2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal

5:47:49 PM, Sunday, February 27, 2011

"On Feb. 15, 1965, a diffident but self-possessed high school student named Raymond Kurzweil appeared as a guest on a game show called I've Got a Secret. He was introduced by the host, Steve Allen, then he played a short musical composition on a piano. The idea was that Kurzweil was hiding an unusual fact and the panelists — they included a comedian and a former Miss America — had to guess what it was.

On the show (see the clip on YouTube), the beauty queen did a good job of grilling Kurzweil, but the comedian got the win: the music was composed by a computer. Kurzweil got $200.

Kurzweil then demonstrated the computer, which he built himself — a desk-size affair with loudly clacking relays, hooked up to a typewriter. The panelists were pretty blasé about it; they were more impressed by Kurzweil's age than by anything he'd actually done. They were ready to move on to Mrs. Chester Loney of Rough and Ready, Calif., whose secret was that she'd been President Lyndon Johnson's first-grade teacher.

But Kurzweil would spend much of the rest of his career working out what his demonstration meant. Creating a work of art is one of those activities we reserve for humans and humans only. It's an act of self-expression; you're not supposed to be able to do it if you don't have a self. To see creativity, the exclusive domain of humans, usurped by a computer built by a 17-year-old is to watch a line blur that cannot be unblurred, the line between organic intelligence and artificial intelligence.

That was Kurzweil's real secret, and back in 1965 nobody guessed it. Maybe not even him, not yet. But now, 46 years later, Kurzweil believes that we're approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. When that happens, humanity — our bodies, our minds, our civilization — will be completely and irreversibly transformed. He believes that this moment is not only inevitable but imminent. According to his calculations, the end of human civilization as we know it is about 35 years away..."

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K'naan - Wavin' Flag

3:32:14 PM, Sunday, February 27, 2011
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The Honey Badger Doesn't Give a Shit

2:48:36 AM, Sunday, February 27, 2011

-- Honey Badger don't give a shit, it just takes what it wants.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day: Simeis 147, Supernova Remnant

2:23:23 AM, Sunday, February 27, 2011

-- "It's easy to get lost following the intricate filaments in this detailed mosaic image of faint supernova remnant Simeis 147. Also cataloged as Sh2-240 and seen towards the constellation Taurus, it covers nearly 3 degrees (6 full moons) on the sky. That corresponds to a width of 150 light-years at the stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years. The remarkable composite includes image data taken through narrow-band filters to highlight emission from hydrogen and oxygen atoms tracing regions of shocked, glowing gas. This supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000 years - meaning light from the massive stellar explosion first reached Earth 40,000 years ago. But this expanding remnant is not the only aftermath. The cosmic catastrophe also left behind a spinning neutron star or pulsar, all that remains of the original star's core."

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11,500-Year-Old Remains of Cremated 3-Year-Old Discovered

4:44:51 PM, Saturday, February 26, 2011

"An archaeological dig in Alaska has uncovered the oldest human remains ever found in Arctic or Subarctic North America – the cremated skeleton of a 3-year-old.

The chlid's burned bone fragments were found in a fire pit in the remains of an ancient house near the Tanana River in central Alaska. Researchers date the cremation to 11,500 years ago. After the child's body was burned, researchers report in the Feb. 25 issue of the journal Science, the house and hearth were buried and abandoned.

"The fact that the child was cremated within the center of the house … this was an important member of society," said study author Ben Potter, an archaeologist at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks..."

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Helmet-Cam Footage of a Hiker Falling Down a Mountain

1:45:21 AM, Saturday, February 26, 2011

-- A skier tumbles backwards down the rocky side of a mountain and walks away with minor injuries, while his helmet-cam records it all!

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Breast Milk Ice Cream A Hit At London Store

9:44:04 PM, Friday, February 25, 2011

"Anyone pining for some ice cream in London now has an unusual option to consider: ice cream made from mothers' breast milk. The Icecreamists shop has made headlines for using milk from as many as 15 women to make its new "Baby Gaga" flavor.

The rare offering proved a hit with customers at the Covent Garden store — the first batch sold out within days of being introduced. A serving of Baby Gaga, which is reportedly flavored with vanilla and lemon zest, goes for 14 pounds — or about $22.50.

The milk came from women found on an Internet advertisement. And the folks at Icecreamists say all the milk "was screened in line with hospital/blood donor requirements."

In an interview for British TV, store founder Matt O'Connor says, "It's pure, it's natural, it's organic, and it's free range — and if it's good enough for our kids, it's good enough to use in our ice cream...""

-- Umm... Follow link for the rest and a clip...

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Sorry About All the Bombs

9:29:57 PM, Friday, February 25, 2011

"It’s the original guide to “everything illegal,” from pot loaf and hash cookies to tear gas, dynamite, and TNT. There are frank tips on demolition, surveillance, sabotage, and the gorier parts of hand-to-hand combat, including how to behead a man with piano wire and make a knife “slip off the rib cage and penetrate the heart.” In the introduction, the then-teenage author makes clear his wish that the book be of more than just theoretical use. “I hold a sincere hope that it may stir some stagnant brain cells into action,” he wrote.

William Powell, author of The Anarchist Cookbook, succeeded all too well. His slim, 160-page volume democratized the nuts and bolts of terror. Published in 1971, it would sell more than 2 million copies worldwide and influence dozens of malcontents, mischief makers, and killers. Police have linked it to the Croatian radicals who bombed Grand Central Terminal and hijacked a TWA flight in 1976; the Puerto Rican separatists who bombed FBI headquarters in 1981; Thomas Spinks, who led a group that bombed at least 10 American abortion clinics in the mid-1980s; and the 2005 London public-transport bombers.

Just last spring, after a father-son team of British white supremacists drew on the book to make a jar of ricin, a London judge joined police in calling for a ban on the title and the many copycat volumes it has inspired. But retailers refused, and the book’s Arizona-based publisher, which acquired the rights in 2001, declined to comment. So the work lives on, and so does its author. Just not in the way you might expect.

Powell, now 61 years old, long ago renounced the best-selling terrorist bible he penned. He left the country in 1979, bouncing around the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, working as a teacher and administrator in a series of State Department–backed private schools. He wrote more books, about pedagogy and professional development. And he gained a reputation for—wait for it—conflict resolution..."

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26 Uncomfortable Moments With Muammar Gadaffi

2:12:41 AM, Friday, February 25, 2011

-- Need I say more?...

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The IceCube Neutrino Observatory

1:06:55 PM, Thursday, February 24, 2011

“Moving around us at all times, are tiny subatomic particles that move so fast it's nearly impossible to detect them. Scientists believe that these ghostly particles, called neutrinos, might even be able to pass straight through earth without ever running into another atom. Determined to trace these elusive neutrinos, researches in Antarctica have built a contraption to do just that:The IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

In December, technicians finished installing more than 5,000 light-detectors deep in the ice below the South Pole. On the rare occasion when a neutrino collides with an atom in the ice, it will produce a flash of light that these detectors can record. Over time, astronomers can study these neutrino flashes to learn about the black holes, exploding stars and other exotic places in the universe where the neutrinos originated.

While diving into the world of neutrino science, we discovered the eerie sci-fi-ish world of neutrino detectors. These Kubrick-esque detectors can be filled with water, ice, chlorine, gallium and thousands of phototubes waiting for a reaction to occur between an otherworldly neutrino and boring old normal particle.”

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Bicycle Striptease

4:30:03 PM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

-- NSFWOC (or church), a soul burning video this. You've been warned. Shot with Canon 550D + Canon 50mm 1.8 Lens. via Fixed Gear Girl Taiwan

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Inside the Business of Selling Human Body Parts

4:06:28 PM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Is the human body sacred? Or is it a commodity ready to be chopped up and exposed to the forces of supply and demand? The answer is a matter of perspective. Our own body is a temple. But when we need a spare part, suddenly we’re surprisingly open to a transaction. To a person looking for a kidney, a scientist trying to learn anatomy, a beauty parlor customer looking for the perfect ‘do, there’s no substitute for a piece of someone else.

The problem is, demand for replacement flesh grossly outstrips supply. In the US and like-minded countries, it’s illegal to sell body parts—they can be taken only from those who filled out a donor card before they died or who are willing to give up an organ out of sheer benevolence. This means there isn’t enough tissue to go around. So, as with any outlawed or heavily regulated resource, a bustling underground trade has formed.

Sometimes the market in body parts is exploitive: Desperate people are paid tiny sums for huge donations. Other times it is ghoulish: Pieces are stolen from the recently dead. And every so often, the resource grab is lethal—people are simply killed for their organs. Welcome to the red market..."

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Dark Side of the Lens

3:26:15 PM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

-- Brilliant. Amazing. Brilliant. Watch it.

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Dan Balan and Vera Brezhnev - Petal's Tears

2:40:31 AM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011
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Ant Harm: Can Genetic Weapons Roll Back the Expansion of Argentine Ant Supercolonies?

2:26:46 AM, Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“In 1907 Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) arrived in Los Angeles via a cargo ship. Within just a few years of their arrival the six-legged stowaways formed a single, massive colony—known as a supercolony—that stretched through California from south of the Mexico border to San Francisco.

A liberal spraying of pesticides in the past century has done nothing to diminish the ants' numbers—L. humile infestations are the most common cause of pest control calls in southern California. The Argentine ant's takeover of coastal California is marked by small shifts in the local, native ecosystem. Populations of the coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum) have declined sharply in recent years due to the displacement of native ants the lizard depends on for food. Citrus farmers have required increasing quantities of pesticides to cope with rising numbers of aphids, scale insects and other pests that the Argentines actively protect in exchange for the sweet honeydew they produce.

In an effort to better understand and help combat the ants, a group of researchers led by Neil Tsutsui at the University of California, Berkeley, sequenced the genome of L. humile. The results were published January 31 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"An increasingly large number of research groups are focusing on Argentine ants because of their agricultural problems," Tsutsui says. "One of our main goals was just to provide a large resource for the community of scientists that study Argentine ant biology…””

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