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We are stardust, no need to pave paradise. Space Elevators, Space Hotels, and Space Tourism
"Most NASA programs would surely evolve to make use of the space elevator facility. In particular, the focus of NASA's manned space program is likely to move beyond low Earth orbit, to the Moon, Mars, or the asteroid belt. Lunar development in particular could reduce the cost of large construction projects in Earth orbit by supplying materials for lower launch costs.

The International Space Station might get relocated to Lagrange point One (L1), where it could serve as a staging area for missions to a Mars base. NASA astronauts would then book passage on a commercial flight to the space hotel, then catch a space taxi over to their space station."
Long-Term Growth As A Sequence of Exponential Modes by Robin Hanson points to a singularly obvious point.
"In this paper we have thus attempted the neglect task of more formally describing long term world product growth as a sequence of exponential growth modes. We found that a time series of world product over the last two million years can be comfortably described as either as a sum of four exponentials, or as a CES-combination of three exponentials. (An earlier period of exponential growth in brain sizes may be the relevant previous growth mode.)"
Not generally prone to projecting personal insights gained by omphaloskepsis (oh, c'mon, look it up!), I have always thought that "life" does not have a definitive diminuative departure point. Bacteria are small, viruses are tiny, the Prions - Puzzling Infectious Proteins are truly primal.
"So, a couple new ground rules now seem to govern infectious diseases. The first is that naked proteins--prions--can be infectious and can cause infectious diseases. The second and potentially more troubling is that, like other infectious agents, prions can jump species' barriers and cause deadly diseases in humans."
Kuru: The Dynamics of a Prion Disease
"According to Cohen et al., prions cause a variety of degenerative neurologic diseases that can be infectious, inherited, or sporadic in origin. The cause of the sporadic forms is unknown; inherited forms are caused by up to twenty different mutations of the human PrP gene; and the infectious forms are transmitted through contact with or consumption of previously infected tissues."
Sebastian Bleasdale writes a comprehesive and very readable synopsis of our current understanding, in Entropy and the Universe.
"A beginning, a muddle, and an end."
D. Larkin
Grokking our present state accurately, and so having the ability to make any kind of predictive sense, is what Hans Moravec does with aplomb as he quanswers When will computer hardware match the human brain? Equally telling are the Open Peer Commentaries on his paper which demonstrate the cognitive dynamism this field enjoys.
"Dr Moravec estimates that Deep Blue can apply about 3 million MIPS in its problem domain. I'm guessing that we can build an equivalent, affordable machine today that is not restricted to the chess domain.If so, the hardware for human-level AI is available today, and human-level AI is "merely" a small matter of programming."
A logical step towards machine intelligence is being taken by Intelligenesis, whose nominal 'head' is Ben Goertzel. Here he describes Wild Computing - Steps Toward a Philosophy of Internet Intelligence.
"The Webmind system provides a general "agents operating system" for managing systems of software agents that share meaning amongst each other, transform each other, and interact in various ways; the agents may live in the RAM of a single machine, may be run on multiple processors, and may live across many machines connected by high-bandwidth cable."
Involution: On the Structure and Process of Existence, Revisited draws lines in the fields of spime and discovers chaorder.
"Using systematic analysis of phenomena across levels of complexity of existence enables a clearer understanding of the underlying structure and evolutionary process of the universe."
The Principia Cybernetica by means of author F. Heylighen puts The Social Superorganism and its Global Brain under the macroscope, and decides that at the moment we more closely resemble slime mold than panoptic sentience.
"Although many people tend to see the super-organism philosophy as a totalitarian or collectivist ideology, the opposite is true: further integration will basically increase individual freedom and diversity."
Transitional (Wednes)day, the glass is half empty/full, and our minds are brought to warming recognition of a reason to get out of bed. Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, with fine style and cosmic humor, delivers us from mediocrity with a FAQ about the Meaning of Life. I was in a blue funk; now I'm just funky.
"There's no such thing as science."
Luminary futurists are looking into the light with these Comments on Vinge's Singularity. Contributors include Alexander Chislenko, Anders Sandberg, Max More and many others; as well as the sagacious Eliezer S. Yudkowsky!
"The options before us appear to be limited:
1. Achieve some form of 'singularity' -- or at least a phase shift, to a higher and more knowledgeable society (one that may have problems of its own that we can't imagine.)
2. Self-destruction
3. Retreat into some form of more traditional human society. One that discourages the sorts of extravagant exploration that might lead to results 1 or 2."
David Brin
a page dedicated to the memory of Sasha Chislenko
Networking in the Mind Age

Nick Bostrom is a marvel of curiosity; personified. In the quote below he is responding to the lack of motivation among American youth to pursue science or mathematics. When Machines Outsmart Humans (will they need therapy?) is an article of extraordinary clarity on the philosophic and tangible aspects of how we will deal with created intelligence.
"We didn't evolve to enjoy mathematics. Those who do are freaks. A really inspirational teacher who can convey the real meaning of mathematics and show how it all hangs together will no doubt make the subject more exciting. However, it is probably more feasible to develop a drug that increases intellectual curiosity (maybe by raising acetylcoline and/or dopamine levels) than it is to install one truly inspirational teacher in every class room. "
Sri Bostrom points us to Robin Hanson as a prime example of a true polymath; a species I think sorely missing from today's political biota. Here Sir Hanson displays novel excogitation and creates a new system of governance; Futarchy: Vote Values, But Bet Beliefs.
"Futarchy seems promising if we accept the following three assumptions:
* Democracies fail largely by not aggregating available information.
* It is not that hard to tell rich happy nations from poor miserable ones.
* Betting markets are our best known institution for aggregating information."
The morsel of space debris that made a close encounter with us in the southern Yukon continues to impress researchers, as Purdue puts this Primordial Meteorite in a Class by Itself.
"A chemical analysis of a rare, uncontaminated 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite that fell to Earth earlier this year shows that its composition sets it apart from other meteorites found on Earth, giving scientists a glimpse of the solar system that has not been seen before."
Daryl E. Chubin, Senior Policy Officer, National Science Board Office, NSF, shows us the political edge of the scientific mobius in Transcending the Places That Hold Us: Public Policy and Participation in Science; and invites us to get active.
"Federal programs targeted to particular groups is no longer a viable policy strategy. Affirmative action as we know it is dead."
The Walrus came, so I'll clam up and leave; to return earlier. Time Travel
"The evidence for travel in both directions in time exists in special relativity, general relativity and thermodynamics, and generally throughout the physical sciences. Without reverse time travel there are considerable philosophical and theoretical difficulties, such as that posed by Dirac's multiple infinite negative mass-energy background."
In Physics we trust by Tarun Biswas is a humorous, biting and often bang-on examination of physics as religion. His intuition that the Third Coming (Newton and Einstein, eh) is imminent may not be merely immanent.
"Let me start by annoying anthropologists."
The Global Resources Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists brings us the map, wherein the fingerprints and harbingers of global warming are detailed. The effects are already being clearly felt (at least I feel it, and it's all the talk y'know...) here in our part of the north, with warmer dryer (sic, already!) winters and wetter cooler summers - we hardly had summer this year, more like a long spring and an early fall.
"Although many of the indicators are concentrated in North America and Europe -- where the science is the strongest -- the map clearly illustrates the global nature of climate changes."
What is endosymbiosis? Dr Lynn Margulis cooperates with our interest: Microbiological Collaboration of the Gaia Hypothesis.
"All life on earth is a unified spatiotemporal system with no clear-cut boundaries."
As Rachael Carson did a whole Model of Reality ago, David Pimentel and friends provide a dire warning; this time of impending biocaust. Ecology of Increasing Disease: Population growth and environmental degradation
"The crowding of people into urban areas; the movement of populations into new environments; the increased use of chemicals that pollute soils, water, and air; the misuse of antibiotics, leading to resistance in disease microbes; and growing malnutrition all contribute to the worldwide increase of human diseases."
To help fully appreciate the amazing field through which I am, the Rational Enquirer provides Twenty Science Attitudes.
"Empathy for the human condition. Contrary to popular belief, there is a value system in science, and it is based on humans being the only organisms that can "imagine" things that are not triggered by stimuli present at the immediate time in their environment; we are, therefore, the only creatures to "look" back on our past and plan our future."
E-terview with Alexander Chislenko C!
"I can't resist the temptation to criticize the terms "digital" and "electronic" here. These are just surface observations of current technologies. Our DNA is more quantized than our software, and electrons play a more direct and crucial role in keeping our bodies or physical tools together than they play in transmitting information in the fiber-optic networks. The real direction of development in the last 15 billion years has been the liberation of functions from their physical carriers."
Soon it will be aurora borealis time again here in the Yukon - I was disappointed that during the solar storm earlier this summer we were immersed in our almost endless daylight, which would have been fine except that we're experiencing an unusually grey and cool season - Auroral Sounds primes the ionospheric fire.
Electric silk. Soft, rippling, crackly
By way of ghost rocket I have been introduced to Nanodot - News and Discussion of Coming Technologies, which brought me to Zyvex...assembling tomorrow which led back to the Foresight Institute and a dense yet important essay (warning?) Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations.
"Perhaps the earliest-recognized and best-known danger of molecular nanotechnology is the risk that self-replicating nanorobots capable of functioning autonomously in the natural environment could quickly convert that natural environment (e.g., "biomass") into replicas of themselves (e.g., "nanomass") on a global basis, a scenario usually referred to as the "gray goo problem" but perhaps more properly termed "global ecophagy." "
Where else could I go from there but to Self Replicating Systems and Molecular Manufacturing by Ralph C. Merkle. Almost antique in this field - originally published in 1992 - it remains a seminal work.
"This should let us create a low cost manufacturing technology able to build almost any product that is (a) specified with atomic precision and (b) is consistent with the laws of chemistry and physics."
A Compendium of hurl-worthy comments and experiences from the readers of Heartless Bitches International. I'm in troubled surfing territory tonight; oh no.
"Men who find out I am a scientist and then want to get into some sort of intellectual pissing match. I don't really care who is smarter, to tell you the truth. On the other hand I am not going to "play dumb" to satisfy their egos and guess what? That makes me a castrating bitch!"
Having filled up with enough negativity to fuel the black light for a while, what do I do but find more. In a highly critical review of Fashionable Nonsense - Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science, Eric Lott deepens my angst; am I really Old Left?
"Like Richard Rorty, the bland old man of this camp, Sokal and Bricmont lament that "remnants of the left have collaborated in driving the last nail in the coffin of the ideals of justice and progress," which, translated, means the new social movements make us ex­New Left white guys feel unimportant."
Winging it on a higher plane, Anthony Giddens administers fine anti-venom in a lecture that identifies the three big changes simply running through most of our lives, for most people, living across the face of the world. Globalisation, scientific innovation and technological change coupled with custom and tradition in retreat, all point toward a need for Third Way politics. I like the feeling that the words "fuzzy sovereignty" give as they memetically worm their way toward the rot of (inner)nationalism.
"Whatever happens in the near future, just as market philosophies of a crude kind really dominated the last 20 or so years, the debate around Third Way politics, the debate around civil society, the debate around third sector and voluntary groups will be the centre point of political debate, discussions and political structures for the next 20 years."
In reply to his most vaunted critic, Murray Bookchin delivers a stunning blow to those who would co-opt our re-evolutionary insights for their own pejorative purposes. Comments on the International Social Ecology Network Gathering and the "Deep Social Ecology" of John Clark
"We are facing a real crisis in this truly counterrevolutionary time--not only in society's relationship with the natural world but in human consciousness itself. By designating himself as a "social deep ecologist or a deep social ecologist," Clark has obfuscated earnest attempts to demarcate the differences between a deadening mystical, often religious, politically inert, and potentially reactionary tendency in the ecology movement, and one that is trying to emphasize the need for fundamental social change and fight uncompromisingly the 'present state of political culture.'"
The Anxiety of Clearings by Paul Carter is a prose poem that elevates observation to a whole new level, weaving archetypal insight with Homo Ethical exsight; and the process wreaks recognition of divine loss.
"A true scientist, not driven by the purblindness of economic greed, is also a seer, a dreamer, drifting between the visible and the invisible, the without and the within."
In one of the cleanest, most precice essays of it's kind, Albert E. Smith asks the Einstein Question: Does God Play At Dice? Actually Albert did not ask, but rather baldly stated:
"Der Herr Gott würfelt nicht."
Well, here it is. The opportunity we've all been waiting for but really didn't have to wait for since when it is built, it will be as if it had already been built; so we can stop waiting. How to Construct a Time Machine "A Time Machine, that is, a device for exploring Time, is no more difficult to conceive of than a Space Machine, whether you consider Time as the fourth dimension of Space or as a locus essentially different because of its contents."

Edward Teller, whose very mention sends an odd chill into me, writes an essay on Science and Morality.(!) He makes his case very well, but it is still deeply disturbing.
"I am still asked on occasion whether I am not sorry for having invented such a terrible thing as the hydrogen bomb. The answer is, I am not."
Edward Teller

Max Tegmark the Amtrak keg mixer, is a scientist with an infectiously ticklish spot for things cosmological and quantum; in fact Everything! Mad Max is relatively placed within the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, though his absolute position may never be known.
"The only postulate in this theory is that all structures that exist mathematically exist also physically, by which we mean that in those complex enough to contain self-aware substructures (SASs), these SASs will subjectively perceive themselves as existing in a physically "real'' world."
I just had to see if had domained the ultimate answer. And yep, here is a Framework for a Theory of Everything by Douglas A. Pinnow, Ph.D.
"I am satisfied with a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, striving to comprehend a portion."
Albert Einstein, 1931
Clarity by refutation is state of the art in this Reply to Sci Am By Y. Bar-Yam.
"Is life on earth probable or improbable? This question can only be answered by knowing not what is but what the alternatives are."
John J Reilly's review of The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction, by John Leslie, presents the case in far more succinct fashion than the tome itself that we must make our choices with utmost care.
"There are ethicists who argue that, since there will inevitably be unhappy people in any human population, it would be better if there were no such populations. As my grammar school principal used to say, it's just a few who spoil it for all the rest."
Humans and Future Communications Systems
Bernulf Kanitscheider, University of Giessen
"Disconnection from the network will require justification. He who cuts the communication channel will later on be asked why he did so, and he will have to defend himself."
Ever closer to present attention Alan G Carter and Colston Sanger detail Some Weird Stuff. This is an amazing realm that includes such pellucid Homo Noeticae as Richard Feynman, Teilhard de Chardin, Vernor Vinge and the below quoted GSB, as well as questions on all our minds like (erk) What went wrong with game theory?
"In all mathematics it becomes apparent, at some stage, that we have for some time been following a rule without being consciously aware of the fact. This might be described as the use of a covert convention. A recognisable aspect of the advancement of mathematics consists of the advancement of the consciousness of what we are doing, whereby the covert becomes overt. Mathematics is in this respect psychedelic."
George Spencer-Brown
Whether or not we aspire to cosmic consciousness, our consciousness is cosmic. Cosmic Ancestry is the theory of panspermia, updated with recent developments, a healthy dollop of Lovelock, and ably presented by Brig Klyce.
"We propose that Gaian processes are not blindly found and peculiar to Earth, but are pre-existent and universal; life from space brings Gaian processes with it. We suggest that Gaian processes are necessary for higher forms of life to emerge and succeed on any planet."
Covering much the same territory, The Cosmic and the Terrestrial: Environments of Living Nature takes the more traditional, and currently prevalent view that life is of terrestrial origin.
"A vast and deep cosmic ocean of light, in which our planet earth is an isolated and remote terrestrial island. An outcrop of terrestrial nature braving the eternal cosmic swells of the local and the distant universal cosmic environment."
The Variability of the 'Fundamental Constants' is a fascinating exploration by Rupert Sheldrake of what we take for granted. Do not underestimate the gravity of this anthropic principle's principal conundrums.
"From around 1928 to 1945, the velocity of light appeared to be about 20 km/s lower than before and after this period."
Joanna L. Mountain, whose main field of interest is human population genetics, brings us up to date on Human Evolutionary Genetics.
"With the results of these simulations in mind, we can state that the regional groups (Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Europe) have been isolated from one another for at least 25,000 years. Populations within these regions appear to have been isolated for shorter periods of time."
How likely are chance resemblances between languages? Well, let's see...hmm...
"We simply have no great intuitive feel for probabilities. Most people's eyes glaze over when you start talking about the chances of the chances of r events among n objects over t trials with a single event probability of p."
Gerard K. O'Neill provides ample argument that we are alone, but this does not mean we need despair our solitude. Space Colonization and SETI is the subject of this interview conducted by John Kraus for Cosmic Search Magazine.
"We have just barely, within the past few decades, just a microsecond on the cosmic time scale, arrived at the point where we are able to use radio communication. Within at most another few decades, another microsecond, we'll be able to spread throughout the entire galaxy. We happen to be poised just on that knife edge between the two. That gives us a strange and, I think, a very distorted view of what's practical and possible."
Accepting the fact that we are, indeed, here, Burt Wilson addresses The need for a Future Consciousness in which he includes the spiritual as the potentiality of science.
"Science also must share the guilt beginning with Charles Darwin's failure to include spiritual evolution along with the physical in his precedent-setting study of the evolution of the species."
Stanley B. Prusiner investigates The Prion Diseases, of which BSE (mad moo malady) may be one.
"Prions, once dismissed as an impossibility, have now gained wide recognition as extraordinary agents that cause a number of infectious, genetic and spontaneous disorders."
The Artful Science of Medicine, by John A. Weeks, M.D., points to the potential of a truly ethical practise. This short book is a great read!
"Physician, n. One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well."
Ambrose Bierce
I don't think I want to get in the way of the Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority. Uncaged, against vivisection aims to save pigs, and perhaps a lot of humans too.
"Newly-emerging viruses pose one of the greatest threats to human wellbeing. Xenotransplantation provides a unique direct route of entry for animal viruses into the human population."
Are you an engineer or a scientist by disposition? When I'm looking for information I tend to scan whole works where possible, though I do like being able to pinpoint things with author or title info. In this commentary from The Scientist, Eugene Garfield asks Why Is the Engineer So Different from the Scientist?
"Back in 1958, I proposed a "Unified Index to Science" that would encompass the total coverage of the world's leading abstracting and indexing services. We are quickly reaching its equivalent."
George Monbiot's Amnesty Lecture is a powerful statement for putting the ethics of science in it's proper place, leading the cart.
"It's time that we started to concentrate on asking and trying to answer the big questions, however painful it might be. The world is best apprehended with the naked eye, not the gene sequencing machine."
Frequently Encountered Criticisms in Evolution vs. Creationism: Revised and Expanded brings the light of reason to every aspect of this ridiculously anti-Platonic discourse.
"Note that, as far as some creationists are concerned, "evolution" includes much more than just evolutionary biology - creationist criticisms can extend to much of geology, paleontology, physics, cosmology, astronomy, and numerous other areas of scientific inquiry. This list is not nearly as complete or rigorous as it could be, but I hope it will help as a useful initiation for beginners, and perhaps a reference for more experienced participants."
Reaching for the cognitive stars, Ideonomy finds beauty in the study of study. I'm trying to find the common ground with meme theory and all I keep visualizing is that snake swallowing it's tail.
"The short but most exact definition of ideonomy is the science of ideas. By a longer definition, it is the pure and applied science of ideas and their laws, and of the use of same to describe, generate, investigate, or otherwise treat all possible ideas related to any subject, problem, thing, or other idea."
Our friendly neighborhood Carbon Chauvinist wonders and voices concerns about the Departure of the Body Snatchers.
"I fear that in their desire to fly up to the high frontier they may very well take Earth down with them. They are among us already, I fear, urging our excarnation, seeking to convince us that we should not be "trapped in old concepts" like the need for bodies and planetary homes. I have seen them."
An essay of tragic beauty, Faith and Fraud shows us as we are, with wonderful fallible humanness and transhuman potential.
"Seeing with humility, curiosity and fresh eyes was once the main point of science. But today it is often a different story. As the scientific enterprise has been bent toward exploitation, institutionalization, hyperspecialization and new orthodoxy, it has increasingly preoccupied itself with disconnected facts in a spiritual, psychological, social and ecological vacuum."
Daniel Drasin
We could analogously view the complex of human cultural multifariousness as that of a pangenetic explication of a universal need to explore the implications. So say I. Steve Jones asks Why Is There So Much Genetic Diversity?
"I've spent a long time working on snails. This seems an odd thing to do, but they remind us of one question that remains unanswered, and is effectively forgotten by many biologists: Why is there so much diversity?"
Everything Forever, Learning To See and Model the Infinite Universe
"This website describes the land of forever. It journeys beyond our present place in time to study the shape of the motionless timeless world that existed before our time began and will be after our time ends. It discovers the world of moments from which we borrow each moment of now."
Stanley B. Prusiner, "proteinaceous infectious particles", The Prion Diseases, ...bacteria, and viruses, and prions, oh no!
"The known prion diseases, all fatal, are sometimes referred to as spongiform encephalopathies. They are so named because they frequently cause the brain to become riddled with holes."
Is SETI justified? A look at whether aliens might exist. is a well done examination of the Drake Equation.

Ted Lumley has archived a potpourri of his essays, including the interestingly if somewhat perplexingly titled Intermogular Space-Time Travel.
"Our sensory experience informs us of this harmonic relationship between purpose, 'thought' and material structure even as our euclidian rationalist self-indoctrination would have us continue to deny it. Being part of nature, homo sapiens are equally animated by the need for harmonically satisfying the interplay between purpose, thought and material structure, yet we have been in a 2500 year state of denial."
Graham Oppy takes Frank Tipler and his Physics of Immortality very seriously in this critical analysis. By uncovering the pseudo-scientific streams of consciousness that Tipler pours into his book he reveals Physics for the largely speculative fiction it is. This is the kind of layman's refutation that could come as an attachment to the original; lest we take the Omega Point Theory, and Tipler, too seriously.

In the shorter term we are coming in for a landing and must choose whether it will be a hard or soft one. What Chris King, of the Mathematics Department, University of Auckland, is talking about is Avoiding Genetic Holocaust.
"Science has great value as a detailed description of reality founded on the sceptical principle, but science has nil net ethical content. It is the description of how, not why, or what humanity should do. For every enlightened ecologist there is an unscrupulous genetic engineer working for a multinational corporation, so all the work many enlightened scientists are trying to do is simultaneously being offset by other scientists, by exploitive corporate practices, government expediency and complacency and by poverty-stricken migrant populations."
Putting 'Errors' In Perspective takes an historical view and points out that mistakes can be a valuable tool. I think Gregor Mendel erred in his choice of spectacles.
"Errors of observation and interpretation inevitably creep in, and corrections must be made. But it's difficult to overcome well-established maps of science drawn by well-established scientists."
Whether you have heard of David Foster or not, you are probably aware of his argument that the development of life on earth is so improbable that it must have been divinely ordained. Richard Carrier writes a comprehensive review of Foster's work; Bad Science, Worse Philosophy.
"Although there are a few scientific mistakes that are appalling, even more disappointing is the logic of Foster's arguments, and how his persistent logic-chopping refutes itself. What you read here may in fact be useful not just for addressing those who cite Foster, by name or anonymously, but by all those who attempt to make similar arguments. It may also be educational in itself, as Foster's fallacies make excellent textbook examples that would be quite useful in any logic or philosophy class."
In a well scripted primer on sociobiology, Maia Szalavitz examines women's prominent role in this science.
"...opponents of evolutionary psychology have continued to caricature the field as describing all men as rapacious and marriage-phobic while women remain coy and virginal. But once again, the plot thickens. First, marriage offers at least as much to men as it does to women."
In the first chapter of her book Co-Creative Science, Machaelle Small Wright brings us out of the grey of scientific orthodoxy and into the neuro-crystaline light of Changing How We Perceive Nature.

Beyond Discovery: The Path from Research to Human Benefit is a perhaps self-justifying yet well presented series of articles from the National Academy of Sciences.
"Each case study reveals the crucial role played by basic science, the applications of which could not have been anticipated at the time the original research was conducted."
Jerry Rosen thinks that the perfect joint project for nanotechnology and space sciences would be a space elevator, or orbital tower. Was this the ultimate phallic dream for Otis?

You're in a real pickle. You have to get a leech to bite or your blood will thicken and your heart will suck mud. Studies such as the Effect of ale, garlic, and soured cream on the appetite of leeches restore your faith that science can indeed answer all.

Of immediate concern is that we are rising above the genetic matrix without the appropriate perceptual container. The Bioethics Forum, of Princeton University, is a good place to start understanding what will be the issue of this century; if not all of cosmanity's future.

Digital Matter Control as performed by Fractal Robots could make current manufacturing techniques obsolete. These are the people that have developed a prototype of the liquid robot in Terminator 2.
"As the robot is fractal, the individual cubes can be shrunk to the size of grains of sand. By the time they are a millimeter in size, individual cubes are difficult to pick out and when they move, they will appear to flow like liquid metal. The resulting machine has fantastic shape shifting properties."
Beyond Discovery: The Path from Research to Human Benefit is a perhaps self-justifying yet well presented series of articles from the National Academy of Sciences.
"Each case study reveals the crucial role played by basic science, the applications of which could not have been anticipated at the time the original research was conducted."
Jerry Rosen thinks that the perfect joint project for nanotechnology and space sciences would be a space elevator, or orbital tower. Was this the ultimate phallic dream for Otis?

Grinning Idiot Press brings us Why I have been studying Vampires since 1972. When I was done reading this short essay I was grinning like an idiot; but then it hit me, my ex is a robot.

So you want to build a nanotech device that will build nanotech devices that will serve your every whim? Well, did you think the lawyers wouldn't get involved?? Tiny Torts: A Liability Primer
"Because personal responsibility is the most fundamental foundation stone of tort law, the development of real, autonomous AI entities will likely result in a relative rarity in the common law; a discontinuity. It seems that a definite break-point will occur, beyond which the law will recognize a "synthetic person" whose acts are not ascribable to its creator."
David Suzuki works tirelessly to bring the light of reason to the often nyctalopial view of specialists; those of science, business or government. In this edition of his weekly essay,Scientists Must Balance Values, Research and Responsibilities, he addresses those who say that science must be objective.
"But this argument fails because "pure" science is a fallacy to begin with. By the very act of choosing to investigate particular issues and ask certain questions, scientists impose values on their work. Findings are also open to interpretation, depending on the framework from which they are viewed."
A teacher and his class determined to put Nicola Tesla in his proper historical place, and we all can wonder why he has been Erased at the Smithsonian.
"Tesla died January 7, 1943, alone, and all but forgotten, in a New York hotel room, paid for by a meager stipend provided by a foreign government."
Who is The Greatest Hacker of All Time? My vote goes to me, but I shouldn't smoke.
"So, let me introduce you to him, and his greatest hack. I'll warn you right up front that it's mind numbing. By the way, everything I'm going to tell you is true and verifiable down at your local library. Don't worry -- we're not heading off into a Shirley MacLaine UFO-land story. Just some classy electrical engineering..."
Using the words of Darwin himself: "I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification.", Steven Jay Gould examines the strict constructionism of Darwinian fundamentalism.
"Darwin's system should be viewed as morally liberating, not cosmically depressing. The answers to moral questions cannot be found in nature's factuality in any case, so why not take the "cold bath" of recognizing nature as nonmoral, and not constructed to match our hopes?"
As Rachael Carson did a whole Model of Reality ago, David Pimentel and friends provide a dire warning; this time of impending biocaust.
Ecology of Increasing Disease
Population growth and environmental degradation
"In this article, we assess the relationship between high population density and increasing environmental degradation. We also examine the effects of both factors (separately and in combination) on present and future disease incidence throughout the world."
Jesse Hirsh makes a passionate case for the hacker as bulwark of freedom during an age of increasing centralization of control, in Thoughts on Hacktivism.
"Hacking Reality is the means by which we can reclaim our communities and struggle towards an equitable and democratic society. Within this technological system that surrounds us, the Hacker struggles to become human."
"All the junk that's fit to debunk" is the motto of, who do an admirable job of calling to task those who would research to decieve. All us coffee drinkers may be able to slurpilly enjoy today's debunking:
"The link between elevated levels of homocysteine and heart disease risk has been called into question by a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine."
Dr Lynn Margulis: Microbiological Collaboration of the Gaia Hypothesis
"Effectively, Lynn Margulis contended that symbiosis, not chance mutation, was the driving force behind evolution and that the cooperation between organisms and the environment are the chief agents of natural selection -- not competition among individuals."
Application of Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation for Treatment of Certain Diseases and Other Bloodborne Viruses
"This paper describes an innovative method of inactivating bloodborne viruses using ultraviolet blood irradiation called UBI therapy. This process has shown impressive clinical results in treating hepatitis, HIV, and other currently untreatable viruses."
Darryl R. J. Macer, Ph.D. shows that it isn't rocket science to bring ethics to bioscience, with this on-line book titled Bioethics is Love of Life: An Alternative texbook.
"In this book I am going to argue that "love of life" is the simplest and most all encompassing definition of bioethics, and it is universal among all peoples of the world."
all you need is love
Robert A. Herrmann, of the venerable Math. Dept., U. S. Naval Academy what are they really privy to?, offers Solutions to the "General Grand Unification Problem," and the Questions "How Did Our Universe Come Into Being?" and "Of What is Empty Space Composed?"
"In general, the model predicts that when these Universe creating processes are viewed globally they are similar to how an infinitely powerful mind would behave."
While immersed in the pool of transhuman potential it is nice to have a clear window onto our Ancestral Lines. Wander the time-line on the cover page and add ourSelf, Homo Sapiens Noeticus.....can you feel it?
"Linked from this page are documents summarizing the hominid fossil record and hypothesized lines of human evolution from 5 million years ago to the present."
The Golem Project - Automatic Design and Manufacture of Robotic Lifeforms
cutting-edge stuff - and a free screensaver to grow your own, too
"Like biological lifeforms whose structure and function exploit the behaviors afforded by their own chemical and mechanical medium, our evolved creatures take advantage of the nature of their own medium - thermoplastic, motors, and artificial neurons. We thus achieve autonomy of design and construction using evolution in a limited universe physical simulation, coupled to off-the-shelf rapid manufacturing technology."
I am in awe of the simple insights and gracious farsight of Venus Revealed. A wonderful blend of science and poetry, and beautifully rendered prose, brings an understanding of our planetary microcosmos that goes beyond...
"The new truth was "the grim truth", and Venus, as if she had betrayed us by not living up to our expectations, was judged harshly. "Venus is Hell" became a common expression, and words like "harsh", "hostile", "inhospitable", "errant twin", "poisonous", "catastrophe", "noxious" and "tortured" filled the pages of books and articles describing our closest sibling. Nearly every book, chapter or article written about Venus since the 1960's contains some version of the statement: The planet named for the Goddess of Love turned out to have a closer resemblance to Dante's Hell."
One of the best introductions to Space-Time: The Final Frontier is this, by Sten Odenwald.
"There is much that's spooky about the physical vacuum. This spookiness may be rooted more in the way our brains work than in some objective aspect of nature. Einstein stressed, "Space and time are not conditions in which we live, but modes in which we think."
Who is The Greatest Hacker of All Time? My vote goes to me, but I shouldn't smoke.
"So, let me introduce you to him, and his greatest hack. I'll warn you right up front that it's mind numbing. By the way, everything I'm going to tell you is true and verifiable down at your local library. Don't worry -- we're not heading off into a Shirley MacLaine UFO-land story. Just some classy electrical engineering..."
Is common sense common, or even sensible? In this dense paper written for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Barry Smith investigates Formal Ontology, Common Sense and Cognitive Science.
"Much recent work in cognitive science has taken common sense - in the form of naive physics, folk psychology, or real-world models for natural language processing - as a serious object of scientific inquiry. This paper seeks to clarify the philosophical background to such work."
Bioinvasion, bioengineering, and monoculture are dire threats to biodiversity. Resistance to genetically modified organics has been growing and just perhaps if the pressure is kept up, ethical scientists can sway the tide. Portrait Of An Industry In Trouble by Brian Halweil documents recent developments.
"After four years of stupendous growth, farmers are expected to reduce their planting of genetically engineered seeds by as much as 25 percent in 2000, as spreading public resistance staggers the once high-flying biotech industry."
Howard Rheingold speaks Mind to Mind with Sherry Turkle, author of Life on the Screen. Actually he e-mailed her three questions and she returned her eloquent yet concise answers.
"I'll never look at those cute little icons on my electronic desktop in the same way again. And I'm looking with fresh eyes about the ways the computer is teaching me how to act and think."
The Constructability of Artificial Intelligence (as defined by the Turing Test) points out that the accumulation of random processes during development (evolution?) may invalidate the term "artificial".
"This is some distance from the usual conception of intelligence that prevails in the field of Artificial Intelligence, which seems overly influenced by the analogy of the machine (particularly the Turing Machine). This is a much abstracted version of the original social concept and, I would claim, a much impoverished one. Recent work has started to indicate that the social situation might be as important to the exhibition of intelligent behaviour as the physical situation."
Gregory Stock takes inventory on The Prospects for Human Germline Engineering and finds that while our technology may enable us to interfere in life's flow, we are ethically unprepared.
"Though germline intervention may not be clinically feasible for several decades, there is little doubt its potential is immense. One day it may protect children from cancer, AIDS and other diseases, enhance their intelligence and even extend their life spans. But the technology also embodies a fundamental challenge: how far are willing to go in reshaping the human form and psyche?"
Is the 'impact factor' as a way of judging the affect of a published paper analogous to those desperate arbiters of figure skating, who end up giving their own countries athletes the best scores despite using supposedly objective criteria? Craig McGarty explores this tender issue.
"The measure punishes journals which publish the work of authors who do not have membership of these invisible colleges and is virtually incapable of detecting genuine impact. It is not just a bad measure it is an invitation to do bad science."
Probably for highly chaotic reasons Global Simplicity and Local Complexity is not available at source, which is a shame because I'd like to see more. This is apparently chapter twelve, and is a stand-alone must-read. If the Google link does not work, I've mirrored it here.
"According to one mode of expression, the question What are laws of nature? may be stated thus: What are the fewest and simplest assumptions, which being granted, the whole existing order of nature would result?"
"When a finger points at the moon, only an idiot looks at the finger." Chinese aphorism quoted in Contemplating The Finger: Visuality and the Semiotics of Chemistry, which aims to show that imagination plays as much of a role as fact.
"Chemistry's symbolic language is shown to mimic many features of natural languages, including the ability to construct fictional worlds. I argue that these 'scientific fictions' are as cognitively valuable in chemistry as they are in ordinary life, and that chemists creatively mix 'true' and 'fictional' representations of molecules and substances."
Just when I think I've got a pretty good grasp on things, a preteen asks an apparently simple question: "What is 'sub-space'?" Well, darned if I know! Go ask a space scientist, like Dr. Sten Odenwald.
"It is a subset of a larger space in which all the same arithmetic operations are possible, but in which the results of these operations are always still elements within the sub-space."
Fridge magnet poetry is great, better than playing with the overdue bills stuck up there. This University of Wisconsin - Madison site dedicated to magnetism is strongly attractive and conducive to new ideas. "The common flexible sheet refrigerator magnet has a complex, ingenious magnetic structure."

The Vancouver Aquarium has set up hydrophones at the entrance to Johnstone Straight, which runs between Vancouver Island and the coast of B.C. You can listen for whales 'live' or hear prerecorded audio, as well as learn about orca behavior.
"ORCA FM is part of a larger project called "WhaleLink", which provides opportunities for scientists and the interested public to remotely monitor the underwater communication of wild killer whales."
Relativistic Intercourse led my brain to think; and it'll never be the same again.
"Over the years much valuable work has been done researching the relative merits of various penetration speeds during sexual intercourse, but to my knowledge none of the researchers has ever pursued this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion--"
It's always good to refresh one's understanding of the basics, perhaps to gain new perspectives or to strengthen the perceptual foundation. Auburn's good people bring us the foundations of fusion.

Although a little long in loading, Clouds from Space is a fascinating collection of images from various shuttle missions.
Jet Stream Cirrus

John G. Cramer of Analog SF & Science Fact gives a good general grok at gravity waves.
"Gravity is the weakest force in the universe. Because of this weakness gravity waves, the traveling waves made by disturbances in gravity, are below the present threshold of detectability and have never been directly observed. But in the year 2000 this should change."
A well presented, neatly packaged just slightly ahead of it's time overview of the velocity/time relationship is C-ship: The Dilation of Time.

Huge Harry gave the closing address at the "Come To Your Senses" conference in Amsterdam. The thing is, Huge Harry is a machine.
"And here are some interesting symmetry-transformations that you probably have not seen [biyf'aor]. [_<1500>] You see? We just saw the ultimate post-modern [tr'aens-rowm`aentihk iym'owshaxnaxl] state\, where ["aol] the different [iym'owshaxnz] that the human mind is capable of\, merge into one\, [q"aol-ehnk`aampaxsihnx]\, [khxey'aotihk] oscillation."
We may presuppose that a preponderance of our action is predictable, predetermined, perhaps even preordained. Here's a look at the Theory of Presponse.
"Henry Stapp has told us that pre-sponses cannot be accomodated within orthodox physics. A problem with this stance is that elementary relativistic considerations indicate that backward causation must be the other side of the coin of non-locality." [Chris Nunn]
Henry P. Stapp also gives us Attention, Intention, and Will in Quantum Physics, in which he enquires into the relationship between mind and matter.
"The quantum treatment discloses that these puzzles arise from the conflation in the classical limit of two very different but interlocked causal processes, one micro-causal, bound by the past, and blind to the future, the other macro-causal, probing the present, and projecting to the future."
The use and abuse of subjectivity in scientific enquiry is explored in Facts versus Factions.
"This disingenuousness is shown to be not only unconvincing but also unnecessary, as the axioms of probability reveal subjectivity to be a mathematically ineluctable feature of the quest for knowledge."
Meet Thalia and Sophia, and find out how their ticklish natures may help in Saving the Phenomenal.

Promising New Technologies takes us to the far reaches of the ocean of current scientific understanding, and then walks the plank.

Everything you wanted to know about the aether, from Aether Tectonics to ZPF & Stochastic Electrodynamics, can be had at Modern Scientific Theories of the Ancient Aether.

"Space and time are not conditions in which we live, but modes in which we think."
Einstein incisively stated what needs to be intuitively grokked. Sten Odenwald puts raisins in the porridge of IT, with Space-Time: The Final Frontier.

Here's an example of pseudoscience that is sure to be put to use by new-age therapists. The trouble is that if these therapies do in fact help, adopting bad studies to support them only goes to weakening their real value.
"The empirical claim is made in this paper that various kinds of "energy therapies" such as therapeutic touch, Polarity therapy, Reiki, and others can be empirically shown to reduce the amount of gamma radiation from a human body. This is purported to represent a clue as to how these therapies may work, by "redirecting" energy flows."
The vast diversity of life on our earthship is in steep decline due to human activity. As an added insult to the injury of extinctions, humans are actively pursuing cloning and genetic modification, further reducing genetic variety. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre provides an overview of biodiversity

As the Friendly Giant (hey, this is Canada, eh?) said: "look down, waaaay down...". The obvious attraction of seeing ourselves as stardust should not blind us to life that does not require external input. Thomas Gold's The Deep, Hot Biosphere investigates.
"There are strong indications that microbial life is widespread at depth in the crust of the Earth, just as such life has been identified in numerous ocean vents. This life is not dependent on solar energy and photosynthesis for its primary energy supply, and it is essentially independent of the surface circumstances."
For another view, here is a SciAm article from '96 which offers a slightly poetic vision.

Nanotubes are what you play with once you've mastered buckyball, and here at The Nanotube Site one can find others to play with.

If science has an attitude problem it can get somatic therapy from Twenty Science Attitudes, which along with the empirical and skeptical also acknowledges science's ethical quality.

Any attempt to colonize or even get to planets around other stars will require either hibernation for the travellers or faster than light travel (FTL). Jason W. Hinson takes a comprehensive look at Faster Than Light Travel--Concepts and Their "Problems". (Star Trek shows up again in a scholarly work. Does Gene Rodenberry know something we don't?)

Future history is usually best left to SF writers but An Illustrated Speculative Timeline of Technology and Social Change for the Next One Thousand Years is a well researched and insightful two part book, available in its entirety online.

The two documents linked to above are serious work, painstakingly thought out and presented. Alan Sokal produced an article to test the hypothesis that "a leading North American journal of cultural studies . . . would publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors' ideological preconceptions." To read the article and review, A Painful Sting Within the Academic Hive, is to recognize frightening implications.

The science of rhythm based communication and the study of whales come together at Ceta-Reasearch in Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. "Rhythm Based Communication" and General Experimental Technique is the subject of this essay, listed as a postscript to the "Lanzarote" Paper.

World Views: from fragmentation to integration invites us all to join in fundamental dialogue. A dense read, this coalition of European scientists and philosophers very clearly show the path that must be taken out of our present ethical wilderness.
"Within the scientific world, large-scale movements tending towards unification seem powerless confronted with the information explosion of research and historicism in the philosophy of science. Outside of science, we notice also that both religious and secular ideologies claiming to energize mass movements have collapsed. Far be it from us to promote new, sophisticated versions of what is lost. We believe however that, within the scientific community, isolated problem solvers are looking for more fundamental contexts for research, and that many can offer insight into more fundamental questions."
Author Joe Michael titled this essay Fractal Shape Changing Robots. Emergent behaviour in a system is the system's ability to become intelligent over and above the programming that has been coded into it. This is potentially very scary stuff considering our current inhumane demeanor.
"More dangerous forms of these kinds of emergent behaviours will probably be found in machines that are taught to optimise their weapons for waging war. These machines may be too tiny, too numerous or too well armed for anyone to mount a defence in time to stave off extinction."
Human/Machine Anomalies are one aspect of the PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomolies Research) program, and show that there are strange statistically significant interactions going on. My car and I already knew this.

All things are connected.
Chris Lucas thus begins a description of complexity theory. This is a very clearly written outline of how recognition of integral connexion, and its explication and tendency toward order, can lead us toward a Theory of Everything.

Here the very same Chris Lucas explores proto-cosmic spirituality in Spirit of Complexity.
"In our supposedly material world, the cultivation of spiritual excellence is often regarded as at best irrelevant or at worst a psychotic delusion. Complexity Science however can throw a very different light on this subject, revealing spiritual development to be not only advantageous, but perhaps the most valuable asset currently available to the human race."
The good folks at the University of Utah are proposing a new way to look for extraterrestrial life. Rather than looking for signals from an intelligence they are seeking something much more basic; the processes that organisms use to obtain energy.

Countless questions well asked and anwered kept me at The Straight Dope much longer than intended; and I thought I knew everything! One intrigueing inquiry is "What is the purpose of the hymen?"; and I'm not telling.

The SASER Project (Solar Amplification by Stimulated Emission Radiation) aims to aim at the sun and not blow us up with the amplified rebound.
The primal concept is to take advantage of the gigawatt/hertz continuum of the solar system (dominated by the sun) which we will presume has the natural physics to mix and amplify a low power microwave signal and then re-radiate the combined signal in the megawatt domain.
William MacIntosh thinks that he is the target of focused sound, or a sound laser and is understandably distressed. As this CNN article shows, the technology of Resonant Macrosonic Synthesis is viable and may have great promise(?); perhaps destroying biological and chemical warfare agents, or remotely disrupting foreign agents.

When the words organic and computing are joined what do you get (orgomp, orgacom, computanic)? Thin Film Transistors
All circuitry necessary for controlling the memory can be built entirely from organic TFTs (Thin Film Transistors). True organic computing is realized in an all-organic device when such circuitry is combined with the organic memory films and the device structure is built on a flexible plastic substrate. No silicon chips or other support hardware are then required to perform write/read/erase and logic operations.
Okay, I can be properly amazed by the engine and drive train of motile E.coli bacteria, but to think that I have millions, nay billions of these swimming about in my gut it becomes obvious that I'm throwing one great bacteriobash. And I don't even have to clean up the mess when we're done!

When we are done and it's time for the ravens to get their share, who will decide when I'm done, and how?
"Death is an inherently complicated topic. Its metaphysics are one thing ("What makes it true that a formerly living person has become dead?"); its epistemology is another ("By what criteria can we know that a person has died?"); and bedside tests to diagnose it are yet another ("Is auscultation of the chest and holding a mirror close to the nostrils sufficient to reach a diagnosis?")."
This is a clear, transparent, well presented, neatly tabled and I must say succinct comparison between the Socratic and scientific methods.

What is the future of cosmology? Lee Smolin recognizes the fundamental relationships that conjure our understanding.
The first is the key idea behind general relativity, the second the idea behind modern biology. What joins them is that in the end both sets of ideas make sense as descriptions of systems, like the universe or life on earth, that must structure themselves from the inside, without being made or observed from the outside.
An Exodus Into Infinity yahoooooooo....

As John Walker says, "Never invest in something that violates a conservation law." The idea of being propelled, literally, through the quantum vacuum really appeals to my sense of symmetry.
Results indicate that multiple sclerosis may be curable.
"Researchers report finding evidence of the bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae in all the multiple sclerosis patients in their study. If this microorganism turns out to be involved in multiple sclerosis (MS), the possibility exists that MS could be treated with available antibiotics -- and there is the further possibility that a vaccine could be developed to wipe out the crippling disorder."
Subtlety is the flavor of life. According to this paper the evidence points to in utero steroid balance as a determinant of sexual orientation. When a butterfly wing flaps.... "The available evidence is taken to support a proposed model implicating sex-atypical neuroendocrine differentiation as a causative mechanism in developing variations in sexual orientation."

Jupiter's satellite Europa is perhaps the most hopeful spot for extra-terrestrial life in our solar system. The SSB Task Group aims to prevent earth based contamination by our exploratory probes. This is no small goal, as our understanding of life's smallest units continues to evolve.

Nanobacteria are the smallest cell-walled bacteria, and have only recently been discovered. Some are only 50 nm in size, smaller than many viruses, and can exist in sedimentary rocks. This will present an even greater (um, smaller) challenge to the aforementioned SSB Task Group.

It seems that the Star Wars movie makers had some passing acquaintance with nanobacteria, as the idea was incorporated into The Phantom Menace. Scott Virden Anderson, biologist, physician and fan has a look.

As medical practise becomes more complex the ability of a regulatory body to adequately protect the lay recipient becomes less certain. Duncan Campbell investigates whether medicine needs its own MI5 (CIA).

"Think of it. We are blessed with technology that would be indescribable to our forefathers. We have the wherewithal, the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, and give every human on Earth a chance. We know now what we could never have known before-that we now have the option for all humanity to "make it" successfully on this planet in this lifetime. Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment." Buckminster Fuller

Nature has a terrific supplement to the magazine, in which attempts from various angles are made to peer into the future.

The Quantum Computer Simulator enables you to simulate a not-yet-realized quantum computer right on your classical computer. Be the first in your compuklatch.

Widely abused by those of a "new age" bent, Bell's Theorum is not well understood. R.A. Wilson has a go in Reality Ain't What It Used To Be. Bell seems to prove that any two "particles" once in contact will continue to act as if connected no matter how far apart they move in "space" or "time" (or in space-time).

Alan Morantz explores maps of the mind; of the ones we make, and the ones made for us. "I will eagerly follow the progress of the visionary cartographers and computer scientists who are cutting trails on Digital Earth. But there will always be journeys that require honed senses, so for now, I will hold onto my cane." The article is from this month's Canadian Geographic - dedicated to maps.

"George Spenser-Brown's challenging and seminal book "The Laws of Form" opens with the declaration: Draw a distinction and a universe comes into being." Donald Kunze examines Boundary Math in Food and Tourism: O to Z.

Dr. Matrix has a very comprehesive site dedicated to science in all its flavors.

Tired of waiting for SETI to reward us with a cosmic hello? Try using Bentspace to send a message to them. Give the Crispness gift that keeps on going and going and going...

"Today's small scale software programs are about to be joined by vast public software works that will revolutionize computing and transform society as a whole. One such vast program is the "Mirror World."" Mirror Worlds Or: The Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean

Grabbed from Whump is a compendium of the dangers of space flight. If you're planning an escape on the first tourist aetherboat you would do well to read Lost and Spaced first.

I just had to have one future predictions link, so here are the top ten from the World Future Society.

Well, here it is. The opportunity we've all been waiting for but really didn't have to wait for since when it is built, it will be as if it had already been built; so we can stop waiting. How to Construct a Time Machine "A Time Machine, that is, a device for exploring Time, is no more difficult to conceive of than a Space Machine, whether you consider Time as the fourth dimension of Space or as a locus essentially different because of its contents."

"The pace of the story keeps accelerating, with major changes taking a billion years at first, a few millions later, down to tens of thousands of years - and today, major changes in the evolution of complexity can occur in a single human lifetime!" Zhahai Stewart writes a great Overview of Complexity in the Universe.

Often the review is a much more insightful read than the original work. This is the case with Ralph Metzner's look at The Voice of the Earth by Theodore Roszak. He comments: "Rather the book is a wide-ranging treatise on the philosophical and psychological assumptions and value-biases that underlie 20th century psychiatry and all of the rest of contemporary culture as well."

A very difficult problem is to study that which has two very disparate attributes. Philippe Descola seeks to bridge the gap between ecological and symbolic paradigms that have separated scholars of Amazon into opposing camps. In this review of In the Society of Nature: A Native Ecology in Amazonia we find that while enlightening us on the ecological and cultural challenges facing all concerned, he is unable to voice a synthesis. "In fact, Descola seems to me to use a sleight of hand to argue with cultural ecologists, namely, environmental variables must explain everything (i.e., they must constrict human choice so that cultural models become irrelevant), or they explain nothing as cultural imperatives are formed "largely independent of material constraints""!

"And all our perceiving, the secret work of our eyes, our nostrils, our ears and our skin, is our constant communication and communion with the life of the whole." When the world is seen through new eyes everything changes. David Abram enquires into The Perceptual Implications of Gaia. The Gaia hypothesis, if taken seriously, has logical implications that call into question the mechanical model of perception upon which most contemporary scientific discourse is based.

This may be taking the analogy too far, but as the "brains" behind the wider "mind" we humans need to develop our social intelligence. We can presume to design artificially intelligent systems that don't argue violently, but when the creator is out of order can the creation be whole?

Nick Bostrom makes a most eloquent case for the polymath in this essay subtitled "How philosophers could make themselves useful". The purpose of Predictions from Philosophy is no less than to propose a new type of philosophy, a philosophy whose aim is prediction.

It is good to know that our earthship is not going to be devoured by a black hole or a voracious strangelet when the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is unleashed.

I had never heard of Steven Johnson Syndrome. In these days of increasing numbers of allergic reactions and sensitivities (it's all their fault, eh), this one is really scary due to being easily diagnosed wrongly.

Can the speed of light be the ultimate speed limit and yet not? This anonymous article titled Quantum Magick explores the area where mainstream science meets magick. "What we are coming to understand however is that quantum state is a form of information, and is not so limited. It is everywhere, at once."

In a news report worthy of national attention McCain Foods, one of the largest french fry manufacturers, stated that in future they will not purchase genetically modified potatoes. Phil Bereano and Florian Kraus investigate The Politics of Genetically Engineered Foods: The United States Versus Europe.

Time, time, time, is on my side... According to Meyen, time may be mine. " Each object has its individual time, and a class of similar objects has a generalized time or time archetype." I just don't like to be objectified as it rejects my relative state, generally speaking.

Dr. Randell Mills, CEO and chief researcher of BlackLight Power, unveils today, at the 1999 Pacific Conference on Chemistry and Spectroscopy, the results of his research into the area of novel hydrogen chemistry. The future of energy production and sustainable technological development will be fueled by hydrogen, and this team is on the leading edge.

Pick your brain disorder and get the facts. It's all there at Dana BrainWeb.

Now here's a date I'm looking forward to. May 11, 2437 A.D. Terry Alden provides a timely read for this season of myth and rememberance with The Mill of Time; subtitled Celestial Cycles And Ancient Mythological Science.

In order to survive that long as a singular semi-transtemporal consciousness unit, some form of transbiological existence can be imagined.

"It might seem odd that much is yet unknown about the inner magnetosphere." IMEX aims to change that. I am especially interested as we get almost nightly northern lights here and would like to know if whistling really does attract them (har, it brings the dogs anyway). There are great descriptions of solar activity: Buffeting by turbulent fluctuations in the plasma density, velocity, and pressure of the solar wind may excite MHD eigenmodes within the magnetosphere.

The arguments in favor of life being universally endemic keep piling up, while the thought of Earth as the sole repository in the vastness grows ever more quaint.

"Is the light I see in my mind the same light as the light I see in the world?" Alice in Quantum Land is a great little fable for the budding cosmic flower in us all.

Stanley R. Carpenter brought to my attention one of those words that brings more depth of understanding by its' very use. "I wish to build on the now accepted fact that anthropogenic activity, what has been descriptively termed "technometabolism," has grown in scale to the point that it rivals in environmental impact some of the earth's natural systems."

The Macroscope: A New World Scientific Order was first published over twenty years ago. " The models I propose are only points of departure for reflection; in no case are they points of arrival." What a departure it is (was). The insights and cautions are as valid today as they were then, and perhaps more poignant.

Following a link from SciAm one comes upon Neadertal: A Cyber Perspective. This is a very comprehensive and pleasurable site which tickled my anthropological bone (erk).

William H. Calvin is a theoretical neurophysiologist who brings together cognitive and evolutionary theories. His conclusion that It may be that the Darwinian processes are only the frosting on the cake, that much is routine and rule-bound., causes me to have less hope for our species. Perhaps this is the right role for entheogens; to catalyze original thought.

"Yet how on earth are consciousness, mathematics and the quantum field(etc)-theoretic ontology of mainstream physics to be brought together in practice? " Why Does Anything Exist is a good start at asking the right questions, as well as laying a firm ground of not-knowing into which we may slide our understanding of what it's likeness.

"This FAQ shows how quantum paradoxes are resolved by the "many-worlds" interpretation or metatheory of quantum mechanics. This FAQ does not seek to prove that the many-worlds interpretation is the "correct" quantum metatheory, merely to correct some of the common errors and misinformation on the subject floating around." Consider Schrodinger's cat; poor/lucky thing!
Michael Clive Price provides a most comprehensive and understandable overview of this metatheory.

Huxley's satirical fiction Brave New World has caused a cultural resistance to happiness engineering, says this review. "And it is we, trapped in the emotional squalor of late-Darwinian antiquity, who neither know nor understand the lives of the god-like super-beings we are destined to become. "

You could describe this book simply as a rather nice history of the number zero. You could also describe it as nothing less than a history of the human race's philosophical struggle with the idea of nothingness. In his tome 'The Nothing That Is', Andrew Leahy writes what is probably the only book-length history of a natural number ever written, and he does a good job of it. It is not flawless (-0-), however.

David Bohm makes a proposal that we ignore at our deepest peril. Dialogue, as we are choosing to use the word, is a way of exploring the roots of the many crises that face humanity today.

" It is possible therefore to imagine that the central core of a future air vehicle might be a linear accelerator which would create a local weightless state by use of electrostatic energy and turn heat into energy without chemical processes for propulsion." This is from a 1956(!) classified USAF document showing that research into anti-gravity was (and surely is) of prime military concern.

Here's another mind-bending postulation by Max Tegmark. In this paper, it is suggested that most of this (the universe's) information is merely apparent, as seen from our subjective viewpoints, and that the algorithmic information content of the universe as a whole is close to zero.

DNA is a good conductor of electricity, according to research done at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and may even have wiring applications. Well jeez, I feel pretty well wired already....

To fully immerse myself in the mid-week "can we be serious for a moment" state, I finally got down and read the full text of this Warning to Humanity.

The RetroPsychoKinesis Project, exploring what is otherwise known as "backwards time causality" or retrocausality, says that information can be transfered from the future to the past. Rupert Sheldrake comments: I think that many of the problems we have come from a too narrow scientific paradigm or model of reality which creates a split between the mind of educated people and their feelings and experience.

Which begs the question "why did the tachyon cross the road?" answer

I really like the idea of Tranquility Time. It's easy to understand and more sensible for the current age; and is based on a precisely dateable event.

To look at the way "she (nature)" designs the universe was to unlock the most useful direction one could take in designing the artifacts that would make the world work for humanity. Buckminster Fuller is the subject of this essay.

John G Cramer, hard science, soft and comfy reading.

Is modern medicine akin to quantum physics? Hmm, I'll let that one hang, but this group will expose the frauds. Quackwatch, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, and fallacies.

Chemistry, which as an adult fascinates me as do all the sciences, was my worst subject at school. This idiotic table would have fit the bill perfectly.

Seeing Francis Crick as co-author drew my attention to this remarkable essay.

Fundamental interdependance at all levels drives life. Coevolution, and the interaction between organisms, is best seen as an interlocking web of extended phenotypes.

Nature seems to have a penchant for arranging numbers so that the proportion beginning with the digit D is equal to log10 of 1 + (1/D). Benford's Law is a kind of ultimate distribution, the "Distribution of Distributions"

That researchers cannot distinguish a Neanderthal from a modern might seem surprising to some readers, but there is absolutely no consensus on what these terms mean.

Yes, there is the possibility that humankind can outgrow its infantile tendencies, as I suggested in Childhood's End. But it is amazing how childishly gullible humans are. Arthur C Clarke in an interview with 'Free Inquiry Magazine'.

There is an anecdote about two eminent philosophers, one of whom was vacillating over whether to accept a job at a rival university. His comrade advised him to do what he always wrote about - optimize his choice by using every bit of potentially useful information to weigh the pluses and minuses of the new position. The first philosopher responded acidly, "Come on, this is serious."

"God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension." Freeman Dyson. Here is Victor Vinge's original essay entitled Technological Singularity.

If I were to be converted into energy, how much would I be worth? This is one of the questions posed to Dr Berk; an irreverant and quite refreshing science Q&A.
Each day that our species survives the technologies that we are psychologically unfit for, is a small way through The Great Filter.

Insight (exsight?) and the pineal gland. About the size of a grain of rice, deep in our brains, this structure may be the seat of the "soul" after all.

Our sense of wonder is fashioned by our interfaces.

Shake yer bootie but hold on to your pipe, let's go seismo-surfing.

Here is the incredible story of the longest wire on earth.

At what level of progress is human activity sustainable? Here's John McCarthy's hyperessay

This is a beautiful example of mad science; or perhaps a dedicated generalist enjoying a day off.

Anthropology of the future only appears to be an oxymoron. At AnthroFuturism they take the insights from the past and apply them to understanding the course we are following, and where it will lead. "Anthropologists know that technology is not a "thing-in-itself," but is culturally situated and even encapsulates in its designs various cultural norms and values."

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© Abuddha Ahdduba, 1999, 2000