֎Scientific American printed an issue that introduces the reader to new advances related to humans. For example, a Japanese scientist has successfully raised mice using skin cells that were reengineered to be egg cells. Mixed with normal mouse sperm, healthy mice were born. In the near future Japanese scientists hope to resolve human egg cell issues with this technology.
The overall genetic technology related to this feat is the discovery that any cell can be turned into any other type cell by turning on certain genes and turning off others.
֎On the other end of the spectrum is creating faux humans from robots. Scientists fully expect to create robots with compassion, common sense, and reasoning identical to humans who may possess the same attributes. Today, scientists are experimenting with robots (AKA androids) that learn the same way children learn; already the sex toy industry is close to matching the Stepford Wives and Stepford Men as well.
֎Today, scientists can capture brain images. Whatever image is occurring in the brain can be captured and reproduced by a special machine connected to the scalp. Scientists proved the principle by showing a volunteer a picture of a face. The machine captured the same face from brain activity.
֎The Atlantic has an article questioning how the World will feed the middle class in the future (as soon as 2050). The common attitude is “science and technology will improve crops.” In fact, scientists have discovered that the biggest issue is affluence. As populations become successful, consumption increases algebraically compared to increases in population – the expected 25% increase in global population by 2050 will require a 100% increase in food production. On the negative side, fertilizers, insecticides and genetically modified organisms (GMO) have an increasingly destructive effect on the environment. In other words, farmers can’t produce much more than they do today. Further, many scientists have taken the position that arable land is too crowded, overused and, in fact, should be reduced to sustain a healthy ecology.
֎From Livescience.com: “A flip in Earth’s magnetic field may be brewing. And if it is, an electromagnetic blob deep under southern Africa is likely to be ground zero for the change.
New research using clays burned in cleansing rituals by Iron Age farmers finds that over the past 1,500 years, an electromagnetic anomaly in the Southern Hemisphere has waxed and waned, with the magnetic field in the region weakening and strengthening. This weirdness may presage a gradual reversal in the magnetic field, so that magnetic north moves to the South Pole and vice versa. (A flip-flop of this sort last occurred 780,000 years ago.)”
Besides sending geese and whales in odd directions, the real issue is radiation from the Sun. The Earth’s magnetic field deflects most of the radiation but during a flip of the poles, the magnetic field will be very weak and for a short time, will not exist. Unblocked solar radiation would be deadly to living things on Earth.
֎Global warming is all the rage right now but the planet has other patterns that may be interesting. Major ice ages last for about 100,000 years with a gap of about 10,000 years in between. It has been 12,000 years since the last ice age; are we heading toward another ice age in the next few centuries? What obscures predictions is man-made global warming, which has raised global temperatures in a century or two that otherwise would take a few thousand years.
The primary cause of major ice ages is the influence of Jupiter and Saturn. In certain configurations of their orbits, they tilt the Earth just a tiny bit – altering the declination of the Earth about 2°. Other causes include wavering radiation from the Sun.
The mariner is truly perplexed that governments accept solutions to the issue of too many guns by agreeing with Donald, Florida legislators and the gun lobby that more guns are needed – in spite of a large majority of citizens disagreeing. Is there any better evidence that a democratic republic is a farce? Maybe things will be better when androids take over.