Quick Takes – Mad Science! Monkeys Playing Pong With Neural Implants; Lab-Grown Tear Glands; 24,000 Year Old Animals Revived In Siberia

     Another “quick takes” on items where there is too little to say to make a complete article, but is still important enough to comment on.

     The focus this time: Mwahahaha!

     First, a little mood music:

     The future of interactive media is here, and it involves… Pong!

“Neuralink, the brain-implant start up founded by SpaceX head honcho and self-appointed ‘technoking’ Elon Musk, has unveiled a new video of a nine-year-old monkey named ‘Pager’ playing Pong… with its brain.

“The three minute video shows Pager learning to control a computer with his brain activity. At first, the monkey uses a joystick to interact with the computer for a ‘tasty banana smoothie, delivered through a straw.’ The narrator states Pager has two Neuralink devices implanted in his brain. The devices, which Musk calls a ‘Fitbit for your skull,’ were revealed at a press briefing in August 2020.”

     Too jaded with this world to cry anymore? Well, now with science you can fake it!

“Disembodied human tear glands that cry sound like something out of a sci-fi movie. But in the Netherlands, functional tear glands that don’t attach to anyone’s eyes (or emotions) are starring in their own real-life drama.

“Researchers from the Hubrecht Institute and UMC Utrecht used stem cells to grow tiny tear glands in a petri dish that mimic the real thing. They hope these so-called organoids can serve as models for studying how the cells in human tear glands produce tears. The ultimate goal: to better understand and treat conditions such as dry eye disease or the autoimmune disorder Sjögren’s syndrome, as well as cancers of the tear gland.

“‘Hopefully in the future, this type of organoid may even be transplantable to patients with nonfunctioning tear glands,’ says Marie Bannier-Hélaouët, a doctoral candidate at the Hubrecht Institute for developmental biology and stem cell research. She co-authored a study published Tuesday in the journal Cell Stem Cell that details the project.”

     Twenty-four millennia can’t stop LIFE!!1!

“[A] microscopic arctic animal got 24,000 years worth of slumber and came out on the other side just fine. A new study details the remarkable journey of a bdelloid rotifer, a miniscule freshwater critter that survived for millennia in the permafrost of Siberia.

“‘Our report is the hardest proof as of today that multicellular animals could withstand tens of thousands of years in cryptobiosis, the state of almost completely arrested metabolism,’ Stas Malavin of Russia’s Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, said in a Cell Press statement.

“Malavin is the co-author of a paper describing the rotifer’s incredible feat of survival, published in the journal Current Biology on Monday.”


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One Response to Quick Takes – Mad Science! Monkeys Playing Pong With Neural Implants; Lab-Grown Tear Glands; 24,000 Year Old Animals Revived In Siberia

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