Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Insects As Earthquake Warnings

It has been observed that some insects and animals start behaving like they are distressed or are anticipating a distress (like they are running away from a trip to the vet or a coming storm) before an earthquake. Research has been done into different types of ants that react to earthquakes (some species seem to, while others don't), and it would be wise to thoroughly explore this very portable system (you could have an ant farm at every fire station telephone reception). The ant farm case could be hung on a form of suspension that increases vibrations, so the ants are more reactive to smaller tremors.
Certain cats and dogs (not all) have anecdotally been known to react to a coming earthquake before the effective quakes. Elephants, who are very sensitive to low vibrations (their hearing reaches sounds far lower then human ears), have been known to react as well. Here is an idea. If you bred any cat or dog who has been known to react before a quake with other cats or dogs who have done the same, you could come up with an animal with the right temperament to be a guide for earthquake indication. They may be a bit jumpy or skittish to have as a pet per se, but they would be an excellent working animal for emergency services.
If the gene pool of likely looking animals isn't big enough and earthquakes aren't frequent enough to observe behaviour, I suspect animals that react strongly to the wind, atmospheric changes, lightning or storms could be appropriate candidates. As a breed I think they would be in high demand. So could animals who are sensitive to the smell of turned earth (obsessive diggers) or grinding minerals (they can smell the mineral pill hidden in their food).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rock Rodents

By observing modern day collective behaviour I have come up with a hypotheses. I suspect that as small furry rodent like mammals, which all mammals have been early on in their evolution, that we spent a lot of time in amongst rocks, caves, and eventually burrows, like guinea pigs or rock rats, for the same reasons that the modern rodent lives there, protection from predator and element alike. I think we spent more time in our evolutionary path amongst rocks then trees for nesting purposes.
Firstly, observing how we prefer our infrastructure and social arrangements, you will see on a physical level, we gather together in communities, such as cities, where the environment, probably by the collective subconscious, appears to have evolved to look like piles of rock, cliffs and caves (the physical structures). Gardens are desired, but considered optional by most. They are less distressed by the loss of a garden then a house generally. If you have a breeding pair of humans, they seek an adequately secure building (cave, rock) before a garden that is big enough "to play in", even if that garden represents food. If you have a person who feels they are in danger, they will run for the cover of a rock like building before they climb a tree for security. Our classic image of security is a house, not a tree. This leads me to believe that we evolved oppossable thumbs through rock climbing, burrow digging, and moving stones, sticks and tools. Also, food gathering would have played a part, hence plant contributions, and could have lead us to the next, tree based lifestyle. We could have learnt to stand in part from climbing up rocks to evaluate the terrain for dangers and opportunities.

Disease free Mosquitoes

This is an idea on how to reduce disease spread by mosquitoes. The mosquito's saliva glands produce an enzyme (reactive protein) that prevents blood coagulation (thins the blood) when they bite. It could be really easy to genetically change that enzyme so that it is caustic to viruses and bacteria. If the disease (such as malaria) is dissolved/killed at the point of transference, the disease cycle is broken.
If changing the enzyme so that it is antiviral/ antibacterial is too hard for some reason, though I think it could be very simple, or is uncomfortable in some way such as causing a sting instead of an itch (although I think it could cure the itch), there is another way. If you genetically transplant the code for an antibacterial and antiviral enzyme that is produced by individual cells into the saliva glands of the mosquito, it could have the same effect of killing the virus/bacteria at the point of transference. The active ingredients of lemon balm (melissa officialis), or any other antiviral organically produced compound could do the job.
This idea can be extended possibly into using mosquitoes for immunisations. If you transplanted quinine production into mosquitoes, for instance, the more you are bitten by the designed mosquito, the more immunised you are against malaria, for instance. The idea can also be extended into any disease carrying pests, such as ticks, flies, cockroaches etc.
Dispersing the genetically improved mosquito looks like a technical nightmare for the financially minded (how do you make money from it?), but it isn't really. Firstly, it would take decades to cure the whole world even if we all worked really hard at it. Basically, the area would have to be gassed to kill the original mosquitoes, or the larva killed, or timed when the numbers are low, but are about to seasonally increase. There are channels already to sell the products relating to those tasks. Then you could have a "Good Mosquito Kit" (rest assured, financially minded people, it's a sure bet in the right locations) to start a population of benign mosquitoes in the treated area. It could be like an ant farm or a sea monkey kit. Children can do it. The new population would take up mosquito territory, thus preventing or diluting the return of the disease spreading mosquitoes. Anywhere where mosquitoes are deadly would be very interested, as well as anyone who finds them annoying to them or their livestock etc. Because the kit would be relatively low cost (essential), people all over the world could use it. High turn over is the way with this idea, as well as an essential niche market, that great business trophy. And it has a feel good buzz!

Travel in Space and Time.

The other part of Einstein's general theory of relativity has been proven by NASA. It is true that gravitational forces (g forces) bend space and time (the space time continuum), like the curve of a tight cloth with a heavy object on it. Here is an idea on how to utilise this to flow through space and time, potentially for long distances or maybe even "times" (you would have to take the effects on time into consideration, if not to actually utilise it).
If you could get a object with a gravitational force, you could use it's effects on space and time to mobilise 'where' it goes, by directing it in relation to other forces towards the desired destination. Where do you find large enough gravitational forces? I think dark matter, which is vastly more available then carbon, is the most likely candidate. Dark matter has a gravitational force, and I guess the more you harvest, the more g forces you would have at your disposal. The greater percentage of the universe is dark matter. Get some near you today!
You would have to take larger g forces into consideration, using it's space time 'flow' to maneuver around it, like a judo expert. The way to map a path from point a to point b when there are other objects involved could be like considering the currents when using an underpowered boating vessel. When Christopher Columbus or Captain Cook or whoever it was was watching the waves on the shore which convinced him there was another continent, he was using the right observational skills for the task of mapping a path through the g forces of space and time at large. It isn't a matter (excuse the pun) of forcing a path, so much as using what is already happening.
A nice other effect of getting something along the lines of harvesting dark matter for it's g forces so as to bend space and time, is how little energy has to be expended in "fuel" to mobilise the effect of moving through space and time via gravity. There is no pollution, you simply use the g forces you have in relation to the g forces around you, like steering a sailing ship or using currents as a scuba diver. I think it is well worth researching this idea, as it could open horizons and decimate transport energy costs, especially in the long term/ long time/ long distance department. The financial and physical expenditure would be in setting it up, not using it. If you could bend the space time continuum enough, you could 'save' time especially when it relates to distance (space).
Actually, for something that takes up very little space and has a very dense gravitational pull is the matter in a white dwarf (a star that has gone through supernova, become a red giant, collapsed in on itself (imploded) and become the incredibly dense matter of a white dwarf. It has an intense gravitational pull, so you would only need a little of it (teaspoon). However, harvesting it could be tricky, considering it isn't nearly as available as dark matter, and it's incredible gravity would probably crush you before you even got close to it.
I have a little dream. This is pie in the sky, but I can see a metal electronic door, with a keyboard next to it. You walk up to the control panel, plug in the address of where you want to be, and then you step through the door and arrive at the destination, easily and instantly. But you have to bend the space time continuum at will to do that.