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5 Sci-Fi Brain Hacks That Modern Science Is Making Possible

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5 Sci-Fi Brain Hacks That Modern Science Is Making Possible

    Think about some of your favorite sci-fi films. How many of them reference futuristic technologies that are used to augment a character’s brainpower?

    Turns out that not all these movies, books, and TV shows are based in completely in fiction. Modern scientific research is slowly working to make these brain hacks a reality. Here are five of the best hacks that might be coming your way soon.

    1. Stop Sleeping to Increase Your Productivity

    As seen in: The science fiction novel “Beggars in Spain” by Nancy Kress

    Made possible by: Real-life DARPA scientists

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    Imagine how much more productive you could be if you didn’t need to sleep for eight hours every night. In her novel, Kress imagines a world where the ruling class are the “Sleepless”: genetically modified humans who no longer feel the need for sleep, and use the extra time to create goods and earn more money. But that sort of thing is just science fiction, right?

    Wrong. Turns out DARPA developed a drug that replaces sleep back in 2008. The drug takes the form of a nasal spray, and contains certain hormones that eliminate the body’s craving for a nice long nap. According to Jerome Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA, “It reduces sleepiness without causing edginess.”

    However, Dr. Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, is less optimistic about the drug’s promise. “New research indicates that not getting enough sleep is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders,” said Twery.

    Can’t get your hands on this wonderdrug? Hack your brain with the Uberman Sleep Schedule, and train your brain to function perfectly on just two hours of sleep.

    2. Controlling Intelligence in the Womb

    As seen in: The novel “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

    Made possible by: Real-life geneticists and proponents of the “Mozart Effect”

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    The novel “Brave New World” opens with a lengthy tour of a “hatchery”: a facility where human beings are created in test tubes. Each batch of humans is given a grade from Alpha to Episilon, and has their intelligence altered accordingly.

    While we’re a long way from hatchery technology, solid pre-natal nutrition and genetic testing can help parents give their child the best possible chance for becoming intelligent. Parents looking to give their unborn child extra help also turn to “the Mozart Effect”: the belief that playing classical music for a baby in the womb can increase its intelligence.

    This theory does have some scientific basis, and was first brought to the attention of the general public after being mentioned in a 1993 in the journal “Nature”. Not every scientist agrees, however…but maybe after another decade of research, we’ll have more power to alter intelligence in utero.

    3. Altering or Retrieving Memories

    As seen in: The indie sci-fi flick “Sleep Dealer”

    Made possible by: Real-life neuroscientists and researchers

    In “Sleep Dealer,” a woman sells her memories, which can then be uploaded into the minds of other people. And while altering or retrieving memories in this fashion seems far-fetched, a Wired article hints at a possible technology for boosting or retrieving memories using a PDA in the future.

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    According to the article, “Researchers have found a telltale mental signature that predicts whether an experience will be remembered. Once deciphered, the signals could be used to help people know when their brains are primed to remember, perhaps using an iPhone app.”

    “There’s no reason not to believe that this is possible,” added one of the researchers. “It could be part of a PDA.”

    4. Brain-Computer Interface Chips

    As seen in: The TV show “Fringe”

    Made possible by: Real-life sleep researchers

    On the “Fringe” episode entitled “Dream Logic,” the team encounters a man with a Brain-Computer Interface Chip. The chip was originally installed to help the man control his sleepwalking, but instead the chip malfunctions and causes the patient to attack his co-workers.

    These types of chips do exist in real life. According to Dr. David Carley, they have even been used on humans. “For example, deep-brain-stimulating electrodes have been used in an attempt to treat intractable epilepsy,” Carley says. “However, BCIs have not been used in an attempt to control sleep cycles.”

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    5. Brain Treatments to Reverse Mental Handicaps

    As seen in: The film “The Lawnmower Man”

    Made possible by: A study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    In “The Lawnmower Man”, a doctor uses drugs, virtual reality treatments, and direct brain stimulation to increase the intelligence of a handicapped man. The mentally handicapped gardener learns Latin overnight and also becomes telepathic.

    Telepathy is definitely off the table (for now), but researchers at MIT have been able to reverse Fragile X syndrome in mice. Fragile X is one cause of both autism and mental deficiency. According to reports from the BBC, “The researchers, based at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, targeted an enzyme called PAK which affects the number, size and shape of connection between brain cells. They found that inhibiting the enzyme stopped mice with Fragile X Syndrome behaving in erratic ways.”

    What sci-fi brain hack are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

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    How to Make Private Browsing on Safari Truly Private

    There comes a time when we may be searching online and don’t want the browser to remember our footsteps. The reasons don’t always have to be what we obviously think of as the main reason; for example, sometimes, you may not want Safari to remember your passwords or prompt you to enter your password when surfing the web.

    Whatever the reason, we may think that we are totally in the clear with Private Browsing on Safari and the other browsers on a Mac. However, a quick Terminal command can bring up every website you’ve visited. How do you do this? Also, how do you clear your tracks for good? We will provide both answers and more today.

      What Does Private Browsing Do?

      When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesn’t autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.

      For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. It’s activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking “OK” to the prompt.

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      The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we won’t go into all of those reasons, one thing that is  important to remember is that private browsing doesn’t forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.

      The Terminal Archive

      While Safari does a good job of keeping your search history out of prying eyes in the history tab, there is a less-than-obvious way to view a full list of visited websites on Mac. This is done in Terminal; the command-line emulator that allows you to make changes to your Mac.

      Terminal is located in the Utilities folder on your Mac. Once activated, simply add the command:

      dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host

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      Once you hit “enter”, a list of the visited sites appear. Showing only the domains, the sites appear in a format of:

      Key: h_name :(website domain)ipv4 :1

      However, there’s no need to fear—there is a way you can clear this information from Terminal with a command that’s just as simple.

      Clearing Your Tracks

      Just as simply as you were able to enter the command to view the websites, you can clear the cache that Terminal showed you with the comamnd:

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      dscacheutil -flushcache

      As the command denotes, this literally “flushes” the domains from Terminal. This does not prevent the record from continuing to be recorded for future sites, however, so if that’s an issue for you, repeat this process regularly.

      Other Browsers and Private Browsing

      Other browsers have this form of privacy mode for their service. They promise many of the same things as Safari, but they do not have the same Terminal issue due to how this command only presents websites visited on Safari (the browser Macs come shipped with).

      If you use Firefox, you’ll notice that its private mode is also known as Private Browsing. Chrome calls private mode Incognito, while Internet Explorer refers to it as InPrivate Browsing. Opera is the newest to the scene, denoting it as Private Tab. Safari is the oldest well-known browser with this feature.

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      As you can see, despite Private Browsing not being 100% private, Terminal allows for your browser to be. In what ways has Terminal helped your life or allowed you to become more productive? Let us know in the comments below.

      Featured photo credit: Benjamin Dada via unsplash.com

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