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Topic: AMA - Science

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DesiccantOwl

Hey all,
Many of you know me and so will require me to make no introduction. To others, hello! My name is Designate”Des”Turian and in my spare time I’m a casual gamer, husband and cat owner who recently migrated from the OXM Forums. Much like Batman has Bruce Wayne or Wonder Woman has Diana Prince I have an alter-ego when I’m not playing games - I’m a research scientist studying for a PhD in Tissue Engineering. Part of my ongoing training involves public outreach: getting good people like yourselves thinking about your world in a different way and, hopefully, breaking down some barriers that have formed due to lack of information. I’ve been thinking (possibly dangerous), why not combine both my hobby and my work and get to tackling some of the topics raised in games, of which there are a lot! Physics and chemistry are already covered very well on YouTube, a recent post about the physics of dropping Titan’s was particularly good, but there is next to no outlet for Biology. So if you wondered whether it would be possible to cryo-freeze someone for a long journey in space or infect a whole country with a zombie virus then I can try to provide a workable answer. Also, if you see something in the news you would like clarity on I can provide insight. If I get some good questions I may run to a YouTube video or two (been looking for an excuse to upgrade to a Mac desktop).
Cheers guys, I’m looking forward to this!
Des

DesiccantOwl

Xbox Gamertag: DesignateTurian | Twitter:

Red620Ti

Duh...........Wut?

If I think of an explanation that needs to be given in a plummy accent mate, I'll hit you up. Although I think all explanations sound better in your "Pip pip, tally ho!" voice..

"Justin Bieber looks like a lesbian i'd like to ****..." - Megakillscreen,out of frickin' nowhere!

Xbox Gamertag: Red620Ti

HEADESTROYER4

MegaKillScreen wrote:

Question the first: What is Tissue Engineering?

My father holds a PhD from Stanford in immunology and a major in human genetics. As far as I know, tissue engineering is the culturing of cells in order to say, graph skin, or in the near future replace organs. Although, anything beyond skin is quite the ways off as far as I understand it. (I don't, whatsoever...) My Dad works in this field, there are also really creepy possible outcomes to this... should you have the cash?

My question: Is there more funding within the UK towards preventative measures and new tech to identify breast cancer/others, or more funding towards freaky "life-lengthening" tech? Apparently it's a travesty in Canada and mostly geared towards the latter.

EDIT: Pip' boy, tally-ho!

Edited on by HEADESTROYER4

J.R.R G!en!

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SuperKMx

MegaKillScreen wrote:

Question the first: What is Tissue Engineering?

It's when you run out of tissues and fashion something else made of paper into a suitable nose-blowing device.

I may be wrong.

Ken Barnes,
Freelance Writer, Full-Time Idiot.

Xbox Gamertag: SuperKMx | Twitter:

MegaKillScreen

Question the second: So, Robocop was a spine and some bits of left over skin in a mech suit (awesome) - obviously this can't happen - BUT can human and machine become one? How does that work? How do brain impulse thingemies go through the skin and nerves and tendons and whatever else and make the mechanical things move? Is that a thing? Lay some science on me!

Josephine Lawton,
Contributor,
Pure Xbox

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HEADESTROYER4

SuperKMx wrote:

MegaKillScreen wrote:

Question the first: What is Tissue Engineering?

It's when you run out of tissues and fashion something else made of paper into a suitable nose-blowing device.

I may be wrong.

Yet another benefit of Angora rabbit ownership.

J.R.R G!en!

Twitter:

DesiccantOwl

Great response guys, I've got my work cut out for me. So, let's get cracking!

@MegaKillScreen - @HEADESTROYER is correct. Tissue Engineering uses cells from within your own body, and the bodies of model organisms, to study tissue development and hopefully create novel treatments in the future. Tissue Engineering goes hand-in-hand with stem cell research which comes with some controversy. The large proportion of information relayed to the public focused on the use of embryonic stem cells, cells isolated from young fetuses. Several groups suggested that denying human life for the benefit of research was immoral and, in truth, it is for the majority of the time. However, your own body contains stem cells right now. It is believed that they are involved in everything be it healing a cut to ensuring your own body is ticking over nicely. These are the cells that research hopes to use in applications such as the regrowth of new organs or updating current surgery techniques such as bone grafting.

@SuperKMx - that joke never gets old, surprised that you didn't ask whether I was employed by Kleenex

@MegaKillScreen - The scene where our unfortunate cop is detached from his robo suit is a great example of where movies take artistic licence for dramatic effect. Please don't misunderstand me, some of my favourite movie scenes have required me to suspend my disbelief and I wholeheartedly embrace it. However, science is catching up with its fiction counterpart where there has been a big push to try and get technology to integrate with our bodies. Indeed, this is already done on a low level and you may have already seen it if you own a pet. Microchips are small radio transmitters that activate when a specific device is placed on top of them. Modern phones and card manufacturers are also taking advantage of this technology through "contactless" and near field communications (NFC) however there are security issues. It is hoped that by implanting technology into our bodies we can protect our valuable information in very secure way. Yet this doesn't answer your question but lays the groundwork for the more heavy info.

Your body is generating a small electric current through nerves, a complex organisation of cells that pass a charge along their length and they are very specialized. Every time you touch a surface or watch a film the information is coded into electrical pulses and fed directly to the brain which processes the information and triggers a response. Understanding the information our natural sensors (eyes, nose, mouth, skin, ears) collect, mimicking that signal and interfacing with the bodies network are key concepts to create devices that will potentially improve the lives of disabled. Science is really starting to make leaps and bounds in this area showing that machines can directly interact with our bodies. Below are two links that are physical examples of this in action (don't worry, no horrific images)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retinal_implant

This area is known as Neuroprosthetics, an works with a variety of different disabilities. It is hoped that in the future we can start to generate new senses such as magnetic sense. Such a concept relies on the stimulation of touch by an implanted device but it has the potential to help engineers detect live wires by sensing the field they generate.

I hope this answers your question

@HEADESTROYER4 I need some more time to come up with an answer to life lengthening technologies here in the UK.

DesiccantOwl

Xbox Gamertag: DesignateTurian | Twitter:

TallPaul70

DesignateTurian wrote:

It is hoped that by implanting technology into our bodies we can protect our valuable information in very secure way.

Woah, Des is going all William Gibson on us!

Great stuff, mate, really well explained, it's great to have someone who knows their stuff expound on it.

Do more science at us!

Cloning seems to have gone very quiet since the sheep some years ago, is that because ethical concerns have restricted research, or is it because it's all taking place beneath a volcanic island where some billionaire corporate arsehole is quietly building up to creating an army of identical super-soldiers to crush all resistance when people finally realise that 1% of the population possessing over 50% of the world's wealth is an indefensible travesty and rise up to smash the system? For example.

Edited on by TallPaul70

TallPaul70

sorethumbed

Did anybody see the news where the Swedish company had most of their workforce implanted with a chip ( a la domestic animal) and the most extreme photocopier key I've ever seen 😀😀😀

Ancient, Angry, Armed and Inbound.

Xbox Gamertag: Sorethumbed

PeTitosaurus

Sweden represtent!! Ahead of the curve... as always. Joking aside though... that sounds friggin freaky!

Edited on by PeTitosaurus

Emma "Tito" - the Swankee speaking Swede and quirky blonde.

Xbox Gamertag: PeTitosaurus | Twitter:

HEADESTROYER4

To better pose that question, because "life-lengthening" sounds absolutely Sci-Fi. Is there more of a focus on a plausible cure for even a single type of cancer (a be all and end all would be great... but), or more of a focus on research in "gene-therapy"?

EDIT: Are you actually Bill Nye the Science Guy? I'm onto your secret!

Edited on by HEADESTROYER4

J.R.R G!en!

Twitter:

sorethumbed

PeTitosaurus wrote:

Sweden represtent!! Ahead of the curve... as always. Joking aside though... that sounds friggin freaky!

It's the future 😀😀😀 The BBC reporter who had himself chipped in the name of science WASNT to impressed though, especially when he couldn't get the copier to work! 😀😀

Ancient, Angry, Armed and Inbound.

Xbox Gamertag: Sorethumbed

DesiccantOwl

@sorethumbed @PeTitosaurus - Yep, sorethumbed is correct. Rory Cellan-Jones, technology correspondent for the BBC, had a small RFID (radiofrequency identification) chip inserted into his hand. Much like a pet ID chip, this tag carries information about the user on a small memory chip which is activated when it passes through a local electromagnetic field. A reader in the device attached to the target machine processes the information, cross-references with a database of employees and then, should a match be found, unlock the machine for use. This is a very basic form key (I say basic...but what does that make a Yale lock?) which doesn't rely on the user to provide any information.

Theoretically, by cloning the chip (ha ha, convenient segue @TallPaul), much like a contactless card can be cloned, anyone could unlock the device. Thus security has focused on trying to make a key unique and what can be more unique than you? Everyone has heard of fingerprint scanners: the iPhone 6 has one, some computers have one, my local gym has one! When CSI shows a fingerprint being scanned this is based on actual technology which uses the topography (fancy word for the surface roughness) of a fingerprint to identify a criminal. However, fingerprints can be removed, either by mechanical force (i.e. with a file) or chemical etching (agressive acid), or don't exist at all (see aderamatoglyphia - pronounced adder-mato-glyph-ee-a). Iris scanning, analysing the layout of the coloured part of your eye, can also be fooled by placing a high resolution image of the subjects eye in front of the scanner. Voice recognition can be fooled by high-quality recordings.
What do these flaws have in common?

They don't require any proof of the subject being alive! Sure, the current British Passport has biometric for head shape, iris colour etc, but this system is monitored 24hrs a day by a human who can confirm the user is alive (i.e you can't murder someone on a plane, drag their body to border control and expect to get past security with their passport). But what about in a more secluded location, say your house, or your local ATM?

Enter vein matching! Because everyone is unique genetically it stands to reason that we each will be structured in a unique way, this includes the organisation of the blood vessels in our fingers. A light source in the far infra-red will be reflected by the haemoglobin in your red blood cells (haemoglobin carries oxygen) creating a unique reflection pattern that can be used as an identifier. What's more this system can also detect the micropulses generated by a beating heart so can tell if the subject is dead or alive. This system is currently not widely available but expect to see more technologies that focus on unique biometrics with live/dead identification in the near future.

@MegaKillScreen my brain is the same size as yours and Einstein’s though the architecture is bound to be different simply due to the fact that we are different people who have grown up in different environments. Indeed, brain size is not a good identifier of intelligence (indeed intelligence is not black and white but many shades of grey!). Elephants have a brain that weights ~5kg (11.02lb) while we have a diminiutive ~1.4kg (3.08lb) brain yet Elephants have not currently mastered faster than light travel. But to go into intelligence is to open a massive can of worms (i.e. at what point did we become intelligent, what separates us from other animals, which animals are we closest to?), I can, but it would be a bigger post than this
More to come…coffee break over

DesiccantOwl

Xbox Gamertag: DesignateTurian | Twitter:

Red620Ti

DesignateTurian wrote:

indeed intelligence is not black and white but many shades of grey!

Des is into S&M : confirmed!

Or is it M&S?

Edited on by Red620Ti

"Justin Bieber looks like a lesbian i'd like to ****..." - Megakillscreen,out of frickin' nowhere!

Xbox Gamertag: Red620Ti

sorethumbed

Aback in the 70's I went to lunch with my then GF and her father. Every time anyone said anything, he said 'very interesting you should say that, Freud would have been very interested".
Halfway through lunch, he started reading a newspaper so I took my lighter out and set fire to it. He said 'Oh f..k" I said "Very interesting you should say that.

Ancient, Angry, Armed and Inbound.

Xbox Gamertag: Sorethumbed

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