While vacillating over my blogging strategy yesterday, I came across a channel–and by came across I mean it was just on–that intrigued me with it’s basic pictures-are-good approach to learning. You may have heard of one of its programs, I believe it was called Seseme Street. Just kidding, but they did explain things just as easily, and I loved it–AND I WAS ENGAGED! I learned about the scary virus known to you common folk (and the Associated Press) as Bird Flu. You probably know by now that this refers to a specific strain of the flu virus H5N1, but where does that name come from? Well the virus is made up of a group of genes, obviously, but the H and N genes are what make it harmful (in all strains of the flu). When it goes into the body, the H protein, hemagglutinin, allows the virus to penetrate cells and take them over and multiply. But as it’s growing, it’s just a single giant fucking flu thing, so in order to separate into other murder cells, it calls upon the mighty powers of the nucleoprotein, N. There be lots of different combinations, which explains why the CDC has a hard time making the flu vaccines every year and why the fizzucked it up last year. Combinations can be harmless, possibly H1N1, or fatal, like H5N1. As of right now, H to the 5-oN1 can be spread from birds to humans but cannot be spread to another human. Buuuut, since we know viruses always mutate, once that deadly virus is in a human and switches up it’s H a little bit, we’re gonna have little problem here. It could be (your choice:) a) worse than 9 [pause] 11 b)lamer than FDR’s legs–what, too soon?
Either way, if we aren’t wiped out by pandemic misfortune or some other biological warfare, we will surely be taken over by robots. iRobot, will indeed come true, and this was reaffirmed yesterday while I was watching the next segment on this informational, but possibly local channel (I say local because then they started talking about the local fire department, and I was like “PEACE OUT!” Actually, I watched that, too, and it was interesting, but only the part about wildfires–did you know there is a spray-on “fireproofing” for houses? AMAZING). There is progressive work to develop robots that are more humanlike, and when I say progressive I mean I was really wowed by this show. The goal of the company was to create robots that would, instead of frustrating people like computers and printers, respond more like humans to stimuli. What does that mean? It means if you have a problem, you can ask the robot to help you solve it. It means if you hug the robot, it will hug you back. That means if you annoy the robot, it will furrow it’s eyebrows and shake it’s head. They are modeling their test robot after a “live” teddybear from the movie AI. These robots will have emotions, learn things, and respond accordingly. Of course their responses are all computer-based, but it’s creepy when a robot gets mad at you and rolls it’s eyes. It’s only a matter of time before they become self aware and kill us all. Seriously, I want a teddy bear that talks to me because I have no friends, but I don’t want it to get mad at me. I certainly don’t want it to kill me or make me take it on cyber walks or anything. If they ever start talking about “The rules of being a robot” or something like in iRobot…you know we are for sure doomed.