Greetings, fellow Coppertops! Our training session this week will allow us to take a look at the earliest origins of the human species, as well as the many possible futures that await us. We’ll travel to the past in search of lost pyramids and medieval underwear, and as we observe disturbing changes in the Earth’s landscape, we’ll pay our respects to the brave pioneers who were willing to pave our way into the stars. So get ready, suit on, stop trying to hit me and hit me!
(10) The first part of our training requires us to pay attention at some interesting yet oddly publicized scientific news: Professor Carol MacKintosh, co-author of a study published last Wednesday in the Royal Society journal Open Biology, has been publicly credited with stating that we humans are nothing but a mistake 500 million years in the making. Wait, what??
To make sense of this over-hyped interpretation, firstly we need to try to make sense of what this new study has uncovered: Basically, that roughly 500 million years ago the great-great-great-great-great-great-grandaddy of all back-boned animals suffered a genetic mutation that was something of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, this mutation boosted our cellular communication systems –like changing a modem for a DSL in our mitochondriae– but on the other hand this also brought upon us all the scourge of diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer.
Frankly, I think the way this story has been handled on the Internetz makes no sense. In Darwinian terms, ‘survival of the fittest’ doesn’t necessarily mean your species doesn’t get extinct because you’re stronger or faster than everyone else. Surely this ancient mutation has proved to be more beneficial than harmful in the long run –case in point: we’re all here!— and yet as my Design profession has taught me the hard way, whenever you win something, you lose something in return.
But, if the Web wants to consider us a mistake, then I can happily offer someone to blame: those damn Engineers, who not only had a terrible fashion sense –loincloth undies, Srsly??— but also seem to have been terribly sloppy with their whole ‘planet-seeding’ ventures. Frak ’em all, I says.
(9) But if the Engineers were kind of lousy in their role of planetary stewards, we humans don’t seem to be faring any better. I’m fully aware that the subject of Climate Change is such a hot topic –pun well intended– on any web forum, that bringing it up will easily cause a deluge or comments opposing your given opinion, wherever your side on the topic. And since a deluge of comments would actually be a nice change for this column, I’m bringing it up now because of a recent report describing a disquieting rate in the ice-sheet melting of Greenland.
According to measurements from three separate satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists, an estimated 97% of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid July, the agency said in a statement.
“This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to data error?,” said NASA’s Son Nghiem.
Climate Change skeptics will be all too happy to point out to the last section of this report, specifically the quote from glaciologist Lora Koenig, who stated that this type of melting happens every 150 years on average, meaning to imply that the current melting is actually “right on time.” What they usually fail to notice however, is her last comment:
“But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome.”
So, as someone who is actually leaning on the side of ascribing a significant weight in the effect of the anthropogenic activity with regards of global climate, I would certainly like to know what exactly would it take for people who disagree with me, in order to convince them that Yes, we humans are actually adding unnecessary pressure to our already complex and delicate atmospheric balance?
(8) A good cautionary note for us would be to pay attention at the final outcome of the mighty Maya, specially now that they have gained such a large attention due to our rather unhealthy fascination with Doomsday scenarios. Undoubtedly though, the Maya managed to bequeath us an amazing legacy of architectural jewels; like this new awesome pyramid found at El Zots (Guatemala) allegedly dedicated to the Sun God. The incredible state of preservation of this wondrous monument will allow archeologist to peer deeper into the Mayan Cosmovision.
(7) Many jewels of long lost civilizations are still hidden under the green cover of many rainforests. Other rainforests are the homes of other types of jewels: our hairy cousins the gorillas, the gentle giants of the African mountains, who still face the risk of extinction due to poaching and the erosion of their natural habitats.
Fortunately, the younger gorillas have learned to dismantle the poachers’ traps, a feat of intellectual prowess that stunned the biologists en-charged with recording their activities. This should probably not surprise us, given the large brains of these primates; and yet I can’t help wondering if there might not be an unseen hand helping these wondrous creatures? Could it be that Dian Fossey, the controversial primatologist who devoted her life in the preservation of the Rwanda gorillas, is now continuing her mission from ‘the other side’? This is MU after all, so such heresies are permitted 😉
(6) Invoking the intervention of saints and angels might sound too ‘Medieval’ to some modern sensitivities, and yet it seems ‘going Medieval’ wasn’t as uncivilized as we might have thought. Take for instance the find of a 500-year-old brassiere found in an Austrian castle. Paradigm change for our ideas in lingerie evolution, or a time-traveler SNAFU? You decide!
(5) Unfortunately, the Medieval mindset is still prevalent in some parts of the world. There are many things about Iran that upset me, and I hope a move toward true democracy will be seen in the future. Unfortunately, there are other international players that are pleased to exploit the modern Persians as the newest bogey man, and although open-scale war is still a disturbing possibility, lately we’ve managed to observe more subtle methods of confrontation. The latest weapon of Iran’s enemies: Heavy Metal, coming out full blast though the speakers of some nuclear plant workstations –um, maybe not so subtle after all, though I like to imagine a couple of Iranian technicians discreetly head-banging to the rhythm of AC/DC. Hit it, Angus!
(4) Some Islamist douches are bent on fighting the Western devil, but I bet they would still be freaking amazed by the audacity of this Austrian (dare)devil: Felix Baumgartner, using a special pressurized ‘space suit’, accomplished an incredible sky-diving feat from a height of 96,940 feet (29.26 km), and safely landed in –where else!– Roswell, New Mexico. I think the Reticulans could learn a thing or two from Herr Baumgartner.
(3) Baumgartner’s goal is to sky-dive from a height of 120,000 feet, which is still far from the actual edge of our atmosphere. A woman who managed to go beyond that edge was Sally Ride, the 1st American astronaut, who sadly departed on to another voyage unto the great beyond, after losing her battle to pancreatic cancer at the age of 61. Sally not only became a great role model for countless for young American girls with an interest in space and science, but now is set to become a strong moral support for the gay community. Godspeed to you, Sally, and have fun riding a shiny comet.
(2) Sally Ride’s story is a great inspiration, because it’s a patent example of what the human spirit can accomplish. Other sources of inspiration can be also found in Cinema, and the Wachowsky siblings’ new project, Cloud Atlas –based on the acclaimed SF best-seller— looks mighty promising by the looks of its international trailer:
I haven’t read the novel, but by the looks of the trailer, I like how it seems to discard what I consider the outdated theory of re-incarnation; outdated since given how modern Physics is gathering more evidence showing linear time is nothing but an illusion produced by our consciousness, it’s a bit silly to talk about past lives. There are NO past or future lives, but different manifestations of your ego living simultaneously.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to forgive the Wachowskys for Speed Racer after all… maybe.
(1) Cloud Atlas will show 6 different stories weaved together through a tapestry of causality and personal realization; some of them are set in the past, and some in the deep future. Those probable futures promise to be more incredible and exciting than we can manage to grasp, in light of the recent achievement by a group of bioengineers –ain’t that the coolest job name?– who managed to create an artificial jellyfish out of the muscle cells from a rat’s heart.
I can already see how this type of tinkering might become the hottest pastime for your grandchildren in the not-so-distant future –just try not to appear too terrified when lil Johnny presents you with his latest chimera as a Xmas present; just think that a hamsterooster will always be more useful than another bloody tie.
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out –reminding you that even if chicken taste is just a glitch in the Matrix, that’s no excuse for not choosing a decent roast chicken restaurant.