Sunday, December 21, 2014

An analogy explaining my avoidance of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

               The reason why I have decided not to watch the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars movie or even to see the movie itself can be understood by analogy. Imagine for a moment that two new NFL teams will be created to play in the 2015 Super Bowl. The teams will have a few familiar players but will mostly consist of players new to the NFL. The created teams will not have played in the regular season and thus the fans will not have had the opportunity to develop any familiarity. Why would NFL fans even bother to watch the Super Bowl? The creation of two new teams invalidates the season; all the games and moments and plays the fans watched with a mixture of anger and delight are to come to nothing because no team that played during the season will be playing in the grand finale. This is basically the erasure of history and I imagine it would infuriate the fans. People that are indifferent to the NFL might have trouble understanding the problem.
                And thus this is the situation with the fictional world of Star Wars. The upcoming movie is not following the story set forth in the Expanded Universe novels; the previously authorized sequence of events following Return of the Jedi is being erased, or I should say – has been erased. This is no different than the NFL erasing a season of play and creating two brand new teams to play in a Super Bowl.
                The erasure is not 100% actual since one can still read the Star Wars novels or an NFL fan could still watch previously played games. The continuity, though, is what’s being meddled with – molded – into something new that does not follow what has been set forth. The disruption of continuity affects only those that have taken part in it, so a newcomer to Star Wars would not suspect anything is amiss, nor would a person indifferent to the NFL feel cheated.

Having Fun With Eu

 I wrote this on 1-19-2008 and I got the idea from an article in Discover magazine (about life originating in ice) and the short fiction of Robert Sheckley (a story about a eudemon).

            The eupeptic eudemon euphorically ate plates of eurytopic organisms in the eutectic layer of the glacial covering, several kilometers above the moraine. His name was George.
            George was a minor eudemon and felt comfortable feeding in the deep pockets of glaciers. Getting there was no problem as he was an intangible eudemon. Tangible eudemons have much trouble tunneling through ice, since they interact physically. Unlike other eudemons, George has eupepsia and does not blow fire out of his nostrils. Sadly, George can never have a normal relationship with another eudemon and his eurytopicity ensures there will always be euphoric moments.
            While most demons would cringe at the notion of subjecting themselves to a eutectic mixture, George is very happy to be in such places. A eutectic environment is usually only found very deep in a layer of ice, such as a glacier. What is there to eat in a glacier?
            When ice crystals freeze, they stay pure. Any impurities are excluded and thus become crowded and form large molecules which provide a eudemon with eupepsia. So, in vast layers of ice, there might be a eudemon. This will never affect you directly, but might paradoxically prevent your existence.
            Life is eurytopic as long as water is present. George is a very smart eudemon, so he knows this. He also knows that glaciers have empty spaces with eutectic environments. He's also very considerate and does not eat all of the large molecular chains, since he knows that some of them may give rise to life after many millions of years. His brethren are not so considerate, however.
            George has a brother named Greckel that is a regular demon. Greckel is not eupeptic and blows fire out of his nostrils, so he could never enjoy snacking in a eutectic environment. The large molecules discarded from ice crystals would expire in his filthy fires, thus forever preventing eupepsia.
            Greckel was very angry. He decided to follow George one day to the Planet of Solid Ice. It is very far from any star and has a spinning core of molten metal, which produces a magnetic field. George removed the planet from its solar system so that no other demons would harm his source of continued eupepsia.
            Greckel arrived at the planet and confronted George, exuding flames from his nostrils. Part of the surface started to melt under the extreme heat. “You outcast!” screamed Greckel.
            George vanished into the ice, seeking out his safest pocket. Greckel would never be able to find him. However, the normal euphonious molecular bondings were soon replaced with rage that could very well cause an ocean to form and then rapid eustasy. Greckel was destroying the planet to find George. But George, being intangible, had a trick up his sleeve.
            George coaxed several molecular chains to bond together and the natural voltage in the layer between ice and water formed complex amino acids which started to replicate. The eutectic mixture soon became alive and felt the heat from Greckel. It didn't want to die.
            George, a stolid pacifist, left the Planet of Solid Ice and returned home. His Mom was baking a fire cake in a small tungsten oven and drinking a glass of molten rock. “Hi George. Dinner will be ready soon. Have you seen Greckel?”
            “No, Mom. I haven't seen Greckel.”

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thoughts on Race

Although there is only one species of human, it is divided up into phenotypes that are genotypically almost identical. In other words, there are large groups of humans that are physically different in appearance from other humans, yet are still able to interbreed with all of the other groups. We call these groups races. The most notable characteristic of the races is the pigmentation of the skin. There are other differentiable characteristics, such as epicanthic folds, rhinology, musculature, speech, lip morphology, hirsuteness, genes, culture, etc.
My personal opinion of the word “race” is that it can be used to divide our species into three main groups. Those groups are: Asian, African, and European.
There is archaeological evidence from Thailand that Asians are the oldest primates (of which humans are descended). That doesn’t mean that Asians are the oldest humans, however. One thing is certain about Asians - they are the first Americans. They crossed Beringia, which was a landmass between the political land divisions now known as “Russia” and “Alaska”. Anyone that thinks Christopher Columbus discovered America is living in a dream world, perpetrated by the inane educational system in the United States. Columbus “discovered” outlying islands more than 10,000 years after the Asians had conquered North and South America.
There is archaeological evidence from Africa that humans originated in Africa, which indicates that Africans are the oldest humans. However, archaeological evidence is limited to what we can find, not what exists. What if older human remains are found on the moon? That’s improbable, but do you know what is under the regolith? I’m not forming an opinion with respect to where humans originated. Significant evidence has been found in both Africa and Asia, so I think it’s smarter to wait for more homo remains to be discovered.
Europeans are the result of northern migration. They tend to have lighter skin, typically called “white”, due to the need to absorb more sunlight. If our planet were not tilted with respect to the ecliptic, then we would not have seasons, and sunlight would be more intense in the northern regions. People migrating north would not have needed lighter skin, so that particular adaptation would not have occurred, or occurred with less noticeability.
What concerns me is why can I find patterns amongst the races? Why can I say one race excels at one thing, while another falters? Why does changing the phenotype change other things? I have always wondered why people of European origin comprise the bulk of science fiction writers. I can only name one African science fiction writer - Octavia Butler. I cannot name even one Asian science fiction writer. Why is it that “white” people write so much science fiction? Why are there not scores of African people or Cambodian people that are professional science fiction writers? Why have most of the scientific breakthroughs been made by people of European descent? Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Ernest Rutherford, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Enrico Fermi, Edwin Hubble, Paul Dirac, etc. - all made profound discoveries and are all of European descent. I can certainly name some Asian people that have made breakthroughs, such as Hideki Yukawa, Chien-Shiung Wu, and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, but I can name many more Europeans. The reason why certain groups of people make more scientific discoveries is probably more related to opportunity and higher standards of living. If the people of Africa had been suddenly teleported into universities in the 1700s and given free tuition, then I would suspect that Africans would have made more scientific breakthroughs than Europeans.
Another interesting pattern I can find is in movies. Unlike science fiction and science, this one is not objective, but completely subjective. I have found that Asian people, particularly, South Koreans, make the best movies. I have read that this is due to low funding. The movie producers can only choose the best scripts, since they don’t have unlimited funds, like Hollywood. American movie producers can make movies out of scripts written by 12 year old retarded people and make enough money to retire for 8,000 years. I have to admit that I am guilty of funding Hollywood, since I watch their movies, hoping, wishing - they will make something good. Occasionally they do make something good, but nothing made by them affects me on such an emotional level as South Korean movies. Again, I must stress that this is not objective. Some people may find Korean movies are not to their liking, and greatly prefer mindless Hollywood mayhem.
What am I? Politically, I am called an American. But the people from whom I descended originated in Europe. Genetically, I am a European. I am certainly related to real Americans (people from Asia), but I have more in common with people from Europe. I don’t look anything like an Indian.
I think that all races are equally intelligent - and equally insane. Just look at the Europeans in the political division of land known as Germany. It produced one of the greatest minds (Albert Einstein) and one of the sickest (Adolf Hitler). I don’t think it’s wrong to label people by their skin color, anymore than I think it’s wrong to label colors. Colors have names, right? Skin has color, and thus should be called by its name. It’s a simple means of identification, but can easily be abused by people with sinister desires.


I wrote the essay above on November 24th, 2011. I forgot I wrote it and discovered it on my hard drive on November 27th, 2014. It is an interesting read and I’ve since become more aware of the ethnic diversity of science fiction writers; Asia and Africa are simply overflowing with people that professionally write science fiction, which surprised me. I can’t picture a third world nation with people scrambling to secure food and water having time to produce fiction, but it does happen. And this makes some sense. Consider the state of the world when the mythological book, an early form of science fiction that eventually turned into The Bible, was written. The living conditions even in the best cities were possibly a marginal improvement over the squalor that squatters squirm in. The Bible, in its current state of translation, though, is barely legible. It’s more difficult to read than the clumsily connected hodgepodge of paragraphs known as “World War Z”. In defense of The Bible, it was not written in English and was written before grammar was codified, which was the unfortunate status quo even in Shakespeare’s day. I don’t know how The Bible could be written in English without losing the meaning intended by the authors in their native languages. In contrast, contemporary authors can write material as shoddily connected as that in The Bible, which is evident in “World War Z”.
A couple of terms in regular use that bother me are “African-American” and “Asian-American”. An African is someone that either lives in Africa or someone that is descended from people that evolved in Africa. An American is someone that lives in the political division of land called America. The term African-American is redundant and reeks of wrongness. The problem stems from the dual meaning of “African”, which can be political or genetic. If someone is black, then they are genetically African but can politically belong to any nation. The word “Asian” can also be political or genetic. A Chinese person is genetically Asian but can live in America; this is no reason to use the term “Asian-American”. If a Chinese person lives in America, then they are American. Likewise, it makes no sense to call a white person living in America a “European-American”. People with ersatz erudition that like to specify “such and such”-American, ought to know that this game can be taken much further. One could, for instance, call oneself a Pisces-American, since fish were the first chordates and humans also have backbones (I’m an amateur etiologist).
The ultimate bottom line in terms of race is that either all humans are African or all humans are Asian. Humans originated somewhere and then migrated from that point of origin and adapted to new environments by changing physiologically, which is primarily manifest in skin pigmentation, epicanthic folds and hirsuteness. Europeans are clearly not the first humans, since white skin is a result of migration and reduced sunlight, so anyone with white skin is ultimately Asian or African. My previous division of humans into African, Asian and European is thus incorrect, since Europeans can be shown to have evolved from the first two. It was also incorrect of me to state that the people I descended from originated in Europe, since Europeans did not originate in Europe; they traveled there from Asia or Africa and evolved. We only have truly hard evidence showing that Africans did indeed originate in Africa and sketchy evidence indicating that Asians originated in Asia. It is most likely that Asians are descended from Africans.
I can’t stop writing on the subject of race without referring to a recent event, in which a police officer shot and killed a human being. I am greatly, powerfully, unthinkably, unfathomably disturbed by the writing style and agenda of the media and reporters in general. Any news story concerning the shooting of Michael Brown refers to the officer as “white” and Brown as “black”. Why does it matter? A police officer shot a human; that is what happened. The media is partly responsible for fueling the riots and unrest by continuously stressing the pigmentation of the parties involved. There is nothing unusual about a white person shooting a black person in a community comprised of both white and black people simply because aggression and violence are traits of humans, irrespective of pigmentation. We choose to live in racially diverse groups and then bitch about the vagaries of statistics.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Politicians and Happiness

                Yesterday I had to drive to Mid Rivers mall and while driving along I-70, traffic momentarily slowed by about 20 mph before an overpass. A lone man was sitting under an umbrella and had hung a large sign stating “IMPEACH OBAMA”. The motorcyclist in front of me, dressed in leather with a red bandana, raised an arm in the air and made a fist. What compels people to think that removing a single president from office will make things better?
                If Obama is impeached, we will still live in a world where most of the money is concentrated in a small group of people and most people will work their lives away and get little in return. We will still live in a world where paying for college results in credentials that can suffice to impress employers enough to impart some of their money. We will still live in a world with artificial political borders that require one to have a passport and be treated worse than a rapist, murderer, arsonist, robber and sodomite when attempting to cross those borders. We will still live in a world where people believe in religion, astrology, ghosts, conspiracy theories and deny that humans evolved from simpler organisms, and that human made industrial processes and technology can cause global warming.
                I was born into an already established world. Things weren’t right when I was born, before I was born, and since I was born. During my existence and 200 years prior, we have had presidents and along with them, problems. Even before presidents there were problems. I don’t know what people are thinking when they think eliminating a person will solve problems with people. The only way that a person can live without problems is to live in a society without any other people, which will turn sour once other people are desired and not found.
                Politicians are people that crave power. They want your vote so they can stay in power, since the worst that can happen to a politician is losing power (it’s like someone else losing a job). I suspect that most people don’t understand the truth about politicians, which is that they do not hold office to make YOU happy, but to make THEM happy. Politicians seek to satisfy themselves, which makes them pretty much like everyone else. For example, you don’t get a job to make your employer happy. Think of yourself as the employer and the politician as your employee; I find this particular example elucidating. If I carry this example further, imagine firing an employee that does not produce desirable results, which would be equivalent to removing a politician from office. When the employee is gone are all problems solved? No. New problems replace the old ones. The new problems are typically in the form of new people.
                The problem with people is that they try to domesticate each other. We’re all basically solipsistic hedonists that avoid genuinely disturbing situations and events. We have invented terms like “altruism”, “empathy” and “social”, which are, to wit: the self-satisfying pleasure of helping others, the self-satisfying pleasure of attempting to understand another mind, and the self-satisfying pleasure of interacting with another mind. With each person striving to achieve a state of unending pleasure and with pleasure not being the same for everyone, how can anyone ever be happy?
                While I have been writing this essay, a quote from Robert Heinlein came to mind. I consider it to be the most truthful thing ever stated by any human being:
                                When a place gets crowded enough to require ID’s, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
                Unfortunately, we don’t have space travel yet, not in the sense that will liberate people from the madness of religion and political borders. My ultimate idea of happiness is having my own FTL-drive spaceship and returning to Earth perhaps once or twice, just to see how the madness is moving along. The spaceship would serve as a home in any environment, so I could live anywhere. It’d be fun to meet other people that left the Earth and talk about the things we’d seen. We’d never form large enough groups to require identification and once someone showed signs of wanting power, we’d jump in our spaceships and go elsewhere. Politicians would go insane without people to control, so they’d all have to stay on the Earth. Once everyone left the Earth, the politicians would be the sole survivors and finally kill each other, rather than using other people for that task.

Sunday, July 13, 2014



                The impetus for this blog post was formed from my experiences working in a restaurant. I interacted with a large variety of people because the restaurant was attached to a hotel and a major airport, St. Louis Lambert International, was nearby. Several times per year, well mannered and kind people would leave a card for me on the table after they had dined. The card was always about Jesus. I learned that the behavior of those people has a name; it is called proselytization. Someone that tries to inculcate or convert others into their religious practice is called a proselytizer. After I had received several of those cards, I thought it would be interesting if I had prepared my own card, so I could share my own beliefs. My response card would be this:
                I believe that Jesus was in fact a real person and he was considered insane, even by the standards of people 2,000 years ago. Nowadays, people like Jesus are admitted to mental institutions instead of being nailed to a cross. Or they manage to get a small group of followers and eventually attract law enforcement officials. Being Jesus or being like Jesus has proven to be a disastrous career choice, so I am unclear as to why so many people hold him in high regard. If flirting with danger is what grabs your attention, then worship an astronaut or a firefighter.

                The first belief of mine I want to cover is one involving war. Back in World War II, the use of the atomic bomb was justified due to how many soldiers’ lives could be saved. I completely agree with that justification, since the Japanese military had a perverse notion of human rights. Thus, lives were saved in at least two groups: American and Japanese soldiers. There was also a third group that was saved and those were Japanese civilians. Consider this quote by Eugene Wigner:

            “that it was not necessary to continue the work on the bomb, but the government was not of that opinion. General Groves also wanted to continue and he said that we could use it against the Japanese and it would shorten the war.

             We then proposed to demonstrate the bomb in the presence of some Japanese scientists and military leaders. Groves once again disagreed and said that we should demonstrate it on a city. And that is what happened, but we were against it and were quite   unhappy. We thought that many Japanese lives could have been saved if the bomb had been demonstrated on an uninhabited territory. But, apparently, I must admit, and I will admit, we were probably mistaken. Much later, I read in a book the demonstrations in Hiroshima and     Nagasaki may have saved many, many Japanese lives. Since I thought that a demonstration over an uninhabited territory in the presence of Japanese scientists and politicians could have     sufficed, I went around and asked my Japanese friends about it. And with one exception, they said, ‘No, such a demonstration would have had no effect on the Emperor.’ According to all my Japanese friends, with one exception, ‘It would not have had the same effect; it was very good that you demonstrated it this way.’ Maybe that was the way to do it, but I did not think so at that time. Of course, they knew the Japanese politicians, the Japanese Emperor, and the Japanese military leaders much better than we did. But I was very surprised. They thought that many Japanese lives were saved this way even though it led to the extinction of many Japanese lives. Apparently General Groves was right and the bomb had to be demonstrated the way it  was.”     


                What I am able to derive from the original use of the atomic bomb was that it was a device used to save lives. Had the bombs not been dropped, the U.S. military was planning a land invasion of Japan (X-Day), which would have been very expensive in the currency of human life. The question that concerns me is: why does the U.S. military still conduct land invasions in foreign nations when we could use atomic weapons to save lives? In my opinion, no U.S. soldiers should be dying in foreign nations, because they should not be there. What is the purpose of satellites with high resolution imaging capabilities, drones, fighter jets, and missiles? If the original justification of severely bombing an enemy nation was to save lives, why do we no longer maintain this practice?
                This is my belief about war: foot soldiers should not exist. They no longer serve any purpose other than to die. Those lives can be saved by exclusively using fighter jets and nuclear weapons. I do want to point out that I am not advocating the use of high yield nuclear weapons, since they can lead to environmental disasters and take the lives of too many uninvolved civilians. I am advocating very low yield nuclear weapons that could destroy an underground bunker or no more than a few buildings. Once an enemy is pinpointed, a low yield nuclear weapon would be sufficient to solve the problem.
                I do not consider my solution of saving lives by using low yield nuclear weapons to be ideal or even satisfactory. It’s all I can think of to kill the enemy without losing a single American life in the process. An ideal solution would be a miniature remote controlled explosive that would fly up the nose of the enemy and detonate near the brain.

                The second belief of mine I want to cover is one involving the simulation of the human brain on a non-biological substrate, or a computer. Currently, organisms with brains gather information about their environment and turn it into knowledge; that is one of the functions of a brain. The size of the brain relative to the size of the body seems to determine how long the knowledge is retained and how it is processed. I am making the assumption that if a brain were simulated on a computer, then it would retain and process knowledge in an identical manner to that of a biological brain. In other words, it would have to access information just as slowly as a regular person, but recognize faces just as fast as a regular person. It would not be able to act like the computer Watson on the TV show Jeopardy!, which defeated current human champions by its blazing fast access to Wikipedia and other material.
                My belief concerning the simulation of a human brain on a computer is that it could help solve crimes and improve the performance of actors (in a way). There may be other benefits, but those are the two I immediately thought of.
                How could brain simulation help solve crimes? By running simulations! The simulations would not be based on an arbitrary brain, but instead based on an actual brain (some individual). To make something clear: the point of this is to not induce consciousness in a computer but to do things with a human that could not be done otherwise. One might question my angle of approach and wonder why I don’t mention cloning. Well, all cloning does is make another organism with the same DNA, but NOT the same experiences. Plus, cloning is wasteful; it uses a lot of raw material.
                Once a person’s mind is transferred into a computer, I believe it would impossible for them to keep secrets. By the year 2050, I believe that there will no longer be any need for judges, juries and lawyers to determine guilt or innocence. I don’t like how far things may go with this type of technology, because of what I am able to think of. I can envision this: it may one day be mandatory for all people to update their simulated brains on a regular basis, such as once per day. Software would scan each upload for criminal behavior and sentencing would probably happen within a few minutes. And it may not even be necessary to make it mandatory; it may happen against the will of future people. Of course, people will get used to it and there will be new problems to replace the old problems.
                As for actors, I sometimes wonder how genuine their acting is due to the fact that they don’t often see what we see. The current highest grossing Hollywood (non-cerebral) movies generously cast computer animated actors which delight the crowds but are invisible to the biological actors. How would someone really behave around The Incredible Hulk, Optimus Prime, or Superman? We could find out by simulating the minds of biological actors in a computer alongside the digital actors. In fact, the use of real people in high grossing movies isn’t necessary anyway, since the crowds go to watch the computer, not the live actors. A simulated, and more authentic, version of the live actors could be used. But who would be performing? In the event of a movie using a simulated version of an actor, does one list that actor as part of the cast? Can that actor win awards? Why would a simulated version of an actor be more authentic than the real version? I’m not trying to diminish the value of actors, but I am trying to point out that we care greatly about things that are not real, so if the actors are not real, then why would it matter?

                The third belief I want to cover is insurance. I believe that insurance should not exist and that taxation should be used to handle those problems “covered” by insurance. I put covered in quotation marks because one is not actually covered by insurance; there is always something more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more. Do you get the idea? THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING MORE. That should settle it. Insurance does not cover a fucking thing in the form of the premium because one must pay beyond it to get help and then get penalized when a claim is made, which is the purpose of insurance.

                 I can’t state this any more clearly: the purpose of insurance is to make a claim

                Why, when one makes a claim, does the premium increase? Why does one have a deductible? Why does insurance cost MORE than the premium? Insurance, in my opinion, is a very bad deal. Furthermore, car insurance does not ensure the integrity of one’s car, health insurance does not ensure one’s health and life insurance does not ensure one’s life. There is only one way I can come to terms with insurance. It is like breathing. The purpose of breathing is to keep one alive, but oxygen is acidic, and thus breathing contributes to the aging process. So, insurance does provide one with some protection, but will ultimately kill (by bankruptcy) if used too much. If I follow this line of reasoning, then breathing must also be a bad deal. I contend that it is, since it ultimately causes harm.
                One of the things that bothers me about insurance is that a large portion of the money I (and everyone else) pays is not used for its purpose of fixing problems, but for paying employees. And those employees are paid a lot of money. One of my insurance agents lives in a large house, which implies premiums are being used for other purposes. This fact explains why there is a deductible and why premiums increase when a claim is made. I believe that all of the money paid towards premiums should be collected in a pot (digital, of course) and untouchable unless it is used to handle a claim. There should be no employees. It should be taught early in life that anyone making a false claim will be executed without a trial, within 5 minutes. (Remember – these are beliefs and therefore not subject to ratiocination.)
                Now that I am finished with my opinion of car insurance, I want to expound how I feel about health insurance. I am living in a time where U.S. citizens are required by law to have health insurance, an insurance that does not ensure health. It’s ultimately a cash grab and I can easily show that this is true. If the lawmakers were concerned with the health of the citizens, then they would write and pass laws that did as much as possible to keep them out of hospitals. A concerned and educated lawmaker would realize that poor diet, pollution and lack of exercise are the chief reasons for hospitalization other than old age. The immediate problem with improving the diet of U.S. citizens is that it would cause the loss of many jobs and much tax money, since it would involve an end to fast food, soda, and other pleasure foods. Eventually, new jobs and industries would replace those that were extirpated, in the form of new curriculums in schools, fast food restaurants that exclusively offer real food (the kind that bacteria will also eat) and machines that offer bottled water and protein drinks. Why don’t lawmakers just make it illegal to advertize, manufacture and sell soda? That would be more effective at making people healthier than requiring them to have health insurance, but it would financially hurt a lot of people, as well as the government itself, due to a considerable loss of tax money. What’s more important: money or people? If you agree that people are more important than money, then you should be able to see that directly attacking the cause of health problems is more important than allowing those problems to form in the first place. If you agree that money is more important than people, then you should be able to see that it is not important to directly attack the cause of health problems, but to pay for them as they occur.
                I view pollution as something similar to slavery, in the sense that both are related to energy production and are also not desirable. One of the problems with energy is that there is no way to get something for nothing; there will always be something undesirable involved as long as humans require energy. If the lawmakers were concerned with our health, then any industrial process that ejects toxic chemicals into the environment would be made illegal. But a great many jobs would be lost and we would lose much (or all) of our technology and only the Luddites would truly be happy. One way to cope with the reality of our technology is that having it, again, is like breathing. Breathing is something that keeps us alive but slowly kills us in the process. Likewise, when something like a smartphone is constructed out of the environment (that’s where it comes from – the materials on the Earth), the environment is slowly killed, due to the waste products. (I will admit that my analogy is not logically consistent in this case because the environment does not need technology in order to exist.) Here is where my belief comes in view: I believe that the pollutants, from industrial processes that produce technology and the uses of technology, will one day be utilized to provide energy. Those pollutants will themselves produce further pollutants and that will be a challenge for people in the far future. Once we exclusively get to the lowest (but not the lowest possible) pollutant, which are neutrons, we will hopefully have a way to corral them (other than lead or water). The great challenge with neutrons is that they do not respond to magnetic fields, since they are not charged particles. Controlling neutrons is one of the greatest technological challenges that I know of. The tentative, gee-whiz name for such control is called “femtotechnology” and has been written about in some science fiction novels.
                I view exercise as something similar to writing, in the sense that both can be maintained primarily through habit. I am an unusual human being because I exercise. I learned this during my recovery from lung surgery when I was told that my quick recovery was due to my regular exercise. I was able to glean from the nurses and the therapist I didn’t need that most people don’t exercise. One thing I find curious about some of the notions’ of other people is that I enjoy exercise. It takes up a lot of my time, always having to go to the gym and taking long walks. Exercise also involves quite a bit of pain, but not the real kind of pain, like being stabbed. There are definitely two different kinds of physical pain: the kind that makes you stronger and the kind that makes you weaker. I suppose that some people can’t tell one from the other and that’s why they don’t exercise. If lawmakers were concerned with our health, then they would require us to have gym memberships, rather than health insurance.

                The fourth belief I want to cover is related to health insurance. I do believe that it is possible for there to be equality of health care. This belief is based on my observation that people, irrespective of income, may use the same streets, roads and highways. How does this happen? How can someone that makes $20,000 a year drive on the same streets as someone that makes $200,000 a year? The reason why there is an equality of road access is because taxes handle the construction of roads (with the exception of toll roads). This implies to me that transportation is more important to the lawmakers than the health of the citizens. It is fascinating to me that we have equality of road access but not equality of health care.

                 The fifth belief I want to cover is that of the potential types of human mind. While astrology and psychology propound numerous personality types, I contend that there are just two: primitives and moderns. Primitives are people that believe in religion, astrology and have the ability to accept conspiracy theories. Moderns are people that accept evolution, quantum mechanics and relativity as facts. I am using the Latin basis for the word primitive, which is “at first”. Primitive people cling to the first explanations, the first lines of thought and reject anything that comes later. Primitive people also reject anything that they can’t conceive as possible, such as the moon landing or the holocaust. It is possible for primitive people to masquerade as moderns, since the basis for disease is no longer called The Germ Theory of Disease. Germs or microbes (which are formally called “pathogens”) are nowadays accepted as real things, but they were once met with resistance. I consider myself to be a modern since I accept evolution as a fact and make attempts to understand quantum mechanics and relativity, since they are the basis for all – big and small.

                The sixth belief I want to cover is the issue of morality or ethics. I believe that morality is irrelevant to whether one is a primitive or a modern. One can be deeply religious and be either ethical or unethical. As an example, a deeply religious person, such as a priest, can have sexual relations with a boy, which is considered unethical. Likewise, one can ignore religion and be either ethical or unethical. The only deciding factor as to whether one is ethical or unethical is behavior. In other words, you can’t know if someone is unethical unless they are caught doing something unethical. And even so, the true status of ethical behavior is not static, but changes with time and culture. It is not possible to define a behavior as ethical or unethical for all time periods and all cultures.

                The seventh belief involves the nature of the universe and artificial intelligence. The universe has been around long enough for me to reach some conclusions based on the observations of others. I will state this and then explain: The universe is a process that organizes simpler units into less simple ones and artificial intelligence, part of that process, is a naturally occurring phenomenon.
                When the universe was very young, it was yet too hot for quarks to exist. As the universe expanded and became cooler, quarks roamed freely. As the universe cooled even more, all the quarks combined into more complicated units called hadrons; the universe became hadronized. The hadrons then combined and formed more complicated units known as nuclei. After 380,000 years of this dense plasma, the universe cooled enough for electrons to join the nuclei and form atoms. With the electrons locked into atoms, the photons were free to disperse into what we call visible light. We can’t see the universe from the period of its birth until the age of 380,000 years because the photons were too busy playing with electrons; for the same reason we can’t see directly into the core of the sun in visible light. Once the atoms were formed, they collected together into large clumps and started getting a little too comfortable with each other. It was a time of frenzied fondling and furious frolicking, this time of star formation. Oh yes, the atoms had their fun and combined together to make bigger atoms. It wasn’t until the most violent of all ejaculations, the supernovae, the ultimate blasting of matter, minus the hip thrusting, of course, that the gamut of atoms were formed. So we have gone from quarks to nuclei to atoms to stars to all naturally occurring atoms.
                Once the stars had ejaculated their heavy atoms, the raw material existed for dust to start clumping. Simple particles of dust led to much less simpler particles known as planets. Bear in mind that a planet can be broken down into a collection of quarks, so the notion of going in a direction from simple to less simple is pumping along quite all right. A planet was a wanderer to the Greeks but to me it’s a depository for heavy elements. When heavy elements start hanging out together in low gravity, they can form compounds, such as water, amino acids, nucleotides and lipids. Some of the compounds formed are organic, which build more complicated structures known as prokaryotes. Prokaryotes are single celled organisms without a membrane bound nucleus and are kind of like ersatz life, since they don’t lead to more complicated life (though they aid it). Once the eukaryotes, the true cells, sprang to life, the stage was set for organs and skeletons! So we have come from quarks to nuclei to atoms to stars to heavy atoms to planets to compounds to prokaryotes to eukaryotes to invertebrates to vertebrates. There is one small thing that troubles me and that is the implication that vertebrates are more advanced than invertebrates. While it is true that vertebrates are more intelligent than invertebrates, it is only so far that we have observed. I don’t personally see any reason why intelligence and an endoskeleton must exclusively coincide.
                The entire process that led from quarks to intelligent vertebrates involved the four fundamental forces, which are the strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetism and gravity. Changes in pressure and temperature, which are caused by gravity, played a role as well. Humans are part of the universe, a result of forces, as is everything else. We currently have ersatz artificial intelligence because no AI software is self-aware and has the ability to make things. True artificial intelligence would be conversationally indistinguishable from another human and would have the ability to make another level of artificial intelligence. I contend that a true AI would consider itself alive. What then, would it consider artificial? It’s important to keep in mind the notion of deconstruction; no matter what something is it can be broken down into quarks. Humans and stars and any conceivable AI are all fundamentally the same.
                In order for AI to not be natural, it would need to be made of material that cannot be found in the universe. No matter how advanced AI becomes, it would still face the same limitations that humans face, the limitation of only having access to the matter that the universe has made. It’s important to understand that humans can’t actually make new matter; we can only work with the protons, neutrons and electrons that have been around since the beginning. We are certainly allowed to rearrange the nuclear matter but that is only a rearrangement. Imagine a house full of furniture parts. They are strewn about rather haphazardly. It’s not possible to make new furniture parts unless those that already exist are broken down and rearranged. One could choose to make furniture out of the parts they found in the house or to break down the parts and make new parts, thus resulting in even more exotic furniture. No matter what furniture the interior decorator chooses to make, he or she is bound by the material at hand and can only get new material by rearranging what already exists. This is the point I’m trying to make about matter. All the matter we have access to has come to us from the big bang and has been rearranged (or transformed) by stars. This is the sole reason why I contend that AI is natural. Another good example is a fighter jet. It is entirely made of naturally occurring matter that has been rearranged into a configuration that did not occur naturally. I will agree that the configuration of matter known as a fighter jet is unnatural, but only the configuration. The matter of which the fighter jet is constructed originated in the big bang and thus is part of the universe and thus is natural.
                Some people call something unnatural if it is incapable of coming into being without human intervention. I can agree with this, provided it is understood that it is only the arrangement or configuration of matter that is unnatural and not the actual matter itself. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a future history beyond that of humans. My knowledge stops here, with us. It does seem reasonable to assume that the process of the (a) universe is something like this:


                Blended intelligence would simply be a combination of humans and artificial intelligence. A blended life form would have greater access to the electromagnetic spectrum, would hear infrasound and ultrasound, and be aware of physical events outside the range of sensitivity to natural intelligence. A blended life form would know all the other blended life forms and would never need to use one to gather information from another. All communication would be direct. Blended life forms would know everything about the health of their bodies at all times and have the convenience of instant self-repair of any malady. I do not believe that a blended life form would be exempt from unhappiness and boredom; new problems would creep in to replace the old ones. Also, the quality of being a blended life form would be the status quo and thus an individual in that situation could conceive of something better. However, even the lowest status blended life form would have a much higher degree of comfort and power than even that of the wealthiest natural intelligence human.
                What is the? after Blended Intelligence? I’ve thought about this for many years and it seems to me that the next level of intelligence would require a loss of individuality. Just like a human is a collection of cells, a very high level of intelligence could potentially be a collection of humans. Would loss of individuality even be a problem? Would those experiencing it even be aware of it? What about those born into it? The problem is that we’re not there and I just don’t know. I can extrapolate such a society based on certain aspects of our own. Consider the cell phone and that such a device allows anyone with your number to contact you at any time. The cell phone thus allows others to intrude (a strong word, but properly descriptive) into your free time, time which is private to you. Even as little as 200 years ago, no human being alive experienced anything like that. There was no way to contact another human other than sending a letter or making a personal appearance. But we have adapted. I don’t see anything wrong or disturbing about getting texts or calls at various times of the day, in varying degrees of importance. It’s just normal. My point is that we have a loss of guaranteed privacy, since it is possible, through our communication devices, to be contacted (or summoned) at any time. This loss is probably not seen as a loss by those born into it, but simply as the status quo. I have the interesting experience of existing in a time when cell phones are both unknown and ubiquitous. I was born in 1976 and the first cell phone call was made in 1982. I did not actually own a cell phone until the year 2004 and wasn’t even aware that cell phones existed when I was growing up in the 1980s.
                Once humans start to receive even more penetrating intrusions into their free time, they will adapt to them and consider them normal. This is why I wonder if a loss of individuality will even be a problem and the ? will not be something to fear, anymore than a cell phone is something to fear.