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I think of it as millennium-shock- the mindset that has propelled conservative governments and dictators and demagogues into power and influence all round the world. We're afraid of the future with its shinyness and its mind-and-body-warping technologies and its promise of an end to life as we know it, and we fall back on the defence of green-mouldy certainties from way back when. Thus the demand for sharia law throughout the Muslim world, thus the dominance of the religious right in the USA, thus a Pope who decries personal religion and demands that his young people submit to (his) authority. We're a race of scaredy-cats. We'd prefer to have the Middle Ages back rather than commit ourselves to the unknown.

I think in the end we'll get over this reactive fit. Science and invention will continue to motor away- and we like the goodies they provide too much to shut them down. And ideas are harder to censor than they used to be, now that we have the Net. Even so, these are hard times, and those of us who don't want a new Dark Ages to descend- and the world be run according to the lights of Bush and Khamenei and Pope Ratzinger- are going to have to make a fuss.
poliphilo: (Default)
Captains Kirk and Picard were never unduly worried by stray bits of foam detaching themselves from the Enterprise.

But then, as some NASA person was saying on the radio yesterday, sci-fi has left us with the mistaken impression that space flight is easy.

But it was easy once. The Apollo missions were easy. And why were they easy? Because the will was there.

We've lost the will. We got to the Moon and...and...

...we'd put one over on the Russkies and that was that. But it wasn't just about defeating the Russkies. Or was it?

Neil Armstong sounded as if he believed in his famous first words.

I'm sure he did.

I want that spirit back.
poliphilo: (Default)
The human body is in urgent need of a re-design.

I mean, basically, it's the same monkey body we had when we first traipsed out of the woods and onto the savannahs.

It's built to last about 25 years. After which time it starts going wrong. We've quadrupled our life expectancy, but without upgrading the vehicle. And so we spend three quarters of our life-span in a body that's performing well below its best. How stupid is that?

We accept that an athlete is past it by thirty. How abject!

And it's so fragile. Why settle for skin and bone when you could have titanium?
poliphilo: (Default)
There was an article in yesterday's Guardian in which some clever-clogs was saying how we'll have cracked the little problem of mortality by 2050. By then we'll have the ability to store consciousness on a computer. No-one rich will ever have to die again. And by 2080 the procedure will have become so routine and cheap that no-one poor will have to die either.

Today's kids (which means many of you, dear readers) are going to be immortal. Think about it.

I don't know whether this is the real deal or a load of hooey, but, either way, it's given me a buzz. This is what we want- Futurology! Crazy visions. Something to look forward to. In the years leading up to the millennium the media was full of this stuff. Promises, promises. And then along came Team Bush and we were routed back to the leather backed bible stroking, discarded pantie sniffing, creased trouser loving 1950s. The future stopped shining. No Elysian Fields for you, my pretties.

But Science goes on in spite of government and the future is going to be extraordinary.

Thank you for reminding me. I won't forget again.


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