Tag Archives: evolution
Machines with Human Abilities, Scientists Growing Dolls from Living Cells, and New Catfish Species Can Climb Rocks
> Tests show machines closing in on human abilities
> Scientists Grow Doll Out of Living Cells, Complex Organisms Next
> New Venezuelan Catfish Species Capable of Climbing
January 30, 2009
The New Scientist Magazine reported last week that the Turing test – a simple way to tell if a machine can think – shows that machines are closing in on human abilities, and can almost pass as one of us. And Gizmodo reported last week that researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a 5mm tall doll composed of living cells, in an experiment to create 3D living biological structures. Meanwhile, LiveScience reported last week that a previously unknown species of climbing catfish has been discovered in remote Venezuela, and its strange traits are shaking the evolutionary tree. Some pundits are debating the nature of life and consciousness, while others wonder whether silicon breasts are as good or better than the real ones.
“You are what you are but you can strive to be better if you want, and bigger boobs are always better, whether they’re real, imagined or silicon,” said Tom Headd-Bobb McGee, a weight lifter and part-time investment banker at several Wall Street firms currently in re-org. “Thinking cyborgs, Japanese-grown dolls and other life forms, even rock climbing fish are nothing compared to the crazy shit we’re going to see before the Obama administration is through. If I didn’t spend most of my time job hunting and checking out boob sizes I’d be nervous about the future. As it is, I just keep moving on and expect ‘change that somebody can believe in’ to keep coming at me. No point being afraid, just be ready to duck when you have to and hope for the best.”
Not everyone sees it the way Headd-Bobb does. “As human nature and animal evolution continue to advance into the realm of psycho-spiritual physical-ethereal dimensions and we become like gods and remake ourselves with human, plant, animal and mechanical components, we will reach the point where we will be all things at all times and none of them when we don’t want to be,” said Randi Anne-Browne, a new age philosopher and nymphomaniac, when she’s not flipping tofu burgers at the Green Galley Cafe and Head Bangers Lounge. “I mean, Barack Obama is closest to being all things and none of them, and often says and does conflicting things at the same time. He is the leading enlightened being on the planet so far, but he lacks physical cyber alteration that is really necessary for him to became a transcendent species capable of stepping beyond mere human and spiritual planes and into mechanical and Internet space and time. He’s close though. Really close. I can’t even understand the logic he’s using half the time and that proves it.”
New Scientist reported that it may have been dreamt up in 1950, but the Turing test – a simple way to tell if a machine can think – still holds powerful sway over many researchers striving to produce a machine at least in some respects equal with a human. The 2008 winner of the annual Turing test contest won using a brilliantly simple strategy that Turing didn’t even foresee. Elbot (elbot.com) convinced three of 12 humans it was just like them by acting like a human pretending to be a robot. The article said the line between reality and animation is blurring, and while there have been some significant milestones, bigger stuff is ahead. Robotic systems may soon have to make decisions over life and death.
At a conference last year legal and military experts suggested entrusting a Turing test with an altogether more serious job – determining whether or not military equipment may choose for itself when and where to fire. Debate at the Ethics of Autonomous Military Systems conference centered on whether a robot could yet commit a war crime. Ronald Arkin, of Georgia Institute of Technology, argues that machines will one day be able to make that judgment as well as a human can. One that does will have passed the military Turing test.
Gizmodo reported that researchers at the University of Tokyo created a 5mm tall doll composed of living cells, in an experiment to create 3D living biological structures. It’s cute and kinda gross at the same time. The experiment is supposed to help improve techniques to create bodily organs and tissues with complex cellular structures, which would be useful for regenerative medicine and drug development. Scientists created the little gingerbread-looking man by cultivating 100,000 0.1mm balls of collagen, each coated with dozens of skin cells and dropping them inside a doll-shaped mold for a day. The doll managed to survive in a culture solution for more than one day. Shoji Takeuchi, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science, said he’ll be trying to combine multiple types of cells next to create a complex system that could function as a living organism. Translated: “First we’re growing dolls. Next we’re going to grow PEOPLE.” Just kidding. I think.
LiveScience reported that a previously unknown species of climbing catfish has been discovered in remote Venezuela, and its strange traits are shaking the evolutionary tree for these fish. The newfound catfish, Lithogenes wahari, shares traits with two different families of fish – Loricariidae (armored catfishes) and Astroblepidae (climbing catfishes). It has bony armor that protects its head and tail, and a grasping pelvic fin that helps it to climb vertical surfaces such as rocks. “We see new fish species all the time, but when you also get new information about the biological history of a group, it’s the most fun,” Scott Schaefer of the American Museum of Natural History in New York said. “The question is whether the grasping pelvis and climbing behavior evolved once or if it was independently acquired in these groups. I don’t think it evolved twice, although there are slight anatomical differences – so the jury is still out.” The paper is published in the journal American Museum Novitates, and the research was supported by the Constantine S. Niarchos Scientific Expedition Fund and the National Science Foundation.
Some people say that Barack Obama isn’t really a new species at all, but is simply old style Chicago politics polished up for a new age.
“There’s nothing inherently different in Obama’s style of Chicago power politics, except that he personally breaks less bones while structuring a dominating political machine,” said Heather Rae Clevagemore, a natural blonde dental assistant and political analyst, with curves that don’t stop and an attitude to match. “Politicians are constantly redefining themselves, repackaging their message, rounding up support by making promises and then paying them off as they go along. That’s Barack’s deal on Guantanamo, on funding international abortion clinics, opening up the military for openly gay troops, all that stuff. Both Houses of Congress are Democrat and he’s got a full power majority. He’s trying to get a few Republicans to go along with him so he can call his pay-back non-partisan, but that’s same-old same-old. The difference is that he’s got an e-based army, the major media in his pocket, and George Soros money all behind him … plus a fearful public because of the economy, that’ll let him do anything he wants to as long as he keeps saying nice things to them. He won’t get down and dirty if he can knife people quietly along the way. It’s Chicago style the Barack 2.0 way.”
In other news, New Scientist reported last week that Charles Darwin was wrong about the tree of life. Darwin toyed with the concept of a “tree of life” to explain the evolutionary relationships between different species. It was to prove a fruitful idea: by the time he published On The Origin of Species 22 years later, Darwin’s spindly tree had grown into a mighty oak. For much of the past 150 years, biology has largely concerned itself with filling in the details of the tree. But today the project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence. Many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded. “We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality,” says Eric Bapteste, an evolutionary biologist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France.
So what happened? In a nutshell, DNA. The discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 opened up new vistas for evolutionary biology. The problems began in the early 1990s when it became possible to sequence actual bacterial and archaeal genes rather than just RNA. Everybody expected these DNA sequences to confirm the RNA tree, and sometimes they did but, crucially, sometimes they did not. As more and more genes were sequenced, it became clear that the patterns of relatedness could only be explained if bacteria and archaea were routinely swapping genetic material with other species – often across huge taxonomic distances – in a process called horizontal gene transfer (HGT). As it became clear that HGT was a major factor, biologists started to realise the implications for the tree concept. As early as 1993, some were proposing that for bacteria and archaea the tree of life was more like a web. No word on whether Obama 2.0 and his reliance on a web of e-connected backers will evolve into a second term, but Obama and his minions are on the case already, and like the leftist Senator who morphed into a centrist-looking President while continuing to do leftist things, Vegas is already betting he will likely climb the rocks better than a Venezuelan Catfish.
(C) 2009 InebriatedPress.com
Tests that show machines closing in on human abilities
Scientists Grow Doll Out of Living Cells, Complex Organisms Next
New Catfish Species Climbs Rocks
Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life
New Research: Men’s sperm quality depends on intelligence
News: Man claims he accidentally shot wife during sex
December 9, 2008
The UK Independent reported on Sunday that startling new research says the male gender is in danger as common chemicals are feminizing males of all classes of animals, including people. And Economist Magazine reported last week that a paper about to be published in “Intelligence” by Rosalind Arden of King’s College, London, says that brainy men have better sperm than stupid guys. Meanwhile, The UK Sun reported Friday that a U.S. man told cops he was reaching for something on the bedside table during sex with his wife when his pistol went off shooting a bullet into her chest. Pundits are debating whether Chinese pollution can be held to blame for bad sperm which resulted in a stupid man shooting his wife during sex, or whether household chemical companies are ultimately responsible.
“Obviously in an era when government bailouts of bad companies is commonplace, and teachers have indiscriminate sex with their students, no one is really responsible for themselves anymore; so either household chemical companies or pollution from China is to blame for the existence of the guy who shot his wife during sex,” said Alfredo Newmann, an attorney and TV talk show host wannabee, who often brushes his teeth out of habit but never gives to the needy for any reason. “Since the U.S. accepts tainted food and other products from China we can’t really blame them for the problem. I think the most logical thing to do is to sue Proctor and Gamble. I’m sure they’re producing something that’s probably harmful and they don’t need a cash bailout so they must have some money. P&G should probably write the guy and his wife a check for a few million dollars and then give me a cut since I proposed this reasonable settlement. I am an attorney after all and I understand this stuff. Maybe the government should just give me a cut of all transactions that occur in the U.S. directly; it’d save me the bother of collection. U.S. attorneys get a piece of most of the money swirling around our economy anyhow. It’s our clever sperm that enables us to do it. Science says so.”
Not everyone is climbing on board the Newmann attorney-led sex-injury-by-soap-company settlement express. “There are lots of stupid guys out there and a law degree only means you cleared a bar exam somewhere. Intelligence and common sense are two totally different things,” said Sandy Barnacle-Beachwear, a Clerk of Court and part-time wrestler at the Hapless Parrot Lounge. “If I decide to have a kid I’m going to have a clone made of myself anyway, so I don’t care if guys can’t procreate anymore. The few smart ones I know are married already and the bums who come on to me I want nothing to do with. Some people say pollution is messing with evolution and ruining guys’ sperm. I say evolution is doing its thing just fine. The idiots are dying out. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Too bad the moron who shot his wife during sex didn’t shoot himself in the chest. Still, evolution has always had a bit of random chance in it.”
The Independent reported that evolution is being distorted by pollution, which damages genitals and the ability of men to father offspring. According to startling scientific research from around the world, the male gender is in danger, with incalculable consequences for both humans and wildlife. Backed by some of the world’s leading scientists, who say that it “waves a red flag” for humanity and shows that evolution itself is being disrupted, the report comes out at a particularly sensitive time for British ministers. On Wednesday, Britain will lead opposition to proposed new European controls on pesticides, many of which have been found to have “gender-bending” effects. It also follows hard on the heels of new American research which shows that baby boys born to women exposed to widespread chemicals in pregnancy are born with smaller penises and feminized genitals. “This research shows that the basic male tool kit is under threat,” says Gwynne Lyons, a former government adviser on the health effects of chemicals, who wrote the report.
The Economist reported that a paper about to be published in “Intelligence” by Rosalind Arden of King’s College, London, and her colleagues, says that the quality of a man’s sperm depends on how intelligent he is, and vice versa. Ms Arden is one of a group of researchers looking into the connections between intelligence, genetics and health. They surmise that the reason for the link may be that intelligence is one manifestation of an underlying, genetically based healthiness; and vice versa; or that intelligent people make better choices about how to conduct their lives. Smarter guys may, for example, be less likely to smoke, more likely to eat healthy foods or to exercise, and so on. During the study they found that neither age nor any obvious confounding variable that might have been a consequence of intelligent decisions about health (obesity, smoking, drinking and drug use) had any effect on the result. Brainy men, it seems, do have better sperm. The story writer said this isn’t very politically correct to say, but the hypothesis looks stronger by the day.
The Sun reported that a husband has claimed he accidentally shot his wife while they were having sex. Timothy Havens, 38, told cops in the US he was reaching for something on the bedside table when the pistol went off. A bullet hit his estranged wife Carolyn in the chest. He dialed 911 and was heard saying in the emergency call: “[The gun was] right beside the bed. “I picked it up and put it off to the side. We were having sex and it went off.” Mrs. Havens, 42, was left fighting for her life at a hospital in Dayton, Ohio. Havens was arrested after it emerged his wife had a civil protection order against him. He had previously spent 60 days in jail for assaulting his wife and been ordered to attend anger management classes.
Some people say that when thinking about sex, men and intelligence part company.
“Modern men revert back to a caveman mindset the closer they get to a sexual opportunity, and I think if you tested the guys sperm and intelligence at that moment, you’d find the quality of both pretty low,” said a jogger casually passing gas in an affront to both males and climate change. “But I don’t know how to explain the insanity in the U.S. Congress. You’d think that both eggs and sperm quality would be so bad that bureaucracy would have died out altogether by now. I guess the smart folks must be throwing off some bad seeds that keep running for office so we maintain the bureaucratic population. Whoever claimed that evolution was survival of the fittest and that nature is constantly improving itself forgot about entropy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Our nation is going down if we won’t fight for it. Ronald Reagan said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.’ Yup, intelligence and common sense are two different things. Hopefully we figure out which is which before it’s too late.”
In other news, Germany’s The Local reported last week that a German man has been found dead in a pornography video booth at a Bonn Beate Uhse sex shop. Apparently “plump boobs and hot thighs” were too much for the 54-year-old pornography customer’s heart, who died while watching porn in one of the video-booths at the sex-shop on Bischofsplatz. Though authorities suspect he died of a heart attack, the doctor on the scene could not determine the cause of death at the time, and the corpse was handed over to police. No word about the quality of the guy’s sperm or his intelligence, or whether he believed in continuous improvement or entropy, but no doubt about it, he’s one less male running with the herd.
(C) 2008 InebriatedPress.com