Monday, April 23, 2007

An Argument For "Youth"-anasia, Redux

Apologies again for those who come here looking for space-related commentary (I would not hazard to use the word "insight" since I'm sure a fair number of our readers would be loathe to call us insightful...). This posting, in part a followup to this one:

An Argument for Euthanasia

has been spurred by the latest gem I found in my morning paper:

We Wanted to Kill Someone - Teen Killers

There are those who have objected to my comments in the past (backed up by the psychiatric profession, no less) that people who begin by torturing and killing animals have a high likelihood of moving on to people at some point. Sociopaths come in many flavours, from our recent gun-toting loon at Virginia Tech and the gang-bangers who roam the streets of towns around the world to the soccer hooligans and thugs who are regularly featured in the news media (outside the US) for their behaviour at sporting events.

But these two little angels really defy description. And should be removed from the gene pool before they are allowed to breed. Or, as the mother of the victim rightly said, "If we had a death penalty they should get the death penalty."

Submitted for your consideration - and to raise a thought point. Is our species ready to make the leap off this rock, before we figure out what is fundamentally wrong with our culture/civilisation/society/whatever, or are we doomed to carry the seeds of this sort of behaviour with us throughout the cosmos? And, if we were to run into an alien species somewhere in the course of our relentless expansion, would they have the same sorts of behaviours in their society, or would they be like the Asgard* in Stargate?

*(in action, not appearance - because, frankly, they do look a lot like cheesy puppets to me..)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Looking for a New Political Party...

So on a random surf this morning I came across this particularly stupid editorial/ article:

Pigs in Space

Courtesy of The Nation magazine. Thankfully most of the commentors on that posting excoriated the author for his naive and regressive viewpoint. I think I recognised a few fellow Cynics readers over there....

So here's my problem - I can't find a political party in the US that represents the majority of my views. I think this is a problem that is much broader than the mainstream realises.

I've been told that my views - which can be briefly described as "government should not spend money it doesn't have, and should stay the hell out of my private life" (or, alternatively, a fiscal conservative and social liberal) would fall into the category of "libertarian" - but the Libertarian party (with the notable exception of Ron Paul, who is a libertarian regardless of his actual affiliation) has NO traction in US politics.

They say that if you're 20 and aren't a democrat, you have no heart, and if you're 30 and aren't a republican, you have no brain. But what happens when you turn 40...?

Mr. Simonyi - congratulations on your well-deserved trip. I certainly envy you, and would do the same if I had the cash. As for the hordes of Xena-worshippers out there (you know who you are) - i've got a separate post for you in a moment...

Why Homeschool: Announcing the Carnival of Space

We're Going To The Carnival!

Ok, not really. I'll admit I'm intrigued by this (new to me) concept of the "Carnival" in cyberspace. Consider it a new form of social meme-ing enabled by cyberspace... and yet another example of how electrons triumph over atoms.

Thanks and congratulations to Henry Cate for organising this forum for spectators and participants alike.

For those of you who are visiting the Cynics for the first time - welcome. Be prepared, we aren't like your "usual" space bloggers. To understand some of the terminology, and philosophy, that underpins the Cynics' positions, I invite you to go back into our archives from a year ago and read through the postings. You will find terms like "space tragic" explained there.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pauly Shore... your agent is calling

In the "life imitating art (imitating life)" category...

Saw this news item in the Dutch News this morning.

Space Agency Wants Mars Volunteers

Seems the European Space Agency, having missed the whole Biodome saga here in the US back in the 90's, wants to run an isolation trial of 6 victims/volunteers "isolated in metal tanks for 18 months."

Granted, i'm guessing they won't have to grow their own food, but I have a feeling that even if this actually gets kicked off, the simulated "mission" is going to quietly be "cancelled" somewhere along the way when either (a) the Jack Nicholson character goes nuts and tries to kill his fellow mars explorers, (b) they realise that they forgot a recharger for their iPod or some other key techno device they'll need to keep from dying of boredom, or (c) a real emergency actually does come up (although apparently appendicitis is not considered such an emergency....). Even so, I suspect such a cancellation will occur with the usual self-congratulatory kudos for all that they have learned even though they didn't complete the mission.

Because, you know, in real space, you get do-overs too.