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Carnival of Tomorrow 3.0

plan9.gifWe begin our collection of futuristic highlights from around the blogosphere with these profound words, penned by legendary filmmaker Ed Wood and given voice by one of the most renowned, er, visionaries of the 20th century, the Amazing Kreskin:

We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember, my friends, future events such as these will affect you...in the future.

The biggest news of the past couple of weeks (not to mention decades) was the announcement that Korean scientists have created individual stem cell lines for patients, usherng in the age of therapeutic cloning. Glenn Reynolds was among the first to link to Ronald Bailey's TechCentralStation piece that outlined the breakthrough; Glenn also followed up with some additional thoughts here.

Reason from Fight Aging! had some rather pointed comments on the subject of how politics prevents the US from taking the lead in this field, summarized with this money quote:

The bottom line: politicized medical research is slower, less effective, less efficient medical research. The slower it goes, the more likely you are to suffer and die from an age-related condition that might otherwise have been cured.

Another pretty darned good blog had further commentary (here and here).

Meanwhile, Rich at Blinne Blog had a very different take on the matter:

The researcher denies that these are fertilized eggs. Now the question becomes whether blastocysts created by somatic cell nuclear transfer (popularly known as cloning) is life or not. I am now less concerned but the fact that Dolly became a real sheep still troubles me. Reading the reactions that people have to this issue it seems I am the only one on the planet that feels better that this is cloning rather than IVF. This is still an ethical dilemma -- just not as profound as when I originally posted this.

Jim Davila had some thoughts on why the MIT Time Traveler Convention had no time travelers...or did they?

Speaking of time travel, and the closely related topic of faster-than-light space travel, Zac Hanley of Ortholog checks in on the disappointing news about wormholes.

FuturePundit had a short piece on a development that sounds ghoulish, but will likely prove imminently practical in an age of implanted nano-scale biosensors -- a fuel cell that runs on blood.

Rand Simberg notes an interesting parallel between the end of the age of suspicious wires and the disappearance of the last vestiges of privacy.

Meanwhile, Tim at Hypotheses Non Fingo observes that the right of adults in this country to disappear without telling anyone is still intact -- for now -- rhetoric concerning the "Runaway Bride" case notwithstanding.

Howard Lovy (with some help from his readers) is doling out advice for those seeking a career in nanotechnology.

Paul Hsieh of GeekPress directs us to the news of the world's first light gun capabale of firing individual photons. No, it isn't a weapon; au contraire, it may represent a major breakthrough in communications.

Finally, the past couple of weeks saw the end (or at least so we are told) of the two biggest science fiction movie and television franchises: Star Trek and Star Wars.

James Lileks was one of the few bloggers who thought the passing of Star Trek sufficiently noteworthy to write something about it, providing both an extended Bleat and an article on the subject in (appropriately enough) the American Enterprise Online. Lileks concluded:

I watched the first "Star Trek" episode as it was broadcast, sitting in my grandfather's living room in Harwood, North Dakota. I will watch the last one in my own home and feel a sense of relief: I don't have to worry whether it's good or bad. Now it's just done.

By way of contrast, there was no shortage of blog entries on the new Star Wars movie (Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, for anyone just emerging from a very long coma). One reason there was so much splash in the blogosphere is that it would appear that there are two (or more) versions of this film floating around. Will Collier of VodkaPundit saw a movie that was "thoroughly satisfying, credible, and deeply enjoyable." Mack Zulkifli of Brand New Malaysian, on the other hand, saw a film that "tanked and stank to high heaven." However, Mack lays some hints that his review may be the product of Jedi mind tricks, so maybe they are the same film after all.

We have no review to offer up, but we did manage to catch a nice still image from the new Star Wars movie...or was it from the final episode of Enterprise? Either way, it follows our plug for the next go-round of the Carnival of Tomorrow.

Want to participate in the next edition of the Carnival of Tomorrow? Just write to us:

mrstg87 {@ symbol} yahoo {dot} com or
phil {@ symbol} speculist {dot} com

Ready for more futurific content? Check out FastForward Radio.

See you in the future!

And now, the promised screen capture.





Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Carnival of Tomorrow 3.0:

» Ahead Of Their Time from Transterrestrial Musings
It's the Carnival of Tomorrow. Today!... [Read More]

» Carnival of Tomorrow from Dynamist Blog
A new Carnival of Tomorrow is up, with lots of links to future-oriented material.... [Read More]


I strongly suspect that the endings of both the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises are highly exaggerated. I've already heard rumors that Lucas has plans for another trilogy and Star Trek has come back more times than most undead creatures.

I am far more interested in beginnings, which is what I hope Serenity will be, once it opens on September 30th.

On one of the more serious links was this:

Now the question becomes whether blastocysts created by somatic cell nuclear transfer (popularly known as cloning) is life or not.

A blastocyst can take in nutrients, expel waste, and grow, which are some of the fundamental characteristics of life. Now, I know there is plenty of controversy about what constitutes life and what doesn't, but I doubt anyone could seriously argue that blastocysts are not alive. So, am I just misunderstanding the point of that statement, or is the author completely clueless about the basics of biology?


I think the real issue that Rich is getting at is whether the blastocyst constitutes human life, or -- and these are my own distinctions, not Rich's -- a human being. That the blastocyst is life according to a straightforward biological definition is undeniable. It is also, biologically, human. But is it a human being?

At some point, a discussion of what constitutes "human life" or a "human being" or as Stephen has pointed out, a person, leaves biology behind and ends up in the much trickier realms of philosophy and ethics.

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