Flowers for Hobbie-J

A single gene.   A single tweak.  Synapse speed boosted by perhaps a hundred milliseconds, tops.

Transgenic Genius rats.  (PopSci story here.)

Who’da thunk it would be so easy?  And how long before I can get these NR2B boosters in a nasal spray?

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday October 21 2009at 08:10 am , filed under Dumbspeech, neuro, sentience/cognition . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

14 Responses to “Flowers for Hobbie-J”

  1. Side effects may include: headache, sleeplessness, and maze-running.

  2. Now, I’m sure there are wise entrepreneurs out there who’d put good money in a mad molecular biologist’s laboratory used to research how to make their heirs smarter.
    Why haven’t we seen more of those? A floating lab somewhere deep in the sea isn’t much of a problem, is it?

  3. Forgetfulness may play a part in creativity,
    I’m all for human trials.

  4. Could they apply this to elephants?

  5. “And how long before I can get these NR2B boosters in a nasal spray?”

    With your snoz you will need the extra large size.

  6. rayp said Could they apply this to elephants?

    One small problem I see with the elephant testing phase?

    If we starve the animal before running her through a food-reward T-maze, as was done to the rats, the elephant will just get ticked off, crush a grad student against a wall with her forehead, and then stomp the T-maze into rubble. *shrugs* There goes the grant. How about monkeys, maybe?

    Anony mouse quips With your snoz you will need the extra large size.

    Ah, no, young blade, twas a trifle short, so how about:

    Gracious: ‘You love the little birds, I think?
    I see you’ve managed with a fond research
    To find their tiny claws a roomy perch!’

  7. Hmmm, I wonder what the tradeoff is for the increased memory retention. And yes I can’t wait until I can snort this off a hooker and remember every last sweaty patch of syphilitic skin and every little continuity error in her tramp stamp.

    Oh and maybe some benefit for humanity…less need to buy movies because you can just remember them better. I’m sure there are other uses that people would think of…where the fuck is my list!?

  8. I wonder if there would be volunteers for a grassroots, opensource movement of “test your enhancement drugs on me”. Something to let scientists get their science done without ethical roadblocks.

  9. I wondered about the elephants because the research reminded me of the old story about a conversation between Michael Moorcock and the late Tom Disch during the 60s, when Disch was working on his novel Camp Concentration (about a concentration camp inmate who gains a super intellect as a result of experiments conducted upon him by a totalitarian government). He told Moorcock he had started writing about what everyone desires most out of life and Moorcock asked: ‘Oh, is it about elephants?’. Disch retorted ‘No, it’s about becoming more intelligent of course.’ To which Moorcock replied, ‘Well, what I’ve always desired most is to be an elephant.’

    When queried about this incident years later, Disch confirmed it had taken place and said: ‘It looks like Mike and I have both achieved our deepest desires.’

  10. @rayp, I have to admit I would not have clued on the Micheal Moorcock Elephant thing unless you told me.

    Tom must have meant that he wrote about being an elephant, not that Mr. Moorcock became an elephant at some point.

    I googled it, and got:

    Alan Wall in Conversation with Michael Moorcock
    By Alan Wall and Michael Moorcock

    Interviews · Originals · May 31, 2003

    Michael Moorcock: Maybe we should ask an elephant? I’m fascinated by the way a living elephant inspects the bones of a dead one, clearly getting significant information from the process. Tom Disch and I were talking years ago and he said he’d always wanted to be a first rate intellectual, able to analyse the world and see it in a clear, new light. What had I always wanted to be? Me? I answered. I’ve always wanted to be an elephant. So I look forward even more to the book…

  11. Moorcock did put on a bit of weight during the 70s and Disch was known for being bitchy about other SF writers…

  12. Are you saying it was a lousy *fat* joke? Oh, that is bitchy.

    I guess Moorcock won, though – he’s still alive.

  13. Perhaps not…just my simplistic response…it could refer to Moorcock’s greater wisdom as he grew older…Ganesh, the Hindu God made an appearance in a number of his novels and stories.

  14. That’s perfect. As I recall, not only did the pill wear off, it had a further degenerative effect, eroding the intelligence until it not only sunk below initial pre-pill levels but it also resulted in the death of the patient. It was very sobering.