Monkeys brain controls robot arm

One step closer to monkey robot domination:

With the probes inserted into the monkeys motor cortices, computer software was used to interpret the brains electrical impulses and translate them into movement through the robotic arm.

This arm was jointed like a human arm and possessed a “gripper” that mimics a hand.

After some training, two monkeys – who had had their own arms restrained – were able to use the prosthetic limbs to feed themselves with marshmallows and chunks of fruit.

For some reason, the BBC is reporting on a 3-year-old story, but it’s still cool and there’s a video, so I’ll post it anyway.

Genetic link for lung cancer identified

464749_cigarettes.jpgSome really interesting genetic research was recently published in Nature on smoking and lung caner:

Three independent genetic studies have found some of the strongest evidence yet that your genes influence your risk of developing lung cancer.

Lung cancer, the most common killer cancer in the world, is largely caused by smoking. Tobacco is thought to be responsible for about 5 million premature deaths every year and smoking is still clearly the largest risk factor. But the new results suggest that, amongst smokers, some people may be as much as 80% more at risk than others thanks to their genes.

So how risky is smoking? You won’t need a genetic test; it suffices to say it’s fairly risky indeed:

About 50% of the general population carries a single copy of this cancer gene variant, members of the three research groups suggest. Data from all three studies — some of which did not include non-smokers — show that possessing this single copy raises the risk of lung cancer by about 30%.

What’s more, another 10% of the population is likely to carry two copies of this set of mutations, raising cancer risk by as much as 80% relative to people with equivalent lifestyles without the cancer-linked gene variant.

Oh, sweet irony!

Bush advisor Jay Lefkowitz describes how the administration’s anti-stem cell policy came about:

A few days later, I brought into the Oval Office my copy of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s 1932 anti-utopian novel, and as I read passages aloud imagining a future in which humans would be bred in hatcheries, a chill came over the room.

It’s hilarious that they would take the instruction book for how they’ve run the country the last few years and use it as a cautionary tale. Although I guess it’s not very different to how they misuse the Bible to their advantage.