humani nil a me alienum puto

random rants about news, the law, healthcare law, economics and anything I find amusing

Disturbing Paragraph of the Month

I read an article entitled “Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat will Change our Lives“, courtesy of Marginal Revolution.  (A blog that is now one of my favorites).  The article contains the most disturbing paragraph I’ve read this month. (The overall article being quite interesting).   The article discusses the emergence of in-vitro meat (mass produced, as the article describes it: “tank steak, sci fi sausage, petri pork, beaker bacon, Frankenburger, vat-grown veal, laboratory lamb, synthetic shmeat, trans-ham, factory filet, test tube tuna, cultured chicken, or any other moniker that can seduce the shopper’s stomach”).  The article goes through a number of potential implications of mass-produced, cheap IVF, including #6:

Humans are animals, so every hipster will try Cannibalism. Perhaps we’ll just eat people we don’t like, as author Iain M. Banks predicted in his short story, “The State of the Art” with diners feasting on “Stewed Idi Amin.” But I imagine passionate lovers literally eating each other, growing sausages from their co-mingled tissues overnight in tabletop appliances similar to bread-making machines.

We shall see.  (Burgers compliments of Red Robin.)

via Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat will Change Our Lives | h+ Magazine.

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P.W. Singer TED Presentation: Wired For War

I really love the talks on TED.  See my earlier post.  I heard one tonight that I wanted to log.  Peter Warren Singer is the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution.  His TED talk discusses his current book, Wired for War, and the emerging use of robotics to replace humans on and above the battlefield.   He’s been out on the circuit promoting his book — I heard him on NPR’s Fresh Air a few months back.

What’s fascinating about all this is how quickly some of these technologies are now emerging.  The robotic pack mule, the drones, etc. are amazing.  But even more interesting is the psychological and practical effect these technologies might have.  I think we are entering a world of profound unintended consequences.  No, not Terminator — but maybe disturbing.  Take a look.

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Princeton University – High-powered mathematicians take on free will

A favorite topic of my undergrad years — is there free will and if so where does it come from.  Interestingly, theoretical mathematicians and particle physicists are weighing in.  And if they are right, there is something fundamentally causally disconnected at the particle level.  In other words, uncertainty at the particle level might give rise to uncertainty on the macro level and a place for ‘free-will’ to exist.  John Conway and  Simon Kochen are working on a paper and presentations at Princeton that “will have one focus. [They are ]set on explaining …the tenets of their “Free Will Theorem.” The gist of it is this They say they have proved that if humans have free will then elementary particles — like atoms and electrons — possess free will as well. ”  They explain, “[i]t’s not about theories anymore — it s about what the universe does. And w’ve found that from moment to moment nature doesn’t know what it’s going to do. A particle has a choice.”

The smallest particles inside an atom have a property known as “spin.” And scientists have found that the spin of some particles may be related to the spin of other particles something known as “entanglement” and also known as the “twin” axiom. However an experimenter s choice of spin direction to measure cannot be communicated faster than the speed of light. This is the “fin” axiom. Looking at this sequence of facts the mathematicians have been able to extract the conclusion that if a human experimenter can make decisions independently of past events then the particle can also make a free choice.

via Princeton University – High-powered mathematicians take on free will.

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Cosmos – On Hulu

I recently was exploring Hulu.  It’s a really fantastic site if it has the shows you like to view.  On his Bad Astronomy Blog

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August 2020

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