News That May Interest Sci-Fi Fans

Truth is Stranger Than Science Fiction

And now for some science news that I found fascinating, and other geeky people may find interesting as well.

First Induced Out of Body Experience in Lab (Aug. 24, 2007)

Dr Henrik Ehrsson, neuroscientist working at UCL (University College London) has discovered a process in which he can induce out-of-body experiences with participants of an experimental method.

"Dr Ehrsson said: 'Out-of-body experiences have fascinated mankind for millennia. Their existence has raised fundamental questions about the relationship between human consciousness and the body, and has been much discussed in theology, philosophy and psychology... This represents a significant advance because the experience of one's own body as the centre of awareness is a fundamental aspect of self-consciousness... This is essentially a means of projecting yourself, a form of teleportation. If we can project people into a virtual character, so they feel and respond as if they were really in a virtual version of themselves, just imagine the implications. The experience of playing video games could reach a whole new level, but it could go much beyond that."

Dr. Ehrsson added "This is essentially a means of projecting yourself, a form of teleportation. If we can project people into a virtual character, so they feel and respond as if they were really in a virtual version of themselves, just imagine the implications. The experience of playing video games could reach a whole new level, but it could go much beyond that..."

A few 100 steps or so beyond that, and then we're in the Matrix.

"Japan Child Robot Mimicks Infant Learning" (4/5/09)

Osaka University professor Minoru Asada, and a team of "robotics engineers, brains specialists, psychologists and other experts" have created a child robot. It's a sophisticated robot, CB2, but it's learning like a baby. It learns by observation using it's eye-cameras, and can also recognise human touch with its film-like pressure sensors under its skin.

It was introduced to the world in 2007, and in the last two years has taught itself to walk, using it's air pressure "muscles". In two years time, Asada hopes to have CB2, speaking in basic sentences, equaling the intelligence of a two-year old child.

What happens next is anyone's guess. And if you're a fan of Sci-Fi (especially American Sci-Fi), then this is the beginning of our worst nightmare.

But hopefully, not.

Coming Food Shortage (10/05/09)

Well, here's the skinny. There are so many people on planet Earth that if things continue as they have, we will have to produce more food in the next 50 years than people have ever produced since we began growing our own food.

More wild propaganda? No, it doesn't look like it. Many claims of doom and gloom have been mostly wrong, although many people still don't to believe any of it, as it is too inconvenient and such a downer. The news comes from Megan Clark, a former mining executive, hardly a chicken little "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" kind of occupation.

Currently, of "the 6.8 billion people on earth, he [Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute] said, more than 1 billion go hungry." The solution is not to just clear more forests for farming, as that would only worsen the situation, causing more global warming, which would then cause less viable land for farming, and on and on it goes.

But, on the other hand, there are those who say that this view is overplayed, and that while global warming could slow food production, our focus should be on disease, a priority of more pressing concern.

Once our dystopia is here, why will anyone need to read about it, we'll be living it! Pass the Soilent Green, I'm hungry!

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