Stuff You Should Know

Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Science Party!
Don’t be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Science Party!

There are some things many of us take for granted. Using the internet comes to mind. Yet, for a shocking number of people this simple task eludes them. What happens mostly is that they get duped into believing something that is patently false or they see their hard earned money go somewhere other than where they need it to be. So, in an effort to help folks out a little bit here today, I’m going to share some facts. I covered some of this back in January, but it bears repeating and a little elucidation probably wouldn’t hurt. Back in November of 2011 I tried to explain the difference between a hunch and a fact. Based on some of the emails I’ve been getting it’s worth popping an updated version of that little bon mot up here again.

Here’s how science works, for those of you who are new to this.

First, you have a hunch. That’s just an idea, nothing more. It could be something you noticed or something that came to you in a dream. No matter where it comes from it’s vague.

Second, you have a hypothesis, this is your hunch backed up by enough data to make it interesting. You now have enough examples of your hunch to allow others to examine and measure it to see if it holds true.

Third you have a theory. This is a hypothesis that now has enough facts to verify it that scientists can use it as a template for further research. The running average is around 95% of observed facts fit your hypothesis. That does not mean that it is writ in stone. Evolution, for example, is a theory. It allows for science to learn more while providing a solid, verified, framework for others to work from.

If, after a long time and tons of research, the theory no longer needs to change, it becomes a fact.

First, let’s start with some safe internet tips.

If the subject or the headline ends in a question mark, it’s click bait and the content will range from useless to harmful.
i.e., Did Obama Have Sex with a Lizard? Has Your Credit Card Been Hacked? Is your Grandma a Porn Star?
Anything “they” don’t want you to see.
The American Medical Association Doesn’t Want you to see this Foolproof Diet! These are always scare tactics designed to get you to sign up for even scarier, fact deprived, newsletters. They also promote “cures” that can harm or kill you or investment scams that prey on your fears (e.g., Save Your Guns by Sending us Money!).
Anything that promises a “gift card” or claims that “your gift card” is about to expire.
The former are just links to surveys that can cost you a fuck ton of money (that’s a lot) and the latter are just a way to get your personal info.
Anything from Dr. Oz or Fox News.
The former is medically specious and can harm or kill you and the latter doesn’t send out unsolicited emails.
Anything that promises you sex with a “hot, young” anyone is a scam.
I’m sorry to have to tell you that.

Start there, and mix in some common sense, and the internet can be a safe and enjoyable experience.

Another thing that seems to be popular (again – sigh) are flying cars.


No they’re not. Back in 2013 I wrote about Moller International and their flying cars. They have three. None are in production. There are seven other companies that also have some version of a flying car at some stage of development. None have been approved, in any country, for commercial sale or use. The latest, the TFX, is the first to claim that you don’t need to know how to fly since a computer will do that part for you. You don’t need to be a scientist to see all the red flags that raises. Something that can top 200 mph and travel up to 500 miles without guidance could be great. It could also be a nightmare should anything happen and the “pilot” has no idea how to deal with it.

I wrote a humorous Sci-Fi story about that years ago but no one would be laughing if one of those bad boys came screaming out of the sky into a school or shopping mall.

Now, let’s have some fun with facts.

  1. Bigfoot doesn’t exist. I covered this extensively back in 2012 but I’ll give you a simple question to use on anyone who thinks otherwise; “Where is the shit?” An animal that big eats, eating creates feces, feces is detectable. Since you’d need at least 1,000 of them to keep the species alive that’s a lot of missing shit. If you want a bunch more reasons why it doesn’t exist just click the link.
  2. Atlantis has been found. Quit searching for it. It’s in Spain and there are no aliens.
  3. Yetis have been found. You can keep searching for them. They have DNA evidence of a species of ancient bear that survived in the remote mountains of the Himalayas. Now they need a body. Hey, it’ll give you something to do.
  4. Vaccines don’t cause autism. They never have and never will. People who don’t believe that are either ignorant or frightened. Although the former state usually leads to the latter so they could be both.
  5. UFOs don’t exist. Now, let’s be VERY clear here; I am not saying that there isn’t non-human life in the universe. I strongly believe there is. But one quick look at a map of our galaxy shows that we’re in the boondocks. Not exactly a high point of any excursion. Furthermore, the common reasons given for coming here, grab our precious resources is the most popular, fall apart if you know anything about space. Our solar system alone has plenty of water and minerals. Anyone visiting could take what they need without ever coming near us. It appears that this is common in most systems we’ve discovered so there’s no need to travel beyond research. And if they wanted to get to know us they could do much better than eviscerating cows. For a boat load of more reasons click here and have fun.
  6. Sexbots are real! Hey, I had to give you some good news. With the integration of Siri-like technology you should soon see interactive Sexbots in a market near you. As anyone who’s seen the Stepford Wives can attest, absolutely nothing can go wrong there.

Of course, all this may become moot as other animals appear to be evolving and may be primed to replace us. No, this isn’t some weird, late night, bit of bad TV. It’s that evolution thingie you may have heard about.

Carolyn Gregorie reports that apes appear to be able to develop human-like speech.

Koko’s (ED Note: the gorilla who learned sign language) behavior was voluntary, and appears to be the result of living with humans throughout her life.

This was surprising, since scientists had generally believed apes were incapable of controlling their vocalizations or their breathing. Documented gorilla vocalizations were limited to a set of calls related to relaying information about the environment (such as the presence of food or predators) or the apes’ emotional states.

While Koko’s behavior clearly transcends these simple calls, that doesn’t mean that other gorillas aren’t also capable of what she’s achieved.

“Presumably, she is no more gifted than other gorillas,” Perlman said in a statement. “The difference is just her environmental circumstances. You obviously don’t see things like this in wild populations.”

The Beginning Of Language

The findings have some fascinating implications for our understanding of the evolution of language.

Most theories of language evolution have held that spoken language is unique to humans, developing as the human line evolved after splitting off from chimpanzees roughly 7 million years ago. But the whole picture may be more complicated than that, and it’s distinctly possible that the seeds of spoken language go much further back than we’ve thought.

The foundation for human speech may have been in place at least 10 million years ago, the time of our last common ancestor with gorillas, according to researchers.

Many simians already know how to use basic tools and one species has been known to domesticate wolves. That would be the same evolutionary route your ancestors took to wipe out Neanderthals and all other proto-humans.

If you click on the “evolution thingie” link above you’ll also find out that squirrels have learned how to kill the power grids for entire cities and polar bears are developing rudimentary refrigeration for storing food.

Look, evolution is continuing to happen all around us no matter what you believe. You can either learn to adapt and live with that fact or end up in a museum just like the Neanderthals.

The choice is yours.

Or, you can get a jump on things and just dump your mind into a computer and hope that it’s not running Windows 98.

George Dvorsky at iO9 tells you how.

We are not just our brains. Conscious awareness arises from more than just raw calculations. As physical creatures who emerged from a material world, it’s our brains that allow us to survey and navigate through it; bodies are the fundamental medium for perception and action. Without an environment — along with the ability to perceive and work within it — there can be no subjective awareness. Brains need bodies, whether that brain resides in a vertebrate, a robot, or in future, an uploaded mind.

In the case of an uploaded mind, however, the body doesn’t have to be real. It just needs to be an emulation of one. Or more specifically, it needs to be a virtual body that confers all the critical functions of a corporeal body such that an uploaded or emulated mind can function optimally within its given virtual environment. It’s an open question as to whether or not uploading is possible, but if it is, the potential benefits are many.

The late Frederick Pohl postulated that organic life was only a stepping stone to a higher state of being. Specifically, digital.

In other words, go ahead, grab a sexbot, upload your mind and let the fucking monkeys have the planet.

SciFiDreamgirls Fembot Movie Teaser: The Interview from Original Films on Vimeo.

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