Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bleak Future Leads to Encyclopedia of Life

“As E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TED Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of all creatures that we learn more about our biosphere -- and build a networked encyclopedia of all the world's knowledge about life.” ( – 29 October 2009)

I mentioned the honeybees as an endangered species in another blog but, this video on Ted talks really accentuates the gravity of the situation. Let there be no doubt that the human race is the most destructive force on earth, if not the universe.

E.O. describes us as human juggernauts, forever obliterating earth’s ancient biosphere. For those who are interested in the evolution of man kind, this video is a must-watch. He describes the force we have become with an acronym: HIPPO.

• H: Habitat destruction such as climate change
• I: Invasive species - pathogenic bacteria & viruses among others
• P: Pollution
• P: Population expansion
• O: Over harvesting of species - excessive fishing and hunting

Why are we doing this? Why is the pursuit of fortune and instant gratification driving us to destroy life at our own peril? If we were once encouraged to live for the moment, this is the extreme case where it might not be acceptable to do so.

Annihilation of the estimated million trillions of insects living on the planet would lead the entire biosphere to death within a few months. Perhaps the likelihood of this event is slim but, it leaves us to ponder about the notion that we need to respect our environment. It’s simple common sense when we stop and think about it.

Of special note, to me, is the notion that among the infinite microscopic species, there might be aliens from outer space, which have arrived in the earliest times of evolution. They have been doing what they do ever since they “landed”. However, no one knows exactly what it is they do, how they do it, and what their purpose is. In some of our savage ways, the destruction of the environment is forever jeopardizing our capability to explain the marvel we have been blessed with – life on earth. Let there be no doubt of that.

The video is a bit over 22 minutes but, the vision of this man, accompanied by his passion and humor make it a very compelling plea for humanity. One blogger states that “the concept of humans killing off 'nature' as some Greens want to portray it is simply not true.” Here is the link to his Ted talk:

"Why we're storing billions of seeds"

It’s evident to me that, overall, some have put forth the effort to help preserve what Wilson says we are destroying. The problem is, it isn’t a global effort, yet.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sherden's "Fortune Sellers" - An Eye Opener

"Welcome to reality!" is what I felt someone telling me while reading this book.

Considering that it took a century for the steam engine to be contemplated as a viable alternative to power mills, ships and carriages, it’s a wonder what paradigm shift took place to bolster so much technical evolution in the past 60 years. Human imagination certainly has flourished at an astounding rate in the 20th century. I was surprised to discover that the first sci-fi novel dated back to 1770. Another century would go by before Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” sparked the interest and curiosity of the public.

WOW! We had a slow start but we sure have been making up for it.

Of interest to me is the rapid life-cycle turn around time now needed for companies to keep up with the Jones. The pressure to remain competitive certainly places the traditional business model in a state of flux. I’m no MBA but, I wonder how much of the development process had to be modified since paperwork and processes are usually in the way of creativity and effectiveness. I’d like to know what parameters are used today to make decisions such as what to dismiss when, how much time should be invested on any given idea, etc.

I found is amusing to discover that, sometimes, science fiction creators were able to spark innovations out of sheer originality, common knowledge and wishful thinking.
Even funnier is the dismissal of new technology ideas as mere toys by those qualified as
experts. The discovery of radio waves was itself dismissed as being “of little use” by such experts, when first announced.
This is a lesson in history we don’t seem to be able to assimilate, among others of course. *grin*
The craziest of ideas seem to have somehow materialized in one form or another.

From a 1260 medieval monk’s prediction of fast moving machines, through da Vinci’s helicopter, I recall a movie from the late 1960’s where a small team of expert physicians are miniaturized as part of a submarine crew. In this early version of “Honey I shrunk the kids”, this was a
“Fantastic Voyage” inside the human anatomy. The mission: navigate the blood stream to treat the patient. He would soon die if no one intervened. This journey was a last resort solution to save ingenuity. If you’re Raquel Welsh fan, this movie is for you. With today’s graphical capabilities, a remake of this movie could be quite educational!

Today, nanotechnology holds promises of doing exactly what some fantasized about 50 years ago. I was not even 10 years old when I watched a translated version of this movie but, the impression has been long lasting. *smile* Further, exploration and treatment of the human body is currently possible via optical instruments better known as laparoscopic surgery. So what if we can’t be navigating blood vessels ourselves!

But, stay tuned!
Please visit the following link for a status on the status of nanotechnology in the medical field.
*** Medical News Today ***
I was amazed to see the very same movie I remember being referenced today. Nano-GPS systems will soon be of this world. The forecast on this one? Only three years away they say.