Tuesday, February 5, 2013

mark the time that slips away where the oceans meet the sky

There are things in our lives we can redesign to make much more efficient, or beautiful, or inspiring. And then there are the designs we make just for fun. Me, I know why the tentacle plunger might get made, though it's clearly the latter. (And no, think bathroom, not bedroom--this really is a redesigned plunger, not a sex toy.)

This, though, is truly amazing and if it succeeds in a stable way, we will effectively end the debate over use of stem cells in medicine. And make no mistake about it--the initial cost outlay for medical-grade machines (and the technologists to run them) will be high, but after that, surgeons will be able to create stem cells that originate on a growth medium, not in a baby, and (even more important, in my opinion), will be able to drop rejection of the cells to zero, because they can use the patient's DNA to grow them.

Imagine: a world where there is no risk of rejection, because the cells are grown from each patient. A world where there is no need for the scary immuno-suppressants we have now, with their occasionally vicious side effects, because our bodies will simply adapt and reintegrate our own cells.

3D printers can do a great many things, but I admit, I didn't realize they could print out living cells. We are living in the future, people.

Meanwhile, coming from the more cynical region of future techs, Amazon is trying to patent a yet-to-be-created device that will ensure digital scarcity. While the concept of digital scarcity still makes me laugh, my bigger question is why? And why did it take so long to grant the patent? (It was originally filed in 2009.)

But that's not the worrisome part. The part that makes me nervous is the implicit kill coding.

Say I own a digital copy of To Kill a Mockingbird that I acquired from Amazon. I've read the work several times, I need more space for things, and Amazon has told me I can re-sell the ebook when I wish. I list it for sale (at a reduced price, though Amazon still takes a cut), and someone buys it. This technology would then (supposedly) kick in and "transfer ownership" of the ebook, giving a copy (with the kill code intact) to the buyer, and subsequently deleting my copy of the book.

Considering how easy it is for technologies to go haywire, I am not sanguine that other books may be deleted, or that there would be cases where my book might be deleted, and the buyer's copy not delivered. All around, this sounds like a bad move.

Turning to gender, and perception, Lore Sjöberg has a marvelous little commentary on the myth of the "nice guy". It's well worth reading, and I'm thinking it should be required reading for every guy in SL. Because what he says is true: women don't want "nice" when they're considering potential mates or partners. They want smart, or funny, or smart and funny, and hey, liking a good cuddle now and again wouldn't be bad either. And after those attributes are covered, then women turn to the physical.

Is that sinking in? Ask ten guys what they want in a woman, at least half of them will mention breast size. Ask ten women what they want in a man, nearly all of them will mention intelligence and sense of humor over any physical attribute.

We don't want you to be a "nice guy". We want you to be a good man.

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