Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Collapse of the Scientific Revolution

Short post, but

We rather take it for granted that the Scientific Revolution can progress and continue indefinitely. But should we take that as a given?

How Our Culture Keeps Students Out of Science - Chronicle.com
Good way for us to kill our own scientific advantage

China will build the Controversial Emdrive.
Radical innovation and risk - we could be losing it

Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (Cold Fusion)
First the DOE reconsiders and admits there is something to it, and now listed in ArXiv - yet still heresy. Popularity rears its ugly head.

How Politics manipulates Science
- also from Arxiv regarding the paper: Climate Science: Is it Currently Designed to Answer Questions?

LHC (Large Hadron Collider) like the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) are two big scientific endeavors that move the center of scientific progress to Europe. And while I am happy for Europe, that bodes ill news for US.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Govt of the Future

Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been accused of "pay to play" politics. That is, of course, bad. But on the other hand, it is any worse than the "friends and family to play" that so often wins in DC? For instance, we have Hillary's Senate seat up for grabs and it is being contested by Caroline Kennedy and Fran Drescher. Who gets most of the air time and most of the endorsements by big names? Kennedy, by a long shot. There are pictures of her as a child in the Whitehouse all over the news. And now I have Sweet Caroline stuck in my head.

In that vein, the BBC has an interesting article about dynasties in Washington DC.

Ok, so what does this all this have to do with Transhumanism? Much of what distinguishes us from the Animal kingdom is culture and community. If we are to consider trans-human, we must also consider trans-culture, because one will be synonoumous with the other. So what of trans-government? What is the role of government in a post-scarcity society?

Our current balance of governmental power will become unstable, and societies will go one of two ways, depending on the people involved. On one hand, we could have a excess of govt power where there is a either a continual arms race between the government and the people, or the government simply limits the development of technology. When I say 'arms', I mean that in the widest possible context - anything powerful, like the internet, for instance. We see this now in China. But, of the two in the long run, the later is far more probable, and would effectly stifle, if not kill the scientific revolution.

The other solution, is for the people to gain greater and greater power. This is usually what we have in mind in a post-scarcity society. Don't truth the govt what they have? Build it yourself! What would a society capable of that be like? Either it would self-destruct, in which case we default to the our first option of Big Brother, (or are just dead) OR we enter a new golden age. That golden age is reachable... but it requires a certain kind of person.

Thus our options are slavery, destruction, or a new golden age. The status quo is not an option.

The next step in human evolution is the Spirit of the Lord.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Zombies are the way of the future: You can not kill Open Source

Bill has a problem. Zombies. He just can't stop them.

Everything he knows that is essential for life, they just don't seem to need. And this is a problem because they are cutting into his business.

You see, Bill has been selling software for a few years now, and he is pretty decent at it. Successful enough that he would lose money if he took the time to pick up a $100 bill. Other businesses, that stood in his way, are now either dead or of no account to him, like IBM and OS/2 or Digital Research's DR-DOS. Netscape is dead. But it is the (undead) son of Netscape that keeps him awake at night - Firefox. It is a non-profit venture done by people in their spare time. How can he compete with that? Furthermore, it has the audacity to beat him at his own game. Then there is the cousin of Firefox, Chrome, that could be even scarier in a few years.

Other word processors like WordPerfect were crushed by MS-Word, but you can't make things cheaper than OpenOffice, or much better, worries Bil. All you have to do is download it. Apache webservers are doing far more significant damage to business. Do you know how much I have to pay to develop what you develop for free? And operating systems... here you have a veritable army of zombies, reminicent of something from The Black Cauldron, all under the moniker Linux. "Curse you Linus Torvalds! Curse you and your unslayable open-source! You made the only thing I could not kill!" screams the founder of the Microsoft nation.

And that is not all. There is an entire community of new and inventive projects young and talented programmers are developing in their spare time... gratis! It is like his arch-nemesis, Google, but without an income stream to kill.

Of course, at the moment Bill has all the normal business fortification, but many of his strongest fortifications have been made obsolete by zombies finding a way around it.

It isn't like this is the only group to find people adding to the public commons and making money at it to boot. Wired recently had an excellent article on open Source hardware. Seed magazine had an article on DIY biology. The internet has preceded the death of print newspapers and magazines. DIY video publishing has given pause to the great companies of our day. Even astronomy with its great telescopes, has many of its discoveries, like comets, found by backyard, or home computer hobbyists. All this is just a start to what is out there. And this movement is only growing.

Experts, are like the Tyrannosaurus of yesteryear, are facing a competition they can not fight. Imposing and frightful, there is no beast equal to them. And yet, it is little mammals, mice and men, that are the inheritors and conquerors of of their estate. How can a dinosaur fight a mouse? Not very well. But an army of zombies? There is just no stopping an army of of the undead.

Of course, on the other hand, if open-source and amauter movements are so vibrant and are adding so much value to society, then maybe the real zombies are the institutions and companies of the past. They are the ones sleepwalking into the future.

DIY amateurs are the way of the future.

What can we take away from this? The more that individuals have to work with, and with the ability to add value to public commons, the greater the impact on society. More people with more tools is the future.