“Surrogates” scenario: FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves—fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles—enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
February 8, 2010
Source: New Scientist Space — February 7, 2010
The Wilkinson Anisotropy Microwave Probe (WMAP) team points out that if something as unlikely as Hawking’s initials can be found in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) data, the chances of finding other apparently improbable patterns may also be quite high, and asks readers to mark the shapes they find in the CMB image.
“If you think you can see your initials, the face of Jesus or a unicorn,… read more
January 18, 2010
Source: The New York Times — January 14, 2010 | Susan Pinker
In The Hidden Brain, writer Shankar Vedantam explores the unconscious mind, focusing on covert influences on human behavior. Invisible forces that control our behavior have inspired our best storytellers, from Euripides to Steven Spielberg. Whether we’re yanked around by jealous gods, Oedipal urges or poltergeists, the idea that we feel powerless to direct our own actions has… read more
January 14, 2010
Source: The New York Times — December 24, 2009 | William Saletan
“The Body Electric” | Two years ago, in his book Rocketeers, Michael Belfiore celebrated the pioneers of the budding private space industry. Now he has returned to explore a frontier closer to home. The heroes of his new book, The Department of Mad Scientists, work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, a secretive arm of… read more
An article, “Why Do Dachshunds Have Short Legs? Science Has an Answer,” in R&D, July 17, 2009, reminds me of an observation. In the language of computer programming, a retrogene is a patch on a pre-existing piece of software. Could it be that the entire embryogenic/genomic network that dictates a creature’s morphology is nothing more than a set of onion-skin layers or patches on conserved coded-machinery that has worked before? If so, it’s going to take a lot of industrial-strength gene-insertion genomics to unravel it, since it has no real logic that would help us make sense of it and guide us to a proper reading frame. (This is more evidence that there’s no “intelligence” in the “Intelligent Design” of Darwinian evolution).… read more