Category Archives: future


Mark this day as you read this post: you are now officially informed that there are some products certain gifted people who don’t blog are working on, just so that we have a more complicated future in the next decade or two.
For a truly awesome read, try the New Scientist.

Some of the devices that sound as unreal today as Mamata Banerjee’s sanity are as follows:
1. Superman vision: Radar devices the size of briefcases could pass waves through doors and walls and detect the presence of a living man. Think of counter-terrorism.
2. Invisibility Cloaks: we have all read about them in the Wonder Boy’s chronicles. Soon to be a reality, perhaps.
3. Zap-and-stop: A handheld ultrasound device (a high-focus ultrasound) can deliver a zap of sound waves to seal a bleeding vessel. Think US military and DARPA (and the articles I have written on them before).
4. Crouching Tiger Walks: You remember the award-winning Chinese movie where people walk laterally on walls and fly up and down trees as if gravity was only for the rest of us? That could become real in a way, with artificial nano-hairs that can stick to any surface and resist gravitational weights.
5. Jet-log: A backpack on you, and you fly to office. No more pesky office-hour traffic!
6. Translators: personal devices that translate any foreign language while it is being spoken, like they show in that disastrous flick called “From the Subprime to the Ridiculous”, better known as CC2C.
Read that article!


You must have got that email forward that says that your keyboard carries more germs than your backside. The message, apparently, is not that you can scratch your backside and eat with the same hand. The message is that you shouldn’t type on your computer keyboard and then eat without washing your hands. The real implication may be clinical: a new technology that allows surgeons to review CT-scan or x-ray images while operating, without touching the computer keyboard, may actually help prevent wound contamination.
According to the New Scientist, this new touch-me-not technology (likened to that in the movie Minority Report) allows a surgeon to wave his hands in mid-air in front of the computer to flip over to the next pic.

…a screen and gesture-recognition system that allows surgeons to flip back and forth through radiology images, such as MRI and CT scans, by simply groping in mid-air. Their system, called Gestix, comprises a colour video camera above a flat, widescreen monitor placed next to the operating table. The video signal from the camera is fed to a PC, where software trained to detect the colour of the surgeon’s gloves tracks the movements of their hand.

This, they believe, could help stop the spread of the deadly MRSA bug in hospitals.
The catch is that surgeons would have to be taught eight hand movements. Now, isn’t that expecting too much of a surgeon, who is, by popular consensus, the Kanishka (headless/brainless king) of medicine?

(pic source:


Science fiction becomes official policy.
According to this article:

Yesterday the Department of Defense announced the creation of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which will go by the happy acronym AFIRM. According to DOD’s news service, AFIRM will “harness stem cell research and technology … to reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers.”

“Not another stem cell article”, you decry? Among the new developments in medical labs, we have watched with fascination the creation of artificial livers and other tissues. Now, this research is going to be the focus of the US Department of Defense. This could potentially re-arm the amputees of war. This could restore limb function and mobility to those whose spinal cords have got damaged in accidents and bullet injuries. Think of restored vision, too. The benefits could spill-over into civilian health care as well.

Don’t underestimate this development. This could change life for ordinary human beings in a way politicians, bombers, terrorists and environmentalists cannot. More strength and more money to AFIRM, I say!


Ebola is a dreaded name. It is a deadly virus that kills virtually all it infects. It is seen mostly in Africa. The danger of Ebola to the world is because of the real threat of it being used as an agent of bioterror, as I have mentioned in my Foolitzer-winning article on Bioterrorism that appeared in The New York Times an Indian newspaper. In the said article, I reported on the possibility of scientists within terror groups hiding a deadly virus within a benign bacterium which, when treated with antibiotics, would release the virus and cause a highly infectious and lethal disease that could decimate society:

Recently, Popov has talked about an experiment in synthetic biology that fuses plague and Ebola virus. The scientific premise of this Soviet research is to hide a deadly virus particle inside the genome of a more innocuous bacterium.
In this case, infection in the test subject would result in plague like symptoms. Once the treatment (usually tetracycline) for the plague is given, the virus is expressed fully. It is feared that the resultant walking ‘Ebola bombs’ could devastate populations. Ebola, if you didn’t know, has an almost cent percent mortality in man.

Scientists have launched a major attack on the disease by successfully testing a vaccine against Ebola in primates. Human trials are awaited. To read about the challenges of producing an Ebola vaccine, read this interesting and short report.


Not too much chatter tonight, folks. Just eat your envious hearts out.
Someone got to know which all laptops my girlfriends are planning to get for me in the future. Full story here.

Just enjoy the pictures! Click on ’em to get the full impression. Go ahead, do it!
Even better, read the original article. It is very interesting indeed, and I strongly recommend it.

The Canova:

The Cario:


My favorite, however, is this one, the Compenion:


I hope all you wonderful gals are reading this!

Pic credit: from linked source.


Someone is taking this blog rather seriously, and copy-pasting stuff in websites.
There is this article on Biointelligence and Morphological Freedom that seems to be lifted right out of the pages of this blog.


As social scientists, economists, and environmentalists keep telling us, much of the world’s poor can be defined by their lack of adequate access to safe and potable water.
Says futurist Peter von Stackelberg, “By 2025, about 3.4 billion people will live in regions that are defined by the UN as water-scarce.”

Original article: here.


If we are indeed going to drown in drought, what solutions are available?

While much of the future of universal water depends on political and social activity, technological advances in three major areas will be critical for the hydrological future: desalination of seawater or brackish groundwater, purification of water containing chemical or biological contaminants, and conservation to cut demand.

*Flash Desalination: Using a source of high energy, sea water is heated till the vapor accumulates in a low-pressure chamber. Indian scientists have invented a low cost version of this which uses less energy.

*Water harvesting:

In Beijing, the National Stadium built for the 2008 Olympic Games is designed with a nano-filtration system and underground pools that can capture and process up to 100 tons of rainwater an hour. Seattle’s King Street Center, a 327,000-square-foot commercial building constructed in 1999, captures rainwater for use in the building’s sewage system and for landscaping needs, saving about 1.5 million gallons of water a year.

*Smart Water Application Technologies (SWAT):

This is one way to curb water usage. For instance, irrigation of residential landscapes typically applies 30-40% more water than needed. But a system that has been tested in California, Washington, and several other western states has linked sensors that monitor rainfall and soil moisture to a “smart” controller. Water consumption has decreased by an average of 26%, with some consumers cutting their usage by as much as 59%.

von Stackelberg stresses that there are three factors which will influence water availability in the future: low-cost power for desalination, nanowater (high-tech filtering), and green engineering, wherein zero wastewater from industrial facilities is achieved.

“A paradigm shift will be required if water shortages are to be avoided,” von Stackelberg says. Among these newer attitudes are the beliefs that human waste is a resource from which water can be harvested, and that storm water is a resource which needs to be captured and stored.

Though water usage is decried by most, I believe that it is impractical and perhaps unnecessary to do so. Surely, science will find a way out to make water widely available. After all, much of the planet is covered by oceans and seas. The problem, as I understand it, rests largely on how we can make sweet water from the sea.
Once again, the world will look to these solutions not from the laboratories of Cuban or Indian Governments, but the research centers of the First World, or private labs anywhere, including developing nations. After all, there is money to be made, Nobels to be won, and names to be immortalised if one can provide a solution to this global problem.
Nothing moves the world as much as love greed.


There is a bomb girl who frequents the same gym I go to. She looks like a movie star, and works ferociously at the various sculpting machines there. She keeps looking back at an imaginary fold of fat at the waist, and keeps whining to the trainer, “I am putting on weight!”
This beauty is spending money, time and effort to beat a non-existent disease: obesity. She is also, potentially, damaging her joints and heart when she pounds the treadmills and pumps the weights. Shouldn’t someone stop her before its too late?
There is another girl I know who wants to trim her inner labia. She seeks a cosmetic gynecologist who does vaginoplasties. And another one who wants a surgery to make her a virgin again, before she gets married a few weeks later. These girls are looking to seek potentially dangerous and complication-prone operations that treat no disease. They are merely expressing some inner wish to change their structure, though there may be nothing fundamentally wrong with them.
I had previously highlighted how the American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) is hotly after the man who has made vaginoplasty a commercial money-spinner. This merely illustrates the fact that there are people in the world, including medical experts, who want to stop procedures that alter one’s physical state. Sex change surgery is another example. There are countries where this is illegal.
The future is fraught with potentially more complex and controversial issues like using genetic engineering and cloning to create a new type of human being that may be peculiarly enhanced. For example, a mother may be able to select a baby who is genetically engineered to see in the dark. Or one who will be free of certain deadly diseases. If you have not read my article on ‘Disruptive Medicine’, this is your lucky day. Check it out.
A Swedish organisation called Eudoxa talks of this morphological freedom, defining it as “an extended right to your own life, including your body.”
Why would a man or woman want to alter his structure for overtly trivial reasons?

We express ourselves through what we are becoming.
Self-development is an intense motivational factor for most humans, and by its
nature this is a very personal and challenging achievement.

Look at tattooing. The way many conservative people see it, it is a kinky and perverse thing to do. It is, however, considered quite cool and contemporary by much of modern society.
It is a personal morphological alteration without specific reasons beyond an individual’s personal choice and freedom of expression.

But wouldn’t genetic modification of children alter society and endanger it? Should we not stop this before it is too late?

Recognizing the right to choose among the many options made available through
morphologic freedom also supports the right not to choose them; the positive and
negative rights are two sides of the same coin.
Purely negative goals like the EU Commission’s directive on children’s right to be
born with unmodified genes will often end up in conflict with positive goals such as
providing children with the best possible medical attention. This right is also
mentioned by the Commission, but is undermined by the negative goal.
One of the many ways this positive goal can be attained is through surgery in the
womb for certain congenital defects. This type of operation changes the body and
the potential person much more than any genetic modification we can bring about.

In other words, apart from the issues of personal freedom and choice, these same disruptive technologies that could change future generations could also save countless lives and improve the lifestyle of the suffering. For example, see the use of intelligent prostheses for amputees that work better than normal limbs.
For more details, check out this link and download a pdf of the statement of Eudoxa.

Whatever be one’s views on this, this issue is a sure one for the future. You haven’t heard anything yet!


MIT scientists have invented a sticky tape that will aid healing without the need for stitches. The tape will also break down in time, without needing you to bother about when to go to the surgeon to take it off. These stitches would hold good on the body surface as well as the internal parts.

The adhesive is inspired by geckos’ feet, which allow the reptiles to walk along the ceiling and up and down smooth walls. Gecko toes are sticky because they are covered with millions of flexible nanopillars, giving them a very large surface area. The MIT tape, which relies on both nanoscale pillars and a chemical glue, is the first such tape to show good adhesive strength and safety in animals.

Read full article here.

If this tape becomes reality, I predict that entrance exams to go into surgery will finally stop. After all, the most difficult and tricky issues in surgery deal with situations that demand suturing skills of a very high order. Once the need for suturing is gone, all surgeons have to do is to blunder their way into surgery. If they injure anything, they just superglue it. Simple!

Finally, it will prove that surgeons are basically morons with quicker hands, practising what essentially is a monkey science.


According to Science Daily (hot off the press):

An extraordinary new scientific study, which for the first time documents marked improvement in Alzheimer’s disease within minutes of administration of a therapeutic molecule, has just been published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

Scientists have hypothesized that an excess of a molecule called Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-∝) causes a disturbance in the normal brain functions that are mediated by this chemical. By injecting a substance that acts against TNF, they have dramatically reversed the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease within minutes in a patient.

This new study highlights the importance of certain soluble proteins, called cytokines, in Alzheimer’s disease. The study focuses on one of these cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha(TNF), a critical component of the brain’s immune system. Normally, TNF finely regulates the transmission of neural impulses in the brain. The authors hypothesized that elevated levels of TNF in Alzheimer’s disease interfere with this regulation. To reduce elevated TNF, the authors gave patients an injection of an anti-TNF therapeutic called etanercept. Excess TNF-alpha has been documented in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer’s.

The use of anti-TNF therapeutics as a new treatment choice for many diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and potentially even Alzheimer’s, was recently chosen as one of the top 10 health stories of 2007 by the Harvard Health Letter.

Though this paper reports an exciting development in the continued search for a weapon against the dementia that characterizes Alzheimer’s, one of the authors has a financial stake in the drug being used. However, in time to come, more studies will surely be done to confirm the true value of this agent in the management of the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain (cause unknown, though genetic factors may be at play) that affects normal brain functions like problem solving, memory, etc. The patient ultimately becomes a virtual vegetable.

While many other disorders of the brain (including some tumors) can cause the same symptoms, diagnosis can be established by careful neurological assessment and a special scan called a SPECT scan, among others. SPECT scan is now available in major Indian cities.

Many preventive methods have been recommended, including smoking, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, eating fish oils (with their omega-3 fatty acids), and intellectually stimulating activities like playing chess.

Alzheimer’s has claimed a large number of historical and modern figures. The ‘A’ list itself is exhaustive, including Aristotle, Aeschylus, Aga Khan, Paula Abdul, Neil and Louis Armstrong.
Among several American Presidents, the last victim was Ronald Reagan.