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September Is Cyborg Month 118

Snowmit writes "In May 1960, Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline presented a paper called 'Drugs, Space, and Cybernetics.' The proceedings of the symposium were published in 1961, but, before that, an excerpt of Clynes & Kline's paper appeared in the September issue of Astronautics magazine (issue 13), entitled Cyborgs and Space [PDF]. Aside from a mention in the New York Times, that's is the first time the word appears in print. This month is the 50th anniversary of that article. To commemorate, a group of writers and artists have gotten together to create 50 Post About Cyborgs. Over the course of the month, there will be essays, fiction, links to great older material, comics, and even a song. We're going to talk about Daleks, IEDs, Renaissance memory palaces, chess computers, prosthetic imagination, Videodrome, mutants, sports, and maybe the Bible. To kick things off, Kevin Kelly wrote this essay arguing that we've been cyborgs all along."

Adjustable-Focus Glasses Can Replace Bifocals 220

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that inventor Stephen Kurtin has developed glasses with a mechanically adjustable focus that he believes can free nearly two billion people around the world from bifocals, trifocals and progressive lenses. Kurtin has spent almost 20 years on his quest to create a better pair of spectacles for people who suffer from presbyopia — the condition that affects almost everyone over the age of 40 as they progressively lose the ability to focus on close objects. The glasses have a tiny adjustable slider on the bridge of the frame that makes it possible to focus alternately on the page of a book, a computer screen, or a mountain range in the distance. 'For more than 140 years, adjustable focus has been recognized as the Holy Grail for presbyopes,' says Kurtin. 'It's a blazingly difficult problem.' Each 'lens' is actually a set of two lenses, one flexible and one firm. The flexible lens (near the eye) has a transparent, distensible membrane attached to a clear rigid surface. The pocket between them holds a small quantity of crystal-clear fluid. As you move the slider on the bridge, it pushes the fluid and alters the shape of the flexible lens."

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