Author Spotlight: Stuart Waldner

Activist and author Stuart Waldner is up to release his debut novel ‘Escape the Meatrix: Eat Plants, Feel Great, and Save the Planet!’ this October 11, under Houndstooth Press. But before we talk about the exciting details of his upcoming book, let’s get to know Stuart Waldner.

Stuart Waldner is an author/activist of the upcoming book ‘Escape the Meatrix: Eat Plants, Feel Great, and Save the Planet!’. The book Escape the Meatrix was written after Stuart switched to a plant-based diet in 2008. 

Stuart Waldner is living in Lexington, Kentucky, in the United States. Lexington, Kentucky, is one of the country’s poorer and least educated areas with unhealthy individuals. Despite this, it’s one of the most beautiful places filled with genuine people, which Stuart appreciates. Growing up, Stuart witnessed those around him become ill, so he decided to make some changes in his lifestyle that could offer him the best chance to avoid the illnesses he saw in his relatives and the people he grew up with. In 1985, when Stuart was 23, he stopped eating meat and started exercising. It was not until 2008 that Stuart entirely went with a plant-based lifestyle. People may see it as a foolish decision, but Stuart’s life experiences prove that it was a big, good decision.

After transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle, Stuart discovered the connection between food choices and global crises such as climate change. The more Stuart learned about the statistical data that links dietary choices and the current global crisis, the more he was eager to convince other people to wake up.

When not advocating, Stuart Waldner spends his free time playing with his dogs, cooking plant-based foods, running, and restoring his 128-year-old Victorian home. Stuart’s doctor and the people around him can’t help but notice his excellent health—all thanks to a plant-based lifestyle.

 ‘Escape the Meatrix: Eat Plants, Feel Great, and Save the Planet!’ is an environmental, health, and wellness nonfiction book which features personal experience and data supported with research and scientific evidence. Here, Stuart Waldner boldly tells the truth about the Meatrix and how it led people to believe that animal-based products are natural and necessary when it was only conditioned to use them. Supported by science and research, the book illustrates how switching to a plant-based lifestyle can positively affect and improve a person’s health. It also averts the effects of climate change which can be a more significant problem for future generations. Stuart Waldner invites the readers to challenge the status quo and don’t sway with the growing animal-based consumers. The evidence is presented in the book. It’s up to you to decide whether you accept the action or stay the same.

You can check out and pre-order Escape the Meatrix: Eat Plants, Feel Great, and Save the Planet! on Amazon.

For more information about Stuart Waldner, you can visit his website. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

What is Biodiversity?  

The importance of biodiversity

It’s no secret to anyone that the world’s ecosystem is an essential concept of protection, no matter what. With that said, Shalom Lamm believes that there is a lot to be learned about the Earth’s environment and what people can do more to help preserve. There are also many aspects of the Earth’s environment that some people just don’t know about. This is why everyone needs to do their part in raising awareness about the Earth’s ecosystem.

Speaking of the Earth’s ecosystem, one specific aspect that this article is covering is the concept of biodiversity. For those who may not know what biodiversity is, it’s defined as having a variety of livelihood in a surrounding environment.

It’s quite simple to understand how important the concept of biodiversity is to the Earth. For example, let’s say there’s a specific area that’s inhabited by not only people but animals as well. As different kinds of animals live there also, both the people and the animals that live in this environment are healthily inhabited. That itself can be considered an example of biodiversity.

One of the reasons why the concept of biodiversity is important is because it allows different forms of all sorts of lives to coexist through a healthy environment. Not just for people to get around and live safely but for other forms of life like wild animals.

Biodiversity is about protecting every living thing, so they’ll be able to live without any issue regarding the environment they find themselves in. Biodiversity is protecting all aspects of life for every living thing to consume, whether it’d be the availability of foods that are safe to eat or anything else in that regard.

What can ordinary people do to promote the idea of biodiversity? There are a lot of questions that some might have regarding how people can help the environment. Fortunately, there are many ways one could spread awareness over the protection of the Earth’s ecosystem. For instance, using social media to promote the idea of biodiversity is an ideal scenario for any ordinary person. Because social media, in general, is used by people around the world, posting regularly through social media platforms may garner the right amount of attention.

Posting on social media comes along the lines of staying active when promoting an environmental cause. Show perseverance is required when wanting to get something done. Especially when it has to do when promoting change for the better of the Earth’s environment, one must stay active at all times. Always remember, as this pertains to those who are promoting environmental awareness, even activism to the littlest degree means a lot. If there’s not much change happening regarding the ecosystem, continue to do the best possible. Listening to the advice from others that know more about environmental issues is ideal also. Take Shalom Lamm, who’s a Chief Executive Officer for Operation Benjamin, who believes that biodiversity can help hinder climate change. This is an interesting take, as Lamm believes in the importance of biodiversity.

Africa’s energy resources have the ability to create sources of economic growth. Creating beneficial deals have been difficult, until now.

Business deals with energy companies, associations, and beneficial investments are the wisest strategies to promote sustainability in global economies. Africa has begun to utilize their developmental resources.

The International Energy Agency (IEA)states that with the growing appetite for modern and efficient energy sources, Africa emerges as a major force in global oil and gas markets. In the natural gas markets, Africa is projected to see a substantial growth as it becomes one of the largest sources for global gas.  IEA Executive Director, Dr Fatih Birol gives her take on the importance of Africa’s energy.

 “How Africa meets the energy needs of a fast-growing and increasingly urban population is crucial for its economic and energy future – and the world.”

The commentary by Dr Faith Birol addresses the promising view of Africa’s resources and how they are valuable and substantial to Africa’s growth, as well as global economies.

NJ Ayuk, the author of Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals states that Africa has been an oil-market force for decades. In Africa, the oil and gas sector in Algeria is said to be the main foundation for the economy, it represents 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and a sum of 85 percent in exports. Angola produces 50 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product and around 89 per cent of exports from oil and related functions. Congo is a net exporter and producer of crude oil. 10 percent of (GDP) gross domestic product from Nigeria comes from the oil and gas market. Exports of petroleum produces an estimated 86 per cent of total exported revenue.

Presently, the largest refinery is located in Nigeria. Analysts predict that by 2022—650, 000 barrels of crude oil should be produced by the day. The refinery has created thousands of jobs, with hundreds of technicians and engineers from Nigeria studying in different countries on how to manage it.

More oil and gas representatives have come forth but oil and gas lawyer, NJ Ayuk remembers the need for African representatives early on in his career.

“Africans were not part of any kind of deal-making structure: When negotiations involving foreign investors’ oil and gas exploration, production, and revenue-sharing took place, Africans were not at the table—or even in the room.”

But now, as news spreads about Africa’s impact on the oil and gas sectors, African oil and gas representatives and investors may finally begin to make better deals. Africa Oil Week has reported Africa’s deals with oil investments, and billions of dollars will be invested towards the development of continental hydrocarbons. Five specific regions that are located in Nigeria, Mozambique, Egypt, Mauritania, and Equatorial Guinea have been named the hot spots in oil and gas development and investment. BP, Noble Energy and other oil and gas companies from around the world have expressed an interest in the natural resource hot spots located in Africa.

5 Things you should consider when buying fuel injector cleaner

For proper and efficient engine function, it is important to keep your engine clean and lubricated. Experts suggest that you use fuel injector cleaner. It is always best to work with a professional but if you are a DIY-kind of person, you can do the task on your own. Doing so will protect the overall wellness of the car engine.

Here are 5 things you should consider when buying a cleaner for your engine:

  1. Cleaning agent

The detergent you use to clean the fuel injector part of your engine should be capable of removing varnish as well as carbon deposits. It should also be strong enough to remove water from fuel. One way to accomplish this goal is to seek a cleaner that contains Polyisobutene as it is effective in removing water and impurities. It is important to pay close attention to the ingredients, however, as some of them also contain alcohol which can be detrimental to the overall functionality of your engine.

  1. The type of engine

Choose a cleaner based on the type of engine that you need to clean. Most people prefer taking the car to a mechanic even for simple car maintenance procedures including an oil change. A thorough engine check-up will reveal what service is needed on your car to make it run to the best of its ability. Sometimes you may find that it is in need of having the fuel injector cleaned out. The good thing is that this can be taken care of while you have your oil changed or other service done to your car.

  1. Value for your money

There are ways to save money on car maintenance and one of them is by doing the work yourself. This can save you hundreds of dollars on labor costs. Another way that you can save money is by buying products that are on sale or have a rebate associated with them. Many manufacturer’s offer rebates and sales from time to time so it is best to keep an eye out for such deals and then buy.

  1. Compatibility

There are two main types of fuel injector cleaners; one is compatible with engines that use gasoline while the other is compatible with diesel engines. You should choose the cleaner depending on the type of oil used. It should also be compatible with both hot and cold temperatures. The reason for this is that carbon builds up fast in cold weather. This means that the appropriate cleaner such as BG 44K fuel system and injector cleaner would be most appropriate.

  1. Cost and availability

Checking the buyers guide on various cleaners is a good idea. At Amazon, there are various types of cleaners and some brief information regarding them. There are also reviews about the best products on the market. Reading reviews can help you a great deal in choosing the best product for your car.

What are the Uses of Silver as Per Science?

With the passage of time, scientists have discovered several elements for the use of mankind in diverse manners. Silver (Ag) has been used for multitude purposes since for centuries. The metal is held in high regard for its decorative beauty and electrical conductivity.

Many people are aware of the value gold, silver and platinum holds but not all of them are acquainted with the diverse usage it can offer. Many people have been underestimating silver’s versatility since it is been considered as inferior to gold. Nevertheless, here is a list which showcases how silver has contributed to the market and our daily lives.


Silver is unquestionably a great conductor of heat and electricity, in fact it is better than most of the metals in periodic table. This makes silver an ideal material to be used in electrical systems. It is often found in batteries, keyboards, electrical motor switches and speakers. Whenever we use an electrical component, we are unconsciously relying on the element silver for a proper functionality.


Silver plays an important role in the medicine industry. It is useful in protecting your teeth and skin from infection. There are past records where the element silver has been used in different ways by doctors to save lives. Prosthetics have leveraged the benefits of silver. The antibacterial properties make it an ideal substance to treat burns.


This is a pretty obvious use of silver in today’s life. It is probably the most common use in this contemporary world. Because of its shine, reflectivity and durability, people prefer it as a jewelry piece. It is even becoming a status symbol rapidly. Sterling silver is most commonly used in jewelry.


Solar power industry has benefited from silver in many ways. Solar cells are coated with silver in order to absorb light which is further converted into electricity. Since the use of solar energy as an alternative to traditional methods of energy creation has been promoted in the past few years, silver can be of immense help hereby. It can help you to create environmentally friendly energy.

Other than solar panels, devices like satellites and infrared telescopes also uses silver.


Typical household items usually contain silver which enhances its functionality as well as appearance. Because of the attributes it possess like conductivity and reflectiveness, it has been considered by manufacturers as one of the most reliable element. Appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, cameras and musical equipment use silver.


Unbelievably silver helps you to see. Silver is considered as the most reflective metal which is then used with glass to keep your vision clearer and safer. Mirrors and sunglasses use the reflective quality of silver. It has been used widely in order to maximize protection while driving. Nevertheless, this is another amazing use.

Silver unquestionably deserves more attention for the roles it has been playing in our society. Once you have acknowledge its value and importance, you will start accumulating the rare silver coins that your ancestors gifted you.

Cyborg Implants And The Rise Of The Human Cyborgs

In the late 1970’s people watched a science fiction film created by Martin Caidin entitled ‘Cyborg’. It featured how an individual lost an arm and a limb but was immediately replaced with mechanical prosthetics using cyber technology. These bionic replacements were stronger and powerful than the original replaced extremities.

Inspired with this new fictional concept, it was made into a TV series where people got glued to watch ‘The Six Million Dollar Man”. The ‘Bionic Woman’ was a spin-off of the former. Today, nobody would ever think, even in his wildest dreams that cyber fiction on lost organs and limbs can now be a reality, that is, actual restoration through cyborg implants. Sutherland, W. (2009) explained that “the term cyborg was initially coined by NASA scientists Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline in 1960 when they discussed hypothetical advantages of human-machines in space.

Today, cyborg implants are real. They are part- machine, part- biological organism which can be used for medical and scientific purposes to include military/ law/ intelligence enforcement purposes. When it comes to modern medical technology, there were significant medical breakthroughs intended to improve patient care, deliver longer life expectancy and the right quality of life. The expectations in this field go over and beyond. For example, Divorsky, G. (2012) discusses the recent breakthrough on powering implants in the brain: “MIT engineers have developed a fuel cell that can run on your brain’s own glucose_ a breakthrough that could result in powerful neural prosthetics that could restore and control a number of bodily functions”. According to SCImago Journal and County Rank Journal (2013),

“You can now find cyborg implants being used in each body organ of the human body. Most likely, medical implants must be accompanied with biomechanical features as good as those of tissues arising from within without any adverse effects. Studies of the long-term effects of medical implants in very human anatomical site must be carefully calculated in order to ensure accuracy, safety and effective performance of the implants”. Nowadays, surgery cyborg implants demand an interdisciplinary cooperation of a number of qualified and exceptional consultants. A good example is the successful cochlear implants that required the involvement of audio specialists, medical audio experts, speech and language teachers, and other professions involved with repairing and curing hearing-impaired and deaf individuals”.

Taking up several challenges ahead and in quest for effective and sustainable solutions, cyber research technology is now into laser and advanced implant systems, complemented with thermo-fluid dynamics, mechanics, nanoelectronics, metrology and numeric simulation to bioprocess, biomechanics, other variant bio-systems.

Believe it or not but the following individuals were benefitted from the cyber research technology through cyborg implants. Nelson, B. (2013) presents a few out of the seven recorded actual cyborg patients who benefitted from Cybernetics.
“One is Neil Harbisson was born with extreme color blindness. Equipped with a cyborg eye, he now is adapted to a device implanted in his brain that renders perception of colors as sound on a musical scale. This device allows Harbisson to ‘hear’ a color. Next is Kevin Warwick, a Professor in a University in United Kingdom. Using himself as guinea pig, he experimented by inserting microchips in his arm to perform several functions that allowed him to operate a heater, doors and light.

Nelson, B. (2013) continues by explaining that “Cyber technology is most immediately helpful for amputees like Jesse Sullivan. Sullivan was equipped with new robotic limbs, connected to his nervous systems, capable of functioning like normal limbs. Lastly, Jens Naumann was struck with both blind eyes. He became the first recipient of an artificial vision system which is connected directly to his visual cortex through brain implants”.
All these real-life cyborg individuals volunteered to become cyborg, half-man, half machines. All of them are said to be inspiring harbingers of the future. At least none of them were converted as “Terminators”_ at least not for the time being.

The future is here. Cyborg implants as major component s of Cyborg technology or Cybernetics have already made several steps of advancement to a point where it is now safe to say that bionic humans are no longer stuff of science fiction. All individuals who subject themselves to become recipients of cyborg technology are said to be inspiring harbingers of the future. At least, none of them function as “Terminators” for the time being.
What holds Cyborg technology in the future? Cybernetics will continue to provide more freedom and improve life to quadriplegics, the blind imprisoned in their world of darkness, the deaf and other people who will seamlessly need synthetic replacement parts that will gain widespread acceptance and use. However, there is the trepidation that the cyborg technology will hopefully not be used to control human mind unethically or that will violate human rights.

How our Brain Interprets Smell and Taste

How our Sense of Smell Affects Taste

[intro]Eating is an activity which involves the collective effort of taste, sight and smell. Therefore the smell of the food can influence its taste. Similarly, the color of the food or the look of the dish can change the taste of a meal. In most cases, something which smells sweet influences the brain hence translating to better taste.[/intro]

The senses of smell and taste play an important role in our lives by stimulating the desire to eat hence providing nourishment to the body while enhancing our social activities. When our smell and taste becomes affected by other factors, e.g. cold, we eat poorly, socialize less, and generally feel worse. These two senses also warn us of other dangers, like poisonous fumes, fire and spoilt food.

How smell and taste work

Our body has a chemical sensing system (chemosensation), which smell and taste are part. Smelling and tasting involve complicated processes which start when molecules from the substance around us cause stimulation in specific nerve cells in our nose, mouth or throat. Messages from these nerve cells are then transmitted to the brain where identification of the actual smell or taste is done.

The smell nerve cells (Olfactory cells) are usually stimulated by fragrance, smell of bread baking, or any other odors around us. These cells are located in a small patch of tissue in the nose and are connected directly to the brain. Taste nerve cells (Gustatory cells) are found in the taste buds of both the mouth and throat. When food or drink mixes with saliva, they react to eat hence figuring out its taste. The tongue has some small buds which mostly contain taste buds. These taste nerve cells usually send taste information through nerve fibers to the brain for interpretation.

The chemosensory system of the body has thousands of nerve endings which contribute to the sense of smell and taste. These nerves are mostly concentrated in the moist surfaces of the nose, mouth, throat and eyes. They help in identifying sensations like the Ammonia, Menthol, or the heat of chili peppers, etc. When a drink or fruit is placed in the mouth, the taste cells become activated and helps us to perceive the flavor.

In a research conducted by French researchers, a white wine was covered with an odorless dye and several wine experts were asked to describe its taste. Surprisingly, the wine experts described it using red wine descriptors instead of using their expertise to figure out the white wine taste. This suggested that the smell plays an important role in determining the taste of a drink or food. Although smell is not technically part of taste, it definitely influences a person’s perception about a food or drink. Drinks and foods are therefore predominantly identified by the sense of smell and not necessarily taste.

The human brain recognizes taste from a combination of the food’s smell and touch. The brain behaves so because while eating or drinking, all sensory information comes from the same location irrespective of the type of food or drink. “Favor” can be used to describe the taste of a food more accurately because it carries smell which is used in determining the taste.

Whenever we sip or eat something, the sensory cells which are located side by side with the taste cells become activated to help us perceive additional qualities of the drink or food, such as spiciness, creaminess or temperature. Taste is therefore mostly perceived in the act of touch caused by the contact of the mouth with food or drink creating the flavor sensation.

Although the mouth has no cells which can detect scents in the mouth, smells also appear to come from the mouth. For instance, the strawberry sensation is felt from the smell cells found at the far end of the nasal passage. The information generated by these cells is then sent to the mouth through olfactory referral process hence making the smell to be felt in the mouth. You can as well demonstrate this phenomenon by chewing a strawberry bean. You will notice the strawberry odor as long as your nose is open, you will feel the blackberry odor which won’t be the case when the nose is held. This proves that smell cells in the nasal cavity are connected to the mouth which helps a person to get information related to the scent of the food or drink.

Therefore smell affects taste and taste affects smell as well.

The Weird & Wonderful Mind of Nikola Tesla

The Bizarre Mind of Nikola Tesla

[intro]Nikola Tesla, a well renowned and respected physicist born in Smiljan, Croatia, in the 1800s, and contributed greatly to the world of physics, engineering, and development of science. These include but are not limited to: A.C. electric power, the hydro-electric power plant at Niagara Falls, the diffusion of power without using wires, an early electric car, his famous works with Albert Einstein, and many more inventions. Although the numerous inventions of Nikola Tesla have been the most available written works about him, easily accessible to students in text books and studies at Universities, his psychological struggles were also plentiful, and should not go without mention.[/intro]

Social Shortcomings

Many people know of Nikola Tesla by the tangible contributions he has made, contributions which have impacted the world’s development, such as electricity, radio, and magnetic engineering, which many now see as the essential mechanisms life. While the genius mind of Nikola Tesla had many rewarding elements in which the human race has reaped massively positive gains, Tesla himself ultimately lacked business and social expertise, or strategies for profitable gain, as were produced by his counterparts such as Edison.

Ruminations of Tesla

Many people also do not realize that Tesla’s psychological struggles included components that psychiatrists today would analyze as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a disorder that is classified today as a constituent on the Autism Spectrum Disorders. The bizarre mind of Tesla was privy to the number three for unknown reasons. For example, Tesla made a point to start his productivity at 3:00 every day. He frequently stayed in hotels, but only if the hotel rooms were of a number that were divisible by three. He repeatedly washed his hands to ward off germs that were also his obsession, by multiple of three, of course. He would never use the same towel more than once. Counting steps were also an unavoidable element of Tesla’s OCD type behaviors.

There is one characteristic of Tesla that scientists have yet to claim scientific explanations for in this century, and that is Tesla’s amazing heightened sensory side. Apparently Tesla could sense or ‘hear’ sounds from unfathomable distances away which would seem impossible based on the average human hearing range or brain for that matter. Unheard of, unfathomable, and simply disregarded as humanly possible by many. This level of sensory ability was possible by the scientific mind of Nikola Tesla.

While not said to posses superhero powers, it is unheard of that any average human hearing range or mind could possibly process or hear a small clock ticking from a large distance away, or a basic thunderstorm from over 500 miles away. In fact, hearing is actually an understatement of his ability to sense things, because not only was his auditory system hyper-stimulated or enhanced, but he also experienced other neurological stimulations.

A Heightened Mental State

As Tesla grew into his midlife phase, however  his ideas seemed to become more peculiar than scientific. The abstractness of his thinking was genuinely unfathomable at this point, such as his claims to be networking with other planets, and his work on a death ray that would protect American citizens from alien invasions. Many people may be unaware about the underlying factors of Tesla’s mental state and his mind, the quirks and bizarre entities that took place, which were a drive for Tesla’s successes, as well as a hindrance to his sanity and gave reference and rise to the mad scientist moniker.

He claimed he could travel, within his mind to other places around the world, where he would actually interact with other individuals who were real to him. One may philosophically proposition that this was a devised method of the bizarre mind of Nikola Tesla to compensate for his social struggles in real life or some futuristic view of time traveling . Or was this just a form of hallucinating, or a mere symptom of Schizophrenia?

It is quite possible he was able to use a higher percentage of the human brain’s capacity. After all, aren’t bizarre ways of thinking an essential piece of the genius mind? Let’s face it. Most people don’t have the mental ability  to think like people such as Tesla, and society needs them in order to apply imagination at such a profound level.

Perhaps the bizarre mind of Nikola Tesla should not be observed as a disorder, but rather an incredibly enhanced form of the imagination, or intelligence akin to Alien technology, a piece of Tesla’s increased sensations which are nothing less than incredible, rather than incredulous. The bizarre mind of Nikola Tesla was a miraculous work of art.

Later Years

While harboring an impeccable memory and explicit imagination with a profound level of intelligence, Nikola Tesla created astounding inventions which were serviceable to individuals and society. However, his social connections to the public appeared to start and end from behind the scenes.

Although Nikola lived well into his 80’s, a very long life for his time, it was also a life filled with isolation. He desired to eat alone, rather than with others, and avoided social events, societies or clubs; in fact it was obvious that Mr. Tesla came up short when trying to make effective social connections. He saw social interaction as a distraction to his work. Additionally, his undeniable fear of touch refrained him from developing any intimate relationship, and he remained a celibate an unmarried man throughout his entire life.

Bizarrely in fact, Tesla’s closest interpersonal relationship was with a bird, not a human: pigeons, which he depicted as supernatural beings. He ultimately passed away, leaving no written will for family or friends. In addition, what Tesla did leave behind were his ideas and inventions, rather than monetary gains, as he struggled to earn a decent living when he could have acquired much financial gain from his impeccable imagination

Although people today would label Tesla’s personality characteristics with disorders such as Autism, Schizophrenia, or OCD, using diagnostic methods of today, there are also mystifying pieces of Tesla to ponder, which are in lieu of the intelligence we all have come to respect and appreciate in science. But despite his social inadequacies, the bizarre but brilliant mind of Tesla should not fall short of recognition and gratitude from all of us.

Why do Zebras Have Stripes?

How the zebra got its stripes, with Alan Turing

[intro]Where do a zebra’s stripes, a leopard’s spots and our fingers come from? The key was found years ago – by the man who cracked the Enigma code, Alan Turing.[/intro]

In 1952 a mathematician published a set of equations that tried to explain the patterns we see in nature, from the dappled stripes adorning the back of a zebra to the whorled leaves on a plant stem, or even the complex tucking and folding that turns a ball of cells into an organism. His name was Alan Turing.

More famous for cracking the wartime Enigma code and his contributions to mathematics, computer science and artificial intelligence, it may come as a surprise that Turing harboured such an interest. In fact, it was an extension of his fascination with the workings of the mind and the underlying nature of life.

The secret glory of Turing’s wartime success had faded by the 1950s, and he was holed up in the grimly industrial confines of the University of Manchester. In theory he was there to develop programs for one of the world’s first electronic computers – a motley collection of valves, wires and tubes – but he found himself increasingly side-lined by greasy-fingered engineers who were more focused on nuts and bolts than numbers. This disconnection was probably intentional on Turing’s part, rather than deliberate exclusion on theirs, as his attention was drifting away from computing towards bigger questions about life.

It was a good time to be excited about biology. Researchers around the world were busy getting to grips with the nature of genes, and James Watson and Francis Crick would soon reveal the structure of DNA in 1953. There was also a growing interest in cybernetics – the idea of living beings as biological computers that could be deconstructed, hacked and rebuilt. Turing was quickly adopted into a gang of pioneering scientists and mathematicians known as the Ratio Club, where his ideas about artificial intelligence and machine learning were welcomed and encouraged.

Against this backdrop Turing took up a subject that had fascinated him since before the war. Embryology – the science of building a baby from a single fertilised egg cell – had been a hot topic in the early part of the 20th century, but progress sputtered to a halt as scientists realised they lacked the technical tools and scientific framework to figure it out. Perhaps, some thinkers concluded, the inner workings of life were fundamentally unknowable.

Turing viewed this as a cop-out. If a computer could be programmed to calculate, then a biological organism must also have some kind of underlying logic too.

He set to work collecting flowers in the Cheshire countryside, scrutinising the patterns in nature. Then came the equations – complex, unruly beasts that couldn’t be solved by human hands and brains. Luckily the very latest computer, a Ferranti Mark I, had just arrived in Manchester, and Turing soon put it to work crunching the numbers. Gradually, his “mathematical theory of embryology”, as he referred to it, began to take shape.

Like all the best scientific ideas, Turing’s theory was elegant and simple: any repeating natural pattern could be created by the interaction of two things – molecules, cells, whatever – with particular characteristics. Through a mathematical principle he called ‘reaction–diffusion’, these two components would spontaneously self-organise into spots, stripes, rings, swirls or dappled blobs.

In particular his attention focused on morphogens – the then-unknown molecules in developing organisms that control their growing shape and structure. The identities and interactions of these chemicals were, at the time, as enigmatic as the eponymous wartime code. Based on pioneering experiments on frog, fly and sea urchin embryos from the turn of the 20th century – involving painstakingly cutting and pasting tiny bits of tissue onto other tiny bits of tissue – biologists knew they had to be there. But they had no idea how they worked.

Although the nature of morphogens was a mystery, Turing believed he might have cracked their code. His paper ‘The chemical basis of morphogenesis’ appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in August 1952.

Sadly, Turing didn’t live long enough to find out whether he was right. He took his own life in 1954, following a conviction for ‘gross indecency’ and subsequent chemical castration – the penalty for being openly gay in an intolerant time. In those two short years there was little to signpost the twists and turns that his patterns would take over the next 60 years, as biologists and mathematicians battled it out between the parallel worlds of embryology and computing.

In a cramped office in London, tucked away somewhere on the 27th floor of Guy’s Hospital, Professor Jeremy Green of King’s College London is pointing at a screen.

A program that simulates Turing patterns is running in a small window. At the top left is a square box, filled with writhing zebra-like monochrome stripes. Next to it is a brain-bending panel of equations. “It’s astonishing that Turing came up with this out of nowhere, as it’s not intuitive at all,” says Green, as he pokes a finger at the symbols. “But the equations are much less fearsome than you think.”

The essence of a Turing system is that you have two components, both of which can spread through space (or at least behave as if they do). These could be anything from the ripples of sand on a dune to two chemicals moving through the sticky goop holding cells together in a developing embryo. The key thing is that whatever they are, the two things spread at different speeds, one faster than the other.

One component is to be auto-activating, meaning that it can turn on the machinery that makes more of itself. But this activator also produces the second component – an inhibitor that switches off the activator. Crucially, the inhibitor has to move at a faster pace than the activator through space.

The beauty of it is that Turing systems are completely self-contained, self-starting and self-organising. According to Green, all that one needs to get going is just a little bit of activator. The first thing it does is make more of itself. And what prevents it from ramping up forever? As soon as it gets to a certain level it switches on the inhibitor, which builds up to stop it.

“The way to think about it is that as the activator builds up it has a head start,” says Green. “So you end up with, say, a black stripe, but the inhibitor then builds up and spreads more quickly. At a certain point it catches up with the activator in space and stops it in its tracks. And that makes one stripe.”

From these simple components you can create a world of patterns. The fearsome equations are just a way of describing those two things. All you need to do is adjust the conditions, or ‘parameters’. Tweaking the rates of spreading and decay, or changing how good the activator is at turning itself on and how quickly the inhibitor shuts it down, subtly alters the pattern to create spots or stripes, swirls or splodges.

Despite its elegance and simplicity, Turing’s reaction–diffusion idea gained little ground with the majority of developmental biologists at the time. And without the author around to champion his ideas, they remained in the domain of a small bunch of mathematicians. In the absence of solid evidence that Turing mechanisms were playing a part in any living system, they seemed destined to be a neat but irrelevant distraction.

Biologists were busy grappling with a bigger mystery: how a tiny blob of cells organises itself to create a head, tail, arms, legs and everything in between to build a new organism.

In the late 1960s a new explanation appeared, championed by the eminent and persuasive embryologist Lewis Wolpert and carried aloft by the legion of developmental biologists that followed in his footsteps. The concept of ‘positional information’ suggests that cells in a developing embryo sense where they are in relation to an underlying map of molecular signals (the mysterious morphogens). By way of explanation, Wolpert waved the French flag.

Imagine a rectangular block of cells in the shape of a flag. A strip of cells along the left-hand edge are pumping out a morphogen – let’s call it Striper – that gradually spreads out to create a smooth gradient of signal, high to low from left to right. Sensing the levels of Striper around them, the cells begin to act accordingly. Those on the left turn blue if the level of Striper is above a certain specific threshold, those in the middle turn white in response to the middling levels of Striper they detect, while those on the far right, bathing in the very lowest amounts of Striper, go red. Et voila – the French flag.

Wolpert’s flag model was simple to grasp, and developmental biologists loved it. All you had to do to build an organism was to set up a landscape of morphogen gradients, and cells would know exactly what to become – a bit like painting by numbers. More importantly, it was clear to researchers that it worked in real life, thanks to chickens.

Even today, chicken embryos are an attractive way to study animal development. Scientists can cut a window in the shell of a fertilised hen’s egg to watch the chick inside, and even fiddle about with tweezers to manipulate the growing embryo. What’s more, chicken wings have three long bony structures buried inside the tip, analogous to our fingers. Each one is different – like the three stripes of a French flag – making them the perfect system for testing out Wolpert’s idea.

In a series of landmark experiments in the 1960s, John Saunders and Mary Gasseling of Wisconsin’s Marquette University carefully cut a piece from the lower side of a developing chick’s wing bud – imagine taking a chunk from the edge of your hand by the little finger – and stuck it to the upper ‘thumb’ side.

Instead of the usual three digits (thumb, middle and little ‘fingers’), the resulting chicken had a mirror wing – little finger, middle, thumb, thumb, middle, little finger. The obvious conclusion was that the region from the base of the wing was producing a morphogen gradient. High levels of the gradient told the wing cells to make a little finger, middling ones instructed the middle digit, and low levels made a thumb.

It was hard to argue with such a definitive result. But the ghost of Turing’s idea still haunted the fringes of biology.

In 1979 a physicist-turned-biologist and a physical chemist caused a bit of a stir. Stuart Newman and Harry Frisch published a paper in the high-profile journalScience showing how a Turing-type mechanism could explain the patterning in a chicken’s fingers.

They simplified the developing three-dimensional limb into a flat rectangle and figured out reaction–diffusion equations that would generate waves of an imaginary digit-making morphogen within it as it grew. The patterns generated by Newman and Frisch’s model are clunky and square, but they look unmistakeably like the bones of a robot hand.

They argued that an underlying Turing pattern makes the fingers, which are then given their individual characteristics by some kind of overlying gradient – of the sort proposed by the French flag model – as opposed to the gradient itself directing the creation of the digits.

“People were still in an exploratory mode in the 1970s, and Turing’s own paper was only 25 years old at that point. Scientists were hearing about it for the first time and it was interesting,” says Newman, now at New York Medical College in the USA. “I was lucky to get physics-oriented biologists to review my paper – there wasn’t an ideology on the limb that had set in, and people were still wondering how it all worked.”

It was a credible alternative to Wolpert’s gradient idea, prominently published in a leading journal. According to Newman, the reception was initially warm. “Straight after it was published, one of Wolpert’s associates, Dennis Summerbell, wrote me a letter saying that they needed to consider the Turing idea, that it was very important. Then there was silence.”

A year later, Summerbell’s view had changed. He published a joint paper with biologist Jonathan Cooke, which made clear that he no longer considered it a valid idea. Newman was shocked. “From that point on nobody in that group ever mentioned it, with one exception – Lewis Wolpert himself once cited our paper in a symposium report in 1989 and dismissed it.”

The majority of the developmental biology community did not consider Turing patterns important at all. Fans of the positional information model closed ranks against Newman. The invitations to speak at scientific meetings dried up. It became difficult for him to publish papers and get funding to pursue Turing models. Paper after paper came out from scientists who supported the French flag model.

Newman explains: “A lot of them got to be editors at journals – I knew some colleagues who felt that pressure was put on them to keep our ideas out of some of the good journals. In other areas people were as open to new ideas as you might expect, but because Wolpert and his scientific descendants were so committed to his idea it became part of the culture of the limb world. All the meetings and special editions of journals were all centred around it, so it was very difficult to displace.”

Further blows came from the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster – another organism beloved of developmental biologists. For a while the regimented stripes that form in the fly’s developing embryo were thought to develop through a Turing mechanism. But eventually they turned out to be created through the complex interplay of morphogen gradients activating specific patterns of gene activity in the right place at the right time, rather than a self-striping system.

Newman was disappointed by the failure of the research community to take his idea seriously, despite countless hours of further work on both the mathematical and molecular sides. For decades, his and Frisch’s paper languished in obscurity, haunting the same scientific territory as Turing’s original paper.

High up in the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona is an office papered with brightly coloured pictures of embryonic mouse paws. Each one shows neat stripes of developing bones fanning out inside blob-like budding limbs – something the room’s decorator, systems biologist James Sharpe, is convinced can be explained by Turing’s model.

Turing’s idea is simple, so one can easily imagine how it could explain the patterns we see in nature. And that’s part of the problem, because a simple likeness isn’t proof that a system is at work – it’s like seeing the face of Jesus in a piece of toast. Telling biological Just So Stories about how things have come to be is a dangerous game, yet this kind of thinking was used to justify the French flag model too.

In Sharpe’s view it was the chicken’s fault. “If studies of limb development had started with a mouse,” he says, “the whole history would have been very different.”

In his opinion there was a built-in bias right from the start that digits were fundamentally different from each other, requiring specific individual instructions for each one (provided by precise morphogen ‘coordinates’, according to the French flag model). This was one of the primary arguments made against a role for Turing patterns being involved in limb development – they can only ever generate the same thing, such as a stripe or a spot, again and again.

So how could a Turing system create the three distinctive digits of a chick’s limb? Surely each one must be told to grow in a certain way by an underlying gradient ‘map’? But a chick only has three fingers. “If they had 20, you would see that wasn’t the case,” says Sharpe, wiggling his fingers towards me by way of demonstration. “They’d all look much more similar to each other.”

I look down at my own hand and see his point. I have four fingers and a thumb, and each finger doesn’t seem to have particularly unique identity of its own. Sure, there are subtle differences in size, yet they’re basically the same. According to Sharpe, the best evidence that they aren’t that different comes from one of the most obvious but incorrect assumptions about the body: that people always have five fingers.

In reality the number of fingers and toes is one of the least robust things about the way we’re made. “We don’t always have five,” he says, “and it’s surprisingly common to have more.” In fact, it’s thought that up to one in 500 children is born with extra digits on their hands or feet. And while the French flag model can’t account for this, Turing patterns can.

By definition Turing systems are self-organising, creating consistent patterns with specific properties depending on the parameters. In the case of a stripy pattern, this means that the same set-up will always create stripes with the same distance (or wavelength, as mathematicians call it) between them. If you disrupt the pattern, for example by removing a chunk, the system will attempt to fill in the missing bits in a highly characteristic way. And while Turing systems are good at generating repeating patterns with a consistent wavelength, such as regular-sized fingers, they’re less good at counting how many they’ve made, hence the bonus digits.

Importantly, a particular Turing system can only make the same thing over and over again. But look closely at the body and there are many examples of repeating structures. In many animals, including ourselves, the fingers and toes are more or less all the same. But, according to the flag model, structures created in response to different levels of morphogen would all have to be different. How to explain the fact that the same thing can be ‘read’ out from a higher and lower morphogen level?

Sharpe maintains that the concept of an underlying molecular ‘road map’ just doesn’t hold up. “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that for a long time a lot of the developmental biology community has thought that you have these seas of gradients washing over a whole organ. And because they’re going in different directions, every part of the organ has a different coordinate.”

In 2012 – the centenary of Turing’s birth and 60 years since his ‘chemical morphogenesis’ paper – Sharpe showed that this idea (at least in the limb) was wrong.

The proof was neatly demonstrated in a paper by Sharpe and Maria Ros at the University of Cantabria in Spain, published in Science. Ros used genetic engineering techniques to systematically remove members of a particular family of genes from mice. Their targets were the Hox genes, which play a fundamental role in organising the body plan of a developing embryo, including patterning mouse paws and human hands.

Getting rid of any of these crucial regulators might be expected to have some fairly major effects, but what the researchers saw was positively freakish. As they knocked out more and more of the 39 Hox genes found in mice, the resulting animals had more and more fingers on their paws, going up to 15 in the animals missing the most genes.

Importantly, as more Hox genes were cut and more fingers appeared, the spacing between them got smaller. So the increased number of fingers wasn’t due to larger paws, but to smaller and smaller stripes fitting into the same space – a classic hallmark of a Turing system, which had never been observed before in mouse limbs. When Sharpe crunched the numbers, Turing’s equations could account for the extra fingers Ros and her team were seeing.

That’s great for the near-identical digits of a mouse, I say, but it doesn’t explain why the chick’s three digits are so different. Sharpe scribbles on a piece of paper, drawing a Venn diagram of two scruffy overlapping circles. One is labelled “PI” for positional information à la Wolpert, the other “SO” for self-organising systems such as Turing patterns. Tapping at them with his pen, he says, “The answer is not that Turing is right and Wolpert was wrong, but that there’s a combination at work.”

Wolpert himself has conceded, to a certain extent, that a Turing system could be capable of patterning fingers. But it can’t, by definition, impart the differences between them. Morphogen gradients must work on top of this established pattern to give the digits their individual characteristics, from thumb to pinky, marrying together Wolpert’s positional information idea with Turing’s self-organising one.


Other real-life examples of Turing systems that have been quietly accumulating over the past two decades are now being noticed. A 1990 paper from a trio of French chemists described the first unambiguous experimental evidence of a Turing structure: they noticed a band of regular spots appear in a strip of gel where a colour-generating reaction was happening – the tell-tale sign of the system at work.

While studying elegantly striped marine angelfish, Japanese researcher Shigeru Kondo noticed that rather than their stripes getting bigger as the fish aged (as happens in mammals like zebras), they kept the same spacing but increased in number, branching to fill the space available. Computer models revealed that a Turing pattern could be the only explanation. Kondo went on to show that the stripes running along the length of a zebrafish can also be explained by Turing’s maths, in this case thanks to two different types of cells interacting with each other, rather than two molecules.

It turns out that the patterned coats of cats, from cheetahs and leopards to domestic tabbies, are the result of Turing mechanisms working to fill in the blank biological canvas of the skin. The distribution of hair follicles on our heads and the feathers on birds are also thanks to Turing-type self-organisation.

Other researchers are focusing on how Turing’s mathematics can explain the way tubes within an embryo’s developing chest split over and over again to create delicate, branched lungs. Even the regular array of teeth in our jaws probably got there by Turing-esque patterning.

Meanwhile in London, Jeremy Green has also found that the rugae on the roof of your mouth – the repeated ridges just above your front teeth that get burnt easily if you eat a too-hot slice of pizza – owe their existence to a Turing pattern.

As well as fish skins, feathers, fur, teeth, rugae and the bones in our hands, James Sharpe thinks there are plenty of other parts of the body that might be created through self-organising Turing patterns, with positional information laid on top. For a start, while our digits are clearly stripes, the clustered bones of the wrist could be viewed as spots. These can easily be made with a few tweaks to a Turing equation’s parameters.

Sharpe has some more controversial ideas for where the mechanism might be at work – perhaps patterning the regular array of ribs and vertebrae running up our spine. He even suspects that the famous stripes in fruit fly embryos have more to do with Turing patterning than the rest of the developmental biology community might have expected.

Given that he works in a building clad in horizontal wooden bars, I ask if he’s started to see Turing patterns everywhere he looks. “I’ve been through that phase,” he laughs. “During the centenary year it really was Turing everywhere. The exciting possibility for me is that we’ve misunderstood a whole lot of systems and how easy it can be to trick ourselves – and the whole community – into making up Just So Stories that seem to fit and being happy with them.”

Stuart Newman agrees, his 1979 theory now back out of the shadows. “When you start tugging at one thread, a lot of things will fall apart if you’re on to something. They don’t want to talk about it, not because it’s wrong – it’s easy to dismiss something that’s wrong – but probably because it’s right. And I think that’s what turned out to be the case.”

Slowly but surely, researchers are piecing together the role of Turing systems in creating biological structures. But until recently there was still one thing needed to prove that there’s a Turing pattern at work in the limb: the identities of the two components that drive it.

That mystery has now been solved by James Sharpe and his team in a paper published in August 2014, again in the journal Science. Five years in the making, it combines delicate embryo work with hardcore number crunching.

Sharpe figured that the components needed to fuel a Turing pattern in the limb must show a stripy pattern that reflects the very early developing fingers – either switched on in the future fingers and off in the cells destined to become the gaps, or vice versa.

To find them, graduate student Jelena Raspopovic collected cells from a developing mouse limb bud, in which only the merest hint of gene activity that leads to digit formation can be seen. After separating the two types of cells, and much painstaking molecular analysis, some interesting molecular suspects popped out. Using computer modelling, Sharpe was able to exactly recapitulate a gradual appearance of digits that mirrored what they saw in actual mouse paws, based on the activity patterns of these components.

Intriguingly, unlike the neat two-part system invoked by Turing, Sharpe thinks that three different molecules work together in the limb to make fingers. One is Sox9, a protein that tells cells to “make bones here” in the developing digits. The others are signals sent by two biological messenger systems: one called BMP (bone morphogenetic protein) signalling, which switches on Sox9 in the fingers, and another messenger molecule known as WNT (pronounced “wint”), which turns it off in the gaps between fingers.

Although classic Turing systems invoke just two components – an activator and an inhibitor – this situation is a little more complicated.  “It doesn’t seem to boil down to literally just two things,” Sharpe explains. “Real biological networks are complex, and in our case we’ve boiled it down to two signalling pathways rather than two specific molecules.”

Further confirmation came when they went the other way – from the model to the embryo. Another of Sharpe’s students, Luciano Marcon, tweaked the program to see what would happen to the patterns if each signalling pathway was turned down. In the simulation, reducing BMP signalling led to a computer-generated paw with no fingers. Conversely, turning down WNT predicted a limb made entirely of digits fused together.

When tested in real life, using tiny clumps of limb bud tissue taken from early mouse embryos and grown in Petri dishes, these predictions came true. Treating the cultures with drugs that dampen down each pathway produced exactly what the program had predicted – no fingers, or all fingers. An alternative simulation with both signals turned down at the same time predicts two or three fat fingers instead of five neat digits. Again, using both drugs at once on real mouse limb buds created exactly the same pattern. Being able to flip from the model to the embryo and back again – making testable predictions that are borne out by experiments – is a key piece of proof that things are working in the way Sharpe thinks.

And if the theory is finally accepted, and we figure out how and where Turing systems are used to create structures in nature, what can we do with this knowledge? Quite a lot, according to Jeremy Green.

“You can live without rugae but the things like your heart valves or your whole palate, they really matter,” he says. “The regenerative medics working on any stem cell technology or cell therapy in the future are going to need to understand how these are made. The growth factor research in the 1980s was the bedrock of the stem cell therapies that are starting to go into clinical trials now, but it inspired the whole world of regenerative medicine. That’s the kind of timescale we’re talking about.”

At Guy’s Hospital he sees close-up what happens when development goes awry. His department specialises in birth defects affecting the face and skull, and Green believes that understanding the underlying molecular nuts and bolts is the key to fixing them. “What we’re doing now is very theoretical, and we can fantasise about how it’s going to be useful, but in 25 years that’s the kind of knowledge we’ll need to have. It’ll probably be taken for granted by then, but we’ll need to know all this Turing stuff to be able to build a better body.”

In the last years of Alan Turing’s life he saw his mathematical dream – a programmable electronic computer – sputter into existence from a temperamental collection of wires and tubes. Back then it was capable of crunching a few numbers at a snail’s pace. Today, the smartphone in your pocket is packed with computing technology that would have blown his mind. It’s taken almost another lifetime to bring his biological vision into scientific reality, but it’s turning out to be more than a neat explanation and some fancy equations.

Biohacking: It’s A Science/Art That let’s You Hack Your Way To Awesomeness

Humanity has already made substantial advancement in testing, understanding and managing their own biology. Today, the minds behind medical science and technology believe that the very first immortal human being has been born already. That’s right, immortal human being–with indefinite lifespan. Last year 2013, it was possible to get your personal genetic makeup sequence analyzed by just paying $100. And if that’s the case, then it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that you can now have complete control over your own biology.

What exactly is biohacking?

We like Dave Asprey’s definition for biohacking. In an interview, ”The bulletproof executive”, Asprey admitted that he spent $300,000 in upgrading his brain and body. In the process, he lost 100lb in weight and gained a whooping 20 IQ points. Here’s what he had to say about biohacking:

(a) To use science, biology and self-experimentation to gain control of one’s mind, body and life.

(b) It’s the art and science of becoming superhuman.

Now, from the two descriptions above, we could say that biohacking is the art of hacking biology through using nature’s in-built mechanism. You see, nature is full of intricate mechanisms. But of course with sophisticated technology, it’s still possible to use these methods for the benefit of humanity. We could soon change the genetic code of organisms or fool them to do things in ways that could benefit them.

How about hacking your age?

You can hack your body and influence its performance as it ages. This is possible through changing your gene expression, balancing and optimizing the level of hormones inside the body, as well as using supplements to give it benefits as it ages.

Hack your thoughts

It has been said the only limit that human beings face is that within their minds. Your emotions, desire, memory and cognitive function can be hacked as well. Even your thoughts can be hacked. It’s true that some people have thought positively, or in a new way, and that has changed their minds’ profoundly.

Hack your brain

This is one organ that’s most complicated than any other organ in the body. It’s made up of different pieces that play together to make up one perfect neuro symphony. That only means that there are lots of areas in the brain that can be hacked to get desirable results in life, work, training, relationships etc.

And right now, people are using smart drugs such as nootropic supplements which enhance performance to give an individual an edge over others. These supplements purportedly enhance mental functions such as memory, intelligence, cognition, motivation, attention as well as concentration.

At the very basic level, the overall health of a human being dramatically impacts their cognitive functions. That means hacking the brain’s chemistry by using neuroscience and nootropics can significantly change a person’s life.

Hack your diet

Science has consistently revealed how diet influences our well-being, health and performance. For example, eating to perform is a fact, and that’s because diet affects your energy levels, mood hormone levels etc. And if you want elite performance, you’ll need an elite diet.

Who is a biohacker?

The art of biohacking is always powerful because the time, effort and money spent often yields results. Remarkably, a biohacker can also turn into what we call transhumanist–someone who has a lofty inspiration of living indefinitely. Even though many biohackers tend to be holistic health practitioners (and they focus on the mind-body picture), there’s certainly a focus towards balancing neurotransmitters, cognitive health, enhancing neuroplasticity and adapting a highly productive mindset as well as techniques that produce great results.

All biohackers have the following goals in mind:

(a) They want to experiment and measure themselves beyond what feels good
(b) They want to eliminate stress
(c) They all want to decrease the amount of time spent sleeping, while increasing the quality of sleep
(d) They all want to avoid cancer and other age-related cognitive problems
(e) They all want to boost their elite fitness levels with as little exercise as possible
(f) They all want to improve their memory (both long and short-term), accuracy along with their understanding process


Biohacking can significantly upgrade your wetware to develop a little bit faster. It transforms traditional medicine to personalized medication, and that means human beings can now perform optimally, something that was not possible decades ago.