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IEET > Security > Eco-gov > Rights > Personhood > Staff > Mike Treder

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LORCs of High Coolness

Mike Treder
By Mike Treder
Ethical Technology

Posted: Sep 27, 2009

In this week’s episode of LORCs (Links Of Required Clicking), we’re going to focus on items with a very high coolness quotient.

We’ll start with a fascinating report from the BBC about synaesthesia. This link says:

Imagine if you could see time laid out in front of you, or surrounding your body. And you could physically point to specific dates in space.

Important dates might stand out: birthdays, anniversaries. And you could scan a visible timeline—to check if you were available—whenever you made plans. No actual diary necessary.

According to Julia Simner, a psychologist from the University of Edinburgh, there is a reasonable chance you can. And that you may use the experience, unconsciously, every day.

Dr Simner studies synaesthesia—a condition caused by an unusually high number of connections between two areas of the brain’s sensory cortex, making two senses inseparable.

Synaesthetes, as they are known, have experiences that might seem extremely strange to any non-synaesthete. . .

Cool stuff. Must click.

Apropos to comments we often make here about the reality and urgency of global warming—and its evil stepchild, climate chaos—this link provides “Stunning Views of Glaciers From Space.” Really amazing, gorgeous, and, if you know what you’re looking at, quite tragic.

Glacier systems are extremely responsive to changes in surface temperature. We can literally see how quickly they are receding in numerous places around the Earth. Sadly, millions of people depend on annual glacier melt for much of their drinking and agricultural water; as the glaciers melt away, those people will have to go elsewhere to find water, likely leading to catastrophic numbers of environmental refugees.

Apropos to our much-discussed recent article about the possibilities for—and ethical concerns about—cloning Neanderthals, this link tells about new research on the DNA of moderns humans and how it compares to Neanderthal DNA:

Homo neanderthalensis nearly made it through two Ice Ages in Europe, only to disappear roughly 30,000 years ago. That’s about 15,000 years after our own ancestors arrived and settled the continent. For most of our own species’ time on Earth, Neanderthals were around, too. Some people even suspect that our own ancestors did them in.

Many wonder if there was interbreeding. Might some of us have a few distinctly Neanderthal genes?

To make genetic comparisons with modern humans, researchers previously mapped the genome of the chimpanzee, the living species to which we are most closely related. . .

Neanderthals and humans are believed to have first evolved separately from a common ancestor a few hundred thousand years ago. There are many fewer genetic and physical differences between the two hominids than there are between modern humans and chimpanzees. DNA sequences that have changed in humans—but that are the same in chimps and Neanderthals—might more easily be linked to their physical or behavioral manifestations and provide clues to the most recently evolved human traits.

So, maybe those extinct Neanderthals are not really our cousins, but our brothers and sisters!

Apropos to nothing in particular—but just supremely beautiful—is this link to a spectacular image of the Karymsky Volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.

Wow. Super cool. Look at the subsided land surrounding the lava spread, and also check out the crater lake behind the volcano. Amazing.

Finally, here is a bonus LORC video, one that reaches into the stratosphere of coolness—or, you might say, well beyond the stratosphere and all the way out to Mars!

This is a computerized compilation of images from the Mars Spirit rover and HiRISE DEM flyovers. What a trip.

Mike Treder is a former Managing Director of the IEET.
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