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 enhance their detection of red light, by absorbing and re-radiating low-energy photons, which would perhaps be useful if the sensitivity of L-cones to 670-nm light 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.


Nanny Ogg said...

I recommend carrot and oyster pie. Carrots so's you can see in the dark, and oysters so's there's something to look at.

H. Rumbold, Master Barber said...

Only $1!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Orbs Isreal, as we all know.

(I've been meaning to submit my research to one of those pier review places I hear about, but compiling them in COBOL is taking some time.)

rhwombat said...

Note to self: always look at the posting date.
Another note to self: ...but dose this make any difference on Riddled?
Another note to self: Notes to self do look rather anxious. Better have another drink.

Smut Clyde said...

Is there something special about April 1?

Smut Clyde said...

Delving further into the Interlattice, it turns out that this idea of better-nightsight-through-chlorophyll has been around for 10 years or so, with a Dr Ilyas Washington (of Columbia) as its main proponent. Every so often he pumps out a press release promising dramatic eyedrop-related developments with human subjects, Real Soon Now, but the urgency of human tests (definitively proving or disproving the concept) seemed to drop away once he secured Department of Defense funding.

Part of the story I left out is the 2012 attempt to patent chlorin-e6 administration "to enhance night vision and treatment of night blindness", by a serial health scammer.

Smut Clyde said...

Should also mention the Serious Transhumanist crowd, who have gone all disapproving-rabbits about the improved-nightsight project, not so much because it won't work and more because it is too low-tech and lacks cyborg spare parts.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Should also mention the Serious Transhumanist crowd, who have gone all disapproving-rabbits about the improved-nightsight project, not so much because it won't work and more because it is too low-tech and lacks cyborg spare parts.

The Tleilaxu lobby...