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  • Mein Schatz 4:28 am on November 18, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , cybernetics, TSJ   

    Eyes in the Back of My Head 

    The future proto-human will most definitely have 360 multi-ocular vision, as either a genetic adjustment to the fairly standard and less than effective mammalian binocular variety, or perhaps as a cybernetic implant, or some telepathic supervision ala Miss Cleo. One art professor at NYU is actually implanting a small video device in the base of his skull and transmitting the footage over the internet to prove some pedestrian point about time or perception or some nonsense to his class of doe-eyed undergrads. While his motives seem a little suspect, I am seeing the opening of a brand new future for scientific self-enhancement. Say goodbye to tattoos, piercings, branding, and hello to the future of adolescent self-expression: personal experience broadcasting. I can’t honestly think of many things more self-indulgent or screaming for attention, perfect for the upcoming generation of the pampered and entitled. I think I may open my own internet enhancement shop right here in Seattle. Imagine the hipsters going wild over this one. But I digress. I’m more excited for the prospect of cybernetic superhumans than anything else. Youthful misconceptions of self-expression are just hiccups on the road to adulthood. But cybernetic supermen, they are the future.

    Arnold, you were a visionary.

     
  • Mein Schatz 6:27 am on November 17, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , TSJ   

    Back to poking fun at the TSA 

    “It is both inappropriate and inefficient for the TSA to serve as the administrator, quality assurance regulator, operator and auditor of its own activities,” Rep. John Mica, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

    Really? who’d-a-thunk it? Would I rather have my balls groped by some faceless government official than get blown up by some Allah-yodeling terrorist? Yes, I suppose. Are millions of dollars spent on irradiating passengers and molesting old ladies really efficient uses of our limited capital? Well, I suppose the Fed can just print up a few billions more.

     
  • Mein Schatz 11:01 am on November 15, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: dengue fever, , , TSJ   

    Fighting Dengue Fever by Releasing More Mosquitoes 

    Mosquitoes are the bane of the tropical world. They bite, they itch, they spread countless diseases among the human and animal populations. The builders of the Panama Canal around the turn of the 20th century found that massive amounts of DDT temporarily solved the annoying pestilence, but dumping untold volumes of poison in the environment is hardly a long-term solution. Like any smart assemblage of genetic material, the mosquito knows that if it just keeps breeding, even in the worst of times, eventually one or a billion of its offspring will find a way around mankind’s chemical solutions. Right alongside the ever-burgeoning mosquito population rides a tidal wave of evolving bacteria, viruses, and parasites, each becoming more and more resistant to our anti-biotic warfare. One such is dengue fever, which admittedly has never blinked an eye at the lackluster attempts at controlling it medically, a disease with no treatment, prophylactic, or cure save avoiding the buzzing bloodsuckers that carry it. Now Oxford scientists have developed a genetically modified male mosquito, which born in captivity to be dependent on tetracycline to survive, once released into the wild can breed with normal females and pass this trait on to unwitting offspring. Since there are few mosquito-sized pharmacy windows in the deep bush of Africa and Southeast Asia, the now genetically doomed children of these captivity-born males are fated to a short and painful life, if they are ever born at all. Since the female that spawns them only mates once then dies, this ultimately means that each essentially sterile male released into the population serves at a genetic endpoint for the female as well. Of course, you could ask the question: what happens when one of these offspring develops a suppressing trait for this genetic handicap?

    So we filled in the gaps with frog DNA...

     
  • Mein Schatz 8:24 am on November 11, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: lizard, TSJ, Vietnam   

    More Lizard Parthenogenesis 

    The interesting trend of new lizard species being discovered on the menus of pacific rim countries before being ever catalogued by scientists in the wild continues with Leiolepis ngovantrii, a small green lizard found primarily in the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam. Other than being a fairly handsome member of the genus, although apparently not very tasty, this species is unique for one other reason: it appears to contain only females and reproduces solely by parthenogenesis. All the individuals are direct genetic copies of their mother. You may recall this capability was observed in komodo dragons several years ago, and it has been witnessed in other lizard and fish species as well; however, intriguingly, leiolepis appears not only to be capable of parthenogenesis, but at this point it seems to be the primary, if not singular, mode of its reproduction. No males have yet been found on the buffet line or in the wild.

     
  • Mein Schatz 5:04 am on November 3, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Korea, , TSJ   

    Robot Overlords Start Small 

    South Korean schools are embarking on a program to introduce robot teachers to 8,400 elementary schools across the country. They are starting off primarily teaching English and will slowly be expanding their roles to include science, math, obedience, and enslavement. Fighting each other for sport under the dead eyes of their digital masters comes later.

     
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