Scientists have already created mini-cyborgs out of living cells and semiconductor materials, but now biological cells can also contain tiny silicon chips. Those silicon chips could become future intracellular sensors that monitor microscopic activities, deliver drugs to target cells or even repair cell structures, according to Nanowerk.
Experiments found that living human cells can ingest or receive injections of silicon chips and continue functioning as usual for the most part. More than 90 percent of chip-containing HeLa cells -- the first immortal human cell line derived from a poor, cancer-stricken woman – still survived a week after receiving their silicon loads.
Other studies have tested nanoparticles inside living cells. But silicon chips allow for much easier integration of electronics and mechanical parts, say scientists at the Instituto de Microelectrónica de Barcelona in Spain.
The study published in the aptly-named journal Small opens the doors for possibly putting microprocessors and other silicon-based devices inside cells. That could lead to promising developments for both micro-computing and medicine.
It may also represent a small step toward fulfilling several of the Pentagon's wishes set forth by DARPA, including engineering immortal controllable synthetic beings with genetic kill-switches. Maybe those mad science dreamers need to think smaller than cyborg beetles.
Does that mean they can control you?
I think it would be better if humans found a way to eliminate microbial life from our bodies so that we couldn't get diseases and stuff by upgrading our cells somehow..
"They" can already remote control rhinocerous beetles
Eliminating microbial life from our bodies would mean the end of our existence.
It is known that on the outside and inside of our bodies live more alien cells than there are human cells.
Human biology is defined by our evolution in the surrounding environment. Who we are today hinged entirely upon our interactions with the outside world.
For instance, a good portion of our genes are made up of sequences that originated in other life forms such as bacteria and virus's.
The H1N1 influenza virus is made up of genes from swine, birds, humans, and influenza organisms.
Also, bacteria are essential to bodily functions such as digestion for many foods.
The trick to evolution is to allow assimilation of new genes, bacteria, and virus's into our DNA so that we can build upon them.
A mass extinction leaves many dead, but the survivors almost always carry the disease that embattled the species and grow to live with it, rather than fighting it.
Look at what happened to the Native Americans when the Europeans arrived. Mass deaths from disease until the disease assimilated into the culture and weeded out the weakest.
Biology is imperfect; the sole reason why it survives.
I wouldn't say "weeding out the weakest". Weakness has a negative connotation and might imply that the Native Americans were not suited to their previous environment.
I think the concept of weak/strong in survival is misleading. A species may be very successful in one environment (strong?) and less successful in another (weak?)
Were the Europeans "stronger"? No. The Europeans were simply the product of generations of forebears who had survived the very diseases that they brought with them to the Americas.
For several millenia, they had lived with the diseases they were subject to primarily as a function of their proximity to a number of domesticated animals whose microbial diseases made inter-species leaps to infect humans. Those who were not killed by those diseases left to their progeny a genetic heritage that made them more successful at battling those diseases.
The Native Americans, who had not been exposed to the same animals (they did not, for instance, domesticate Bison -- nor have we, so it was not a matter of "lesser ability"), had not been previously exposed to those diseases and had, therefore, not passed on any genetic legacy protecting their progeny from them.
Weakness? No. It was simply that their population had not been selected for resistance to the newly introduced environmental variable. Those who did survive that introduction have now passed a successful genetic heritage to their progeny, and they move on.
But I certainly do agree with your last sentence. Those species with enough "wiggle room" in their genes for a breeding population to negotiate around a new environmental variable survive. Those who are too specialized to avoid the obstacle perish. It is good to be at least slightly imperfectly suited for one's environment.
I agree with you the term "weakest" is misleading and in this case seems to show a negative connotation. I should have worded more appropriately.
I was not implying that Native Americans were weaker, rather that they were unaccustomed to the rapid influx of new biological material into their lives; as you pointed out.
I find the whole notion of disease fascinating as I have come to embrace a macro view of its prevalence among humans.
We are the only species able to actively wield medicine to our liking (or so we think) in order to improve or extend our lives. It is incredible to see that although we have this capability, disease is so rampant AND incredibly varied.
Nature has always found a way to "cull the herd" so to speak with various species to keep a balance, whether with disease, famine, or predators; yet we have found a way to sidestep everything nature throws at us.
Disease is the last weapon that nature has to throw at us that id always one step ahead of our capability. It is the only way nature can attempt to keep us in some sort of balance, yet we breed so fast it can not keep up.
I welcome/loathe the day when we can no longer use medicine to defeat a disease so that we can get our population in check and reenter a balance with nature.
I didn't mean to imply that you were implying anything negative. I quite understood what you meant. Ah. Words, eh?
I think nature may have provided a rather ingenious way of keeping out population in check: Ourselves.
She's allowing us to breed unhindered until we choke ourselves to death.
That, or to use our "advanced intelligence" to wipe each other out.
I have carefully thought about using the term survival of the fittest, and found it used and abused like a racial religion by the Nazis. A better way to look at it is life mining new and old resources together. It’s not about what died but how the DNA survived, because it can always regress back to the old resources. Humans and Chimpanzees are such an example. Our branch ancestor walked on the ground.
Some of the greatest contributors to man kind are now gone. The Greeks with their classical brow are all gone, but they created geometry, democracy, medicine, and classism. The Indians were the greatest bioengineers of all time, corn, the potato, tomatos, and chocolate. The Greeks spread thin, uniting the world, until the brow feature faded from existence. The Native Americans were estimated to be 20 million when the new world was settled. In contrast Europe was 60 million at the same time. Without genetic immunity the Indian population must have suffered a greater death rate then the plaque and small pox took in the old world. Within the first century of settlement the Indians would have diminished to less than 10 percent of a total population of 100 million. This is because of farming improvements. Most of the genocides imposed on the Indians were after the civil war and the repeating rifle. Before then the Indians could out shoot them with a bow and arrow. Cannons don’t move and shoot well in the trees, and cold blankets carry no diseased. They only make a professor’s book sound dramatic. Would the same crowd claim that you can get AIDS from a blanket if it took a week to deliver it?
In modern times our greater exposure and adaptation to disease has made us lethal to Amazonian tribes. Organisms adapt and evolve together, and people have contributed to each other. Because of adaption DNA is more durable than the mountain ranges and continents, changing each time a new supercontinent is formed and again as they separate. The Coelacanth is two supercontinents old. Himalayan size mountain ranges came and gone several times, but the Coelacanth have barely changed.
I can't wait to see the computing and data storage potential of something like this. Wouldn't that be nice to do calculus in your head or recite scientific facts from memory?
i would volunteer to guinea pig if they could give me a HUD or the internets, where i could move a cursor and type, alt+tab, etc. switch to fullscreen mode when i don't need my eyes, like when i'm in bed. easily switch back like an alt+tab or pressing Esc. and having WiFi. pair that with a Nano-SDHC. internal video and the best surround sound system you could imagine. that would be pretty sweet. and then one day they decide to wake me up in the middle of the night and play me like a videogame, Hitman or GrandTheftAuto.. that would be crazy especially if you are connected to the internets constantly streaming a/v data and data from your other sensory organs.. but i'd still d0it.
Havent they been putting Silicon in people for years???