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The Evolutionary Perspective
Tag Archives: illustration
Posted: September 3, 2016 at 11:36 pm
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Patri Friedman wants to make it easy for anyone to build an independent country: “If we make one seastead, there’s room for thousands.” Photo:Dustin Aksland
Several dozen conference-goers are filing into the Mendocino Room of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Burlingame, a San Francisco suburb, arming themselves with coffee and muffins as they shuffle to their seats. It’s the kind of scene that occurs dailyif not hourlyin the Bay Area, where techies and businesspeople forever squeeze into drab meeting rooms to discuss how they are going to change the world. But even by local standards, the attendees gathered here are chasing a dream so grand and exotic it makes the typical Internet confab look like an OSHA seminar. Anyone can build a game-changing social-network platform or a virtual community or a set of open APIs. But the people here want to start a nonmetaphorical revolution by creating their own independent nations. In the middle of the ocean. On prefab floating platforms.
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At 9:12 am, Patri Friedman stands up to address the group. A former Google software engineer, Friedman is 32 but comes off much younger, with close-cropped hair and a slightly nasal voice. He is executive director of the Seasteading Institute, the nonprofit he founded in April 2008, and this is the group’s first major event. He surveys the room, taking in a cross section of Silicon Valley culture: A white-haired nanotech millionaire in a suit sits next to a grad student in a Transformers T-shirt. If you were to break down the audience into high school classifications, you’d find a couple of hippies and goths, a few hipsters, and several preppies. The rest would definitely be at the nerd table. The male-female ratio is 7 to 1. “This isn’t enough to create a whole new civilization,” Friedman says. “But this is a seed.”
The morning sessions from the first annual Seasteading conference, held in Burlingame California on October 10th.
Friedman and his followers are not the first band of wide-eyed dreamers to want to build floating utopias. For decades, an assortment of romantics and whack jobs have fantasized about fleeing the oppressive strictures of modern government and creating a laissez-faire society on the high seas. Over the decades, they’ve tried everything from fortified sandbars to mammoth cruise ships. Nearly all have been disasters. But the would-be nation builders assembled here are not intimidated by that record of failure. After all, their plans are inspired by the ethos of the modern tech industry, where grand quixotic visions are as common as BlackBerrys, and they see their task not as a holy mission but as something like a startup. A couple of software engineers came up with an innovative concept, then outsourced it to a community and let the wisdom of the crowd improve on it. They scored financing from a top-tier venture capitalist and assembled a board of directors. They will be transparent, blogging their progress. If they failwhich, let’s face it, is the most likely outcomethey will do so quickly, in time-honored Valley fashion. But if they succeed, they have one hell of an exit strategy.
Friedman launches into what he calls “my standard rant”a spiel about government’s shortcomings and why they’re so hard to repair. In his eyes, government is a sclerotic monopoly that can count on high customer lock-in thanks to inertia and the lack of alternatives. “Government is an inefficient industry because it has an insane barrier to entry,” he says. “To compete with governments on existing land, you have to win a war, an election, or a revolution.” He points to the democracy that emerged from the American Revolution as the last successful rollout and attributes the subsequent dry spell to the lack of uncolonized space on the map. “We’ve run out of frontier,” he says.
But there’s still one virgin realm left, and it covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface.
The purpose of the Seasteading Instituteand of this gatheringis to figure out how to make aquatic homesteads a reality. But Friedman doesn’t just want to create huge floating platforms that people can live on. He’s also hoping to create a platform in the sense that Linux is a platform: a base upon which people can build their own innovative forms of governance. The ultimate goal is to create standards and blueprints that can be easily adapted, allowing small communities to rapidly incubate and test new models of self-rule with the same ease that a programmer in his garage can whip up a Facebook app. “You could roll your own government out of pieces copied from all the societies around you,” Friedman says. “Google set my standards for how fast something should grow. This has potential to exceed those standardsif we make one seastead, there’s room for thousands.”
You’re ready to move to the middle of the ocean. What will your new digs look like? The Seasteading Institute hired Marine Innovation & Technology, an oil rig designer, to sketch out a $50 million, 20,000-ton platform with multistory living quarters and helipads.
1// Living Platform
2// Water Supply
3// Foot Tanks
4// Engine Room
Illustration: Kate Francis
Friedman’s optimism is easier to buy into if you ignore the history of previous would-be nation builders. There was Operation Atlantis, created by Ayn Rand admirer Werner Stiefel in the late 1960s. Stiefel, who made a fortune selling dermatology products, devoted his life to creating a sovereign society with the freest markets imaginable. He started with a ferro-cement boat that made a single successful voyage on the Hudson River. He erected a system of seabreaks near the coast of Haiti but was run off by president Fran7ois Duvalier’s gunboats before he could put land on it. He bought an oil rig and tried to anchor it between Cuba and Honduras, where it was destroyed by a storm. Stiefel died in 2006 with little more than a sporadically published newsletter to show for his efforts.
In 1971, real estate millionaire and committed libertarian Michael Oliver dumped large quantities of sand on two coral reefs in the South Pacific and dubbed it the Republic of Minerva, a land with “no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism.” Minerva was soon invaded by the nearby kingdom of Tonga, and it dissolved back into the ocean shortly thereafter.
The Oceania city project, a plan for a vast floating settlement off the coast of Panama, emerged in 1993. The founders took out a two-page ad in Reason, a libertarian magazine, promising to free prospective residents from governments “entangled in bureaucracy, corruption, and the free lunch philosophy.” The project was disbanded the following year due to lack of interest and funds. “The Libertarian party is small in number and too few members have the financial resources to bankroll their beliefs,” founder Eric Klien wrote on Oceania’s Web site.
Other projects still exist as hypothetical concepts. There’s the Freedom Ship, a mile-long floating tax haven, which will come into being just as soon as its organizers can drum up the $10 billion needed to build it. (They’ve accused their former president of absconding with the first $400,000 they raised.) The concept of failed aquatic libertarian havens has even entered the pop consciousness, providing the setting for the blockbuster videogame BioShock.
Wayne Gramlich will never move to the middle of the oceanhis wife forbids it. But when the former software engineer, who has been “on sabbatical” since the late 1990s, stumbled across the Oceania Web site about a decade ago, he was both enthralled by the vision and dismayed at the execution. An early Sun Microsystems employee who worked on browser security at the dawn of the World Wide Web, he thought what was needed was a dispassionate perspectivea realistic plan to build floating autonomous countries. “Oceania had a lot of pretty pictures, pretty concept art, but that was it,” he says. In 1998 he wrote a modest proposal, SeaSteadingHomesteading on the High Seas, to get beyond the grandiloquence. “Big and expensive projects will have a very difficult time attracting the requisite capital,” Gramlich wrote. An engineer at heart, he tried to devise a way to build islands on the cheap. His report outlined how thousands of empty 2-liter soda bottles could be used to create a floating platform.
That sounded like paradise to Friedman when he saw the paper on Gramlich’s site. He had always been interested in big-picture socioeconomic theories. The son of libertarian legal theorist David Friedman and grandson of the Nobel Prize-winning free-market economist Milton Friedman, Patri had until then expressed his worldview mainly through his lifestyle: engaging in “radical self-expression” at Burning Man, experimenting with drugs, living in intentional communities with several other families, and maintaining a polyamorous relationship with his wife. His BMW 328i has a customized license plate: FRRREAK.
Friedman had read about money holes like Oceania and considered them too fantastical to bother with. But the relative practicality of Gramlich’s ideas appealed to the software engineer in him. Here was a simple kludge for a floating platform that might be affordable. And if it could work, Friedman would love to be among the first settlers to live on the open sea. “My dad and grandfather write about stuff,” he says. “What interests me is doing something.” He sent an email to Gramlich, and the two discovered that they lived a few miles apart in Sunnyvale, California. In late 2001, they began to collaborate on a new paper on seasteading. They posted everything online, including their notes to each other. (Friedman coded a Perl script that would allow anyone to submit comments on each paragraph.)
Over the next couple of years, Friedman and Gramlich assembled a 150-page book on the logistics of seasteading. Their guidelines were intensely pragmatic, explaining everything from how to fend off barnacles (a “continuous discharge of low-level chlorination”) to how to fend off foreign navies (“sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles like the Chinese Silkworm are fairly cheap and quite effective”). They described the least far-fetched, least expensive design for a safe seastead they could findthe floating spar. The hypothetical dwelling looks like a giant dumbbell standing on end, with a large steel ballast underwater and a 48,000-square-foot platform suspended above, where 120 people could live. They estimated it could be built for about $3 million. “That’s the same price as a nice house in San Francisco,” Friedman says. (Their design has since evolved, as shown at above.)
Gramlich and Friedman’s online tome captured the imagination of like-minded geeks, who peppered it with suggestions and criticisms. It was also brought to the attention of millionaire tech investor Peter Thiel, who shared Friedman and Gramlich’s dissatisfaction with land-bound governments. Thiel was a cofounder of PayPal, and he viewed that company as a way to further his libertarian idealsa way to move money around the world as 1s and 0s without the involvement of nations or their currencies. After selling PayPal to eBay and walking away with a reported $55 million, Thiel started the hedge fund Clarium Capital, which made a fortune earlier this decade by correctly betting that oil prices would rise and the dollar would weaken.
Thiel has invested in Facebook, Friendster, LinkedIn, and Slide. He has also donated $3.5 million to Aubrey de Grey’s Methuselah Foundation, which seeks to extend longevity, and given money to the campaigns of small-government conservatives like Ron Paul.
“Peter wants to end the inevitability of death and taxes,” Friedman says. “I mean, talk about aiming high!”
Last April, Thiel pledged a $500,000 investment and installed his right-hand man, Joe Lonsdale, as chair of the Seasteading Institute. “Decades from now, those looking back at the start of the century will understand that seasteading was an obvious step toward encouraging the development of more efficient, practical public-sector models around the world,” Thiel said in a statement at the time. Three months after the wire transfer went through, Friedman left his job at Google.
Friedman is quick to acknowledge that not everyone will share his vision. “At first blush, this all sounds kind of crazy, and to see the potential beyond thatthat’s pretty awesome,” he tells his fellow enthusiasts at the seasteading conference. “There’s a lot of good craziness in this room!”
The afternoon sessions from the first annual Seasteading conference, held in Burlingame California on October 10th.
But good craziness alone will not make seasteads work, and most of the day is spent discussing the nuts and bolts of creating a floating community. First is the question of structure. “The ocean is a harsh and corrosive environment,” Friedman says. In addition to rust and barnacles, there’s wave motion, which is disorienting in the best of times and potentially fatal during a storm. The Seasteading Institute hired Marine Innovation & Technology as a consultant to solve these problems. Naval architect Alexia Aubault takes the lectern to describe the results of wave-motion analyses her engineering firm performed. To protect the organization from frivolous infringement lawsuits, she is barred by the institute’s lawyer from showing off the refined design until a patent gets filed. (That has since been done.)
And that’s just one of the legal torpedoes that seasteaders must dodge. According to the UN’s Law of the Sea, the jurisdiction of traditional nations extends up to 200 miles from shore, an exclusive economic zone within which countries can control fishing and mineral rights and police polluters. Friedman hopes there will someday be self-sufficient seasteads that can thrive on the high seas, beyond the purview of any country. But for the near future, he concedes, they’ll probably need to remain near shore and operate like cruise ships, which are bound by the laws of the country where they’re registered. Most governments won’t attack these kinds of vessels as long as they behave. “At this point, it matters who you piss off,” he says. (Raymond Peck, a former Reagan administration official, has agreed to do further research for the institute on the Law of the Sea.)
At 11 am, attendees break up into small groups to brainstorm business models. Seasteaders can depend on like-minded benefactors for only so long. Ultimately, these nations will need to pay the bills. Friedman notes that some enterpriseslike euthanasia clinicswould incense local authorities, but almost all the ideas attendees come up with would capitalize on activities that skirt existing laws and regulations: Fish farming and aquaculture. Prisons. Med schools. Gold warehouses. Brothels. Cryonics intakes. Gene therapy, cloning, augmentation, and organ sales. Baby farms. Deafeningly loud concerts. Rehab/detox clinics. Zen retreats. Abortion clinics. Ultimate ultimate fighting tournaments.
During the Seasteading conference, Vince Cate showed video of a floating prototype of his own design: The WaterWalker, a tripod lashed to three soccer balls.
(Lonsdale has his own ideas. “Bazooka bikini bachelor parties,” he says. “You get there and a Lithuanian model hands you a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.”)
But in the end, the seasteaders may face an even more fundamental challenge. During an afternoon session, Friedman asks, “How many people here know how to sail?” Few hands go up. He says plans are under way to offer group instruction at discount rates.
The first annual seasteading conference adjourns at 6 pm. A kayaking trip around the bohemian houseboat community just off Sausalito has been scheduled for the following morning, but it is canceled because of high winds.
Forbes Island isn’t really an island at all but a 5,000-square-foot, 700-ton sea vehicle decked out with palm trees, a white-sand beach, and a lighthouse. A houseboat designer named Forbes Kiddoo, inspired by the science fiction of Jules Verne, spent five years building it. In 1999, he converted it into a restaurant that today floats near San Francisco’s kitschy Pier 39, serving $35 rack of lamb to tourists who watch sea lions flop around on the nearby docks. Tonight, the eatery is hosting the Seasteading Institute’s post-conference dinner.
Kiddoo himself ferries the seasteaders from shore to restaurant in a tiny pontoon boat. On the way over, he explains that obtaining clearance for his island was a nightmare. “I had to get city, county, state, and federal permits,” he says, shouting to be heard over the bellowing of sea lions. “I had to deal with the ADA, the ABC I had to become a merchant marine captain.”
Houseboat designer Forbes Kiddoo gives a tour of his manmade island. The structure, now converted into a restaurant, was host to the Seasteading Institute’s post-conference dinner last October.
Afterward, in the island’s bar, Friedman seems happy with how the event went, though he says some of his plans will have to be scaled back. He had wanted to hold a floating festival dubbed Ephemerisle on Fourth of July weekend; it was to be a sort of Burning Man on the high seas, where everything is permitted. But several conference attendees expressed concern about the logisticsand advisabilityof a free-floating bacchanal of guns and drugs. He’ll still host some sort of gathering to test a few miniature floating-island prototypes but expects it to be held in San Francisco Bay, not out on the open sea. “It’ll probably take a few iterations to get there,” he says. “But at least we’re doing something.”
Eventually, the seasteaders move to the Tahiti Room, which has a lovely moonlit view of Alcatraz. Chatter around the table gets louder as the wine flows, but the subject matter remains wonky. “The interesting issues are social and legal,” says Mikolaj Habryn, a site reliability engineer at Google. “You’ll get slavery. You’ll get drug dealing. Maybe there’ll be polygamous Mormons. The first people involved will inevitably be those who want to do things they can’t do on land, and we have to deal with that.” A ship passes, and even though Forbes Island is firmly moored a few hundred feet from shore and separated from the bay by a breakwater, the restaurant sways so much that some diners have to breathe deeply and focus on the horizon to settle their stomachs.
At the other end of the table, Patri Friedman raises his glass to make a toast. “I want to see us all at the 10th Annual Seasteading Conference,” he says, implying that he expects it to take place on an actual seastead, not in an Embassy Suites or a floating theme restaurant. “It’ll be in a bigger room, there will be a better view, it won’t move up and down as much, and there’ll be a better wine selection and better things to smoke!”
Friedman is joined by a raucous round of toasts. “To Peter Thiel for financing this!” “To having more women here!” “To being on the water!” “To freedom!”
Friedman wraps it up: “To being crazy in a good way!”
Senior editor Chris Baker (email@example.com) wrote about Star Wars continuity in issue 16.09.
Originally posted here:
Posted: June 12, 2016 at 12:44 am
Golden Rule, 1961. Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, April 1, 1961. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN
This week the United Nations rededicated a large mosaic of Norman Rockwells iconic 1961 illustration, Golden Rule, which hangs in their New York City Headquarters.The workoriginally presented to the UN in 1985 as a gift on behalf of the United States by then First Lady Nancy Reaganwas restored by Williamstown Art Conservation Center, which over the years has repaired numerous objects from Norman Rockwell Museums collection as well (including Rockwells 1953 United Nationsdrawing, which was the artists earliest conceptions for Golden Rule). Here is a little more background on both artworks, currently on view and part of the collection of Norman Rockwell Museum.
Conceived in 1952 and executed in 1953, this drawing was inspired by the United Nations humanitarian mission. Though it was carefully researched and developed, Rockwells idea never made it to canvas. He said he didnt quite know why he grew tired of the pieceperhaps it was too ambitious. At the height of the Cold War and two years into the Korean War, his concept was to picture the United Nations as the worlds hope for the futurehe included sixty-five people representing the worlds nations, waiting for the delegates to straighten out the world, so that they might live in peace and without fear. In the end Rockwell abandoned the illustration, saying that it seemed empty and pretentious, although he would reference it again many years later.
In the 1960s, the mood of the country was changing, and Norman Rockwells opportunity to be rid of the art intelligentsias claim that he was old-fashioned was on the horizon. His 1961 Golden Rule was a precursor to the type of subject he would soon illustrate. A group of people of different religions, races and ethnicity served as the backdrop for the inscription Do Unto Other as You Would Have Them Do Unto You. Rockwell was a compassionate and liberal man, and this simple phrase reflected his philosophy. Having traveled all his life and been welcomed wherever he went, Rockwell felt like a citizen of the world, and his politics reflected that value system.
Id been reading up on comparative religion. The thing is that all major religions have the Golden Rule in Common. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Not always the same words but the same meaning.Norman Rockwell, The Norman Rockwell Album.
From photographs hed taken on his 1955 round-the-world Pam Am trip, Rockwell referenced native costumes and accessories and how they were worn. He picked up a few costumes and devised some from ordinary objects in his studio, such as using a lampshade as a fez. Many of Rockwells models were local exchange students and visitors. In a 1961 interview, indicating the man wearing a wide brimmed hat in the upper right corner, Rockwell said, Hes part Brazilian, part Hungarian, I think. Then there is Choi, a Korean. Hes a student at Ohio State University. Here is a Japanese student at Bennington College and here is a Jewish student. He was taking summer school courses at the Indian Hill Museum School. Pointing to the rabbi, he continued, Hes the retired postmaster of Stockbridge. He made a pretty good rabbi, in real life, a devout Catholic. I got all my Middle East faces from Abdalla who runs the Elm Street market, just one block from my house. Some of the models used were also from Rockwells earlier illustration,United Nations.
See the originals: Golden Rule and United Nations are currently on view at Norman Rockwell Museum.
View the restoration of RockwellsUnited Nations painting below:
Golden Rule, iconic Norman Rockwell mosaic, rededicated at UN Headquarters, UN News Centre, February 5, 2014
The Golden Rule: Restoring the Norman Rockwell Mosaic at the United Nations, Art Conservator, Summer 2013
The rest is here:
Posted: March 26, 2016 at 8:43 am
As the world draws closer and closer to the day of Christ’s return, the exponential pace of technological change will play an increasing role in the fulfillment of bible prophecy.
The development of technologies such as molecular manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing will trigger abrupt and radical changes in the global economic, social, and geopolitical landscape.
The acceleration and magnitude in development of these powerful technologies will dwarf the Industrial Revolution in size and scale.
Foreseeing such change, the world should note the various social philosophies and political movements which emerged during the Industrial Revolution. Darwinism, Marxism, Communism, Facism, and eugenics all emerged within a few short decades.
While the Industrial Revolution was not absolutely necessary for, nor was the it the cause of, the rise in popularity for each of these movements – it did serve to amplify their influence.
So what small movements might explode in popularity during the next technological revolution?
One possible candidate is the transhumanist movement…
The definition of transhumanism varies depending on who you consult, but here’s Wikipedia’s take:
“Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes.” (Wikipedia)
These are noble goals. After all, who could be against ending disabilities, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death?
Yet the aforementioned philosophical and political movements of the Industrial Revolution – Marxism, Facism, Communism, and eugenics – all had similar utopian goals.
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Despite their promises, the real world application of each resulted in unprecedented death and destruction.
If the Transhumanist movement takes flight, it will result in more of the same.
Because all of these movements fail to address the root cause of the current human condition – the sinful nature of man.
Instead of placing God at the center, each of these movements places “extraordinary” men at the center, whether through means of a ruling elite class, a master race, or the evolutionary development of “better” human beings.
After the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin gained widespread traction, it seems logical that most of its adherents would draw the conclusion that the current version of humanity is not “the final product,” but only an early stage in a continuing evolutionary process.
This belief lies at the heart of the transhumanist movement:
“A common feature of transhumanism and philosophical posthumanism is the future vision of a new intelligent species, into which humanity will evolve, which will supplement humanity or supersede it.” (Wikipedia)
In fact, following this line of thinking, human beings have a moral imperative to take charge of their own evolutionary progress and expidite the process:
“Transhumanist philosophers argue that there not only exists a perfectionist ethical imperative for humans to strive for progress and improvement of the human condition but that it is possible and desirable for humanity to enter a transhuman phase of existence, in which humans are in control of their own evolution. In such a phase, natural evolution would be replaced with deliberate change.” (Wikipedia)
If achieved, the desired result would be the attainment of a “posthuman” status, akin to nirvana:
“Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label ‘posthuman.’ Transhumanism is therefore sometimes referred to as ‘posthumanism’ or a form of transformational activism influenced by posthumanist ideal.” (Wikipedia)
Given the utopian promises, as well as the exciting prospect of participating in such revolutionary change, look for the transhumanist movement to gain in popularity as we approach the singularity and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Anticipation of the singularity and the exponential pace of technological change has spawned the organization of like-minded individuals who look forward to a posthuman world and seek to hasten its arrival:
“In 1998, philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association (WTA), an international non-governmental organization working toward the recognition of transhumanism as a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry and public policy. In 1999, the WTA drafted and adopted The Transhumanist Declaration.” (Wikipedia)
The World Transhumanist Association (WTA) has since changed its name to Humanity+, but its focus as an organization dedicated to developing transhumanist ideas and policies remains unchanged.
At its core, the organization promotes the development of the next step in humanity’s evolutionary process:
“Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.” Transhumanist Values (Humanity+)
So what fuels this desire to transition to “posthuman” status? Is it really idealistic, utopian goals, or is it really just an inherent desire to overcome the “biological chains” of humanity?
For most transhumanists, its probably the latter.
As Wikipedia cites:
“At the EZTV Media venue frequented by transhumanists and other futurists, Natasha Vita-More presented Breaking Away, her 1980 experimental film with the theme of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the Earth’s gravity as they head into space.” (Wikipedia)
A theme “of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the Earth’s gravity as they head into space?”
That theme sounds familiar…
The bible has a lot to say about our future. Approximately 3,000 years ago, King David wrote about the hearts of men just prior to the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, as men prepared to “free themselves from God’s slavery”:
“Why do the nations rage? Why do the people waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry. ‘And free ourselves from this slavery.’ But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” Psalm 2:1-4 (NLT)
The viewpoint of end time humanity is one of animosity toward God. Humanity will view its limitations as arbitrary obstacles erected by God. As a result, humanity will prepare for battle against the Lord in an effort to break the shackles of its perceived oppressor.
The Transhumanist Declaration asserts a desire which has much i
n common with the attitude of humanity in the last days:
“Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.” The Transhumanist Declaration (Humanity+)
When asked by His disciples to describe the time of the end and the day of His Coming, Jesus stated:
“In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” Matthew 24:22 (NLT)
In this translation, the phrase “not a single person will survive” is deceptive.
Because it’s the result of the translator’s assumption that the phrases “no flesh will survive” and “no people will survive” are interchangable.
Assuming the possibility exists for a transhumanist future, the two phrases are not.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the key Greek word in this phrase is translated “sarx,” and means:
“flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extens.) the body (as opposed to the soul [or spirit], or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by impl.) human nature (with its frailties [phys. or mor.] and passions), or (spec.) a human being (as such)”
Taken in its original context, Jesus did not necessarily say that unless those days are shortened, “humanity will not survive.”
Instead, he said unless those days are shortened, “no flesh will survive.”
If the transhumanist movement suceeds in transforming the human race into a race of “posthumans” who no longer need flesh covered bones to survive, then these words of Jesus take on an entirely different meaning.
And it doesn’t take an illogical leap of faith to draw this conclusion.
After all, it seems reasonable to assume that humanity will have to undergo some sort of radical transformation in order to plot a war against God Almighty. The arrogant impulse already exists. All that remains is the need for an exponential increase in human power which deludes humanity into believing it can overcome the Lord of lords.
And make no mistake about it, the Bible is clear that this is where humanity is ultimately headed – physical conflict with God:
“Then I saw the beast gathering the kings of the earth and their armies in order to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army.” Revelation 19:19 (NLT)
Do not confuse the “war” with a spiritual struggle.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the key word here is translated “polemos,” and means:
“warfare (lit. or fig.; a single encounter or a series) – battle, fight, war.”
The word “polemos” appears at least 16 times in the New Testament, and in each case, it refers to physical conflict, not a spiritual one as Paul refers to here:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
When Paul speaks of the spiritual struggle, he uses the word “pale.” According to Strong’s Concordance, “pale” means:
Clearly, the Bible differentiates between our everyday spiritual struggle with the forces of darkness and literal phsyical conflict in the form of war.
Regarding the Antichrist, the gathering at Armageddon, and the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, it’s clearly prophesied that man will engage in physical battle with God Almighty:
“From one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and east and toward the glorious land of Israel. His power reached to the heavens where it attacked the heavenly armies, throwing some of the heavenly beings and stars to the ground and trampling them. He even challenged the Commander of heaven’s armies by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple.” Daniel 8:9-11 (NLT)
The power of the Antichrist will be immense enough to attack the heavenly armies, throwing angels to the ground and trampling them in the process. He will even attack the Commander of heaven’s armies, Jesus Christ.
But the attack is futile. Jesus will destroy the Antichrist and all those aligned against God.
Ultimately, the transhumanist agenda is nothing new.
The transhumanist movement seeks:
Some humans will ultimately achieve these goals. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, they will witness:
1) The end of death and suffering…
“There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (NLT)
2) The end of starvation and disease…
“On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” Revelation 22:2 (NLT)
3) The end of disabilities…
“And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” Isaiah 35:5-6 (NLT)
All of these hopes are realized in heaven. So essentially, the transhumanist agenda is one that seeks to achieve heaven on earth.
The problem with the transhumanist movement is that there’s only one path to heaven. All others are false:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:1-5 (NLT)
Final implementation of the transhumanist agenda is a blatant attempt to “sneak over the wall of the sheepfold, rather than going through the gate.” It’s an agenda that will ultimately fail.
Christ is the only gate that leads into heaven. Those who try to enter by any other means are doomed to failure:
“Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.'” John 10:6-10 (NLT)
To learn more about the transhumanist movement and its adherent’s positions, read the Humanity+ website.
Britt Gillette is the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy and the author of Signs Of The Second Coming: 11 Reasons Jesus Will Return in Our Lifetime.
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Posted: April 13, 2015 at 11:46 am
Lala Daidai Genome
I valued to sing this song, I hope you'll like it ~ ~ Credits ~ Title : (Daidai Genome) Original vocals : Hatsune Miku Append Music, Lyrics : mezame-P Illustration : F*cla Video…
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Lala Daidai Genome – Video
Posted: March 10, 2015 at 3:40 am
The December 28, 1959 issue of Life magazine featured this illustration of life in 1975. It’s over the top and cartoonish, of course, but it perfectly sums up all of the techno-optimism that was so prevalent in the late 1950s the Golden Age of Futurism.
The article that accompanied the illustration spelled out the wondrous things that people could expect by the year 1975. Americans were promised that they’d be working less, taking home more money, and enjoying longer vacations and more leisure activities than they could even imagine. And don’t forget about the amazing technological advances. High-tech communications satellites? Check. Family helicopters? Check. Replaceable organs and robot-diagnosed medicine? Check and check.
The article in Life also assured readers that they weren’t just making these predictions up as they went along. They were referencing the hard data from the Research Institute of America, a private research firm:
The Institute’s basic over-all prediction is that in 15 years, given a peaceful world, America will be a consumer’s utopia. By 1975 more Americans (230 million) will have more money (average national family income up from the present $5,000 to 7,500) and more time to spend it (15% fewer work hours, 50% more holidays). Technology and salesmanship and industry will conspire to make every American’s life safer and easier. Rockets will whisk special delivery mail anywhere in the world and relay stations on orbiting space satellites will speed his radio messages on their way. Electronic devices will cook his food faster, purify his air supply, diagnose the weather and also his health. If something goes terribly wrong with his insides, tiny, complex self-powered spare human parts hearts, kidneys and livers will be available.
But we have to remind ourselves that the people of any given generation don’t all think alike. For instance, the illustrator of this cartoon, Jim Flora, also drew some rather scary robots for an article in Parade that very same year.
In that piece we see a dystopian world filled with too much automation, too much leisure time, and even suicide as a result. Never forget that no matter the decade, one person’s time-saving robot is another person’s job-stealing tyrant.
Image via Super Retro
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: February 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm
The free speech taken for granted in Western democracies is opposed by many other countries. Photo: Illustration: Matt Davidson
Government censorship of the internet is a cat-and-mouse game, and despite more aggressive tactics in recent months, the cats have been largely frustrated while the mice wriggle away.
But this year the challenges for technology companies will mount, with Russia and Turkey in particular trying to tighten controls on foreign-based internet companies. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google are increasingly being put into the tricky position of discovering which laws and orders to comply with around the world, and which to ignore or contest.
Russian president Vladimir Putin recently signed the latest version of a personal data law that will require companies to store data about Russian users on computers inside the country, where it will be easier for the government to get access to it. Few companies are expected to comply with the law, which goes into effect on September 1, so a confrontation may erupt.
Anton Nosik, a prominent Russian blogger whose work has been censored by regulators, says it is absurd for a government to think itcan easily stamp out an article or video when it can be copied or found elsewhere with a few clicks. “The reader wants to see what he was prevented from seeing,” he says. “All that blocking doesn’t work.”
The Turkish government faced similar embarrassment when it tried to stop the dissemination of leaked documents and audio recordings on Twitter in March. The administration of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister and is now President, ordered the shutdown of Twitter within Turkey after the company refused to block the posts, which implicated government officials in a corruption investigation.
Not only did the government lose a court fight on the issue, but while Twitter was blocked, legions of Turkish users also taught one another technical tricks to evade the ban, even spray-painting the instructions on the walls of buildings.
“We all became hackers,” says Asli Tunc, a professor of communication at Istanbul Bilgi University. “And we all got on Twitter.”
Despite such victories for free-speech advocates, governments are stepping up efforts to control the internet, escalating the confrontation. “The trendlines are consistent,” says Colin Crowell, Twitter’s global vice-president of public policy. “There are more and more requests for removal of information.”
Originally posted here:
Web freedom and censorship grows as a global issue
Posted: January 29, 2015 at 9:45 pm
Are we seeing the convergence of a century of space science and science fiction before our eyes? Will Musk and SpaceX make 2001 Space Odyssey a reality? (Photo Credit: NASA, Apple, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Illustration Judy Schmidt)
In Kubricks and Clarks 2001 Space Odyssey, there was no question of Boots or Bots[ref]. The monolith had been left for humanity as a mileage and direction marker on Route 66 to the stars. So we went to Jupiter and Dave Bowman overcame a sentient machine, shut it down cold and went forth to discover the greatest story yet to be told.
Now Elon Musk, born three years after the great science fiction movie and one year before the last Apollo mission to the Moon has set his goals, is achieving milestones to lift humans beyond low-Earth orbit, beyond the bonds of Earths gravity and take us to the first stop in the final frontier Mars the destination of the SpaceX odyssey.
Marvel claims Musk as the inspiration for Tony Stark in Ironman but for countless space advocates around the World he is the embodiment of Dave Bowman, the astronaut in 2001 Space Odyssey destined to travel to the edge of the Universe and retire an old man on Mars. (Photo Credit: NASA, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Illustration Judy Schmidt)
Ask him whats next and nowhere on his bucket list does he have Disneyland or Disney World. You will find Falcon 9R, Falcon Heavy, Dragon Crew, Raptor Engine and Mars Colonization Transporter (MCT).
At the top of his working list is the continued clean launch record of the Falcon 9 and beside that must-have is the milestone of a soft landing of a Falcon 9 core. To reach this milestone, Elon Musk has an impressive array of successes and also failures necessary, to-be-expected and effectively of equal value. His plans for tomorrow are keeping us on the edge of our seats.
The Dragon Crew capsule is more than a modernized Apollo capsule. It will land softly and at least on Earth will be reusable while Musk and SpaceX dream of landing Falcon Crew on Mars. (Photo Credits: SpaceX)
CRS-5, the Cargo Resupply mission number 5, was an unadulterated success and to make it even better, Elons crew took another step towards the first soft landing of a Falcon core, even though it wasnt entirely successful. Elon explained that they ran out of hydaulic fluid. Additionally, there is a slew of telemetry that his engineers are analyzing to optimize the control software. Could it have been just a shortage of fluid? Yes, its possible they could extrapolate the performance that was cut short and recognize the landing Musk and crew dreamed of.
A successful failure of a soft landing had no baring on the successful launch of the CRS-5, the cargo resupply mission to ISS. (Image Credits: SpaceX)
The addition of the new grid fins to improve control both assured the observed level of success and also assured failure. Anytime one adds something unprovento a test vehicle, the risk of failure is raised. This was a fantastic failure that provided a treasure trove of new telemetry and the possibilities to optimize software. More hydraulic fluid is a must but improvements to SpaceX software is what will bring a repeatable string of Falcon core soft landings.
Posted: January 28, 2015 at 8:43 pm
IMAGE:XPC DNA repair protein shown in two modes, patrolling undamaged DNA (in green) and bound to DNA damage site (magenta, with blue XPC insert opening the site). The sun behind… view more
Credit: Illustration: Myrna Romero and Jung-Hyun Min.
Sites where DNA is damaged may cause a molecule that slides along the DNA strand to scan for damage to slow on its patrol, delaying it long enough to recognize and initiate repair. The finding suggests that the delay itself may be the key that allows the protein molecule to find its target, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Usually, the repair protein zips along quickly, says Anjum Ansari, UIC professor of physics and co-principal investigator on the study, published this month in Nature Communications.
“If the DNA is normal and the protein is searching, the interaction that the protein makes with the DNA is not very tight, and the protein is able to wander at some speed,” Ansari said.
“When the protein encounters a damaged DNA, it’s not quite like a normal DNA , it may be a little twisted or more flexible. The protein ‘stumbles’ at that spot and gets a little stalled, enough to give it a little bit more time at the damaged site,” she said. “The longer it sits, the higher the probability that it will open the DNA and initiate repair.”
This ‘stumble’ gives the protein time to flip out the damaged nucleotide building blocks of the DNA and recruit other proteins that begin repair, said Jung-Hyun Min, assistant professor of chemistry at UIC and co-principal investigator on the study.
The protein, xeroderma pigmentosum C or XPC, is important for the repair of DNA damaged by environmental insults, like the chemicals in cigarette smoke and pollutants, which makes it important for preventing cancers, Min said. Dysfunctional XPC may lead to a 1,000-fold increase in the risk of skin cancer.
How the protein can find a lesion hidden among perhaps 100,000 times as many undamaged nucleotides has been a mystery, Min said. XPC is unusual in that it does not have a “pocket” that fits one specific damaged structure while rejecting others that do not fit well. Instead, it recognizes damage indirectly, and so is able to repair a variety of derangements.
In order to see how XPC distinguishes between normal and damaged DNA, the researchers used a chemical trick to bind the protein to a single site on intact DNA. To their surprise, they found that the protein flipped open the nucleotides on undamaged DNA just as it does at a bad spot.
Posted: January 20, 2015 at 12:40 am
Illustration of Day 1 of the Ross Ulbricht trial. (Illustration by Susie Cagle)
To his family, he was former Eagle Scout Ross Ulbricht. To his housemates, he was Joshua Terrey. To the U.S. government, hes The Dread Pirate Roberts the criminal mastermind who created and operated the billion dollar black market website Silk Road. His trial began on January 13.
The prosecutions story of an exceptionally bright and smart kid who grew up to become the criminal head of a global black market is in itself interesting enough to provide Hollywood with a half a dozen movies. But even if the government proves these allegations, this character arc would actually be one of the more normal and mundane things about this story.
Here are a few of the bizarre twists and turns in the investigation of The Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road, and Ross Ulbricht:
An Undercover Agent Basically Worked The Helpdesk For Silk Road
Illustration by Susie Cagle
In July of 2013, Jared Der-Yeghiayan, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, took over the account of a Silk Road moderator under the alias cirrus. By the time of Ulbrichts capture, Der-Yeghiayan had been undercover for about two months.
During his time undercover, Der-Yeghiayans worked for 10 to 12 hours each day, and was paid about one thousand dollars in bitcoin from DPRs Silk Road account every week.
Essentially, he was a helpdesk worker for an online black market. But it was his contact with Dread Pirate Roberts that led to a sting operation to arrest Ulbricht. The Federal Government Faked A Hit Ordered By The Dread Pirate Roberts
Curtis Clark Green, a semi-pro poker player in his late 40s, had a second job that his family knew nothing about he was an administrator for Silk Road who was known for frequently shared personal anecdotes and detailed advice on using and dealing illegal substances.