Saturday, January 05, 2008


I found 2 very interesting articles on Wired today. Imagine my surprise.

First, scientists are working on a way to use sunlight to convert CO2 to methanol or gasoline. Apparently the idea of recycling emissions isn't new, but has been too difficult and expensive in the past. I don't know how long it will be until this becomes a viable resource, but I'm always excited by new uses of technology to reduce pollution. It seems that the prevailing attitude among tree huggers in this country is that we should revert to pre-industrial revolution lives to save the environment. If we could just convince the environmentalists to refocus their efforts and resources to promoting technological solutions then maybe we could really start getting somewhere.

Second, the good people at DARPA have developed a chemical which, when administered via a nasal spray, counteracts the effects of sleep deprivation. Unfortunately they say that the prospects of staying awake 24/7 are unrealistic at this point, perhaps we can get there eventually. Imagine how many more video games I could play if I had that 6 or 7 extra hours in my day. What I do find a little troubling is that UCLA psychology professor Jerome Siegel refers to it as "relatively benign."

The article says that studies of narcolepsy showed that it is caused by a lack of the hormone orexin A, and from there it was an easy solution to simply find an effective way to administer orexin A to reduce the symptoms of sleep deprivation. I also assume that it is an effective cure for narcolepsy. When it becomes commercially available, I'm going to have to pick up a Costco size case of it.
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