« November 11, 2007 - November 17, 2007 | Main | November 25, 2007 - December 1, 2007 »

November 22, 2007

real quickly

Nearly forgot, but Happy Thanksgiving, you wonderful old Savings & Loan!

I am the type to give thanks, and one of the things I'm giving thanks for is the continued presence of your eyeballs.  So thanks, you eyeballs!

But I'm also the type to quote this passage from the listserv (or Bad Signal, as it's called) from Warren Ellis:

Don't forget, my Yanqui readers, the true meaning of Thanksgiving: give your neighbours an infected blanket this Thursday and then move into their houses after they're dead.

So let's thank all those indigenous peoples while we're at it.

Posted by mrbrent at 3:02 PM

November 20, 2007

gawker: no werewolves or pirates, then no me

I'm not sure if this counts as interesting, and I doubt it qualifies as ominous, but locally-important website Gawker has decided that nothing complements snark like social network functionality.  So now, when filling your face with gossip about Ron Burkle or the ubiquity of Julia Allison, you may rate your friends! or send a hug! or whatever Facebooky time-wasting behavior you choose.

And not to smack on Gawker, whose smackability is the topic of some other post.  I'm sure other, more specialized sites will follow suit, and then soon, we denizens of the ones and zeros will be nothing but fractured tribes of shared interest, and friendship will be more a function of exclusivity than a characterization of the relationship between two sentients.

I know that this is part and parcel of the whole Web 2.0 assault on our dignity that we've been hearing about for two or three years, but I do sincerely hope that it is met publicly by the same lonely tumbleweed crossing the desert that I feel in my little shriveled heart.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:13 AM

November 19, 2007

the age of living bad sci fi is here

Further to this weekend's ruminations on how your Thanksgiving dinner might as well have been grown in a vat, please enjoy this link to a Wired magazine story discussing the advent of genetic sequencing on a consumer level.  Well, not so much a complete sequencing, but a quick scan of the usual suspects in your DNA that could have medical implications down the road.  Not so much a reading of your fortune, but a cold appraisal of your medical predisposition.

Doesn't that sound like fun?

The advent of retail genomics will make a once-rare experience commonplace.  Simply by spitting into a vial, customers of these companies will become early adopters of personalized medicine.  We will not live according to what has happened to us (that knee injury from high school or that 20 pounds we've gained since college) nor according to what happens to most Americans (the one-in-three chance men have of getting cancer, or women have of dying from heart disease, or anyone has for obesity).  We will live according to what our own specific genetic risks predispose us toward.

And once the utopian shock of this wears off, also consider the unintended consequences of these retail genomics: three pack a day smokers, swilling fortified wine all the day long, safe in the knowledge that they are not genetically predisposed to addiction or any of the correlated liver/lung/heart diseases.

I know, there are aspects scarier than drinking and smoking, but we have years to contemplate.

Oh wait.  Guess we don't have years, as that sound was the sound of the future slapping you right inna face.

Posted by mrbrent at 9:26 AM