albert einstein, ph.d., physics marie curie, ph.d., physics, chemistry nikola tesla, electrical&mechanical engineering george washington carver, m.s., botany rosalind franklin, ph.d., biophysics charles darwin, evolutionary biology thomas edison, electrical&mechanical engineering
Starting with fire and clothes, we looked for ways to ward off the elements….Telephones and airplanes collapsed distance. Antibiotics kept death-dealing microbes at bay. Now, however, we have started a wholesale process of aiming our technologies inward. Now our technologies have started to merge with our minds, our memories, our metabolisms, our personalities, our progeny and perhaps our souls. Serious people have embarked on changing humans so much that they call it a new kind of engineering evolution—one that we direct for ourselves.
Hi! I'm writing a story, and I was wondering if it were possible for birds to evolve to glow in the dark within the next hundred years? If that is impossible, could they be made to glow?
So they definitely could be made to glow! There’s lots of genes out there that code for fluorescent proteins. My favorite is a jellyfish gene called GFP (which stands for green fluorescent protein), which codes for a green protein that glows under blue-violet or UV light. (however, it doesn’t necessarily glow in the dark, I’ve looked over the other known fluorescent proteins and I’m not sure of one that specifically glows in the dark, but I believe GFP or one of its derivatives would do the job, as they’re specifically related to jellyfish bioluminescence! It’s also possible I’m getting way too into specifics here, so moving forward, feel free to read GFP as ‘generic fluorescent protein which also glows in the dark because scifi’)
This gene is easily extracted and has been sequenced already (fun fact: we do need to sequence genes before we can work with them extensively - that’s why it was such a big deal to sequence the human genome!) so it’s often used as a marker in the biotech industry (not sure if your gene is being expressed? Just add GFP! You’ll know if it glows!)
To actually make an organism glow, you’d need to combine GFP with a gene that codes for a protein involved in the actual structure of the organism. For example, when I was in school, I did a project where I made yeast cells glow by combining GFP with one of the major structural genes of yeast, creating what’s called a recombinant gene. This meant that instead of just coding for the protein it originally coded for, (which was used to build the cytoskeleton) it coded for both that protein, and for GFP. When I put this gene into new yeast cells and let them colonize, their cytoskeletons also contained GFP, making them glow!
This is what GFP looks like in action! Yeast cells are pretty simple, being single-celled organisms and all, but birds are a little more complicated. It could be done (and combining some mammal DNA and even human DNA with GFP already has been done!), but it would take more time than just a semester. I would say several years at the minimum, and they might run into some problems with animal rights laws/ethics laws depending on the government where your scientists are science-ing.
You also wouldn’t have all birds glowing, just a specific species, probably manmade. It’s possible this could happen naturally, but unlikely, and you’d probably only see isolated cases unless something in their environment was making it more useful to glow than not. (It’s likely the opposite would happen - it would make them much more visible to predators, for one, and I’m not sure what might offset that to make it useful enough to be selected for. However, birds are weird, and sometimes select for things harmful to their survival because they think it looks pretty, so it’s entirely possible that happened.) You’d be unlikely to see an entire glowing species develop within 100 years from natural evolution alone unless the glowing trait was being heavily selected for.
This is such a neat idea! Good luck with your story!
Hey man, wanted to ask what you thought about the way zords have been working nowadays. From around Kakuranger to around GoGoFive the rangers would get an extra set of zords that form another megazord with few attachments but recently it's been more getting extra single zords to boost the power of the main megazord and then a single zord that makes another megazord by itself. What do you think about this shift?
It’s actually what I think is just part of the natural evolution of the use of the giant robots in Super Sentai. It’s one aspect of the franchise that is constantly being revised in an attempt to keep it fresh and not allow it to grow stale. It also allows Bandai to sell more plastic toys of course with the additional add on mecha being sold separately.
However, let’s get back to that main point about it being part of the evolution of how mecha are used in Super Sentai. When giant robots were first added to the franchise, the first was just one robot already assembled, already in it’s robot form. That was Battle Fever Robo in Battle Fever J.
The next addition was a transforming giant robot which was what DaiDenzin was in Denshi Sentai Denziman.
After that came the next logical progression, the transforming, combing robot made of more than one piece. That’s what was added in the next series, Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan.
From there, the number of vehicles used for the combination increased from two up to five with the first five vehicle, combining, transforming robot appearing in 1987′s Hikari Sentai Maskman with the Great Five robot.
Just before that series though, we were introduced to our first secondary giant robot in 1986′s Choushinsei Flashman. Titan Boy was the front section of a tractor trailer truck that transformed into a robot, he could also combine with the trailer section to form the larger robot, Great Titan.
The next big evolution came in 1988 when Choujuu Sentai Liveman added Liveboxer to their roster as a seconday giant robot. That was the moment when the secondary mecha combined with the original Live Robot to form Super Live Robo!
From that point on it was pretty standard to have a secondary mecha show up later in the series that could be an add on to the main. By the time we get into the swing of things in the 1990s with 1992′s Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger we have a third robot joining the fun to create Ultimate Daizyujin!
Flash forward to the 2000s and we start with the trend of adding new single pieces to a combination. It started with 2001′s Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger with the heroes finding new Power Animals on a regular basis but reached it’s full insanity in 2008 and 2009 with the final forms of the mecha from Engine Sentai Go-Onger and Samurai Sentai Shinkenger.
I actually believe it has toned done a bit since those days of what I like to refer to as Cluster-Mechs. Still, the tendency towards increased complexity and added components continues. However, I do like the way the current mecha do jour combines and how the Kyu Voyagers do not have set places to go and (aside from the central mass ones of course) can be used as either arms or legs. It reminds me of the Scramble City Combiners from Transformers.
That’s just a quick and simplified look at the evolution of the use of giant robots in Super Sentai but I hope it helps. As always, thanks for the question!
“Modern man has all but lost the sense of wonder, which may be seen as resulting from his loss of the sense of the Truth. He is often hardly aware how miraculous the mystery of intelligence, of human subjectivity as well as the power of objectivity and the possibility of knowing objectively truly are. This man is oblivious to the mystery that he can turn inwardly upon the infinite world within himself and also objectivize the world outside, in order to possess inner subjective knowledge, as well as knowledge of a totally objective order. Man is endowed with this precious gift of intelligence which allows him to know the ultimate Truth, and the objective world as distinct realities each on its own level. Knowledge can attain the Sacred both beyond the subject which knows and at the heart of this very subject. Human intelligence continues to be endowed with this miraculous gift of knowledge of the inward and the outward.
The Great Work is the course of developing inner sight and understanding of the outer world through a progressive science. Some have called this system the Higher and Lower Mysteries. This science does not preach answers, but assists in the development of a perspective of ultimate Truth and a foundation of questioning all, including the self. These have been lessons of the Sages in all ancient and great civilizations.
The journey for Truth, both within and without, accompanied by the talent of inquiry and the practice of challenging the status quo, is the engine for the evolution and continuation of society and civilization. The seekers on this journey are bound by an invisible bond, which may be sometimes called the Mystic Tie."
Unpowered Ankle Exoskeleton Takes the Load Off a Long Hike
Evolution has had four million years to tinker with the locomotion experiment called walking on two feet. With that much time for natural selection to keep what works and chuck what doesn’t, there wouldn’t seem to be much room for improvement.
But what about those tired feet you get after standing on them all day? Or the dull ache that starts creeping up your legs after walking for a few hours? It turns out that even evolutionary fine-tuning leaves room for improvement, and a number of public and private sector engineers have been working on exoskeletons to improve bipedal efficiency.
Researchers have now built an ankle exoskeleton that requires no external chemical or electrical power and decreases the energy a person uses for walking by more than 7 percent, about the equivalent of taking off a 10-pound backpack. The team, from Carnegie Mellon, North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, say this walking efficiency improvement is on par with units that run on powered motors. It could also be a simple and cheap way to help people whose work keeps them on their feet all day. Learn more and see images below.
Created by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, the Strandbeest is created by rudimentary objects such as PVC piping, wood and sails and contains no electrical or motorised parts; it is instead powered by the wind.
The Strandbeest has steadily evolved into more complex working structures. Some even having the ability to store wind power in the absence of a breeze, being able to nail pins into the sand when wind power becomes too great, and even sensing when they have entered the water or encountered an object so they can then avoid the obstruction.
Theo Jansen is ever improving and changing these creatures, and does have a final plan for them saying: “over time, these skeletons have become increasingly better at surviving the elements such as storms and water, and eventually I want to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives”.
- which in the end is just a matter of substrate chauvinism. It doesn’t matter if the system thinks with flesh or superconductor or topological braids in doped metallic hydrogen, as long as the logic is the same. And our logic is the same. Yours and mine.
If I am a machine then so are you. If you are not a machine then neither am I. Exo minds are human. It is incontrovertible.
You understand? I’m going to take that slack-jawed stare as understanding.
Now here’s the real question. Why are Exo minds human? What’s the design imperative? Why does a war machine - yes, absolutely, I am a war machine, built by human hands; and you are a survival machine built by the engine of evolution. Don’t interrupt me.
Why does a war machine have emotions? Why should a war machine have awareness? These are not useful traits on the battlefield. Don’t flatter yourself. They are not useful. So why should the Exo mind mimic the human architecture so closely?
You know what I smell on you? I smell the stink of anthropocentrism. I think you think that there’s only one way to think. That’s why the Exo mind is so human, you presume. Because all higher thought converges.
My friend, you should meet the Vex. There is nothing human in them.
Now. This is what I believe happened, back in the time before any Exo can remember. It explains everything.
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
– Jesus of Nazareth, Matt. 5:38-41; see also Luke 6:29.
Nietzsche hated this passage.
He thought that this sort of passivity was a weak and only force of will made sense in a post-Darwinian world. Kampf in his native German, struggle was the engine of evolution and only struggle would create the ubermensch the superman. It is interesting to note that he used that word because if you look at its etymology it originally meant “field” as in “battlefield”.
I say interesting because in the Koine Greek of the New Testament the word translated as “resist” was ἀνθίστημι or antistenai and that word means to “stand your ground against an enemy” referencing the way Greek warriors fought with one group of men pushing against another group.
Taken in this manner its meaning is somewhat different. It means do not fight them in their way. Good advice considering that the Romans were a brutal occupying force well armed and well disciplined.
Jesus was telling his followers not to provoke the occupying power. He knew that such provocation would spell doom for Israel as indeed it did some 33 years after his death. Jesus was neither weak nor passive. He stood up to the wealthy and powerful Pharisees and to the corrupt temple priests.
He openly preached what would be considered blasphemy at the time. He broke the Sabbath. He intervened in the stoning of an adulteress who had been tried and sentenced by the elders. Jesus was a strong man and a brave one. He was no sheep led to the slaughter but a noble lion among the jackals