Random thoughts 9

What is the Trans-humanist/Post-humanist movement?

“The World Transhumanist Association is an international nonprofit membership organization which advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities. We support the development of and access to new technologies that enable everyone to enjoy better minds, better bodies and better lives. In other words, we want people to be better than well.” From http://www.transhumanism.org/index.php/WTA/index/

“Transhumanism is closely tied to an enthusiasm for ethical, responsible technological progress. This progress brings greater choice and options for improving the human condition. This is really nothing new: we have been doing that for ages with fire, farming, steam, bicycles, antibiotics, vaccines, dental prosthesis, cell phones, and so forth. Transhumanists take this common sense approach to its natural conclusion: modern science and technology can safely improve the human condition by overcoming limits, and that they should be used to this end. So if today, for example, we say yes to therapeutic cloning and stem cell research, tomorrow we will say yes to healthy life extension and aging reversal.” From http://www.longevitymeme.org/topics/transhumanism.cfm

Transhumanism (sometimes symbolized by >H or H+),[1] a term often used as a synonym for “human enhancement“, is an international, intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to enhance human mental and physical abilities and aptitudes, and overcome what it regards as undesirable and unnecessary aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging and involuntary death.” From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism

Look at where personal home computers were back in the early 90’s and compare them to the personal home computers of today; compare the hardware and specs. If Trans-humanism exists, it will most certainly leave human biology and evolution in the dust because of the almost daily rapid advancement of technology. Compare pictures of people from the 1930’s and ‘40’s with pictures of people from the 1990’s and today. Biological evolution is slow, while computer (and technological) advancement is reaching a point where results and advances are almost instantaneous.

The elite may believe that they are a higher species of man than those of the lower classes. They may also believe that their biology will advance (through the science of Trans-humanism) faster and further than those of us whom they rule over. Could a similar motif be in effect right now at a lower level (e.g. the supposed worshipping of celebrities; the use of airbrushing to make them look more appealing than they actually are; the sensationalization of their lives)? Are we, the lower classes, being prepared for the rule of the Transhumanists through the ‘celebrity worship’ model?

People will believe absolutely anything. If you disagree, look at history: Nazism, Communism, various religions, and superstitions. There are people out there who know that the masses will believe anything as long as there are (1) ‘scientific references’ (a good example of this is in the marketing of bodybuilding products), (2) slick packaging, (3) easy accessibility, and (4) celebrity (or person with a medical background) backing. Phrases like “Millions of people use it” or “How can (insert random number here) people be wrong?” are used to ‘back up’ the claims made on whatever product is being sold.

What are psychotropic drugs?

“Any drug capable of affecting the mind, emotions, and behavior. Some legal drugs such as lithium for depression are psychotropic. Many illicit drugs such as cocaine are also psychotropic. Also called a psychodynamic drug.” From http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=30807

“A loosely defined grouping of drugs that have effects on psychological function. Here the psychotropic agents include the antidepressive agents, hallucinogens, and tranquilizing agents (including the antipsychotics and anti-anxiety agents).” From http://www.who.int/topics/psychotropic_drugs/en/

“A psychoactive drug or psychotropic substance is a chemical substance that acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it alters brain function, resulting in temporary changes in perception, mood, consciousness and behaviour. These drugs may be used recreationally to purposefully alter one’s consciousness, as entheogens for ritual or spiritual purposes, as a tool for studying or augmenting the mind, or therapeutically as medication.” From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoactive_drug

“Psychotropic drugs, sometimes also called psychoactive, affect the central nervous system, and can cause a variety of changes in behavior or perception. Many think psychotropic drugs are only of the illegal variety, like the psychedelic drugs frequently used in the late 1960s, such as acid, LSD, angel dust, and marijuana. However, even something as relatively benign as caffeine is considered one of many psychotropic drugs.” From http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-psychotropic-drugs.htm

“The following pages focus on the use of psychotropic agents in patients with DDs, epilepsy, and a comorbid psychiatric disorder. Diagnostic issues are reviewed in an attempt to establish a treatment focus with clear target symptoms. Factors to be considered prior to the use of psychotropic agents in patients with developmental disabilities and epilepsy are outlined.” From http://professionals.epilepsy.com/page/psychotropic.html

“Psychotropic drugs are ubiquitous in our society and encompass both prescription psychiatric medications and illegal narcotics, as well as many over the counter remedies. Because these compounds affect human behavior, there is much suspicion, misunderstanding, and controversy surrounding their use.” From http://www.espionageinfo.com/Pr-Re/Psychotropic-Drugs.html

Could the CIA have used psychotropic drugs on captured spies in interrogation, and would that be considered a form of torture (physical or mental)? There’s a scene in the film “The Good shepherd” that addresses this question.

It has been said (particularly in the movie “Waiting”) that you shouldn’t mess with the people who make your food because they may do something nasty to it; that almost seems reasonable. Of course, doing something nasty to one’s food is unsanitary, unprofessional and just plain shouldn’t be done, but it’s all part of revenge and having a laugh at someone else’s expense. But what if the people who cook food in restaurants do nasty things to the food regardless of whether or not you treat the hostess/waitress/kitchen staff well? How do we, the customers, know if the kitchen staff spitting in our food or purposely dropping it on the floor? The truth is that we don’t know and never will unless we stand in the kitchen, watch them cook it, and then take it out of their hands when it’s ready. Personally, I treat every person I encounter in a restaurant as best I can (even if they’re rude to me). It’s very sad that I’m scared of how my food is being prepared. This could become a big social issue if there was enough talk about it. How do we know that we can trust the kitchen staff? Would restaurant managers install security cameras in kitchens and wire those cameras to TVs that the waiting customers can watch at their tables? They could, but that would be too 1984, and I am completely against that sort of thing. The only real solution is to not eat in restaurants. Avoid them altogether. I’m sick of having to walk on my toes, not knowing if a certain gesture or word could lead to some cook wiping used toilet paper on my burger. But there are some people who intentionally mishandle food because they’re bored or they want to have fun or (the most obvious reason) they want to exact some vigilante justice on a customer who’s been rude and/or picky. Unfortunately I can’t offer an answer any better than “Don’t eat in restaurants,” even though I’d like to. If enough people talked about this subject, some temporary solutions may be raised, but I don’t know that there is a way this problem can be solved with a win/win solution for both parties. The people who run restaurants (and restaurant chains) might have meetings and brainstorm on this kind of thing if talk of it became popular enough. Some may insist that the mishandling of food is non-existent in their establishments because their ‘standards are very high’ (or some other excuse). No restaurant has standards too high that a cook can’t add some ‘special sauce’ of their own, unless restaurants have begun employing security guards who watch over the kitchen staff (and now that I think of it, that might be something rich people have thought about doing). In the end, we (the customer) have to blindly trust them (the kitchen staff) and hope and pray that the food we’re biting into doesn’t make us the butt of a disgusting joke to end the boredom of a cook or server. Then again, we’ll never be able to tell whether we were or not by the smile on the face of the cashier because they’ve been trained to hide it, and hide it well.

Bodybuilding commercialization:

There are people out there (mostly those who have been gifted with better-than-average genetics) that are usually the ones who are listened to and asked advice for the most by those who are interested in physical training (i.e. bodybuilding) and/or the desire for a muscular body. No matter what weight training program these genetically gifted undertake, they will produce far-better-than-average results, particularly because of their greater recovery ability; therefore, any program that the genetically gifted tout as being ‘the best’, ‘the one,’ or whatever other magical phrase that will interest those who are looking for that ‘magic potion’ to better their results will always be the program accepted by a large number of people simply because the genetically gifted said so. Take, for example, the scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”, where Indy must choose what he believes to be the Cup of Christ from an assortment of goblets (mostly large and shiny). After careful consideration, he chooses an old, dusted, dim-looking chalice at the back of the table. The Knight Templar who was chosen to watch over the collection of cups says, “You have chosen…wisely.” Now, look at the commercials and other advertisements for gyms and popular volume training programs being touted out there today: they’re usually filled with bright colours, smiling people (quite often with excited looks on their faces), something using lots of exclamation points at the end of the text (perhaps large case letters as well), and commercial-friendly catch-phrases. But the kicker is the results from ‘scientific studies’ (studies that are so horribly biased that those undertaking them begin at the end [the desired result], and attempt to trace their research back to some general beginning point, thus giving the impression that the study was done in a fair, balanced and natural way). It is my belief that the most useful information out there (for those people who are serious in searching out the true answers when it comes to fitness) is buried in many pages of plain text, and is glossed over by many of us in the current generation because it isn’t advertised in an exciting way, it doesn’t have a catchy soundtrack, and it certainly doesn’t promise the loss of inches of fat or the gain of massive amounts of muscle in bold and/or colourful letters. The calm voice of reason is drowned out by the louder and more belligerent voice of commercial advertising, and millions of people continue to be frustrated by increased fat on their bodies, or lack of results from hundreds of hours of weight training. Such, I believe, is the case today.

From Molly Ivins & Lou Dubose’s “Bushwhacked”:

“The industry doesn’t want you to know it, but “ready to eat” meat is not ready to eat. A USDA website warns that ready to eat meat – cold cuts – if not thoroughly cooked, are a risk to pregnant women, the young, the old, cancer patients, anyone whose immune system is suppressed. The industry has successfully fought to keep that warning off packaging labels and grocery-market coolers. Do you know anyone who cooks ready-to-eat deli meats? Almost all of it is perfectly safe, but every now and then a Listeria-tainted batch of luncheon meat or hot dogs makes it into supermarkets and restaurants. Some of the people who eat it die: 500 a year in the U.S.”

From Gretta Vosper’s “With or without God”, page 171-172:

“The cosmetics industry spends gazillions of dollars every year in advertising. As part of their latest target market (female, North American, aging skin), I am particularly susceptible to their claims, which are generally quite fantastic and very alluring. But you don’t have to be a Marshall McLuhan devotee to figure out that whatever it is the products can really do, it isn’t reverse the effects of gravity. At best, you might get to look for a few hours like your face has not succumbed to it, but if you read very carefully, you’ll see no miracle results are ever really promised; they only seem to be. While the content of the claims may be technically true, it is presented in a manner that suggests something other than what is being said. Skim anything these days and you’re as likely to be misled as not.
If you complain that you don’t see any results, chances are you’ll be expected to look a little harder (can’t you see a difference? I see a difference!), use the products more consistently (you know you don’t!), or pay a little more money for something that will enhance the products you’re already using (I promise, you’ll love this!). Our entire culture serves to underscore the promises of the cosmetic industry and makes our need to believe in its claims all the more urgent.
It is perhaps unfair of me to take aim only at the cosmetics industry. Almost every marketer in the world twists/bends/stretches the truth to make people believe claims that aren’t really being made at all. Furthermore, what is being sold is often not the product itself, but, rather, the feeling associated with it. Exactly what is the core product of a cosmetics company? It isn’t a cream that will reverse the aging process and give you younger skin. It is the belief that you have control over the aging process. That belief is just sold in a bottle.”

UPS (a privately owned American company) sues Canada post because Canada post isn’t privatized and is cutting into UPS’s potential profits?
http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2007/06/13/canadapostups.html
http://www.ups.com/content/ca/en/about/news/2002_news/20021122engtribunal_n.html
http://www.publicpostoffice.ca/index.cfm/ci_id/9660/la_id/1.htm
I think if UPS had won the case, then not only would Canada Post probably have to reduce (or cancel altogether) its courier service (delivering the mail to the citizens of Canada FREE OF CHARGE), but UPS would then be able to step in and offer the “service” of mail-by-courier for a “minimal charge”, “service fee” or whatever other bullshit term they would have come up with. So, like Moya Greene said, it was all about money: UPS wanted the right to charge people to receive their mail (had they gotten their way in court, that is). I’m starting to think that the WTO meetings in Seattle had something to do with UPS being able to file this suit against the Government of Canada. I seem to vaguely recall a description that Jello Biafra gave (in one of his long diatribes after the 1999 ‘Battle in Seattle’) concerning corporations from any country being able to challenge the laws of any other country under NAFTA. Perhaps some more research could be done on that…

Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC rips Paris report:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VdNcCcweL0
I believe the reason that Mika did not want to cover that story is because IT’S NOT ACTUAL NEWS! TABLOID TRASH DOES NOT BELONG ON A REAL NEWS NETWORK! Stories like that are inserted into news broadcasts to numb your mind, to get you thinking about events and people that have little or no significance. Sure, there are people out there who are interested in the lives of celebrities, but why can’t they read about it on the celebrities’ own websites or through press releases via the celebrities’ press agents?

Overpopulation:

We’ve got to face the topic of overpopulation sometime, and to me it’s a large moral dilemma. People are living longer primarily because of modern medicine and improved nutrition. There are twice as many people living on the planet now than there were in the 1950’s. The planet has a finite amount of resources, and with the human reproduction rate, there could be an infinite amount of us humans. If (or when, as I believe the case is) we drain the planet of its resources, how will we live? Are there too many of us on planet Earth? If so, what do we do about it? It’s certainly not our right to tell another human being that they cannot produce a child of their own; we can’t force sterilization upon people. You can, however, SUGGEST methods of contraception to them, but that’s as far as it can go because people HAVE to be given a choice. People should be making a clear choice as to whether or not to breed and increase the population. Sadly, there are some out there who procreate recklessly and without cause or concern. Sometimes this results in abnormally large families; sometimes it results in many single mothers. But can we (or, should we) put a cap on how many children a couple can have?

Walter Youngquist on population (taken from “Crossing the Rubicon”):
”World population will have to adjust to lesser food supplies by a reduction in population. Pimentel and Pimentel (1996) stated: “the nations of the world must develop a plan to reduce the global population from near 6 billion to about 2 billion. If humans do not control their numbers, nature will.” Because stopping and then turning around the freight train of population growth can only be done gradually, this is a project that should be started now (Cohen, 1995). If it is not done, famine is likely to ensue.”

What are the various definitions of propaganda, and should propaganda be illegal? Do people in a free society have the right to believe what they want, and if so, should they be subjected to lighter forms of propaganda (i.e. influence and/or subtlety)?

The subtlety behind “24 hr. drive thru” is this: “Stock up on our greasy, unhealthy, processed food (that clogs your arteries and shortens your breath while increasing your waistline and risk of diabetes and other health problems) 24 hours a day!”

Starting guide to healthy eating:
Sodium: not more than 2500 mg a day (number may increase depending on sweating/exercise).
Potassium: between 3000-6000 mg a day (potassium/sodium ratio should be at least 2/1).
Fibre: between 20-40 g a day.
Cholesterol: not more than 200 mg a day.
Sugar: not more than 40 g a day.

Does the human brain operate at a certain flicker rate, and did the U.S. patent (back in the 1950’s) a flicker rate (for TV, perhaps) that is the same rate that the human mind operates at? What would be the purpose of that? It has been said that after you watch TV for a certain period of time, your brain ‘shuts off’, goes into a dream state; at this time, your mind becomes far more open to suggestion. As well, the time it takes for your brain to reach this dream state decreases as you continue to watch TV day after day; while dependence increases, tolerance decreases.

It’s ironic that, in most cases, the most praise that any of us will ever receive, the time when the most people will say the best things about us, the most that a large group of people will think about us, is when we’re dead. We all want nice things said about us and/or to be celebrated at some point in time, but we won’t be around to see it or experience it because we’ll either be in a coffin or a jar at the time. It’s one of the cruelest things about life.

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