For this week’s blog post I thought I would share an expert from the draft of my featured story. It discusses the story of a man effected by false identification. a link to the full TED talk where I found some of the information can be found here. Enjoy!
A Saturday night out on the town for a romantic dinner with his wife painted the perfect evening for Steve Titus. The 31 year old Seattle resident was all but ready to close up shop at his day job as restaurant manager and meet the love of his life, soon to be engaged to, for some cocktails to wind down from a long week. On their way home from dinner the two were pulled over by police in what seemed to be a simple mix up. Authorities approached Steve’s car with reports of a similar looking vehicle leaving the scene where a female hitchhiker was raped earlier, and eyewitness testimony resembling Titus himself. Without any formal proof police took Titus’s picture, and went about their night. What should’ve be a funny story would be the night everything changed for Steve Titus, as not too long after he was called to appear in front of a jury for the very same sexual assault charges he was accused of that night. As a result of a victim testifying to the accuracy of Titus being guilty, he was convicted and forced to leave his family and fiancé.
The remainder of that year consisted of constant phone calls local newspapers in hopes they would investigate his story. Eventually Titus was able to grab the attention of an investigative journalist, who actually tracked down the real rapist, and when the information was given to the judge, Titus was set free. This should’ve been the end of the story, and a reminder of a very unfortunate year. However, Titus was far from done and in the process of obtaining his freedom he had lost everything that mattered. He was fired from his job, lost all the money he had in the process, and most importantly his fiancé left him as a result of his persistent anger. It was then that Titus decided to file a lawsuit against the police department and others responsible for his incarceration. Titus’s fight against the legal system consumed every second of his life from that point on. The morning of the day before his hearing he experienced excruciating pain in his chest, and shortly after died of a stress related heart attack at the age of 35.
The 2011 release of the movie Limitless stars a struggling writer, portrayed by actor Bradley Cooper, as his life is completely changed with the help of a powerful new class of psychotropic medication known as NZT 48. For those that haven’t seen the film I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that it left all of those watching wishing they could obtain some type of NZT 48 in their lives. Through the mind of Dr. Michio Kaku this, and a plethora of other unlocked neuroscientific possibilities, can achieved sooner than expected. In his book The Future of the Mind Dr. Kaku challenges the reader’s sense of curiosity by questioning the essence of mind over matter and challenging our current understanding of science with questions unaccounted by science.
Dr. Kaku is a futurist, theoretical physicist and overall man of science. Making his presence known across a large array of multimedia outlets such as radio, television, and literature, he is a commonly accepted popularizer of science. In helping to raise awareness for fundamental questions about the universe Dr. Kaku stakes his claims for the direction he feels humanity is headed towards based on our current scientific developments and processes. His most recent contribution to the field of science is the release of his book The Future of the Mind where he attempts to answer the questions long sought after by philosopher and scientists alike, with the help of neuroscience of course. In this strange blend of extrospection and scientific inquiry Dr. Kaku pools his information gathered from a variety of scientific aficionados around the world to make his predictions on what he feels the human brain will be capable of in the near future. Some of which include real world interpretations of mind control, telekinesis, and even memory implantation? Delusional as it may seem, Dr. Kaku ensures that the reader is at least partially informed on the mechanisms that he believe will one day bring us to this peak of real life science fiction.
From here he unleashes the shackles of close mindedness and proceeds to take the reader on a journey of sorts, explaining the potential long term implications of the technology we currently possess. His research mainly deals with information surrounding consciousness and other aspects of the unused mind, an article discussing these same concepts can be found here. Ultimate his research speculates on large areas of science, leaving it up to the reader to decide for themselves what’s possible and what’s not. So go out there and give it a read! Make sure to do as science does and share your ideas and maybe one day we’ll get to use telekinesis or the “force” for all the Star Wars fans out there.
Obesity is a well-known epidemic that affects over 600 million people worldwide and has become a leading contributor to the most common types of health related disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and even several types of cancer. What we currently understand about obesity is how it can be detrimental to a person’s health; however an increase in obesity rates has drawn attention to the adverse effects it has on an individual’s mind and cognitive functions. Researchers over at the University of Alabama at Birmingham sought to decipher in a four-part experiment on mice published last month in The Journal of Neuroscience which can be found here. The experiments consisted of studies done on laboratory mice, obese and normal weight, that tested recognition, epigenetic changes, expression of specific genes, and the masking of certain genes.
In both the recognition and epigenetic tests researchers found the obese mice tested worse in spatial memory tasks, and had less expression of genes in the hippocampus. Researchers found four specific genes that were not expressed in the overweight mice that were expressed in the normal weight mice. Of these four there was one in specific that was thought to be at the nexus of memory and metabolic function because it proved most influential in both sets of mice. When this gene was expressed in the overweight mice they experienced better performance, and when they were masked in the healthy mice they experienced similar results to that of the overweight mice. This research helps outline some of the more critical effects that the obesity crisis is having the general population. Not only does obesity present the likelihood of a shorter life span, but also makes it possible to experience early difficulty with memory retention which could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Diseases like this make it very difficult for an individual to live out their life and places added stress on their family and friends as they witness a loved one slowly begins to forget. Explaining the effects of obesity is the first part in helping to solve the epidemic and the 600 million individuals affected by this deadly, and now degenerative, disease.