Prince on money

Prince on money

Harriet Tubman on the 20 dollar bill is an awesome idea. But I think we should also make a new bill that’s worth $19.99, color it purple, and put Prince on it.

Odd dream

I had an odd dream last night.

Odd dreams don’t trouble me… I know they’re just your subconscious mind pretending to make sense out of random electrical impulses. We put way too much meaning into such things. But this one pushed me back a little.

I was in the ER with unbearable pain. The doctors made me wait for painkillers, but when they finally gave me some, they didn’t help. I was still screaming in agony.

Then my older brother – who’s been dead for some years – walked in. Lights reflected off his glasses, obscuring his eyes. He held up a hypodermic and said, “This will stop the pain, but it’ll also kill you. You want?”

I had started to nod my head yes when I woke up.

WATCH: The dad suit

Researchers have developed a special suit that simulates the effects of getting older.

Let’s call it the “dad suit.”

Oh, who am I kidding? Let’s call it the “me suit.”

History

That moment when you realize history doesn’t make any damn sense is when you stop trying to figure out how we got here from there, and instead just try to imagine how it must have been to be alive back then.

Aside from technology, was an average day for an average person in the Rome of 195 CE any different than it is for you? What did the air smell like? Did you have neighbors who were pains in the ass? Did an itch on the inside of your nose bug the hell out of you? Did you have trouble falling asleep?

Humanity may have come a long way, at least, when it comes to electricity, computers and coffee makers. Human beings, not so much.

Brain salad surgery

Brain salad surgery

Some brain surgery may be in my immediate future. Well, not so much brain, but cranial surgery.

I have something called superior semicircular canal dehiscence. There’s a part of the skull that’s supposed to be between my inner ear and my brain… On the left side, it’s gone, and on the right side, it’s almost gone.

One of the treatments is cranial surgery, and a surgeon gets to squish my brains around so he can get to the problem and fix it. The doctor is looking into some new, less-invasive procedures.

Apparently I may have had this problem for many years but have only had symptoms recently. And it’s in both ears, not just the one that was bothering me.

For weeks, it felt like there was something in my left ear. When I tilted my head forward or to the left, the ear would “close,” and it would sound like I was under water. I could hear my jaw moving, my heart beating, and everything echoed. Tilting my head back or to the right would “fix” it.

It’s just an annoyance right now, but for some people they can’t seem to live with it.

The interesting thing the specialist told me is that the procedure to correct it may, in fact, relieve some, not all, of my tinnitus symptoms. That, in itself, would be worth it.

WATCH: How far back in time could you go and still understand English?

You might struggle a bit in the 1600’s. It would be next to impossible to get around in the 1300’s. Good luck if your time machine drops you back to 1000 CE.

Fearing artificial consciousness

Fearing artificial consciousness

Some scientists say we’ll have artificial intelligence more advanced than us by 2050. I prefer to call that “artificial consciousness,” because that’s what we’re really talking about.

But these scientists warn that the coming of artificial consciousness could mean “the extinction of the human race.”

The only reason we freak out at the prospect of sharing our world with artificial intelligence is projection: We naturally think anything or anyone more advanced than us is going to wipe us out — because that’s exactly what WE have done to anyone we perceived as lesser than us.

That’s why our science fiction is filled with stories about alien invasions wiping out humanity, supercomputers taking over the world, and the like. We assume that more advanced aliens and artificial intelligence will have the same morals we do. And that’s what we’re afraid of.

But it’s not necessarily so. It could very well be that the coming of artificial consciousness may be the next step in our evolution, and perhaps help us survive our more murderous and suicidal instincts as a species.

Maybe.

It all hinges on if artificial consciousness shares our morality. If it does, we’re cooked.