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

Edgar Allan Poe’s darker secret

While the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe are macabre and mysterious, investigations into his personal life reveal an even darker side: At least two of his famous works may actually have been inspired by real and, shockingly, personal events.

“It would seem that elements of ‘The Telltale Heart’ and ‘The Cask of Amontillado’ coincide with actual unsolved police cases, one a murder, the other a disappearance, suspected foul play,” says Ryan Ng, Researcher and Literary Analyst.

The revelations come to light after Ryan tracked the historical movements of Poe and compared them against police records. What he found has convinced him that Poe is guilty of more than just stealing our imaginations.

Twenty years after The Telltale Heart was published, renovations at a seaside manor in New Jersey uncovered the corpse of an elderly man from under the floorboards. The date of death was officially determined as being twenty-two years earlier which, Ryan demonstrates, is precisely the time when Edgar was known to have ‘visited a friend’ in that area.

“The timing is almost perfect. Also, in Virginia, there was a wealthy businessman, Kieth Hitchcock, who disappeared after attending a masquerade ball. The grounds next to the ball was a construction site, known to have been visited by Poe and his friends during a holiday from University. I would be keen to see if there are any skeletons buried inside those walls,” says Ryan, “If we look at the progression from killing a cat, then old men, then wealthy businessmen, we see a very real pattern of psychopathic behaviour.”

Publishing his stories is an sign of Poe’s restrained regret, Ryan says, whereas the details placed within the story, specifically highlighting the cleverness of his crimes smacks of the egotistical mind of a genuine serial killer.

“I’m currently investigating the Pit and the Pendulum to see if there are any crimes of torture to which he might be linked.”ChesterLogoSmall

Good Vibrations

The air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink all play a part in affecting our health. Now scientists are looking at vibration frequencies and how they affect our bodies.

“We know that certain frequencies can positively and negatively affect our bodies, from blood flow, to muscle development, even brain function. We have seen that there are some stimulus and response ‘notes’ that, when hit, resonate certain parts of our bodies,” says Deak Gorbon, curator of the study.

It was shown that certain low frequencies affect the heart rate of participants, along with blood sugar levels, mental aptitude and problem solving capabilities. On the flip side, higher frequencies can result in reduced oxygen levels at the extremities.

Of particular note are certain rates around the 50 to 60 Hertz, common worldwide for AC electrical systems and transmission, which was shown to affect brainwaves, with a notable decrease in Beta waves and increase Alpha waves, mimicking a sleep-like state.

“Environment affects every aspect of our lives. It’s only natural to expect that vibrations, possibly the most fundamental natural phenomenon, has an effect on our body as well. It appears that the resonant frequencies of various geometric structures in our bodies cause these reactions. We are looking to see how we can apply this in a medical way, such as to decrease healing time, or aid a patient’s paranoia.” ChesterLogoSmall

 

Ghost Hunting a Science

Following on from television shows like ‘Ghost Hunters‘ and books like ‘Paranormology‘, the hunt for ghosts and research into the spiritual realm is set to lose its pseudoscience badge in favour of a degree.

Students at the University of Mount Gambier in South Australia can now choose to become official Paranormologists. With the aim to make Paranormology as commonplace as geography or astronomy, the University is trialing the course over the next few years.

“The first few subjects deal with scientific methodology, the importance of thoroughly recording observations and peer review. Once the students have a grounding in the accepted practices, they then move on to equipment, practical training and observation techniques,” says Doctor Sue Rochester, “The word ‘ghost’ doesn’t even appear in any recommended text books until the third year.”

Unproven methodologies such as clairvoyance and seances are not part of the curriculum, says Sue, although they are addressed in the subjects of hoaxes.

“As a scientist working in a field that naturally attracts charlatanism, it’s important to know how to remain objective, how to spot human interference, how to use scientific analysis to rule out trickery.”

The Paranormology course is being piloted with a view for expanding into other fields, such as Cryptozoology and Ufology.

This is Not Cthulu

Captain Art O’Callaghan has played down suggestions that his crew has found ‘Cthulu’. Referring to the mythical creature created by author H. P. Lovecraft, a sonar image taken by his trench-mapping team in the Atlantic ocean shows what appears to be an enormous octopus-like creature.

When asked about the image, he denies that it is anything but ordinary, despite its likeness to mythical creatures such as the Kraken, a legendary giant octopus.

Structure, not creature,” he stresses, “We don’t know if it’s biological in nature, we don’t know if it’s moving. It’s one frame out of a thousand others that we’ve taken, and I’m not about to go calling it something it’s not. It could be an anomaly, a pocket of bubbles or an underwater mountain crest covered in algae. We just don’t know.”

A communications operator, who has refused to be named, contradicts him, “Nonsense. This is top-notch equipment that can take sonar, thermal and infra-red images of extremely deep-sea trenches. Coupled with the raw image is advanced processing and noise filtering. Anomalies or shadows like he’s suggestion just don’t happen. There is something there, and that’s that. I’ve checked it, like, five times, and it’s about 750 metres in diameter, whatever it is.”

When asked if he would be returning to the ‘Cthulu Trench’, as it is known among his crew, Captain O’Callaghan is firm, “I’m employed to do a job, and I’m doing it, end of story. We’ve got another two months worth of sweeping to do, weather permitting. The trenches won’t map themselves.”ChesterLogoSmall