This was more a concept than an invention. It is also known as polyphasic sleep
, meaning sleeping at more than one interval during a day. Although not really invented by Fuller, he did popularize it and gave it a catchy nickname. Bucky claims to have slept only 30 minutes every 6 hours and did not suffer any ill effects. You can read a story about it in Time Magazine's archives.
Maybe we're already in the Matrix. How would we know? While you ponder that, scientists at the University of Florida are developing a neural implant that can think independently. This is not just an implant that deciphers brain signals, but one that can learn, adapt to various scenarios and help the host achieve certain goals. The initial technology is being developed for therapeutic applications, such as allowing paraplegics the ability to control their own limbs again. You can read more about the Neural Implants here.
Of course, giving such a "machine" partial control of your brain could lead to any number of problems; questions about who is really in charge. Which version of the future would you prefer to live in: I, Robot, 2001: A Space Odyssey or The Matrix?
In a "stimulus package" of their own devising, Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have announced they are going to provide 70 drugs, including Viagra, free to America's recently dis-employed. Sadly, what might have been cure for those recession blues is limited to people who had already been prescribed one of the drugs prior to being laid off (New Scientist
And ladies, with all that free Viagra about to hit the streets, now would be a good time to look your best. So what better way to rejuvenate your skin and cast off unsightly wrinkles than though injections of a compound derived from babies' foreskins. In what is, amazingly, not a joke, a British company has developed, and received UK approval for, a treatment called "Vavelta" that contains live fibroblasts
harvested from the bits of baby boys left over after a circumcision. Each vial of the drug is only enough to revive less than a square inch of skin, and costs $1000. But you'll have to travel to get it, the FDA have yet to approve its use in the US (Scientific American
Of course, it's not just your looks that needs tending as you get older, your mind needs attention too. Fortunately researchers have just announced that increased vitamin D is just the thing to keep us thinking flawlessly. Vitamin D
, you will remember, comes to us mainly through eating oily fish and from exposure to the sun. So start saving for that Miami condo now (Telegraph
Meanwhile, in a case of medical irony, one little spoken of casualty of the strategic arms treaties and test bans has been the availability of medicinal isotopes such as those used in radiography and some cancer treatments. Today, all isotopes for the Americas are supplied by just one facility, the MAPLE facility in Ontario, also the world's oldest operating nuclear reactor. Only now, it's shutting down over safety concerns, and there's no replacement ready (National Post
Finally, as an irony supplement, researchers have discovered that Down syndrome
, a genetic condition that causes a host of physical and mental problems, also protects against some forms of cancer. Down syndrome is caused by having an extra copy of one chromosome, and it is through having an additional copy of one of the genes on that chromosome, which interferes with the formation of blood vessels, that sufferers from DS are less susceptible to many 'solid tumor' cancers. It's hoped that this discovery might lead to better ways to fight cancer in the future (Science
The Boston Globe
awhile back posted an article on how to fool your brain without having to take hallucinogens. Apparently, the human mind is addicted to sensory information and you can put halved ping pong balls on your eyes while listening to static and see some pretty interesting things. There are a few other techniques too. This is probably why people can see images in the clouds and in stains, it's the mind trying to make something of the chaos. I haven't tried any of them yet, but am looking forward to soon. If anyone tries any of these out let me know, because I'd love to hear about your experiences.