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Archive for the ‘Future’ Category

How come I had never heard about the Georgia Guidestones until today? It’s often referred to as the ‘American Stonehenge’. They’re 6 large granite stones that were erected more than 30 years ago in Georgia by an unknown group:

In June 1979, an unknown person or persons under the pseudonym R. C. Christian hired Elberton Granite Finishing Company to build the structure.[2] One popular hypothesis is that the patron’s pseudonym may be a tribute to the legendary 17th-century founder ofRosicrucianismChristian Rosenkreuz.[2]

The stones have carved into them 10 principles or guidelines translated into 8 different languages ( EnglishSpanishSwahiliHindiHebrewArabicChinese, and Russian) for any people who survive a future apocalypse informing them how to rebuild society:

  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
  2. Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
  4. Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
  8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
  9. Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
  10. Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

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I just finished watching this great documentary on a man named Jacque Fresco, who has been likened by many to a modern day Leonardo Da Vinci.

Future by Design shares the life and far-reaching vision of Jacque Fresco, considered by many to be a modern day Da Vinci.

Peer to Einstein and Buckminster Fuller, Jacque is a self-taught futurist who describes himself most often as a generalist or multi-disciplinarian – a student of many inter-related fields.

He is a prolific inventor, having spent his entire life (he is now 90 years old) conceiving of and devising inventions on various scales which entail the use of innovative technology.

As a futurist, Jacque is not only a conceptualist and a theoretician, but he is also an engineer and a designer.

It becomes apparent very quickly why this is proclaimed by fans of Jacque Fresco as he is an incredibly and broadly accomplished man who seems to have his finger in every creative pie going around. He’s definitely well ahead of his time with it comes to his designs and technological ideas, and I wish that he’d had the required funding to back a lot of his projects.

However, all of that said I didn’t agree a great deal with his political point of view. He seems to be somewhat of an anarcho-socialist. That is to say that he champions a futurist society where no government exists and people have access to everything they need equally. His justifies some of his arguments well, and his intentions are admirable, and I’m sure most of us would love to live in a world like that if it existed. However, I just don’t know how it would ever come about, and sustain itself indefinitely.

The Zeitgeist: Addendum and The Venus Project hoax documentary apparently rebuts the ideology behind Jacque’s future society (you can read much of their arguments in the overview of the doco if you follow the above link). However, I still recommend watching it just for the sake of encouraging your imagination. Most of Jacque’s concepts and designs are truly astonishing.

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It’s definitely a great time to be alive, at least from my perspective as an evolutionary biologist interested in all facets of science. I remember only a decade or so ago searching for other planets, let along Earth-like planets, was a mere speck on the horizon of the science of astronomy. However, the past few years have seen interstellar leaps and bounds in our hunt for Earth 2.0.

In the past it was thought that planets would be incredibly hard to find, if not impossible. But today it’s widely accepted by astronomers that almost every star will have a number of Earth-sized planets in orbit around it. If that’s the case, and there are 200 billion stars in our galaxy, that may mean there are 400 billion Earths here too… 400 BILLION!? Without even considering the number of galaxies that exist in our universe, it becomes obvious that extraterrestrial life almost certainly exists, and exists in our galaxy, and most probably in relative proximity to our Earth.

One of our most advanced weapons currently at our disposal in this battle to find signs of galactic siblings is the Kepler Space Observatory. This extremely power telescope is the first instrument created that is capable of detecting alien planets. It is trailing behind the Earth, following its orbit of the sun, while focused on the constellation Cygnus, gazing at an estimated 150 000 stars. Taking picture after picture, minute after minute, with the simple objective of looking any stars among the 150 000 that dim. When a star dims it is evidence of a planet rotating around it. As a planet passes in front of its star light a minute amount of the star’s light is blocked causing it to faintly dim.

How long the star dims and how much light is blocked reveal the size of the planet and the distance from its sun. A good analogy for this process is looking for the dip in the light that you would see in a searchlight if a moth passed in front of it. It is only minute but it is measurable.

Initially scientists estimated that the Kepler telescope would find a minimum of 50 Earth-like planets. As of December 2011 2 326 candidate planets had been discovered, 207 of which were Earth-sized, and 48 of these planets are located in the habitable zone with the potential to be home to alien life forms.

Before any of these candidate planets could be confirmed as being an Earth 2.0 it was required that they had to be viewed to transit their star 3 times. The first Earth 2.0 was confirmed within the last month and has been given the name Kepler 22-b by its discovering scientists. It has a year of 290 days long, and is a super-Earth at 2.4 times the size of our Earth. That said, it is so far the smallest planet to be found within the habitable zone of  star similar to our sun. Although the planet is approximately 15% closer to its sun than our Earth, its sun only puts out 75% of the energy of our sun. Models suggest it has an average temperature of a cosy 22C, perfect for sustaining life (and almost warm enough for a nice day at the beach). However, scientists are still unsure as to whether or not it has a composition predominantly of liquid, gas or rock.

Scientists state that one of their biggest concerns when looking for extraterrestrial life on these sorts of planets is the possibility that they will be unable to discern its presence despite the discovery of the planet on which it resides. This may happen if the alien life forms are drastically different from our own here on Earth, so much so that it is unrecognisable.

Whether or not that remains a difficulty, it’s still clearly a wonderful time to be alive and right on the edge of such discoveries. Hopefully it is only a matter of time before science discovers alien life forms, whether basic or complex, allowing us to finally say we are not alone!

Below is a wonderful documentary called Weirdest Planets that describes a few of Kepler’s early findings.

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A man named Rob Spence has designed a camera that he wears in a prosthetic eye. Although he cannot see through the eye it allows him to record his experiences subjectively and transmits them to a portable device he carries.

He lost sight in his eye after a shooting accident with friends. Soon after he started work on the what he’s called the ‘Eyeborg Project’. Since his ‘eye catching’ invention he has been commissioned by Square Enix to create a documentary examining people with prosthetics.

For the launch of the game “DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION,” Square Enix commissioned filmmaker Rob Spence to investigate prosthetics, cybernetics and human augmentation. Spence is a self-proclaimed cyborg who lost one eye, and replaced it with a wireless video camera. He is now known as “Eyeborg.”

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Airbus have recently unveiled their vision of the flying experience in 2050. The plane is greener, with reduced emissions and is separated into different ‘zones’ as opposed to classes. In these zones one is able to enter virtual realities where they can go shopping, play games, read their children bed time stories, and there’s even a virtual golf room. It also has a cabin with transparent walls and roof where one’s able to get a beautiful view of the surrounding skies whether day or night. The chairs in the plane even morph to fit your body perfectly.

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