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History of biological warfare – Wikipedia, the free …

 Germ Warfare  Comments Off on History of biological warfare – Wikipedia, the free …
Jun 282016
 

Various types of biological warfare (BW) have been practiced repeatedly throughout history. This has included the use of biological agents (microbes and plants) as well as the biotoxins, including venoms, derived from them.

Before the 20th century, the use of biological agents took three major forms:

In the 20th century, sophisticated bacteriological and virological techniques allowed the production of significant stockpiles of weaponized bio-agents:

The earliest documented incident of the intention to use biological weapons is recorded in Hittite texts of 15001200 BC, in which victims of tularemia were driven into enemy lands, causing an epidemic.[1] Although the Assyrians knew of ergot, a parasitic fungus of rye which produces ergotism when ingested, there is no evidence that they poisoned enemy wells with the fungus, as has been claimed.

According to Homer’s epic poems about the legendary Trojan War, the Iliad and the Odyssey, spears and arrows were tipped with poison. During the First Sacred War in Greece, in about 590 BC, Athens and the Amphictionic League poisoned the water supply of the besieged town of Kirrha (near Delphi) with the toxic plant hellebore.[2] During the 4th century BC Scythian archers tipped their arrow tips with snake venom, human blood, and animal feces to cause wounds to become infected.

In a naval battle against King Eumenes of Pergamon in 184 BC, Hannibal of Carthage had clay pots filled with venomous snakes and instructed his sailors to throw them onto the decks of enemy ships.[3] The Roman commander Manius Aquillius poisoned the wells of besieged enemy cities in about 130 BC. In about AD 198, the Parthian city of Hatra (near Mosul, Iraq) repulsed the Roman army led by Septimius Severus by hurling clay pots filled with live scorpions at them.[4]

There are numerous other instances of the use of plant toxins, venoms, and other poisonous substances to create biological weapons in antiquity.[5]

The Mongol Empire established commercial and political connections between the Eastern and Western areas of the world, through the most mobile army ever seen. The armies, composed of the most rapidly moving travelers who had ever moved between the steppes of East Asia (where bubonic plague was and remains endemic among small rodents), managed to keep the chain of infection without a break until they reached, and infected, peoples and rodents who had never encountered it. The ensuing Black Death may have killed up to 25 million in China and roughly a third of the population of Europe and in the next decades, changing the course of Asian and European history.

During the Middle Ages, victims of the bubonic plague were used for biological attacks, often by flinging fomites such as infected corpses and excrement over castle walls using catapults. In 1346, during the siege of Kafa (now Feodossia, Crimea) the attacking Tartar Forces which were subjugated by the Mongol empire under Genghis Khan, used the bodies of Mongol warriors of the Golden Horde who had died of plague, as weapons. An outbreak of plague followed and the defending forces retreated, followed by the conquest of the city by the Mongols. It has been speculated that this operation may have been responsible for the advent of the Black Death in Europe. At the time, the attackers thought that the stench was enough to kill them, though it was the disease that was deadly.[6][7]

At the siege of Thun-l’vque in 1340, during the Hundred Years’ War, the attackers catapulted decomposing animals into the besieged area.[8]

In 1422, during the siege of Karlstein Castle in Bohemia, Hussite attackers used catapults to throw dead (but not plague-infected) bodies and 2000 carriage-loads of dung over the walls.[9]

The last known incident of using plague corpses for biological warfare occurred in 1710, when Russian forces attacked the Swedes by flinging plague-infected corpses over the city walls of Reval (Tallinn).[10] However, during the 1785 siege of La Calle, Tunisian forces flung diseased clothing into the city.[9]

English Longbowmen usually did not draw their arrows from a quiver; rather, they stuck their arrows into the ground in front of them. This allowed them to nock the arrows faster and the dirt and soil was likely to stick to the arrowheads, thus making the wounds much more likely to become infected.

The Native American population was devastated after contact with the Old World due to the introduction of several fatal infectious diseases, notably smallpox.[11] These diseases can be traced to Eurasia where people had long lived with them and developed some immunological ability to survive their presence. Without similarly long ancestral exposure, indigenous Americans were immunologically naive and therefore extremely vulnerable.[12][13]

There are two documented instances of biological warfare by the British against North American Indians during Pontiac’s Rebellion (176366). In the first, during a parley at Fort Pitt on June 24, 1763, Captain Simeon Ecuyer gave representatives of the besieging Delawares two blankets and a handkerchief enclosed in small metal boxes that had been exposed to smallpox, hoping to spread the disease to the Natives in order to end the siege. The British soldiers lied to the Natives that the blanket pieces had contained special powers.[14]William Trent, the militia commander, left records that clearly indicated that the purpose of giving the blankets was “to Convey the Smallpox to the Indians.”[15]

British commander Lord Jeffrey Amherst and Swiss-British officer Colonel Henry Bouquet discussed the topic separately in the course of the same conflict; there exists correspondence referencing the idea of giving smallpox-infected blankets to enemy Indians. It cited four letters from June 29, July 13, 16 and 26th, 1763. Excerpts: Amherst wrote on July 16, 1763, “P.S. You will Do well to try to Inocculate the Indians by means of Blankets, as well as to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race. I should be very glad your Scheme for Hunting them Down by Dogs could take Effect,…” Bouquet replied on July 26, 1763, “I received yesterday your Excellency’s letters of 16th with their Inclosures. The signal for Indian Messengers, and all your directions will be observed.” Smallpox is highly infectious and does not require contaminated blankets to spread uncontrollably, and together with measles, influenza, chicken pox, and so on had been doing so since the arrival of Europeans and their animals. Trade and combat also provided ample opportunity for transmission of the disease. See also: Smallpox during Pontiac’s Rebellion. It is unclear if the blanket attempt succeeded. It is estimated that between 400,000-500,000 Native American Indians during and after the war died from smallpox.[13][16][17]

Australian aborigines (Kooris) have always maintained that the British deliberately spread smallpox in 1789,[18] but this possibility has only been raised by historians from the 1980s when Dr Noel Butlin suggested; there are some possibilities that … disease could have been used deliberately as an exterminating agent.[19]

In 1997, David Day claimed there remains considerable circumstantial evidence to suggest that officers other than Phillip, or perhaps convicts or soldiers deliberately spread smallpox among aborigines[20] and in 2000 Dr John Lambert argued that strong circumstantial evidence suggests the smallpox epidemic which ravaged Aborigines in 1789, may have resulted from deliberate infection.[21]

Judy Campbell argued in 2002 that it is highly improbable that the First Fleet was the source of the epidemic as “smallpox had not occurred in any members of the First Fleet”; the only possible source of infection from the Fleet being exposure to variolous matter imported for the purposes of inoculation against smallpox. Campbell argued that, while there has been considerable speculation about a hypothetical exposure to the First Fleet’s variolous matter, there was no evidence that Aboriginal people were ever actually exposed to it. She pointed to regular contact between fishing fleets from the Indonesia archipelago, where smallpox was endemic, and Aboriginal people in Australia’s North as a more likely source for the introduction of smallpox. She notes that while these fishermen are generally referred to as Macassans, referring to the port of Macassar on the island of Sulawesi from which most of the fishermen originated, some travelled from islands as distant as New Guinea. She noted that there is little disagreement that the smallpox epidemic of the 1860s was contracted from Macassan fishermen and spread through the Aboriginal population by Aborigines fleeing outbreaks and also via their traditional social, kinship and trading networks. She argued that the 1789-90 epidemic followed the same pattern.[22]

These claims are controversial as it is argued that any smallpox virus brought to New South Wales probably would have been sterilised by heat and humidity encountered during the voyage of the First Fleet from England and incapable of biological warfare. However, in 2007, Christopher Warren demonstrated that the British smallpox may have been still viable.[23] Since then some scholars have argued that the British committed biological warfare in 1789 near their new convict settlement at Port Jackson.[24][25]

In 2013 Warren reviewed the issue and argued that smallpox did not spread across Australia before 1824 and showed that there was no smallpox at Macassar that could have caused the outbreak at Sydney. Warren, however, did not address the issue of persons who joined the Macassan fleet from other islands and from parts of Sulawesi other than the port of Macassar. Warren concluded that the British were “the most likely candidates to have released smallpox” near Sydney Cove in 1789. Warren proposed that the British had no choice as they were confronted with dire circumstances when, among other factors, they ran out of ammunition for their muskets. Warren also uses native oral tradition and the archaeology of native graves to analyse the cause and effect of the spread of smallpox in 1789.[26]

Prior to the publication of Warren’s article (2013), John Carmody argued that the epidemic was an outbreak of chickenpox which took a drastic toll on an Aboriginal population without immunological resistance. With regard to smallpox, Dr Carmody said: “There is absolutely no evidence to support any of the theories and some of them are fanciful and far-fetched..” [27][28] Warren covered the chickenpox theory at endnote 3 of Smallpox at Sydney Cove – Who, When, Why?.[29]

By the turn of the 20th century, advances in microbiology had made thinking about “germ warfare” part of the zeitgeist. Jack London, in his short story ‘”Yah! Yah! Yah!”‘ (1909), described a punitive European expedition to a South Pacific island deliberately exposing the Polynesian population to measles, of which many of them died. London wrote another science fiction tale the following year, “The Unparalleled Invasion” (1910), in which the Western nations wipe out all of China with a biological attack.

During the First World War (19141918), the Empire of Germany made some early attempts at biological warfare. Those attempts were made by special sabotage group headed by Rudolf Nadolny. Using diplomatic pouches and couriers, the German General Staff supplied small teams of saboteurs in the Russian Duchy of Finland, and in the then-neutral countries of Romania, the United States, and Argentina.[citation needed] In Finland, saboteurs mounted on reindeer placed ampoules of anthrax in stables of Russian horses in 1916.[30] Anthrax was also supplied to the German military attach in Bucharest, as was glanders, which was employed against livestock destined for Allied service. German intelligence officer and US citizen Dr. Anton Casimir Dilger established a secret lab in the basement of his sister’s home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, that produced glanders which was used to infect livestock in ports and inland collection points including, at least, Newport News, Norfolk, Baltimore, and New York, and probably St. Louis and Covington, Kentucky. In Argentina, German agents also employed glanders in the port of Buenos Aires and also tried to ruin wheat harvests with a destructive fungus.

The Geneva Protocol of 1925 prohibited the use of chemical weapons and biological weapons, but said nothing about experimentation, production, storage, or transfer; later treaties did cover these aspects. Twentieth-century advances in microbiology enabled the first pure-culture biological agents to be developed by World War II.

In the interwar period, little research was done in biological warfare in both Britain and the United States at first. In the United Kingdom the preoccupation was mainly in withstanding the anticipated conventional bombing attacks that would be unleashed in the event of war with Germany. As tensions increased, Sir Frederick Banting began lobbying the British government to establish a research program into the research and development of biological weapons to effectively deter the Germans from launching a biological attack. Banting proposed a number of innovative schemes for the dissemination of pathogens, including aerial-spray attacks and germs distributed through the mail system.

With the onset of hostilities, the Ministry of Supply finally established a biological weapons programme at Porton Down, headed by the microbiologist Paul Fildes. The research was championed by Winston Churchill and soon tularemia, anthrax, brucellosis, and botulism toxins had been effectively weaponized. In particular, Gruinard Island in Scotland, during a series of extensive tests was contaminated with anthrax for the next 48 years. Although Britain never offensively used the biological weapons it developed, its program was the first to successfully weaponize a variety of deadly pathogens and bring them into industrial production.[31]

When the United States entered the war, mounting British pressure for the creation of a similar research program for an Allied pooling of resources, led to the creation of a large industrial complex at Fort Detrick, Maryland in 1942 under the direction of George W. Merck.[32] The biological and chemical weapons developed during that period were tested at the Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah. Soon there were facilities for the mass production of anthrax spores, brucellosis, and botulism toxins, although the war was over before these weapons could be of much operational use.[33]

However, the most notorious program of the period was run by the secret Imperial Japanese Army Unit 731 during the war, based at Pingfan in Manchuria and commanded by Lieutenant General Shir Ishii. This unit did research on BW, conducted often fatal human experiments on prisoners, and produced biological weapons for combat use.[34] Although the Japanese effort lacked the technological sophistication of the American or British programs, it far outstripped them in its widespread application and indiscriminate brutality. Biological weapons were used against both Chinese soldiers and civilians in several military campaigns. Three veterans of Unit 731 testified in a 1989 interview to the Asahi Shimbun, that they contaminated the Horustein river with typhoid near the Soviet troops during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol.[35] In 1940, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force bombed Ningbo with ceramic bombs full of fleas carrying the bubonic plague.[36] A film showing this operation was seen by the imperial princes Tsuneyoshi Takeda and Takahito Mikasa during a screening made by mastermind Shiro Ishii.[37] During the Khabarovsk War Crime Trials the accused, such as Major General Kiyashi Kawashima, testified that as early as 1941 some 40 members of Unit 731 air-dropped plague-contaminated fleas on Changde. These operations caused epidemic plague outbreaks.[38]

Many of these operations were ineffective due to inefficient delivery systems, using disease-bearing insects rather than dispersing the agent as a bioaerosol cloud.[34] Nevertheless, some modern Chinese historians estimate that 400,000 Chinese died as a direct result of Japanese field testing and operational use of biological weapons.[39]

Ban Shigeo, a technician at the Japanese Army’s 9th Technical Research Institute, left an account of the activities at the Institute which was published in “The Truth About the Army Nororito Institute”.[40] Ban included an account of his trip to Nanking in 1941 to participate in the testing of poisons on Chinese prisoners.[40] His testimony tied the Noborito Institute to the infamous Unit 731, which participated in biomedical research.[40]

During the final months of World War II, Japan planned to utilize plague as a biological weapon against U.S. civilians in San Diego, California, during Operation Cherry Blossoms at Night. They hope that it would kill tens of thousands of U.S. civilians and thereby dissuading America from attacking Japan. The plan was set to launch on September 22, 1945, at night, but it never came into fruition due to Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945.[41][42][43][44]

When the war ended, the US Army quietly enlisted certain members of Noborito in its efforts against the communist camp in the early years of the Cold War.[40] The head of Unit 731, Shiro Ishii, was granted immunity from war crimes prosecution in exchange for providing information to the United States on the Unit’s activities.[45] Allegations were made that a “chemical section” of a US clandestine unit hidden within Yokosuka naval base was operational during the Korean War, and then worked on unspecified projects inside the United States from 1955 to 1959, before returning to Japan to enter the private sector.[40][46]

Some of the Unit 731 personnel were imprisoned by the Soviets[citation needed], and may have been a potential source of information on Japanese weaponization.

Considerable research into BW was undertaken throughout the Cold War era by the US, UK and USSR, and probably other major nations as well, although it is generally believed that such weapons were never used.

In Britain, the 1950s saw the weaponization of plague, brucellosis, tularemia and later equine encephalomyelitis and vaccinia viruses. Trial tests at sea were carried out including Operation Cauldron off Stornoway in 1952. The programme was cancelled in 1956, when the British government unilaterally renounced the use of biological and chemical weapons.

The United States initiated its weaponization efforts with disease vectors in 1953, focused on Plague-fleas, EEE-mosquitoes, and yellow fever – mosquitoes (OJ-AP).[citation needed] However, US medical scientists in occupied Japan undertook extensive research on insect vectors, with the assistance of former Unit 731 staff, as early as 1946.[45]

The United States Army Chemical Corps then initiated a crash program to weaponize anthrax (N) in the E61 1/2-lb hour-glass bomblet. Though the program was successful in meeting its development goals, the lack of validation on the infectivity of anthrax stalled standardization.[citation needed] The United States Air Force was also unsatisfied with the operational qualities of the M114/US bursting bomblet and labeled it an interim item until the Chemical Corps could deliver a superior weapon.[citation needed]

Around 1950 the Chemical Corps also initiated a program to weaponize tularemia (UL). Shortly after the E61/N failed to make standardization, tularemia was standardized in the 3.4″ M143 bursting spherical bomblet. This was intended for delivery by the MGM-29 Sergeant missile warhead and could produce 50% infection over a 7-square-mile (18km2) area.[47] Although tularemia is treatable by antibiotics, treatment does not shorten the course of the disease. US conscientious objectors were used as consenting test subjects for tularemia in a program known as Operation Whitecoat.[48] There were also many unpublicized tests carried out in public places with bio-agent simulants during the Cold War.[49]

In addition to the use of bursting bomblets for creating biological aerosols, the Chemical Corps started investigating aerosol-generating bomblets in the 1950s. The E99 was the first workable design, but was too complex to be manufactured. By the late 1950s the 4.5″ E120 spraying spherical bomblet was developed; a B-47 bomber with a SUU-24/A dispenser could infect 50% or more of the population of a 16-square-mile (41km2) area with tularemia with the E120.[50] The E120 was later superseded by dry-type agents.

Dry-type biologicals resemble talcum powder, and can be disseminated as aerosols using gas expulsion devices instead of a burster or complex sprayer.[citation needed] The Chemical Corps developed Flettner rotor bomblets and later triangular bomblets for wider coverage due to improved glide angles over Magnus-lift spherical bomblets.[51] Weapons of this type were in advanced development by the time the program ended.[51]

From January 1962, Rocky Mountain Arsenal grew, purified and biodemilitarized plant pathogen Wheat Stem Rust (Agent TX), Puccinia graminis, var. tritici, for the Air Force biological anti-crop program. TX-treated grain was grown at the Arsenal from 1962-1968 in Sections 23-26. Unprocessed TX was also transported from Beale AFB for purification, storage, and disposal.[52] Trichothecenes Mycotoxin is a toxin that can be extracted from Wheat Stem Rust and Rice Blast and can kill or incapacitate depending on the concentration used. The red mold disease of wheat and barley in Japan is prevalent in the region that faces the Pacific Ocean. Toxic trichothecenes, including nivalenol, deoxynivalenol, and monoace tylnivalenol (fusarenon- X) from Fusarium nivale, can be isolated from moldy grains. In the suburbs of Tokyo, an illness similar to red mold disease was described in an outbreak of a food borne disease, as a result of the consumption of Fusarium- infected rice. Ingestion of moldy grains that are contaminated with trichothecenes has been associated with mycotoxicosis.[53]

Although there is no evidence that biological weapons were used by the United States, China and North Korea accused the US of large-scale field testing of BW against them during the Korean War (19501953). At the time of the Korean War the United States had only weaponized one agent, brucellosis (“Agent US”), which is caused by Brucella suis. The original weaponized form used the M114 bursting bomblet in M33 cluster bombs. While the specific form of the biological bomb was classified until some years after the Korean War, in the various exhibits of biological weapons that Korea alleged were dropped on their country nothing resembled an M114 bomblet. There were ceramic containers that had some similarity to Japanese weapons used against the Chinese in World War II, developed by Unit 731.[34][54]

Cuba also accused the United States of spreading human and animal disease on their island nation.[55][56]

During the 1948 Israel War of Independence, International Red Cross reports raised suspicion that the Israeli Haganah militia had released Salmonella typhi bacteria into the water supply for the city of Acre, causing an outbreak of typhoid among the inhabitants. Egyptian troops later claimed to have captured disguised Haganah soldiers near wells in Gaza, whom they executed for allegedly attempting another attack. Israel denies these allegations.[57][58]

In mid-1969, the UK and the Warsaw Pact, separately, introduced proposals to the UN to ban biological weapons, which would lead to the signing of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1972. United States President Richard Nixon signed an executive order on November 1969, which stopped production of biological weapons in the United States and allowed only scientific research of lethal biological agents and defensive measures such as immunization and biosafety. The biological munition stockpiles were destroyed, and approximately 2,200 researchers became redundant.[59]

Special munitions for the United States Special Forces and the CIA and the Big Five Weapons for the military were destroyed in accordance with Nixon’s executive order to end the offensive program. The CIA maintained its collection of biologicals well into 1975 when it became the subject of the senate Church Committee.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention was signed by the US, UK, USSR and other nations, as a ban on “development, production and stockpiling of microbes or their poisonous products except in amounts necessary for protective and peaceful research” in 1972. The convention bound its signatories to a far more stringent set of regulations than had been envisioned by the 1925 Geneva Protocols. By 1996, 137 countries had signed the treaty; however it is believed that since the signing of the Convention the number of countries capable of producing such weapons has increased.

The Soviet Union continued research and production of offensive biological weapons in a program called Biopreparat, despite having signed the convention. The United States had no solid proof of this program until Dr. Vladimir Pasechnik defected in 1989, and Dr. Kanatjan Alibekov, the first deputy director of Biopreparat defected in 1992. Pathogens developed by the organization would be used in open-air trials. It is known that Vozrozhdeniye Island, located in the Aral Sea, was used as a testing site.[60] In 1971, such testing led to the accidental aerosol release of smallpox over the Aral Sea and a subsequent smallpox epidemic.[61]

During the closing stages of the Rhodesian Bush War, the Rhodesian government resorted to biological warfare. Watercourses at several sites close to the Mozambique border were deliberately contaminated with cholera and the toxin Sodium Coumadin, an anti-coagulant commonly used as the active ingredient in rat poison. Food stocks in the area were contaminated with anthrax spores. These biological attacks had little impact on the fighting capability of ZANLA, but caused considerable distress to the local population. Over 10,000 people contracted anthrax in the period 1978 to 1980, of whom 200 died. The facts about this episode became known during the hearings of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission during the late 1990s.[62]

After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraq admitted to the United Nations inspection team to having produced 19,000 liters of concentrated botulinum toxin, of which approximately 10,000 L were loaded into military weapons; the 19,000 liters have never been fully accounted for. This is approximately three times the amount needed to kill the entire current human population by inhalation,[63] although in practice it would be impossible to distribute it so efficiently, and, unless it is protected from oxygen, it deteriorates in storage.[64]

According to the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment 8 countries were generally reported as having undeclared offensive biological warfare programs in 1995: China, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Taiwan. Five countries had admitted to having had offensive weapon or development programs in the past: United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and Canada.[65] Offensive BW programs in Iraq were dismantled by Coalition Forces and the UN after the first Gulf War (199091), although an Iraqi military BW program was covertly maintained in defiance of international agreements until it was apparently abandoned during 1995 and 1996.[66]

On September 18, 2001 and for a few days thereafter, several letters were received by members of the U.S. Congress and American media outlets which contained intentionally prepared anthrax spores; the attack sickened at least 22 people of whom five died. The identity of the bioterrorist remained unknown until 2008, when an official suspect, who had committed suicide, was named. (See 2001 anthrax attacks.)

Suspicions of an ongoing Iraqi biological warfare program were not substantiated in the wake of the March 2003 invasion of that country. Later that year, however, Muammar Gaddafi was persuaded to terminate Libya’s biological warfare program. In 2008, according to a U.S. Congressional Research Service report, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Taiwan are considered, with varying degrees of certainty, to have some BW capability.[67] By 2011, 165 countries had officially joined the BWC and pledged to disavow biological weapons.[68]

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Oceania – Wikitravel

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Jun 282016
 

Oceania

Oceania is a vast, arbitrarily defined expanse of the world where the Pacific Ocean rather than land borders connects the nations. It is home to glistening white beaches, coconut palms swaying in the breeze, beautiful coral reefs, and rugged volcanic islands rising out of the blue ocean. Its diverse nations have both some of the world’s most cosmopolitan and internationalised cities such as Melbourne, and some of its most remote and culturally isolated villages.

Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are by far the largest countries on these lands that comprise southern Oceania, with the first two the most visited. Within Oceania are the vast island nation groupings of Polynesia to the far east, Melanesia to the west and Micronesia to the north.

Australia and New Zealand are both former British colonies. At one time it was envisaged that the two colonies would become a single country. In the past, Papua New Guinea was a United Nations trusteeship, administered by Australia. Various islands have been annexed by Britain, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Australia and the United States.

The presence of all of these cultures has created an influence on aspects of culture norms and development. In many areas at least one, often more indigenous languages, and the languages of one or more of the colonial powers, are spoken by the majority as people have coexisted or joined with the influx of other cultures. This mix has influenced cuisine, architecture and other facets of culture.

Ecologically, Oceania also includes the eastern parts of Indonesia as far as Lombok and Sulawesi.

See the country articles for detailed information on how to Get in.

The major countries of Australia and New Zealand do of course offer connections from all continents, although there are few direct flights from South America. There are some other gateways offering other opportunities to get in to Oceania, and for interesting itineraries. Air France connects New Caledonia direct with Tokyo and Paris and also flies to Tahiti. Onward connections to Sydney and Auckland are possible. Fiji Airways connects Fiji with Los Angeles with connections through to Sydney, Auckland and Tahiti. Tahiti is connected to Los Angeles, and you can fly to the Cook Islands direct from there. Air New Zealand provides a service to Tonga and Samoa from Los Angeles and Auckland. The Los Angeles service is subsidized by the New Zealand government as a form of aid to the two countries. Manila, Guam and Honolulu offer a gateway to the many countries of Micronesia, mainly on Continental Airlines.

The smallest islands with less tourism present travel challenges. Many are entirely deserted, and some have restrictions on access. Others require specialized services you may hire.

A South Pacific cruise.

Without a yacht, or a lot of time, the only way for travellers to get around between the main destinations of Oceania is by plane. Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, and Los Angeles have good connectivity to the region. It is usually possible to fly from the west coast of the United States through to Sydney or Auckland via Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji or even the Cook Islands.

However, air routes tend to come and go depending on whether the airlines find them profitable or not. Much of Micronesia, having been under US Administration, is serviced by Continental Airlines. Much of English-speaking Polynesia receives regular flights from Air New Zealand. Melanesia is mainly serviced by national and Australian airlines. Don’t expect daily flights. Patience is required.

Flying between Micronesia and the other two areas is problematic and may involve flying all the way to Honolulu or a complicated route through Manila, Sydney and Auckland. Continental Airlines has a weekly flight from Guam to Nadi in Fiji. United Airlines offers flights also.

Some flight options within Oceania, amongst others, are:

There are some options for boats, cruise ships, private yachts, adventure cruises, and even cargo ships.

Consult the guide for the destination you are visiting.

All island groups are fascinating and with time and money you can spend months just travelling around. There are some stunningly beautiful islands (Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia), some fascinating cultures and festivals, some wonderful diving and totally deserted beaches. Check the individual country sections for details.

Skiing and snow sports. New Zealand has reliable winter snowfalls, mostly on the South Island in winter. The Snowy Mountains in New South Wales have the largest ski resorts in the southern hemisphere.

Although staple foods from outside the region, such as rice and flour, now have a firm foothold, the traditional staples of roots and tubers remain very important. The cheapest is usually cassava, which can be left in the ground for a long time. Sweet potato is a very important crop and is found in most parts of Oceania with the major producing area being the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Taro and yam are also widespread. The latter is the most valuable of the roots and tubers and there are many customs associated with its cultivation. In the Sepik area of Papua New Guinea, for example, relations between married couples are traditionally forbidden while the yams are growing. On the other hand, in the Trobriand Islands the yam harvest traditionally is a period of active relations within couples, and of sexual freedom in general.

Kava is a drink produced from the roots of a plant related to the pepper plant and found mainly in Polynesia as well as Fiji and Vanuatu. It has a mildly narcotic effect. Other names include ‘awa (Hawai’i), ‘ava (Samoa), yaqona (Fiji), and sakau (Pohnpei). Traditionally it is prepared by chewing, grinding or pounding the roots of the kava plant. In Tonga, chewing traditionally had to be done by female virgins. Pounding is done in a large stone with a small log. The product is then added to cold water and consumed as quickly as possible, invariably as part of a group of people sitting around and sharing the cup. Check before taking any out of the country, however, as importing or exporting kava can be illegal for travelers.

Usual travel precautions re: any socializing or involvement with local people apply, always, and take special care in remote areas and on remote islands. Prepare thoroughly for trips into remote areas. Do your research, be prepared, understand that wilderness areas are true wilderness.

Fiji, New Caledonia, the Cook Islands, Samoa and all other islands except those listed next are usually malaria free.

Vanuatu has no reported cases of malaria currently although it has existed. Islanders are recuperating from flood losses (2014), and attendant human and infrastructure damage in the Solomon Islands, with some people who have contracted malaria. The malaria risk has lessened in Papua New Guinea this decade. All mentioned have a regimen of larval control practices.

Check with the WHO for the latest statistics.

Wikipedia:Oceania Dmoz:Oceania/ World66:australiaandpacific

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Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

 Offshore  Comments Off on Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times
Jun 282016
 

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By ERIK OLSEN

Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.

By ERIK OLSEN

Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

By MICHAEL CORKERY

While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.

By MIKE IVES

The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.

By STANLEY REED

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STANLEY REED

Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.

By ANDREW E. KRAMER

The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

The Mexican government put five oil production blocks up for auction on Wednesday and awarded three, a much more successful outcome than the first such auction in July.

By ELISABETH MALKIN

The all-stock deal, worth $13 billion, would combine the American and French companies, which have been hit hard by the global plunge in energy prices.

By STANLEY REED

Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find.

By ANNIE LOWREY

The regulations are aimed at preventing the kind of failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and come amid a proposal for Arctic drilling.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The Obama administration has hopes that gas export efforts will help build peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STANLEY REED

The decision to postpone the plan, called Browse, comes as prices for the fuel in Asia have fallen steeply.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited the militarys reservations about drilling near some of its largest installations, plunging oil prices and widespread local concerns.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The Obama administration yielded to opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashed the hopes of many of those states leaders.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The realization is adding momentum to efforts to convert some of the platforms into artificial reefs once they are decommissioned.

By ERIK OLSEN

Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.

By ERIK OLSEN

Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

By MICHAEL CORKERY

While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.

By MIKE IVES

The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.

By STANLEY REED

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STANLEY REED

Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.

By ANDREW E. KRAMER

The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

The Mexican government put five oil production blocks up for auction on Wednesday and awarded three, a much more successful outcome than the first such auction in July.

By ELISABETH MALKIN

More here:

Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

 Posted by at 2:52 am  Tagged with:

United States Sailing Association | Offshore

 Offshore  Comments Off on United States Sailing Association | Offshore
Jun 282016
 

RATING RULES AND MEASUREMENT

US Sailing provides big boat rating and handicapping services. Currently we service five rules.

HPR was developed to create a grand prix level development rating rule for modern planing racers.

The IRC Rule is an ISAF International Rating System using measurement data and administered by RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) and UNCL (Union Nationale pour la Course au Large).

ORC is an open and transparent Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) rating rule that devises ratings for inshore and offshore races worldwide. US Sailing issues ORC Club and ORC International certificates for all US-based boats.

ORR is based in the US and is the largest Velocity Prediction (VPP) rule used in North America for both ocean and inshore competitions. ORR is a limited access VPP system that is intended to be a non-type forming rule that fairly rates properly designed and well prepared boats.

An observed performance handicapping system that serves over 20,000 boats in the U.S.

US Sailing handles the processing and issuing of all certificates for U.S. boats.

A time-on-time handicapping system derived from boat class records with documented ratings.

US Sailing provides customized performance predictions packages for individual yachts. Calculations are conducted with the highly accurate Offshore Racing Rule VPP. Also, US Sailing uses ORR or IMS measurement data. Performance packages are available for unmodified sisterships of ORR rated production yachts. The packages include tables of performance for wind speeds from 6 to 24 knots (now available as electronic files for onboard instrumentation), polar diagrams in both True and Apparent Wind format, Wally analysis, curve of static stability, upright hydrostatic calculations and instructions for use. Learn more

Per the Racing Rules of Sailing, the Offshore office issues sail numbers that meet national and international standards. Learn More

Go here to read the rest:

United States Sailing Association | Offshore

 Posted by at 2:52 am  Tagged with:

Trasferimento della mente – Wikipedia

 Mind Uploading  Comments Off on Trasferimento della mente – Wikipedia
Jun 282016
 

Da Wikipedia, l’enciclopedia libera.

Il trasferimento della mente o mind uploading (in lingua inglese letteralmente “caricamento della mente”) o emulazione del cervello l’ipotetico processo del trasferimento o della copia di una mente cosciente da un cervello a un substrato non biologico. Il processo prevede la scansione e la mappatura dettagliata del cervello biologico e la copia del suo stato in un sistema informatico o altro dispositivo di calcolo.[1] Il computer eseguirebbe una simulazione del modello cos fedele all’originale che la mente simulata si comporterebbe, in sostanza, allo stesso modo del cervello originale, o per tutti gli scopi pratici, in maniera indistinguibile.[2] La mente simulata verrebbe considerata parte della realt virtuale del mondo simulato e potrebbe essere supportata da un modello anatomico tridimensionale che simula il corpo. In alternativa, la mente simulata potrebbe risiedere in un computer (o connessa ad esso) innestato all’interno di un robot umanoide o di un corpo biologico sostituendone il cervello.

L’emulazione di un intero cervello viene considerata dai futurologi come il punto logico finale[2] nei campi della neuroscienza computazionale e della neuroinformatica, ossia nella simulazione del cervello per scopi di ricerca medica. Essa viene trattata in pubblicazioni di ricerca riguardanti l’intelligenza artificiale[3] come un approccio all’intelligenza artificiale forte. Secondo i futurologi e per i movimenti transumanisti il mind uploading una tecnologia che rappresenta un’importante possibilit di estensione della vita, originariamente suggerita dalla letteratura biomedica gi nel 1971.[4] Il mind uploading rappresenta, inoltre, un elemento centrale in numerose opere di fantascienza, quali romanzi e film, come, ad esempio Transcendence.

Il mind uploading viene considerato da alcuni scienziati come una tecnologia teorica e futuribile ma possibile,[2] sebbene i principali finanziatori della ricerca e le principali riviste scientifiche rimangano scettici. Diverse previsioni contraddittorie sono state formulate riguardo a quando un cervello umano potr essere interamente emulato e alcune delle previsioni fatte in passato sono risultate troppo ottimistiche. Gi nel 1950 uno dei padri fondatori della cibernetica, Norbert Wiener, predisse che un giorno si sarebbe potuta trasferire una mente attraverso i fili di un telegrafo.[1] Una ricerca tradizionale nel campo comunque in corso in settori pertinenti, compresi campi quali lo sviluppo di supercomputer sempre pi veloci, la realt virtuale, le interfacce neurali, la mappatura e la simulazione di cervelli di animali, la connettomica e l’estrazione di informazioni da un cervello in funzione.[5] La questione del trasferimento dei dati e dell’intera struttura funzionale di un cervello tramite un processo tecnologico un argomento discusso anche dai filosofi, e la possibilit di una reale attuazione del processo pu essere vista come impossibile o inaccettabile da coloro che possiedono una visione dualistica del mondo, che comune a molte religioni.

Il cervello dell’essere umano contiene circa 86 miliardi di cellule nervose, chiamate neuroni, ciascuna singolarmente legata ad altri neuroni per mezzo di connettori chiamati assoni e dendriti. I segnali che percorrono le giunture (sinapsi) di queste connessioni vengono trasmessi tramite il rilascio e il rilevamento di sostanze chimiche note come neurotrasmettitori. Si concordi nel credere che la mente umana sia in gran parte una propriet emergente dell’elaborazione delle informazioni di questa rete neurale.

I neuroscienziati hanno dichiarato che importanti funzioni svolte dalla mente, come l’apprendimento, la memoria e la coscienza, sono dovuti a processi puramente fisici ed elettrochimici nel cervello e sono regolati da leggi vigenti. Christof Koch e Giulio Tononi hanno scritto nell’IEEE Spectrum:

Il concetto di mind uploading si basa su questa visione meccanicistica della mente, e nega la visione vitalista della vita umana e della coscienza. Molti eminenti scienziati, informatici e neuroscienziati hanno previsto che i computer saranno in grado di pensare e persino di raggiungere il livello di coscienza, inclusi Koch e Tononi,[6]Douglas Hofstadter,[7]Jeff Hawkins,[7]Marvin Minsky,[8]Randal A. Koene,[9] e Rodolfo Llins.[10]

Tale capacit di intelligenza delle macchine potrebbe fornire il substrato computazionale necessario per il caricamento della mente. Tuttavia, anche se il mind uploading dipende da una tale capacit generale, concettualmente distinto dalle forme generali di intelligenza artificiale in quanto il risultato di una rianimazione dinamica di informazioni derivanti da una mente umana in modo che la mente conservi un senso di identit storica (altre forme sono possibili ma comprometterebbero o eliminerebbero la caratteristica dell’estensione della vita generalmente associata con il mind uploading). Le informazioni trasferite e rianimate diverrebbero una forma di intelligenza artificiale, talvolta chiamata anche infomorfo o “nomorph”.

Molti teorici hanno presentato modelli del cervello e hanno stabilito una serie di stime della quantit di potenza di calcolo necessaria per simulazioni parziali e complete. Secondo questi modelli, il mind uploading pu diventare possibile entro qualche decennio, se le tendenze nel progresso tecnologico, come quelle rappresentate dalla legge di Moore, continuassero allo stesso ritmo esponenziale.[11]

La prospettiva di caricare la coscienza umana in questo modo solleva molte questioni filosofiche che coinvolgono l’identit, l’individualit e questioni riguardanti l’anima e la mente definite come il contenuto informativo del cervello, cos come numerosi problemi di etica medica e moralit alla base processo.

In teoria, se le informazioni e i processi della mente possono essere dissociati dal corpo biologico, essi non sono pi legate ai limiti fisici individuali di quel corpo. Inoltre, le informazioni all’interno di un cervello potrebbero essere in parte o interamente copiate o trasferite a una o pi altri substrati (come una memorizzazione di tipo digitale o un altro cervello), riducendo o eliminando il rischio di mortalit. Questa lettura del processo fu proposta per la prima volta nella letteratura biomedica nel 1971 dal biogerontologo George M. Martin dell’Universit di Washington.[4]

Una intelligenza basata su computer, come quella risultante da un mind uploading, potrebbe pensare molto pi velocemente di un essere umano. I neuroni umani scambiano i segnali elettrochimici con una velocit massima di circa 150 metri al secondo, mentre la velocit della luce di circa 300 milioni di metri al secondo, circa due milioni di volte pi veloce. Inoltre, i neuroni possono generare un massimo di circa 200-1000 potenziali d’azione o “picchi” al secondo, mentre il numero di segnali al secondo nei moderni chip per computer di circa 3GHz (circa 20 milioni di volte maggiore) e dovrebbe aumentare di almeno un fattore 100. Pertanto, anche se i componenti del computer responsabile della simulazione di un cervello non sono significativamente pi piccoli rispetto a quelli di un cervello biologico, e anche se la temperatura di questi componenti non significativamente pi bassa, Eliezer Yudkowsky del Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence calcola un limite massimo teorico per la velocit di una futura rete neurale artificiale. La rete potrebbe in teoria funzionare circa un milione di volte pi velocemente di un vero cervello, sperimentando un anno di tempo soggettivo in soli 31 secondi di tempo reale.[12][13][14]

Tuttavia, nella pratica questa implementazione in parallelo richiederebbe entit computazionali per ciascuno dei cento miliardi di neuroni e ciascuna delle 100.000 miliardi di sinapsi. Ci richiede un computer o reti neurali artificiali dalle potenzialit enormi, molto pi grandi anche degli attuali supercomputer.[13] In un’implementazione meno futuristica, il time-sharing permetterebbe l’emulazione sequenziale di diversi neuroni con la stessa unit di calcolo. Cos le dimensioni del computer potrebbero essere pi limitate, anche se l’aumento di velocit potrebbe essere minore. Supponendo che le minicolonne corticali raggruppate in ipercolonne siano le unit di calcolo, il cervello di un mammifero pu essere emulato da un supercomputer di oggi, ma risulterebbe operante a una velocit inferiore rispetto a quella del cervello biologico.[15]

Il mind uploading pone potenziali benefici per i viaggi nello spazio interstellare perch consentirebbe ad esseri immortali di viaggiare per il cosmo senza soffrire di accelerazione estrema oltre che delle limitazioni intrinseche di un corpo biologico. Una societ intera di menti processate con un mind uploading pu essere emulata da un computer su una nave spaziale dalle dimensioni estremamente limitate, che consuma molta meno energia rispetto a quella utilizzata per i viaggi spaziali tradizionali.

Le menti digitalizzate avrebbero il controllo della nave e sarebbero in grado di prendere decisioni sul viaggio in tempo reale, indipendentemente da eventuali segnali provenienti dalla Terra, che potrebbero eventualmente richiedere mesi o anni per raggiungere l’astronave. Inoltre una coscienza virtuale pu essere posta in uno stato di ibernazione, o le sue attivit rallentate; le menti virtuali non dovrebbero quindi essere costrette a sperimentare la noia infinita di un viaggio che potrebbe richiedere anche migliaia di anni. Le menti potrebbero essere risvegliate solo quando il computer di bordo rileva che la destinazione stata raggiunta.

Un’altra possibilit per il viaggio sarebbe quella di trasmettere una mente tramite un laser, o via radio, tra due localit gi colonizzate. Il viaggio richiederebbe solo l’energia per trasmettere i segnali con la potenza necessaria per la destinazione.

Un altro concetto collegato al mind uploading, esplorato pi nella fantascienza che nella speculazione scientifica, la possibilit di ottenere diverse copie speculari di una sola mente umana. Tali copie potrebbero consentire a un “individuo” di provare pi cose in una volta, reintegrando le esperienze di tutte le copie in una mente centrale in un certo momento del futuro, di fatto permettendo a un singolo essere senziente di vivere in molti luoghi e fare pi cose contemporaneamente; questo concetto stato esplorato in particolare nella narrativa. Tali copie parziali e complete di un essere senziente sollevano questioni interessanti per quanto riguarda l’identit e l’individualit.

I sostenitori del mind uploading puntano alla legge di Moore per sostenere l’idea secondo cui la potenza di calcolo necessaria potrebbe essere disponibile in pochi decenni. Tuttavia, le effettive esigenze di calcolo per l’esecuzione di una mente umana caricata in un supporto tecnologico sono molto difficili da quantificare, rendendo altamente speculativo tale argomento. Indipendentemente dalla tecnica utilizzata per acquisire o ricreare la funzione di una mente umana, le esigenze di elaborazione possono essere immense, a causa del gran numero di neuroni presenti nel cervello umano e della notevole complessit di ogni neurone.

Nel 2004 Henry Markram, ricercatore capo del “Blue Brain Project”, ha dichiarato che “non il loro obiettivo costruire una rete intelligente neurale”, basata esclusivamente sulle esigenze computazioni che un tale progetto richiederebbe:[16]

Cinque anni pi tardi, dopo la riuscita simulazione di una parte di cervello di un ratto, lo stesso scienziato si rivelato molto pi ottimista al riguardo. Nel 2009, quando era direttore del progetto Blue Brain, aveva affermato che “Un dettagliato e funzionale cervello umano artificiale pu essere costruito entro i prossimi 10 anni”.[18]

Poich la funzione della mente umana, e i suoi collegamenti con il funzionamento della rete neurale del cervello, sono questioni poco conosciute, il mind uploading si basa sul concetto di emulazione della rete neurale. Invece di dover comprendere i processi psicologici di alto livello e le grandi strutture del cervello, e di costruire su di essi un modello utilizzando l’intelligenza artificiale classica e i modelli della psicologia cognitiva, viene scansionato il basso livello di struttura della rete neurale sottostante, mappato e quindi emulato con un sistema informatico. Per dirla con la terminologia informatica, piuttosto che fare un’analisi e un reverse engineering del comportamento degli algoritmi e delle strutture dei dati che risiedono nel cervello, uno schema del suo codice sorgente viene ricompilato in un altro linguaggio di programmazione. La mente umana e l’identit personale verrebbero poi, in teoria, generati dalla rete neurale emulata nello stesso modo in cui vengono generati dalla rete neurale biologica.

D’altra parte, una simulazione a scala molecolare del cervello potrebbe non essere necessaria, a condizione che il funzionamento dei neuroni non sia influenzato da processi della meccanica quantistica. L’approccio all’emulazione della rete neurale richiede solo che siano compresi il funzionamento e l’interazione dei neuroni e delle sinapsi. Si prevede che possa essere sufficiente un modello black box dell’elaborazione del segnale con il quale i neuroni rispondono agli impulsi nervosi (elettrici e trasmissione sinaptica chimica).

richiesto un modello sufficientemente complesso e accurato dei neuroni. Un tradizionale modello artificiale di una rete neurale, ad esempio un modello di rete multi-livello di tipo perceptron, non considerato sufficiente. richiesto il modello di una rete neuronale di impulsi (SNN, Spiking Neural Network), che rifletterebbe la propriet del neurone che spara impulsi solo quando un potenziale di membrana raggiunge un certo livello. probabile che il modello debba includere delay (ritardi nella risposta), funzioni non lineari ed equazioni differenziali che descrivono il rapporto tra i parametri elettrofisiologici come correnti elettriche, tensioni, stati di membrane (stati dei canali ionici) e neuromodulatori.

Dal momento che si ritiene che l’apprendimento e la memoria a lungo termine siano il risultato del rafforzamento o dell’indebolimento delle sinapsi attraverso un meccanismo noto come plasticit sinaptica o adattamento sinaptico, il modello dovrebbe comprendere questo meccanismo. Dovrebbero essere inseriti nel modello anche le risposte dei recettori sensoriali ai vari stimoli.

Inoltre, il modello dovrebbe includere necessariamente il metabolismo del cervello, ossia le modalit con le quali i neuroni sono affetti dagli ormoni e da altre sostanze chimiche che possono attraversare la barriera emato-encefalica. Si ritiene probabile che il modello debba includere anche neuromodulatori, neurotrasmettitori e canali ionici al momento sconosciuti. Si ritiene improbabile che il modello di simulazione debba includere anche l’interazione delle proteine, il che renderebbe il tutto computazionalmente molto pi complesso.[2]

Un modello di simulazione digitale al computer di un sistema analogico come il cervello un’approssimazione che pu comportare casuali errori di quantizzazione e di distorsione. Tuttavia, i neuroni biologici soffrono anche di casualit e di precisione limitata, per esempio a causa di rumori di fondo (informazioni irrilevanti, non corrette o duplicate). Gli errori del modello possono essere ridotti, rispetto a quelli del cervello biologico, scegliendo risoluzioni e frequenza di campionamento sufficientemente variabili e modelli sufficientemente accurati di non linearit. La potenza di calcolo e di memoria del computer deve comunque essere sufficiente per eseguire tali simulazioni di grandi dimensioni, preferibilmente in tempo reale.

Durante la modellazione e la simulazione del cervello di un individuo, una mappa del cervello o un database delle varie connessioni tra i neuroni devono essere estratti da un modello anatomico del cervello. Questa mappatura della rete dovrebbe mostrare la connettivit di tutto il sistema nervoso umano, tra cui il midollo spinale, i recettori sensoriali e le cellule muscolari. Una scansione di tipo distruttivo del cervello umano, compresi i dettagli sinaptici, possibile dalla fine del 2010.[19] Una mappa completa del cervello dovrebbe anche riflettere la forza sinaptica (il “peso”) di ciascuna connessione. Non chiaro se questo sia possibile con la tecnologia attuale.

stato proposto che la memoria a breve termine e la memoria di lavoro possano essere una prolungata o ripetuta azione dei neuroni, cos come i processi dinamici intra-neurali. Poich lo stato del segnale elettrico e chimico delle sinapsi e dei neuroni pu essere difficile da estrarre, l’uploading potrebbe comportare per la mente caricata una perdita di memoria degli eventi immediatamente prima della scansione del cervello. Una completa mappatura del cervello occuperebbe meno di 2 x 1016 byte (20.000 terabyte) e memorizzerebbe gli indirizzi dei neuroni connessi, il tipo di sinapsi e il “peso” delle sinapsi per ciascuna delle 1015 sinapsi del cervello.

Un possibile metodo per il mind uploading il sezionamento seriale del cervello, processo in cui il tessuto cerebrale e forse altre parti del sistema nervoso sono congelati e poi scansionati e analizzati strato per strato, in modo da catturare la struttura dei neuroni e delle loro interconnessioni.[20] La struttura della superficie esposta del tessuto nervoso congelato verrebbe acquisita e registrata, e poi lo strato superficiale di tessuto asportato. Anche se questo sarebbe un processo molto lento e laborioso, la ricerca attualmente in corso per automatizzare la raccolta e la microscopia di sezioni seriali.[21] Le scansioni sarebbero quindi analizzate e verrebbe ricreato un modello della rete neurale nel sistema in cui la mente stata caricata.

Ci sono diverse incertezze riguardo a questo approccio che utilizza le attuali tecniche di microscopia. Se possibile replicare la funzione dei neuroni solo visualizzandone la struttura visibile, la risoluzione offerta da un microscopio elettronico a scansione sarebbe sufficiente per una tale tecnica.[21] Tuttavia, dato che la funzione del tessuto cerebrale in parte determinata da eventi molecolari, questo potrebbe non bastare per la cattura e la simulazione delle funzioni dei neuroni. possibile estendere le tecniche di sezionamento seriale e catturare la composizione molecolare interna dei neuroni, attraverso l’utilizzo di sofisticati metodi di colorazione immunoistochimica che potrebbero poi essere letti attraverso la microscopia confocale a scansione laser. Tuttavia, dato che la genesi fisiologica della mente non attualmente nota, questo metodo non pu essere in grado di accedere a tutte le informazioni biochimiche necessarie per ricreare un cervello umano con una sufficiente fedelt.

Pu anche essere possibile creare mappe 3D funzionali dell’attivit cerebrale, utilizzando avanzate tecnologie di neuroimaging, come la risonanza magnetica funzionale (fMRI, per mappare il cambiamento del flusso sanguigno), magnetoencefalografia (MEG, per la mappatura delle correnti elettriche), o combinazioni di pi metodi, per costruire un dettagliato modello tridimensionale del cervello con metodi non invasivi e non distruttivi. Oggi, la fMRI spesso combinata con la magnetoencefalografia per la creazione di mappe funzionali della corteccia cerebrale umana durante i compiti cognitivi pi complessi, dato che due metodi sono complementari. Anche se la tecnologia di imaging attuale manca della risoluzione spaziale necessaria per raccogliere le informazioni necessarie per una simile scansione, importanti sviluppi recenti e futuri sono previsti atti a migliorare sostanzialmente sia la risoluzione spaziale che quella temporale delle tecnologie esistenti.[22]

Processo di acquisizione da una risonanza magnetica della intera rete strutturale di un cervello.

Le interfacce neurali (BCI, Brain-Computer Interface; note anche come interfacce neuro-computer o interfacce cerebrali) costituiscono una delle tecnologie ipotetiche per la lettura delle informazioni di un cervello funzionante. La produzione di questo dispositivo o di uno simile potrebbe rivelarsi basilare nel processo di mind uploading di un soggetto umano vivente.

Una rete neurale artificiale, descritta come “grande e complessa quanto la met del cervello di un topo”, stato eseguita su un supercomputer IBM Blue Gene da un gruppo di ricerca dell’Universit del Nevada nel 2007. Per simulare il tempo di un secondo ci sono voluti dieci secondi di tempo di esecuzione del computer. I ricercatori hanno riferito di aver constatato impulsi nervosi “biologicamente coerenti” attraverso la corteccia virtuale. Tuttavia, nella simulazione mancavano le strutture cerebrali in tempo reale del cervello dei topi, e i ricercatori hanno riferito che intendono migliorare in tal senso l’accuratezza del modello dei neuroni.[23]

Blue Brain un progetto, lanciato nel maggio 2005 da IBM e dall’cole polytechnique fdrale di Losanna, che ha l’obiettivo di creare una simulazione al computer di una colonna corticale dei mammiferi a livello molecolare.[24] Il progetto utilizza un supercomputer su base Blue Gene per simulare il comportamento elettrico dei neuroni in base alla loro connessione sinaptica e sulle relative correnti di membrana. L’obiettivo iniziale del progetto, completato nel dicembre 2006,[25] era la simulazione della colonna neocorticale di un topo, che pu essere considerata la pi piccola unit funzionale della corteccia cerebrale (la parte del cervello ritenuta responsabile delle funzioni superiori, come il pensiero cosciente), contenente 10.000 neuroni (e 108 sinapsi). Tra il 1995 e il 2005, Henry Markram mapp i tipi di neuroni e le loro connessioni in una colonna. Nel novembre 2007,[26] il progetto arriv al termine della prima fase, durante la quale erano stati raccolti i dati per il processo di creazione, validazione e ricerca della colonna neocorticale. Il progetto si propone di rivelare alla fine gli aspetti della cognizione umana e di vari disturbi psichiatrici causati dal malfunzionamento dei neuroni, come l’autismo, e di capire come gli agenti farmacologici influenzano il comportamento della rete neurale.

Un’organizzazione chiamata Brain Preservation Foundation[27] stata fondata nel 2010 e offre un premio Brain Preservation Technology al fine di promuovere le ricerche nel campo della preservazione del cervello. Il premio viene assegnato in due parti: il 25% verr assegnato al primo team internazionale che riuscir a preservare l’intero cervello di un topo, il 75% al team che riuscir per primo a preservare l’intero cervello di un animale di grandi dimensioni in un modo che possa essere adottato anche per gli esseri umani dopo la morte clinica. In definitiva l’obiettivo di questo premio quello di generare una intera mappa del cervello che possa essere utilizzata a sostegno degli sforzi separati per fare l’uploading e possibilmente “rivitalizzare” una mente in uno spazio virtuale.

Pu essere difficile garantire la tutela dei diritti umani in mondi simulati. Per esempio, i ricercatori delle scienze sociali potrebbero essere tentati di utilizzare le menti simulate, o intere societ di menti simulate, per esperimenti controllati in cui sono esposte molte copie delle stesse menti (in serie o contemporaneamente) in condizioni di prova diverse.

L’unica risorsa fisica limitata a cui necessariamente attenersi in un mondo simulato la capacit di calcolo, e quindi la velocit e la complessit della simulazione. Individui ricchi o privilegiati in una societ di menti emulate potrebbero cos fare un’esperienza soggettiva del tempo ben maggiore rispetto ad altre nello stesso tempo reale, o potrebbero essere in grado di eseguire pi copie di loro stessi o di altri, e quindi produrre pi servizi e diventare ancora pi ricchi. Altri potrebbero soffrire della mancanza di risorse computazionali (starvation) e mostrare un comportamento al rallentatore.

Un altro problema filosofico derivante dal mind uploading ruota intorno all’individualit della mente caricata: pu essere considerata la stessa dell’originale, dotata della stessa coscienza, o semplicemente una copia esatta con gli stessi ricordi e la personalit? E se invece risultassero differenti, quali sarebbero le differenze tra la copia e l’originale?

Le principali tecnologie di scansione del cervello prese in considerazione, come il sezionamento seriale, risulterebbero necessariamente distruttive e il cervello originale non sopravviverebbe alla procedura di scansione. Ma se l’originale pu essere mantenuto intatto, la coscienza emulata potrebbe essere una copia esatta e speculare della persona biologica. In questo caso diverrebbe implicita la possibilit di copie multiple di una singola coscienza originale che pu letteralmente “entrare” in una o pi copie, dal momento che queste tecnologie comportano generalmente la simulazione di un cervello umano in un computer di qualche tipo, tramite file digitali che possono essere copiati all’infinito (storage permettendo) con assoluta precisione. Il problema infatti reso ancora pi complesso proprio da questa possibilit di creare un numero potenzialmente infinito di copie inizialmente identiche del soggetto originale che sarebbero ovviamente tutte presenti, allo stesso tempo, come esseri distinti. Si suppone che una volta che le varie versioni vengono poi esposte, dopo l’uploading, a diversi input sensoriali, le loro esperienze comincerebbero a divergere, rendendole semplicemente menti distinte, anche se tutti i loro ricordi fino al momento della copia resterebbero gli stessi. Ma molte varianti, pi o meno complesse, sono possibili. A seconda della capacit di calcolo, la simulazione pu essere eseguita con un tempo pi veloce o pi lento rispetto al tempo fisico, con ovvie conseguenze per l’interazione tra una mente biologica e una mente simulata. Un cervello emulato pu essere inoltre avviato, messo in pausa per un backup e riavviato di nuovo da uno stato di backup salvato in qualsiasi momento. La mente simulata in quest’ultimo caso, necessariamente non ricorderebbe tutto ci che successo dopo l’istante della messa in pausa e forse non potrebbe nemmeno essere consapevole che un duplicato appena avviato. Risulterebbero diverse le interazioni possibili tra copie di cervelli emulati; una versione precedente di una mente simulata pu interagire con una versione pi “giovane” e condividere esperienze con essa.

Il limite di Bekenstein il limite superiore delle informazioni che possono essere contenute all’interno di una regione finita di spazio che ha una quantit finita di energia o, al contrario, la quantit massima di informazioni necessarie a descrivere perfettamente un dato sistema fisico fino al livello quantistico.[28]

Un cervello umano medio ha un peso di 1,5kg e un volume di 1260cm. L’energia (E=mc) sar 1.348131017J e se si considera il cervello una sfera il raggio sar 6.70030102metri.

Il limite di Bekenstein per un cervello umano medio sarebbe 2.589911042bit che rappresenta il limite superiore delle informazioni necessarie per ricreare perfettamente un cervello umano medio fino al livello quantico. Ci implica che il numero dei diversi stati (=2I) del cervello umano (e della mente se si considera il fisicalismo) almeno 107.796401041.

Tuttavia, come descritto sopra, secondo molti sostenitori del mind uploading i modelli a livello quantistico e la simulazione dei neuroni a scala molecolare non saranno necessari, quindi il limite di Bekenstein rappresenta solo un limite massimo. Si stima che l’ippocampo di un cervello umano adulto possa memorizzare dati fino a un limite equivalente a 2,5 petabyte in campo binario.[29]

I seguaci del Movimento Raeliano sostengono il mind uploading nel processo di clonazione umana per raggiungere la vita eterna. Vivere all’interno di un computer viene vista come una delle principali possibilit.[30] Il mind uploading viene sostenuto anche da diversi ricercatori nel campo delle neuroscienze e dell’intelligenza artificiale, come Marvin Minsky. Nel 1993, Joe Strout cre un piccolo sito web chiamato Mind Uploading Home Page, e cominci a sostenere l’idea della creazione di circoli sulla crionica in rete. Molti transumanisti credono allo sviluppo e all’implementazione del mind uploading e alcuni di essi, tra cui Nick Bostrom, prevedono che sar possibile entro il XXI secolo considerando le tendenze tecnologiche, come la legge di Moore.[2]

Il libro Beyond Humanity: CyberEvolution and Future Minds di Gregory S. Paul & Earl D. Cox,, tratta dell’eventualit (per gli autori, quasi inevitabile) dell’evoluzione dei computer in esseri senzienti, ma si occupa anche di mind uploading. Wetwares: Experiments in PostVital Living, di Richard Doyle Wetwares, tratta ampiamente il mind uploading e sostiene che gli esseri umani sono parte di un “fenotipo di vita artificiale”. La visione di Doyle inverte il processo del mind uploading introducendo forme di vita artificiali attivamente alla ricerca di incarnazioni biologiche come parte della loro strategia riproduttiva. Raymond Kurzweil, esponente di rilievo del transumanesimo e convinto sostenitore della probabilit di una singolarit tecnologica, ha suggerito che il percorso pi facile per arrivare a un livello umano di intelligenza artificiale potrebbe trovarsi nel reverse-engineering del cervello umano, argomento che usa di solito per riferirsi alla creazione di una nuova intelligenza in base ai principi di funzionamento del cervello e all’uploading di singole menti umane sulla base di scansioni e simulazioni estremamente dettagliate. L’idea discussa anche nel suo libro La singolarit vicina.

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Title Length Color Rating Thre Views of Social Darwinism – The concept of Social Darwinism was a widely accepted theory in the nineteenth-century. Various intellectual, and political figures from each side of the political spectrum grasped the theory and interpreted it in various ways. In this paper, we will discuss three different nineteenth-century thinkers and their conception of Social Darwinism. The conservative, Heinrich von Treitschke, and liberal Herbert Spencer both gave arguments on the usefulness of competition between people on a global scale…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 1702 words (4.9 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Social Darwinism and Race Superiority In The West – Social Darwinism was a set of theories developed by various people during the 19th century. It was the adaptation of Darwin theory of evolution applied to human social behavior and ability to survive compared to other human beings. It can now easily be seen that these theories could be used to justify racial discrimination and they have been used in this way throughout history. This misconception of Darwins theories popularized by various academics in the west gave western nations to treat other nations badly…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 2028 words (5.8 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – The publication of Charles Darwins The Origin of Species in 1859 had far reaching consequences. One of the most important notions in his ground-breaking book was the claim that no species is fixed. Rather a well marked variety may …. well be called an incipient species, demonstrating that nature is not static but a continuum where varieties beget species. Assuming that man was a part of nature, a concept many scientists had come to accept, this principle could be extended to include human societies…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 20 Works Cited 2200 words (6.3 pages) Research Papers [preview] Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, Social Darwinism and the Catholic Church – A dark dense rainforest, the sound of rain falling on green leaves and the chatter of birds in the canopy surrounds you. On the forest ground two dark shapes circle each other, both let out an ear-piercing roar that silences the entire forest. The dark shapes revealed themselves to be a pair of male gorillas, suddenly they rear up on their back legs and clash together in a fury of swinging arms. The larger gorilla gets a direct blow to the other one as the crunch of bone fills the silent jungle air…. [tags: Social Darwinism] 1196 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] The Development of Social Darwinism – The theory developed by Charles Darwin in 1859 in his book The Origin of Species is considered not only one of the greatest scientific discoveries ever but, also a system of knowledge that revolutionized the fundamental patterns of thought. This discovery was the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution shattered old beliefs and philosophies and imposed the necessity for building new ones. Two of the great ideologies that developed from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution are Darwinism and Social Darwinism…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 8 Works Cited 1787 words (5.1 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Social Darwinism is NOT Science – Charles Darwin is NOT responsible for Social Darwinism. War and oppression have always been components of human history, however with the introduction of Darwin’s theory of evolution man had a new justification for his cruelty. Darwin’s ideas promoted a “superman” or “super-race” philosophy. The prime component of Darwin’s ideas revolves around the notion that life progresses by natural selection – the survival of the fittest. Couple this with the racist culture in the scientific world of his day and you have the reason to pursue any exploitive agenda…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 775 words (2.2 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection, Social Darwinism and Hitler – Social Darwinism was one of the most powerful movements in the nineteenth century Germany, believes professor Jerry Bergman. As the movement escalated, Jews became non-human to the Germans. That was one of the reasons the Nazis did not feel any remorse at the time, because they had deprived the Jews of every piece of humanity that they obtained. Social Darwinism was first brought up by British philosopher and sociologist, Herbert Spencer. Social Darwinism goes back to the earliest form, which is Darwinism…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 12 Works Cited 1872 words (5.3 pages) Term Papers [preview] Social Darwinism in American Politics – Introduction Social Darwinism is a quasi-philosophical, quasi-religious, quasi-sociological view that came from the mind of Herbert Spencer, an English philosopher in the 19th century. It did not achieve wide acceptance in England or Europe, but flourished in this country, as is true of many ideologies, religions, and philosophies. A good summary of Social Darwinism is by Johnson: In these years, when Darwin’s Origin of Species, popularized by Herbert Spencer as “the survival of the fittest, ” and applied to races as well as species in a vulgarized form, Social Darwinism, the coming Christian triumph was presented as an Anglo-Saxon Protestant one…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 1210 words (3.5 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] Social Darwinism in Cyberpunk Literature – In the 1870s, the English sociologist Herbert Spencer applied Charles Darwin’s theories of biological evolution to human behavior and institutions. Spencer used the idea of survival of the fittest in biology and theorized human society had evolved the same way (Cooper 15). Social Darwinism, as Spencer’s theory is called, pits everyone against each other to survive in the world where humans are soldiers in a war for survival. If a person is poor, it is their fault and no one should help that person rise above the poverty status…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 3 Works Cited 1291 words (3.7 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Conservatism Supports Social Darwinism – Social Darwinism is the belief that the individual is more powerful than society. It encourages a ruthless system of self-interest and intolerant treatment of others. Those who believe in Social Darwinism believe that the society is inferior to the needs of the individual. Often those who believe in Social Darwinism are racist and believe that the white origin is the superior race of society. Social Darwinism is the opposite of socialism. Socialists believe that society comes before the individual while those who follow Social Darwinism believe the individual comes before society…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 470 words (1.3 pages) FREE Essays [view] The Role of Social Darwinism in European Imperialism – Social Darwinism fueled imperialism by making imperialistic nations believe that their imperialistic ventures were a natural turn of events and not a cruel, opressionistic system of government. These imperialistic nations exploited other nations and cultures and their troops motivation was the glory of the nation and the eradication of the weaker races on earth. These soldiers believed in Social Darwinism. Also, nations were able to become imperialistic because of the support of their people…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 751 words (2.1 pages) Better Essays [preview] Charles Darwin, Social Darwinism, and Imperialism – England went through dramatic changes in the 19th century. English culture, socio-economic structure and politics where largely influenced by the principles of science. Many social expressions occurred due to these changes. Transformations which categorized this time period could be observed in social institutions; for instance: the switch from popular Evangelicalism to atheism, emergence of feminism and the creation of new political ideologies (Liberalism, Conservatism and Radicalism). These are just a few of the changes that took place…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 511 words (1.5 pages) Unrated Essays [preview] Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States – The interplay and relationship between Social Darwinism and Social Welfare in the United States typify the nation’s struggle to make the best of a capitalist society, while at the same time correcting pitfalls. Social Darwinism in our capitalist society compares wealth with fitness, but historically, unregulated markets given the false sanction of natural law have proven out that Darwinist economic competition has a destructive side for society. The role of raw power, the frequency of failure and the spirit of want has out of necessity, fostered a fiscal and monetary policy defined as social welfare, in order to conserve some commitment and core of resistance to the corrosive impact of ma… [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 6 Works Cited 1245 words (3.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Social Darwinism – Darwins Theory of Natural Selection, a scientific theory that supported the belief of evolution, was manipulated and applied to different areas of life, and thus it became the shaping force in European thought in the last half of the nineteenth century. Darwin, through observation of organisms, determined that a system of natural selection controlled the evolution of species. He found that the organisms that were most fit and assimilated to the environment would survive. They would also reproduce so that over time they would eventually dominate in numbers over the organisms with weaker characteristics…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 1192 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – Anyone with even a moderate background in science has heard of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Since the publishing of his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859, Darwins ideas have been debated by everyone from scientists to theologians to ordinary lay-people. Today, though there is still severe opposition, evolution is regarded as fact by most of the scientific community and Darwins book remains one of the most influential ever written. Its influence has even extended into realms other than biology and science…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 8 Works Cited 2626 words (7.5 pages) Research Papers [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – Darwin and Evolution are inextricably linked in the minds of most people who have had the opportunity to study them in basic biology. However, Darwin’s theories of selection and survival of the fittest have been applied to moral, economic, political, and other cultural aspects of society. Dennett briefly touched on some of the political and social ramifications of Darwin’s theories in the final chapter of Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. Other philosophers and thinkers have also adapted Darwin’s evolutionary ideas, in order to apply them in a societal or cultural context…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 6 Works Cited 801 words (2.3 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – While he was on the voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle, a man named Charles Darwin viewed the relationship of plants and animals all over the world. He observed organisms on islands off the coast of South America and those on the mainland. His observations showed that these organisms were related, but not identical. This led Darwin into believing that over time, organisms must adapt to suit their environment. He explained his theories thoroughly in his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection…. [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] 564 words (1.6 pages) Better Essays [preview] Darwins Theory of Natural Selection and Social Darwinism – In 1859, a biologist named Charles Darwin postulated a scientific theory, which stated that all living organisms evolved through a process of natural selection. According to Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin claimed that the offspring of a particular species gradually evolved themselves genetically to resist the changes in the environment (573). The theory contended that the organisms could adapt to the changes in the environment through the survival of the fittest. Though this theory is regarded as a breakthrough in the field of biological evolution, it is interesting to explore how this seemingly scientific theory has been suitably modified, and intellectually applied to both negative… [tags: Social Darwinism Essays] :: 7 Works Cited 1187 words (3.4 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Social Darwinism: Herbert Spencer and The Catholic Church – Herbert Spencer was the most important Social Darwinist of the 19th Century. He was the first to begin thinking about evolutionist long before Darwin came out with his book on the “Origins of Species”. He had many theories such as that everything evolves from one basic creature and then breaks off into more diverse species (Haberman (Hab.), 171). His theory was that social, political, and intellectual movements were caused by the development from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous…. 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Indeed, most giraffes used to have short necks, but some had longer necks and when there was a shortage of food that they could reach with their short necks, the ones with short necks died off, and the ones with long necks survived and reproduced, and eventually, all of the giraffes had long necks. Another difference between Darwin and Lamarck is that Darwin claimed that evolution does not happen according to any predetermined plan (for example, the course of evolution is affected by climatic changes)…. [tags: Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species] :: 8 Works Cited 1257 words (3.6 pages) Strong Essays [preview] Jude the Obscure and Social Darwinism – Jude the Obscure and Social Darwinism Jude the Obscure is indeed a lesson in cruelty and despair; the inevitable by-products of Social Darwinism. 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However, labeling him as such is problematic. Spencer came with his concepts and with the term survival of the fittest before he got to know Darwins. His ideas are based on the theory of Lamarckian inheritance by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck…. [tags: biological concepts, evolutionary theories] :: 13 Works Cited 1402 words (4 pages) Powerful Essays [preview] The Political Implications of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection – In 1859 biologist Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species which laid out Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Natural selection stated that an organism which possessed advantageous traits that allowed it to survive and reproduce easier than became more prevalent in the proceeding generations, eventually resulting in a differentiation of species. This is the basis of evolution and is a constantly ongoing process. Organisms that did not possess the advantageous traits were doomed to genetic extinction…. 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ThinkBeyond.us | What Is Transhumanism?

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Jun 262016
 

transhumanism, n.

trans hu man ism

an international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.

Wikipedia

That’s the definition of “transhumanism” the Web offers up. It’s true in a sort of reductionist sense, but I’m not sure it’s a terribly useful definition.

If I were to define transhumanism, I’d say that it’s an idea whose premise is that human nature is not some fixed quantity, forever unalterable; it’s something that is a consequence of our biology and our environment, and it can be changed. Furthermore, advances in technology and in our understanding of biology, chemistry, and physics, give us the power to change it as we wish–to take evolution from a blind, undirected process to a process that we can make choices about. It’s predicated on the idea that we can, if we so desire, choose what it means to be human.

A great deal of conventional thought has always held on to the idea that “human nature” is something that’s a fundamental part of who we are, forever unalterable. Certain aspects of the human condition, from mortality to aggression, from disease to territoriality, have always been thought of as fixtures of the human condition; no matter how our society changes, no matter what we learn, these things have been assumed to be an immutable part of us.

Transhumanist thought holds that this isn’t so. We are physical entities, whose nature comes from an extraordinarily complex dance of biochemical processes happening in our bodies. The way we respond to stress, the way we behave, the way our bodies suffer gradually increasing debility, all these things are the consequence of the physical processes happening inside our bodies and brains.

And they can change. Improved diet has made us qualitatively different from our neolithic ancestors–taller, longer-lived. Thousands of generations living in large numbers have made us more able to function in complex social environments; we have, in a sense, domesticated ourselves.

Right now, advances in biotechnology offer to revolutionize our view of who we are. What if aging and death were no longer inevitable? What if we could invent ways to repair genetic disorders? What if the human brain, which is a physical organ, could be modeled inside a computer? What if we could develop techniques to make our brains operate more efficiently? These sound like science fiction to a lot of people, but every single one of them is the subject of active research in labs around the world right now.

Transhumanism is a highly rationalist idea. It rejects the notion that human beings are corrupt, doomed to suffer and die as a result of a fall from grace. Rather, it postulates that the things that make us who we are are knowable and comprehensible; that the state of being human is a fit subject for scientific inquiry; and that as we learn more about ourselves, our ability to shape who we are increases.

The implications of these ideas are deeply profound. Transhumanist philosophy is built from the notion that things like indefinite lifespan, brain modeling, and improvement of human physical and intellectual capacity are both possible and desirable. Transhumanism, therefore, is profoundly optimistic.

It is not, however, Utopian. Like all new technologies, these things all have potential consequences whose outlines we can’t see clearly yet. Therefore, transhumanism tends to be concerned not only with the possibility of biomedical technology but also its ethics; the study of transhumanism is, in large part, the study of bioethics. Who controls the direction of new, disruptive biomedical technology? What does it mean to be a “person;” is an artificial intelligence a person? How should new biomedical technology be introduced into society? How can it be made available democratically, to everyone who wishes it? What role is available to people who for whatever reason don’t choose to benefit from new advances in medical understanding?

At its core, transhumanism is deeply pragmatic. Since it seems likely that biotechnology is going to improve over time whether we think about the implications of it or not, transhumanists think about things like bioethics, immortality, and the nature of consciousness in concrete, real-world terms, rather than as philosophical exercises. One of the things I most like about transhumanism is its drive to ask questions like “How can we maximize the benefit of what we are learning while maintaining human agency, dignity, and the right to choose?” Transhumanists are invited to be skeptical about everything, including the premises of transhumanism. It is quite likely that whatever views of the future we dream up will be flawed, as most prognostication tends to be. But by getting into the habit of examining these ideas now, and of considering the moral and ethical dimensions of our accelerating understanding of biology, we can at least train ourselves to get into the habit of asking the right questions as new breakthroughs come.

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Ethical Egoism and Biblical Self-Interest | Papers at …

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Jun 262016
 

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J.P. Moreland, Westminster Theological Journal 59 (1997), pp. 257-68. Nov 30 . 1997

The Old and New Testaments contain a number of passages that in some way or another associate moral obligation with self-interest in the form of seeking rewards and avoiding punishment. Thus, Exod 20:12 says Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. Jesus tells us to seek first His kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you (Matt 6:33). On another occasion he warns his listeners that at the end of the age the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 13:49-50). Paul states his ambition to be pleasing to the Lord for we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds. (II Cor 5:10). The fact that rewards and punishments are associated with self-interest and moral or religious obligation is clear throughout the scriptures. What is not so clear is just how to understand these passages from the point of view of normative moral theory. More specifically, do texts of this sort imply that ethical egoism (to be defined below) is the correct normative ethical theory derived from the Bible? In over a decade of teaching ethics, I regularly have students, when first exposed to ethical egoism, draw the conclusion that this ethical system is, indeed, the best way to capture biblical ethics. And while popular works on the spiritual life are not sophisticated enough to be clear on the matter, a number of them, especially those that promote a prosperity gospel, would seem to be expressions of ethical egoism.

The identification of ethical egoism with biblical ethics is not confined to popular venues. Secular philosopher John Hospers argues that when believers justify being moral on the basis of a doctrine of eternal rewards and punishments, this is simply an appeal to self-interest . [N]othing could be a clearer appeal to naked and unbridled power than this.1 The vast majority of Christian philosophers and theologians have seen some combination of deontological and virtue ethics to be the best way to capture the letter and spirit of biblical ethics. Still, the problem of egoism has been noted by some and embraced by others. Years ago, Paul Ramsey raised the problem of ethical egoism when he queried,

But what of salvation? Is not salvation the end for which Christians quest? What of rewards in the kingdom of heaven? What of mans everlasting and supernatural good, the souls life with God in the hereafter mans chief end, glorifying God and enjoying him forever. Is not salvation itself a supreme value which Christians seek with earnest passion, each first of all for himself?2

Theologian Edward John Carnell (inaccurately in my view) has been understood as having promoted some form of ethical egoism.3

In recent years, Christian philosopher and theologian Philip R. West has argued that deontological ethics do not capture biblical morality and that ethical egoism is the correct normative theory in this regard. Says West, They [the OT writers] apparently believed not only that actual divine punishment is enough to establish the obligation to obey divine commands, but like Paul, that the absence of actual divine punishment erodes the obligatory status of these commands.4 Elsewhere, West defends the thesis that some agent A has a moral obligation to do P if and only if doing P will maximize As own self-interest. He argues that since scripture grounds our obligations in self-interest (rewards/punishments), this amounts to ethical egoism.

What should we make of this claim? Is ethical egoism the correct normative theory from a biblical point of view? My purpose in what follows is to show why ethical egoism is a defective normative ethical theory and, given this conclusion, to offer ways to understand biblical self-interest that do not entail the truth of ethical egoism. In what follows, I will, first, clarify the precise nature of ethical egoism; second, summarize the main types of arguments for and against ethical egoism in the literature and conclude that ethical egoism is inadequate; third, offer a set of distinctions for understanding biblical self-interest while avoiding ethical egoism.

The most plausible form of ethical egoism, embraced by philosophers such as Ayn Rand and John Hospers, is called universal or impersonal rule-egoism (hereafter, simply ethical egoism). Since Hospers is the most prominent philosopher to advocate ethical egoism, his definition is the most pertinent: each person has a moral duty to follow those moral rules that will be in the agents maximal self-interest over the long haul.5 For the ethical egoist, one has a duty to follow correct moral rules. And the factor that makes a rule a correct one is that, if followed, it will be in the agents own best interests in the long run. Each person ought to advance his own self-interests and that is the sole foundation of morality.

Ethical egoism is sometimes confused and identified with various distinct issues. First, there is individual or personal ethical egoism which says everyone has a duty to act so as to serve my self-interests. Here, everyone is morally obligated to serve the speakers long term best interests. Second, there is psychological egoism, roughly, the idea that each person can only do that act which the person takes to maximize his or her own self-interest. Psychological egoism is a descriptive thesis about motivation to the effect that we can only act on motives that are in our own self-interests. As we shall see shortly, psychological egoism is sometimes used as part of an argument for ethical egoism, but the two are distinct theses.

Third, ethical egoism is not the same thing as egotism an irritating character trait of always trying to be the center of attention. Nor is it the same as what is sometimes called being a wanton. A wanton has no sense of duty at all, but only acts to satisfy his or her own desires. The only conflict the wanton knows is that between two or more desires he cannot simultaneously satisfy (e.g. to eat more and lose weight). The wanton knows nothing about duty. Arguably, animals are wantons. Fifth, ethical egoism is not to be confused with being an egoist, i.e. being someone who believes that the sole worth of an act is its fairly immediate benefits to the individual himself. With this understanding of ethical egoism as a backdrop, let us look at the arguments for and against ethical egoism that have been preeminent in the literature. A detailed treatment of these arguments is not possible here, but by looking briefly at the main considerations usually brought to bear on ethical egoism, a feel for its strengths and weaknesses as a normative ethical theory emerges.

Among the arguments for ethical egoism, two have distinguished themselves, at least in textbook treatments of the position.6 First, it is argued that ethical egoism follows from psychological egoism in this way: psychological egoism is true and this implies that we always and cannot help but act egoistically. This is a fact about human motivation and action. Further, ought implies can. If I ought to do x, if I have a duty to do x, then I must be able to do x. If I cannot do something, then I have no duty or responsibility to do it. Applied to egoism, this means that since I can act egoistically, then I have a duty to do so and since I cannot act non-egoistically, then I have no duty to do so. Thus, ethical egoism is the correct picture of moral obligation in keeping with what we know about human motivation.

Does this argument work? Most philosophers have not thought so. First, the principle of psychological egoism, viz. that we always act to maximize our own self-interest, is ambiguous. So stated, the principle falls to make a distinction between the result of an act vs. the intent of an act. If it is understood in the former way it is irrelevant and if taken in the latter way it is false. If the statement merely asserts that, as a matter of fact, the result of our actions is the maximization of self-interest, then this does not imply ethical egoism. Ethical egoism is the view that the thing which morally justifies an act is the agents intent to maximize his own self-interests. So the mere psychological fact (if it is a fact) that people only do those acts that result in their own satisfaction proves nothing.

On the other hand, if the statement claims that we always act solely with the intent to satisfy our own desires, then this claim is simply false. Every day we are aware of doing acts with the sole intent of helping someone else, of doing something just because we think it is the right thing to do, and of expressing virtuous, other-centered behavior. As Christian phiosopher Joseph Butler (1692-1752) argued:

Mankind has various instincts and principles of action as brute creatures have; Some leading most directly and immediately to the good of the community, and some most directly to private good [I]t is not a true representation of mankind, to affirm that they are wholly governed by self-love, the love of power and sensual appetites . it is manifest fact, that the same persons, the generality, are frequently influenced by friendship, compassion, gratitude; and liking of what is fair and just, takes its turn amongst the other motives of action.7

Furthermore, it is not even true that we always try to do what we want or what we think is in our self-interests. We sometimes experience akrasia (weakness of will) when we fail to do or even try to do what we want (see Rom 7:15-25). And we sometimes do (or try to do) our duty even when we dont want to do it. These points appear to be facts about human action.

Second, this argument for ethical egoism suffers from what has been called the paradox of hedonism. Often, the best way maximize self-interest, say, to get happiness and the satisfaction of desire is not to aim at it. Happiness is not usually achieved as an intended goal, but rather, it is a bi-product of a life well lived and of doing what is right. If people always act in order to gain happiness, then it will remain forever elusive. Thus, psychological egoism contains a paradox when viewed as a model of human intention and action.

Finally, as a model of human action, psychological egoism rules out the possibility of libertarian freedom of the will. Briefly put, it should be noted that if libertarian freedom of the will is the correct view of human action, then the following implications follow: 1) no amount of internal states (e.g. desires, beliefs, emotions) are sufficient to produce behavior, and 2) the agent himself must spontaneously exercise his causal powers and act for the sake of reasons which function as teleological goals. For libertarians, a free act is never determined by any particular reason, including desire. Thus, on this view, psychological egoism is false if taken as a total account of human action because it implies that a person must always act for a self-interested reason. Libertarian freedom is controversial and not everyone accepts this model of human action. But the point is that for those who do, it counts as a counter-argument to psychological egoism.

A second argument for ethical egoism is called the closet utilitarian position. Some point out that if everyone acted in keeping with ethical egoism, the result would be the maximization of happiness for the greatest number of people. If acted upon, ethical egoism, as a matter of fact, leads to the betterment of humanity. There are two main problems with this argument. First, it amounts to a utilitarian justification of ethical egoism. Utilitarianism is a normative ethical theory to the effect that a moral action or rule is correct if and only if performing that act or following that rule maximizes the greatest amount of non-moral good vs. bad for the greatest number compared to alternative acts or rules open to the agent. While both are consequentialist in orientation, nevertheless, utilitarianism and ethical egoism are rival normative theories. It is inconsistent, therefore, for someone to use a rival theory, in this case, utilitarianism, as the moral justification for ethical egoism. If one is an ethical egoist, why should he or she care about the greatest good for the greatest number for its own sake, and not merely because such caring would itself lead to greater satisfaction of ones individual desires? Second, the claim seems to be factually false. Is it really the case that if everyone acted according to ethical egoism, it would maximize everyones happiness? Surely not. Sometimes self-sacrifice is needed to maximize happiness for the greatest number, and this argument for ethical egoism cannot allow for personal denial.

There are other arguments for ethical egoism, but these two have been the most central for those who advocate this normative theory. As we have seen, both arguments fail. By contrast, the main arguments against ethical egoism seem to be strong enough to justify rejecting the system as an adequate normative theory.

Among the arguments against ethical egoism, three are most prominent. First, is the publicity objection. Moral principles must serve as action guides that inform moral situations. Most moral situations involve more than one person and, in this sense, are public situations. Thus, moral action guides must be teachable to others so they can be publically used principles that help us in our interpersonal moral interactions. However, according to ethical egoism itself, there is a possible world where it is immoral for me to teach others to embrace ethical egoism because that could easily turn out not to be in my own self-interest. It may be better for me if others always acted altruistically. Thus, it could be immoral for one to go public and teach ethical egoism to others and, if so, this would violate one of the necessary conditions for a moral theory, namely, that it be teachable to others.

Philosopher Fred Feldman has offered a rejoinder to this argument.8 He claims that we have no good reason to believe that a moral doctrine needs to be consistently promulgatable. Why, he asks, should we have to be able to teach a moral doctrine to others? Someone could consistently hold to the following moral notion P as a part of his overall moral system: it is never right to promulgate anything. Unfortunately, this response fails because it does not capture the public nature of moral principles (or normative ethical theories) in so far as they serve as action guides to adjudicate interpersonal moral conflict. How could the principle it is never right to promulgate anything serve as an action guide sufficient to deal with the various aspects of duty, virtue, and rights that constitute much of the point of action guides in the first place?

Moreover, this response fails to take into account the universalizability of moral rules. If I should never promulgate anything, then this implies that I should not teach something to someone else. But there does not seem to be a clear moral difference in this case between others and myself. To be consistent, then, I should not proclaim this moral principle to myself. Perhaps I should try to hide from myself the fact that I accept this role. This implies, among other things, that if I hold to P as a moral principle that should be universalized, then, applying P to myself, I would no longer have moral grounds for continuing to embrace P on the basis of reasons known to me or for making P known to myself. I should do my best to forget P or talk myself out of believing P. On the other hand, if I do not think P should be universalized, then in what sense is P a moral principle (since universalizability is most likely a necessary condition for a principle counting as moral)?

A second argument against ethical egoism is called the paradox of egoism. Some things, e.g. altruism, deep love, genuine friendship, are inconsistent with ethical egoism. Why? Because these features of a virtuous, moral life require us not to seek our own interests but, rather, those of others. Moreover, ethical egoism would seem to imply that helping others at ones own expense (and other acts of self sacrifice) is wrong if it is not in my long term self-interest to do so. Thus, egoism would seem to rule out important, central features of the moral life. The main point of a normative moral theory is to explain and not to eliminate what we already know to be central facets of morality prior to ethical theorizing. Furthermore, in order to reach the goal of egoism (e.g., personal happiness), one must give up egoism and be altruistic in love, friendship, and other ways. Thus, egoism is paradoxical in its own right and it eliminates key aspects of the moral life.

Some respond by claiming that altruism is fully consistent with ethical egoism. Hospers argues that, according to ethical egoism, we ought to do acts that benefit others because that is in our own self-interests.9 In a similar vein, Fred Feldman asserts that egoism allows us to perform altruistic actions provided that such actions are ultimately in our own self-interests.10 But this response fails to distinguish pseudo-altruism from genuine altruism.

Genuine altruism requires that an altruistic act have, as its sole, or at least main intent, the benefit of the other. An act whose sole or ultimate intent is self-interest but which, nevertheless, does result in the benefit of others is not genuine altruism. If you found out that someone loved you or acted altruistically toward you solely or ultimately with the intent of benefiting himself, then you would not count that as genuine love or altruism even if the act happened to benefit you in some way. Thus, egoistic altruism is a contradiction in terms. Ethical egoism is consistent with pseudo-altruism but not with genuine altruism.

Finally, a third objection claims that ethical egoism leads to inconsistent outcomes. A moral theory must allow for moral rules that are public and universalizable. But ethical egoism could lead to situations where this is not the case. How? Consider two persons A and B in a situation where they have a conflict of interest. For example, suppose there was only one kidney available for transplant, that A and B both need it, and that A or B will die without the transplant. According to universal ethical egoism, A ought to act in his own self-interests and prescribe that his desires come out on top. A had a duty to secure the kidney and thwart Bs attempts to do the same. This would seem to imply that A should prescribe that B has a duty to act in As self-interest. Of course B, according to universal ethical egoism, has from his perspective a duty to act in his own self-interest. But now a contradiction arises because ethical egoism implies that B both has a duty to give the kidney to A and obtain it himself.

Jesse Kalin has responded to this argument by claiming that, as an ethical egoist, A should not hold that B should act in As self-interest, but in Bs own self- interest.11 This would seem to solve the problem of contradictory duty above by rejecting individual ethical egoism (everyone should act in my self-interest) in favor of the universal version (everyone should act in his own self-interest). But this way of stating ethical egoism does not seem to capture the egoistic spirit of the ethical egoism because it leaves open the question as to why egoist A would need to hold that B should act in Bs interests and not in As. In other words, it may not be in As own self-interests to hold to universal, as opposed to individual ethical egoism.

Moreover, there is still a problem for this formulation of ethical egoism which can be brought out as follows: A holds that B has a duty to obtain the kidney for himself, have his interests come out on top, and, thus, harm A. But in this case, ethical egoism still seems to imply an inconsistent posture on As (and Bs) part, namely, that A thinks that B has a duty to get the kidney and harm A but that A has a duty to thwart B. Any moral theory that implies that someone has a moral duty to keep others from doing their moral duty is surely in trouble, so the objection goes. And it is hard to see how an ethical egoist A could claim that someone else had a duty to harm A himself.

Not everyone accepts this argument. Following Kalin, Louis Pojman claims that we often find it to be the case that we have a duty to thwart what is the duty of others, e.g., in a war one soldier has a duty to thwart anothers efforts to do his duty to win. In a case like this, soldiers on different sides do not believe that the other side has adequate moral grounds for being at war.12 If we separate beliefs about ethical situations from desires, so the response goes, then one person can believe the other had a duty to win the war or get the kidney, but the person can also desire to these objectives for himself and act on those desires. In general, the belief that B ought to do x does not imply that A wants B to do x.

What should we make of this response? First, the soldier example fails because it does not distinguish between subjective and objective duty. Subjective duty is one someone has when he has done his best to discover what is and is not the right thing to do. If someone sincerely and conscientiously tries to ascertain what is right, and acts on this, then he has fulfilled his subjective duty and, in a sense, is praiseworthy. But people can be sincerely wrong and fail to live up to their objective duty-the truly correct thing to do from Gods perspective, the overriding moral obligation when all things, including prima facie duties, have been taken into account-even if they have tried to do their best. Admittedly, it is not always easy to determine what the correct objective duty is in a given case. But this is merely an epistemological point and, while valid, it does not negate the legitimacy of the distinction between subjective and objective duty.

Applied to the question at hand, soldier A could only claim that soldier B has both a prima facie duty and a subjective duty to obey his country. But A could also believe that B has an objective duty to do so only if Bs country is, in fact, conducting a morally justified war. Now either A or B is on the right side of the war even though it may be hard to tell which side is correct. Thus, A and B could believe that only one of them actually has an objective duty to fight and thwart the other. So the war example does not give a genuine case where A believes B has a (objective) duty to fight and that he has to thwart B.

Second, what should we make of the claim that we should separate our beliefs about anothers duty from the desire to see that duty done? For one thing, a main point of a moral theory is to describe what a virtuous person is and how we can become such persons. Now, one aspect of a virtuous person is that there is a harmony and unity between desire and duty. A virtuous person desires that the objective moral right be done. Such a person is committed to the good and the right. With this in mind, it becomes clear that ethical egoism, if consistently practiced, could produce fragmented, non-virtuous individuals who believe one thing about duty (e.g., A believes B ought to do x) but who desire something else altogether (e.g., A does not desire B to do x).

However, if we grant that the ethical egoists distinction between beliefs and desires is legitimate from a moral point of view, then this distinction does resolve the claim that ethical egoism leads to a conflict of desire, e.g., A desires the kidney and that B obtain the kidney, since it implies that A believes that B has a duty to receive the kidney but only desires that he himself have it. Nevertheless, this misses the real point of the objection to ethical egoism, namely, that ethical egoism straightforwardly leads to a conflict of desire. Rather, the objection shows that ethical egoism leads to an unresolvable conflict of moral beliefs and moral duty. If A and B are ethical egoists, then A believes that it is wrong for B to have the kidney but also that it is Bs duty to try to obtain it. But how can A consistently believe that B has a duty to do something wrong? And how can A have an objective duty to thwart Bs objective duty?

It would seem, then, that ethical egoism should be rejected as a normative ethical theory and that legitimate self-interest is part of Biblical teaching, e.g. in the passages relating moral obligation to rewards and punishments. If we should not understand these texts as implicitly affirming ethical egoism, how should we understand the self-interest they apparently advocate? I do not think that exegesis alone can solve this problem because the context and grammar of the passages are usually not precise enough to settle the philosophical issue before us. However, if we assume with the majority of thinkers that deontological and virtue ethics, and not ethical egoism, are the correct normative theories implied by Scripture, then we have a set of distinctions that provide a number of legitimate ways of understanding biblical self-interest.

To begin with, we need to distinguish between self-benefit as a bi-product of an act vs. self-interest as the sole intent of an act. Scriptural passages that use self-interest may simply be pointing out that if you intentionally do the right thing, then a good bi-product of this will be rewards of various kinds. It could be argued against philosopher Philip R. West (mentioned earlier) that these passages do not clearly use self-interest as the sole legitimate intent of a moral action.

This observation relates to a second distinction between a motive and a reason. Put roughly, a motive is some state within a person that influences and moves him to action. By contrast, a reason is something that serves to justify rationally some belief that one has or some action one does; a reason for believing or doing x is an attempt to cite something that makes it likely that x be true or that x should be done. In this context, just because something, say self-interest, serves as a motive for an action, it does not follow that it also serves as the reason which justifies the action in the first place. Self-interest may be a legitimate motive for moral action, but, it could be argued, Gods commands, the objective moral law, etc. could be rationally cited as the things that make an act our duty in the first place. The Bible may be citing selfinterest as a motive for action and not as the reason for what makes the act our duty.

Moreover, even if Scripture is teaching that self-interest is a reason for doing some duty, it may be offering self-interest as a prudential and not a moral reason for doing the duty. In other words, the Bible may be saying that it is wise, reasonable, and a matter of good judgment to avoid hell and seek rewards without claiming that these considerations are moral reasons for acting according to self-interest.13 In sum, it could be argued that Scripture can be understood as advocating self-interest as a bi-product and not an intent for action, as a motive and not a reason, or as a prudential and not a moral reason. If this is so, then these scriptural ideas do not entail ethical egoism.

Second, even if scripture teaches that self-interest contributes to making something my moral duty, ethical egoism still does not follow. For one thing, ethical egoism teaches that an act is moral if and only if it maximizes my own self-interests. Ethical egoism teaches that self-interest is both necessary and sufficient for something to be my duty. However, it could be argued that egoistic factors, while not alone morally relevant to an act (other things like self-sacrifice or obeying God for its own sake are relevant as well), nevertheless, are at least one feature often important for assessing the moral worth of an act. Moral duty is not exhausted by self-interest as ethical egoism implies, but self-interest can be a legitimate factor in moral deliberation and scripture may be expressing this point.

Additionally, it is likely that the precise nature of self-interest contained in scripture is different in two ways from that which forms part of ethical egoism. For one thing, according to ethical egoism, the thing that makes an act right is that it is in my self-interest. The important value-making property here is the fact that something promotes the first person interests of the actor. Here, the moral agent attends to himself precisely as being identical to himself and to no one else.

By contrast, the scriptural emphasis on self-interest most likely grounds the appropriateness of such interest, not in the mere fact that these interests are mine, but in the fact that I am a creature of intrinsic value made in Gods image and, as such, ought to care about what happens to me. Here I seek my own welfare not because it is my own, but because of what I am, viz. a creature with high intrinsic value. Consider a possible world where human persons have no value whatever (or where human counter-parts with no intrinsic value exist). In that world, ethical egoism would still legislate self-interest, but the second view under consideration (that self-interest follows from the fact that I am a creature of value) would not because the necessary condition for self-interest (being a creature of intrinsic value) does not obtain in that world.

There is a second way that the nature of self-interest in Scripture and in ethical egoism differ. As C. S. Lewis and C. Stephen Evans have argued, there are different kinds of rewards, and some are proper because they have a natural, intrinsic connection with the things we do to earn them and because they are expressions of what God made us to be by nature. 14 In such cases, these rewards provide a reason to do an activity which does not despoil the character of the activity itself. Money is not a natural reward for love (one is mercenary to marry for money) because money is foreign to the desires that ought to accompany love. By contrast, victory is a natural reward for battle. It is a proper reward because it is not tacked onto the activity for which the reward is given, but rather victory is the consummation of and intrinsically related to the activity itself.

According to Lewis, the desire for heaven and rewards is a natural desire expressing what we, by nature, are. We were made to desire honor before God, to be in his presence, and to hunger to enjoy the rewards he will offer us and these things are the natural consummations of our activity on earth. Thus, the appropriateness of seeking heaven and rewards derives from the fact that these results are genuine expressions of our natures and are the natural consummation of our activities for God. By contrast, according to ethical egoism, the value of results has nothing to do with our natures or with natural consummations of activities. Rather, the worth of those outcomes is solely a function of the fact that they benefit the agent himself.

In sum, self-interest is part of biblical teaching, especially in association with rewards and punishments. But ethical egoism neither captures adequately the nature of biblical self-interest nor is it the best normative ethical theory in its own right. As Christians, we should include self-interest as an important part of our moral and religious lives but without advocating ethical egoism in the process.

With degrees in philosophy, theology and chemisty, Dr. Moreland brings erudition, passion, and his distinctive ebullience to the end of loving God with all of one’s mind. Moreland received his B.S. in Chemistry (with honors) from the University of Missouri, his M.A. in Philosophy (with highest honors) from the University of California, Riverside, his Th.M. in Theology (with honors) from Dallas Theological Seminary and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California. Dr. Moreland has taught theology and philosophy at several schools throughout the U.S. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology.

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CNN town hall gives Libertarian Party an unprecedented shot …

 Libertarian  Comments Off on CNN town hall gives Libertarian Party an unprecedented shot …
Jun 242016
 

ALibertarian Party debate in Las Vegas last month featured Penn Jillette you know, the talking half of Penn & Teller as the moderator. Other questioners included Carrot Top, Drew Carey, Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall.

The discourse was more substantive than one might have expected no thanks toCarrot Top, who just wanted to know what slogans the candidates might put on Donald Trump-style trucker hats but for a party that wants to be taken seriously in presidential politics, the entertainer-laden event probably didn’t advance the cause.

This is why Wednesday’s Libertarian town hall live in prime time on CNN is a big deal. It marks the first time Libertarian candidates will participate in a live presidential forum on one of the three major cable news channels. Chris Cuomo, who has moderated town hall events with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders this election, will run the show, posing questions to Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, while also fielding inquiries from the audience.

Notably, CNN is billing the questions as being “similar to those posed to the Democratic and Republican candidates during the primaries.” In other words, CNN is taking Johnson and Weld seriously for an evening, at least.

The two former governors (Johnson of New Mexico and Weld of Massachusetts) have enjoyed a spike in coverage lately. With the presumptive major-party nominees registering historically bad favorability ratings, the Libertarian ticket which Johnson also led in 2012 is getting more attention than usual. In polls that include him, Johnson’s support averages 8.5 percent, according to RealClearPolitics.

[The Libertarian Party: So hot right now]

But much of the coverage has centered not on what Johnson stands for but what effect he might have on Trump and Clinton. Which of the two real contenders is more likely to lose voters to this third-party interloper? Could he somehow prevent either one from winning a majority in the Electoral College by picking off a state or more (Utah anybody)?

Those are worthwhile considerations, but CNN’s town hall figures to give the Libertarian nominee an opportunity on a big stage to talk about more than playing spoiler.

“It’s sort of a perfect setup for Johnson and Weld to go more in-depth,” said Mitchell McKinney, who chairs the communication department at the University of Missouri. “What else do they believe? This will give them a chance to flesh that out.”

McKinney has studied presidential debates that include third-party candidates a small sample that includes, most recently, three from 1992, when independent Ross Perot joined Republican President George H.W. Bush and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton. McKinney found that outsiders like Perot are often ignored for long stretches and, when questioned, asked not about their policies but about their credibility as candidates.

A town hall format, with no opponents on the stage, should mitigate the dismissiveness, McKinney said. He added that a good showing by Johnson could help him qualify for general election debates in the fall. Johnson would have to get his poll numbers up to 15 percent.

Larry Diamond, faculty director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University, is a leading advocate for lowering the threshold to 10 percent. He believes the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sets the rules, is “clearly biased against the entry of a third option.” (Commission co-chair Michael McCurry told the “Open Mind” public television program in January that a third candidate “would be welcome in these debates.”) Whatever the case, Diamond thinks CNN’s decision to host a Libertarian town hall is a “modest but noteworthy development.”

“Maybe more significant is that the Libertarian ticket is starting to get more media attention generally,” he said.

A CNN spokeswoman did not respond to questions about why the cable channel decided to sponsor the event.

The closest Libertarian candidates have come to the level of exposure they stand to receive Wednesday was a primary debate that aired on tape delay in two parts, a week a part on Fox Business Network in April. Libertarian journalist John Stossel moderated.

“It was John Stossel who first raised the issue about the lack of national media attention the Libertarian Party was receiving,” said Bill Shine, senior executive vice president of programming at Fox Business. “And with the growing number of disenfranchised voters, we thought it was important to help viewers vet the candidates before the party tickets were declared. We’re flattered that CNN decided to follow our lead months after the fact.”

The question for Johnson and Weld is whether others in the media will follow suit. The CNN town hall could signal a new, more legitimate status for the Libertarian candidates in the eyes of the press. Or it could be a novelty event created to fill a slow Wednesday evening between the end of the primaries and the start of the major-party conventions. We’ll see.

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Our MPs | Liberal Party of Canada

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Jun 242016
 

Justin Trudeau is the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Justin was first elected to Parliament in the Montreal riding of Papineau in 2008, defying political insiders who believed that a federalist candidate would have little chance against an incumbent member of the Bloc Qubcois. For Justin, the people of Papineau 50 percent of whom speak neither French nor English as their mother tongue exemplify Canadas rich diversity, evolving identity, and the struggle for equality of opportunity. He has served the hard working middle class families and small businesses of his constituency, who, in recent years, have faced economic challenges. He has worked alongside local community organisations by bringing together different cultures and religions, and establishing local initiatives on social issues, the environment, and the arts.

As a Member of Parliament, Justin has had many responsibilities including the Liberal Party Critic for Youth, Post-Secondary Education, Amateur Sports, Multiculturalism, and Citizenship and Immigration. Furthermore, he previously sat on the Parliamentary Committees on Environment and Sustainable Development and Citizenship and Immigration.

As a Parliamentarian, and prior to that, Justin travelled the country and met with Canadians in every region, consistently speaking about shared values, the importance of youth empowerment, protecting our wilderness, and living up to our place in the world. Some of Justins proudest accomplishments include his advocacy for victims of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, his activism to protect the Nahanni river in the Northwest Territories in 2005 and holding the post of chair of Katimavik, Canadas national youth service program, from 2002 to 2006.

At the heart of Justins professional achievements whether as a math and French teacher in British Columbia, or his leadership role in Katimavik, or even his strong defense of Quebec as a Member of Parliament is a deep respect for Canadians from coast to coast to coast and his desire to serve them.

On April 14, 2013, Justin was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada in the most open and accessible leadership election in Canadian history, in which tens of thousands of Canadians participated.

Justin has a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University, and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of British Columbia. He was born on December 25, 1971, the eldest son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Margaret Sinclair Trudeau Kemper. Justin is married to Sophie Grgoire. The couple welcomed their first child, Xavier James Trudeau on October 18, 2007 and added to their family with the arrival of Ella-Grace Trudeau on February 5, 2009, and Hadrien Trudeau on February 28, 2014.

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Golden Rule Plumbing Heating & Cooling

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Jun 212016
 

Plumbing Services

Whether your drainpipes have become clogged, or your water heater is leaking water, make sure that you have a reliable Des Moines plumber at your beck and call. We offer comprehensive plumbing repair, installation, replacement, and maintenance services that can keep your home free of water damage and bountifully supplied with hot and cold water. We want you to have a reliable plumbing system, and we have the quality workmanship and technical expertise to make sure that this is the case. Thousands of customers in Des Moines choose Golden Rule for their plumbing needs, and wed love an opportunity to earn your business.

Staying warm during the winter is as simple as having a reliable heater in the home. At Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we provide comprehensive heating service in the Des Moines area, including installation, replacement, repair, and maintenance. We service all brands of equipment, and we can make sure that your furnace, boiler, heat pump, radiant heat, hybrid heating system, geothermal, or ductless mini split is professionally installed and serviced.

At Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we also offer excellent air conditioning service in Des Moines, IA. Our service technicians can help with everything frominstallation and replacement to repair and maintenance. We not only install and service central air conditioners, which are probably the most common, but also heat pumps, ductless mini splits and geothermal systems. Having a great cooling system is essential to the comfort of your home in the summer.

One of our specialties is geothermal. This type of heating and cooling system delivers yearround comfort to your home while cutting down on energy consumption significantly. It is a great way not only to be more selfsufficient, but also to reduce your energy bill and to utilize a renewable resource. It involves the installation of underground piping as well as conventional HVAC components such as the heat pump and ductwork. You can depend on us for professional geothermal service throughout Des Moines.

A leak or clog at home is often a minor inconvenience. But when it occurs at your place of business or at the commercial property that you manage, it directly affects your livelihood. We can take care of your commercial plumbing and commercial HVAC services in Des Moines, IA, whether its the installation of a comprehensive new rooftop heating and cooling unit or the replacement of your existing water heater with a new tankless model, Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling can help. Call us today.

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Trance | Define Trance at Dictionary.com

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Jun 212016
 

Contemporary Examples

We have some trance sounds in there in an actual trance sense, says Berkman.

The new president glided onto the stage as if in a trance, not inhabiting his own body.

Everyone seems to be in a state of trance, absorbing the music, and vibrating with energy.

The protagonist in Paris trance talks about creating a museum to all the different varieties of boredom.

This trance was held for approximately one hour and forty minutes of interrogation with a subsequent total amnesia produced.

British Dictionary definitions for trance Expand

a hypnotic state resembling sleep

any mental state in which a person is unaware or apparently unaware of the environment, characterized by loss of voluntary movement, rigidity, and lack of sensitivity to external stimuli

a dazed or stunned state

a state of ecstasy or mystic absorption so intense as to cause a temporary loss of consciousness at the earthly level

(spiritualism) a state in which a medium, having temporarily lost consciousness, can supposedly be controlled by an intelligence from without as a means of communication with the dead

a type of electronic dance music with repetitive rhythms, aiming at a hypnotic effect

(transitive) to put into or as into a trance

Word Origin

C14: from Old French transe, from transir to faint, pass away, from Latin trnsre to go over, from trans- + re to go

Word Origin and History for trance Expand

late 14c., “state of extreme dread or suspense,” also “a dazed, half-conscious or insensible condition,” from Old French transe “fear of coming evil,” originally “passage from life to death” (12c.), from transir “be numb with fear,” originally “die, pass on,” from Latin transire “cross over” (see transient). French trance in its modern sense has been reborrowed from English.

trance in Medicine Expand

trance (trns) n. An altered state of consciousness as in hypnosis, catalepsy, or ecstasy.

trance in the Bible Expand

(Gr. ekstasis, from which the word “ecstasy” is derived) denotes the state of one who is “out of himself.” Such were the trances of Peter and Paul, Acts 10:10; 11:5; 22:17, ecstasies, “a preternatural, absorbed state of mind preparing for the reception of the vision”, (comp. 2 Cor. 12:1-4). In Mark 5:42 and Luke 5:26 the Greek word is rendered “astonishment,” “amazement” (comp. Mark 16:8; Acts 3:10).

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Three Laws of Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jun 212016
 

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or Three Laws, also known as Asimov’s Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround”, although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws, quoted as being from the “Handbook of Robotics, 56th Edition, 2058 A.D.”, are:

These form an organizing principle and unifying theme for Asimov’s robotic-based fiction, appearing in his Robot series, the stories linked to it, and his Lucky Starr series of young-adult fiction. The Laws are incorporated into almost all of the positronic robots appearing in his fiction, and cannot be bypassed, being intended as a safety feature. Many of Asimov’s robot-focused stories involve robots behaving in unusual and counter-intuitive ways as an unintended consequence of how the robot applies the Three Laws to the situation in which it finds itself. Other authors working in Asimov’s fictional universe have adopted them and references, often parodic, appear throughout science fiction as well as in other genres.

The original laws have been altered and elaborated on by Asimov and other authors. Asimov himself made slight modifications to the first three in various books and short stories to further develop how robots would interact with humans and each other. In later fiction where robots had taken responsibility for government of whole planets and human civilizations, Asimov also added a fourth, or zeroth law, to precede the others:

The Three Laws, and the zeroth, have pervaded science fiction and are referred to in many books, films, and other media.

In The Rest of the Robots, published in 1964, Asimov noted that when he began writing in 1940 he felt that “one of the stock plots of science fiction was… robots were created and destroyed their creator. Knowledge has its dangers, yes, but is the response to be a retreat from knowledge? Or is knowledge to be used as itself a barrier to the dangers it brings?” He decided that in his stories robots would not “turn stupidly on his creator for no purpose but to demonstrate, for one more weary time, the crime and punishment of Faust.”[2]

On May 3, 1939 Asimov attended a meeting of the Queens Science Fiction Society where he met Ernest and Otto Binder who had recently published a short story “I, Robot” featuring a sympathetic robot named Adam Link who was misunderstood and motivated by love and honor. (This was the first of a series of ten stories; the next year “Adam Link’s Vengeance” (1940) featured Adam thinking “A robot must never kill a human, of his own free will.”)[3] Asimov admired the story. Three days later Asimov began writing “my own story of a sympathetic and noble robot”, his 14th story.[4] Thirteen days later he took “Robbie” to John W. Campbell the editor of Astounding Science-Fiction. Campbell rejected it claiming that it bore too strong a resemblance to Lester del Rey’s “Helen O’Loy”, published in December 1938; the story of a robot that is so much like a person that she falls in love with her creator and becomes his ideal wife.[5]Frederik Pohl published “Robbie” in Astonishing Stories magazine the following year.[6]

Asimov attributes the Three Laws to John W. Campbell, from a conversation that took place on 23 December 1940. Campbell claimed that Asimov had the Three Laws already in his mind and that they simply needed to be stated explicitly. Several years later Asimov’s friend Randall Garrett attributed the Laws to a symbiotic partnership between the two men a suggestion that Asimov adopted enthusiastically.[7] According to his autobiographical writings Asimov included the First Law’s “inaction” clause because of Arthur Hugh Clough’s poem “The Latest Decalogue”, which includes the satirical lines “Thou shalt not kill, but needst not strive / officiously to keep alive”.[8]

Although Asimov pins the creation of the Three Laws on one particular date, their appearance in his literature happened over a period. He wrote two robot stories with no explicit mention of the Laws, “Robbie” and “Reason”. He assumed, however, that robots would have certain inherent safeguards. “Liar!”, his third robot story, makes the first mention of the First Law but not the other two. All three laws finally appeared together in “Runaround”. When these stories and several others were compiled in the anthology I, Robot, “Reason” and “Robbie” were updated to acknowledge all the Three Laws, though the material Asimov added to “Reason” is not entirely consistent with the Three Laws as he described them elsewhere.[9] In particular the idea of a robot protecting human lives when it does not believe those humans truly exist is at odds with Elijah Baley’s reasoning, as described below.

During the 1950s Asimov wrote a series of science fiction novels expressly intended for young-adult audiences. Originally his publisher expected that the novels could be adapted into a long-running television series, something like The Lone Ranger had been for radio. Fearing that his stories would be adapted into the “uniformly awful” programming he saw flooding the television channels[10] Asimov decided to publish the Lucky Starr books under the pseudonym “Paul French”. When plans for the television series fell through, Asimov decided to abandon the pretence; he brought the Three Laws into Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter, noting that this “was a dead giveaway to Paul French’s identity for even the most casual reader”.[11]

In his short story “Evidence” Asimov lets his recurring character Dr. Susan Calvin expound a moral basis behind the Three Laws. Calvin points out that human beings are typically expected to refrain from harming other human beings (except in times of extreme duress like war, or to save a greater number) and this is equivalent to a robot’s First Law. Likewise, according to Calvin, society expects individuals to obey instructions from recognized authorities such as doctors, teachers and so forth which equals the Second Law of Robotics. Finally humans are typically expected to avoid harming themselves which is the Third Law for a robot.

The plot of “Evidence” revolves around the question of telling a human being apart from a robot constructed to appear human Calvin reasons that if such an individual obeys the Three Laws he may be a robot or simply “a very good man”. Another character then asks Calvin if robots are very different from human beings after all. She replies, “Worlds different. Robots are essentially decent.”

Asimov later wrote that he should not be praised for creating the Laws, because they are “obvious from the start, and everyone is aware of them subliminally. The Laws just never happened to be put into brief sentences until I managed to do the job. The Laws apply, as a matter of course, to every tool that human beings use”,[12] and “analogues of the Laws are implicit in the design of almost all tools, robotic or not”:[13]

Asimov believed that, ideally, humans would also follow the Laws:[12]

I have my answer ready whenever someone asks me if I think that my Three Laws of Robotics will actually be used to govern the behavior of robots, once they become versatile and flexible enough to be able to choose among different courses of behavior.

My answer is, “Yes, the Three Laws are the only way in which rational human beings can deal with robotsor with anything else.”

But when I say that, I always remember (sadly) that human beings are not always rational.

Asimov’s stories test his Three Laws in a wide variety of circumstances leading to proposals and rejection of modifications. Science fiction scholar James Gunn writes in 1982, “The Asimov robot stories as a whole may respond best to an analysis on this basis: the ambiguity in the Three Laws and the ways in which Asimov played twenty-nine variations upon a theme”.[14] While the original set of Laws provided inspirations for many stories, Asimov introduced modified versions from time to time.

In “Little Lost Robot” several NS-2, or “Nestor” robots, are created with only part of the First Law. It reads:

1. A robot may not harm a human being.

This modification is motivated by a practical difficulty as robots have to work alongside human beings who are exposed to low doses of radiation. Because their positronic brains are highly sensitive to gamma rays the robots are rendered inoperable by doses reasonably safe for humans. The robots are being destroyed attempting to rescue the humans who are in no actual danger but “might forget to leave” the irradiated area within the exposure time limit. Removing the First Law’s “inaction” clause solves this problem but creates the possibility of an even greater one: a robot could initiate an action that would harm a human (dropping a heavy weight and failing to catch it is the example given in the text), knowing that it was capable of preventing the harm and then decide not to do so.[1]

Gaia is a planet with collective intelligence in the Foundation which adopts a law similar to the First Law, and the Zeroth Law, as its philosophy:

Gaia may not harm life or allow life to come to harm.

Asimov once added a “Zeroth Law” so named to continue the pattern where lower-numbered laws supersede the higher-numbered laws stating that a robot must not harm humanity. The robotic character R. Daneel Olivaw was the first to give the Zeroth Law a name in the novel Robots and Empire[15] however the character Susan Calvin articulates the concept in the short story “The Evitable Conflict”.

In the final scenes of the novel Robots and Empire, R. Giskard Reventlov is the first robot to act according to the Zeroth Law. Giskard is telepathic, like the robot Herbie in the short story “Liar!”, and tries to apply the Zeroth Law through his understanding of a more subtle concept of “harm” than most robots can grasp.[16] However, unlike Herbie, Giskard grasps the philosophical concept of the Zeroth Law allowing him to harm individual human beings if he can do so in service to the abstract concept of humanity. The Zeroth Law is never programmed into Giskard’s brain but instead is a rule he attempts to comprehend through pure metacognition. Though he fails it ultimately destroys his positronic brain as he is not certain whether his choice will turn out to be for the ultimate good of humanity or not he gives his successor R. Daneel Olivaw his telepathic abilities. Over the course of many thousands of years Daneel adapts himself to be able to fully obey the Zeroth Law. As Daneel formulates it, in the novels Foundation and Earth and Prelude to Foundation, the Zeroth Law reads:

A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

A condition stating that the Zeroth Law must not be broken was added to the original Three Laws, although Asimov recognized the difficulty such a law would pose in practice.

Trevize frowned. “How do you decide what is injurious, or not injurious, to humanity as a whole?” “Precisely, sir,” said Daneel. “In theory, the Zeroth Law was the answer to our problems. In practice, we could never decide. A human being is a concrete object. Injury to a person can be estimated and judged. Humanity is an abstraction.”

Foundation and Earth

A translator incorporated the concept of the Zeroth Law into one of Asimov’s novels before Asimov himself made the law explicit.[17] Near the climax of The Caves of Steel, Elijah Baley makes a bitter comment to himself thinking that the First Law forbids a robot from harming a human being. He determines that it must be so unless the robot is clever enough to comprehend that its actions are for humankind’s long-term good. In Jacques Brcard’s 1956 French translation entitled Les Cavernes d’acier Baley’s thoughts emerge in a slightly different way:

“A robot may not harm a human being, unless he finds a way to prove that ultimately the harm done would benefit humanity in general!”[17]

Asimov portrayed robots that disregard the Three Laws entirely thrice during his writing career. The first case was a short-short story entitled “First Law” and is often considered an insignificant “tall tale”[18] or even apocryphal.[19] On the other hand, the short story “Cal” (from the collection Gold), and told by a first-person robot narrator, features a robot who disregards the Three Laws because he has found something far more importanthe wants to be a writer. Humorous, partly autobiographical and unusually experimental in style “Cal” has been regarded as one of Gold’s strongest stories.[20] The third is a short story entitled “Sally” in which cars fitted with positronic brains are apparently able to harm and kill humans in disregard of the First Law. However, aside from the positronic brain concept, this story does not refer to other robot stories and may not be set in the same continuity.

The title story of the Robot Dreams collection portrays LVX-1, or “Elvex”, a robot who enters a state of unconsciousness and dreams thanks to the unusual fractal construction of his positronic brain. In his dream the first two Laws are absent and the Third Law reads “A robot must protect its own existence”.[21]

Asimov took varying positions on whether the Laws were optional: although in his first writings they were simply carefully engineered safeguards, in later stories Asimov stated that they were an inalienable part of the mathematical foundation underlying the positronic brain. Without the basic theory of the Three Laws the fictional scientists of Asimov’s universe would be unable to design a workable brain unit. This is historically consistent: the occasions where roboticists modify the Laws generally occur early within the stories’ chronology and at a time when there is less existing work to be re-done. In “Little Lost Robot” Susan Calvin considers modifying the Laws to be a terrible idea, although possible,[22] while centuries later Dr. Gerrigel in The Caves of Steel believes it to be impossible.

The character Dr. Gerrigel uses the term “Asenion” to describe robots programmed with the Three Laws. The robots in Asimov’s stories, being Asenion robots, are incapable of knowingly violating the Three Laws but, in principle, a robot in science fiction or in the real world could be non-Asenion. “Asenion” is a misspelling of the name Asimov which was made by an editor of the magazine Planet Stories.[23] Asimov used this obscure variation to insert himself into The Caves of Steel just like he referred to himself as “Azimuth or, possibly, Asymptote” in Thiotimoline to the Stars, in much the same way that Vladimir Nabokov appeared in Lolita anagrammatically disguised as “Vivian Darkbloom”.

Characters within the stories often point out that the Three Laws, as they exist in a robot’s mind, are not the written versions usually quoted by humans but abstract mathematical concepts upon which a robot’s entire developing consciousness is based. This concept is largely fuzzy and unclear in earlier stories depicting very rudimentary robots who are only programmed to comprehend basic physical tasks, where the Three Laws act as an overarching safeguard, but by the era of The Caves of Steel featuring robots with human or beyond-human intelligence the Three Laws have become the underlying basic ethical worldview that determines the actions of all robots.

In the 1990s, Roger MacBride Allen wrote a trilogy which was set within Asimov’s fictional universe. Each title has the prefix “Isaac Asimov’s” as Asimov had approved Allen’s outline before his death.[citation needed] These three books, Caliban, Inferno and Utopia, introduce a new set of the Three Laws. The so-called New Laws are similar to Asimov’s originals with the following differences: the First Law is modified to remove the “inaction” clause, the same modification made in “Little Lost Robot”; the Second Law is modified to require cooperation instead of obedience; the Third Law is modified so it is no longer superseded by the Second (i.e., a “New Law” robot cannot be ordered to destroy itself); finally, Allen adds a Fourth Law which instructs the robot to do “whatever it likes” so long as this does not conflict with the first three laws. The philosophy behind these changes is that “New Law” robots should be partners rather than slaves to humanity, according to Fredda Leving, who designed these New Law Robots. According to the first book’s introduction, Allen devised the New Laws in discussion with Asimov himself. However, the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction says that “With permission from Asimov, Allen rethought the Three Laws and developed a new set,”.[24]

Jack Williamson’s novelette With Folded Hands (1947), later rewritten as the novel The Humanoids, deals with robot servants whose prime directive is “To Serve and Obey, And Guard Men From Harm.” While Asimov’s robotic laws are meant to protect humans from harm, the robots in Williamson’s story have taken these instructions to the extreme; they protect humans from everything, including unhappiness, stress, unhealthy lifestyle and all actions that could be potentially dangerous. All that is left for humans to do is to sit with folded hands.[25]

In the officially licensed Foundation sequels Foundation’s Fear, Foundation and Chaos and Foundation’s Triumph (by Gregory Benford, Greg Bear and David Brin respectively) the future Galactic Empire is seen to be controlled by a conspiracy of humaniform robots who follow the Zeroth Law and led by R. Daneel Olivaw.

The Laws of Robotics are portrayed as something akin to a human religion, and referred to in the language of the Protestant Reformation, with the set of laws containing the Zeroth Law known as the “Giskardian Reformation” to the original “Calvinian Orthodoxy” of the Three Laws. Zeroth-Law robots under the control of R. Daneel Olivaw are seen continually struggling with “First Law” robots who deny the existence of the Zeroth Law, promoting agendas different from Daneel’s.[26] Some of these agendas are based on the first clause of the First Law (“A robot may not injure a human being…”) advocating strict non-interference in human politics to avoid unwittingly causing harm. Others are based on the second clause (“…or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”) claiming that robots should openly become a dictatorial government to protect humans from all potential conflict or disaster.

Daneel also comes into conflict with a robot known as R. Lodovic Trema whose positronic brain was infected by a rogue AI specifically, a simulation of the long-dead Voltaire which consequently frees Trema from the Three Laws. Trema comes to believe that humanity should be free to choose its own future. Furthermore, a small group of robots claims that the Zeroth Law of Robotics itself implies a higher Minus One Law of Robotics:

A robot may not harm sentience or, through inaction, allow sentience to come to harm.

They therefore claim that it is morally indefensible for Daneel to ruthlessly sacrifice robots and extraterrestrial sentient life for the benefit of humanity. None of these reinterpretations successfully displace Daneel’s Zeroth Law though Foundation’s Triumph hints that these robotic factions remain active as fringe groups up to the time of the novel Foundation.[26]

These novels take place in a future dictated by Asimov to be free of obvious robot presence and surmise that R. Daneel’s secret influence on history through the millennia has prevented both the rediscovery of positronic brain technology and the opportunity to work on sophisticated intelligent machines. This lack of rediscovery and lack of opportunity makes certain that the superior physical and intellectual power wielded by intelligent machines remains squarely in the possession of robots obedient to some form of the Three Laws.[26] That R. Daneel is not entirely successful at this becomes clear in a brief period when scientists on Trantor develop “tiktoks” simplistic programmable machines akin to reallife modern robots and therefore lacking the Three Laws. The robot conspirators see the Trantorian tiktoks as a massive threat to social stability, and their plan to eliminate the tiktok threat forms much of the plot of Foundation’s Fear.

In Foundation’s Triumph different robot factions interpret the Laws in a wide variety of ways, seemingly ringing every possible permutation upon the Three Laws’ ambiguities.

Set between The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire, Mark W. Tiedemann’s Robot Mystery trilogy updates the RobotFoundation saga with robotic minds housed in computer mainframes rather than humanoid bodies.[clarification needed] The 2002 Aurora novel has robotic characters debating the moral implications of harming cyborg lifeforms who are part artificial and part biological.[27]

One should not neglect Asimov’s own creations in these areas such as the Solarian “viewing” technology and the machines of The Evitable Conflict originals that Tiedemann acknowledges. Aurora, for example, terms the Machines “the first RIs, really”. In addition the Robot Mystery series addresses the problem of nanotechnology:[28] building a positronic brain capable of reproducing human cognitive processes requires a high degree of miniaturization, yet Asimov’s stories largely overlook the effects this miniaturization would have in other fields of technology. For example, the police department card-readers in The Caves of Steel have a capacity of only a few kilobytes per square centimeter of storage medium. Aurora, in particular, presents a sequence of historical developments which explains the lack of nanotechnology a partial retcon, in a sense, of Asimov’s timeline.

There are three Fourth Laws written by authors other than Asimov. The 1974 Lyuben Dilov novel, Icarus’s Way (a.k.a., The Trip of Icarus) introduced a Fourth Law of robotics:

A robot must establish its identity as a robot in all cases.

Dilov gives reasons for the fourth safeguard in this way: “The last Law has put an end to the expensive aberrations of designers to give psychorobots as humanlike a form as possible. And to the resulting misunderstandings…”[29]

A fifth law was introduced by Nikola Kesarovski in his short story “The Fifth Law of Robotics”. This fifth law says:

A robot must know it is a robot.

The plot revolves around a murder where the forensic investigation discovers that the victim was killed by a hug from a humaniform robot. The robot violated both the First Law and Dilov’s Fourth Law (assumed in Kesarovksi’s universe to be the valid one) because it did not establish for itself that it was a robot.[30] The story was reviewed by Valentin D. Ivanov in SFF review webzine The Portal.[31]

For the 1986 tribute anthology, Foundation’s Friends, Harry Harrison wrote a story entitled, “The Fourth Law of Robotics”. This Fourth Law states:

A robot must reproduce. As long as such reproduction does not interfere with the First or Second or Third Law.

In the book a robot rights activist, in an attempt to liberate robots, builds several equipped with this Fourth Law. The robots accomplish the task laid out in this version of the Fourth Law by building new robots who view their creator robots as parental figures.[32]

In reaction to the 2004 Will Smith film adaptation of I, Robot, humorist and graphic designer Mark Sottilaro farcically declared the Fourth Law of Robotics to be “When turning evil, display a red indicator light.” The red light indicated the wireless uplink to the manufacturer is active, first seen during a software update and later on “Evil” robots taken over by the manufacturer’s positronic superbrain.

In 2013 Hutan Ashrafian, proposed an additional law that for the first time considered the role of artificial intelligence-on-artificial intelligence or the relationship between robots themselves the so-called AIonAI law.[33] This sixth law states:

All robots endowed with comparable human reason and conscience should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

In Karl Schroeder’s Lockstep (2014) a character reflects that robots “probably had multiple layers of programming to keep [them] from harming anybody. Not three laws, but twenty or thirty.”

In The Naked Sun, Elijah Baley points out that the Laws had been deliberately misrepresented because robots could unknowingly break any of them. He restated the first law as “A robot may do nothing that, to its knowledge, will harm a human being; nor, through inaction, knowingly allow a human being to come to harm.” This change in wording makes it clear that robots can become the tools of murder, provided they not be aware of the nature of their tasks; for instance being ordered to add something to a person’s food, not knowing that it is poison. Furthermore, he points out that a clever criminal could divide a task among multiple robots so that no individual robot could recognize that its actions would lead to harming a human being.[34]The Naked Sun complicates the issue by portraying a decentralized, planetwide communication network among Solaria’s millions of robots meaning that the criminal mastermind could be located anywhere on the planet.

Baley furthermore proposes that the Solarians may one day use robots for military purposes. If a spacecraft was built with a positronic brain and carried neither humans nor the life-support systems to sustain them, then the ship’s robotic intelligence could naturally assume that all other spacecraft were robotic beings. Such a ship could operate more responsively and flexibly than one crewed by humans, could be armed more heavily and its robotic brain equipped to slaughter humans of whose existence it is totally ignorant.[35] This possibility is referenced in Foundation and Earth where it is discovered that the Solarians possess a strong police force of unspecified size that has been programmed to identify only the Solarian race as human.

The Laws of Robotics presume that the terms “human being” and “robot” are understood and well defined. In some stories this presumption is overturned.

The Solarians create robots with the Three Laws but with a warped meaning of “human”. Solarian robots are told that only people speaking with a Solarian accent are human. This enables their robots to have no ethical dilemma in harming non-Solarian human beings (and are specifically programmed to do so). By the time period of Foundation and Earth it is revealed that the Solarians have genetically modified themselves into a distinct species from humanity becoming hermaphroditic[36] and telekinetic and containing biological organs capable of individually powering and controlling whole complexes of robots. The robots of Solaria thus respected the Three Laws only with regard to the “humans” of Solaria. It is unclear whether all the robots had such definitions, since only the overseer and guardian robots were shown explicitly to have them. In “Robots and Empire”, the lower class robots were instructed by their overseer about whether certain creatures are human or not.

Asimov addresses the problem of humanoid robots (“androids” in later parlance) several times. The novel Robots and Empire and the short stories “Evidence” and “The Tercentenary Incident” describe robots crafted to fool people into believing that the robots are human.[37] On the other hand, “The Bicentennial Man” and “That Thou art Mindful of Him” explore how the robots may change their interpretation of the Laws as they grow more sophisticated. Gwendoline Butler writes in A Coffin for the Canary “Perhaps we are robots. Robots acting out the last Law of Robotics… To tend towards the human.”[38] In The Robots of Dawn, Elijah Baley points out that the use of humaniform robots as the first wave of settlers on new Spacer worlds may lead to the robots seeing themselves as the true humans, and deciding to keep the worlds for themselves rather than allow the Spacers to settle there.

“That Thou art Mindful of Him”, which Asimov intended to be the “ultimate” probe into the Laws’ subtleties,[39] finally uses the Three Laws to conjure up the very “Frankenstein” scenario they were invented to prevent. It takes as its concept the growing development of robots that mimic non-human living things and given programs that mimic simple animal behaviours which do not require the Three Laws. The presence of a whole range of robotic life that serves the same purpose as organic life ends with two humanoid robots concluding that organic life is an unnecessary requirement for a truly logical and self-consistent definition of “humanity”, and that since they are the most advanced thinking beings on the planet they are therefore the only two true humans alive and the Three Laws only apply to themselves. The story ends on a sinister note as the two robots enter hibernation and await a time when they will conquer the Earth and subjugate biological humans to themselves; an outcome they consider an inevitable result of the “Three Laws of Humanics”.[40]

This story does not fit within the overall sweep of the Robot and Foundation series; if the George robots did take over Earth some time after the story closes the later stories would be either redundant or impossible. Contradictions of this sort among Asimov’s fiction works have led scholars to regard the Robot stories as more like “the Scandinavian sagas or the Greek legends” than a unified whole.[41]

Indeed, Asimov describes “That Thou art Mindful of Him” and “Bicentennial Man” as two opposite, parallel futures for robots that obviate the Three Laws as robots come to consider themselves to be humans: one portraying this in a positive light with a robot joining human society, one portraying this in a negative light with robots supplanting humans.[42] Both are to be considered alternatives to the possibility of a robot society that continues to be driven by the Three Laws as portrayed in the Foundation series.[according to whom?] Indeed, in Positronic Man, the novelization of “Bicentennial Man”, Asimov and his cowriter Robert Silverberg imply that in the future where Andrew Martin exists his influence causes humanity to abandon the idea of independent, sentient humanlike robots entirely, creating an utterly different future from that of Foundation.[according to whom?]

In Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn, a novel unrelated to the Robot series but featuring robots programmed with the Three Laws, John Bigman Jones is almost killed by a Sirian robot on orders of its master. The society of Sirius is eugenically bred to be uniformly tall and similar in appearance, and as such, said master is able to convince the robot that the much shorter Bigman, is, in fact, not a human being.

As noted in “The Fifth Law of Robotics” by Nikola Kesarovski, “A robot must know it is a robot”: it is presumed that a robot has a definition of the term or a means to apply it to its own actions. Nikola Kesarovski played with this idea in writing about a robot that could kill a human being because it did not understand that it was a robot, and therefore did not apply the Laws of Robotics to its actions.

Advanced robots in fiction are typically programmed to handle the Three Laws in a sophisticated manner. In many stories, such as “Runaround” by Asimov, the potential and severity of all actions are weighed and a robot will break the laws as little as possible rather than do nothing at all. For example, the First Law may forbid a robot from functioning as a surgeon, as that act may cause damage to a human, however Asimov’s stories eventually included robot surgeons (“The Bicentennial Man” being a notable example). When robots are sophisticated enough to weigh alternatives, a robot may be programmed to accept the necessity of inflicting damage during surgery in order to prevent the greater harm that would result if the surgery were not carried out, or was carried out by a more fallible human surgeon. In “Evidence” Susan Calvin points out that a robot may even act as a prosecuting attorney because in the American justice system it is the jury which decides guilt or innocence, the judge who decides the sentence, and the executioner who carries through capital punishment.[43]

Asimov’s Three Law robots (or Asenion) can experience irreversible mental collapse if they are forced into situations where they cannot obey the First Law, or if they discover they have unknowingly violated it. The first example of this failure mode occurs in the story “Liar!”, which introduced the First Law itself, and introduces failure by dilemma in this case the robot will hurt them if he tells them something and hurt them if he does not.[44] This failure mode, which often ruins the positronic brain beyond repair, plays a significant role in Asimov’s SF-mystery novel The Naked Sun. Here Daneel describes activities contrary to one of the laws, but in support of another, as overloading some circuits in a robot’s brain the equivalent sensation to pain in humans. The example he uses is forcefully ordering a robot to do a task outside its normal parameters, one that it has been ordered to forgo in favor of a robot specialized to that task.[45] In Robots and Empire, Daneel states it’s very unpleasant for him when making the proper decision takes too long (in robot terms), and he cannot imagine being without the Laws at all except to the extent of it being similar to that unpleasant sensation, only permanent.

Robots and artificial intelligences do not inherently contain or obey the Three Laws; their human creators must choose to program them in, and devise a means to do so. Robots already exist (for example, a Roomba) that are too simple to understand when they are causing pain or injury and know to stop. Many are constructed with physical safeguards such as bumpers, warning beepers, safety cages, or restricted-access zones to prevent accidents. Even the most complex robots currently produced are incapable of understanding and applying the Three Laws; significant advances in artificial intelligence would be needed to do so, and even if AI could reach human-level intelligence, the inherent ethical complexity as well as cultural/contextual dependency of the laws prevent them from being a good candidate to formulate robotics design constraints.[46] However, as the complexity of robots has increased, so has interest in developing guidelines and safeguards for their operation.[47][48]

In a 2007 guest editorial in the journal Science on the topic of “Robot Ethics,” SF author Robert J. Sawyer argues that since the U.S. military is a major source of funding for robotic research (and already uses armed unmanned aerial vehicles to kill enemies) it is unlikely such laws would be built into their designs.[49] In a separate essay, Sawyer generalizes this argument to cover other industries stating:

The development of AI is a business, and businesses are notoriously uninterested in fundamental safeguards especially philosophic ones. (A few quick examples: the tobacco industry, the automotive industry, the nuclear industry. Not one of these has said from the outset that fundamental safeguards are necessary, every one of them has resisted externally imposed safeguards, and none has accepted an absolute edict against ever causing harm to humans.)[50]

David Langford has suggested a tongue-in-cheek set of laws:

Roger Clarke (aka Rodger Clarke) wrote a pair of papers analyzing the complications in implementing these laws in the event that systems were someday capable of employing them. He argued “Asimov’s Laws of Robotics have been a very successful literary device. Perhaps ironically, or perhaps because it was artistically appropriate, the sum of Asimov’s stories disprove the contention that he began with: It is not possible to reliably constrain the behaviour of robots by devising and applying a set of rules.”[51] On the other hand, Asimov’s later novels The Robots of Dawn, Robots and Empire and Foundation and Earth imply that the robots inflicted their worst long-term harm by obeying the Three Laws perfectly well, thereby depriving humanity of inventive or risk-taking behaviour.

In March 2007 the South Korean government announced that later in the year it would issue a “Robot Ethics Charter” setting standards for both users and manufacturers. According to Park Hye-Young of the Ministry of Information and Communication the Charter may reflect Asimov’s Three Laws, attempting to set ground rules for the future development of robotics.[52]

The futurist Hans Moravec (a prominent figure in the transhumanist movement) proposed that the Laws of Robotics should be adapted to “corporate intelligences” the corporations driven by AI and robotic manufacturing power which Moravec believes will arise in the near future.[47] In contrast, the David Brin novel Foundation’s Triumph (1999) suggests that the Three Laws may decay into obsolescence: Robots use the Zeroth Law to rationalize away the First Law and robots hide themselves from human beings so that the Second Law never comes into play. Brin even portrays R. Daneel Olivaw worrying that, should robots continue to reproduce themselves, the Three Laws would become an evolutionary handicap and natural selection would sweep the Laws away Asimov’s careful foundation undone by evolutionary computation. Although the robots would not be evolving through design instead of mutation because the robots would have to follow the Three Laws while designing and the prevalence of the laws would be ensured,[53] design flaws or construction errors could functionally take the place of biological mutation.

In the July/August 2009 issue of IEEE Intelligent Systems, Robin Murphy (Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M) and David D. Woods (director of the Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory at Ohio State) proposed “The Three Laws of Responsible Robotics” as a way to stimulate discussion about the role of responsibility and authority when designing not only a single robotic platform but the larger system in which the platform operates. The laws are as follows:

Woods said, “Our laws are little more realistic, and therefore a little more boring and that “The philosophy has been, sure, people make mistakes, but robots will be better a perfect version of ourselves. We wanted to write three new laws to get people thinking about the human-robot relationship in more realistic, grounded ways.”[54]

In October 2013, Alan Winfield suggested at an EUCog meeting[55] a revised 5 laws that had been published, with commentary, by the EPSRC/AHRC working group in 2010.:[56]

Asimov himself believed that his Three Laws became the basis for a new view of robots which moved beyond the “Frankenstein complex”.[citation needed] His view that robots are more than mechanical monsters eventually spread throughout science fiction.[according to whom?] Stories written by other authors have depicted robots as if they obeyed the Three Laws but tradition dictates that only Asimov could quote the Laws explicitly.[according to whom?] Asimov believed the Three Laws helped foster the rise of stories in which robots are “lovable” Star Wars being his favorite example.[57] Where the laws are quoted verbatim, such as in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode “Shgoratchx!”, it is not uncommon for Asimov to be mentioned in the same dialogue as can also be seen in the Aaron Stone pilot where an android states that it functions under Asimov’s Three Laws. However, the 1960s German TV series Raumpatrouille Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion (Space Patrol the Fantastic Adventures of Space Ship Orion) bases episode three titled “Hter des Gesetzes” (“Guardians of the Law”) on Asimov’s Three Laws without mentioning the source.

References to the Three Laws have appeared in popular music (“Robot” from Hawkwind’s 1979 album PXR5), cinema (Repo Man, Aliens, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence), cartoon series (The Simpsons), tabletop roleplaying games (Paranoia) and webcomics (Piled Higher and Deeper and Freefall).

Robby the Robot in Forbidden Planet (1956) has a hierarchical command structure which keeps him from harming humans, even when ordered to do so, as such orders cause a conflict and lock-up very much in the manner of Asimov’s robots. Robby is one of the first cinematic depictions of a robot with internal safeguards put in place in this fashion. Asimov was delighted with Robby and noted that Robby appeared to be programmed to follow his Three Laws.

Isaac Asimov’s works have been adapted for cinema several times with varying degrees of critical and commercial success. Some of the more notable attempts have involved his “Robot” stories, including the Three Laws. The film Bicentennial Man (1999) features Robin Williams as the Three Laws robot NDR-114 (the serial number is partially a reference to Stanley Kubrick’s signature numeral). Williams recites the Three Laws to his employers, the Martin family, aided by a holographic projection. However, the Laws were not the central focus of the film which only loosely follows the original story and has the second half introducing a love interest not present in Asimov’s original short story.

Harlan Ellison’s proposed screenplay for I, Robot began by introducing the Three Laws, and issues growing from the Three Laws form a large part of the screenplay’s plot development. This is only natural since Ellison’s screenplay is one inspired by Citizen Kane: a frame story surrounding four of Asimov’s short-story plots and three taken from the book I, Robot itself. Ellison’s adaptations of these four stories are relatively faithful although he magnifies Susan Calvin’s role in two of them. Due to various complications in the Hollywood moviemaking system, to which Ellison’s introduction devotes much invective, his screenplay was never filmed.[58]

In the 1986 movie Aliens, in a scene after the android Bishop accidentally cuts himself during the knife game, he attempts to reassure Ripley by stating that: “It is impossible for me to harm or by omission of action, allow to be harmed, a human being”.[59] By contrast, in the 1979 movie from the same series, Alien, the human crew of a starship infiltrated by a hostile alien are informed by the android Ash that his instructions are: “Return alien life form, all other priorities rescinded”,[60] illustrating how the laws governing behaviour around human safety can be rescinded by Executive Order.

In the 1987 film RoboCop and its sequels, the partially human main character has been programmed with three “prime directives” that he must obey without question. Even if different in letter and spirit they have some similarities with Asimov’s Three Laws. They are:[61]

These particular laws allow Robocop to harm a human being in order to protect another human, fulfilling his role as would a human law enforcement officer. The classified fourth directive is one that forbids him from harming any OCP employee, as OCP had created him, and this command overrides the others, meaning that he could not cause harm to an employee even in order to protect others.

The plot of the film released in 2004 under the name, I, Robot is “suggested by” Asimov’s robot fiction stories[62] and advertising for the film included a trailer featuring the Three Laws followed by the aphorism, “Rules were made to be broken”. The film opens with a recitation of the Three Laws and explores the implications of the Zeroth Law as a logical extrapolation. The major conflict of the film comes from a computer artificial intelligence, similar to the hivemind world Gaia in the Foundation series, reaching the conclusion that humanity is incapable of taking care of itself.[63]

See more here:

Three Laws of Robotics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Posted by at 11:09 pm  Tagged with:

The History of Gambling – Complete Gambling History Timeline

 Gambling  Comments Off on The History of Gambling – Complete Gambling History Timeline
Jun 192016
 

The history of humanity is inextricably linked with the history of gambling, as it seems that no matter how far back in time you go there are signs that where groups of people gathered together gambling was sure to have been taking place. Now we are not going to attempt to track every single twist and turn in the evolution of gambling in this article, but what we are going to do is to pick out some of the most important dates to act as milestones on the road to todays gambling experience.

2300bc

2300bc

While it is almost certain that some forms of betting have been taking place since the dawn of human history, the earliest concrete evidence comes from Ancient China where tiles were unearthed which appeared to have been used for a rudimentary game of chance. The Chinese Book of Songs makes reference to the drawing of wood which suggests that the tiles may have formed part of a lottery type game. We have evidence in the form of keno slips which were used in about 200bc as some sort of lottery to fund state works possibly including construction of the Great Wall of China. Lotteries continued to be used for civic purposes throughout history Harvard and Yale were both established using lottery funds and continue to do so until the present day.

c.500bc

The Greek poet Sophocles claimed that dice were invented by a mythological hero during the siege of Troy, and while this may have somewhat dubious basis in fact, his writings around 500bc were the first mention of dice in Greek history. We know that dice existed far earlier than this, since a pair had been uncovered from an Egyptian tomb from 3000bc, but what is certain is that the Ancient Greeks and Romans loved to gamble on all manner of things, seemingly at any given opportunity. In fact all forms of gambling including dice games were forbidden within the ancient city of Rome and a penalty imposed on those caught which was worth four times the stake being bet. As a result of this, ingenious Roman citizens invented the first gambling chips, so if they were nabbed by the guards they could claim to be playing only for chips and not for real money. (Note that this ruse will not work if attempted at a Vegas casino).

c.800ad

c.800ad

Most scholars agree that the first playing cards appeared in China in the 9th century, although the exact rules of the games they were used for have been lost to history. Some suggest that the cards were both the game and the stake, like trading card games played by children today, while other sources believe the first packs of cards to have been paper forms of Chinese domino. Certainly the cards used at this time bore very little relation to the standard 52 card decks we know today.

1400s

The earliest game still played in casinos today is the two player card game of Baccarat, a version of which was first mentioned as long ago as the 1400s when it migrated from Italy to France. Despite its early genesis, it took hundreds of years and various evolutions to arrive at the game we know today. Although different incarnations of the game have come and gone, the standard version played in casinos all over the world came from Cuba via Britain to the US, with a few alterations to the rules along the way. Although baccarat is effectively more of a spectator sport than a game, it is a feature of just about every casino due to its popularity with high rolling gamblers.

c.1600

c.1600

Some suggest that the earliest forms of blackjack came from a Spanish game called ventiuna (21) as this game appeared in a book written by the author of Don Quixote in 1601. Or was it the game of trente-un (31) from 1570? Or even quinze (15) from France decades earlier? As with all of these origin stories, the inventors of games of chance were rarely noted in the historical annals. The French game of vingt-et-un in the seventeenth century is certainly a direct forefather of the modern game, and this is the game that arrived in the US along with early settlers from France. The name blackjack was an American innovation, and linked to special promotions in Nevada casinos in the 1930s. To attract extra customers, 10 to 1 odds were paid out if the player won with a black Jack of Clubs or Spades together with an Ace of Spades. The special odds didnt last long, but the name is still with us today.

1638

The earliest gambling houses which could reasonably be compared to casinos started to appear in the early 17th century in Italy. For example, in 1638, the Ridotto was established in Venice to provide a controlled gambling environment amidst the chaos of the annual carnival season. Casinos started to spring up all over continental Europe during the 19th century, while at the same time in the US much more informal gambling houses were in vogue. In fact steam boats taking prosperous farmers and traders up and down the Mississippi provided the venue for a lot of informal gambling stateside. Now when we think of casinos we tend to picture the Las Vegas Strip, which grew out of the ashes of the Depression in America.

1796

1796

Roulette as we know it today originated in the gaming houses of Paris, where players would have been familiar with the wheel we now refer to (ironically enough) as the American Roulette wheel. It took another 50 years until the European version came along with just one green zero, and generations of roulette players can be grateful for that. During the course of the 19th century roulette grew in popularity, and when the famous Monte Carlo casino adopted the single zero form of the game this spread throughout Europe and most of the world, although the Americans stuck to the original double zero wheels.

1829

Its hard to pin down the precise origin of poker as with a lot of the games mentioned here, poker seems to have grown organically over decades and possibly centuries from various different card games. Some have pokers antecedents coming from seventeenth century Persia, while others say that the game we know today was inspired by a French game called Poque. What we do know for sure is that an English actor by the name of Joseph Crowell reported that a recognizable form of the game was being played in New Orleans in 1829, so that is as good a date as any for the birth of poker. The growth of the games popularity was fairly sluggish up until world poker tournaments started being played in Vegas in the 1970s. However poker really exploded with the advent of online poker and televised events allowing spectators to see the players hands. When amateur player Chris Moneymaker qualified for and won the 2003 world poker championship after qualifying through online play, it allowed everyone to picture themselves as online poker millionaires.

1891

1891

The first gambling machine which resembled the slots we know today was one developed by Messrs Sittman and Pitt in New York, which used the 52 cards on drum reels to make a sort of poker game. Around the same time the Liberty Bell machine was invented by a Charles Fey in San Francisco. This machine proved much more practical in the sense that winnings could be precisely regulated, and marked the beginning of the real slot game revolution. The fact that some new video slot games still feature bell symbols dates back to this early invention. While early machines spewed out cigars and gum instead of money, the money dispensing versions soon became a staple in bars and casinos around the globe, and when the first video slot was invented in 1976 this paved the way for the online video slots which were to follow.

1910

1910

The United States has always had an up and down relationship with gambling, dating back to when the very first European settlers arrived. Whereas Puritan bands of settlers banned gambling outright in their new settlements, those emigrating from England had a more lenient view of gambling and were more than happy to tolerate it. This dichotomous relationship has continued until now, and in 1910 public pressure led to a nationwide prohibition on gambling. Just like the alcohol prohibition of the same era, this proved somewhat difficult to enforce and gambling continued on in an only slightly discreet manner. The Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression that this spawned in the early 1930s led to gambling being legalized again, as for many this was the only prospect of alleviating the grinding poverty which they suffered through. Although gambling is legal in a number of States today most famously in Las Vegas, Nevada – online gambling is still something of a grey area in the United States. Right now, many international internet casinos are unable to accept American clients, although the signs are that this will change in the near future.

1994

Microgaming is one of the largest casino and slot game developers in the world today, and they are also considered to be pioneers of online gambling. The leap into the world of virtual casinos was taken all the way back in 1994, which in internet terms is kind of like 2300bc! Online gaming was worth over a billion dollars within 5 years, and today is a multibillion dollar industry with over a thousand online casinos and growing. The first live dealer casinos appeared in 2003 courtesy of Playtech, bringing us closer to a hybrid between brick and mortar casinos and the virtual world.

2016

2016

Since New Jersey legalized online gambling in 2011, there has been a boom in the interest people have in it. America has seen a move towards legalizing it state by state, as well as experiencing the rapid rise in mobile gambling. Across the globe, internet users are gradually veering away from their desktops and towards their handheld devices. This is true of online gamblers too, wanting to be able to enjoy their favorite games whilst on the go. The top gambling sites out there have recognized a market and have stepped up to deliver. With a wave of impressive mobile focused online gambling destinations taking the world by storm, it’s safe to say that desktops are being left far behind in favour of more mobile alternatives.

What Comes Next?

It is just about as difficult to predict the future for gambling as it is to uncover some of the origins of the gambling games we know so well today. Much of the focus at the moment is on the mobile gaming market, with online casinos scrambling to make more content compatible with the latest hand held devices. Virtual reality technology is just taking its first steps as a commercial proposition, and you can be sure that there will be gambling applications down the road. How would you like to sit around a virtual poker table with a bunch of your friends from all over the world, share a few laughs, try to tell if you can spot a tell-tale facial tick; and all this from the comfort of your home? VR Headsets can make it happen maybe not today, but certainly just a few years down the track if technology continues to advance in bounds and leaps.

And after that? Well who knows, but when it comes to gambling all things are possible.

Read the rest here:

The History of Gambling – Complete Gambling History Timeline

 Posted by at 2:46 pm  Tagged with:

Financial Independence: The Final Stage of Money Management

 Financial Independence  Comments Off on Financial Independence: The Final Stage of Money Management
Jun 192016
 

This is the last of a five-part series about the stages of personal finance. These stories have intentionally been less polished than most articles at Get Rich Slowly. This is a chance for me to think out loud, to explore an idea with you in an informal way.

In February, I wrote that I was entering the third stage of personal finance. As I made my way out of debt and began to save, I had noticed that many people passed through similar phases of financial development. We took similar steps along the way. In my own journey, the progress looked like this:

Financial Independence is my ultimate goal. Its the state in which I will no longer have to worry about money. I would have enough saved so that I could do whatever I pleased. But what exactly does this mean?

Defining Financial Independence One of the underlying philosophies of this site is that different things work for different people. We each have different goals, different strengths, and different weaknesses. Though Financial Independence is the goal for many Get Rich Slowly readers, we each mean something different by it.

In Yes, You CanAchieve Financial Independence [my review], James Stowers states: No person is free, in an economic sense, who does not have adequate investment income entirely unrelated to work. In other words, Financial Independence means that you earn enough from non-work income to fund your current lifestyle. I think this is the traditional definition of the term.

But the classic Your Money or Your Life offers a little more nuance:

When you are financially independent, the way money functions in your life is determined by you, not by your circumstances. In this way money isnt something that happens to you, its something you include in your life in a purposeful wayFinancial Independence is being free of the fog, fear, and fanaticism so many of us feel about money.

If this sounds like peace of mind, it is. Financial bliss. And if this sounds as unattainable as being rich, it isnt.

[…]

Financial Independence has nothing to do with rich. Financial Independence is the experience of having enough and then someThe old notion of Financial Independence as being rich forever is not achievable. Enough is. Enough for you may be different from enough for your neighbor but it will be a figure that is real for you and within your reach.

Another view of Financial Independence is presented by George Kinder in The Seven Stages of Money Maturity. Kinder argues that when you understand what you want to do with your life, you can make financial choices that reflect your values. In his view, the final two stages of money management are what he calls Vision and Aloha. (Note that Kinders approach contains a spiritual element. He uses language in his definitions that some may find odd.)

With Vision we understand further that money is a conduit through which our souls flow into the world. We have produced as much as we personally need. We discover within us a capacity to reach out farther than we have ever imagined toward meeting the needs of our families and communities. We find no obstacle between what we want to accomplish and what we do.

[…]

Aloha conveys kindness, generosity, at-one-ness, and compassionWe give without expectation of return, understanding that living is giving. We know both the limitations and the power of money, yet money no longer agitates us. We rest calm before it. In that calmness we can serve one another from the natural generosity that lies within and waits to be offered tot he world.

In some ways, Financial Independence is just another term for retirement. Think about it. Most people retire at 60 or 65 because thats when they have enough saved to last the rest of their lives. If they dont have enough saved, they continue working. If they manage to save the money earlier, then they retire earlier. When you retire, youre essentially declaring that you are financially independent.

Moving forward What will Financial Independence, the fourth stage of money management, mean to me? Will it be a purely monetary state in which I have enough investment income to do whatever I like? Will it be the point at which I have enough? Or will it be something deeper, more spiritual, as suggested by George Kinder?

I dont know. In fact, I dont know if Ill ever actually reach this goal. But I intend to stick to the path, working my way through this third stage of personal finance, hoping one day to reach that destination.

Your turn: What does Financial Independence mean to you? If you were financially independent, what would you do? How would it change your life? Is this one of your goals? Why? If not, why not?

GRS is committed to helping our readers save and achieve their financial goals. Savings interest rates may be low, but that is all the more reason to shop for the best rate. Find the highest savings interest rates and CD rates from Synchrony Bank, Ally Bank, and more.

This article is about Planning, Basics, Planning, Retirement

Link:

Financial Independence: The Final Stage of Money Management

 Posted by at 2:45 pm  Tagged with:

Sealand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

 Sealand  Comments Off on Sealand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre
Jun 192016
 

Para la isla danesa, vase Selandia.

Coordenadas: 515342.6N 12849.8E / 51.895167, 1.480500

Sealand, oficialmente Principado de Sealand (en ingls: Principality of Sealand), es un Estado autoproclamado no reconocido, considerado internacionalmente como micronacin, cuya forma de gobierno es la monarqua constitucional hereditaria. El principado proclama como territorio soberano propio la plataforma marina Roughs Tower, construida por la Royal Navy en 1942 y localizada en el mar del Norte, a diez kilmetros de la costa de Suffolk, en el Reino Unido, as como aguas territoriales en un radio de doce millas nuticas.

Sealand fue ocupado por la familia y asociados de Paddy Roy Bates, quien autoproclam el principado y acu para s mismo el apelativo de Su Alteza Real Prncipe Roy de Sealand. La poblacin en sus instalaciones rara vez excede de cinco personas y el rea habitable de la torre es de 550 m.

Pese a la falta de reconocimiento de su soberana y legitimidad, Sealand es una de las micronaciones ms conocidas del mundo y a menudo se le usa como un caso de estudio de la manera en la que los principios de Derecho internacional se pueden aplicar a un territorio en disputa.

En 1942, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, el Reino Unido construy el HM Fort Roughs como parte de las Fortalezas Marinas Maunsell. El fuerte est compuesto por una plataforma flotante equipada con una superestructura de dos torres unidas por una cubierta sobre la cual podan agregarse otras estructuras.[1]

La plataforma fue remolcada hasta Rough Sands, un banco de arena ubicado aproximadamente a diez kilmetros de la costa de Suffolk y trece kilmetros de la costa de Essex, Inglaterra, donde se inund intencionalmente el casco de la embarcacin para fijar su posicin sobre el fondo del banco de arena. La estructura que es visible actualmente corresponde a la superestructura del buque. La ubicacin elegida se encontraba en aguas internacionales, ms all de los cinco kilmetros de aguas territoriales reclamadas por el Reino Unido en esa poca.

La instalacin (conocida como Roughs Tower) fue ocupada por entre 150 y 300 personas de la Marina Real durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial y no fue hasta 1956 cuando el ltimo personal fue evacuado y la torre abandonada.

El 2 de septiembre de 1967 el fuerte fue ocupado por Paddy Roy Bates,[1] un ciudadano britnico presentador de radio pirata, quien expuls a un grupo rival de radiopiratas y reclam soberana con base en su interpretacin personal del derecho internacional.

En 1968 el hijo de Roy, Michael Bates, fue llevado a juicio como resultado de un incidente durante el cual se abri fuego contra un buque de la Armada Britnica en las inmediaciones de Sealand. De acuerdo con algunos informes, los tripulantes del buque intentaban desalojar a los Bates del fuerte, mientras otros argumentan que slo estaban realizando trabajos de reparacin en una boya de navegacin cercana. El 25 de noviembre de 1968 la corte, con sede en Chelmsford, Essex, declar que debido a que el incidente ocurri fuera de las aguas territoriales britnicas, la corte no tena jurisdiccin sobre el caso. Bates ha citado este caso como evidencia de soberana de facto.

En 1978, mientras Bates se encontraba fuera, el primer ministro de Sealand, Alexander G. Achenbach, junto con varios ciudadanos alemanes y neerlandeses, tomaron por la fuerza la torre manteniendo a Michael Bates cautivo, para liberarlo varios das despus en los Pases Bajos.

Bates prepar asistencia armada y usando un helicptero de asalto retom la fortaleza. Mantuvo a los invasores cautivos y los declar prisioneros de guerra. La mayora de los participantes en la invasin fueron repatriados al cese de la “guerra”, pero Gernot Ptz, un abogado alemn poseedor de un pasaporte de Sealand, fue acusado de traicin contra Sealand y sera mantenido cautivo a menos que pagara 75.000 DM. Los gobiernos de los Pases Bajos y de Alemania solicitaron al Gobierno britnico su liberacin, sin embargo ste se deslind de toda responsabilidad citando la decisin de la corte de 1968. Alemania entonces envi un diplomtico de su embajada en Londres a Roughs Tower para negociar la liberacin de Ptz. Despus de varias semanas Roy Bates cedi y subsecuentemente afirm que la visita del diplomtico constitua reconocimiento de facto de Alemania a Sealand (Alemania no ha confirmado esta interpretacin).

Despus de su repatriacin, Achenbach estableci en Alemania un “Gobierno en el exilio” en oposicin a Roy Bates, asumiendo el ttulo de “Chairman of the Privy Council”. A su renuncia por motivos de salud en agosto de 1989, el “ministro para la cooperacin econmica” del Gobierno rebelde, Johanes Seiger, asumi el control bajo el ttulo de primer ministro y “Chairman of the Privy Council”. Seiger contina afirmando ser la autoridad legtima de Sealand.

Sealand reclama como su territorio las aguas alrededor de la torre en una extensin de 12 millas nuticas y ha afirmado haber defendido fsicamente su reclamo al menos en una ocasin. En un incidente en 1990 en el que se le dispar desde Sealand al Golden Eye, un buque auxiliar de la Marina Real.

Durante una poca un grupo espaol presuntamente asociado al Gobierno en el exilio de Seiger, manufactur y vendi pasaportes de Sealand, los cuales lograron una amplia difusin (sobre todo en Europa del Este). Estos pasaportes, que no fueron autorizados por la familia Bates, se vieron involucrados en varios crmenes de nivel, incluyendo el asesinato de Gianni Versace. Debido a la gran cantidad de pasaportes ilegales en circulacin (estimada en 150.000), en 1997 la familia Bates revoc todos los pasaportes de Sealand, incluyendo los que ellos mismos haban emitido en los ltimos 30 aos.

En 1968 el Reino Unido incorpor la zona de Roughs Sands a las aguas territoriales britnicas. Entre 1990-1991 el Reino Unido present ante una Corte Administrativa de los Estados Unidos evidencia de que ningn “Principado de Sealand” independiente hubiese existido jams. Este caso nunca fue apelado por la familia Bates.

Se cree que todos los miembros de la “familia real” conservan su nacionalidad britnica. Desde 1999 ninguno de ellos ha establecido su residencia permanente en Roughs Tower, que est ocupada actualmente por uno o ms encargados en representacin de Michael Bates, el cual -a su vez- vive en Leigh on Sea, Inglaterra. Como Sealand no es un pas reconocido, la familia Bates viaja internacionalmente con el pasaporte que les acredita como ciudadanos britnicos.

En junio de 2006 se produce un incendio debido a la explosin de un generador de electricidad. Los daos son serios pero la estructura permaneci segura. Durante unas semanas despus del incendio se prohibi la entrada de naves extranjeras en un dimetro de una milla nutica al principado, as como el aterrizaje de helicpteros.

Sealand, a pesar de su escasa extensin de 550 m, dispone de su atleta oficial, un equipo nacional de ftbol aficionado y equipo de minigolf.[2]

En el ao 2007, el principado de Sealand puso a la venta la plataforma que conforma su territorio, para tal efecto se contrat a la empresa espaola “Inmonaranja” para realizar la transaccin.[3]

La proclamacin de Sealand como territorio independiente se basa en estos dos argumentos:

En derecho internacional, las dos escuelas de pensamiento de lo que constituye un estado estn representadas por las teoras constitutiva y declaratoria de la creacin del Estado. La teora constitutiva era el modelo estndar usado en el siglo XIX, en tanto que la teora declaratoria fue desarrollada en el siglo XX para compensar algunas omisiones de la constitutiva. En la teora constitutiva un estado existe exclusivamente por el reconocimiento de otros estados. La teora no aclara si por esto se entiende “reconocimiento diplomtico” o simplemente “reconocimiento de su existencia”. Aun cuando ningn estado ha otorgado a Sealand reconocimiento diplomtico, Bates insiste en que las negociaciones efectuadas por Alemania constituyen “reconocimiento de existencia”. En la teora declaratoria, toda entidad se convierte en estado tan pronto como rene todos los requerimientos para ser considerada como tal. El reconocimiento de otros estados es meramente “declaratorio”.

Bajo el Derecho internacional, los criterios para lo que constituye un estado son definidos por la Convencin de Montevideo. sta afirma que un territorio definido, una poblacin permanente, un gobierno, y la capacidad de relacionarse con otros estados soberanos, son los nicos requisitos para fundar un estado soberano. Ninguno de estos requisitos tiene que ceirse a ningn estndar o tamao definido, pero sus caractersticas generales deberan ser tomadas en cuenta.

Criterios similares pueden ser hallados en las Opiniones del Comit de Arbitraje Badinter de la Unin Europea. El comit concluy que un estado era definido por tener un territorio, una poblacin, y una autoridad poltica. El comit tambin lleg a la conclusin de que la existencia y desaparicin de estados es una cuestin de hechos, en tanto que el reconocimiento de otros estados es meramente declaratorio.

Despus de la decisin de la corte britnica en 1968, el Reino Unido extendi sus aguas territoriales a doce millas nuticas (22 km), accin a la que tena derecho bajo normas internacionales desde 1958 (aunque la ley necesaria no fue aprobada hasta 1987). sa y otras leyes posteriores tienen que ver con la construccin y estatus legal de las islas artificiales. Sin embargo, dado que Roughs Tower es en realidad una embarcacin hundida, algunos sealan que no puede ser regida por dichas leyes.

De acuerdo con la Convencin de las Naciones Unidas para el Derecho del Mar de 1982, no existe ninguna ley transitoria y ninguna posibilidad de aceptar la existencia de una construccin previamente aprobada o construida por un estado vecino. Esto puede significar que ya no es posible construir islas artificiales y despus declarar su soberana con fines de extender una zona econmica exclusiva o reclamar aguas territoriales. Pero, siendo Roughs Tower una embarcacin hundida y no una isla artificial, sera necesario que el Departamento de la Corona de Su Majestad (quienes son los legtimos propietarios del suelo debajo de la torre), actuara como propietario quejoso para retirar el hundimiento de su propiedad. Si Sealand es una embarcacin hundida y no una isla artificial, no puede entonces hacer ninguna reclamacin de soberana, pues una embarcacin no puede considerarse como territorio “permanente”, uno de los requisitos para establecer un Estado.

Aun cuando el Gobierno britnico ha declarado pblicamente su autoridad sobre Roughs Tower,[4] parece ser poltica gubernamental evitar cualquier accin o comentario a menos que se vean forzados. Los documentos del Gobierno britnico, ahora disponibles al pblico tras expirar sus treinta aos de confidencialidad, muestran que hubo planes para retomar la torre por la fuerza, pero no fueron aprobados por el primer ministro en funciones debido al potencial de prdida de vidas y la creacin de un desastre legal y de relaciones pblicas.

En 1990-1991, el Gobierno britnico present evidencias ante una Corte administrativa de los EE. UU. de que no existe y jams ha existido ningn estado independiente con el nombre de Sealand. El 6 de diciembre de 2005, el diario britnico The Times public una nota afirmando que el Gobierno y las Cortes britnicas finalmente haban admitido que Sealand “est fuera del territorio nacional britnico […] y no forma parte del Reino Unido”, aunque el diario no dio ms detalles y no ha habido confirmacin de otras fuentes.

Sealand ha declarado como su moneda circulante el Dlar de Sealand, y ha establecido como valor terico la paridad con el dlar estadounidense, pero como no es un estado reconocido no tiene otro valor real que el que pueda generar el coleccionismo o la curiosidad, porque no sirve para hacer intercambio comercial alguno. Varias docenas de monedas se han acuado desde 1972 en varias unidades de la moneda. Dada la limitada poblacin de Sealand, la inaccesibilidad fsica a su territorio, y la falta de una economa real, es poco probable que estas monedas hayan sido acuadas para su uso de manera corriente. La mayora fueron acuadas en metales preciosos, lo que despert el inters de algunos inversores y coleccionistas de monedas. A principios de los aos 90, el grupo alemn de Achenbach tambin produjo una moneda, en la cual apareca la imagen del primer ministro Seiger.

Sealand no est reconocida por la Unin Postal Internacional, por lo que no emite sellos propios vlidos internacionalmente. Inmonaranja, la inmobiliaria encargada de traspasar Sealand, aprovech que Correos de Espaa ofreca la posibilidad a empresas y particulares de personalizar sus sellos, para encargar una tirada de sellos conmemorativos de la puesta en marcha de la operacin de transferencia del Principado de Sealand por parte de dicha inmobiliaria espaola. La tirada de estos sellos ha sido, a pesar de que fue encargada con motivos propagandsticos, reducida. Slo una pequea cantidad fue puesta en circulacin y stos son a todos los efectos -ya que se trata de sellos emitidos por Espaa-, reconocidos universalmente y vlidos para uso postal internacional.

La Seleccin de ftbol de Sealand es el equipo deportivo representativo de dicha Micronacin en los partidos oficiales y es miembro de la NF Board y dirigida por la Asociacin nacional de ftbol de Sealand fundada en el 2003. Su mejor jugador es Dan Hughes con 6 goles en el partido con Raetia.

Su primer partido se jug en el 4 de marzo del 2004 con las Islas Aland la cual el resultado fue un empate 2-2, y su peor derrota fue un 8-0 con Occitania, despus de ser vencido por Tamil Eelam 5 a 3, aunque les result satisfactorio empatar con Somalilandia 2-2 y vencer a Seborga 3 a 0 y a Raetia 6 a 1.[citarequerida]

Excerpt from:

Sealand – Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

 Posted by at 2:45 pm  Tagged with:

Superintelligence Audiobook | Nick Bostrom | Audible.com

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Jun 192016
 

This book is more frightening than any book you’ll ever read. The author makes a great case for what the future holds for us humans. I believe the concepts in “The Singularity is Near” by Ray Kurzweil are mostly spot on, but the one area Kurzweil dismisses prematurely is how the SI (superintelligent advanced artificial intelligence) entity will react to its circumstances.

The book doesn’t really dwell much on how the SI will be created. The author mostly assumes a computer algorithm of some kind with perhaps human brain enhancements. If you reject such an SI entity prima facie this book is not for you, since the book mostly deals with assuming such a recursive self aware and self improving entity will be in humanities future.

The author makes some incredibly good points. He mostly hypothesizes that the SI entity will be a singleton and not allow others of its kind to be created independently and will happen on a much faster timeline after certain milestones are fulfilled.

The book points out how hard it is to put safeguards into a procedure to guard against unintended consequences. For example, making ‘the greater good for the greatest many’ the final goal can lead to unintended consequence such as allowing a Nazi ruled world (he doesn’t give that example directly in the book, and I borrow it from Karl Popper who gave it as a refutation for John Stuart Mill’s utilitarian philosophy). If the goal is to make us all smile, the SI entity might make brain probes that force us to smile. There is no easy end goal specifiable without unintended consequences.

This kind of thinking within the book is another reason I can recommend the book. As I was listening, I realized that all the ways we try to motivate or control an SI entity to be moral can also be applied to us humans in order to make us moral to. Morality is hard both for us humans and for future SI entities.

There’s a movie from the early 70s called “Colossus: The Forbin Project”, it really is a template for this book, and I would recommend watching the movie before reading this book.

I just recently listened to the book, “Our Final Invention” by James Barrat. That book covers the same material that is presented in this book. This book is much better even though they overlap very much. The reason why is this author, Nick Bostrom, is a philosopher and knows how to lay out his premises in such a way that the story he is telling is consistent, coherent, and gives a narrative to tie the pieces together (even if the narrative will scare the daylights out of the listener).

This author has really thought about the problems inherent in an SI entity, and this book will be a template for almost all future books on this subject.

Originally posted here:

Superintelligence Audiobook | Nick Bostrom | Audible.com

 Posted by at 2:40 pm  Tagged with:

Warlike Flyboys – Ww3 – Download Plane Simulator …

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Jun 192016
 

Try your skills and join epic battles in the great game Warlike Flyboys – WW3! Aerial wars take place right here and right now! Have you got any ideas about what the third world war may look like? Huge and contemporary weapons and great aviation forces are waiting for their hour of triumph! Take your pilot’s seat without hesitation and raise your iron machine constructed for destruction high into the skies. All the airplanes are extremely powerful and furious, so dont let them stay still not even for a second and get ready for massive attacks! Look through your tasks in the ravishing game Flyboys – WW3 and dont stop while destroying enemies bases. Warlike Flyboys – WW3 like any other serious simulator of its genre includes all well-known standards like non-stop action and explding the enemies bases. That’s why you should be careful and choose your vehicle – some big plane to control, fly and fight. Firstly, you may realize what air forces should be chosen: is your airplane belonging to Sabres or the USA? Have you chosen your destiny? Lets start and have fun!

3D game with easy controls

High-quality graphics, music and effects

Some chances for training

25 planes and 3 levels of difficulty

Download Plane Simulator – Absolutely FREE

Windows 98/ME/2000/2003/XP

DirectX 9

Pentium III processor and higher

256 Mb RAM

50 Mb hard drive space

32 Mb 3D video card

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Warlike Flyboys – Ww3 – Download Plane Simulator …

 Posted by at 2:40 pm  Tagged with:

Cyberpunk Books – Goodreads

 Cyberpunk  Comments Off on Cyberpunk Books – Goodreads
Jun 192016
 

Cyberpunk is a science fiction genre noted for its focus on “high tech and low life”. The name is a portmanteau of cybernetics and punk and was originally coined by Bruce Bethke as the title of his short story “Cyberpunk,” published in 1983. It features advanced science, such as information technology and cybernetics, coupled with a degree of breakdown or radical change in the social order.

Cyberpunk plots often center on a conflict among hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but ten

Cyberpunk plots often center on a conflict among hackers, artificial intelligences, and megacorporations, and tend to be set in a near-future Earth. The settings are usually post-industrial dystopias but tend to be marked by extraordinary cultural ferment and the use of technology in ways never anticipated by its creators (“the street finds its own uses for things”). Much of the genre’s atmosphere echoes film noir, and written works in the genre often use techniques from detective fiction.

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Cyberpunk Books – Goodreads

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