Singularitarians & Secessionists – techno-tubes & uplift

I really do like these mad, transcendentalist singularity guys! Alas for their simple, Moore’s Law extrapolations —

 

KurzweilSingularityCover“The brain’s overall complexity is almost beyond belief. One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor -with both memory-storage and information-processing elements – than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may  contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth”

Clearly, intracellular processing plays some role, as I forecast in 1989, in EARTH. Heck, even a factor of ten plays hob with those who think it will be trivial to duplicate and transcend the power of the human brain. Oh, well.

How’s this for synchronicity? I am the very model of a singularitarian.

While we’re on the subject, I am often asked why I don’t depict uplifted octopi, or other cephalopoids, the intellectual giants of the invertebrate kingdom.  Well, I do depict a pretty smart ‘ps in my next novel, EXISTENCE.  But they really are the aliens among us.  For example, take this:

Octopuses have large nervous systems, centered around relatively large brains. But more than half of their 500 million neurons are found in the arms themselves, Godfrey-Smith said. This raises the question of whether the arms have something like minds of their own. Though the question is controversial, there is some observational evidence indicating that it could be so, he said. When an octopus is in an unfamiliar tank with food in the middle, some arms seem to crowd into the corner seeking safety while others seem to pull the animal toward the food, Godfrey Smith explained, as if the creature is literally of two minds about the situation.”

Our last common ancestor reaches back to the dim depths of time, 500 million to 600 million years ago. That means octopus intelligence likely evolved entirely separately and could be very different from that of vertebrates.

===About our long-term survival
See a fascinating interview of Rebecca D. Costa regarding her new book:Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction. Her appraisal of “supermemes” or mental habits that prevent us from perceiving or negotiating solutions to problems, is most enlightening.

How many ways could Earth be destroyed? In his book, Armageddon Science: the Science of Mass Destruction, Brian Clegg catalogs real and theoretical threats to our planet. The most likely in his view: nuclear weapons, cyberterrorism and natural disasters.

My home state: What is the future of California? California Dreams asks you toimagine the future: what will a day in your life look like in Futuristic California. Submit a video.

“Top Ten reasons to expect the next ten years to be more exciting than the last.”

Delivering food & freight by a series of tubes – sounds like vacuum tubes of drive-through bank tellers, but it would work via induction motors & intelligent software. This Futurama ‘pipe’ dream would cut carbon emissions and lessen our dependence on truck deliveries, which makes our cities fragile. Don’t tell me this idea sucks.

= Secessionism is… “patriotic”? or hypocrisy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – At South Carolina’s Secession Gala, men in frock coats and militia uniforms and women in hoopskirts will sip mint juleps as a band called Unreconstructed plays “Dixie.” In Georgia, they will re-enact the state’s 1861 secession convention. And Alabama will hold a mock swearing-in of Confederate President Jefferson Davis…._

PAST-civil-war…who, just three years before that, gave a famous speech demanding that all soldiers and citizens hold to their vows to the United States, right or wrong, through thick or thin, as their paramount, sacred duty. Yet, soon, in a snit over their side losing an election – nothing more – the southern aristocracy hurled their neighbors into a hopeless conflagration that despoiled their region for generations. Why?

We are told by these modern secession-romantics that “it was never about slavery but state’s rights.” So?  Name the crime that had been committed against their states’ rights?  Demand that they cite one.  Even one.
Even the secession declarations do not cite any specific grievances, because there were none! There had been no time for even a single action to have been taken, by Congress, or abolitionists, or an Abraham Lincoln who was not even yet president. When you break a solemn oath – without having been harmed a scintilla… or once even having tried to negotiate with your countrymen… then you have no excuses.  You are simply a traitor.

Oh, by the way, actually read the Declaration of Secession. It repeatedly and relentlessly and openly cites slavery as the core thing that they are fighting to defend.  “Slave” is present 20 times.
I have said it before.  I will no longer let any good old boy, who fantasizes about going back in time and riding with Nathan Bedford Forest, preach to me about patriotism.

_Meanwhile, Republican whip Eric Cantor has launched an attack on that most dastardly bastion of anti-american subversion…the National Science Foundation
With the abandonment of patriotism and fiscal responsibility and 9/11 as ralling cries, it seems that the neocons are left with just two themes. Keep heaping largesse on the rich.  And hatred of smartypants

and finally…

A Missouri deputy might think twice the next time he tries to arrest a person on bogus charges. The last time he did so, the arrest was caught on a hidden camera in the arrestee’s sunglasses.” Carlos Miller’s Photography Is Not A Crime site tracks these types of cases on a daily basis.

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Filed under politics, science

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