Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanks for the Horrible Memories

Scientists at the University of Oxford have successfully written false memories in to the brains of flies using a laser beam. And just to show how cruel and sadistic they've become with their god-like powers, they decided to create memories of terrible danger rather than allow the flies to reminisce about a wonderful Caribbean vacation that never occurred. What a bunch of pricks. The scientists were able to identify just twelve neurons that controlled associative memories in the flies' brains. They added a receptor to each of these cells that would be activated by ATP trapped in a light-sensitive cage that could be dissolved with a laser blast. So, the laser unleashed the ATP, which activated the receptors to create a false memory associating a certain smell with danger. All of this barely makes sense to me, but I'm sure this will lead to some practical application down the road. I've always wanted a laser gun that could make people hate and fear me. Though I'm pretty sure if I just shot enough people with a regular gun, I'd eventually achieve the same goal. More details here.