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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.

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The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Unbreakable Family... -- Bio, Soc

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A Yale medical research team has identified a genetic quirk important for creating unusually strong bones and also relevant to osteoporosis research (article here).

The DNA of an extended Connecticut family has yielded a possible target for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, according to Yale scientists who reported their findings in the May issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Members of this family carry a genetic mutation that causes high bone density...

Family members, according to the investigators, have bones so strong they rival those of a character in the 2000 movie Unbreakable. “If there are living counterparts to the [hero] in Unbreakable, who is in a terrible train wreck and walks away without a single broken bone, they’re members of this family,” said Lifton. “They have extraordinarily dense bones and there is no history of fractures. These people have about the strongest bones on the entire planet.”


The point I take away from this discovery (originally reported back in 2002) is that medical research is again pointing to ways to enhance human abilities even in instances where researchers may not be thinking about augmentation at all. Research into unusually strong muscles and exceptional cardio-vascular fitness has yielded working augmentations for animals (mice and monkeys, respectively). How long before someone tries to apply those modifications to humans? Or to bestow this bone density mutation?

Or best of all, some kind of radical intelligence augmentation? It's the latter, after all, that will change everything...




Future Imperative

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