Posts tagged with "Futurism"

Tall story: Short men are getting their legs broken to add 3-6 inches of height

September 20, 2022

Some short men are so insecure about their height that they are quite literally allowing doctors to break their bones during surgical leg-lengthening procedures, reports Futurism.

As GQ Magazine first  divulged, the excruciating surgery can involve a year of “relentless, ambient” pain during healing—although the orthopedic surgeons who do the leg-lengthening often give their patients pain medicine, per a man who got it done, which raises its own questions about medical ethics.

“They fill you with enough painkillers that it’s bearable,” said John Lovedale, a man in his mid-40s.” Lovedale, who was five-foot-eight-and-a-half prior to getting the surgery in the fall of 2021 and now stands about five-foot-eleven-and-a-half, told GQ that he stopped taking the medication earlier than he was supposed to out of fear of becoming addicted.

Described as a handsome and successful father of three, the cosmetic leg lengthening surgery recipient said that although he was not far from the average American male height of five-foot-nine, he was still striving to be above average.

“I noticed that taller people just seem to have it easier,” Lovedale said, reportedly while laughing. “The world seems to bend for them.”

As the report notes, that assessment is not wrong—a  2009 study of Australian men  found that they tend to make about $500 less annually for every inch shorter they are than their taller counterparts. To make the world bend to him, then, Lovedale allowed his legs to be broken.

While limb-lengthening surgeries have been documented in one form or another going back to the 19th century—and initially were used as a treatment to help people who had mismatched limb lengths— cosmetic leg lengthening is a relatively new field that has, per GQ, experienced a boom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although many short kings have expressed a desire to be taller, the steep cost of the surgery—roughly $75,000, in Lovedale’s case—paired with the brutality of the procedure itself and the lengthy and reportedly “excruciating” healing process makes for a hell of a barrier to entry.

In order to make patients taller, doctors like Kevin Debiparshad use the surgical equivalent of large handheld drill, which is aptly named a “reamer,” to break the recipients’ bones and hollow them out so that nails can be implanted in them. Those nails are technically what add to the patients’ height, but they must also undergo intensive physical therapy to build enough muscle to support the additional length.

The whole procedure sounds fascinating, if not somewhat macabre. What’s perhaps more interesting, however, is why anyone would take on such a huge medical and financial cost to experience the world as a tall person, rather than figure out what it is that makes them insecure about their height in the first place.

Research contact: @Futurism

Scientists are working on a gene-hacking drug that could treat baldness

September 15, 2022

Using gene modification techniques, a team of researchers has come up with a new treatment for balding, Wired reports — a condition experienced to varying degrees by two-thirds of American men by age 35.

The team members—associated with the University of California-Irvine and a biotech company called Amplifica—believe they’ve identified the signaling pathway that drives hair growth to find new ways to stop stem cells from giving up on producing hair follicles.

Experiments with mice—as detailed in a new paper published in the journal Developmental Cell last month—have been promising. The mice were genetically modified to have the hair growth signaling pathway turned on permanently.

The result, according to a report in Futurism:The mice rapidly grew hair, in a promising first step towards a potentially groundbreaking treatment for an incredibly common condition—especially considering that current treatment options like hair transplants and hair growth drugs are invasive and expensive.

Using RNA sequencing, the team found that a molecule called SCUBE3, which appears to hack follicles into producing hair again, was being expressed by the mice that had their genes modified.

In an especially promising twist, the technique even worked in mice that had human hair follicles grafted to their skins.

There’s much work to do before the treatment could be used on people. But UCLA professor and Amplifica chief scientific officer Maksim Plikus has no problems envisioning a future in which SCUBE3 is a simple, Botox injection-like treatment for balding patients.

“You have a patient sitting in a dentist-like chair, they close their eyes, and then you go tch, tch, tch, tch,” Plikus told Wired.

The molecule would simply be injected into the scalp less than a millimeter into the skin, a procedure that would take less than 20 minutes, according to Plikus.

The system does have one major flaw: what if patients don’t have hair follicles to begin with? In that case, they’ll be stuck with the option of having new follicles transplanted.

Despite that limitation, scientists are investigating new ways of addressing an issue faced by the majority of the male population—and a large chunk of the female population as well—with options that are far less invasive and potentially much cheaper.

Research contact: @futurism

This $7.7 million Miami mansion comes with a metaverse ‘twin’

September 7, 2022

A $7.77 million luxury chateau, dubbed Reflection Manor, currently is listed for sale on the coveted Miami Shores. With six bedrooms and six-and-a-half baths, it clocks in at 6,000 square feet and is situated on a 12,975 square foot lot. It boasts a game room, wellness wing, covered terrace, and more.

But all of those features, while lovely, aren’t what set it apart—at least not in a town like Miami, reports Futurism.

Instead, what’s been drawing headlines is that it comes with a digital replica attached to an NFT — albeit in a metaverse called Alpha City, which hasn’t actually launched yet. Still, the people trying to sell the mansion insist, it’s going to be worth a fortune.

“It’s not only a $7 million house, but I mean, you bought virtual real estate,” said Jorge Guinovart, a real estate developer and crypto entrepreneur behind the project, adding, “Two to three years from now, when alpha is fully open… you have virtual property that could be worth one million, two million dollars as well.”

Sure, anything’s possible. But selling a digital house in a digital world that doesn’t exist yet—well, you’d be forgiven for getting a certain type of magic bean vibes, notes Futurism.

In the event that the magic beans really do deliver, though, the pitch is expansive. Alpha City says it’ll offer shopping, events, and dating; you’ll be able to start a small business, host your own event, or do some virtual consultations. Of course, there’ll be a lot of billboards, but how different is that from Web2, let alone the real world?

That’s what both Guinovart and the property’s realtor, South Florida-based Juliet Silver, believe that Reflection Manor and its digital twin embody. Unlike gaming-focused metaverses that already exist, like Fortnite, they’ve chosen a ‘Zuckerbergian’ approach — albeit with a luxe Miami flair—to the future of the Internet: realism.

They want Alpha City to feel like an elevated extension of the real world, a digital environment that blends effortlessly into real life.

“This is really much more of a seamless connection between the real world and the virtual world,” said Silver. “And the aesthetics are really not gaming, or… hero avatar based. They’re really based on the aesthetics of, you know, a beautiful modern city.”

It’s important to note that neither virtual houses nor virtual real estate is anything new. Virtual property has been bought and sold for years.

But where Reflection Manor does differ from those projects is that you do actually get a real, tangible house. As such, it’s one part promise, one part bet, and one part sweetener. Instead of hinging the worth of a digital asset on sheer hype alone, the folks behind this project have attached it to one of the safest investment bets in history: real estate.

To that point, though, the state of the real-world housing market does raise the frustrating specter of a virtual world as inaccessible as the physical one. If you have to be able to afford a multimillion-dollar mansion to get your hands on any worthwhile chunk of metaverse land, it’s hard to envision much room in the digital world for upward economic mobility. But, well, if the goal is realism, sounds like Alpha City’s gonna nail it.

Is Reflection Manor a sign of things to come? What will it end up selling for, and if Alpha City ever launches, will its future owners actually hang out there? Only time will tell. Still, Futurism expounds, it’s intriguing to see a blockchain project that’s grounded—literally in reality.

“I think a lot of time and thought has gone into how can we bring extra value to the buyer,” Silver concluded. “I think this is a pretty rare piece of inventory.”

Research contact: @futurism

Ahoy there! Walrus keeps climbing on small boats and sinking them

July 22, 2022

Europeans are on the alert for a well-traveled walrus: Freya—Sinker of Ships and solo travel icon, reports Futurism.

This colossal walrus—easily distinguished by an adorable pink spot on her nose—has been on a grand European tour, slumbering and sunbathing on a number of seaborne vessels as she has traveled. She’s been spotted off the coasts of Germany, Denmark, and Scotland, as well as the Netherlands, where—we kid you not—she took to snoozing on the roof of a “Walrus-class” Dutch submarine.

But now, upon arriving at harbors in Norway, this massive mammal has chosen chaos: Nordic outlet  NH Nieuws  reports that , in her endless pursuit of sunny naps, the 1,500-pound Freya has been sinking comparatively tiny Nordic boats left and right.

As you can imagine, some boat owners who dock at Freya’s new Nordic digs are pretty ticked off. “I don’t want her on the dock or on my boat,” one angry marina goer told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

But now, local authorities and marine scientists have hatched a plan: As  NBC News reports, Freya will be gifted a floating dock worthy of her magnificent heft. Once she’s taken to it, officials say they’ll gently carry her to a new home along the coast.

Freya has developed quite the celebrity status, as walruses are exceedingly uncommon in these regions. Normally found in the Arctic circle, she’s about 400 miles from home, and it’s unclear why she has ended up down South.

We know boats aren’t cheap, and we sympathize with folks whose crafts have been damaged or destroyed by the famous walrus’ blubbery mass. Fans of Freya hope she likes the custom-made floating dock and that the plot to diffuse the situation goes according to plan.

Research contact: @futurism

Down the hatch: We’re ingesting a staggering amount of plastic per week

April 4, 2022

The more experts learn about microplastics and their impact on human bodies, the less good news we get. Just this week researchers at the Medical University of Vienna published a new study in the journal, Exposure and Health, that summarizes all the current knowledge about micro- and nanoplastic particles (MNPs), and how they end up in our guts.

Spoiler alert : It’s almost 100,000 particles per year, if you drink from plastic bottles, reports Futurism.

MNPs are small, but they aren’t all the same. According to a press blurb about the study published on the school’s website, microplastics are 0.001 to 5 millimeters in size and can sometimes be invisible to the naked eye, while nanoplastics are defined as being less than 0.001 millimeters in size.

Thus, people who drink the recommended daily 50 ounces of water from plastic bottles ingest almost 90,000 plastic particles every year. Depending on where they live, people who drink tap water could reduce that by as much as 50,000 fewer particles—or about half.

Professor and study co-author Lukas Kenner told the university’s press office that there’s no shortage of ill effects from consuming microplastics, but that it’s even worse for people who already struggle with chronic disease.

“A healthy gut is more likely to ward off the health risk,” Kenner said in the blurb. “But local changes in the gastrointestinal tract, such as those present in chronic disease or even negative stress, could make them susceptible to the harmful effects of MNPs.”

The team believes that addressing global plastic consumption is necessary, but complicated. The health care industry uses plastic so much because it’s safer and more sterile in surgical and hospital environments. Protheses, examination gloves, sterile syringes, adhesive bandage strips, blood bags and tubes, and heart valves are all made with plastic.

Exactly where the most prevalent types of MNPs come from, how much plastic is excreted later by the body, how doctors can track them in bodies, and whether there are natural processes that could digest plastic are all top concerns for the authors.

Research contact: @futurism

If there’s any light in your room when you sleep, this research might worry you

March 23, 2022

Like to snooze with a nightlight? Or maybe you leave the television on while you’re asleep? Well, you might want to reconsider—because a new study suggests that leaving the light on while you sleep is actually very detrimental to your body, reports Futurism.

Scientists at Northwestern Medicine have discovered that even a small amount of light can impact your cardiovascular function while you sleep and increase insulin resistance when you wake up, according to a press release from the school.

That puts you at risk for higher blood pressure and even diabetes all because of light. 

“The results from this study demonstrate that just a single night of exposure to moderate room lighting during sleep can impair glucose and cardiovascular regulation, which are risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome,” Dr. Phyllis Zee, chief of Sleep Medicine at the Northwestern University School of Medicine and lead author of the study, which is published in  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It’s important for people to avoid or minimize the amount of light exposure during sleep,” Zee added.

Heart rate typically drops at night while we sleep and rises in the morning when we get exposed to sunlight and our sympathetic nervous system is activated, according to the release. However, the same effect can occur when we’re exposed to light during sleep.

“Even though you are asleep, your autonomic nervous system is activated. That’s bad,” Dr. Daniela Grimaldi, research assistant professor of Neurology at Northwestern and co-author of the study, said in the release. “Usually, your heart rate together with other cardiovascular parameters are lower at night and higher during the day.”

The study also found that folks who are exposed to light while they sleep can show signs of insulin resistance when they wake up. This can result in your body not being able to use glucose in your bloodstream for energy—causing the pancreas to send more insulin to the body to compensate, which can eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes .

So, the next time you go to sleep at night, be sure to turn off all the lights and switch off the television. Better yet, invest in a sleep mask. Your body will thank you for it.

Research contact: @futurism

‘Catellite’ dishes: Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet dishes are attracting cats

January 4, 2022

Looks like SpaceX’s StarlinkElon Musk’s bid to establish his space company as a heavyweight Internet service provider using constellations of satellites—is attracting four-legged fans on planet Earth, reports Futurism.

Indeed, the platform’s receiver dishes are attracting local cats on cold days. In a recent Starlink customer’s tweet, we counted at least five cats cuddled up on one of the dishes—apparently to stay warm and take advantage of the heat it produces.

“Starlink works great until the cats find out that the dish gives off a little heat on cold days,” Twitter user Aaron Taylor tweeted on New Year’s Eve.

Starlink is SpaceX’s internet service that uses orbital satellites, some of which recently kicked off an international incident after the Chinese space station had to swerve out of their way — but there may be no avoiding the cute, terrestrial feline infestation as long as the dishes aren’t in use.

One Reddit user said that, in the working position, Starlink dishes aren’t flat, or parallel to the ground, so they shouldn’t make good cat beds. However, when it’s not running, the angle allows small animals to fit snugly on top.

It’s possible the dishes also attract other small critters at its various angles, and one Reddit user even went so far as to use thermal imaging to determine why animals may congregate around their dish.

“I was checking my dish with a thermal sight and it actually looks like the whole dish, even the back side is warm,” he reported. “So you might [see] animals under or around it in general if it’s ground mounted.”

Other users expressed concerns that birds perched on the rim of the dish might drop messes, potentially presenting performance issues. It’s unclear if the intruders cause service interruptions, in part because the non-working position is apparently what allows them to, ahem, fit and sit.

In the past, however, publications, including The Verge, have poorly reviewed the Internet provider, so even if reports of animals sitting on dishes abound, it would take thorough investigation to figure out whether they’re the actual cause of any problem.

Research contact: @futurism

Party hearty: Non-alcoholic ‘euphoric beverages’ claim to let you socially lubricate without booze

October 19, 2021

If you’re tired of turning to alcohol to loosen up while socializing, there is a new alternative: Euphoric beverages, like those from Kin Euphorics—co-founded by supermodel and activist Bella Hadid and Jen Batchelor—claim to be non-alcoholic drinks that can enhance your mood without getting you drunk.

Perhaps more importantly, they allow you to socially lubricate without giving you a hangover the next morning, reports Futurism.

Along with Kin Spritz, High Rhode, and Dream Light, the Kin Euphorics line of beverages now also includes  Kin Lightwave. The flavor of Kin Lightwave combines lavender-vanilla, birch, and smoked sea salts into what the company calls “a refreshing and tasty rainbow.”

Bu, the founders recently told Futurism , the flavor is far from the only reason to enjoy Lightwave. Its euphoric properties come from its active ingredients of Reishi Mushroom, Saffron, L-Tryptophan. While responses to Kin euphorics differ, some of the most commonly reported sensations include a sense of calm, clearer thinking, and better social connections.

The main ingredients all come down to adaptogens, nootropics, and botanics.

Reishi Mushroom and Passionflower are adaptogens that boost your adrenal system and give your body more balanced and healthy stress responses.

Lightwave’s nootropics are L-Theanine, L-Serine, L-Tryptophan, and Magnesium Glycinate— which come together to give your brain a much needed boost, the company claims.

Then, there are botanics like Lavender Extract, Cinnamon, Saffron, and Gentian Root, which, Kin Euphorics notes, give the beverage flavor and aroma as well as a feeling of calm and relaxation, plus a handy boost to your body’s immune system.

Inside each can of Kin Lightwave you’re likely to find a sense of calm, a boost to your brainpower, and better, clearer social interactions. That, plus its one-of-a-kind flavor, means you’ll probably want to enjoy one or two more. But Kin recommends you hold yourself to four cans of Lightwave at most in a 24-hour period.

If you’re interested in non-alcoholic Kin Lightwave, you can order a pack of eight cans for $30, or save a little by purchasing a 16-pack for $56. And you can save even more and have it shipped for free by going for a monthly subscription.

Research contact: @kineuphorics

Fire? Flood? Tornado? An all-in-one survival kit is designed to protect a family of four for 72 hours

October 8, 2021

Last year, if there was one thing most of us thought about a lot more than normal, it was survival. The pandemic turned out to be a wake-up call—demonstrating that everything can go south in a matter of days, if not hours, reports Futurism.

As a result, panic buying and hoarding—and photos of empty store shelves—began to appear in the news. And now that things have calmed down (relatively speaking), more people than ever have learned that, when it comes to disaster preparedness, you can’t wait until a disaster strikes.

But, now a New York city-based private company called Judy Kits, founded in 2019 by CEO Simon Huck, is marketing a variety of survival kits and products, such as portable power stations and survival go-bags, depending on your needs and circumstances.

Judy works by providing four levels of kits in addition to content—The Starter ($60), The Mover ($150), The Mover Max ($180), and The Safe ($250)—which are filled with items one may need in an emergency, including First Aid, Warmth, Safety, Food, Water and Tools. Once a Judy kit is registered, a customer receives safety-tips and advice through text communication. Customers can also text real-time emergency questions to Judy for real-time guidance, Forbes reports.

If you want to be prepared for nearly any disaster, the company suggests that The Mover Max could be just what you need. The Mover Max is described on the Judy Kit website as “a versatile, all-in-one kit that is ready to support up to four people for 72 hours.”

The company has packed a whopping 53 survival essentials into a waterproof, easy-to-transport backpack—among them:

  • Tools and first aid: The first section of the backpack includes a variety of essential tools, such as a 3-in-1 radio, charger, and flashlight, duct tape, multitool, biohazard bag, pocket tissues, and hand sanitizers.
  • Food and water: The second section contains 7 food bars and 14 water bottles—each of them boasting a five-year shelf life.
  • Safety and warmth: The backpack also contains a poncho, dust masks, gloves, a couple of emergency whistles, and more.

All of the tools are orange, so that they can be easily located in difficult environments.

“We aim to create a safety movement that empowers people with the tools, resources, and community to be prepared for the unexpected,” Huck said.

Among expert reviewers contacted by Business Insider, Thomas Coyne, a former Helitack firefighter and the founder of Coyne Survival Schools, said, “Getting a starter kit is better than nothing, but I still recommend building your own.”

Personalized kits would include medications, paperwork, and other individual and family necessities. It’s also worth mentioning that he suggested having at least 30 days’ worth of supplies.

Research contact: @futurism

Who let the dogs out? A smart GPS dog collar could prevent your pooch from becoming a statistic

March 9, 2021

Has your dog hightailed it? If you haven’t seen Fido in a dog’s age—and you are beginning to worry that he (or she) has gotten out of the house, or wandered off, there’s now an easy way to locate your pooch.

It’s called the Fi Smart Dog Collar—and, combined with a dedicated app and base stations, it tracks your pet’s exact location using GPS; as well as the number of steps that he or she takes in a day, reports Futurism.

Indeed, the American Humane Association estimates that 1 out of 3 household pets becomes lost at some point, and nearly 10 million pets are lost or stolen in the United States every single year. Thus, it may be worth $149, the price of the new smart collar, to save the tears, time, and money involved in locating your pet.

The Fi Smart Dog Collar uses the AT&T network to locate your dog when he or she is out of the house alone—or has gone to a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-based safe zone, which, according to Trail and Kale, would typically include:

  • Your home, where your dog’s Fi Collar base station should be plugged in and connected to Wi-Fi;
  • In proximity to you—or more specifically, within Bluetooth range of your phone; or
  • As needed, additional base locations (such as your office, or dog sitter/parents’ home), and the phones of other trusted people, such as your dog walker, friend, spouse, or child.

If your dog is near one of your designated owners/walkers when out of the house, you can get notified via app notification and/or text message when Fido leaves the safe (home) zone for a walk with that person, Futurism notes.

However, if you receive a message that “Fido just left home” and you know your dog should not be out on a walk; then this may be the trigger you need to set off the Lost Dog Mode and start tracking your pooch immediately. (Note: you need to have a Fi subscription so that your Fi Smart Dog Collar acts as its own cell phone, to enable the Fi collar to be tracked using phone signal for GPS, when your dog is not with an owner. The subscription costs $99/year, or $8.25/month.)

Lost Dog Mode also activates a red pulsing light on your dog’s Fi collar to help make them easier to spot in the dark, and sends a location notification to you every minute so you can track them down. When in Lost Dog Mode, the battery life of the Fi collar is up to two days, as it’s using GPS signals to refresh the location status every minute, which consumes a lot more battery juice than regular use.

According to the manufacturer, the collar is “chew-proof, waterproof (even the ocean), and generally dog-proof.” To date, there is no Fi collar for cats. The current collars are too big to fit a cat’s neck.

Research contact: @futurism