best headline ever!
May 23, 2012
June 20, 2008
Given that I believe in natural selection, I have a theory: I think every sentient species in the universe goes through an awkward phase when the development of medicine causes natural selection to be halted, by allowing the survival of those who would have otherwise died. This changes the governing mechanism of survival from traditional Darwinism into Social Darwinism, where it is survival of the richest (and those in the best society) instead of survival of the fittest. Case in point: Genetically, we’re generally decendents of the richer people who lived in the middle-ages, not the poorer ones; they didn’t survive to reproduce as much.
Said awkward phase goes on, weakning the gene pool, as people who would have died in the old order survive and reproduce in the new order. Birth defects, bad eyesight, and other genetic illnesses propagate at a higher rate due to the people simply not dying.
Finally, all species that develop science must eventually conquer their own DNA or DNA equivalent. At this point, the science of genetics takes over. Once medical services are properly socialized throughout the whole species, defects like imperfect eyesite can be permanently ironed out. And to stop pesky mutations from watering down our DNA again in the future, natural evolution itself could be “almost” permanently halted by introducing error-correction code at a DNA level; first using parity, and later using more sophisticated techniques such as CRC checks. A lot of our DNA code is unused, and we can certainly set it up so that it repairs bad mutations.
Once this happens, natural selection has stopped, and even social darwinism has stopped. Once genetic mastery is achieved, the perfect being can be developed. Caution must be taken to ensure that peopel do not lose genetic diversity; everybody can’t be perfect in the same way or we would become vulnerable as an entire species — one plague could kill us all if we had the same immune system.
But there’s no reason everyone can’t be more or less perfect in his or her own way, and no reason that we can’t make ourselves a much more powerful species than we currently are. This may be the key to space travel and colonizing other planets: Don’t terraform the planets to suit the humans; change the humans to suit the planets. It’s probably far easier. (more…)
April 18, 2008
LINKS: Federal marijuana decriminalization bill, Dubai bans Twitter, rape, RIAA, photographers’ rights, Darwin, wiretapping, and being firstborn sucksPosted by Clint under Articles, Biology, Books, Copyright, Corporations, Geek Politics, Internet, Media, News, Politicians, Politics, Science, Technology, Technology War, The War On Drugs, Twitter
March 31, 2008
This Is Your Brain on God. Very interesting article about research into stimulating your brain to make you perceive God. Other research has already shown that our brain has been hardwired to have religious experiences from the start, so this is the next logical step. By the way, Comcast HDTV sucks. Just look at these screenshots. Comcast is a shitty company. Drop them now. Find alternative ISPs using http://www.broadbandreports.com.
March 18, 2008
I am sad to hear that my favorite creative mind in science fiction, Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, has died. It was just a few hours ago, after suffering breathing problems. It’s not like I’ve read more than 6 or so of his books … and it’s not like I even enjoyed the 2001 movie. But some of his works brought me great joy as a child, to the point of remembering them above all other books that I have ever read. It is truly regretful to lose such a great creative genius.
This is the cover to The City And The Stars, my personal all-time-favorite Arthur C. Clarke book. And considering I don’t really read these days, and he was my favorite author way back when, that definitely puts it in my top books ever. But hey, I like science fiction & fantasy. You can click through to the wikipedia page and read about it if you are so inclined, but basically… In the future, there are only 2 small cities of humanity left, and neither one knows of the other. The main character lives in a city that is so eternal that even the people are recycled. You are born as an adult, able to speak and walk, and live for 1000 yrs. Then you go back to the chamber, get assimilated into the eternity crystals, and are stored for a million years or so. At around age 20, you begin to remember past lives. The society is pretty much timeless, to the point of having a designated jester born every 40,000 years, just to keep things interesting. The jester has little to do with the story, but all that basically just paints the backdrop for the actual story. I loved this book as a child — even more than Childhood’s End and Rendezvous With Rama, my other two major favorites.
If there’s any 3 Clarke books to read, it would be those 3. Don’t fall for the 2001 trap; you’ll have to read at least 3 books to get out of it.
February 27, 2008
CARTOONS/SCIENCE: How a fake word from The Simpsons ended up in a perfectly cromulent String Theory paperPosted by Clint under Articles, Cartoons, Media, News, Science, Video
“EMBIGGENS”: Scientific American. The best question in the interview: Have any of your colleagues recognized your use of the word? The answer is great!
February 20, 2008
February 19, 2008
Wow. So they are all hermaphrodites, and afterwards both partners conceive. The whole experience looks like it might actually be less awkward than human sex. Being able to entwine around each other is pretty cool.
February 16, 2008
I hate cell phones. The real danger is that people who use cellphones while driving are about 3 times more likely to die in a car crash in a given year. Texting is even worse. But anyway, increasing tumor probability by 50% is pretty significant. This is just one type of tumor. How many other specific risks have not yet been studied? How many studies have found harm, but have then been subverted by the corporations? A recent polling of scientists found that 30% of scientists have been asked or pressured by corporations to change their scientific results to fit the corporation’s desires. Cell-phones are a huge growth market, so this is one of the industries most likely to have its results interfered with.
February 11, 2008
Do you know why curvaceous women produce smart kids? Interesting study of 16,000 women — turns out those with hourglass figures are actually smarter, and more likely to have smarter children. I guess big boobs don’t automatically mean ditzy :) Latest Anti-Pot Quack Science: ‘Marijuana Makes Your Teeth Fall Out’. A sensible article dispelling many of the “Reefer Madness”-type articles that have come out in the last few months. The War On Drugs creates so much bad science; just a few decades ago they said smoking pot would make men grow breasts!
Pot + Curvy = this picture?
February 7, 2008
LINKS: Dear Babyboomers:Thanks for the debt; Free sex changes in Iran; Cellphones = poorer sperm quality?Posted by Clint under Articles, Biology, Dad, Hardware, Ian B, News, People, Politics, Ryan S, Science, Sexual Freedom, Technology
Dear Babyboomers: The National Debt is a Grandchild Tax. Thanks for less than nothing! Ryan Somma has captured exactly how I feel once again, with his sarcastic congratulatory letter to babyboomers are are about to retire. So long, and thanks for all the
fish debt! My dad predictably quipped “Every generation thinks the last screwed up the world for him”. Of course, he grew up during the 1950s — the most prosperous generation in American history. And inherited ~$1M from his parents. So… It’s quite easy for anyone to cynically quip “every generation had it this bad” while sitting atop an ivory tower. As Ian so profoundly said: “Not caring — the privilege of the rich.”
And: Remember when Iran’s president said they have no gays in Iran? Perhaps this explains why people get free sex changes in Iran. “in traditional societies there is more pressure to conform to standard gender roles”. Odd indeed. And in some ways, more progressive than America. In other ways, it’s ass-backwards, because you can’t be both gay and have a dick. But on the other hand, hey: Free surgery. (I’m thinking of “Deep Thoughts” where Jack Handy says “Hey, free dummy!”) And, they let people be who they want to be without standing in the way with such excuses as, say, money. In many ways, that is superior to how America handles it (only the rich get what they want). Of course, Iran is a sucky shithole of a country, but still.
Heavy cell phone use tied to poorer sperm quality. Of course, correlation is not causation. However, it’s also good to be cautious. Me? I will now be buying a cellphone just to put it into my pants as birth control.
January 28, 2008
I had no clue Sangria was not legal to sell in Virginia. Your kidneys will thank you if you read the cola article. Any good CartoonNetwork fan should be pissed off at B.E.T. Fuck Nato’s recommendation for a pre-emptive nuclear war — we don’t need your goddamn war! Also, the link where you can look up your name and see how many people in Georgia have your name is pretty entertaining. I think it’s absolutely hysterical that somewhere in Georgia is someone named Clinterical. (more…)