Quantum Leech

Medicine has been fascinated with leeches for centuries, using them to thin the blood, remove clots and deal with hypertension. Now Potro Dhorma is bringing leeches into the world of Quantum Physics by seeing the world through the eyes of a leech.

“Leeches are incredible creatures. For something so seemingly fluid and unstructured, they’ve been designed very carefully. They are simple in structure, very simple, and it’s this simplicity that gives rise to perfect structures within the animal. The distance between the eyes is exact, correct to within nanometres in some species. This allows for precise measurements time taken between pulses of light reaching the sensors and subsequently the brain,” says Dhorma, “There are fifty receptors per eye, with a rigid, perfect alignment of each receptor, no lens to get in the way, so minimal processing power is required to interpret a signal.”

Building robots to accurately measure light pulsations is expensive and more complicated that one might think, he says, and operating on such a small scale means that often tolerances are exceeded.

“The experiments we are performing require very, very precise measurements. These can only come from very finely crafted sensors. It turns out those sensors are already being grown on our little friend here,” he says, holding up a leech for observation, “And we are not blessed with only one pair, but five.”

Asked whether there was a particular species of leech in use, Dhorma was quick to say that he could not identify it, given the secretive nature of his research. He did say, however, that he and his team are growing leeches in vats to genetically engineer a strain of perfect specimens.

“These critters will not be released into the wild. They are laboratory leeches only. Once we have perfected the strain, which, by our estimations based on convergence, should be within another fifteen generations, then we will be looking to patenting the creatures and selling them to the scientific community.”

When asked about how to use the leech, Dhorma demonstrated by dissecting one in front of us, attaching electrodes to the optic nerves, and hooking it up to a computer. He then showed how he can measure the time taken for photon interaction between the two sensors, and how they measure up against standard laboratory equipment.

“See, this sensor array here costs around two hundred dollars, it’s cumbersome to calibrate and it’s fragile. This leech would cost – including growing, harvesting, distributing and connecting – about five dollars when you add it all up. The results, even at this early stage, are almost identical,” he says proudly.

He says the working time of the eyes is around twenty four to forty eight hours after ‘harvest’, after which the results decline rapidly. The rate of decline is predictable and scientists could work around the shortfall.

“Of course, we could look at a solution whereby the leech is kept alive but immobile, perhaps with a kind of paralysis toxin. This would be ideal and an even more cost effective option.”ChesterLogoSmall

I <3 TV

Eating endorphin inspiring foods – such as chocolate – while performing similarly stimulating activities – such as watching television – leads to a ‘confused relationship with one’s environment’, says Doctor Christine Richwell of Montmorency Social Research Institute.

Monitoring the brain and hormone activity of subjects, Doctor Richwell demonstrated that those who consumed chocolate while watching television, playing on a game console or interacting with a mobile device exhibited signs of ‘falling in love’. The patterns observed by those participants in the study who did consume the food closely correlated to the state of being in love, even when the chocolate was later removed.

“It seems that the chocolate encourages false feelings to emerge. What’s not clear is whether the ‘love’ is directed toward the device or what is being presented upon the device,” she says, “Or if it is not directed at anything in particular. What is clear is that the consumption of food in conjunction with leisure activities creates an artificial world in which the participant experiences unreasonable feelings toward inanimate objects and greatly increases the chance that they will demonstrate unreasonable emotions in relation to that device.”

The study rose from an observation regarding divorcees, that in a proportionally significant number of cases, one or both of the divorcees had trouble relating to the real world as determined by an online psychological test.

“We’re not talking huge percentages, but they are significant. Ten to fifteen percent based upon a study done in Amsterdam. Marriages are only one victim of this kind of dissonance between reality and one’s emotions,” she goes on to say, “If I can demonstrate that humans are ‘loving’ their devices more than other humans, or objectophilia, then we’ve got a real problem on our hands. The normal human emotions of love, compassion and empathy should be applied to other humans, not electronic devices.”

When asked whether she recommends people stop eating chocolate while watching television, Doctor Richwell is cautious, “No, I don’t think that’s the answer. That would be a simplistic solution to what is really a complex problem. I believe the real problem is understanding and controlling one’s emotions, putting more effort into researching whether particular content is what is evoking such a response and what the long term effects of such disorders may be on the person, their families and the greater community. Whether or not there should be legislation to prevent such interactions, that is not for me to say.”

Doctor Richwell avoided answering questions about whether providers were deliberately altering their content to take advantage of the amorous response. She says that while it is entirely possible, and even plausible, that such companies could have found a formula to produce such sensations and keep their audiences ‘hooked’, her scientific research does not hold enough data to draw any conclusions.

“I’m a scientist, not an activist,” she says, “I can only show you what I have found, nothing more.”