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The Olympics of Dr Moreau

It is with a strange fascination that I read the article, The Transhuman Olympics: Where Entertainment Meets Innovation online. The article proposes a new Olympic style event that would instead of shunning the use of advanced materials, performance enhancing drugs and biotechnology would embrace this technology. The thought is that if the goal is the ultimate human performance and potential why not use the best strategies and tactics to achieve the goal. It seems like the entire thrust of the competition is winning at all costs. This reminded me of an earlier Olympics a number of years ago where the new improved person was supposed to set the new standard of performance. You may remember that the controversy when the new ideal did not win the race as presenters thought that, indeed Jesse Owens showed the world that he was faster than what the Nazis promoted as the “Aryan racial superiority”. Are we not finding ourselves in Berlin in 1936 all over again? What about computer or electronically enhanced athletes if chemically or medically altered athletes can compete why not those with robotics included. Would we be having this conversation if our technology had not become so pervasive or do we think that every aspect of our life must be touched by technology?  Have we outlived our usefulness as mere humans? Do we need to be enhanced to be interesting in competition or in life?

The article on Transhuman Olympics can be found here

1936-2036?

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It’s the end of the world! Where is Google when you need it?

I am sure that the readers of this blog are fans of “The Walking Dead”. For those who are not viewers suffice it to say that it’s about a virus that turns most of the world into flesh-eating zombies and the few not bitten by zombies have to find a way to survive. Strangely enough these apocalyptic scenarios seem to come around every generation with varying degrees of seriousness. The same situation could be said of Gilligan’s Island, “No phone, no lights no motor cars, Not a single luxury” (well minus the flesh-eating zombies but they did have to put up with the Harold Hecuba production of Hamlet). We seem to be strangely fascinated with the awful truth that our way of life has removed us from the skill of living. Sure we know how to go to the store to buy a loaf of bread but who knows how to bake a loaf of bread? And even if we did, what do we do if the electricity or gas is not working. How long would it take for people to have to re learn the skills of farming and hunting, building shelter and fire? As the internet makes information more accessible it also serves to take us farther and farther from the ugly truth that while we are working so hard to earn a living we have lost the skills to maintain our life. We can only hope that the day of the zombie apocalypse or Alan Hale singing “Neither a borrower nor a lender be. ” ever comes to pass. We certainly wont be able to ask Google for answers.

Don’t think that I could post this without a link to the video……

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Does the pen still write and having writ move on across the screen of time?

It is with a certain sense of frustration that I see my eleven year old sons writing. It’s still a crude form of printing and when I ask him if he ever writes cursive. I am astounded by his reply, “no never”. For me it seemed that in school we spent hours working on having good handwriting and that we would be judged on our handwriting in notes and letters. It is hard for me to believe that the times have changed so much but then I was astounded to see an article in the BBC online about the possible end of the need for a live signature. It seems that the United States is trailing the world in the move to electronic signatures and that for much of the world the signature is something of a dinosaur. Yet with this change are we loosing a bit of ourselves of what makes us, us- or is it time for us to take a new look at what is to exist in this digital world? Does the change in technology and how we relate to each other make us different as people?

signatures

Here is the BBC article, http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27311868

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