23 September, 2011


Today I saw for the first time a video (embedding disabled) that demonstrates a new technique that uses Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to detect the brain activity of a person and from that reproduce the visual image that person is seeing in real time. If you watch the video, the images on the left represent what the person was seeing, the images on the right represent what the system was able to reconstruct from the live brain scan. This could realistically be expected to work with dreams as well. Technology that (it must accurately be said) reads minds. (You'll note that our brains really like faces.)

Today CERN announced that it may have detected a particle moving faster than the speed of light. CERN's OPERA particle detector (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) in the Italian Alps moved a neutrino at faster than the speed of light. If the discovery is verified it would be direct evidence that contradicts Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and would throw much of the understanding of the universe painstakingly built by 20th century physics into doubt.

Today I spent most of my day printing out plastic objects using a small 3D printer that sits on my desk at school. I created many of these objects using a cheap toy 3D scanner.

Frequently, in my field, I have experiences that feel "futuristic". New gadgets, gizmos and experiences that come my way that will one day be ubiquitous. But today was different. Everything that happened felt part of some new world. Not alien bits protruding in, but a whole new fabric. Still struggling mightily to make sense, even to itself, but having little relationship to the 20th century other than as history.