In the Year 3000 – WIF into the Future

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3000-001

A Vision Of The World

In 1000 years

“What will the world will be like in 1,000 years” seems like an absurd question to even ask, especially since the degree to which the world changes in 100 years is overly ambitious enough to consider.  Yet curious people do wonder, and certain people like Ray Kurzweil (thought by many to be the Thomas Edison of today) spend all their time working to find the answers.

According to Ray, some of the same people living today will still be around in 1,000 years!  Technological visionary, leading inventor of our time, the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, inductee into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, and the recipient of 19 Doctorates and Honors from 3 U.S. Presidents, Ray gives us the top ten reasons to look ahead.

10.  A Future With Aliens?

alien-contact

Contact with other species, other civilizations?  With technological advancements looming large in the distance, a future with aliens may in fact be on the horizon.  Ray believes that advancements in technology will soon enable us to travel farther and longer into space, where we may encounter other planets and other life.

According to Arthur C. Clarke, another futurist, inventor, and science-fiction writer, technology is advanced enough already for us to make contact with aliens.  To our good humor, some people already believe they have come in contact with alien life, and television shows like “Alien Hunters” and the like are around to prove it.  Ray, more of a humanist than an alien hunter, focuses more on technology and of the progress of humankind and our current world, which takes us to our next topic – the future of the Earth itself.

9.  The Future Of The Earth?

future-earth

When people think of the future, they tend to think of the planet Earth, and the mark we are leaving on its oceans and forests, and the havoc we have brought to it.  Which lands will be swallowed up by rising sea levels?  About climate changes: how to support a rapidly growing population in respect to food, fuel and natural resources?

Many pessimists foresee the worst (many doubt we will even survive another 1,000 years).  Material greed is swallowing up the Earth’s resources faster than it can replenish itself.  The future, in this vein, sounds rather dark, but Ray believes technology is going to help solve many environmental problems.

Still, who can stop asteroids and comets from colliding with the Earth?  Who can keep it from spinning off its axis like a marble shot out of bounds on the play yard?  And what about exploding stars in space shooting out bursts of gamma-rays stronger than millions of atomic bombs in far-away galaxies, with power strong enough to obliterate everything within millions of light years?  What kind of future exists for the Earth then?  According to Ray, much more interesting things, and less destructive possibilities, are on the horizon.

8.  Solutions To Energy And Environmental Concerns?

nanotechnology

Ray believes that environmental and energy concerns can, and will, be solved with technological solutions in the future.  He claims that that the Earth will not turn into a polluted, over-crowded, tumultuous wasteland, but instead believes that nanotechnology will be capable of cleaning up environmental damage, meet our energy needs, purify water and air, and capture the energy of the Sun through solar panels and more.

He believes that we will meet our projected energy needs by 2030, with the development of these new technologies.  Will his overly-positive predictions win out to restore the planet Earth, or will the technology only be more waste to add to the heap?  Certainly the next 1,000 years will reveal the correct answers to Ray’s claims, either about our resourcefulness or about our inability to solve the problems we have created.

7.  Population Growth Problems Solved?

population-overload

1,000 years from now, the world population is estimated to be roughly 14 billion.  Although such predictions are unlikely to be accurate, the concern is real, and more and more people are working fast and hard for solutions.  Will engineered food solve hunger and meet with growing food needs, or will it prove to be harmful to our health and environment in the end?

According to Ray, one day we will take in our nutrition like plants take in the sun, and as technology grows more advanced, our dependence on the Earth’s resources with become less and less.  Sounds like something straight out of a science fictionbook, only better, if it proves to be true.

6.  Technology Of The Future

merge-with-technology

Ray calls it “the singularity,” a time when technology itself will merge with those creating it.  From devices in our eyeglasses and contact lenses, to displays being written directly into our retinas, emergent technology will not only change us, but will change everything.  There will be a time when we can use space itself to generate energy.

By changing our DNA, Ray believes that farther and farther space travel will be possible.  Sound like a technological utopia?  Certainly.  Taking it a step further, the technology we are currently creating will soon grow more intelligent than we are.  What to do then?  Simple: merge with that technology in order to compete.  Due to our slower evolutionary processes, only by doing this will we be able to survive against the uprising of future intelligent machines.  One day soon, Ray says, you will not be able to tell the difference between human and artificial intelligence.  This brings us to the next section on our list: intelligent machines.

5.  Visions Of Intelligent Machines

man-and-robot

The emergence of intelligent machines, Ray believes, will quantify in the future as another species, regardless of whether we encounter life outside of our solar system or not.  He believes we will be sharing our planet with robots, who will soon surpass our own intelligence, and only by becoming like the technology we create, will we be able to compete with those intelligent machines.  Ray says “the result will be an intimate merger between the technology-creating species and the technological evolutionary process it spawned.”

Ray explains extensively the exponential growth of technology versus the growth of evolutionary processes.  Intelligent machines will make it imperative to change ourselves and, in the process, we will be changing the evolution of life through intelligent machines.

4.  Space Exploration In 1,000 Years

galaxies

Humanity has not kept its feet on the ground and, whether it be to the limits of the Earth or our own biology, we are always on a quest to discover and explore our world, and the space beyond it.  In 1,000 years, just how far will we have gone?  According to Ray, we will have mapped out much more of the the cosmos.  We will be able to foretell future cosmological occurrences that can affect the Earth, and the repercussions that any those events could incur for humankind.

The biggest reason for space exploration, however, is not only to discover how the universe works, but to scout out new and interesting planets that have the potential to support human life, should unfavorable conditions appear.  So far, possible planets to live on that we have discovered are too far out of our reach, which brings us to our next section on the list.

3.  The Future Of Space Travel

Astronaut-in-space

Futurist Arthur C. Clarke, considered a visionary about space travel, believes it is only a matter of time before we have safe and economical space propulsion systems.  The questions, however, are not just in building that technology and making it affordable, but to change ourselves to withstand the negative effects that space travel has on the human body.  Ray believes that we will soon be able to alter our own DNA with emerging technology in order to withstand space travel, as DNA does not fare well in space. By doing so, we will be able to take farther and farther journeys out into space.

2.  Progress With Extending Human Life?

nanobot-dna

Of all that has been listed, number two probably has the most evidence to support it, specifically in recent years. Gerontologists and scientists are finding more and more evidence that the aging process can be slowed down.  Ray speaks extensively on how nanotechnology and nano-bots will slow the aging process, by travelling into the bloodstream to destroy pathogens, reverse the aging process, and correct DNA errors.  To add to that, Ray even talks about downloading the mind into another carrier, which is easily the most unlikely, but most thought-provoking, idea that Ray has introduced yet.

1.  Future Visions Of The Elimination Of Death

immortal-man

If stopping the aging process wasn’t enough to shock you, try taking it even farther by saying that future technologies will stop aging completely, one day making death obsolete.  Ray believes that, one day, humans will live forever.  He refutes the idea that “the purpose of life is to accept death,” that “death always means a profound loss in relationships, talent and potential, but that up until now we have had no choice but to rationalize it.”

In Ray’s earlier book, “Fantastic Voyage:  Live Long Enough to Live Forever,” Ray writes about how people can start taking steps now to extend their lives, until the advancements in medical technology have a chance to catch up.  Nanotechnology will develop over time, becoming more capable to repair and restore our body parts.  Biotechnology is advancing and will soon make it possible to turn on and off enzymes, the workhorses of biology.  Current medical technology is taking its first steps in using these techniques to destroy HDL in the blood to stop atherosclerosis, as well as many other diseases.  By creating ever-increasingly powerful technology, the future means extending human life.  Life expectancy grows longer and longer every year: where life expectancy was 37 years in the 1800’s, a thousand years from now, according to Ray, it may just be infinite!

Technology merging with biology? There is no doubt you will peruse our Top Ten list with all kinds of skepticism, and you certainly should be; these are perhaps some of the most radical ideas about the future yet.  Still, for someone like Ray Kurzweil, who has accomplished great feats within his lifetime, is there some value in even considering it?  Whether you are a believer in science, futurists, in prophets or Gods, or merely in the “little things,” certainly these visions of the future are big enough to color your imagination, and light up a place where space, time and possibility surrounds us all on every side.

In the Year 3000

– WIF into the Future

Avocado, Cappuccino & Whiskey – Word Origin Concoctions

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Everyday Words With Weird Origins

Words have surrounded us for eternity, and their existence makes communication possible. Most of us are clueless regarding the origins of the words, and only a handful have had the distinct honor of naming an object recognized by the reputed dictionaries. In order to curb the curiosities of the countless, we have compiled a list of words bearing strange origins.


10. Cappuccino

cappuccino-words

Now, who would have thought that the word cappuccino would be derived from the clothing of monks? Only Marty and Rust from the acclaimed series True Detective might have been able to link Cappuccino and the Capuchin monks. Espresso, hot milk and milk foam goes into making a cappuccino. Moving further without beating about the bush, it is reported that the capuchin monks of the 16th century regularly strutted the streets of Italy wearing long and pointy hoods, known as capuche. The monks subsequently received a formal nickname, Capuchin, for their stand out hoods. As, it turns out, the brown shade of the hoods then proved to be instrumental in the naming of the coffee drink. This event took place around the 20th Century. This origin of the word makes us believe that the world is a small place linked to everything, and one can derive inspiration from anything.

9. Salary

Payment day

We believe no one really needs an introduction to salary. We just gain immeasurable pleasure when it is that time of the month to receive our salary, don’t we? For the impatient blokes, we’ll immediately get into further details behind the origin of the word. Many centuries ago, salt was truly treasured and people had figured by then, that the ingredient improved flavor ten fold. So, Roman soldiers worth their salts were given money- a salarium to buy salt. We now know where the term “worth their salt” truly originates from. As time flew by, salarium (derived from the Latin word Salarius ‘of salt’) started being known as money received by the soldiers. As people started getting lazier and less creative, the term broadened, and it started being recognized as money paid to anyone in general. Receiving salary is sweet, but knowing the origin of the term leads us to question the taste buds of the people back then.

8. Robot

robot-words

The guys can truly vouch for this; we genuinely had an epic childhood with the presence ofrobots. A robot doesn’t have feelings, and it does what the master commands. The name Robot is derived from a Czech word Robata which translates to forced labor. Well, it is certainly not forced if the robots don’t object, is it? Getting into details, the word was initially brought into light by the Czech writer Karel Capek. His play, Rossum’s Universal Robots, which was released in 1920 first featured the word. Brace yourself for a twist; it was later revealed that the word was, in fact, coined by Karel’s brother Josef Capek. This information gained momentum when Karel wrote a letter to the Oxford English Dictionary, where he mentioned Josef of being the creative force behind the word’s origins. People of this century might not have adopted the same measures, but people back then valued loyalty before everything else.

7. Avocado

avocado-words

The avocado tree is originated from Central America and Mexico. The plant is cultivated in countries with very warm or hot climates. The fruit, when ripened, is very tasty and is used in many savory dishes. The fruit consists 67% fat and mostly made up of oleic acid and monounsaturated fat. An oil is extracted from the fat found in this fruit, and can be used in cosmetics, lubricants, and cooking oil. Avocado oil is also used in the manufacturing of numerous skin-care products. The original name for avocado is Ahuacatl, an Aztec word which means testicle. It can also be used as an aphrodisiac to stimulate the sex drive. So the next time you pick up a beautiful avocado at the market, do not think about the origin of the word, but the tasty and savoury dishes that you can create with this fruit. We will vote to keep the current name “avocado” as the testicle fruit just might not bode well with everyone.

6. Juggernaut

juggernaut-words

According to esteemed dictionaries, a juggernaut is a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force. It is something that cannot be stopped. The word originates from the land of Gods and Goddesses, India. The term bears its origins from the Hindi word Jagannath which translates to Lord of the World. During the 14th century, devotees of the Hindu God Vishnu would sacrifice themselves by being trampled on by humongous carts, also known as Ratha Yatra temple car. God Vishnu is known to be the creator, preserver and destroyer of everything. The lord is the master of the past, the present and future. The carriages were known to hold images of the Almighty. It is just mighty scary, isn’t it? How could one possibly sacrifice one’s life without doing anything productive? Human sacrifices are very mysterious, and it allows us to ponder if we are truly capable of being emotionless and selfless. No one, bar the casualties, really knows if the sacrifices turned out to be fruitful.

5. Whisky

whiskey-words

No great story ever started with someone eating a delicious salad. Many forgettable and unforgettable incidents have occurred with the intake of whisky. For all the people who do not have a clue to the meaning of whisky, whisky is a spirit distilled from malted grain, barley or rye. Kids shouldn’t try it, it will cause them to choke on their puke. The word whisky is originated from the Old English word usquebae. The word is derived from the words uisce, which means water, and bethu, which translates to life. Summing it up, the word whisky basically means ‘’water of life.’’ We have finally come across something that makes total sense. The spelling of this particular term is often confusing. People in the States and Canada usually spell the term as whiskey while whisky is more common in Japan, Scotland, England and Wales. We have opted for whisky because we’ve just downed a couple of pegs, and we don’t care.

4. Hazard

hazard-words

As children, we’ve been told by our parents not to go near hazardous objects. We are all grown up now, and we intend to tackle the origins of the word hazard. A hazard is defined as a dangerous situation that poses a threat to life, health and environment. Hazards are normally dormant, but if active, it could cost someone’s life; once bitten twice, there won’t be a twice. The word hazard is reported to have been derived at the time of the Crusaders. Historians believe that the word originated from the Arabic word al-zahr which translates to dice. Players would then use the al-zahr as means to gamble and bet on. Those who would make correct predictions would be deemed the winners. It’s funny how the word would evolve to be what it is from a game of dice. It would have only done justice to the word if the losers of the game lost their lives.

3. Trivia

trivia-words

We have been tempted to punch kids who’ve pestered us with annoying trivia, haven’t we? It would have been all good, had we known the answers to their endless questions. The fact of the matter is that we didn’t and we simply looked like losers. Well here’s an opportunity to get back at them, without violence of course. The word trivia originates from the Latin word trivium (plural trivia), where “tri” stands for triple and “via” means way. So, basically, the word means a place where three ways meet; it is an intersection of three roads. This word gained prominence in Rome. People of Rome would often chit-chat with others when they met at a trivium; women probably went about gossiping and men very likely talked about the stinking government. The word trivalis in Classical Latin meant an appropriate street corner and commonplace. In medieval times, the word gained broader meaning and came to refer grammar, rhetoric and logic.

2. Muscle

muscle-words

All of us know where muscles come from. It comes from countless hours in the gym followed with a strict diet. It requires discipline and hot girls at the gym to serve as motivators. All brawns and no brains make us Johnny Bravo. So, here’s a bit of insight to the origins of the word muscle. Muscle is derived from the Latin word musculus which translates to little mouse. So, people from ancient Rome thought it made sense to call the muscles flexing from one’s body little mouse. They thought a flexed muscle bore a striking resemblance to a moving mouse with the tendon serving as the mouse’s tail. If that was the trend now, many of us would actually use it as an excuse to stay away from the gym. How strange would a world be if muscular men had to cower for fear of being ridiculed by the society?

1. Handicap

handicap-words

Handicap has been defined as a condition that markedly restricts a person’s ability to function physically, mentally, or socially. The term also means a disadvantage imposed on asuperior competitor in sports such as golf, horse racing, and competitive sailing in order to make the chances more equal. Now that the definition of the word is done and dusted, it is time to move forward to the interesting part. The word handicap is known to originate from the old English trading game Hand-in-cap. The game was based on trading possessions, and proceedings would take place with the help of an umpire. The umpire had a responsibility to decide if the items were valued the same, and if not, he had to decide what the difference was. The two players then put the money in a cap. They had to place their hands in the cap and subsequently remove them either holding money or not, to show if they had accepted the terms of the deal. If the two players had similar opinions of the valuation, the umpire would go away the money.

 

Avocado, Cappuccino & Whiskey – Word Origin Concoctions