December 20, 2008

The Whopper Virgins and Foreign Food

Burger King recently did an experiment where they had people try a Big Mac and a Whopper who had never had or seen a hamburger before. After the experiment they sent crews to extreme regions and gave them the opportunity to try a hamburger for the first time.

You can watch their propaganda-documentary here.

My favorite part is when a girl bites into a hamburger and acts surprised when she tastes a pickle. It's sponsored by Burger King but the experiment was real and the responses to a hamburger are interesting.

I remember the first time I tried a pickled and fermented egg... it was revolting but it was a taste I didn't know I could taste. I love trying new foods and I'm a little envious that in the distant future my distant grandchildren may be feasting on totally alien foods.

How could you describe the taste of an unearthly plant that is neither fruit nor vegetable? What if the plant itself is an herbivorous plant that feasts on other plants that grow around it? What about eating the meat of an animal that doesn't have flesh or muscles as we know of? What about unknown spices?

Spoiled grandchildren...

December 9, 2008

Palm Pistol

The FDA turned down a request to make a Palm Pistol into a medical device. The device apparently is intended to make it easy for elderly or the sick to fire a gun in self defense. The device is actually easier to aim than a normal handgun, more comfortable, and appears easier to fire. You just push down on a button.
I'm not sure, but there also appears to be two buttons on the front that can be pushed. Maybe a safety or a dead man's switch? It'd sure suck to drop the thing and have it go off.


A big scandal is erupting with people saying how dare they turn this down. The elderly should not be deprived of their rights. This is a tool they can use, etc.
The thing that gets me is, why would they try to get that approved in the first place? It's a freakin' gun, not a hypodermic needle. I honestly think they decided to use the opportunity to get some publicity.

I can think of more than one use besides just buying it for my Grandparents. It's compact, not even gun shaped, easier to aim... sounds like a great new weapon! If a policeman had never seen it before, a street thug definitely has an advantage. Someone who's never aimed a gun before can have better aim. And if it really was designed for the elderly, it probably doesn't have as much of a kickback as a Derringer, which can potentially break your wrist.

If they really want to market it to the elderly, maybe they should give them a senior discount, or make it available through the VA. Marketing it as a medical device is a bit disgusting.

November 28, 2008

Disaster in Astoria

A building burned down Thanksgiving evening in Astoria, Oregon; where I live. There were two restaurants, a bank, and a few other stores operating from the building.
A guy died in the building too, they're guessing he lived in the building when it was closed. Doesn't surprise me. There are a lot of poor people in Astoria, and I'm sure that a few people live in their stores they manage to operate.

One of the restaurants that burned down was Tokyo Teriyaki. It's too bad, they had some really good Japanese food, and one of the few places I felt comfortable ordering food with "extra spicey" on it.

An art studio was also located in the building. Hopefully it wasn't really expensive art. That could ruin an artist's career.

November 25, 2008

And Thus We Become Gods...

There's a new video circulating Digg, and websites showing a process in Africa where they turn literal bull shit into pure drinkable water. Here it is.



Here the lines begin to blur between what is magic and what is technology? Well, I guess it's still technology but do the tribes in Africa know that? For some of them they may just know that some white men showed up, and transformed shit into water.

I always thought, man alone will never 'transcend' and become gods. But like a hive of bees, or a hill of ants, we will together develop the means to have godlike powers.

Pretty awesome stuff. I wonder how it tastes.

NaNoWriMo is Over

I kinda panicked this morning when I found out the busses were going to be closed the next few days because apparently everyone will be too fat and happy to do anything?
I don't know, but they're not running. I realized I wasn't going to be able to update my nanowrimo count, and I still had over 8000 words to go.

Luckily I had another book-related document running. So my novel at the moment is not 50,000 words, but I merged the document with "A Brief Look at the Solar System" which had some history stuff and info on planets and things going on in my world which I planned to tack on at the end anyway.

That left me with only a few thousand more to write which I crammed out this morning while the mountain dew was still coursing through my veins.


My rough first draft of "TIDES OF HUMANITY" is mostly finished. I need to tie up the story though, because right now they're still drifting in space. Wandering_Nomad gave me some ideas yesterday that I can implement and expand it.


Here's to Fix-Up-and-Edit-Everything-December :D

November 21, 2008

poem[?]

peanut butter flavored soda
there are four lines on my orange
evenly spaced across it
they bulge out a little like keloids

-------------

November 20, 2008

Four Philosophical Questions to Make your Brain Hurt

A great way to start the day. Start questioning reality.
This was posted on BBC this morning, check it out and expand your mind. But then again... is it even your mind to begin with?

Four Philosophical Questions to Make Your Brain Hurt.

-------------

November 19, 2008

Anti-Matter Reactors

Apparently, a lab in California recently discovered a way to make massive amounts of antimatter. The antimatter is a significant enough amount that using the technique, they expect they will be able to finally begin making great strides in antimatter research.

Antimatter reactions release tons of energy, and just a tiny bit can release energy equivalent to giant nuclear weapons. So far I don't think we know how to tap that energy but now we can cheaply create enough to do some experiments on.

In the future, a single anti-matter reactor could power entire countries. And since antimatter destroys itself during the process and turns into regular matter, clean up is easy. We could have just stepped into the greatest clean-energy source in the universe.

Cool.

Anti-Matter Chernobyl

-------------

November 18, 2008

Death and Destruction [Novel Spoilers]

--------NANOWRIMO NOVEL SPOILERS--------




I'm busy typing away at my NaNoWriMo novel and sometimes I get sucked into the universe I'm creating.
It's a sci-fi that involves asteroids and mass extinctions.
Sometimes I forget what a horrible and terrifying experience it is to see your death is imminent and to watch the world around you so utterly destroyed. I carelessly through around words like millions and incineration, and entire civilizations evacuated... I didn't realize the gravity of what I was describing.

Last night my dreams gave me a dose of what I was writing.
I was trapped in a city, great fireballs were raining down from the sky. I saw people burst into embers and ashes in front of my very eyes from the heat of the intense shockwaves. Buildings crumbled like sand castles.

Me and my family crammed into some sort of shuttlecraft and tried to get off the planet but our combined weight was too much for it, and it was having difficulty getting off the ground. We started to gain altitude and I saw planes trying to leave the city, some were crushed by the asteroids and burning bodies spilled out.

We barely pushed over a hill, families, holding their children, were chasing after us, begging to be let on. Everyone was covered in blood, some people had charred skin. The fireballs stopped falling for a moment. We dropped into some docks by the ocean.

Our engine had burned out. We were stranded on the docks with our damaged and sinking shuttle. The ocean was steaming and dead sea-life floated around us. A Sea-lion jumped onto the dock, its boiled flesh was hanging loose on its skin and it moaned and panted, trying to cool itself off. Its breathing sounded very pained and I had a feeling it would die soon.
But it was a wounded animal and it was angry. It tried to attack us, to protect itself. We backed far away from it and waited.

The sky darkened a little and we looked up to see one giant fireball cruising overhead. It would be the one to end our lives.

It was a chilling dream that shocked me back into reality. It scared me enough that this morning I even considered changing that part of my book. But it's important to the storyline so I can't. It was a disturbing feeling witnessing so much vivid destruction. I haven't had a nightmare like that in years.

Image links to a DailyMail article

-------------

November 14, 2008

Time Machines

I've been reading about time travel lately. I had forgotten this gem of science fiction/fantasy for awhile and rediscovered it lately when reading about the future of human evolution.

I can't count how many times I watched the old Time Machine from 1960. My parents thought cable TV would rot our brains and we lived in the middle of nowhere. My awesome grandpa recorded some cable TV for us and we had some videos of several hours of nickelodeon, and a few other recorded channels I don't remember.

One of the videos though, happened to have the old 1960 Time Machine on it. I probably watched the movie 100 times or more during my childhood. When the new one came out, I may have been one of the few people in the theater who actually remembered how good the old one was.
This DeLorean kicks ass.

HG Wells didn't have a very glamorous theory on the future of humans. The 2002 version had humans that were sexy, smart, and just like us. They even spoke english. The 1960 version had a bunch of dumb blondes fumbling around eating plastic fruit and watching each other drown.

But the story HG Wells wrote was so dark they actually censored him. After saving Weena [my old friend called her Weiner], in both movies, the protagonist fought the Morlocks, won, and went home. Except in the newest movie where the time machine fucking explodes and wipes out the Morlocks.

Weiner.

In the book, the protagonist doesn't care about Weiner, he wants to know the future. He travels into the future again and -snip-, sorry, the publishers didn't like what happens to humans and made him create a new draft.

In his original version, the protagonist goes into the future and kills some weird animal. Upon further inspection he realizes it was an evolved version of the Weinerhumans he had encountered earlier. They had lost their intelligence, and become mere cattle to the now arachnid-like Morlocks.

Clearly a race of Arachnids.

In the new version HG Wells wrote, he just gets rid of this scene altogether and the world gets dominated by crabs and then the sun starts eating planets. Hardly packs the same punch.

I like this story because it is a punch in the gut. So much sci-fi involves humans conquering the galaxy, evolving into ├╝ber geniuses, or just becoming gods. And it happened to easily. We kept making our lives easier for ourselves until eventually we just hired an entire underclass to live under our cities helping us live out our awesomely leisure filled lives. We became dumb, weak, and a race of pussy communists. The underclass, apparently became dumb, savage, blood-loving hardcore republicans or something.

Then everybody became animals - there was no longer a drive for intellectual and physical development. It was as if McDonalds and video games took over one half of the world, and the blue collars took steroids and ate everyone.

I can kind of see that happening. People are getting lazier, and physically weaker. However, another trend suggests people are actually getting smarter. I don't exactly see how humans could evolve into a bunch of retards, but we could atrophy. If we don't use our upper brains would they atrophy and become vestigial? Could you imagine some version of humans in the distant future realizing that fat thick stuff in their skulls was for doing stuff with? It'd be like finding out that the appendix actually does shit.


-------------

November 13, 2008

New Toilet?

Yesterday I read this article about the space station getting a new toilet.

Last night, however, I had a dream that I was living on the space station and we got in an argument about where the toilet would go.

Damn remodeling arguments.

Eventually NASA got fed up and told us we couldn't have a new toilet after all.

August 30, 2008

Dish of the Day



Novah reminded me of this clip from the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
At the 5:30 mark we meet the "Dish of the Day" a genetically engineered animal that's intelligent and actually wants to be eaten.

August 29, 2008

Meat

MEAT
Meat, good tasty meat. I tried going vegetarian once or twice but seriously meat is awesome. There's nothing quite like biting into a half-pound beef/buffalo bacon burger with pepper jack cheese and maybe a slice of ham for good measure. Heck, throw in a side of hot wings too.

But there's a problem with meat. Not only is meat getting expensive, but it's also energy inefficient. A grown cow will eat 2 percent its weight in grain per day. That doesn't seem like much until you realize this is almost 30 pounds of grain a day. That could make 35 loaves of bread. Over a week you spend 245 loaves of bread to keep that cow alive.

In the course of one cow's life, 31,937 loaves of bread could have been made.
If you got 31,937 pieces of steak off the cow that'd be great, but unfortunately, you only end up with about 700 pounds. If you're lucky.

Then you start dealing with being humane... everyone knows that's a can of worms.

More evidence is surfacing that animals are smarter than we think. Many birds are self-aware, elephants mourn for their dead, and many animals are emotional. Many scientists agree that animals are capable of feeling depressed, angry, or happy.

So what does a cow or a pig feel on an animal farm on its way to the slaughterhouse? Is it scared? Is it suffering? It's almost a chilling concept. I really don't want to think about my half-pound bacon burger as once a living creature crying and reflecting on it's life. How horrifying humans must seem to the animals we consume.

There are even more problems. Animal farms contribute to CO2 emissions, they're prone to spreading disease, and they take up a lot of space.

Soon we will have to address these problems.
But how? Compulsory Vegetarianism?
That might work... but only if a World Government made it illegal to raise animals for meat. Which means there would be an underground and black market for meat. Which would lower the standards for sanitation.
And then there's the fact that it could destabilize the food chain. Humans may be screwing the planet but we're a very important piece in the food chain. We're the most widespread predator on the planet, and arguably the most efficient predator in history.

You can't remove the biggest predator on the planet and not expect widespread consequences. We would have to use population control as non-native herbivores ravage the world. Then what do we do with the carcasses?

Compulsory Vegetarianism won't work. What we have to do is create a new supply of meat that is cheap, efficient, eco-friendly, and doesn't suffer.

Luckily, scientists are way ahead of us.

First on the menu of the future is Vat Grown Meat. Scientists are working on a way to grow animal muscle tissue in petri dishes. Once they perfect it, they can work on producing it in a larger scale.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, meat isn't just muscle cells. It's nerves, blood vessels, fat, and stringy gristle things that you spit out in horror. Plus, muscles cells don't just kind of float around in a soup, they're connected to each other in bundles of tissue.

So far, all attempts at growing meat in a petri dish have resulted in a slime of muscle cells that look nothing like a hamburger. One scientist tried adding an artificial network for the cells to grow on, but when he cooked the meat he found out the network didn't dissolve. So he basically ate slimey cheesecloth. Yum.

So far it's really expensive too. Larger models are only bound to get more expensive. They will be bacterial cesspools if they aren't sanitized, and we'll have to figure out a way to exercise the tissue, and as it grows to bigger sizes we'll need to circulate nutrients, oxygen, process toxins, and before you know it we've created a Vat Grown Organism.

So if vat grow meat will eventually just create a tank filled with slabs of muscle and organs, why not just use slabs of muscle and organs in the first place?

The second dish on the menu of the future will be Animal 57. Scientists have been working on genetically altering animals to produce more meat for awhile now. Most of the meat we eat [and even our vegetables] have been altered in some way or another.

There was a rumor awhile back that KFC had invested money in researching a way to create chickens with four legs. It turned out to just be an urban legend... but just the KFC part. Scientists have indeed figured out how to grow legs in the place of wings. Don't believe me?
Not a digitally altered photo. This is real.
There's your chicken for you, KFC. Notice how deformed the back legs are? I'm guessing those are the 'fake' ones. They don't really look functional so I wonder how much meat could really be scraped off one of those.

And how would you market that part of the chicken? It couldn't look like your typical 'drumstick'.

That's not all, check out this article. Animals getting depressed at the prospect of slaughter? Maybe a little to unruly? That's okay, soon they'll be emotionless anyway. We're one step closer to creating an animal brain that's sole purpose is to keep the animal alive.

Plus scientists want to make it so cows start producing human breastmilk instead of that pesky cow milk. They say it will be better for us, but I'm sure they're overlooking the fact that you can't make cheese out of human breastmilk. Sure drinking chocolate milk will finally be really good for me, but at what cost? Healthy Chocolate milk or Chedder Cheese? That's tough.

I imagine in the future they could just continue down the same path. We'll be left with some beast unnatural to earth. It will have no eyes or ears so it can't see or hear what's going on around it. Of course it won't care because it mentally can't.

It won't have teeth, just a cone shaped head with a mouth on the end to suck nutrients through a straw into its belly. It can't scream because it's been altered not to have a voicebox. It's hairless skin is tight with rippling muscles, thick pulsating veins distribute nutrition throughout the body in a perfect symetrical pattern.

As it's led to the slaughter with a leash, it has no tail to tuck between its legs. The beast has only used its overdeveloped legs a few times in its life... shortly after birth, and now on its way to death. A quick cut across the neck drains the blood. After a few cuts in the muscle around the neck and a good tug the head comes off, pulling the entire spine and most of the organs with it.

Then it's off to be chopped up and distributed.
It's like this. But no eyes and no teeth.
Also, get rid of that pathetic excuse for a tail and snip off those ear things.
Great, now make it 50 times bigger and stronger.

August 24, 2008

Superhumans

The Olympics are fascinating. I like to watch not just to cheer for my own country, but also to marvel at the powerful people that compete. It's amazing seeing people with almost perfect bodies flipping and morphing in the air before gracefully sliding into water, or run for two freakin' hours in a race and be nearly a mile ahead of the guy behind you. I can barely run for 15 minutes without coughing up crap and wheezing for air, but they make it look like a brief jog to the supermarket.

Then my mind begins to warp and the little mad scientist deep inside starts to get out his perverted toys.

I begin to wonder... what powerful brutes could we produce if all of these athletes bred? Obviously the athlete's workouts don't mean they've improved their DNA - that's not evolution. But I bet they've got some sort of genetic bias that makes them better than their peers...

Of course, the Olympics aren't just for sweating and showing off how great your are in sports... it's also about sweating and showing off in bed. During the Beijing Olympics, free condoms were given out to the athletes by the handfuls. Nearby markets found themselves completely stripped of condoms - they became the fastest selling product.

Is it wrong for me to hope that every one of those condoms broke or had a leak?

Perhaps in the future most of those competing will be genetic Olympians... those who's ancestors all competed in the Olympics.

Maybe that's not fair, but I still cling to the idea that steroids should be allowed. It'd be awesome watching hulk-like monsters lifting several-ton weights and running for days without a break.
I want the Olympic athletes to look like the guy on the right... and maybe green.

Of course, I don't have to rely on horny athletes to usher in an era of genetically enhanced humans. You can help me too
!

Today, you can choose the gender of your child and remove genetic defects. It's also not illegal to... y'know... tell the doctor how much you'd really really like it if the baby had blue eyes.

If another genocidal dictator moves into power in a few years, instead of killing everyone with an undesirable trait, he could simply make it mandatory to remove those traits. It would probably look better if a dictator encouraged breeding instead of slaughtering lesser people. The baby's genes could just be tweaked and voila, blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin born from a family of Hispanics.

Not that I'm saying my superhuman race would have blonde hair and blue eyes (I was actually thinking straight black hair and green eyes?). People are already opting to screen out genetic defects to encourage a healthier child.

We are conquering diseases faster than ever, and humans are even evolving faster than before. There are even rumors that some people in Africa are developing genes that are resistant to HIV.

According to one scientist [and the many that agree with him], we are heading towards becoming Unihumans. Homo Sapien Sapienter, as it's called, is an amalgamation of all the human races on the planet. As time goes on we will evolve into other branches of humans just as our mammalian ancestors evolved into all the branches we see today. Oliver Curry, of the London School of Economics believes we will branch into two different races. A goblin-like underclass and an elven-like graceful upper class. Sound too much like Lord of the Rings? Read the scary scenario for yourself.

Personally I think Mr. Curry has seen the Time Machine one too many times.
...though from the sounds of his description of women he may have just been watching too much anime...
The Women of the Future

August 5, 2008

Alone on Earth?

My friend Novah, from Visualizing Evolution linked to my blog so I guess it's time to start updating more frequently.

Whenever there is something in the news about intelligent life on other planets, there is usually the comment of not being 'alone'.

Can we even really consider ourselves alone? We're on a planet that is literally teeming with life all over the surface and even under it. We can't really say we're alone because there are other life forms all around us. There are billions of living creatures on this planet and the notion of having a pet animal is universal.

But that's not quite the same. What we usually mean by alone, we usually mean in the form of companionship. We overlook the other living creatures on our planet, we are looking for other intelligent creatures that we can hold a conversation with. In a dark universe we are looking for a mate.
But maybe we are just ignorant. Maybe intelligent beings walk among us that aren't human.
I don't mean aliens.

There seems to be more and more evidence arising that we aren't the only sentient intelligent creatures on earth.

For example; dolphins have their own names. Here is an article with several examples of dolphin intelligence. In the article there are stories of a dolphin that tricks its human trainers into giving it more fish, dolphins using tools and other signs of their self awareness. Dolphins even seem to commit crimes.
But we've all heard the dolphin argument before right?

Don't get me started on Bonobos, my favorite primate. They're known to have highly developed lingual skills [for a chimp], and they're known to be extreme sexual deviants. Bonobos even share most of their DNA with us.

Just look at a few pictures of Bonobos and you'll realize how eerily human-like they are. They walk up-right a quarter of the time, the females have large breasts [most apes are flat chested], and they even have pink lips. Give them a few million years and some enlightenment and maybe some day we could see human and bonobo descendants getting married.
I hope my descendants find a good woman like Ari.

I'm sure you've heard those examples before though. "Sure, sure," you say, "Dolphins could be intelligent, and maybe even apes, but other than that we're alone... right?"

There is more research amounting that suggests Elephants may be as, or more intelligent than dolphins. Here's a summary thanks to Wikipedia, though it doesn't end there.

I don't think we're alone, I think we're just ignoring the other intelligent species around us. If humans don't kill off all of the intelligent species [Bonobos and Elephants are both endangered], maybe we should just leave the planet and let evolution take care of things.

Perhaps millions of years in the future after mankind has seeded the galaxy they will seek out their planet of birth. Homo Excelsior lands in the heart of Africa hoping to come face to face with their ancestors.
Instead they are greeted by something similar to humans...
An evolved Bonobo chimp offers them a tribal sacrifice while nearby, an elder of the elephants bows down to offer peace on behalf of the Elephant Empire.
Hell yeah.

July 25, 2008

Welcome to Strange Future

I've decided to start this blog because there are some things that you can't discuss in a normal blog intended for friends and family to read. A blog where I mention my grades in school cannot be taken as seriously as a blog where I discuss the death of religion, the rise of cyborgs, or genetic art.
Here I can ask questions and ponder things like; what will life be like in a post-christian world? What if we aren't alone on earth? How far away are cyborgs? How much longer will we speak english?

So brew yourself some coffee, click those links, and take a peek into the strange future.