Killer Robots

The Mountain Summer Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Kristie. Orgovyx. National Geographic, October 2009. Learning basic botany. Harder than I thought. Resilience. Zen. Chan. Tibetan. Vedanta. Avatars. Shiva. Brahma. Vishnu. Ganesha. Lakshmi. Zoroaster. Lao Tze. The old man. Zhuangzi. Exoplanets. Exudates. Exdates. Today’s date. This July 5th, 2024 life. Great Sol. All planets.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Periodic Table

One brief shining: Cancer has the same flavor as the tale of the Scorpion and Frog, your own cells growing growing growing until they sink along with the rest of you.


PSA cell

N.B.: Yesterday I referenced castration resistant prostate cancer. Castration resistant is a metric, no longer part of the treatment. That is, the standard of androgen deprivation therapy-a very, very low amount of androgens, male hormones, in the body-is the amount equivalent to that of a castrated man. In fact, even for sex offenders chemical castration, which is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) used off book, is the norm. If prostate cancer grows in spite of ADT, then you are said to have castration resistant prostate cancer. It requires new treatment.

Wanted to make that clear. And, I do not have it.



Taking a basic botany class on Coursera, as I mentioned. Only the second class session and I’m in over my head. This session focuses on how plants see. Turns out plants see more than we do, more of the electromagnetic spectrum. How a plant grows, when it germinates from a seed, when it stops growing, when it folds up for the night or opens up for the day, all controlled by phytochromes in the photochromic receptor system.

I’m used to taking a class, then a test, and doing better than well. In this case I took the test right after the session. I did not do close to well. Thought I understood when I obviously did not. So today I plan to study before I retake the test. You have multiple tries to better your score.

Not a big surprise, really. This is science and it has right and wrong answers. I’m more of a big picture, relativistic, let’s consider the opposing perspective guy. In case you just said, wait a minute, science insists on the opposing perspective through the experimental process. Well, ok. Not quite the same, but similar.

Madras Courier

Just a moment: Here’s how we end ourselves. The Era of Killer Robots is Here. NYT, The Daily, July 9, 2024. Guess a dystopian writer got this part first. Imagine a technologically advanced but smaller nation confronting a brutal, much larger rival who is fine with using its citizens as cannon fodder. Imagine that smaller nation loses access to sophisticated weaponry already designed and under manufacture. What does it do?

Yes. The Ukraine has tapped its significant technology sector to automate its weaponry and create new weapons using drones and other high tech, easily available machines. That, in and of itself, is not the problem since a lot of weapons have high tech components.

So, what is the problem? Ukraine has lost many of its fighting age citizens and faces a shortage of soldiers. In that situation and willing to do whatever it takes to fend off the Russian Bear, it was inevitable that they would produce weapons that not only have high tech killing potential, but weapons that can make the decision to fire on their own.

That’s SkyNet territory. Without a human mediator it’s all about the algorithm and the sensors. The deeper ethical concerns get set aside when survival is at stake. Understandable, but very dangerous. For us all.