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Alien cult claims to have produced first human clone
A cult which believes that humans were first created by aliens claimed yesterday that it had won the clandestine and increasingly bizarre race to produce a human clone. It said a baby girl was born on Thursday from an egg fertilised by a skin cell from her mother.

If you've got a sense of humor, THERE'S PLENTY MORE! A UFO in a volcano. A race-car driver turned prophet. Alien-Cloning-Cult! A hedonist playground for sexual experimentation! SEE MORE BELOW:
- A gorgeous group of alien spawn hones a hedonistic hankering for sex from
- Thorough description of the "Raelians" (from the Skeptic's Dictionary)

The RaŽlians believe the rather absurd idea that a race of superior beings worked for thousands of years in a laboratory to create all our insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses, etc., not to mention all their lovelies that have gone extinct. And that they waited 25,000 years before they decided to reveal their handiwork to a French race-car driver (who claims he spotted their UFO in a volcano). And then told him that the message is to clone ourselves so we can be immortal. (Then again, is this story any stranger than the ones in the Bible?)

Claude Vorilhon, is a Frenchman and former motor-sport journalist and race-car driver who calls himself RaŽl. He claims that on December 13, 1973, he was in a volcano near Clermont-Ferrand, France, when he saw a UFO "7 meters in diameter made of a very shiny silver metal and moving in a total silence." He says a radiant being emerged and entrusted him with a message revealing the true origin of mankind. They told him that henceforth he would be known as RaŽl, which means "messenger." He said he was taken to the planet of the Elohim in a flying saucer in 1975, where he was introduced to noted earthlings such as Jesus, Buddha, Joseph Smith and Confucius. The Elohim, small human-shaped beings with pale green skin and almond eyes, were apparently the original inspiration for the Judeo-Christian God. They informed Vorilhon that he was the final prophet -- sent to relay a message of peace and sensual meditation to humankind under his new name of RaŽl -- before the Elohim would return to Jerusalem in 2025.

RaŽl claims that the Elohim have taught him that the human race was created from the DNA of aliens some 25,000 years ago. (In fact, all life on earth was created in alien laboratories.) Among other things, RaŽl has also learned that cloning is the way to immortality and there is no God or soul. According to RaŽl, our alien creators want us to be beautiful and sexy and enjoy a sensuous life, free from the restrictions of traditional Judeo-Christian morality.

RaŽl's success seems to derive from providing a structured environment for decadent behavior: He offers a no-guilt playground for hedonism and sexual experimentation. Fortunately, the RaŽlians are big on using condoms.

posted by Hal 5:31 PM

What does the collective sound of the Internet sound like? "Listening Post," an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, is attempting to answer that by transforming collective online activity and communication into a multi-layered sound installation. Countless others are with you when you browse the web, some reading the same words at the same time, and yet you have no way of sensing their presence. Listening Post gives voice to this vast, silent world, transforming collective online activity and communication into a multi-layered sound installation. This uniquely designed space monitors thousands of online exchanges in real time, revealing the patterns and rhythms of people communicating with each other. ...collected in real-time from thousands of chat rooms, forums, newsgroups, bulletin boards, and other public online communication channels. A tonal soundscape underlies the spoken text, its pitches and timbres responding to changes in the flow and content of the messages. Details about the project, including sample sounds and research papers, can be founds at the project web site:

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 6:42 AM

When the web starts thinking for itself
David Green - - 20-12-2002
Through enabling easy, widespread publishing the web has had enormous social consequences, dramatically altering human behaviour and expectations in information retrieval, knowledge sharing and collaborative working. However, the web as it currently exists makes searching and data exchange difficult. His (Tim Berners Lee, the creator of the web)...Semantic Web Road Map, published on the website of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the non-profit body that co-ordinates global web standards development, has helped spawn research all over the world into the standards and infrastructure that could deliver a web in which low-level information retrieval and processing is automated. The semantic web is intended to complement humans in areas in which they do not perform well, such as processing large volumes of information quickly or analysing large texts for certain pieces of information. The question is how much information about our behaviours and content preferences should agents digress to other agents, databases and systems? Similarly, agents will need to authenticate the veracity of content sources and other agents they meet through the use of digital signatures. This is of particular concern when much future crime will involve the more profitable theft of personal details rather than artefacts. ...Agents will also dynamically adapt pages and add links to related content, identifying connections between concepts.

The Open Directory project's slogan is 'Humans do it better'. Tim Berners Lee's vision is that the semantic web will do it better ('it' being low-level information discovery and exchange), thus enabling humans to do better things. This symbiotic intelligence of people plus computers plus intelligence agents that offer immediate access to humanity's collective knowledge does sound somewhat utopian. ...raises the spectre of a self-adaptive intelligence that quickly surpasses our ability to comprehend it. Would such a global brain act as a digital dictator where individuals would have a secondary role to society's demands? ...internet appeared to be 'evolving' rather than following the expected model of random inanimate networks. Daniel Dennett commented that "the global communication network is already capable of complex behaviour that defies the efforts of human experts to comprehend". The upshot is that the semantic web may act as a 'collective memory', augmenting individual brain power and accelerating the pace of human learning and discovery. But we will need to careful about controlling its development and our dependence on it if we wish to avoid the emergence of a dystopian digital dictator.

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 11:16 AM

A Supercomputer to Save Earth?
Associated Press - 09:35 AM Dec. 17, 2002 PT
YOKOHAMA, Japan -- It's a machine so fast it performs more computations per second than there are stars in our galaxy. It's so large it's housed in a building the size of an aircraft hangar. Running 35.6 trillion calculations per second, the Earth Simulator is the fastest supercomputer in the world, almost five times faster than the next best one and as fast as the top 5 U.S. supercomputers combined. For the Japanese scientists using the $350 million computer, it means climate research, with its complex simulations and diverse mix of variables, is more accurate than ever before. For the competition, however, it is a shrill wake-up call. Even the U.S. government admits its March activation signaled an end to American dominance of this high-profile field. According to the Department of Energy, the Earth Simulator has put American scientists at a 10- to 100-fold disadvantage in weather studies. And there are much deeper implications. Built by the Tokyo-based NEC Corp., the computer can already predict the path of a typhoon or a volcanic eruption with remarkable precision. Earthquakes are still tough to pinpoint and forecast, but likely epicenters are being identified and their damage mapped out to determine which dams, buildings and highways need reinforcing. Plug in a 5 percent versus 15 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions, scroll forward a few centuries and it can show which cities will be submerged as sea levels rise. Researchers say a powerful computer like the Earth Simulator could also plot the course of a pandemic like AIDS, calculate the spread of a virus after a bioterrorist attack, speed the discovery of new drugs and save millions in research by simulating the interactions between a chemical and the human body.

****but the US government would rather piss away BILLIONS of dollars to assuage some perceived insult by an insignificant tyrant who just happens to be sitting on a competing oil supply*****

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 9:29 AM

China: The First Cloning Superpower
(Charles C. Mann, Wired News, January 2003)
In the Americas and Europe, stem-cell research is the subject of such visceral dismay - and so many government restrictions - that it has been nearly impossible for scientists to make progress. Things are different in China. Not only is the field less controversial, but the government is erecting state-of-the-art lab buildings, creating university appointments with princely perks, and providing the capital to establish new biotech firms. If the current trend continues, the next great discoveries in biomedical science - and the industries they spawn - will occur not in San Francisco and Boston but in Shanghai and Beijing. . . . Across the Pacific, though, public opposition to stem-cell research is weak or nonexistent. In Singapore, stem cells are a key part of a long-standing government initiative to develop new technology industries; Japan is building a stem-cell center in the southern city of Kobe that will have a $45 million annual research budget. South Korea's government endorsed experimentation with frozen embryos this summer . . . No country is pursuing the field more aggressively than China. Stem-cell research fits the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology's ambitious plans to vault the country to the top research ranks - and win a Nobel, which has never been awarded to scientists on the mainland. China has turned on the funding spigots, pumping money through multiple sources: cities, provincial governments, two special national research initiatives. There are also venture capital-like funds from large universities, which set up companies owned by their researchers; national subsidies, including those established to create special research parks; and direct private investment, most of it from Hong Kong tycoons. US venture capitalists have also begun sniffing around. . . . the Chinese government has adopted a position regarding stem-cell research, therapeutic cloning, and regenerative medicine that might be described as brutal realism. Beijing recognizes that some people are going to do stupid things with the technology, possibly even cloning themselves. But the Chinese aren't concerned enough by this prospect to ban the research outright. . . . In fact, Chinese scientists are counting on the West's cultural revulsion to build their lead.

posted by Lorenzo 12:53 PM

Human or Computer? Take This Test
As chief scientist of the Internet portal Yahoo, Dr. Udi Manber had a profound problem: how to differentiate human intelligence from that of a machine. His concern was more than academic. Rogue computer programs masquerading as teenagers were infiltrating Yahoo chat rooms, collecting personal information or posting links to Web sites promoting company products. Spam companies were creating havoc by writing programs that swiftly registered for hundreds of free Yahoo e-mail accounts then used them for bulk mailings. "What we needed," said Dr. Manber, "was a simple way of telling a human user from a computer program." So, in a September 2000 conference call, Dr. Manber discussed the problem with a group of computer science researchers at Carnegie Mellon University. The result was a long-term project that is just now beginning to bear fruit.

The CAPTCHA Project is a project of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. CAPTCHA - Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart (on the Web at

****So, it's come down to humans trying to outsmart computers...*****

posted by An Old Curmudgeon 11:39 AM

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