In case you missed it… We’re cyborgs now. Will human evolution continue on this human-augmented path from here on out? As we now look to perfect our bodies using “unnatural” means, will the natural evolution stop working so hard? Or am I still losing my small toe?
Check out this riveting animation of a flyby of Saturn. This wasn’t drawn or modeled, but created by stitching together thousands of actual photographs taken from Cassini. This is as close as you’re going to get to actually visiting the jewel of our solar system unless someone invents some new-fangled fantastic means of propulsion.
That really sucks about the dodo. Our bad.
Are we alone?? Really? What a pointless question to ask. Of course we’re not alone. Look at the numbers. How is that even mathematically possible? It’s an antiquated question from a time when we didn’t quite fully grasp the universe around us. This is not to say that we grasp it now… far from it. But we’re certainly much farther along on that journey. To quote Sagan, for intelligence to have arisen on only one little ball of iron would be “an awful waste of space.”
But the numbers are beside the point. It is a loaded question. Even if we are alone, how are we ever going to satisfy that? Sure, this generation and many more that follow it will probably die not having a definitive answer. But that doesn’t mean it’s an answer. Simply put, the answer can never be “Yes, yes we are Greg.” No one will ever be content with a yes to this question. They’ll always be looking for little green men. So to contradict myself, the definitive answer is “No, dingbat. Stop asking.”
The question becomes, “Why would we be alone?” And that is a condescendingly rhetorical question.
Happy Birthday Carl Sagan. If we were friends on Facebook, I would send you a message today. It wouldn’t be a generic “Happy Birthday”, because you were not a generic man. Happy would-be 76th birthday to a great old hippy who did his best to unite the universe.
Ever since I went to Disney World for the first time, I’ve been intrigued by futuristic animatronic spectacle. There’s something about the innocence in the first half the 20th century, especially when it came to postulating the future, that is really endearing to me. Of course I didn’t live through it, but going back to look ahead is a strange and wonderful exercise.
General Motors’ Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair is the best example I can come up with. The General Motors Pavilion was a beautiful art deco experience and it’s main attraction was Futurama. The exhibit envisioned a world of tomorrow (the ’60s) with interconnected superhighways and futuristic urban landscapes. Visitors were strapped to a conveyor belt and shuttled around fully functioning miniatures in a model of the United States. Exposed to a wonderous and achievable world of the future. A lot of it was ultimately realized, but a lot still remains science fiction.
And of course, the 1939 World’s Fair had robots. Elektro was a gold-plated terror standing nearly 7 feet tall designed by Westinghouse Electric. Sure it was a bunch of parlor tricks and by all accounts benevolent, but Elektro must have blown minds back then. They didn’t know any better in 1939. I suspect many a child left that World’s Fair with nightmares after meeting Elektro. This thing could recognize voice commands, blow up balloons, and of course smoke cigarettes. Watch the video below. After counting on it’s fingers, Elektro is rewarded with the following command; You. May. Now. Smoke. This. Cigarette. Go. On. To which the presenter lights his cigarette and says to the crowd, “And folks he’s only two years old too. Just learning.”
I don’t know what Elektro did to piss off his makers, but eventually, his head was given to a retiring Westinghouse engineer and the rest of is aluminum body was sold for scrap.
I bet you didn’t know that there’s a World’s Fair going on right now in Shanghai. When’s New York going to have another?
I was reading this article on Cracked.com, which is where I pretty much get all my information. The article deals with ways your memory can play tricks on you. One of the points they bring up discusses Selective Attention, which I found rather fascinating. The idea that you are only seeing what you want or need to see. You can take a test on YouTube which illuminates just how much we think we’re visually taking in of the world versus how little we really are.
Take the test and see (or don’t see) for yourself.