Tag Archives: science

Can we please hold off on anymore human foolishness for a bit?


We are SO close to a post labor, perhaps even post death world, technologically.

But, here we are.  The number of powder kegs that lead to World War 3 or some other nightmare scenario that are just laying about are terrifying.

Syria.  The China thing.  North Korea shot a missile from a sub.  People are still arguing over the whole color/gender thing.  People are killing people for their religion, ethnicity, etc.

We can be past all of this.  We can, as a species, get past this…  freaking childishness.

Then there’s the other side of things.  There’s commercial spaceflight.  There’s a plan to mine asteroids.  Genetics is doing amazing things, and it’s claimed human cloning is possible.  Artificial intelligence is becoming.  Computational speeds and abilities are insane.  There are driverless vehicles starting to go onto the roads.  Somebody woke someone’s brain up with an ultrasound recently.

I mean, dude. We are RIGHT THERE!  So close we can taste… Utopia.  Space colonization and moving industry, power production, even most of the species, off planet.  Clinical immortality is just down the block.  An end to a need for human labor is really in our faces.

We could be the generation that moves us to and through the technological and industrial and societal revolution that’s upon us, or we can muck it all up over stupidity.

I don’t know if there’s anything I can do, except to try to be a positive influence on those around me.  Maybe you have greater power or money or… whatever, in which case, any help to get us all through this would help.  Maybe you don’t. If you can do nothing else, make someone’s day a little easier.  Help if you can.  Be kind.

Maybe that’s what we need.  Everything goes viral and people embrace it.  I wonder if we could make kindness viral as well.

Try it.  Go tell someone random that it will all be okay.  That they are worthy of happiness.  That it’s okay to believe things or not, as long as you don’t harm anyone else over them.  Let your deity or whatever ism you hold dear take care of that.

If we can all just stop the fighting and hatred, our kids will be able to truly become, and their kids may never know sadness or war or mental illness, maybe even death.

#dontkillthefuture

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Time travel-Paradox? No problem. (Theory)


Time Travel.  It’s one of those pie in the sky ideas that everyone tends to have a ‘great’ scientific reason for why it would never work.

Basically, the main theory that is brought up is that if one travels into the past, you could create a paradox-like killing your own father.  After that, something bad would happen.  There’s plenty of thoughts on what the “bad” thing would be out there, and if you want one of those, I suggest you google it.

I have a thought, though.  I have always heard of time being called “the 4th dimension” as if it was another axis of existence.  What if they are wrong?

I’m no mathematician, so let me give you my thought in layman’s terms.  What if time is not one axis, but a plane?  Two axes that cross, forming the “plane” we call time.

This would result in something like the following:

———————————

George stepped into the time machine, setting it for 1928 in Germany.  He pressed the button and the machine whirred and buzzed, there was a flash.

There he was, in 1928.  He spied a man just finishing a discussion with a reporter.  Brown hair, brown eyes, a somewhat distracted yet haughty expression on his face.

George walked up to him and said, “Wie heißen sie?”

The man stopped suddenly, his eyes squinting in confusion at George’s odd appearance.  “Ich heisse Adolf Hitler.”

George smiled, pulled the .38 special from his pocket, and shot Hitler in the head.  His brain evacuated from his skull, he fell down dead.

George ran back, jumped into the machine, and hit the “Return to last” button.  A flash, a whirr, and he reappeared in his office.

———————————-

Now, you may recognize this from the old plot of the game “Command and Conquer: Red Alert”.  George has gone back 85 years, killed one influential man, and now all of history should be rewritten.  If time is not one axis, but a plane, then this is what happens:

———————————-

George rushed out of the machine, excitedly grabbed the nearby history textbook.  He began to scan the book for World War 2…  and found that nothing had changed.

Confused, he goes back to the machine.  He changes the date to the following day in 1928, and hits the button.

Arriving in 1928, the day after he shot Hitler, he is stunned to see Adolf Hitler come out of the nearby butchery.  George immediately got back into the machine, now setting the machine for 1 minute prior to his earlier arrival, and offset the spot of appearance into a nearby alley.  He hit the button.

Emerging from the machine, he crept down the alley until he could see clearly the exact spot of his earlier arrival.  He waits the last few seconds and sees himself appear, and events unfold just as they had the last trip.

A gunshot.  Hitler lies dead.  The original George leaps back to the machine and hits the return button.  People pour from the nearby buildings, having heard the shot, and Hitler is indeed dead.  George returned to the device and hit return to origin.  He stepped out, less hopeful, and grabs up the history textbook.

Nothing has changed.

———————————————-

Odd, huh?  I’d be confused as well, if I were George, because George is thinking of time as a line.

———————————————

George sat and thought.  Suddenly, inspiration struck.

He headed over to the machine and added a few commands in a batch file.  He ran the file and hit send.  On the display, it read, “Origin marked”.

Arriving back in 1928, at a new location just before his last two arrivals, he stepped from the machine and waited.

There was a buzz.  A gunshot.  Another buzz.  Screams.

He walked down the street to have a look, and saw that Hitler was dead.

George returned to the machine.  He ran the batch file with the added command to save the result as “origin 2”

Pleased with himself, he set the computer to move to 2013 based on origin 2.  He pressed the button.

George stepped out of the machine, and went to pick up a nearby paper.  It was now 2013 in what should have been Germany.

He looked at the paper, then slowly looked around at the signs and license plates on the cars.

Cyrillic.  The Russian alphabet.

————————————

George has now thought of time as a plane.  He set the point of original reference, the point of “divergence” as his base, and moved up the stream from there.  He is now at a new point on the “plane” of time.

What do you think?  Does this “fix” the problem of time paradoxes?  George is now a ‘guest’ on a new timeline.  There may or may not be another George running around this place, but that hardly matters, as the traveling George is not “the same material” or anything.  He is “new material”.  He can shake hands with himself with nothing bad happening or anything.

Would this leave a “material vacuum” in the original universe?  Maybe.

It might be an interesting story, wouldn’t it?  🙂

(Sorry for the quality of writing for the story.  I was deliberately trying to keep it extremely basic.)

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Monsanto is….?


I’ve been through the deluge of information out there that “Monsanto is EEEEVVVIIIILLLL!”.  “GMOS ARE TEH DEBIL!”.  I dunno, it all smacks of heartfelt claims that don’t have a legitimate basis.  Don’t get me wrong, Monsanto could be horrible and GMO’s might be the end of all humanity, but I just need more information to come to those conclusions than,”They’re playing with God’s work” or “Well, they did something bad once upon a time”.

Of course, then there’s this:  http://exitmundi.nl/exitmundi.htm  (click on the picture labeled “yuk!”)

Indestructible grain destroys humanity.

Indestructible grain destroys humanity.

So…  me being me, I sent them a letter asking for more information.  Here’s the letter I sent through their “contact us!” link:

Hello, I’m trying to form a reasoned position about your company, your products, and your practices. There is plenty of information that depicts your company and products as “bad”, but some of the concepts-like drought resistant corn, appear good. Right now, I think that there is a general fear of anything people do not understand, as well as a fear of “large corporations” and their potential to do powerfully bad things. Put it all together, and I can’t speak for or against you or your products. I wind up fearing the products, even though I can see the potential for genetic modification to produce powerful agricultural items that could help the world. I can also see the potential for horrific consequences. I asked someone who was presenting you as a negative whether the problem was all GMOs, or more a fear that the GMO’s you produce are understudied and not understood by the public. The answers I got were heartfelt, but pretty unclear when it came to logic, appealing to opinion, religion, or security in “the old ways”. One even suggested that enough food is already produced without GMOs to end world hunger, and that your products were unnecessary, as if that was a reason in and of itself. So, I come to you. What are the potential products? Besides drought resistant corn, could you increase the nutritional value of a vegetable? Give it different flavors? Increased crop yields? What safeguards are there in place to prevent hybridization of special strains of corn? How many generations of plant should I expect to get if I purchase seeds from your company? (There are rumors that strains cease to be able to be replanted after 2 or 3 generations) What about the future? Could you produce a plant capable of growing on a semi-habitable planet, or one that does well with less sunlight, more sunlight, differences in gravity? Could you make a plant that would be able to be planted and grown in someone’s house without special equipment, that might be a way for urbanites to feed their families healthier food? If you have any other information that you think would be helpful to me in defining my position and thinking about your company, please, bring it up. Thank you, Arthur Russell

I fully expected to get no response, them being a “big, terrifying company” and me being “nobody important”.  I was pleasantly surprised to get this in response yesterday:

Dear Mr. Russell:

Thank you for contacting us – and my apologies for sending you so much information . . .

Executive Summary, Product Safety Summary and Peer Reviewed Safety Publications for our products can be found on our website www.monsanto.com:

http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/product-safety-summaries.aspx

Our Research & Development Pipeline (corn, soybean, cotton, specialty crops & vegetables):

http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/research-development-pipeline.aspx

From the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board http://www.goldenrice.org/

Please see information about agriculture and biotechnology:

http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/Pages/a-brief-history-of-agriculture.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/Pages/biotechnology-101.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/products/Pages/biotech-research.aspx

I invite you to take a look at the PBS series America’s Heartland ( http://www.americasheartland.org/ ), which offers a picture of American agriculture.

We have a series of videos on YouTube – such as Food for Thought – What do America’s Farmers grow?

Also, please see these articles about food safety:

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/food-safety.aspx#q1

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/food-safety-science.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/Biotech-Food-GMO-Safety.aspx

http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/biotech-safety-gmo-advantages.aspx

along with some outside sources:

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/biotech/en/

http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/csaph/a12-csaph2-bioengineeredfoods.pdf

http://reason.com/archives/2013/02/22/the-top-five-lies-about-biotech-crops

http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2012/1025gm_statement.shtml

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2408621/

Top Five Myths Of Genetically Modified Seeds, Busted

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/10/18/163034053/top-five-myths-of-genetically-modified-seeds-busted

and Mark Lynas in the UK:

http://vimeo.com/56745320    &    http://www.whybiotech.com/newsandevents/Mark_Lynas_Speech.pdf

http://www.marklynas.org/2013/04/time-to-call-out-the-anti-gmo-conspiracy-theory/

A good source about biotechnology and GM crops is the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. (http://www.isaaa.org/default.asp )

ISAAA does extensive surveys and studies on biotech/GM crops worldwide each year.  Their 2012 report has just been issued.

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/briefs/44/executivesummary/default.asp

They also have many publications available.

A very good one is “Agricultural Biotechnology (A Lot More than Just GM Crops).”

http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/agricultural_biotechnology/download/Agricultural_Biotechnology.pdf

This brochure presents tools that are important for agricultural biotechnology such as

– Conventional plant breeding

– Tissue culture and micropropagation

– Molecular breeding or marker assisted selection

– Genetic engineering and GM crops

– Molecular Diagnostic Tools

as well as questions and answers about GM crops

and http://www.isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/5/default.asp (Documented Benefits of GM Crops)

I hope you find this helpful. Please contact us again if you need additional information.

Sincerely,

Monsanto Webmaster

Now, I have not gone through all of this information yet, and I don’t think I will be entirely satisfied when I have gone through it all.  However, their simple willingness to share the information is, to me, a good sign.  It’s all freely available on the internet, but they certainly saved me a lot of time in looking around, and I really appreciate that.

 

I haven’t come to any conclusions yet, but I’m working on it.  I just can’t assume that they are bad without considering all the possible information.

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