I got new glasses for my eyeballs! I may have had the exact pair in first grade, which only makes me like them more. They make me want to read babysitters club, like a thick white one when they all go to the beach together and you get really deep into Stacey’s diabetes. They’re for seeing! I wanted to be more specific about my glasses / eyes, perhaps reference some science, so I took to the great oracle Search Engine to find out what eyeballs are made of. They are made of mostly water and a ‘jelly like substance called vitreous humor,’ which is to say, our eyeballs are filled with laughs and jokes. You learn something new everyday. NO REALLY, IF YOU AGGRESSIVELY SEEK IT, YOU WILL ACTUALLY LEARN SOMETHING NEW. But probably have coffee first.
Today, on My Favorite Disease (Oh, do you NOT have a favorite disease?) I saw an informercial this AM for treatment for a disease called PBA: PseudoBulbar Affect, or: bouts of uncontrollable laughter / crying at inappropriate moments – also referred to as ‘emotional incontinence,’ which is my new favorite pair of words. I love many things about this disease. I do, though, extend my official sympathy to anyone who has it, because I’m sure it’s horrible. If a person is afflicted with this, oftentimes because of neurological damage (stroke, Lou Gehrig’s, TBI, etc.) — their outer emotional expressions are oftentimes completely disconnected from their inner emotional state, which must be beyond frustrating and embarrassing. But what I love is this: isn’t life just so constantly hilarious and tragic and absurd all at once that all we can do is LAUGH AND CRY AT IT WHEN WE SHOULD NOT? In a way, aren’t we all kind of afflicted with this, in some small way? Are these afflicted folks’ brains just calling it like it is? PREACH, BRAINS, PREACH.
Basically unbeknownst to us, until a crash makes headlines, there are hundreds of folks in the Mojave desert who have dedicated their lives to figuring out how we might, in the future, live ours in space, or at least, take casual, mind-blowing jaunts up there: Space Tourism. Current-me at kitchen table with coffee, feet on the ground, does not quite see the appeal, but when it comes to defying gravity, I am not the world’s most curious person. Thinking and reading this morning about Michael Alsbury, the 39 year old father of two who was killed Friday in a rocket test flight. This guy was incredible. Focused, driven. I forget how amazing it is that there are people born with a laser- focused interest in one particular thing, be it bees or rocks or air, a thing that demands exploration so that life might continue. Alsbury got his pilot’s license at 16, had been flying for the company for 23 years. Whenever a plane crashes, experts learn things from the crash which ultimately saves future lives, so this guy’s life, be it short, is forever validated. I hope that’s comforting to his family, and that 50 years from now, when the first Space Grand Central opens, complete with scarf kiosks / donut stores, it bears his name. RIP.
And so, I cannot fully explain where I went today, The Blue Lagoon, but pretty much basically, it’s a body of water created by warm volcano run-off water? In which you float and drink beer and rub soothing clay on your face with a myriad of tourists including Syahid from Lost? My face has never been so soft and I have never been more overwhelmed by nature’s beauty / insanity / beer / clay.
I love this little (car-sized) Mars explorer, and how much it’s being personified as some kind of hyper intelligent and delicate toddler. Moving at an adorable 1/10th of a mile per hour, it’s going to take pictures of Mountains we haven’t seen. I really think that once it returns (will it, or will it sort of just die on Mars, after all of this personification?!) one of the NASA folks is going to take it home like a retired police dog, and walk it and go on adventures with it, and there will probably be a reality show about this.
I was just reading about how as humans, we are becoming more and more cyborg-like, as we use our phones for external memory (as GPS, for storing numbers, dates, etc, and the fact that we essentially panic when we lose said phone) and I just wanted to attest to the validity of this with the fact that I oftentimes have to look on my blog to figure out what the crap I was doing like, one week ago. CYBORG AND OR LAZINESS.
Another thing worth mentioning: as the technology behind machines becomes more and more like the human brain, it is possible that said machines will develop human emotions. I read this somewhere but can’t recall (because my brain is more comparable to a microwave or surge protector than airplane) but it’s not too insane to predict that we will one day design airplanes that are literally SCARED OF CRASHING.
Just digest that for a moment.
But then: our human fear – that protects us to an extent, sure – probably why I’ve never broken a bone – but aren’t there things out of our control, no matter what? There’s our own fear, then external factors. Like weather? Or will Weather also have human emotions? Will feel too guilty about destroying lives and homes, and stay inside and play Kinect, or the future equivalent, instead?
God bless my delightfully nerdy boyfriend. With his help, I’ve been researching Robotics, 3D animation, and the projected future relationships between humans and technology, trying to form an actual good idea for a Sloan proposal. Last night, we watched Blade Runner, in which I decided to be her next Halloween:
It’s crazy to see what they though the future would be like some twenty years ago – the things they got right, the things they didn’t, ie, where’s my flying car?! Then we’ve got author and inventor Ray Kurzweil and his predictions about the future, many of which have already come true. I will now share some of my favorite things that might be happening in 2019, according to my buddy Ray. Be maybe in a bathroom or near an easy to clean surface while reading this, you know, for when your mind is blown.
This guy’s an optimist at least, which I appreciate.
- The summed computational powers of all computers is comparable to the total brainpower of the human race.
- Computers are embedded everywhere in the environment (inside of furniture, jewelry, walls, clothing, etc.).
- People experience 3-D virtual reality through glasses and contact lenses that beam images directly to their retinas (retinal display). Coupled with an auditory source (headphones), users can remotely communicate with other people and access the Internet.
- People communicate with their computers via two-way speech and gestures instead of with keyboards. Furthermore, most of this interaction occurs through computerized assistants with different personalities that the user can select or customize. Dealing with computers thus becomes more and more like dealing with a human being.
- Most business transactions or information inquiries involve dealing with a simulated person.
- Pinhead-sized cameras are everywhere.
- Nanotechnology is more capable and is in use for specialized applications, yet it has not yet made it into the mainstream. “Nanoengineered machines” begin to be used in manufacturing.
- Computers have made paper books and documents almost completely obsolete.
- Most learning is accomplished through intelligent, adaptive courseware presented by computer-simulated teachers. In the learning process, human adults fill the counselor and mentor roles instead of being academic instructors. These assistants are often not physically present, and help students remotely.
- Students still learn together and socialize, though this is often done remotely via computers.
- Most human workers spend the majority of their time acquiring new skills and knowledge.
- Blind people wear special glasses that interpret the real world for them through speech. Sighted people also use these glasses to amplify their own abilities.
- Retinal and neural implants also exist, but are in limited use because they are less useful.
- Deaf people use special glasses that convert speech into text or signs, and music into images or tactile sensations. Cochlear and other implants are also widely used.
- People with spinal cord injuries can walk and climb steps using computer-controlled nerve stimulation and exoskeletal robotic walkers.
- People are able to wirelessly access the Internet at all times from almost anywhere
- Devices that deliver sensations to the skin surface of their users (i.e.–tight body suits and gloves) are also sometimes used in virtual reality to complete the experience. “Virtual sex”–in which two people are able to have sex with each other through virtual reality, or in which a human can have sex with a “simulated” partner that only exists on a computer—becomes a reality.
- Just as visual- and auditory virtual reality have come of age, haptic technology has fully matured and is completely convincing, yet requires the user to enter a V.R. booth. It is commonly used for computer sex and remote medical examinations. It is the preferred sexual medium since it is safe and enhances the experience.
- Worldwide economic growth has continued. There has not been a global economic collapse.
- The vast majority of business interactions occur between humans and simulated retailers, or between a human’s virtual personal assistant and a simulated retailer.
- Household robots are ubiquitous and reliable.
- Computers do most of the vehicle driving—-humans are in fact prohibited from driving on highways unassisted. Furthermore, when humans do take over the wheel, the onboard computer system constantly monitors their actions and takes control whenever the human drives recklessly. As a result, there are very few transportation accidents.
- Most roads now have automated driving systems—networks of monitoring and communication devices that allow computer-controlled automobiles to safely navigate.
- Humans are beginning to have deep relationships with automated personalities, which hold some advantages over human partners. The depth of some computer personalities convinces some people that they should be accorded more rights.
- Public places and workplaces are ubiquitously monitored to prevent violence and all actions are recorded permanently. Personal privacy is a major political issue, and some people protect themselves with unbreakable computer codes.
- The basic needs of the underclass are met. (Not specified if this pertains only to the developed world or to all countries)
- Virtual artists—creative computers capable of making their own art and music—emerge in all fields of the arts.
Liz and I went to the Natural History Museum hoping to learn about the earth; be generally erudite. But instead, we were discouraged to find that we had forgotten everything we learned in second grade. So instead, we meandered about like faux- Rachel Zoe’s, having profound conversations like, when at the wall of Sea and Worm Creatures:
Me: So wait, are these things real, or like, not real?
Liz:…….I think the things in the Jars are real. But the other things aren’t real.
Or, in ancient China exhibit, of a old linen outfit:
Me: I would wear that. Like I would really wear that.
Or, of the whole time:
Liz: how cool would it be if like Robin Williams and or Ben Stiller were here?
Me: So. Cool.
THERE I WAS, innocently drinking my Dasani, when a friend informed me that there was salt in my water. Whaaaa??? I enquired, predictably. Sure enough, friend directed me to the back of the bottle, where both salt and magnesium are listed as ingredients. WHY, Dasani? WHY? To make me drink MORE water? Sneaky, and mean.