Don’t Hold It In

A suppressed flatus or ‘fart’ can lead to many health complications, such as anxiety, depression, nausea, constipation and even hives. Studies show that not letting a flatus manifest, or ‘passing wind’, increases levels of cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’.

“Those with existing conditions or predispositions to hypertension, depression or irritation can find that these symptoms exacerbated,” said Petre Anderson of NAWO, Norway, “Flatulence is such a commonplace occurrence. It should be as acceptable as any other bodily function. Therein lies the problem. Social etiquette shuns (farting) and there has been a rise of allergy-like symptoms as a direct consequence.”

Evidence is being gathered to assess whether habitual resistance to passing wind causes chronic or permanent conditions. If found to be the case, Petre suggests that training would be required to desensitise patients from their social predicament to prevent a fart-induced epidemic.

“Such training would be beneficial just from a psychological level. What I would prefer to see, though, is a general acceptance for (farting) and (farting) related illnesses. For this we can expect to see greater resistance and slower change than at a personal level, but with today’s social media and a high quality marketing campaign, I hope to see (farting) elevated to the same status as other expulsions such as coughing or sneezing.”ChesterLogoSmall

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I See (Infra) Red!

In a bid to aid special services soldiers, military scientists in France have developed a ‘heat-vision’ serum. Up until now, the only way for spotters and scouts to see out into the inky blackness was to use heavy light amplification goggles or infra-red goggles.

Sérum de vision thermique, or SVT, is being tested on subjects to determine its efficacy for low-light operations.

“This is not light amplification. This serum works to replace the chemicals within the rods of the retina. They become sensitive to lower frequencies, specifically infra-red. This gives the user the ability to detect form, movement and contrast in pitch black environments,” says Jacques Clauzel, Chef Chirugien Optique in charge of the research, “It’s a temporary effect, lasting about two hours before the chemicals are metabolized.”

Preliminary results are positive, he says. While refining the serum, hallucinations were common among subjects. ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Anomalies’ were cause for concern, however these were shown to be actual hot-spots in the testing area.

“It can be unnerving seeing the invisible without the aid of equipment. With training, the soldiers can come to grips with it.”ChesterLogoSmall

Inserting USB an emotional rollercoaster

The frustration associated with inserting a USB plug can be used to measure emotional maturity. When assessing a candidate’s EQ, researchers are often frustrated by skewed results that arise from questionnaires, situation modelling and the like. New research into the effect of physical associative emotional responses, or PAERs, reveals a reliable indicator of how an individual can deal with conflict.

“We found that the common problem of finding the right way to insert a USB elicits predictable responses in candidates. We find anticipation, disappointment, frustration, resignation, relief and even pleasure,” says Marcus Ryan, psychological researcher at Farnham and Associates.

By using electrodes placed on the subject’s scalp, the researchers are able to detect ‘micro-emotions’ that arise as physical situations develop. By measuring the length of time, amplitude and appropriate sequencing of the response, researchers can more accurately measure a subject’s ability to cope with their environment.

“The results scale fairly well. We’re trialling other physical situations, like waiting for toast to pop up from a toaster, or a turning a key that is a bit stuck, or navigating a web page with a mouse that doesn’t track properly. If all goes to plan, we may have our subjects reliably analysed before they even finish their orientation.”ChesterLogoSmall

Biological Computers

Move over Intel, the new wave of micro-processors are about to hit the shelves. Colonies of yeast can be genetically engineered to form complex logical pathways which, when applied with particular stimuli, form incredibly powerful computations.

“It’s not an exact replica of a microprocessor. There are no hard wires or transistors. There are, however, complex cellular structures that responds very quickly and very accurately. We can use these to solve amazingly complex problems in the twinkling of an eye,” according to Ron Hamrick of Dubuque, “We calculated pi to one billion digits in less than twenty minutes with only half a teaspoon of sugar and a modest colony.”

While the bio-processors are hardly suitable for watches and computers, they do have a distinct advantage over commonplace silicon-based processors: they can grow.

“As the need for more processing power rises, we can increase the size of the colony. It seems that the processing power increases according to many factors, such as cell count, sugar content, surface area and oxygen / carbon dioxide ratios. The whole concept is scalable.”

After an exhausting set of trials, Ron and his team have settled upon a particular strain to serve as a bench-mark for future trials.

“We may see in the future that genetic engineering and microprocessing join forces to create ultra-complex pathways in living creatures. Who knows what the limits are?”ChesterLogoSmall