Omni - where are they now? (June 1991)

Previous entries in the series:
1985: [May]
1989: [Jan] [Feb]
1990: [Jan]
1992: [July] [Aug] [Sept]

Two more Continuum articles:

  • Cubism Illuminated: a new lightbulb from researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, that uses no electricity and lasts for 20 years. It's power source: radioactive tritium.

    Lee Leonard, the research manager says that these lights are ten times brighter than earlier tritium-powered lights and far hardier. He goes on to say that:

    They're so much more robust, you could put a bullet through them and only the the bullet hole itself would go dark.

    Hmm. Yes Lee, but what about the radiation? How much is it, and where would that go?

    The article states that a prototype of the light cube should be commercially available next year (1992).

    So is this the next paradigm shift for light sources in our homes?

    Seems there have been several commercial products based on this light source. Things like Traser Glowrings (a glow-in-the-dark keyring) for example, or Exit signs.

    What's slightly worrying is this report on results of testing tritium based light products from SRB Technologies Inc. Reports such as this suggest that this will never be a replacement for the light bulbs found in our homes.

  • The Signature of Suicide: the body's natural opiates perform a host of functions, from numbing pain to producing euphoria. But they may also play a part in severe depression, helping to identify patients at risk of committing suicide.

    Neurobiologists Anat Biegon and Ruth Gross-Isserof tallied the number of opiate receptors in the brains of 12 suicide victims and those of 12 people who dies of natural causes. The result: suicide victims sported up to nine times more opiate receptors than normal, with the highest concentration found in the sensory-motor region of the brain.

    Diagnostic equipment can already detect changes in the number of opiate receptors so a quantitative test for identifying suicide-prone patients may not be far away.

    In googling around to try to find out if any progress has been made in this field, I was only able to find the original paper by Biegon and Gross-Isserof.

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