Dr. Humanity or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Genome

The Human Genome in Human Context: Scientists recently announced that they had virtually completed the task of mapping the human genome. The implications of such an event vary. Some believe it will usher in a new era of Genetic Engineering, complete with a multitude of ethical fears such as the insurability of people with genetically identifiable risks for diseas or the creation of an entirely new form of Humanity. The author of the article believes that we really don’t have much to worry about right now. While we may have mapped the genome, we have do not yet know how to apply it. Some quotes from the article:

“Enhancements in human abilities that may come through genetic engineering will in most cases be negligible compared to those already achieved, or achievable in the future, through tools.”

“The problem is compounded by the fact that the relation of genes to traits is not one�to�one. Some traits are influenced by many genes, and some genes influence many traits. The law of unintended consequences is therefore bound to operate with a vengeance.”

“…there is already quite conclusive evidence that human behavior, though strongly conditioned by genetics, is not completely determined by it. ”

All in all, a fascinating article and a refreshing change from the typical Horrors of Genetics diatribe. I don’t think we’ll be heading for a world like the one presented in the film Gattaca any time soon…

More than 46

DyRE noticed some thematic similarities between Theodore Stugeon’s classic novel More Than Human and Tool’s song 46+2. Sturgeon’s novel shows humans coming together to evolve into a single consciousness. Basically, as the song goes, humanity has 46 chromosomes, and 46+2 (a new pair of chromosomes) represents the next step in human evolution. The song is a lot more involved than that, drawing from Jungian theories (about the shadow) and the teachings of Drunvalo Melchizadek.

“According to Melchezedek, our planet is covered with geometrically constructed ‘morpho genetic grids’. These grids extend from about 60 feet under the Earth’s surface to about 60 miles above the Earth, arranged in geometric patterns (see ‘Sacred Geometry’). Each species has its own grid, which supports life, and connects the consciousness of its particular species. Before any species can come into existance or make an evolutionary step, a new grid must be completed. When a species becomes extinct, that particular species’ grid dissoves. A new grid was completed in 1989 – the ‘christ-consciousness’ grid. This grid will allow humans to evolve into our next version. We’ll develop two additional chromosomes (which are really ‘geometrical images’ designed to resonate with our specific grid) for a total or 46 + 2.

The main change will be a shift to the “unity consciousness”. Every cell in your body has its own consciousness and memory. You, the higher being that occupies your body, make the millions of different consciousnesses in your body work together as one being. How does this relate to this grid? Think of yourself as a cell and the grid as the higher being. We will still have individual consciousness, but will be united in the form of a higher being in order to work as one entity.”

For more, scroll down towards the bottom of the Tool FAQ. Fascinating, though I’m unsure of the scientific veracity of these claims. Mayhap I’ll look into it more. [thanks DyRE and Toolshed]

Wierd but True

This site contains various (suprisingly insightful and referenced) blurbs about strange phenomena that occur. What an odd world we live in. Its amazing how little we know about it. [found in the bowels of kottke]


I’ve never put much stock in astrology, but my horoscope from The Onion this week is somewhat accurate:

Virgo: (Aug. 23–Sept. 22)

You will be mortified to realize that you misspelled the words “fiery,” “dynamite,” and “vengeance” in your letter to the president.

Heh heh. J/k, of course. A good headline from The Onion: Man Reading Pynchon On Bus Takes Pains To Make Cover Visible. LOL. I could actually see that happening…

Role Playing

Check out The Window, for role playing the way it should be (“simple, usable, and universal”). The Three Precepts on which it is based are solid and actually contribute to the storytelling aspects of RPGs (as evidenced in the third precept: “A good story is the central goal.” ) Check it out, I found it fascinating (and I don’t even play RPGs anymore). In fact, some of those ideas there have inspired me to perhaps create a different form of Tandem Story

Christmas Movies

What is your favourite Christmas Movie? {Click here for my guide to Christmas movies}

Miracle on 34th Street

The Ref


Its a Wonderful Life

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Carol


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[Current Results]

Ushering in Twelve Eighteen

Yes, today is twelve eighteen. What, you may ask, is twelve eighteen? Well, its one two one eight. Before you ask, one two one eight is twelve eighteen. What the hell does this have to do with anything? Everything, of course. Chaos theorists have pondered those stories carefully (specifically the Yankee Stadium incident and the mathematics of 1218), and some believe them to be central in gaining the necessary understanding of the universe.

The Mark has Been Made

Ironminds is simply one of the best online zines I’ve ever read. Its a never-ending source of humorous articles and commentary. Take, for instance, the groundbreaking stupid article I Duct-Taped Bull Ice Malt Liquor to My Hands or the confession of the simple pleasures taken in Best-of Lists (such as my lavish listing of Christmas Movies or my definitive Top 10 of 1999). Another Ironminds masterpiece: Joel Shitmaker. Its always nice to note that there are people out there who still recognize the galactic horror of movies like Batman and Robin…

The Designer Universe

Do we live in a “designer universe”? The laws of nature seemed fine-tuned for conscious life to emerge; if the fundamental constants of physics are off by only a hair, the universe would have been a lifeless dud (no stars, no stable elements, etc…) This reminds me of one of Thomas Aquinas’ 5 Ways (order in the universe implies an intelligent creator that we call God), and the finely tuned universe seems to support some sort of Cosmic Designer. However, the Cosmic Designer Hypothesis is only one way of explaining the improbable fine-tuning of natures laws (and it is flawed to begin with). Theres the “Big Fluke Hypothesis”, which doesn’t provide much of an explaination, and then there is the “Many Universes Hypothesis”, which claims that there are, suprise, many universes (perhaps an infinite amount), the idea being that we live in the lucky one universe where everything came together. All the theories have their own advantages and disadvantages, and its quite fun to ponder why our world is the way it is…