Aug 052012

Cody has been poking me to watch a new show she’s picked up, Teen Wolf. As I understand it, it’s a loose remake of the Michael J. Fox classic movie, created by MTV and starring a cast of pretty people. From that description, one can imagine I was not overly enthused by the idea.

I was quite wrong. This show is a blast.

The characters alone are worth the price of admission, especially Stiles–our plucky protagonist’s sidekick, best friend, and confidante. Scott–the protagonist–plays clueless with admirable skill, and both Allison and Lydia are some of the best high school female characters I’ve ever seen, delightfully defying many of the obnoxious-but-expected tropes one gets with the typical high school drama, while playing others deliciously straight.

I’m currently 5 episodes in, and would happily recommend it to anyone.

Slashdot posted an interesting article about using neutrinos to communicate through Earth at high speeds, and how the rise of this technology might make a neutrino-based SETI more feasible. Neutrinos are especially attractive as a communication medium because they’re very fast (not quite as fast as light, but damn close) and they penetrate through just about everything due to very weak interaction with other matter.

It’s entirely possible a more advanced civilization would have given up radio in favor of neutrinos long ago, which might be one reason (other than the vast size of the galaxy, and the apes and angels argument) we haven’t heard from anyone yet.

In the realm of transhumanism, the John Templeton Foundation just fronted University of California, Riverside a $5 million grant to study immortality. They’re mostly focusing on the philosophical aspects of it, and how culture influences views of afterlife and such, but there are elements of it that deal with actual perpetual life. I love seeing stuff like this get taken seriously, though I also worry about the global catastrophe that immortality would cause.

See, all societies to this point have been based on death. One generation follows another, and with each successive generation, we see changes and advances. More than that, though, the prior generation makes room for its successors. With immortality, all of sudden that all stops. People don’t die off, they just continue to multiply. We’re already heading toward a population crisis; immortality would make it even worse. There isn’t a way to feed what amounts to infinite people. Unemployment would explode. Societies would stagnate, with the previous generation maintaining political power and retaining their ingrained views.

But on an individual level, who doesn’t want to live forever?

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