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Indiegogo for FaceRig, animated virtual mask software.

See also: older posts on Otherkin News tagged with augmented reality, including other similar virtual masks.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
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(I'm going to change to a more brief format for this blog. Instead of writing whole research essays on a daily basis, I'll just post links to the news articles in question, as covered on other sites, unless if writing an essay is absolutely necessary.)

The first person in the world to become a government-recognized cyborg.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
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Content warnings: None.

October: An article by Scriptonite Daily, "Cyborgs are now a reality," summarized a wide variety of kinds of recent advances in using messages from a person's brain and nerves to control prostheses and other devices. The article also lists some body modifications that give humans enhanced or new senses, such as magnetism, sonar, and ultrasonic sound. Many of these were invented by independent do-it-yourself "biohackers," who are either finding better segues around their own disabilities, or who are curiously exploring trans-human potential.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
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Content warnings: None.

October: A neuroeconomics professor named Gregory Burns has trained domestic dogs to hold still for brain scans. These found that dog brain activity resembles that of a human child. In a New York Times opinion article, "Dogs are people, too," Burns argued that we should legally categorize dogs as persons, not property.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

October: Tulpas are a type of man-made incorporeal entity used in real spiritual practices of Tibetan origin. They resemble an imaginary friend, and sometimes they can be based on fictional characters. However, the metaphysical concepts involved in the practice are taken with utmost seriousness. During the past few months, I've seen some otherkin and therian communities start to include conversations about tulpas. Cryptozoologist Nick Redfern wrote a new article about how tulpas were introduced to the western world, and why they should not be adopted casually. Redfern's article is about a historical event, not current events.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
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Content warnings: None.

A historical anthropologist named Willem de Blécourt published an academic article on common problems in studying werewolves. In "Monstrous Theories: Werewolves and the Abuse of History," he points out that researchers tend to misrepresent this subject because they focus on werewolves only within one field: historical witch-trials, folklore, or fiction.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

September 27: An article on Furry News Network talked about a stereotypical extreme fan of wolves, or "wolfaboo," and whether there's a problem with being such a fan.

While this article is about the furry fandom, not about therianthropes, the pejorative label "wolfaboo" is often thrown at wolf therianthropes.
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: None.

September: An artist named Victoria Gannon, aka Leptailurus, has a kickstarter for creating a Tarot deck. Leptailurus's Savage Divination: a Bestial Tarot will be 78 cards of elegant paintings of animals. The preview shows wolves, big cats, and more. Her artwork is superb.

I'm not affiliated with the project. If you have questions about it, please go ask Leptailurus, not me.

- Orion Scribner
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Content warnings: None.

September. Chamonix, Mer De Glace area of the Alps, France: Shown above, a video from the back of an eagle flying through the mountains.

Source


Srachi, "Flying eagle point of view." 2013-09-16. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3QrhdfLCO8
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
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Content warnings: None.

August (published; study received in 2011). Thailand: Dr. Michael Gumert, of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, led a study that found that when human developments disrupt the habitats of tool-using animals, it can make it hard for the animals to keep that tradition. Some monkeys (macaques) in Thailand use stones to break open shells, but humans are making it too hard for the macaques to get to the beaches. The macaques aren't dying out, but they're using tools much less.

Sources


Michael D. Gumerta, Yuzuru Hamadaa, and Suchinda Malaivijitnond. "Human activity negatively affects stone tool-using Burmese long-tailed macaques Macaca fascicularis aurea in Laem Son National Park, Thailand." Oryx (2013) DOI: 10.1017/S0030605312000130 http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8963202

Matt McGrath, "Illegal palm oil developments force monkeys to down tools." 2013-08-16. BBC (online news). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23711013

Alasdair Wilkins, "We are now accidentally making monkeys dumber." 2013-08-18. io9 (online magazine). http://io9.com/we-are-now-accidentally-making-monkeys-dumber-1164020843
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: For this article, none. For the linked article, a painting of gore.

August: The paleontology blog Tetrapod Zoology looks into innaccurate reconstructions of pterosaurs, and gets to the bottom of why artists have persisted in depicting a prehistoric animal so that it looks like a mythological creature. Excerpt:

"Palaeoart memes are those traditions we so frequently see in the history of palaeontological art whereby artists copy the behavioural hypotheses, body shapes, postures and even colour schemes of given animals again and again and again, not because they’re well supported or based on evidence of any sort, but simply because that’s what’s been depicted beforehand."


Sloppy guesses about how to reconstruct extinct animals tend to get perpetuated by other artists who assume those first sloppy guesses must have been based on something. Then we get used to seeing that folklore everywhere, and take it as fact.

Source


Darren Naish, "Quetzalcoatlus: the evil, pin-headed, toothy nightmare monster that wants to eat your soul." 2013-08-20. Tetrapod Zoology (blog). http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/2013/08/20/quetzalcoatlus-wants-to-eat-your-soul/
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Content warnings: Gross stuff. Medical. Anatomy. Implants. Injuries. Experiments on animals. Cancer. Some of the linked articles have photos of some artificial organs.

August: Tissue engineers are developing 3-D printing methods for creating body parts that can be implanted in living people. These body parts can be designed to be a perfect fit for the patient, so their body is less likely to reject the implant. The bio-engineers are already experimenting with making:

- Bones. Based on ceramic powder, bones that are custom-made to fit could replace bones that are too heavily damaged to repair.
- Blood vessels. Necessary for creating other organs. Nobody has made artificial organs with blood vessels in them yet, because it’s so complicated in there.
- Ears. Made of a cartilage gel, molded to match a 3D scan of the patient’s other ear. Cartilage is difficult with traditional tissue engineering, but with 3D printing, it’s easy, especially because cartilage doesn’t have blood vessels in it.
- Skin grafts. Creating skin from scratch, and printing it directly onto a wound. (Traditionally, you’d have to take a skin graft from somewhere else on the patient’s body, so fixing one wound means making another one.)
- Kidneys. Made of a cell culture from the patient, placed in a biodegradable scaffold. Engineers have successfully made a tiny, live kidney, but not yet a working kidney that could be implanted.

Although engineers are still working on the basics, someday lab-grown tissues could go beyond replacing a body part. Artificial body parts could be designed to do things that the original body parts couldn’t. Not only could we make a bionic ear from 3-D printed cartilage, engineers propose that they could also add to it a super-human hearing ability, or even a “sixth sense” to detect radio and electromagnetism. On the more practical side of survival, neurologists wouldn’t have to open up a brain cancer patient’s skull extra times if they replace a piece of the skull with a transparent window made of a material based on dental ceramic. Such a transparent skull implant has already been tested in animals. Through that window, neurologists could do laser treatments, and have an easier time scanning and monitoring the brain's healing process.


Sources


Steven Leckart, “Five body parts scientists can 3-D print.” 2013-08-16. Popular Science (online magazine). http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-07/5-body-parts-scientists-can-3-d-print

Susan Young, “Cyborg parts: Princeton researchers, using a 3-D printer, have built a bionic ear with integrated electronics.” 2013-08-12. MIT Technology Review (online news). http://www.technologyreview.com/demo/517991/cyborg-parts/ (Actually, the article sounds more like the lab team proposed that they could build such an ear, not that they have actually made one. I’m not sure.)

Honor Whiteman, “Transparent skull implant provides ‘window to the brain.’” 2013-09-04. Medical News Today (online news). http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265634.php
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Some of the links talk about how wild dolphins are abused in captivity.

This is a follow-up on an earlier post in Otherkin News, "Personhood and rights for dolphins in India." The event in question was reported in increasingly confusing ways by many newspapers and blogs. After a while, an io9 article cleared up the confusion: "No, India did not just grant dolphins the status of humans." India passed some laws to protect dolphins, but didn't legally categorize dolphins as non-human persons. There are some animal rights organizations fighting to put certain smart animals (including apes) in that legal category for real.

Source


George Dvorsky, "No, India did not just grant dolphins the status of humans." 2013-08-15. io9. http://io9.com/no-india-did-not-just-grant-dolphins-the-status-of-hum-1149482273
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: Transgender transition (not graphic). Extreme body modifications (not graphic).

August 5: An advice blog for trans men, The Art of Transliness, answered a question regarding the difference between a transgender person's transition (hormone replacement therapy and gender-confirming surgeries) vs. the extreme body modifications of the Cat Lady.

Source


Zak and anonymous, Untitled post. 2013-08-05. The Art of Transliness (blog). http://theartoftransliness.com/post/60407878804/hey-youre-great-my-pops-a-pretty-smart-older-adult
frameacloud: A white dragon with its tail in a knot. (Heraldry transparent)
[personal profile] frameacloud
Content warnings: spooky creatures.

A cryptozoologist named Ken Gerhard published a non-fiction book about a certain category of sightings. It's Encounters with Flying Humanoids: Mothman, Manbirds, Gargoyles & Other Winged Beasts. As his colleague Nick Redfern remarked, "this is a topic that is very rarely covered in full-length book form."

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