Dogs are not color-blind after all

It has long been said that dogs can only see in black and white.  But scientists have now proven that they do, in fact, perceive colors, though in a slightly different spectrum from humans, and that they derive information from the color of objects that they see. [Read more…]

Green lawmaking by executive order

President Obama, being unable to get his environmental and anti-global warming agenda through Congress, has announced that he will impose it by executive order.  After all, the bureaucracies and regulatory agencies of the Executive branch have become the nation’s de facto lawmakers anyway.  So why do we need Congress when the president can rule by fiat? [Read more…]

Why naked mole rats don’t get cancer

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post in praise of the naked mole rat, an exceedingly odd little creature with seemingly super powers when it comes to health and longevity.  Well, scientists have recently discovered why these things don’t get cancer, something that could lead to treatments in human beings. [Read more…]

Non-biological bodies & digital immortality

The director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil–who has written a couple of books on these subjects– told a conference that in about 30 years, we will be able to download our minds into the internet to achieve “digital immortality.”  We will also be able to dispense with our physical bodies in favor of “non-biological bodies.”

Think of these goals as the promises of a new religion for our day.  Note the gnosticism, that ancient but always recurring heresy that denigrates the body and the material creation.  No families would be needed, since there would be no need for reproduction.  This would seem to herald the end of sex, though perhaps it would simply be the next step in internet pornography replacing sex.  (Though what would be the locus of desire without bodies?)  Getting rid of biological bodies, of course, would mean killing them, so this opens the door to mass murders, but that would be all right since people’s “minds”–which is the only part that counts–would be downloaded into Google’s servers.  Not much privacy there, but we could access everyone else’s minds, which would be the new version of human relationships, replacing such retro concepts as love and community.

What else?  (After the jump, details from Kurzweil’s sermon to the futurist conference.) [Read more…]

Bee summit

Back in 2007, about three different servers ago when this blog was with World, I wrote a post entitled The Rapture of the Bees.   Honeybees were disappearing, which is a major concern, since they are so important in the pollination of crops.  Since then, I’ve read several pieces that purportedly solved the mystery of why that’s happening, but I guess there is still controversy over the causes, and the problem remains.  Thanks to Pete Muller, who sent me an account of a “Bee Summit” sponsored by pesticide-maker Monsanto.

Some are blaming pesticides for the die-off of bees, while others are blaming a kind of mite that preys on bees and that presumably could be controlled by. . . pesticides.  Anyone want to guess what the diagnosis will be from the Monsanto summit?  Or from environmentalists?  Notice how science, though supposedly objective, is not free from conclusion-shaping presuppositions. [Read more…]

Babies change the male brain

At least in deer mice.  Scientists have known that motherhood makes the female rodents smarter, better foragers, braver, and more level-headed.  A researcher has found the same effect in father mice.  In fact, something similar happens when male mice are exposed to baby mice, even when they aren’t the biological father.  All of this has been traced to specific changes in the mice brains.  This has not been proven, of course, for human beings, but many men can probably relate to this.

Details after the jump.  Have any of you been changed by fatherhood?  Or exposure to children? [Read more…]