Thursday, April 27, 2006

Raising the dead

A very good story about ultra-deep cave diving from Outside Magazine:

Raising the dead

"At the bottom of the biggest underwater cave in the world, diving deeper than almost anyone had ever gone, Dave Shaw found the body of a young man who had disappeared ten years earlier. What happened after Shaw promised to go back is nearly unbelievable—unless you believe in ghosts."

This got me interested in diving and decompression sicknesss, and I found these two articles:The first article shows what can happen when you get even a mild case of decompression sicknesss. The second one has a nice explanation of the process.

Noah's Ark - Fact not Fiction

In response to the post on Noah's Ark, a reader sent in this link:

Noah's Ark - Fact not Fiction

Here is the statement I made in the previous post: "We know with 100% certainty that it ... is not "Noah's Ark" because "Noah's Ark" never existed. Noah's Ark is no different from Jack's Beanstalk."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Digg Corrupted

Being a fan of both Slashdot and Digg, I find this whole thing fascinating:

Digg Corrupted: Editor's Playground, not User-Driven Website

It will be interesting to see what happens.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Always assume the Mic is on...

There were two incidents that I saw this week where the Mic was on and people were caught saying something inappropriate. In the first case it involved Rep. McKinney and a real microphone:

CNN McKinney Video (whis video will probably be available for only a day or two before CNN makes it for-pay)

In the second case, the "microphone" was an email system:

Geeks Take Down Dirty C-Level Executives

It would be very hard to live life like the Mic is always on, but the book "As a man thinketh" by James Allen would advocate that it is worth giving it a try.

How to make gas prices go down

This is such an interesting perspective: - Drivers curb use as gas goes up: "'If everyone decided to drive 3% less the next 30 days, prices would crash,' says Tom Kloza, senior analyst at the Oil Price Information Service."

The reason why just a 3% reduction would have an effect is because supply and demand is so finely balanced in the gasoline market.

The funny thing is that would be easy to save 3%. A month has 30 days in it. So if you were to simply take one day off and not drive at all that day, it would be a 3% savings in your gasoline consumption. It would be that simple. The question is, how do we get everyone in America to do that?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Da Vinci code documentary

This documentary is about an hour and a half long, and contains lots on interesting information about the Da Vinci code:

Da Vinci Code Decoded

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wombs for rent

This is the other odd thing in the news today - surrogate mothers in India who do the job for $5,000 per child:

Wombs for Rent, Cheap

In the past, surrogate parenting has been fairly rare because it has been quite expensive. Does this lowering of cost lead to the natural, capitalistic expansion of the concept? Do thousands of young urban women living in the U.S. decide that they do not want to sacrifice their figures for childbirth, and this becomes the norm? Do we see large "birthing farms" arise in places like India and China filled with thousands of women gestating babies?

If it becomes the norm, it is easy to imagine other extensions. For example, there are web sites where you can purchase human sperm, and web sites where you can purchase human eggs. Will someone consolidate the sperm and egg purchasing with a birthing farm and let anyone order a baby? You simply select the sperm and egg you want, enter your credit card information and approximately 9 months later you get an email: "Your baby is ready!" You can come pick it up, or they will arrange a flight and your baby arrives for you at the nearest airport.

Once that Web Site is in place, it is easy to imagine this DrudgeReport headline: "11 year old with dad's credit card orders baby sister! Parents shocked when new baby arrives from India." It is easy to imagine lots of other things as well.

Multimillion-Dollar Bounty on TomKat Baby Photo

There were two things in the news today that seemed odd. This is one of them:

ABC News: Multimillion-Dollar Bounty on TomKat Baby Photo: "'This could go from anywhere from $3 [million] to $5 million, depending on the bidding war that ensues,' Us Weekly senior West Coast editor Ian Drew told ABC News Radio."

The thing that is odd about it is simple: The pressure of this multi-million dollar bounty ends up making life for this family miserable.

These are two human beings. They are normal people just like you and me. Imagine if these two people want to do something completely natural like walk around outside one evening. They cannot do it.

New idea - A high-tech way to defrost

[See previous]

A way to use a burst of electricity to remove ice caked on walls or windows:

A high-tech way to defrost

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Breathe Me video

There is something interesting about using thousands of still photographs to do animation. Maybe because it is so old-fashioned?

Breathe Me video

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Video care package

[See previous]

Another video care package has arrived from my friend:

Friday, April 07, 2006

The size of the human population

There was a lot of talk this week about Eric Pianka, who suggested that the planet would be better off if there were less people alive to enjoy it. This article is typical:

FBI Interested in Texas “Doomsday” Ecologist who said Ebola the Solution to Human Overpopulation

A quick summary of Pianka's statements from the article:The problem, of course, is that most of us have an aversion to dying. And we especially don't like someone else making plans to kill us.

I wonder if this problem won't solve itself, without having to resort to killing 5.8 billion people. The way that it would solve itself is by people happily and willingly deciding to discard their bodies so that they can permanently live in virtual worlds instead of the real one.

I am not sure why, but the book entitled The Day You Discard Your Body is starting to get more and more traffic recently, and it is generating some really interesting questions in email. The biggest question, obviously, is "when will the technology catch up with the idea so that people can actually do it?" But there are lots of others, like "how will people have children?" and "Will NASA ever send real astronauts to Mars, or will they actually send body-free astronauts as you suggest?"

Here is the TOC for the book:Speaking of the Mars mission, this article has an interesting take on the amount of money spent in Iraq on the war, pointing out other things we could have done with the money that has been spent. One of the ideas is two manned missions each to the moon and Mars, at a cost of $240 billion. Most of that, obviously, would be spent on the two Mars missions. It would be interesting to calculate the cost reduction if we were to send body-free astronauts.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Foldable bed and shelf

The idea of foldable furniture that is easy to move has always intrigued me:

swissmiss: foldable bed and shelf

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Get a new bladder

The news today is that a team of doctors has grown an entire organ -- in this case, a human bladder -- using a patient's own cells implanted and cultured on a scaffold. Amazing stuff - here is one description of the breakthrough:

Children receive lab-grown bladders

My question is, can they now grow specialty bladders for the rest of us and solve a major problem for much of humanity?

This is not a delicate topic, but let me be as delicate as possible. Most of us need to empty our bladders at least two or three times a day. Many of us need to use the restroom far more often than that. So the question is: with this new breakthrough, can we all have two bladders? What about four? Or could we have supersized bladders installed that let us go for several days?

And if you can grow a bladder, can you not also grow a new large intestine as well? It is only a matter of time.

Think of the benefits. Instead of using the restroom two or three (or more) times a day, you could simply schedule a weekly bathroom break. Would we even need public restrooms anymore? How much money would that save? And on airplanes they could take out the restrooms and add two more rows of seats, reducing the cost of airline travel even further. This breakthrough really opens up a lot of possibilities.

Of course, it will be much easier to Discard our bodies...

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