as it's not The Lawnmower Man

/Charley was sane and moral
 
2013-08-04 07:24:32 PM  

FrancoFile: Just as long as it's not The Lawnmower Man

/Charley was sane and moral


The Lawnmower Man was a short story about a guy who eats grass and kills people with a lawnmower.  There was no movie.
 
2013-08-04 07:24:52 PM  
Not even close to Flowers for Algeron... thanks for getting my hopes up, subby.
 
Skr
2013-08-04 07:25:58 PM  
I remember reading the book and wondering why they just didn't do another treatment to the guy after he started regressing. Was that covered in the book as some sort of resistance to procedure?
 
2013-08-04 07:40:03 PM  

Skr: I remember reading the book and wondering why they just didn't do another treatment to the guy after he started regressing. Was that covered in the book as some sort of resistance to procedure?


He'd hit the lifetime cap on his health insurance.  The most tragic part of the whole book,really.
 
2013-08-04 07:42:22 PM  

Skr: I remember reading the book and wondering why they just didn't do another treatment to the guy after he started regressing. Was that covered in the book as some sort of resistance to procedure?


They really didn't explain it, but I figure it was some sort of rejection of the treatment by the immune system. For example, if they were using modified stem cells, they might work for a short time until the immune system notices them, but then once the body is programmed to attack the foreign stem cells, any future treatments would be quickly removed by the immune system. I don't think they every explained the specifics, but that's one way I could see the treatment only temporarily working and then not being repeatable.
 
2013-08-04 07:46:34 PM  
Creepy as hell thought here but could brain cells be grown from stem cells?   And then using that method to implant more brain matter into targeted areas of a subject to increase its capacity for processing?

/caveat: I don't know enough about biology so this could be a massively dumb-ass question
 
2013-08-04 07:48:58 PM  
Article makes my brain asplode.
 
2013-08-04 07:52:30 PM  
So, they found that transplanting a certain type of stem cell from a more-intelligent species (human) into a less-intelligent species (mice) resulted in the mice showing greater intelligence.

Great!

Now all we need to do is find a more-intelligent species to donate stem cells to US!
 
2013-08-04 08:04:45 PM  

johnson442: So, they found that transplanting a certain type of stem cell from a more-intelligent species (human) into a less-intelligent species (mice) resulted in the mice showing greater intelligence.

Great!

Now all we need to do is find a more-intelligent species to donate stem cells to US!


Canadians?
 
2013-08-04 08:05:34 PM  

johnson442: So, they found that transplanting a certain type of stem cell from a more-intelligent species (human) into a less-intelligent species (mice) resulted in the mice showing greater intelligence.

Great!

Now all we need to do is find a more-intelligent species to donate stem cells to US!


Einstein's brain is still on ice.
 
2013-08-04 08:05:57 PM  

johnson442: So, they found that transplanting a certain type of stem cell from a more-intelligent species (human) into a less-intelligent species (mice) resulted in the mice showing greater intelligence.

Great!

Now all we need to do is find a more-intelligent species to donate stem cells to US!


.. Okay, that's... not really how it works.

And there's more to it than that. If it turns out astrocyte size *DOES* increase mental computing power, one could, say, begin to search for ways to encourage them to grow larger, etc.

And who knows? Perhaps a variety of mental illnesses are caused by malfunctioning astrocytes. This IS great.

vossiewulf: Makh: Secret of NIMH apparently too.

[lh3.ggpht.com image 500x271]

Demands sparkly.

/tfa should spook us all


Why? Because We Am Play God?

dresdencodak.com
 
2013-08-04 08:14:43 PM  

Makh: Secret of NIMH apparently too.


It's not a secret these days, we've had Nickel Metal Hydride batteries for a while now.
 
2013-08-04 08:27:37 PM  

Felgraf: johnson442: So, they found that transplanting a certain type of stem cell from a more-intelligent species (human) into a less-intelligent species (mice) resulted in the mice showing greater intelligence.

Great!

Now all we need to do is find a more-intelligent species to donate stem cells to US!

.. Okay, that's... not really how it works.

And there's more to it than that. If it turns out astrocyte size *DOES* increase mental computing power, one could, say, begin to search for ways to encourage them to grow larger, etc.

And who knows? Perhaps a variety of mental illnesses are caused by malfunctioning astrocytes. This IS great.

vossiewulf: Makh: Secret of NIMH apparently too.

[lh3.ggpht.com image 500x271]

Demands sparkly.

/tfa should spook us all

Why? Because We Am Play God?

[dresdencodak.com image 850x1150]


Because some technologies should not be rushed into carelessly, lest the next three generations have to spend half the nations budget to deal with the consequences.

dl.dropboxusercontent.com
 
2013-08-04 08:38:56 PM  

Atillathepun: johnson442: So, they found that transplanting a certain type of stem cell from a more-intelligent species (human) into a less-intelligent species (mice) resulted in the mice showing greater intelligence.

Great!

Now all we need to do is find a more-intelligent species to donate stem cells to US!

Einstein's brain is still on ice.


Einstein had an over abundance of glial cells, at least according to one study done on it.
 
2013-08-04 08:56:39 PM  
Scientists: "Flowers for Algernon" we can do today. "La Planète des Singes  " will take us a bit longer
FTFY Subby
 
2013-08-04 10:03:07 PM  

Felgraf: Why? Because We Am Play God?


I know it's rhetorical, but just for an example think of what little Kimster in Best Korea would do with a technology like this, and how many seconds it would be before he'd be experimenting on kids. And what those kids might turn out to be if they didn't die horribly.

www.wearysloth.com
 
2013-08-04 10:22:41 PM  
Yes, I am pondering what you're pondering.

/obligatory
 
2013-08-04 10:25:53 PM  

vossiewulf: Felgraf: Why? Because We Am Play God?

I know it's rhetorical, but just for an example think of what little Kimster in Best Korea would do with a technology like this, and how many seconds it would be before he'd be experimenting on kids. And what those kids might turn out to be if they didn't die horribly.

[www.wearysloth.com image 320x240]


Okay, but you might as well say that any form of experimentation that could ultimately be used on humans *WHATSOEVER* is bad and scary. Enhanced prosthetics to thep oint of cybernetics? Scary. What if Little Kimster tried to make an army of CYBORG SUPERMEN!?

Better trauma research? (super-cooling a victim, better blood coaggulants, etc). Why, Little Kimster might experiment on kids and create IMMORTAL SUPERMEN.

Seriously that is, perhaps, the most *idiotic* rhetorical reason. "Because a bad guy might do bad things with it". For farks sake, I could weaponize a teddy bear, it doesn't make teddy bears inherently evil.

/And I've thought of a few terrible, TERRIBLE ways to weaponize a teddy bear since typing that. I hate my brain sometimes.
 
2013-08-04 10:34:47 PM  

Mad_Radhu: Skr: I remember reading the book and wondering why they just didn't do another treatment to the guy after he started regressing. Was that covered in the book as some sort of resistance to procedure?

They really didn't explain it, but I figure it was some sort of rejection of the treatment by the immune system. For example, if they were using modified stem cells, they might work for a short time until the immune system notices them, but then once the body is programmed to attack the foreign stem cells, any future treatments would be quickly removed by the immune system. I don't think they every explained the specifics, but that's one way I could see the treatment only temporarily working and then not being repeatable.


IIRC, there was not only some sort of surgical alteration, but once the degeneration started you ended up losing brain tissue, leaving you worse off than before. Didn't Charly write something about Algernon's autopsy results? Maybe the neurons were hyperexcited and died. Or the treatment/surgery ended up inducing an amyloid mediated deterioration like galloping CJD. Or the glia died off. Or it's an auto-immune response. They didn't say a lot about it other than stating Algernon's Law: The rate and depth of deterioration is directly proportional to the initial intelligence increase.
 
2013-08-04 10:45:25 PM  
pixhost.me

I'd be more concerned that a Boys from Brazil could be done today

1.bp.blogspot.com

Guttenberg was rocking the Afro
 
2013-08-04 10:46:58 PM  
way south:
Because some technologies should not be rushed into carelessly, lest the next three generations have to spend half the nations budget to deal with the consequences.

[dl.dropboxusercontent.com image 639x479]


It's even worse than you think. That was 70 years ago. They've come up with LOTS better things since then.

Think about it...it can be just as bad if not far far far worse to pursue something with dogged care and secrecy. It's true it pushes the consequences on down the road. But they can be a lot larger.
 
2013-08-04 10:57:29 PM  
Hey, if you liked Flowers For Algernon, you really should consider popping for a copy of Brainchild by George Turner. You can get them for the shipping cost on Amazon.

It's semi-hard SF. You could imagine it being written by Brin, Bear or Niven, so if you like that sort of writer, you'll probably like Brainchild. The novel explores the societal impact of a group of designer children with intellects enhanced in various ways by genetic engineering.
 
2013-08-04 10:59:06 PM  
public.dcexp.com
 
2013-08-04 11:09:03 PM  
This is good news for me.  I've been trying to build a rapport with the jukebox, but it refuses to sing to me unless I beg.
 
2013-08-04 11:15:25 PM  

Felgraf: vossiewulf: Makh: Secret of NIMH apparently too.

[lh3.ggpht.com image 500x271]

Demands sparkly.

/tfa should spook us all

Why? Because We Am Play God?


MrEricSir: It's not a secret these days, we've had Nickel Metal Hydride batteries for a while now.



The book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was quite good, one of the better SF novels for children. The movie The Secret of NIMH can be entertaining if you haven't read the book, but once you have, you'll hate the movie for what it did to it.

The novel was surprisingly hard SF for a story featuring sapient talking animals, but there was a reason that they were sapient and could talk (and, no, they didn't wear clothes). The movie turned it into a fantasy with that silly Deus ex Machina magic gemstone. That was a gender shift tantamount to having The Lord of the Rings climax having Frodo succumb to the Ring, but Gollumn does not take it from him then fall into the Cracks of Doom. Instead, Sauron reaches Mount Doom before Gandalf can get there on the Eagles, and takes the Ring. His body reforms, he puts the Ring on his finger and is about to rule Middle Earth forever, when suddenly he and the Ring and Barad-Dûr are vaporized by phaser beams from the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701E from orbit, saving the day.
 
2013-08-04 11:23:51 PM  
In the 1990s the cells got caught using calcium to accomplish a form of nonelectrical signaling.

Those naughty, naughty astrocytes...
 
2013-08-05 01:14:09 AM  
It's people!
 
2013-08-05 01:37:43 AM  
This could be uplifting.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-08-05 01:42:53 AM  
About the kid with all the chains and the goggles and at the end he gets killed with a shotgun? Boosh!
 
2013-08-05 03:48:26 AM  
cdn.static.ovimg.com

/Thanks Ken!
 
2013-08-05 05:51:26 AM  

gnosis301: FrancoFile: Just as long as it's not The Lawnmower Man

/Charley was sane and moral

The Lawnmower Man was a short story about a guy who eats grass and kills people with a lawnmower.  There was no movie.


Sure there was. It just bore absolutely no resemblance to short story, per Stephen King's lawyers.
 
2013-08-05 05:52:16 AM  
I have enough trouble finding anyone to have an intelligent conversation with as it is.

Can science make me dumber yet? I think I'd be much happier that way. Or do I have to spend time in the politics tab?
 
2013-08-05 05:54:28 AM  
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should. Oh, God help us."

Also, The Secret of Nimh is one of my favorite animated films. The Rats of Nimh series is one of my favorite series of books. I've learned to separate the two. I've found the big disconnect with fans is that boo, the film used magic instead of intellect and how dare they blah blah blah. I love the film for Elizabeth Hartman's performance. I've always had a bit of crush on Mrs.Brisby.

Concerning the magic use, it's a bit before it's time as far as the poor, wretched underdog finding of course, they're absolutely special and better than those mean ole bullies, because magic!

/mrs,brisby is awesome, though.
//not a furry
 
2013-08-05 06:15:58 AM  

Lochsteppe: Skr: I remember reading the book and wondering why they just didn't do another treatment to the guy after he started regressing. Was that covered in the book as some sort of resistance to procedure?

He'd hit the lifetime cap on his health insurance.  The most tragic part of the whole book,really.


Welcome to Obama's America.
 
2013-08-05 08:44:04 AM  

erewhon: way south:
Because some technologies should not be rushed into carelessly, lest the next three generations have to spend half the nations budget to deal with the consequences.

[dl.dropboxusercontent.com image 639x479]

It's even worse than you think. That was 70 years ago. They've come up with LOTS better things since then.

Think about it...it can be just as bad if not far far far worse to pursue something with dogged care and secrecy. It's true it pushes the consequences on down the road. But they can be a lot larger.


At least it gives scientists a moment to think about the consequences, and nations chance to formulate a proper response to them. Scientific advancements can be manged if people are given time to understand.
The guys who built the bomb only started figuring out consequences after the boom. Too late to stop the oncoming train of advancements, for better or worse.


We're so new to Bioengineering that most of us don't have a concept of where it could take the world. The fiction writers can come up with a dozen nightmares an hour about it, but few scientists have put thought into what could happen or how it could be managed.

So, yes, it could be a bad thing to openly publish details about this new rabbit hole before someones tossed a speculative light down.
 
2013-08-05 08:54:03 AM  

robohobo: Also, The Secret of Nimh is one of my favorite animated films. The Rats of Nimh series is one of my favorite series of books. I've learned to separate the two.


I did the same.  First same the movie when I was young - maybe 5 or 6, well before I was reading, and for that age group it's great.  I read the book a few years later and I remember barely even associating the two with each other.

TheMysteriousStranger: This could be uplifting.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 270x444]


So what happens in the in-between stages?  Right now we're injecting mice with human stem cells.  That might provide them with an isolated boost in intelligence but it's not part of their genome so it can't be propogated.  But what happens when we start skipping the middle man and insert a gene that grows the human brain cells?  At what point do the mice gain "rights"?
 
2013-08-05 09:22:40 AM  

way south: erewhon: way south:
Because some technologies should not be rushed into carelessly, lest the next three generations have to spend half the nations budget to deal with the consequences.

[dl.dropboxusercontent.com image 639x479]

It's even worse than you think. That was 70 years ago. They've come up with LOTS better things since then.

Think about it...it can be just as bad if not far far far worse to pursue something with dogged care and secrecy. It's true it pushes the consequences on down the road. But they can be a lot larger.

At least it gives scientists a moment to think about the consequences, and nations chance to formulate a proper response to them. Scientific advancements can be manged if people are given time to understand.
The guys who built the bomb only started figuring out consequences after the boom. Too late to stop the oncoming train of advancements, for better or worse.


We're so new to Bioengineering that most of us don't have a concept of where it could take the world. The fiction writers can come up with a dozen nightmares an hour about it, but few scientists have put thought into what could happen or how it could be managed.

So, yes, it could be a bad thing to openly publish details about this new rabbit hole before someones tossed a speculative light down.


Perhaps some advances in physics shouldn't ever be promulgated. Consider - what if the contemporaries of the nuke found some things they thought you ought NEVER know? Is it a good thing if they keep it so doggedly secret you only get the thing in disjointed, inaccurate bits while the UKUSA group continues development, or is it better to reveal it, or would you rather they put the development team on a lonely wall and gun them down?
 
2013-08-05 09:28:27 AM  
StrangeQ:
So what happens in the in-between stages?  Right now we're injecting mice with human stem cells.  That might provide them with an isolated boost in intelligence but it's not part of their genome so it can't be propogated.  But what happens when we start skipping the middle man and insert a gene that grows the human brain cells?  At what point do the mice gain "rights"?

What would you think if you knew they were doing animal chimera with human brain cells and some parts of a human brain bauplan? Rats, dogs and whatnot with large heads, human neurons and convoluted brain cortexes? If it's some sort of bear chimera with rudimentary language skills and pseudo-hands, does it have rights, or is it a DARPA soldier upgrade?
 
2013-08-05 09:29:33 AM  
s chimera/chimerae on the first one
 
2013-08-05 09:50:36 AM  

erewhon: way south: erewhon: way south:
Because some technologies should not be rushed into carelessly, lest the next three generations have to spend half the nations budget to deal with the consequences.

[dl.dropboxusercontent.com image 639x479]

It's even worse than you think. That was 70 years ago. They've come up with LOTS better things since then.

Think about it...it can be just as bad if not far far far worse to pursue something with dogged care and secrecy. It's true it pushes the consequences on down the road. But they can be a lot larger.

At least it gives scientists a moment to think about the consequences, and nations chance to formulate a proper response to them. Scientific advancements can be manged if people are given time to understand.
The guys who built the bomb only started figuring out consequences after the boom. Too late to stop the oncoming train of advancements, for better or worse.


We're so new to Bioengineering that most of us don't have a concept of where it could take the world. The fiction writers can come up with a dozen nightmares an hour about it, but few scientists have put thought into what could happen or how it could be managed.

So, yes, it could be a bad thing to openly publish details about this new rabbit hole before someones tossed a speculative light down.

Perhaps some advances in physics shouldn't ever be promulgated. Consider - what if the contemporaries of the nuke found some things they thought you ought NEVER know? Is it a good thing if they keep it so doggedly secret you only get the thing in disjointed, inaccurate bits while the UKUSA group continues development, or is it better to reveal it, or would you rather they put the development team on a lonely wall and gun them down?


It would depend on the development, for me.
If its a piece of technology we can use to our advantage then surely we'd want to see it developed more (and I doubt it could stay secret for long anyway). I'd only ask that we study that thing through proper peer reviewed channels and try to avoid publishing details carelessly.

If its a scientist saying "hey guys, I learned how to make an airborne and untreatable plague. ISN'T THIS COOL!" and posting the how-to on his blog... Yea, up against the wall with him.

I know its not a very libertarian view, but the socialist in me does not want to see the world end just because some guy was playing with DNA like kids play with Lego. Things that could affect billions of lives should be treated with extreme respect.
 
2013-08-05 09:53:42 AM  

erewhon: StrangeQ:
So what happens in the in-between stages?  Right now we're injecting mice with human stem cells.  That might provide them with an isolated boost in intelligence but it's not part of their genome so it can't be propogated.  But what happens when we start skipping the middle man and insert a gene that grows the human brain cells?  At what point do the mice gain "rights"?

What would you think if you knew they were doing animal chimera with human brain cells and some parts of a human brain bauplan? Rats, dogs and whatnot with large heads, human neurons and convoluted brain cortexes? If it's some sort of bear chimera with rudimentary language skills and pseudo-hands, does it have rights, or is it a DARPA soldier upgrade?


I would say make way for SCIENCE!  But then I might be biased.
 
2013-08-05 04:23:12 PM  
Why would we want to 'do' Flowers for Algernon today? That was one of the saddest most tragic books ever.
I'll wait until they can make it permanent.
 
2013-08-05 04:28:14 PM  

Makh: Secret of NIMH apparently too.


National Institute of Mental Health.
In the books the researchers were working on eerily similar projects, resulting in rats and mice with near-human or human intelligence. I think that they should push this as far as it can go.
 
2013-08-05 05:48:32 PM  

Skr: I remember reading the book and wondering why they just didn't do another treatment to the guy after he started regressing. Was that covered in the book as some sort of resistance to procedure?


My impression was that the treatment resulted in widespread destruction of the central nervous system, including motor centers, and presumed that the eventual cause of death was from failure of the parts controlling involuntary (cardiac/respiratory) function. Or in other words, there wasn't enough brain left for the second treatment to help.

Furthermore, the drawback was inherent to the augmentation process used -- and the decay proportional to the degree of augmentation -- which meant any second treatment would collapse even faster, possibly shortening his intellectual lifetime even more.
 
2013-08-05 08:16:21 PM  

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: I have enough trouble finding anyone to have an intelligent conversation with as it is.

Can science make me dumber yet? I think I'd be much happier that way. Or do I have to spend time in the politics tab?


Nope. Sorry. For intelligence, we have science. For dumbth, you just have to watch a lot of Fox.
 
2013-08-05 08:22:14 PM  

Uranus Is Huge!: Why would we want to 'do' Flowers for Algernon today? That was one of the saddest most tragic books ever.
I'll wait until they can make it permanent.


Well, Planet of the Apes wasn't exactly a picnic!

Chuck:  You damned dirty apes! You blew it up!

Dr. Zaius: Hey, it wasn't us. It was you stupid humans. We just picked up the pieces.

Chuck: Ook?

Dr. Zaius: That's better, Monkey Boy.


Let's not give animals human intelligence. Let's see if we can train humans to use their intelligence. Ten times a day I realize how stupid I am, and I'm one of the smart ones.
 
2013-08-05 08:29:36 PM  
I'm really fascinated by the concept of intelligence greater than mine. I wonder what that would feel like. Would it be like living with chimps? Would it be like being a college freshman in the campus equivalent of "Animal House" again?

What would the thought processes of a guy with two or three times the intelligence of a normal genius be like? Would you see words and signs floating in air like the new Sherlock Holmes? Would it be like having a GPS system that works? or getting emails that tell you what you'd like to buy instead of suggesting you buy what you bought yesterday?
 
Displayed 50 of 52 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter





In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report