Category Archives: Technology and Society

The Sky Is Falling

Now where have we read things like this before? Oh, yeah.

The very headline is absurd. For it to make any sense, one must believe that “resources” are some fixed quantity, rather than a product of technology and human ingenuity. Which was of course exactly the same mistake that Dennis Meadows made in “Limits to Growth.” Not to mention Paul Ehrlich.

[Update at 2 PM]

Phil Bowermaster has further thoughts. He also has some great SF movie titles. I’ll bet these are being optioned as I type.

But It Checqued Out Fine

This probably isn’t news to people who are both good writers and use MS Word, but its grammar checker sucks.

I personally find it a frustrating mix of useful and extremely annoying. It does occasionally catch a word I misspell (something that I do rarely), but it almost never gives me good grammar advice. Ninety percent of the time (probably more) its recommended changes are either of no value, or would actually be wrong (I notice in particular that it has problems recognizing subjects and objects when recommending singular or plural forms of irregular verbs). I’ll probably keep using it, but given my writing style, I wish that I could disable the “long sentence, no suggestions” feature, because that’s the one that I most often get false alarms with.

Anyway, as the article says, if you’re a student (or worker) and think that your product is spelled correctly and grammatical just because Microsoft says so, think again. There’s still no substitute for a human editor, whether yourself or, if you’re unsure, another.

[Via Geek Press]

Hope They Don’t Blow It

Whatever one’s position on the use of embryonic stem cells, it has to be admitted that restrictions on their use, and ethical concerns, have certainly spurred creativity in developing alternatives. Apparently, funded in part by the Catholic Church, Australian researchers have come up with a way to harvest useful adult stem cells from the nose.

As someone well endowed in the schnoz department, I think this is great. I don’t have a big problem with cloning, or using embryos, but I don’t have a huge letch to destroy them either. If we can come up with medical advances that everyone’s ethically comfortable with, all the better. Of course, some people are apparently morally opposed to long life and good health, regardless of the means.

I should mention perhaps the ultimate irony of this particular breakthrough. The one person in the world who seems most interested in remaining youthful forever will never be able to take advantage of it.

Hope They Don’t Blow It

Whatever one’s position on the use of embryonic stem cells, it has to be admitted that restrictions on their use, and ethical concerns, have certainly spurred creativity in developing alternatives. Apparently, funded in part by the Catholic Church, Australian researchers have come up with a way to harvest useful adult stem cells from the nose.

As someone well endowed in the schnoz department, I think this is great. I don’t have a big problem with cloning, or using embryos, but I don’t have a huge letch to destroy them either. If we can come up with medical advances that everyone’s ethically comfortable with, all the better. Of course, some people are apparently morally opposed to long life and good health, regardless of the means.

I should mention perhaps the ultimate irony of this particular breakthrough. The one person in the world who seems most interested in remaining youthful forever will never be able to take advantage of it.

Hope They Don’t Blow It

Whatever one’s position on the use of embryonic stem cells, it has to be admitted that restrictions on their use, and ethical concerns, have certainly spurred creativity in developing alternatives. Apparently, funded in part by the Catholic Church, Australian researchers have come up with a way to harvest useful adult stem cells from the nose.

As someone well endowed in the schnoz department, I think this is great. I don’t have a big problem with cloning, or using embryos, but I don’t have a huge letch to destroy them either. If we can come up with medical advances that everyone’s ethically comfortable with, all the better. Of course, some people are apparently morally opposed to long life and good health, regardless of the means.

I should mention perhaps the ultimate irony of this particular breakthrough. The one person in the world who seems most interested in remaining youthful forever will never be able to take advantage of it.

Thrown Off The Ambulance

I’ve had nothing to say about the Terri Schiavo case, because I don’t know that much about it. But all of the major media, including The Corner, seem determined to rectify that situation. Or rather, they seek to inundate me with information about it, if not enlightenment.

I guess it’s understandable why it’s become such a compelling story–it’s a heady mix of themes both political and philosophical. We have the nature of marriage, the fidelity of a spouse to both his marriage and to what he claims are his wife’s desires, the importance of documenting those desires prior to such an event (though one can never truly know what one’s feelings will be when it actually happens), the appropriate role of the states, the federal government, and the judiciary in deciding such personal and heart-wrenching situations, the definition of “persistent vegetative state” and the uncertainties of how to determine whether it truly persists in a particular individual, the absurd hypocrisy of allowing execution without trial by passive (but not active, even though they actually are) acts, the right to live, the right to die, the value of a life bereft of cognition, even (though this is one that few talk about) whether or not such a life can even be considered fully human, and the ultimate prospects for recovery from such a condition.

I’ll ignore the politics and legal issues, which will clear out quite a bit of the underbrush. I’ll also ignore all of the speculation as to the husband’s motives and character, about which I know little, and actually care less, at least for the purpose of this discussion.

I’d like instead to delve more deeply into what I think has been ignored–the philosophical and ethical issues involved.

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