Animalia · Bio · Science · Technology · Videos

De-Extinction: The Case for Reviving Extinct Species

Many extinct species—from the passenger pigeon to the woolly mammoth—might now be reclassified as “bodily, but not genetically, extinct.” They’re dead, but their DNA is recoverable from museum specimens and fossils, even those up to 200,000 years old.

Thanks to new developments in genetic technology, that DNA may eventually bring the animals back to life. Only species whose DNA is too old to be recovered, such as dinosaurs, are the ones to consider totally extinct, bodily and genetically.

But why bring vanished creatures back to life? It will be expensive and difficult. It will take decades. It won’t always succeed. Why even try?

Excerpt from an article written by Stewart Brand for National Geographic News. Continue THERE

Human-ities · Philosophy · Social/Politics · Technology · Theory

We’re Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction

Unthinkable as it may be, humanity, every last person, could someday be wiped from the face of the Earth. We have learned to worry about asteroids and supervolcanoes, but the more-likely scenario, according to Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford, is that we humans will destroy ourselves.

Bostrom, who directs Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, has argued over the course of several papers that human extinction risks are poorly understood and, worse still, severely underestimated by society. Some of these existential risks are fairly well known, especially the natural ones. But others are obscure or even exotic. Most worrying to Bostrom is the subset of existential risks that arise from human technology, a subset that he expects to grow in number and potency over the next century.

Despite his concerns about the risks posed to humans by technological progress, Bostrom is no luddite. In fact, he is a longtime advocate of transhumanism—the effort to improve the human condition, and even human nature itself, through technological means. In the long run he sees technology as a bridge, a bridge we humans must cross with great care, in order to reach new and better modes of being. In his work, Bostrom uses the tools of philosophy and mathematics, in particular probability theory, to try and determine how we as a species might achieve this safe passage. What follows is my conversation with Bostrom about some of the most interesting and worrying existential risks that humanity might encounter in the decades and centuries to come, and about what we can do to make sure we outlast them.

Excerpt of an article by Ross Andersen at The Atlantic. Continue HERE

Earthly/Geo/Astro · Photographics · Shows

Last Days of the Arctic

Last Days of the Arctic: a moving and insightful photographic portrait of a disappearing landscape and the Inuit people who inhabit it, by celebrated photojournalist Ragnar Axelsson.

Inspired by the fast – diminishing way of life of communities dependent on nature and the land around them for survival, Axelsson presents us with a breathtaking introduction to a life of Greenlandic hunters in one of the most remote regions of the world, and at once demonstrates its temporality.

As the world turns its gaze toward the Arctic; the landscape whose inhabitants have done the least to cause climate change is where the devastating effects are most visible. Their ancient culture is set to become extinct; the probability of these communities continuing to live traditionally is becoming increasingly unlikely. In his native Iceland, Ragnar looked at the fishermen and farmers of remote villages and thought if he did not photograph them, then no one would know they ever existed. It is this thought that has led to this unique body of work captured in Greenland, with unprecedented access to a community that rarely let outsiders in.

Presented by Proud Chelsea, Last Days of the Arctic is a unique photo-reportage exhibition including these exceptional photographs of a society in its twilight, the awe inspiring landscapes they live in and the unique hunting rituals which are part of their cultural identity.

Text via Proud

Horns, Uummannaq, West Greenland, 1998

Dog on a Chain, Sermiliqaq, East Greenland, 1997