April 29, 2009

Presented without context

Thanks, I think, to Michael

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April 28, 2009

The Big Reboot

Juan Enriquez talks about death by government and rebirth by science.

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Interesting talk on bacterial communication

Bonnie Bassler at TED.

The really big deal is that bacteria may require communication to become pathogenic, which means we might be able to interfere with them as pathogens without actually killing them.  Why is this better than killing them?  Because any measure we take to kill some bacteria (i.e. antibiotics) inevitably exerts selective pressure, eventually resulting in the evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria.  If we can obviate their pathogenic behaviors by interfering with their communication and without killing them, we don't push their evolution, and we don't get sick.  Very cool stuff.

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April 16, 2009

Neanderthin, week 1 recap

After posting about it last week, I got inspired, so I've been eating paleo starting with breakfast last Friday. Those loyal readers who recall the pitiful failure that was Meat Week (which ended on day 5) will be pleased to know that so far I've been able to keep to it rather easily.  Fruit, vegetables, and nuts help a lot.  Slight deviation on Easter for a piece of apple pie and a roll, other than that I'm solid.  TMI stats below the fold.

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April 07, 2009

Pretty sure this amounts to a Seastedding manifesto

I'm interested conceptually, and for the same reason that I'm interested in Martian colonization: lacking a frontier means that established nations need only compete with each other. There are, of course, exceptions to that as various nations fail and new quasi-states arise, but by and large the majority of the habitable land on the planet (and effectively in the entire universe, since there's nowhere else to go yet) is claimed and spoken for by some political reality. There are certainly small islands and even continental regions that are uninhabited, however, so I remain unconvinced that the same ideas could not be tried out on existing land somewhere, but I concede the point that claiming any land on earth under a new flag is bound to constitute an act of war to someone. Defense is -- to my mind at least -- still the primary risk in any such venture.

Article is here.

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April 03, 2009

Great talk on nutrition and obesity

Here, from the previous Neanderthin link.

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Tooth Decay

Deideldorfer linked me this article on reversing tooth decay with changes in diet. It's an excellent article, and I think my long stint with the Neanderthin diet (book's out of print now, sadly) is part of why my teeth aren't a lot worse than they are. On the other hand, for about 20 years now, we've had what amounts to a vaccine for caries (cavities). The process works by replacing the streptococcus mutans in your mouth (everyone has their own indigenous strain) with a genetically modified strain that excretes alcohol as a byproduct rather than acid. Before you get too excited, it's not enough to get you drunk, or even enough to taste, but it is enough to keep your teeth clean pretty much all the time.

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April 02, 2009

Another nice page on LFTR

At Coal2Nuclear. While I could live without the ongoing emphasis on AGW and CO2 as some sort of dangerous poison, I'm also cynical enough that I don't really mind capitalizing on the hype to get us started on seriously replacing our coal infrastructure with nukes. LFTR is a game-changer, and is probably an excellent bet to bankrupt the House of Saud. Coal would be better used as feedstock for all the things we'll be using graphene for in the years to come, like lighting, electronics, and computation. Getting it from the atmosphere is easy enough, sure, but it also means we're competing with crops for something they can't get any other way.

Huge H/T to NextBigFuture

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Detroit as a hunter's paradise

This fine fellow is the shape of things to come and I honor him for his work ethic and can-do attitude. Detroit needs more like him.

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April 01, 2009

Not welcome in the tent

Every month or so, I take a quick look around the netiverse to see if any new (to me, anyhow) content or sites about human enhancement have popped up. Once again, I was disappointed to see that nothing new had appeared, at least to my casual surfing. Further, I'm once again furious to see that the face of the transhumanist movement continues to be a bunch of Obama-worshipping, Anthropogenic Global Warming-believing, rabid atheists. It's enough to make a Classic Liberal (i.e. modern conservative/libertarian) that knows Al Gore is a hoaxster and Obama is a sure disaster feel positively unwelcome in the transhumanist tent, let alone cool stuff like Lifeboat.

I'm not saying all transhumanists are like this, but the face of the movement continues to be. There are a few bright spots, however. Al Fin, reason, and Brian Wang all touch on human enhancement and strong, freedom-based improvements to the human condition, and all three manage to do so without alienating readers (well, maybe not Al, but I'm biased, he only tries to alienate idiots, global warmenists, and O-tards, but I repeat myself). Brian is fantastic on keeping up with a whole spectrum of tech advances, but pays admirable attention to things like strength enhancement, tissue regeneration, and enhancement drugs. Reason is the first, best source for all things longevity science, and while he never writes politically, it's obvious that he favors a capitalist approach to enhancement and life extension.

Anyhow, part of the reason I started this blog to track what I called "upgrades", human enhancements. There's not a lot of that in the explicit dextrosphere, and I think it's a real shame. Freedom to enhance oneself follows logically from the core principles of conservativism: my body (and just my body, no burgeoning offspring), my property, my freedom. There's also a real danger that the early adopters of enhancement technologies may become yet another trend that the conservatives just plain miss out on (real libertarians won't, I expect).

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Where have you gone, Mr. Jefferson?

H/T Hot Air

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