‘Bionic Man’ Walks, Breathes With Artificial Parts

NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, after all. We have the technology.

The term “bionic man” was the stuff of science fiction in the 1970s, when a popular TV show called “The Six Million Dollar Man” chronicled the adventures of Steve Austin, a former astronaut whose body was rebuilt using artificial parts after he nearly died.

Now, a team of engineers has assembled a robot using artificial organs, limbs and other body parts that comes tantalizingly close to a true “bionic man.” For real, this time.

The artificial “man” is the subject of a Smithsonian Channel documentary that airs Sunday, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. Called “The Incredible Bionic Man,” it chronicles engineers’ attempt to assemble a functioning body using artificial parts that range from a working kidney and circulation system to cochlear and retina implants.

The parts hail from 17 manufacturers around the world. This is the first time they’ve been assembled together, says Richard Walker, managing director of Shadow Robot Co. and the lead roboticist on the project.

“(It’s) an attempt to showcase just how far medical science has gotten,” he says.

The robot making appearances in the U.S. for the first time this week. Having crossed the Atlantic tucked inside two metal trunks — and after a brief holdup in customs — the bionic man will strut his stuff at the New York Comic Con festival on Friday.

Walker says the robot has about 60 to 70 percent of the function of a human. It stands six-and-a-half feet tall and can step, sit and stand with the help of a Rex walking machine that’s used by people who’ve lost the ability to walk due to a spinal injury. It also has a functioning heart that, using an electronic pump, beats and circulates artificial blood, which carries oxygen just like human blood. An artificial, implantable kidney, meanwhile, replaces the function of a modern-day dialysis unit.

Although the parts used in the robot work, many of them are a long way from being used in humans. The kidney, for example, is only a prototype. And there are some key parts missing: there’s no digestive system, liver, or skin. And, of course, no brain.

The bionic man was modeled after Bertolt Meyer, a 36-year-old social psychologist at the University of Zurich who was born without his lower left arm and wears a bionic prosthesis. The man’s face was created based on a 3D scan of Meyer’s face.

“We wanted to showcase that the technology can provide aesthetic prostheses for people who have lost parts of their faces, for example, their nose, due to an accident or due to, for example, cancer,” Meyer says.

Meyer says he initially felt a sense of unease when he saw the robot for the first time.

“I thought it was rather revolting to be honest,” he says. “It was quite a shock to see a face that closely resembles what I see in the mirror every morning on this kind of dystopian looking machine.”

He has since warmed up to it, especially after the “man” was outfitted with some clothes from the U.K. department store Harrods.

And the cost? As it turns out, this bionic man comes cheaper than his $6-million-dollar sci-fi cousin. While the parts used in the experiment were donated, their value is about $1 million.

A Brief History of Human Sex

http://www.livescience.com Heather Whipps

Birds do it, bees do it, humans since the dawn of time have done it.

But just how much has the act really changed through the millennia and even in past decades? Are humans doing it more? Are we doing it better? Sort of, say scientists. But it’s how people fess up to the truth about their sex lives that has changed the most over the years.

Humans have basically been the same anatomically for about 100,000 years—so what is safe to say is that if we enjoy it now, then so did our cave-dwelling ancestors and everyone else since, experts say.

 

“Just as our bodies tell us what we might like to eat, or when we should go to sleep, they lay down for us our pattern of lust,” says University of Toronto psychologist Edward Shorter. “Sex has always offered pleasure.”

Hard wired

Sexuality has a lot to do with our biological framework, agreed Joann Rodgers, director of media relations and lecturer at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

“People and indeed all animals are hard wired to seek out sex and to continue to do so,” Rodgers said in a recent interview. “I imagine that is evidence that people at least like sex and even if they don’t they engage in it as a biological imperative.”

It is nearly impossible to tell, however, whether people enjoyed sex more 50 years ago or 50,000 years ago, said David Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas and author of “The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating” (Basic Books, 2003).

There is “no reason to think that we do more now than in the past, although we are certainly more frank about it,” Buss told LiveScience.

Indeed, cultural restraints—rather than anything anatomical—have had the biggest effect on our sexual history, Shorter says.

“To be sure, what people actually experience is always a mixture of biological and social conditioning: Desire surges from the body, the mind interprets what society will accept and what not, and the rest of the signals are edited out by culture,” he writes in his book, “Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire” (University of Toronto Press, 2005).

That’s not to say that cultural norms keep people from exploring the taboo, but only what is admitted to openly, according to archaeologist Timothy Taylor of Great Britain’s University of Bradford.

“The idea that there is a sexual line that must not be crossed but in practice often is, is far older than the story of Eve’s temptation by the serpent,” he writes in “The History of Sex: Four Million Years of Human Sexual Culture” (Bantam Books, 1996).

Modern advances

Religion especially has held powerful sway over the mind’s attitude towards the body’s carnal desires, most sexual psychologists agree. Men and women who lived during the pious Middle Ages were certainly affected by the fear of sin, Shorter said, though he notes there were other inhibiting factors to consider, too.

“The low priority attached to sexual pleasure by people who lived in distant times is inexplicable unless one considers the hindrances that existed in those days,” Shorter writes. He points especially to the 1,000 years of misery and disease—often accompanied by some very un-sexy smells and itching—that led up to the Industrial Revolution. “After the mid-nineteenth century, these hindrances start to be removed, and the great surge towards pleasure begins.”

Many historians and psychologists see the late 1800s as a kind of watershed period for sexuality in the Western world. With the industrial revolution pushing more and more people together—literally—in dense, culturally-mixed neighborhoods, attitudes towards sex became more liberal.

The liberalization of sexuality kicked into high gear by the 1960s with the advent of the birth control pill, letting women get in on the fun and act on the basis of desire as men always had, according to Shorter.

“The 1960s vastly accelerated this unhesitant willingness to grab sex for the sheer sake of physical pleasure,” he said, noting that the trend ofopenly seeking out sex just because it feels good, rather than for procreation alone, has continued on unabated into the new millennium.

Global variations

But despite the modern tendency towards sexual freedom, even today there are vast differences in attitudes across the world, experts say.

“Cultures vary tremendously in how early they start having sex, how open they are about it, and how many sexual partners they have,” said Buss, noting that Swedes generally have many partners in their lifetime and the Chinese typically have few.

An informal 2005 global sex survey sponsored by the condom company Durex confirmed Buss’ views. Just 3 percent of Americans polled called their sex lives “monotonous,” compared to a sizable 26 percent of Indian respondents. While 53 percent of Norwegians wanted more sex than they were having (a respectable 98 times per year, on average), 81 percent of the Portuguese were quite happy with their national quota of 108 times per year.

Though poll numbers and surveys offer an interesting window into the sex lives of strangers, they’re still constrained by the unwillingness of people to open up about a part of their lives that’s usually kept behind closed doors.

And what if we weren’t bound by such social limitations? Taylor offers the promiscuous—and very laid-back—bonobo chimpanzee as a utopian example.

“Bonobos have sex most of the time … a fairly quick, perfunctory, and relaxed activity that functions as a social cement,” he writes. “But for cultural constraints, we would all behave more like bonobos. In physical terms, there is actually nothing that bonobos do that some humans do not sometimes do.”

40 interesting things you never knew about sex

http://www.studentbeans.com

So then we thought – if our users are interested in sex, what about sex would interest them?

Interesting stuff about sex of course.

So here it is. Interesting stuff about sex. Oh, and we’ve stuck some weird one’s in there as well to spice things up a bit. You’ll never watch a pair of breeding black widow spiders in the same light ever again…

1.) You burn about 200 calories during 30 minutes of active sex.

2.) Sex makes women’s hair shinier and their skin glow because of all the extra oestrogen it causes them to produce.

3.) According to the Durex Global Sex Survey, people normally lose their virginity at 17 years old. In the UK, the average age is 16 1/2.

4.) These days, the Greeks have more sex than any other nationality. They’re followed closely by the Croatians.

5.) American Jonah Falcon has the world’s largest penis at 9.5 inches when flaccid and 13.5 inches when erect.

6.) The average penis size is 3.5 to 3.7 inches when flaccid and between 5.0-5.7 inches when erect.

7.) Whales are the owners of the world’s largest penises. The biggest recorded whale penis was the 8-footer of a killer whale.

8.) The world’s oldest father (Nanu Ram Jogi) recently fathered his 21st child, at the age of 90. He also admits that he is not certain how many children his series of four wives have borne him – but counts at least 12 sons, 9 daughters and 20 grandchildren.

9.) Homosexuality is a common thing everywhere in nature. A pair of male penguins, Roy and Silo from Central Park Zoo, were a ‘couple’ for years, even raising a baby penguin together in 2003.

10.) Women are more likely to orgasm just before or during their period.

11.) Experiencing ‘butterflies of love’ might sound romantic, but in France the phrase ‘papillon d’amour’ means having pubic lice.

12.) In Britain we have on average, 10 sexual partners in our lifetime. The Chinese have the most with 19 and the Vietnamese only get round to having sex with 2 1/2 people.

13.) There are roughly 100 million acts of sexual intercourse each day.

14.) Most turkeys and giraffes are bisexual.

15.) The Ancient Egyptians used dried crocodile dung as a contraceptive as it has spermicidal properties. How did they discover this?

16.) Both men and women can have multiple orgasms. But for men to achieve one, their first orgasm must occur without ejaculation and without losing their erection.

17.) In 2005, a couple broke the world record for the longest unbroken kiss. They did it for an exhausting 31 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds.

18.) 25% of couples over 75 still sexually active.

19.) Women who have been to university are more likely to engage in anal sex.

20.) The amount of wet dreams a man is likely to have increases in line with the number of years spent in formal education (which very much includes university I’m sure you’ll be glad to know).

21.) 80% of men living in the USA have been circumcised. Less than 20% in the UK have been.

22.) Besides humans, bonobo chimps and dolphins are the only animals that have sex for pleasure.

23.) Telling a convincing lie to someone is much more difficult when you find them sexually attractive.

24.) What do humans, fish and porpoises have in common? They all have oral sex.

25.) 70% of men refuse sex during their girlfriend’s period.

26.) Apparently on average foreplay lasts 11 to 13 minutes.

27.) Orgasms are a great way to relieve period pains.

28.) 70% of men in relationships always have an orgasm with their partner whilst only 29% of women do.

29.) In Imperial China, eunuchs held many of the top positions. These men kept their genitals in a jar on a high shelf to symbolise their rise to the upper ranks.

30.) A woman has twice as many nerve endings on her clitoris than men have on their whole penis.

31.) Believe it or not, people are on average hornier during periods of their life where they are having more sex.

32.) 94% of men say they masturbate, while 80% of women say they do.

33.) A quarter of penises are slightly bent when erect.

34.) Valentina Vassilyeva holds the record for most children birthed by a single woman. During her life she gave birth to total of 69 children. She had 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets between 1725 and 1765, in a total of 27 births. Miraculously 67 of the 69 children born survived infancy.

35.) Under half of men think their penis is too small whereas 85% of women are very satisfied with their partner’s penis size.

36.) Weight loss increases the size of a man’s penis. For every 35 pounds of fat lost the fat at the base decreases enough to give them an extra inch.

37.) 92% of women think that skint and sexy is preferable to loaded and ugly.

38.) Given the choice 75% of women would rather sleep with one man in a lifetime as opposed to 25% who would rather sleep with 100 men.

39.) The average amount of time spent kissing for a person in a lifetime is 20,160 minutes.

40.) The black widow spider eats her mate during or after sex. Worse still, the horny eight-legger can consumer as many 20 lovers in a single day.

Seems like a disturbingly logical place to end things…

A few facts …

Greetings, a few facts on humans. I have read many of these but a few are new to me.

Shakespeare’s tombstone in Stratford’s Holy Trinity Church bears this inscription, said to have been written by him: Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear to dig the dust enclosed here. Blest be the man that spares these stones, and curst be he that moves my bones”.

The Hindus of India once believed that the Earth was a huge bowl (to keep the oceans from falling off) held up by giant elephants standing on long pillars. No one back then ever thought to ask what the pillars were standing on!

The first black surgeon to do open heart surgery was Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. In 1893, he saved a man who was knifed by opening his chest and sewing together the wound, which was only a fraction of an inch from his heart. He was one of the first to do this. He accomplished this without any modern medical devices, such as x-rays.

Thomas Crapper developed the flush toilet. In 1884, he simulated the materials a toilet would normally handle, to create “a super-flush which had completely cleared away: 10 apples, 1 flat sponge, 3 air vessels, Plumbers Smudge coated over the pan, 4 pieces of paper adhering closely to the soiled surface.” A fantastic feat of flushing!

Vincent Van Gogh only sold 1 painting his whole life and that was to his brother!

A Japanese explorer named Maomi Uemura was the first man to reach the North Pole alone, on April 29, 1978, after his eight-week journey.

Mark Twain, one of America’s best-loved authors, dropped out of school when he was 12 years old, after his father died.

On April 2, 1872, Victoria Woodhull became the first woman candidate for the U.S. presidency.

Babe Ruth kept a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep cool.

Abraham Lincoln once invented a device for lifting riverboats over shallow water.

Did you know that the Egyptians thought the world was in the shape of a rectangle and that the heavans were held up by four giant pillars? They also warned sailors not to go to far away or you just might row off the giant rectangle called Earth. When the Queen of England heard this she sent 4 ships south, north, east and west to search for these “pillars”. When they didn’t find any (because the world is in the shape of a sphere) they questioned the Eygptians and they told her the pillars must have been farther than they predicted! Clever weren’t they?

There were about 300 bones in your body when you were born, but by the time you reach adulthood you only have 206.

A dentist invented the electric chair!!!

The largest baby to be born so far weighed in at 15 pounds, 5 ounces!

Sir Edmund was the first to climb Mt. Everest and return back.

The tallest man in this world was Robert Wadlow, a chinese man who was 7’1″ tall!

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, was actually afraid of the dark.