Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Human-Made Species

How shopping malls will look by 2008

Work on the world's first human-made species is well under way at a research complex in Rockville, Md., and scientists in Canada have been quietly conducting experiments to help bring such a creature to life.

Several scientific groups are trying to make genes that do not exist in nature, in hopes of constructing microbes that perform useful tasks, such as producing industrial chemicals, clean energy or drugs. Dr. Venter and his colleagues are pushing the technology to its limits by trying to put together an entirely synthetic genome.

The Venter team is starting small, working to construct a simpler version of the bacteria known as Mycoplasma genitalium, a common resident of the human reproductive tract. They hope to determine the minimum number of genes required to breathe life into an organism.

How bathrooms will look by 2009

M. genitalium is a single-cell bacterium with just one chromosome and 517 genes. But the Venter team is paring the recipe down and believes their version will be able to survive with as few as 250 to 400 genes -- each of which they are making themselves, one chemical piece at a time.

(Editor's Note: for more information on M. genitalium, see this week's feature on that most eminent scientific journal, Bubblegum Meltdown.)

"I grew up doing that with cars and clocks and radios and things like that," Dr. Venter said. "You take them apart to understand them and then you try and see if you can reassemble them."

plays God with a 212 handicap
Aspiring Mad Scientist, Venter
(Igor featured in background)

Dr. Holt, a Vancouver native who worked in the United States with Dr. Venter until 2002, described it as a "chicken and egg" problem.

'My God! It's full of eggs!'

"You need an egg to make the chicken, but you also need the chicken to make the egg," Dr. Holt said. "I thought this was one of the most important problems and one that we should get working on here."

The Sordid Details

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Ok... December Post

Alright God damn it!

Let's all gather around now, children. Uncle Helskel is gonna tell you a story.

*children gather around in eager expectation of wonderful story telling*

"It all began with a broken spoon. You see there was this old man. Let's just call him Old Man. Ok. Everyone agreed? Old Man? Ok. Old Man was well... old. He'd been living for quite some time already. I mean, he was old. He wasn't a young man you see. I mean, I wouldn't name him Old Man if he was a teenager, now would I? Ok. Back to the Old Man. Old Man had a cat. The cat wasn't as old as Old Man. The cat would be mumified by now if it was as old as Old Man. So we'll call this cat, Old Man's Cat. Everybody still with me?"

*the children exchange looks with each other, and begin edging away*

"Ok. So Old Man was sitting in his house one day with Old Man's Cat. Old Man's Cat was purring because Old Man was petting Old Man's Cat. Ok, let's just call Old Man's Cat, OMC. Ok? Good. Now OMC had been having some urinary problems lately. OMC would kinda piss wherever. When OMC felt the need, OMC let it flow. In fact, OMC was relieving itself right there in Old Man's lap. Old Man knew OMC was pissing on him, right there on his lap. But Old Man didn't mind, because Old Man kinda had the same problem, and so had a lot sympathy for OMC's condition. Now you can imagine Old Man's house had a bit of a smell to it. That's what this story is about kids, the smell of Old Man's house. Let's call it the SOOMH for short, ok?"

*Uncle Helskel looks up and sees all the children have left*

What! What? Not such a good story eh? Well, fug it. There's your December post.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005



Putting in a new distributor in my classic muscle Mustang this week,


I continue to be textually impaired,

Hence: image keyword "Distribution".

distribution barrier

median distribution

LED  Distribution

distribution of the universe


distribution day

strike to distribution line


Distribution B




Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Time for another lazy google image run.

keyword: Spec



my ring












spec polished (No, Emma, it's not a toy!)


(you'd think there'd be more pictures of some insignificant dust.)

Friday, November 11, 2005



To: All United States Armed Forces Veterans,
past, present and future...

Thank you.

Friday, November 04, 2005

More Conversing With ltl<>mike

I know. Most of you probably wonder, "what the hell is this random shit?"
Well, suffice to say, it's the result of a telephone, a friend, and a cool old manual typewriter.
Oh, and beer... whoot! here we go again!


The television asks, “Do you have enough?”
Then it sells me beer.
I see this and ask myself, “Is a talking box enough?”
Test the disk.

And ltl<>mike says, “We need a solar powered tank.”
Yep, I says…
Plan of attack, plan of fame.
Lust for history.
Then there’s Frank Black.

Acetate. Acetic. Acetone.
(Fr. L. Acetum, vinegar + -ATE.)

The strangest thing about this material world is
That without the people in it,
It is but lifeless and cold.
Kind of grey.
We sometimes forget this truth…
That alone, we are empty and pursuing madness.

Isolation is the greatest punishment.
Trials and tribulations,
It is the judgment of others which drives us.
The careless smile, the omission of acknowledgement…
These are the heart killers.

All Life knows this.
All Life feels this.
I feel it now.
I am feeling it now.
Life alone is worse than death.

Breath in
Enter exhale
Exit inwards.
Sometimes life seems much like a poker game,
If you believe in infinite reincarnation.
Then it’s just chips.

Bet, risk, reward.
It’s a game.
But it’s serious.
It is a game of the heart.
Beating and Flow,
Into the preposition.

Containing, smooth, flat, long, wide, breadth, planer, solid, limits.

Singular, opening, hole, passage, light leaver, transparent transcendence.

Space as the limit of ego.
That which is outside of me.
Separation of you and me.
In, out, self, other.

With the genesis of at least dueling duality,
There can come dynamism.
Change is the secret.


Robotic Fish.
A nuclear submarine shaped like a fish.

How to take your self seriously.
How to not take your self seriously.
Two books by RONCO.


Time said, move on.
Time cried, I see.
Life reflected into darkness.
You and me.
We drift on the open sea.
Our raft held by tenuous bindings.
We dream right beside each other of palm trees waving gently in the breeze.
Of sands, fury and the many ways land interacts with the ocean.
The rocks and the waves.
The fish and the greenery.
Sometimes, it makes its presence known.
Sometimes, it is present unseen.
The faceless with eyes, the motioning…


And into the blue.
The scene found us sight unseen.
The death found its own birth.
Luxury living. Tight seams.
Where’s the hardship?
Where is the common thread?
I’m still working on it.

I wonder how discipline walks.
I think of the steps to achievement.
I summate much bullshit.
But I can type.

I can speak.

I can lay to not get up.
I can dive below the Sea.
I know the sea is me.
And the I is just an island.


I know eye.
I see him as me.
I forget the tea.

Oh the tea.

Such mountainous me.
I’m walking in circles, feeling the pain. –WEEN

Who knows on what twisted paths our hearts will lead us?
Who knows really how to end any life without a preposition of in to under out.

I’m missing her.
But does it matter?
Bus stop. Train station. Which category?
All things seem to matter.
Which choice is real?
The path taken.
That’s right. Walk out in front of me.
Trees overhung the Parkland path.
“Unfortunately, things are good for us.”
Pacing round the cage.
Lions in captivity walk thus…

Day Five. Empowerment.

Blend it!
Mend it!
Are you talking crazy shit?!

Pandora bauxite.
Make the medicine.
Eat the scorpion.

Don’t shoot the cops.
Enough people are shot on Federal.
Go read a news story.
What’s the word?

Spring Summer Fall Winter.
Do a painting guide, for the inside.
Creative pragmatism.

Charles Manson is what was wrong with the Sixites.

Google Earth.

I respect what you have to say.
You own, your own operating system.
If it ain’t broke, I ain’t gonna fix it.

That’s the state of the case, man.
A king fisher flew overhead.
Over the crick, it’s ok.
Go out the other side.

We’ll get bored with war.
Conventional…no more sneaky bombing.
Everybody has to get into a big ring.
Unfortunately we all have to die.

Death is sleep.
How long is sleep?
What if you never wake up.

Talkin’ about.

TDC, top dead center.
I need to write it down.
Modest caribou.
I have a coupon.


There will be those nights I go down to the crick.
With the moon and sundry other goods.
Time and Flow.

What’s in your head, Zombie.
Hunger and my lead, Zombie.

Frank says, blow blow man blow.

This is the hour of our soul.
Sing sweetly for the Sun and the reaper’s blade,
For you never know.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Oh, Just Great


Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

Business Writer

We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.
But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.
Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind.

I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation _ essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

I felt a mysterious, irresistible urge to start walking to the right whenever the researcher turned the switch to the right. I was convinced _ mistakenly _ that this was the only way to maintain my balance.

The phenomenon is painless but dramatic. Your feet start to move before you know it. I could even remote-control myself by taking the switch into my own hands.

There's no proven-beyond-a-doubt explanation yet as to why people start veering when electricity hits their ear. But NTT researchers say they were able to make a person walk along a route in the shape of a giant pretzel using this technique.

It's a mesmerizing sensation similar to being drunk or melting into sleep under the influence of anesthesia. But it's more definitive, as though an invisible hand were reaching inside your brain.

NTT says the feature may be used in video games and amusement park rides, although there are no plans so far for a commercial product.

Some people really enjoy the experience, researchers said while acknowledging that others feel uncomfortable.

I watched a simple racing-car game demonstration on a large screen while wearing a device programmed to synchronize the curves with galvanic vestibular stimulation. It accentuated the swaying as an imaginary racing car zipped through a virtual course, making me wobbly.

ah! the waves!

Another program had the electric current timed to music. My head was pulsating against my will, getting jerked around on my neck. I became so dizzy I could barely stand. I had to turn it off.

NTT researchers suggested this may be a reflection of my lack of musical abilities. People in tune with freely expressing themselves love the sensation, they said.

"We call this a virtual dance experience although some people have mentioned it's more like a virtual drug experience," said Taro Maeda, senior research scientist at NTT. "I'm really hopeful Apple Computer will be interested in this technology to offer it in their iPod."

(This is just one more reason to say:
Up yours Apple )

Research on using electricity to affect human balance has been going on around the world for some time.

James Collins, professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, has studied using the technology to prevent the elderly from falling and to help people with an impaired sense of balance. But he also believes the effect is suited for games and other entertainment.

"I suspect they'll probably get a kick out of the illusions that can be created to give them a more total immersion experience as part of virtual reality," Collins said.

The very low level of electricity required for the effect is unlikely to cause any health damage, Collins said. Still, NTT required me to sign a consent form, saying I was trying the device at my own risk.

And risk definitely comes to mind when playing around with this technology.

Timothy Hullar, assistant professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., believes finding the right way to deliver an electromagnetic field to the ear at a distance could turn the technology into a weapon for situations where "killing isn't the best solution."

"This would be the most logical situation for a nonlethal weapon that presumably would make your opponent dizzy," he said via e-mail. "If you find just the right frequency, energy, duration of application, you would hope to find something that doesn't permanently injure someone but would allow you to make someone temporarily off-balance."

Indeed, a small defense contractor in Texas, Invocon Inc., is exploring whether precisely tuned electromagnetic pulses could be safely fired into people's ears to temporarily subdue them.
NTT has friendlier uses in mind.

If the sensation of movement can be captured for playback, then people can better understand what a ballet dancer or an Olympian gymnast is doing, and that could come handy in teaching such skills.

And it may also help people dodge oncoming cars or direct a rescue worker in a dark tunnel, NTT researchers say. They maintain that the point is not to control people against their will.
If you're determined to fight the suggestive orders from the electric currents by clinging to a fence or just lying on your back, you simply won't move.

But from my experience, if the currents persist, you'd probably be persuaded to follow their orders. And I didn't like that sensation. At all.

Ok. Let me be Frank.

Frank says, "This shit is scary. God damned Japanese. Only they would research ways to become better human automatons."

Thanks Frank.

We all may want to print out the picture below, and stick it in your purse or wallet or tripped-out metrosexual accessory. It may come in handy.

stay free