Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Spectrum is haunting Texas

Shifting the absorption spectra of the photopigments in one's eyes, so as to extend the visual spectrum into near-infrared, was first accomplished with a cocktail of mescaline and methylene blue, accompanied by topical application of iodine (Russell 1939). Unfortunately the side-effects included awareness of the abominations and unspeakable horrors amidst which we live, most notably our invisible plasmatic overlords.

Trevor Constable confirmed the existence of an aerial ecology of amoebic entities visible only at infrared wavelengths... though he had the sense to stick to IR photography rather than hack his own vision so he RETAINED HIS SANITY.
The harsh iron laws of Morphogenetic Resonance are implacable: once one researcher has transgressed the spectral boundaries and seen what cannot be unseen, it becomes easier for the next person (Corman, 1963), and then easier still. Dr James Xavier [below] has seen SEEN TOO MUCH but after such knowledge there is no return to the comforts of oblivion.
DMT-19 evidently has similar effects (Erickson 2013), including the black contact lenses, but with more bleeding from orifices.

Fortunately the technology has progressed since Linebarger (1964) when the procedure required injections straight into the eyeballs.

Now happy mutant Shadduck, in a Boing Boing thread, has apprised the Riddled Research Laboratory of a project to shift the visible spectrum via diet.

[Explaining Voice. Adjusts spectacles; rolls up sleeves of labcoat]
Most animal vision rests on photopigments from the rhodopsin family**, all based around a molecule of retinal -- which can flex between its trans- and cis-11- isomers as photons strike it -- wrapped in a nutritious tortilla protein, which in turn is embedded in the membrane of a nerve cell. The protein fine-tunes the spectrum of photons that the retinal can absorb, and harnesses its flexing to open an ion channel and trigger a signal from the cell.

The project is to trick the photoreceptor cells into synthesising pigments from the porphyropsin family instead, where the tortilla filling is a molecule of dehydroretinal;
these are about 2/3 as sensitive as the corresponding rhodopsins but the sensitivity spectrum is shifted by about 30 nm. towards longer wavelengths. This requires the biohackers to cut all sources of vitamin A1 from their food, relying on synthetic Vitamin A2 to stave off the deficiency diseases, therefore recruiting college students as subjects who adhere to a shite diet already.
[/Explaining Voice]

If all the photopigments are shifted by 30 nm. then the subjective experience should be akin to seeing everything under slightly bluer illumination. The team are reporting much larger shifts -- with responses all the way to 950 nm. infrared -- which suggests a need for more control trials. Still, it is not a crap idea.

Just don't come running to Riddled when you bring yourself to the attention of the vast lidless eyes from beyond space and time and they WILL NOT LOOK AWAY.

* Similar, earlier observations (Lovecraft 1920; Gordon 1986) are excluded from the present literature review because the Tillinghast Resonator is a totally nother technology.

** The exception is phototaxis in sponge embryos, guided it seems by a cryptochrome pigment. I  had no idea that sponges had embryos, let alone photosensitive ones.
In an independent development, the same team of Citizen Scientists self-administered eyedrops of a porphyrin chemical -- basically a Heme group without the ferrous ion*** -- mixed with DMSO for faster absorption, and with insulin because reasons. Their report is distributed on the Interducts to bypass the narrowminded gatekeeping of the vanity-press mockademic journals who strangle science.

The plan is to produce improved night vision, outweighing the upended diurnal rhythm and the thirst for blood. Oh, the authors prefer to call the chemical 'Chlorin e6' and emphasise its affinity to chlorophyll rather than to heme, but they would, wouldn't they. They also describe it as a 'light amplifier', which may be true in a laser cavity, not so much at midnight.

There is speculation in the literature that Chlorin e6 molecules will find their way to L-cones in the retina and make them more sensitive to red light, by absorbing and re-radiating low-energy photons, which would perhaps be useful if the sensitivity of L-cones were the limiting factor of night-time vision [Spoiler alert -- it isn't].
Another research subject develops black contacts
The single research subject, after prolonged dark adaptation with goggles and black contacts, displayed better night vision than four control subjects (adaptation status unspecified).
Shine job
It's probably easier to dig up a doctor, and pay him 20 menthol Kools to do a surgical shine job on your eyeballs. Also I am disappointed by the failure to cite Long's (1999) night-vision research with Sylobane:
The man to her left had lowered a seatback tray and was quietly laying out two plastic syringes. One had a baby-blue cap over the needle, the other a pink cap. He held the baby-blue syringe up for her observation. 'Sylobane,' he said. 'It suppresses the retinal cones and magnifies your retinal rods. Achromatopsia. In plain English, it creates a supersensitivity to light. Night vision. Only problem is, once you start you have to keep doing it. Lots of soldiers with cataracts up top. Didn't keep up.'
*** Sadly, we have used the 'ferrous wheel' joke previously.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In an alternative reality, the denizens of 100-Aker Wood were a team of crime-fighting superheroes

"Lend us the Riddled time machine!" they begged. "Promise we will not use it to meddle with important historical events!"
This never ends well.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Workshop of the Telescopes #2:
Irritation of Christ

A NZ bishop knows what it is like to suffer crucifixion. Apparently it was a brutal form of execution favoured by the Romans, in which numpties who opened their pieholes and let the stupid out became the recipients of other people's mockery. It was a combination of Kristallnacht, the Spanish Inquisition, the Gestapo and a high-tech lynching.

I bet he's kicking himself flaying himself in the manner of Saint Bartholomew now, that he never thought of comparing himself to Galileo (who famously joined the honoured ranks of "denialist" when the church officials refused to look at the moon through his telescope).

UPDATE: If you believe the rest of the Anglican hierarchy, John Gray has been stood down and a Vicar-General -- which is the spiritual counterpart of a Lieutenant-General -- has been appointed to his episcopal responsibilities. Gray himself rejects the hierarchy's power to censure him and insists that he retains his rank for he ANSWERS TO NO-ONE BUT GOD. Perhaps there will be a Great Schism and an Avignon Bishopric with rival silly hats.

Left: Great Schism

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chocolate Bunnies go punk

Packed for shipping:
If the Doktorling has any sense she will save the packaging for re-use next Crossmas.

...additional seasonal imagery recycled from two years ago because lazy.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bears do not shit in the woods.
Bears have never shat in the woods

Right up to 10 days ago the Republican Party's bloggers and ideologues seemed to be a lock for the 2015 IgNobel Prize in Theology, with their critiques of the Pope for propounding an insufficiently authoritarian and indeed borderline-heretical variety of Catholicism. Not to mention the attacks on American Jews for their treasonous disloyalty to one faction of Israeli politics. But suddenly the Chinese Communist Party are looking like strong contenders with their new-found insights and exegeses into the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism.

The Dalai Lama has mooted the possibility of leaving his next death as his final one, and not returning to the Karmic Wheel for a 15th incarnation. Rolling their eyes in vicarious embarrassment at his ignorance of his religion, Party duckspeakers were obliged to assplain the non-optional nature of reincarnation:
Mr. Zhu accused the Dalai Lama of trampling on sacred traditions.
It was not entirely clear how they intend to drag Tenzin Gyatso back from Nirvana and incarnate him against his will. It may involve यम Death-God's waveguide technology for abstracting an atman psychic soliton resonance from the Bridge of Heaven. Failing that, perhaps the 15th Dalai Lama will be an AI.

Tenzin Gyatso has previously set the fox amid the hen-house by conceding that his next incarnation could be female.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Can't see the baby for the bathwater

The post corresponding to this title appears to have been thrown out with the forest.

Black planet hanging over the highway

There will aggressive drinking and shouting at clouds if those miniature planets do not get out of my face soon, for they are annoying and distracting beyond endurance as they weave around in a complex Douglas-Ouyang dance, as if fooled by the two meanings of 'orbit'.
And are the helpdesk team at IxCorp actually any help? ARE THEY BOGROLL. "Small vision-occluding planets are not covered by the warranty of Tleilaxu artificial eyes, for the feature is mentioned in the small print of the documentation and the User License Agreement." I certainly hope that "conversations may be recorded for the purposes of performance evaluation"; so record this!

Miniature planets are more fun when they are a few orders of magnitude larger and you can poke them right in the eye of the hurricane. HUR HUR your storm is a goatse!