28 May 2009

What if the human life span was extended beyond 80-100 years? How would the additional accumulated life experience factor in the arc of human development?

Let's say that medical science was successful in thwarting the aging process and consequently, humans were able to live hundreds of years, like described in biblical lore. Methuselah, for example, lived to be 969 years old. For sake of argument, contemplate that stem cell research, nanotechnology or revolutionary organ replacement techniques have extended the human life span. What sort of wisdom, above and beyond, could an individual possess, in great part, derived from a vastly larger set of acquired knowledge?

Considering my own life experience, I can testify that I knew a lot more about the world at age 40 than I did at age 30. And at 30, I was a lot more knowledgeable than the raging hormone "know-it-all" freak I was at 20. But every successive day, it seems I am confronted with another "wow, I did not know that" moment. As I read and study, it just grants me awareness of the vast domain of how much is unknown to me. I view my younger self with disdain for the haughty arrogance I once displayed.

What ramifications would be presented to such a society where this phenomenon was possible? What if it was a human mind disembodied, but kept alive by a machine? In contrast to an individual preserved at pristine peak physicality?

24 July 2006

Scientists agree: The Earth is warming, and human activities are the principal cause

Wall Street Journal cites a study to refute global warming, but the author of that study rebukes the Wall Street Journal assessment in a public statement.
An Op-Ed article in the Wall Street Journal a month ago claimed that a published study affirming the existence of a scientific consensus on the reality of global warming had been refuted. This charge was repeated again last week, in a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

I am the author of that study, which appeared two years ago in the journal Science, and I'm here to tell you that the consensus stands. The argument put forward in the Wall Street Journal was based on an Internet posting; it has not appeared in a peer-reviewed journal — the normal way to challenge an academic finding. (The Wall Street Journal didn't even get my name right!)

My study demonstrated that there is no significant disagreement within the scientific community that the Earth is warming and that human activities are the principal cause.

Papers that continue to rehash arguments that have already been addressed and questions that have already been answered will, of course, be rejected by scientific journals, and this explains my findings. Not a single paper in a large sample of peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 refuted the consensus position, summarized by the National Academy of Sciences, that "most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

3 June 2006

About humanity and the future

A nice essay by Dr. Brin on Our tribal natures, the 'fear effect' and the end of ideologies.

Even more interesting was a comment by the author added to the post…

Fearful people draw values in terms of very culture-specific rituals and identifications. Calm/confident/relaxed/tolerant people are NOT intrinsically less worried about their kids. But they are less likely to use that worry as an excuse to LIMIT those kids.

I don't know if any other writer has declared that WORRY is a human constant while FEAR is a variable. The two can be defined in such a way that they seem almost orthogonal!

Almost every (bad) trait that we see displayed by red state america appears to be a manifestation of fearfulness.

Almost every (bad) trait of blue america (lefty) appears to be a manifestation of mypopic arrogance. The assumption that Otherness is a religion, rather than an EMERGENT PROPERTY, arising naturally when a decent society continues lowering its levels of fear.

Dig it. Has anyone ELSE offered a theory to explain why the victims of 9/11 are the ones LEAST afraid of terrorism? Why border militia folk are those with far less contact with immigrants than city liberals?

9 May 2005

The world is now warmer than it has been at any point in the last two millennia

An excellent feature New Yorker article series on climate change by Elizabeth Colbert. All need to read this.
There is a very broad consensus in the scientific community that global warming is under way. To the extent that there are conflicting views, they are usually over how exactly the process will play out. This is understandable. The climate affects just about every natural system on earth, and these systems in turn affect the climate. So making predictions is very complicated. Meanwhile, we have only one planet, so it’s impossible to run a controlled experiment. To focus on the degree of disagreement, rather than on the degree of consensus, is, I think, fundamentally misguided. If ten people told you your house was on fire, you would call the fire department. You wouldn’t really care whether some of them thought that the place would be incinerated in an hour and some of them thought it would take a whole day.

27 January 2005

Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras…

…a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal
Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.

In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.

And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.

Man playing God again.

23 December 2004

The idea that somebody would spend $50,000 for a cat when they can go to any shelter and rescue one is absurd

Woman pays $50,000 for a clone of her cat Nicky.
The creation and subsequent sale of Little Nicky is the first commercial transaction of a cloned pet by the Sausalito-based biotechnology company Genetic Savings and Clone. Critics fear the purchaser of the copied cat could be the first of a stampede of bereft pet owners.

The only detectable difference between the 9-week-old kitten and its predecessor, according to the owner, is the $50,000 cost.

"I see absolutely no differences between Little Nicky and Nicky," gushed the new owner, Julie, shortly after the transaction. An airline employee in her 40s, the resident of Dallas requested that her last name not be used. "When Little Nicky yawned, I even saw two spots inside his mouth -- just like Nicky had."

What a twisted world we inhabit, where let alone the fact that thousands of domesticated pets are euthanized, children starve as food rots in warehouses. Capitalism is a instituted system devoid of morals and values.

10 November 2004

Flu Who

Typical Communist healthcare...shortages; long lines, and a more-or-less genteel Black Market. Note who gets the state medicine--the old; the sick, and, of course, the children--favorite "victims" in the view of The Left.

Capitalists want the middle aged, middle class workers, who collectively have all the money (before taxes), to buy their own family health services from among competing private providers. They offer health care for the poor through teaching hospitals and free clinics...wherein the poor present themselves as practice subjects to defray the cost of their health care. After all, if we don't keep the bourgeoisie healthy, how can we exploit it.

The Plutocracy wants medicine to be "Big Medicine," and Big Medicine to be (unconstitutionally) federalized medicine. This flu vaccine shortage is a typical example. Production has been outsourced to maximize profit by cutting labor and regulatory costs. The system enevitably malfunctions. The victims of The Plutocracy get bad medicine, grossly overpriced.