Sex & child-bearing to be obsolete in 20 years?

[NOT AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!]   A Stanford professor of law and genetics is maintaining that within as few as twenty years, the connection between sex and procreation will come to an end.  No longer will sex have anything to do with reproduction.  According to Henry T. Greely, reproductive engineering will be such that men will donate sperm and women a patch of skin, whereupon babies will be produced to order in artificial wombs. Government health plans will no longer be able to afford caring for sick babies, so “designer babies” will become the norm.

Recreational sex will continue, he says, but why?  Won’t virtual-reality pornography finish that off too?

Prof. Greely has a book about all of this coming out from Harvard University Press entitled The End of Sex and the Future of Reproduction.  

Prof. Greely seems to assume that there will be no more Catholics in 20 years, or other Christians who agree with them about nature and natural law. [Read more…]

Government to Apple: Never mind

The federal government dropped its lawsuit to force Apple to break into its iPhone security system, so as to investigate the San Bernadino terrorists.  The FBI was able to hack into the phone without Apple’s help.  Which was arguably the way it should be! [Read more…]

How ancient churches sounded

Church buildings are acoustic spaces, in which music is performed.  Researchers are studying the acoustics of ancient and medieval churches.  They are finding that certain design elements were intended to adjust sounds, “trying to tune the space.”

Moreover, the acoustic data they are uncovering enables the researchers to reproduce the effects electronically.  Once a digital signature is discovered, it is possible to play recorded music–say, Gregorian chants–and filter it so that we can hear what it sounded like in that particular building.  “It’s like time travel,” says a musicologist.  We can make “a museum of lost sound.”

[Read more…]

Unlocking the iPhone

The Justice Department and Apple Computer are locked in a bitter legal battle in the FBI’s desire to unlock the iPhone used by the San Bernadino terrorists, both of whom were killed after their attack.  The FBI, understandably, wants to see who else might be in the terrorists’ network.  Surely, in the name of fighting terrorism, Apple should simply unlock the phone–right?  Well, it isn’t that easy.

My iPhone has a four-digit code that I have to enter every time the screen goes black.  When I got the phone, the guy at Verizon sternly instructed me that a user has six tries to enter the correct code.  If the wrong numbers are entered, eventually the phone is disabled and everything on it is erased.   A pang of fear shoots through me every time my big fingers hit the wrong numbers.

So if the FBI tries to unlock the terrorists’ phone–since it can’t get the correct numbers from the users, who are dead–they will likely instead cause the phone to erase everything they want to know.  So the government wants to coerce Apple into developing a way to get into the phone anyway. [Read more…]

World Table update

A new version of our commenting system, which we are testing for Patheos, has been installed.  Details after the jump.  Note the additions soon to come. [Read more…]

We will soon evolve into “Homo Optimus”

A futurologist is predicting that we will merge with computers and evolve into a new species:  Homo Optimus.  We will live in the internet, be able to project our consciousness into multiple android identities, and live forever.  This may happen as early as 2050.  I think I am evolving into Homo Pessimus. [Read more…]


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