Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
When we first began cononizing the north american continent we had no idea what treasures and wonders could be found by traveling west. It was only after a long laborious trip west that we discovered california and the bounty that it could provide. We have a lucious firtile land here that provides fruits and food to feed the nation year round.
In the same grain I believe we need to find our california in space, which will allow us to extend our tenuous tendrils into the vacuum and build sustained outposts. Since space exploration is so difficult and expensive, we need to find an area rich with resources that we can exploit to really begin expanding our investments.
There are two ways that I see we can find resources close to home. Survey the moon till we find the best composition of resources for our needs or survey asteroids and then move them into an orbit that is close enough for us to reach atleast as easily as the moon.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Interesting ongoing space missions.
Kepler - Launched 2009, is searching for earth like planets and can detect a wide range of data from any planets that pass in front of their sun (the "transit" method). It can detect atmosphere temperature based on it's observations. Updated News Source
GRACE -Launched 2002, The two satellite join USA / Germany expedition to detect minute gravity changes on the earth. Updated News Source
SeaWinds on Midori 2 - Launched 2002, was capable of measuring sea winds via radar pulse backscatter. Stopped functioning shortly after achieving orbit. It is like having a billion ships at sea all taking wind measurements.
Hayabusa - Launched 2003, checked out the Itokawa asteroid and is on it's way back home, hopefully with samples. It should be back around June 2010. Updated News Source
Rosetta - Launched 2004, will check out the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014. Updated News Source
Epoxi - Launched 2005, will check out comet Hartley 2 in November of 2010. Updated News Source
Dawn - Launched 2007, will visit the asteroid Vesta and the dwarf planet Ceres. It will arrive at Vesta in a little less than two years (August - sept 2011, (Updated News Source
Chandrayaan-1 & Moon Mineralogy Mapper - Launched 2008, Updated News Source
Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - Launched 2009, will measure surface and subsurface temperatures on the moon in prep for renewed moon missions. Updated News Source
Thursday, August 27, 2009
"and a misguided belief that we must solve all our terrestrial problems before doing anything ambitious in space"
- I have friends that think like this, you know who you are. We will always have problems down here. That did not stop people from inventing the wheel.
"one thing that could redeem the moon as a steppingstone... Is if you could produce propellant on the moon to use in the rockets that went to mars"
- what part of rockets are a bad idea did you not understand? Neuks, do you speak!
"from their inception, US and Soviet apace agencies recognized the value in connecting with the public directly"
- an excellent idea. So let's stream all NASA video ops from space and inside the control rooms as well. I have an extra monitor. Work it out with stream cast or somesuch.
"in 2008 NASA authorization act ... Stipulates that the agency 'develope a technology plan to enable disemination of information to the public to allow the public to experience missions to the moon... By leveraging advanced exploration technologies"
- well said, so that stream cast network is up right?
Top answered to the survey of what would get you interested in and excites by Nasa: ... "having the ability to view what robots and astronauts are seeing in real time..."
- steamcast, do you speak it?!
"On short excursions, austronauts can loose up to 20% of their muscle mass; during multimonth missions, the figure can reach 50%."
- dammit, that is a large problem. Maybe it is time to start doing brain in the jar missions?
"chemical rockets are only marginally capable of getting people to Mara and back"
- neuclear propulsion, how I miss thee, by the time we realizes your potential, it had already been legislated away.
"researchers from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.. Built a magnetic shield in the lab that was able to block a beam of heavy ions and protons"
- why are we still talking about radiation problems? How long will it take for NASA to prove thus tech? Oh that's right, thus has been researched in reactor cores for tens of years.
"even the space shuttle isn't really reusable, in that it costs more per flight than it would to buy a new expendable launch vehical of greater cargo capacity"
- thanks for the hints elon. For the rest of you, rockets need to travel slower when leaving earth when that have people on board. Payload seperate from people is the way to go from a cash standpoint.
"the measurements also came from an additional array of 96 closely packed 3-micrometer microelectrodes that actually penetrated the skull"
- I have the sneaking suspicion that all branes really need to communicate from one brain to the other is a physical connection linking the. maybe this technology will be the start of that.
"[young people] go into engineering because they've had their imaginations fired by a grand, awe-inspiring challenge. A challenge like going to mars for example"
- I could not agree more. NASA's past triumphs inspired two generations of engineers that helped grow this country into the technical powerhouse it is today. awe-inspiring missions like actually trying to work a global space program can do this again. Or just capture an asteroid and put it in orbit. I think that would suffice as well.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
1: Man controlled robotics can be deployed to analyze the asteroid in real time.
2: Whichever nation does it first is going to experience a huge boost to moral.
3: Material sent from earth costs over $5,000 per lb (citation) to get to orbit whereas asteroids are already in orbit.
4: The right asteroid could provide a generations worth of scientific data which could establish how life begins in a new solar system.
5: The right asteroid could provide resources and materials which we could harvest to build in space.
Several Bad Points.
1: Catastrophic program failure may lead to the large scale destruction and significant loss of life
2: Budget cuts may destroy the program in its infancy before it has a chance to prove itself
3: Once countries realize how easy it is, foreign interests will look at these projects as a way to destroy enemies from afar while keeping their hands very clean.
4: Asteroids brought in by private companies may be commandeered by foreign governments if they have no way of protecting them.
There is no way but up, up into the sky, into the darkness of our imagination.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Pacbot on Patrol
On the killing of civilian Daraz Khan and his friends while they were on a hike in Afganistan:
"As best as could be determined from seven thousand miles away, these were the men whom the Predator was looking for. As Pentagon spokesoman Victoria Clarke explained, 'We're convinced that it was an appropriate target...[althought] we do not yet know exactly who it was.'" (pg 397)
"What happens when things don't work out as they are supposed to? The attitude seems to be to still then kill them and let their gods sourt them out" (pg 403)
"Almost no technical schools require any sort of ethics classes and the robotics field certainly has nothing equivalent to the medical professon's Hippocratic oath." (pg 422)
"One of the biggest data-mining efforts to date is actually at Wal-Mart, which has gathered some 460 terabytes of information from custeroms on its mainframe servers in its Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters ... Wal-Mart uses the information to track its customers' buying habits and perferences, and then employs AI to anticipate their future wants and needs. Its data mining, for example, detected that consumers tend to stockpile strawberry Pop-Tarts whenever a severe weather warning is made in the media. So Wal-Mart's supply system automatically responds to any announcement of bad weather by sending additional truckloads of Pop-Tarts to stores in the expected pathway." (pg 275)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
About a year ago I talked with my roomate about setting up an MMORPG / FPS / RTS based around a few core concepts: Risk / Experience, Seamless interfaces between battlegrounds Under Water, Surface Water, Earth, Air, Space, Hyperspace, a storyline based on the fall of the world through nuclear war, a pip boy like device that would act as a guide to the new player, technology trees. Talking with a friend I thought of the concept again and I've decided to clear a few things up. I still have to incorporate our old ideas which are filed somewhere.
Risk / Experience:
This game concept should be based around the core ability of humans to stay alive. The more you stay alive the more experience you can acquire. If you are killed, you loose a significant portion of your experience. What we have currently in FPS games is a schematic that encourages "Rambos", that is for each player to go off by themselves and kill. But if we can encourage groups to form, then we can start forming relationships between players that can be rewarding rather than just looking for killing buddies. This will allow the game to develop a culture.
This mechanic can be assisted through a matrix like concept. Each player has one body but can connect themselves into drones. They can retain the experience they achieve as a drone if they upload back to their body which takes time. With a persistent internet connection they can achieve this anywhere on the battlefield. If they are running missions in a zone they do not control, they will have to run back to an upload point. Meanwhile their body has to sit in a building, exposed to assault, ideally well hidden and well guarded. This would allow characters to respawn by redownloading themselves into a drone.
This was one of my big ideas and I really love it. Basically I was tired of constantly jumping between fighting in the air and on the ground. I want a seamless transition. Look at it this way. This game needs to be able to have troops that can insert from orbit, stream through the atmosphere causing fireballs that the people down below can see, land on the ground or in the ocean causing title waves, and finally stand up, brush themselves off, take off their reentry gear, and start shooting. All the while, for that 8 minutes or so of reentry, the player should be able to see everything.
I loved fallout, fallout 2, and the vast broken landscapes that they conjured. It speaks to me. Start off with building a world based on today and they drop some nukes into the physics engine and see where the bricks fall. Let some foliage grow on it and then bingo, the world is ready. People should be able to build buildings using raw materials or scrap. Those buildings will be the basis for the new world if the game is ever won. As technologies progresses, people could leave the solar system and conquer other worlds.
The pip boy would be worn by every player. It would have intro information and would stay with the player from the start of the game all the way through till the end. It would provide information and document the persons story. The more pip boys a group has, the more processing power, research can go faster initially.
Originally there would be no technology. As the first bands of people gather and retake some military bases from NPCs, they might find some rudimentary labs where they could start "researching". Research could be conducted in any number of fields. The goals of which would eventually lead to things like: weapons upgrades, vehicles, manufacturing technologies, blueprints, drone building, telecommunications systems, human cloning, satellite systems, space ships, propulsion systems, hyperdrives. This would allow for clans to specialize in research if they so choose.
The Total Vision:
Start / Newbie:
You start in an instance of the game (you can invite friends). You wake up in a relatively safe area (the remains of a high tech hospital) with a medic over you that said, wow I'm glad I found you two, are you alright? He's rescued you. He explains that everything has gone to hell but he managed to find you in a hospital bed and rescue you. He explains that you've been brain damaged so it's no wonder you don't remember anything. This medic will rescue you if you die in the instance, he's sneaky and he'll always find a way around the bad guys to revive you with the stash of nanites from the hospital basement. You walk up the stares from the basement (one room) and this is when you first glimpse the panorama of destruction (the city that was no more). There should be a staircase that you can climb up to look around. The medic will have a few missions to run and you'll have to get past enemies however you can. You'll get a general orientation and some background story. At the end of the scenario you fight a boss and he drops something useful, you plug in his pip boy into yours and you download some additional information on people and places. Then you're dropped outside the instance and you can travel the world.
Note: The starting area should be based by country, city, and region and also should have a difficulty rating with it in addition to the option of being able to skip the scenario and just jump into a world PVP environment that takes place in what would have been the scenario on easer levels.
You are in a small settlement with some other players and guards (to keep things safe). Every now and then an NPC kills another NPC and the guards blow the aggressor away. You can receive quests from the people here to go rescue friends or do other such things. There are evil quests and involve killing other NPCs or PCs and good quests that involve helping people. You do a few quests. Every few days a raiding group comes through this area and strips it down robbing everyone as well as players but not killing anyone but NPCs unless they fight back, the people flee and you have to go to a different camp. We have to train people that nothing here is static unless you make it so. You can meet up with other players and form groups for mutual benefit. Instances are readily available as well as open PVP areas. If you die, you respawn in the village where some medics have dragged you back. If you make them do this enough times they will start shaking you out and taking your stuff as payment (or you can just pay them in advance).
You've formed a band with 5 other friends and have found a deserted area or maybe burned out building with resources that you can use. You've setup a basic base of operations and you can start to do research. For now your pipboys do most of the research In your offline time, the supposidly use your brain as a boost to their computing power so you sleep a lot and it helps your teams research go faster. Once you wake up your pipboy no longer contributes as much to research unless you disable other capabilities. Your group gains experience from helping others, hunting, fighting. They gain usable resources from scavenging the local area. Generally Iron, Steels, chemicals, weapons on occasion, clothes, every now and then you find a person and you can heal them up or take all their stuff or both. You use the resources and skills you acquire to build a small cloning facility. Cloning was one of the essential technologies so the pip boy with limited assistance from other pipboys can reassemble the knowledge to manufacture them. You might need to do a few instances or RVR to get specific parts.
Your base camp gets raided occasionally by other scavengers like yourself. They take whatever they can carry and make off. Your group switches to research sentry guns and weapons so you can protect the fort while your away. You can also higher mercenaries (NPC and PC). You scout around and look for other places to move and resources to acquire.
Your band, larger now 10 - 20 + people has left the city behind. You've taken all you can carry and are moving towards areas that your scouts have reported are rich in resources and largely uninhabited. You setup camp high in the mountains, tunneling down into the earth to access it's resources and build fortifications. From this new base of operations (if you get there safely, NPCs and PCs roam the roads), provides you with a base of operations from which you can start doing serious research, raiding, building, recruiting, or whatever else will enlarge your power base. You can see in the far distance the cities that you left behind and their smoking buildings and the little cities with the campfires in barrels at night. You remember being there. You are sure there are others like you, going through what you went through down there in that place.
You have a cloning facility all set up. When someone dies in combat, they will eventually be resurrected at the base. Still the only way to retain experience is to walk your clone back to the base and upload your new information. A healer in your group has setup his pipboy to upload a single consciousness if he gets to you fast enough. That way you can retain your experience if only one of your band is killed on a raiding party. Still it's a dangerous problem. Occasionally your ambushed by other PCs and NPCs. The (NPCs should have their own camps just like yours or perhaps be roving bands of heavily armored troops). You've developed area warning systems that allow you to see if someone or something enters your territory of if new resources are found. A controller can now sit in your command room and monitor these events, giving their team early warning and direction via pipboy. Anything other than voice / text comunication and maps with enemy location circles cannot be sent from the command center.
As primarily a research organization you've concentrated on acquiring resources and redeveloping technology. Your distant neighbors have taken notice and show up to abscond with some of your goods. Everything from resources, weapons, cars (if you have them), and technology can be stolen or destroyed. But in order for that to happen they have to breach your perimeter defenses. You have auto turrets guarding your base, your online companions and additionally NPCs for each person in your group that is not online (the strength and ability of this PCs NPC is based on how the character has developed). The controller can control the NPCs and direct them (like starcraft). You repel the first attack but a few hours later they come back with another band they recently joined forces with. Your forces are overrun! Your blueprints are encrypted so they cannot use them right away. But your weapons and vehicles they take and they make off, (or they take over the entire complex and kick you out).
You respawn in a camp with nothing on and no weapons. But your pipboy and those of your group have been much upgraded and remember much of what they previously researched. You can now use basic materials to rebuild your new fortress much faster and stronger (but probably in a safer place). You now keep a close eye on more of your surrounding area and the people that move in next to you. You make sure to scout them out, determining what type of people they are. There are NPCs that move in as well, some are good, some are evil. If you gain enough faction with them, they will join your band. Now you have 20-30 PCs and 20-30 NPCs. These NPCs can be controlled by the controller and will do work like gathering resources (under guidance from the controller) and defending the base, scouting around and research. If your goals and theirs fall too far apart they will leave (and maybe try to take things with them).
You control a vast territory with many resources. You have several smaller outlying settlements and they are all connected via fiber links in addition to microwave. Players can now upload remotely and take over NPCs at will. Groups can take NPCs to fight with them. Several controllers manage operations in your territories. They ensure that your land is kept safe. They can send NPCs into small towns and villages to recruit people. Occasionally smaller bands attack outlying fortresses but it is nothing that a little work can't put back together. Your research operations are now secreted away deep inside your central complex. You recruit mercenary PC groups to scout areas for you and bring back information and goods.
You turn on your microwave transmitters and you hear chatter. Not chatter from you but from other sources. Some of it is encrypted, some of it is open to listen to. Other groups your size (that do not have encryption) broadcast tidbits of information about themselves over the air. (In game voice chat may be clipped up for this). After listening long enough you can learn more about them and watch how they command their troops and units (you can see them move around units on the overhead map). You higher a band of mercs to erect a listening post closer to their base so you can gather information on them faster. It seems like they are deploying many troops in engagements all over against a myriad of other groups . Background radiation means that you cannot make out all of what another group is saying (depending on the radiation map). Eventually you've listened enough to another group and you know they are like you, scientists laboring to do research and gather information on the world and what happened. You call them up and schedule a meeting.
For this first meeting you and your troops come out to the desert, some ways away from your controlled territory. The other group can be seen in the distance, kicking up smoke as they drive towards you. When meeting other groups en mass, you can gain a lot of experience, but you have to be careful that they don't gun you down. You and your lieutenants wait in a car behind the main line of your troops. The controllers are running overwatch with the new flying drones you've manufactured. The other group drives up and gets out of their vehicles, nerves are tense. The leaders get out of their cars and meet in the center of the group. A deal is struck to share research but not other resources. The other group will be allowed to use your facilities to respawn but will not be allowed within a vital perimeter. You both research faster and your scientists can see further ahead to realize what the research will grant them.
You and your new allies have successfully grown closer and closer. Your goals are similar and a common enemy forged the bond closer. You launched a joint operation against a nearby group that was raiding both of your territories. When you arrived at the command center you realized that the reason it was so easy was that a third heretofore unknown ally was waging a war on their western front while you two were coming in from the east. A battle hardened group, they focus mostly on fighting and killing and are happy to join you as long as they receive access to the newest and best weapons.
You came across an old army base. It was a very tough battle with the old sentry drones but you made it through. To your happy surprise you found a missile silo attached to the base. Your scientists have discovered the technologies to build rockets and you've put a satellite in orbit. You can now look down at the world and zoom in on all the areas of interest (as long as it is not cloudy). You can see other large and small groups. You keep track of their movements. You are evaluating new allies and threats and making plans. You identify your largest competitor, he is very far away. You'll have to develop some better transportation technology before you get over to him.
You extend your operations to a the sea by building a shipping yard where the old one stood. As you build things the old buildings are torn down. Your controllers dispatch dredge boats to clear out the wreckage of old ships in the harbor. Then you set about to build your fleet. You'll need many resources but by the time your done you have large navy.
World and Spaces:
I think that a Eve Online system for the world and territories make the best sense. At lower levels there are guards that will kill lawbreakers. As you move further out there are fewer guards to the point that it is a no mans land. It's worked well for them.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I recently learned a whole lot more about Bacteria and how they adapt to survive against human antibiotics and other bacteria alike. I learned this from a book I recently finished titled "The Coming Plague:Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance" by Laurie Garrett. Garret. She attended graduate school in the Department of Bacteriology and Immunology at UC Berkeley. She worked for KPFA and then NPR as a science corespondent. As a medical and science writer for Newsday, in New York City, Laurie Garrett became the only writer ever to have been awarded all three of the Big "Ps" of journalism: The Peabody, The Polk (twice), and The Pulitzer.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
A few things that I did learn today:
How to Share and Internet connection with a Mac. Go to System Preferences, click on the Sharing icon, then click on the Internet Sharing Box. Select where you want to share internet from / to. I had internet through the WiFi and needed to share to a Laptop connected via Ethernet. I did not even have to change the CAT5 cable from a regular to a crossover. It was wonderful. A few seconds later, I opened up fedora and told it to connect to the network it found and BING! I'm in business.
Logging in as root in a terminal and other useful setup tools can be found at the Fedora FAQ page. I just had the largest sense of deja vu I've had in a while. I guess we were supposed to move to this new house afterall!
Wireless drivers for Linux products are few and far between. Apparently part of the reason they are not developed by the community is because card manufacturers will not release their source code to consumers. Therefore open source groups cannot create drives. In addition, card manufacturers are not creating their own drivers. This leaves a bit of a gap in the system which requires one to first install a windows emulator and then install the drivers for the card. The first part of this process is achieve by downloading and installing NDISwrapper. However installing it using the make command was not working so I had to get the developer tools for fedora first using the command: yum groupinstall "Development Tools" . This uses the internet to download updates and tools. Which I could not do until I installed the internet share (see above).
Thursday, January 29, 2009
How people deal with risk in their life, what type of risk they are willing to expose themselves to, all these things are very interesting.
Myself, working for a startup I've taken on quite a bit of risk. While I could have chosen to work for an established company, kept my head down, earned a living. But I wanted something more. To me, life isn't about keeping in line and doing the same thing as everyone else. I can see why they don't want to risk doing a startup. They don't always work. You could loose all the time and effort you put into it.
The west was founded by people that took risks. They crossed the ocean in sailing ships braving disease to land in a land with no infrastructure, no roads or houses to buy. Everything was new to them. There were no guarantees in their life.
And today America is the last true super power. Built on ideas and ideals that the rest of the world can only hope to imitate.
None of that could have happened if people refused to take the risks that were inherent in crossing an ocean and founding a country in a new and strange land. And today we are all the better for it. So now while I'm still young and healthy, I will also take risks. Because I want to build a better future.
I believe for years people have looked out at space and dreamed about sailing away in large ships, leaving earth behind and setting up Utopias at distant stars. These types of irrational expectations have caused the entire industry harm because people have never been given the chance to evaluate a serious, for profit, space program. While an individual may desire that humans go into space to explore, the fact of the matter is that the instruments of labor dictate that there must a strong financial reason to explore these possibilities. I want humans to go into space in a big way. Asking myself where this feeling originated, I am not sure. However, I can conjecture.
I read many science fiction books as a child and throughout my short life. Joules Vern, HG Wells. But I did not spend inordinate amount of time with them. In fact through puberty till I was 19 or so I tended more towards the realm of fantasy with authors like Piers Anthony, Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman, R.A. Salvatore. But then I drifted back to Science Fiction. I read books by Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and Alistair Reynolds. These books helped me understand a small fraction of what could be. Of course their ideas were far fetched. But there were still some reasonable notes to take. For example the construction of a linear accelerator on the moon. No atmospheric resistance means that this could be used effectively as a Single Stage to Orbit (SSO).
I studied Aerospace Engineering in college at WPI. The most interesting classes I remember were Astronautics, the movement of bodies in space, and Spacecraft and Mission Design. In the latter I learned about project optimization. The summary of the class was to build the mission profile of a spacecraft that flew as close to the earth as possible, for as long as possible, with the least weight. Astronautics opened up the majestic realm of space travel to my phsyci. It was like a terrific ball with dancers going this way an that, and the goal was to find your way through them to the beautiful girl on the other side of the room, all the while, keeping time.
Other reasons have come up more recently. Through my US history research, reading books and talking with people, I've come to realize the importance of colonizing the west and the vast opportunities that it offered to all those that were willing to take the risks of coming here. And I've also witnessed a generation of uninspired young men and women plodding through the best education system known to man with no hope of applying the knowledge they worked so hard to attain. California is one of the richest and vibrant places in the whole world with innovation centers like Silicon Valley that are the envy of major governments. Those that came west, and then traveled even further it seems created the best atmosphere of innovation because they created a culture that accepted and grew off risk.
What I see today is that the US does not have the Vision, the Knowledge and Expertise, the Financial Backing, and the Willingness to Take Risks that could culminate in an expert space program. What I want to see is resources being taking from outside of the earth, not from the depths of the earth or her surface, but from other places like the moon or asteroids, that are then put to work to improve the conditions of the people on the ground in ways that we begin to understand today.
Why take materials from outside earth? I believe that we are currently exploring every which way we can exploit the material resources we have today on the surface of the planet. But what we have not done is conducted a thorough analysis of what materials we have in space floating around us. For all we know, we have the most precious and abundant materials just outside our earth-moon system, and we'll never get to them because we haven't even explored the possibilities that they could be useful.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
She's a Zombie Girl
In a Zombie World
Buggies in Her Hair
She's Bleeding Everywhere
Don't go Near Her
They Think We should Fear Her
Zombie Girl is Here
And She Does Not Appear
To Be Evil
She Just Eats People
I Took Her On a Date
And Now It's Getting Very Late
We Went to My Place
And Now She's Kissing Face
Her Eyes Revealing
Her True Feelin's
Now Everything Has Changed
And When I Try to Explain
What Just Happened
People Just Laugh and
I'm a Zombie Boy
With a Zombie Girl Toy
Buggies in Our Hair
We're Bleeding Everywhere
Don't Get Near Us
They Should Really Fear Us
I hope you now have learned
The knowledge that I spurned
Zombies are People
And They are Still Eeviiiil!
-Revised December 12, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
It is easy to think that we are insulated from the plague and viruses that prey on our bodies. Growing up in the United States I always figured that nothing like that could ever happen here. A plague in the US? That was the sort of thing you read about when studying the middle ages. And you pointed at all the people in the picture books doing strange things, drinking snake oil, burning bodies in piles, locking up their doors.
The reason that I thought that nothing like a horrible disease could happen to me or could happen in the US I connected with the book. The first page of the preface for the book reads like this:
We always want to believe that history happened only to "them," "in the past," and that somehow we are outside history, rather than enmeshed within it. Many aspects of history are unanticipated and unforeseen, predictable only in retrospect: the fall of the Berlin Wall is a single recent example. et in one vital area, the emergence and spread of new infectious diseases, we can already predict the future - and it is threatening and dangerous to us all. -SourceAfter reading this I was confounded by the fact that I had spent all of my life in denial about a critical problem that has struck at the heart of humanity and civilization time and time again. The black plague in 1300-1400's, the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. These pandemics killed millions of people. By not being concerned with the spread of diseases, I in fact was contributing to a false sense of security that we have built up around ourselves in the civilized world.
We must understand that diseases, plagues, viruses and bacteria are very small and very real killers. The Lassa Virus and others can have devastating consequences of we ignore it's threat.
I'm not a woman but I find myself with a bit of knowledge that most women don't have. For some context I was raised with two sisters and as such I was exposed to a few things that I would not have been otherwise.
Birth Control for women, specifically the Pill is what I am going to write about today. I recently had a chat with a friend online about an NPR article. I listened to this article on the radio when it first came out and it reminded me of a discussion I had with a good lady friend of mine at college in which she outlined the same information as the article. Mainly that when your taking the pill, periods are needlessly engineered because there was no other way to sell the product.
This is called Continuous Contraception and this is how it works:
Continuous contraception works the same way as the 21 days on/seven days off cycle. It stops the body's monthly preparation for pregnancy by lowering the production of hormones that make pregnancy possible.Now, after talking with my friend online, she mentioned that the problem with methods like this is that:
When women are on traditional 21 days on/seven days off birth control, monthly periods are artificial anyway, says reproductive endocrinologist Sheldon Segal, a longtime contraceptive researcher at New York's Population Council and an adjunct professor of pharmacology at Cornell Medical School.
These periods are considered artificial because they're not shedding an unfertilized egg along with the uterine lining. And monthly bleeding, says Segal, "was actually a marketing decision made decades ago when the pill was developed.
"Marketers at the manufacturing company which developed the pill," says Segal, "felt at the time that an oral contraceptive might or might not be accepted by the public. These were very different times. Not only was this the first oral contraceptive but it was the first medication given to healthy women for any purpose at all." -Source
- most women do use a period as a pregnancy indicator
- you totally get to eat what you want for a week, you can do it and you don't really gain weight
I conjecture that once women get over their initial reaction of not having their periods, they will realize continuous contraception is preferable. In the end, it's not my decision. But I think with enough information, those that are risk taking will find better alternatives to the current practice.
I'm still looking forward to whats developed for a male hormone contraceptive treatment. And despite what you may read, we're not all against it.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Strapped into a little padded cylinder with no room to move was not the idealistic form of fun. Still, the short trip to freedom was the best bet for a new life. The only alternative was a hard cold floor and crumbling cement walls. The only thing to look back on was the rain, drop by drop coming in through the ceiling. The only thing the broke the monotony was the rain. Memories of the past were rancid, foul, dead, useless now that they were gone. So long away it seemed, they existed outside of the small being that was encapsulated in a soft blue padding waiting on a final ride to freedom.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The sun shown down through the bright green leaves of the tick jungle canopy. Thick vines and branches clung to anything that moved. The hunter's movement was followed by a shower of sticky dew onto the undergrowth. The sinuous form wove it's way through the verdant growth driven by a desire to feed. Some ways distant, a green form stumbled through the undergrowth. It clung close to the ground, leathery skin efficiently brushing aside branches. But its wounds hindered it from masking it's scent, and the hunter followed.