Yeah, Yet Another Format Change. And Yet Another Blogname Change (this time a slight one)

Yeah, I know…I had a cool black-and-ornage format going on here, and I changed it to…this.

Thing is, I got a complaint from someone who had trouble reading the blog due to color-blindness. And while I keep blogging what I want to blog about, I do want this read, even with people having trouble with colors. So I changed it to something more typical.

And besides, I figured it was time for something a little more calming.

I don’t plan on changing what I blog on. I have some thoughts which are stewing in my mind at the moment (including one for my upcoming birthday). But the background has changed

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Now playing: The Meatmen – How Soon Is Now
via FoxyTunes .

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HeLa Cells, Grey Goo and Autism – What?

First, let’s look at the idea of Grey Goo. The concept has played plenty of times on Coast To Coast Radio and other nanotech sites when they talk about the pitfalls of nanotech.

The idea of Grey Goo is simple: Put together a machine whose sole goal in to eat and reproduce. Let it out into the wild. Wait a while. Watch all life on earth get eaten up by this bug.

Now granted, this is a bit simplistic. This bug would have to move around a bit as well, plus be able to have either a simplified set of needs or a way of making everything needed. Plus it would take time for them to spread out, and many of them would either die or fall apart due to lack of material.

But the idea is simple: something that eats up everything in sight and survives as its own entity; and as it survives everything bigger than it dies.

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Now here’s something people don’t know or haven’t figured out yet: We already have a version of Grey Goo, and it’s made of human flesh. Or at least A Human’s flesh.

Or More Specifically, Henrietta Lacks.

In 1951, she was discovered to have cervical cancer, and was killed by that cancer. Dr. George Gey grabbed a section of the tumor, and tried keeping it alive. Unlike every one else trying to keep lines alive at the time, his succeeded. So much so that suddenly other people found themselves able to make cell lines replicate almost instantly.

Took them twenty plus years to figure out they were all replicating the same cell. The same cells that had taken over Henrietta Lacks by the time she died in November 1951 had taken over the vast majority of cell lines that had been “created” by that time. Indeed, one could easily postulate that all they had done was recreate the first experiment which established the HeLa cells. Even with the attempts today to protect against contamination from HeLa cells, they end up showing up even wherever they’re kept from establishing themselves.

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Another interesting aspect of HeLa cells is that they were used to create vaccines to Polio, a disease which had caused trouble for years but happened to be in decline by the time the vaccines were created.

One also wonders which other vaccines HeLa cells were used in, intentionally or inadvertently. Especially now, that we’re talking about a cell with a different number of chromosomes than humans (82 vs 46), a few alien chromosomes (since not all of the chromosomes came from human chromosomes), plus HeLa’s female (two Xs, maybe more…who knows).

And whom is it that suffers from Autism more? Males.

It wouldn’t be the first time that certain genes/animals/infectious agents have proven detrimental to whomever they infect. Many genes have been shown to be selfish or to have effects that kill off these beings (usually insects) that don’t give the infecting agent a chance to pass on the infecting agent/gene. Wolbachieae are infamous for that; indeed they’ve developed to the point where certain species of insects/worms/spiders/other bugs need to be infected by the Wolbachieae in order to breed.

It’s also shown up in other areas, as well. Male Fruit Flies have semen which has proven damaging to the female which has it introduced inside her; needless to say the females tend to be choosy on whom they let fertilize them.

So it’s entirely possible that some deviant version of HeLa has had itself inserted into a vaccine which is presently being used to vaccinate children against certain diseases. The MRR vaccine seems to be the obvious culprit, but it’s always possible that that vaccine doesn’t so much do the damage but triggers it via other damage done by other vaccines.

I would be curious as to how the MRR vaccine came about, which cells they used. If there’s a hint of HeLa in the creation of the MRR vaccine, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that somehow it became virulently anti-male; only instead of killing/sterilizing said male, it ends up messing with brain (and thus personal) development. In other words, Grey Goo takes another victim.

Just another thought.

The End of Net Neutrality: How It Will Likely Happen

Everyone’s thinking that Net Neutrality will die in a blaze of sudden “New Subscription rates/teirs,” in which suddenly you’ll have to pay X amount for minimal access, Y amount for “greater service,” and some greater amount for full service. In short, an immediate death that everyone will have to deal with almost immediately.

I doubt it. Not that we’ll in the end have to meet up with such an end-point, but by the time it happens we’ll be ready and willing; probably even happy to know what our limits are. We’re talking Boiling Frog Theory here – drop in the boiling water, frog jumps; drop in lukewarm water, frog boils as water is warmed up. (Yes, I know the analogy is messed up. Everyone understands it as such, so it works.)

Anyway, here’s what I think will happen:

  1. Pages will start disappearing from the net. First it will be the mp3 download sites and web pages that start disappearing. Then the conspiracy sites. Then those sites with such wild stories that only a few odd people will believe them will disappear. Then, more and more other pages will disappear.
  2. Pages will suddenly start taking longer to download. Except for certain update pages for programs, pages which are favored for their propagandistic purposes or because they’re too popular to shut or slow down, the internet will suddenly go slower and slower. You won’t necessarily see it noted on the CPU, but you’ll notice it as slower times.
  3. Search sites will take the lessons of self-censorship they learned from China and start disappearing sites from their search listings, based on what information your computer gives them. You use Google or Yahoo on ATT, you get what Google or Yahoo thinks ATT, the government, certain corporations and other pressure groups aren’t bothered enough about to ban; same for Comcast, Verizon and whatever other company you know (just replace ATT with that company). Occasionally a website will slip through the net, but you won’t be able to click through to the site.
  4. In about six months or a year, people’s habits will be affected. Some will seek out dark nets to find wha they want, whereas the majority will end up limiting their wants and desires to whatever the web gives them. No uptick in bookstore or record store sales; people will by this point be proven to have been trained to suck their wants off the internet. Those who want what’s now been banned by the companies will try to work around the bars, but their efforts will fall short.
  5. The information on the internet will change. Wikipedia is taken over by “independent” folks paid for by corporation and other corporatized movements so they do their editing 10 hours/day, 7 days/week (six if you go to church on Sunday). Xenu.net is taken over by Scientology, becomes a depository of all things unsavory on the internet (and is banned). Code words suddenly get placed on blogs without the writer’s intent; suddenly the only readers of certain blogs are the writers and certain folks who are surreptitiously marked as “possible enemy of the corporate state.”
  6. After a year or so of reducing access and greater problems with the internet, you’ll start seeing advertisements stating “Want More of the Internet?” with tiered pricing. The tiered pricing won’t go for speed, but for access; the more you pay the more you can do. Basic will cost X amount, access to movies more, the ability to downolad mp3 by companies not releasing them (read: bribe money to the riaa) even more than that, and the ability to download all the porn you want will be even more than that.
  7. Porn goes unimpeeded. After all, there’s a need for blackmail, and what better way to do it than for some dodgy pictures to be placed on a netbook by its user? Keep up those habits, and you have people you can control…even if they make an effort to remove it (“Erase” only means “remove the pointers to the file.” That’s why the Defense Department tells its people to physically destroy the memory when a computer is decommissioned). The higher price for porn only means they KNOW who wants their porn and who sneaks it (and which to which device, let’s not forget).
  8. As people sign up for their “no more net neutrality” plans, the screws get tightened. Certain sites fall apart due to lack of visitors, others taken over and their content changed (some radically, some incrementally, some subtly).
  9. Other aspects of the new plans show themselves. Suddenly ATT/Comcast/Verizon/whomever-you-use-to-view-the-internet is given the right (and the responsibility – let’s not forget that a government without feedback from the people becomes its own force) to keep track of what you’re looking at. No more Privacy, even as the choices shrink down.

In short, we’ll end up embracing the death of Net Neutrality. We’ll let the corporations dictate what we cannot see (and thus, what we can) because we’ll “choose” to do so. Even when the choice given becomes “Let us give you the web we want you to have, or you get nothing. Not even email;” we’ll end up celebrating that choice, embracing the limits to our world that it implies and singing about the joys of “the consumer society that brought us this freedom of choice.”

At least that’s what the official line will be. Whether we’ll get beyond it is another matter.

Good, Bad and Ugly on the Chicago Tribune Comics Page:

Came home from work and there was a page of the newspaper on my chair. Turns out it had a bit of stuff on changes planned for the comics pages in the Chicago Tribune. The same place that once had The Hots.

Anyway, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly:

  • The Good: Baby Blues, Frazz, and Zits not only stick around but are expanded. Get Fuzzy is gone, never liked the Bloom County gone to pot angle of the comic. Lio is also gone, while a good comic in the vein of Henry (mostly pantomime) the monsters seemed too much a gimmick for quick acceptance.
  • Don’t Mind Either Way: Broom-Hilda and Brenda Starr are still around. Wouldn’t mind them being gone, but not enough to bitch about their presence (just enough to note my feelings and go on). Sylvia’s disappearing; would prefer her sticking around but not gonna get my undies in a bunch over her.
  • The Bad: Cathy, Dilbert and Dick Tracy are still around stinking up the comics page (all you need to know about my opinions on these comics); Raising Hector and Watch Your Head will disappear from the comics page thereby making the comics page a more white area than even before.
  • The Ugly: For Better Or For Worse is still up; the comic’s doing a bad version of rewriting history. Classic Peanuts, while good, has been in reruns for nearly ten years and new blood on the comics page is needed.

In other words, a bad day for the comics pages at the Chicago Tribune. Where’s Modesty Blaise when you need her (not that this nation would deign to embrace her, as she has a habit of going around naked for a strategic advantage)?