Thursday, July 06, 2006

News 2 Use!!!!!

Just a Spoonful of Neurochemical Drugs Makes the Medicine Go Down

Psychiatrists and their patients increasingly turn to pharmacological answers to new classifications of mood and anxiety disorders which once were just considered unhappiness and shyness. And while experts haggle over issues like whether the symptoms of what is now called social phobia are just a "disadvantageous personality trait" and whether we are slipping into "cosmetic pharmacology," the fact remains that of those Americans suffering with severe mental illness, only half of them receive adequate treatment.

I think this is a trend that invades our entire medical culture: as the good folks at Mind Hacks put it, we're no longer considering health issues as much as we are treating "those without previously recognizable medical problems in an attempt to improve quality of life." Now I'm all for high quality of life, but not for just the few with the means to afford it. I see a disturbing future with those endowed with means altered in any way science can to "improve quality of life," with the rest of us poor joes schlepping along as best we can and the ones who really need medical and psychiatric intervention lurking below, like a shark ready to strike…

Are We What We Google?

Researchers have labeled the analysis of our collective internet searches as a "database of intentions," capable of predicting social trends and changes and even perhaps your future moves as a consumer.

From the New York Times: "The 20th century brought public opinion polls that showed what those customers were thinking. This century's great technology can give companies, and anyone else, a window into what people are actually doing, in real time or even ahead of time."

I'm sure you all either laughing or shuddering along with me, because I know what kind of Googling I do when I'm researching a story. I once found this website for cannibals. They gave deboning instructions and a marinade recipe.

G.R.I.N. and write about it, baby!

The threats of the 20th century were called NBC: nuclear, biological and chemical. In the 21st century we'll be menaced by the G.R.I.N.: genetic, robotic, information, and nano threats, according to Joel Garreau, author of Radical Evolution. And the G.R.I.N won't be in the hands of rogue governments, like NBCs. According to Garreau, we may find ourselves at the mercy of any "disgruntled grad student with a reasonably well-equipped lab with a good chance of creating something that could wipe out the human race."

Furthermore, Garreau envisions social upheaval in response to technological leaps, much like the advances of the 50s fueled the changes of the 60s. And as that technology begins to change the form, function and definition of what it means to be human, we can expect tension between all the different post-humans and trans-humans.

"We know historically that … when humans compete for an ecological niche --- and they did 50,000 years ago when Homo Sapiens and Cro-Magnons co-existed --- it usually ends badly for one."

Oh man what a story idea treasure trove this article at CNN is. Mutant wars! Mad scientists! Social upheaval! Clearly though Garreau isn't paying attention to our friend Ray Kurzweil. Ray thinks that with advances in the melding of neuroscience and brain science we'll all be able to download the education we need to be that disgruntled grad student. The future. Gotta love it.


Christine said...

I love this blog!!! GRIN and disgruntled grad students is not that far fetched. I live by Rens. Polytechnic Institute. I knew one grad student physicist participating in the growing of carbon tubes. He didn't know why they were doing this study, it was ongoing and well funded. The thought was "perhaps we can do something with them" like "send things trough them faster than other things". If that's a tangent project with consistent funding and a vague mission statement worthy of the N.S.A., just imagine what else is going on. Got to love BIG SCIENCE. It's a subtle, quiet, overlooked, yet entirely credible threat.

The Retropolitan said...

Damn. I was just putting the finishing touches on my new book, "Mutant Wars and Mad Scientists." Now I'll have to go back to that period romantic tale that I had shelved. There's no mad science in that at all.

SpecRom Joyce said...

Baby, there's always room for mad scientists.