Link Roundup, 4/25/2017

From The New York Times: Remembering Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

From The Atlantic: Using automation to address the replication problem in scientific research.

From Scientific American: Losing certain DNA may have been key to our evolution.

From The Daily Yonder (yes, it’s a real website and quite a good one): A profile of suicide in rural areas through the lens of an ER.

From The Guardian: A former theology student looks at Transhumanism.

11 Comments

  1. I read the article about Transhumanism, and if the Singularity is the earthly version of eternal life, then it’s not surprising that I have an aversion to both.

    I have no interest in living forever, or adding more years to my life than is customary, much less in having my being somehow uploaded onto a machine for a continued existence. I don’t even care for my memory to be kept alive. Nor do I find the idea of my brain merging with everyone else’s into some sort of collective blob to be something to strive for.

    In contrast to the author’s experience, my body feels LESS real when I consider the prospect of existing forever. I prefer to feel the humanness of my body, even pain, in order to feel real. My acceptance of my mortality is what keeps me sane and grounded. The prospect of no end in sight would be unbearable.

    Life is meant to end. Period. Why tamper with that?

    1. We need to get off the highway toward the Singularity. The technological movement has spiraled out of our control, but it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. It can continue moving in that direction, but we don’t have to be a part of it, and in that way we can keep some measure of control over it, by not allowing ourselves to be sucked up and carried away.

  2. Please explain to me what “dependcy” means? This long purely American argument, about some phenomenon confuses me. If it were true, would children ever leave the nest, why doesn’t it ever seem to happen to anyone other than someone who receives a diresct subsidy, rather than a tax ” credit”?

  3. Re: the rural ER, mental health, and suicides: the current Trump/Ryan agenda is the perfect storm for making that situation worse. Not just the AHCA/DonTCare, but also the anti-immigrant policies and attitudes. But nothing’s changing until enough people grok that spite makes for poor policy.

      1. Yes, I’d like to hear, too, Fly.

        I was there (wearing my former team’s command and telemetry logo shirt and an ISS cap). I didn’t see too many obviously NASA personnel.

        My favorite aspect was the self-conscious little smiles that appeared when the marchers chanted: “What do we want? Evidence-based policy. When do we want it? After peer review.”

        In the universe of demands, that one is definitely an outlier.

        How many marchers were estimated?

    1. I am surprised there isn’t more coverage in mainstream media about access to care. In the last 6 years (primarily driven by states that refused to fully participate in ACA) we have lost 80 rural hospitals and counting. Even if you have insurance what good is it if you have no where to go? Without government participation (role) you can’t insist on rational resource utilization so hospitals are where they need to be to support a population.

      http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/a-state-by-state-breakdown-of-80-rural-hospital-closures.html

      1. I follow Becker regularly. Nothing about health care problems is a surprise to me these days. Until America makes the decision to learn from other industrialized nations and go to universal health care, these problems will persist … joined by the most expensive health care in the world with very poor outcomes. I feel for those who have no care and those who have no insurance provider. The problems in the ACA could be fixed or they could simply go to a completely different (proven) health care concept such as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain….and Sweden and Switzerland…..

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