When I talk about the WASP threat, I'm not talking about White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. I'm talking about wasps!

First we find out the government is training wasps for ‘the war on terror’. Now we find out about radioactive wasps at “defunct” plutonium-enrichment facilities. (‘Defunct’. As if.)

How long before TERRORISTS hijack and marry these two technologies and we find ourselves ATTACKED by swarms of GIANT RADIOACTIVE WASPS possibly with toxin that predisposes us to CONVERT TO ISLAM???

I can see only one solution: put all wasps under administrative control of the Department of Homeland Security, and instruct the NSA to monitor all of their communications.

(P.S. Attentive long-time readers of Wetmachine may wonder why I, and not Gary Gray, posted this story. I can only respond that I don’t know. However, I did suggest it to him, and he did not pick it up. Does that strike anybody else as suspicious?)

Among the BioInformaticians

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I attended the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo, at the World Trade Center in Boston. I was a booth babe for Bioinformatics.org, (“The open access institute”) and also was pimping my books. I discovered the BioInformatics organization about a decade ago while pimping my books (what else) at the O’Reilly BioInformatics conference in Tucson. They started out as basically a sourceforge for bioinformatic software, kind of a reaction to corportization of all things genomic, and have grown from there. I wrote about them a little in my famous Salon article How I Decoded the Human Genome.

Because I’m a total dummy and didn’t look at a map, it took me forever to get there from the place I was staying, one mile away, so I only caught the last twenty minutes of the talk given by Philip Bourne on the occasion of his being named 2009’s Franklin Laureate, by the Bioinformatics Organization — an award named in honor of Ben Franklin, who refused to patent his inventions. I saw virtually none of the show. I attended no sessions, and I didn’t even cruise the exhibit hall. Instead, along with Bioinformtics Organization colleagues Jeff Bizarro and Shailender Nagpal, I staffed our organization’s tiny booth and fielded whatever questions came my way– sometimes fielding them lamely, at which times I was glad to be backstopped by Jeff and Shailender.

Some impressions follow. Because my exposure to the show was so limited, they’re kind of like an image taken by a pinhole camera, so take them for whatever they’re worth. The most interesting part of the whole show, for me, was the discussion with Melina Fan, PhD, founder and executive director of the group Addgene, about which more below.

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Hey, when I named this blog “Wetmachine” I was joking, OK?

Last fall Nicholas Carr blogged about whole brain emulation, in which one does a software simulation of every neuron & structure of a brain just like yours. Kinda like in “The Matrix” with Keanu, or one of those stupid brain in a vat science fiction novellas.

So now Science Daily tells me that “Brain Mapping Time Reduced From Years To A Few Months With New Technology”:

Mapping the billions of connections in the brain is a grand challenge in neuroscience. The current method for mapping interconnected brain cells involves the use of room-size microscopes known as transmission electron microscopes (TEMs). Until now the process of mapping even small areas of the brain using these massive machines would have required several decades.

Research teams at the University of Utah John A. Moran Eye Center and the University of Colorado at Boulder report technical advances that have reduced the time it takes to process high-speed “color” ultrastructure mapping of brain regions down to a few months.

These advances did not require the invention of new electron microscopes. The technical leap comes mostly from new powerful software that “takes over” the building, connecting and viewing of terabyte scale pictures produced by TEMs. Perhaps just as important is the fact that these researchers are now making these technologies available world-wide to scientists in multiple fields of research. ‘Our goals were to unleash a global network of electron microscopes and provide web-accessible imagery for battalions of brain network analysts,’ said Robert Marc, Ph.D. . .“

I like the parts about ”unleashing a global network“ and ”battalions“ of brain network analysts. This guy reminds me of the way-over-the-top villain Monty Meekman who keeps showing up in nanoscopically famous novels that I can’t seem to make myself stop writing.

”Wetmachine”–a water-based machine inside the cranium. An ironic conceit that becomes less ironic every day. Pretty soon this place will be completely literal, and what a drag that will be.

Happy News from the War on Terror

Pakistan orders army to fire on US troops if they invade Pakistan again. Something about that is a little troubling to me. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

One thing I don’t understand: if the US cannot be allowed to go into Pakistan, how are they going to capture Bin Ladin the week before the election? Don’t the Pakistanis know how important this mission is to John McCain the free world?

Life imitates art: Shark Attack! edition

Maybe this article from the Martha’s Vineyard Times Online won’t strike you as funny as it strikes me,

Edgartown prohibits swimming following shark sighting
Published: July 10, 2008 : 5:40 pm

Edgartown beach officials said a large shark identified as a great white was spotted off South Beach in Edgartown today. Edgartown park commissioners acted on the report and closed South Beach to swimming.

But then again, you probably don’t live on Martha’s Vineyard like I do, and you probably haven’t seen Jaws 45,356 times, like I have.

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Woof! Arf! Bark! Bark! Arf! Woof! Woof! Woof!

For the record, I believe the presidential election was stolen by Katherine Harris & the Supreme Court in 2000, and by Kenneth Blackwell & Diebold, Inc, in 2004. I believe that they will try to steal it again in 2008.

Scientists at CERN say they “probably” won’t create a black hole and destroy the world in their new particle collider.

Gee, after the FISA deal I feel especially great about the plans of the US Air Force to take over the Internet and Outer Space. With insane Christianists and dispensationalists in charge of the Air Force and eager to hasten Jesus to bring on Armageddon, they may be able to achieve what the CERN scientists cannot.

I believe there is a 50/50 probability that the 9/11 attacks were either false-flag, or that some Saudis knew about them and dropped broad hints that Cheney chose not to pick up.

If you extrapolate Moore’s law out only a few centuries, you get computers as dense and as hot as neutron stars. What kind of information processing would a computer like that be doing? Beats me. This is why I am not a pure atheist. Are the stars we see in the sky just God talking to himself in God language? Maybe, who knows.

“tense unrelenting fear and dread. . .”

Light posting from me lately, as my personal time has been taken up with work, a funeral, weddings, medical procedures and lots of visits to see loved ones in hospital.

It’s hard to know what to make of all this “real life” stuff. I feel like I have great wisdom to impart to y’all, but cannot seem to formulate much of any of it into actual human language. Like Gene Hackman’s character in the movie Heist, I’m reduced to muttering, “It’s a hell of a thing. A hell of a thing.” In general, however, I do recommend weddings over funerals, and health over sickness.

On my ear-goggles this morning, as frequently, I’m listening to the late risers’ club on MIT radio, WMBR. And I just heard a recursive promotion for its own self, saying how this same show was a cure for “tense unrelenting fear and dread.” I certainly hope so.

Well, almost. I don’t want a complete cure for my tense unrelenting fear and dread, which is the essence of my persona here, for there would go the whole of my contribution to Wetmachine. But some relief would be welcome, you know what I’m say’n’?

Anyway, just for yucks & to lighten your day, here’s an article from the BBC about the dollar scale of the criminal war profiteering engineered by Cheney et al, and abetted by the USian people and their chickenshit congress, and here’s a BBC article about one teensy-tiny bit of the human cost–but one that is at least a little hopeful. We can’t all be melancholic all the time, now can we.

Getting back to our paranoid rootz: The Palfrey “suicide”

My original vision for Wetmachine was that it would be kind of an anti-Boing-Boing: a technology-themed site full of fear and dread, skeptical of the notion of “progress” and paranoid about machines from nanoscopic brain-rearrangers to the DNA-sniffing, face-recognizing satellites in the sky– the Overmind emergent. Then of course 9/11 changed everything.

I’m sorry, that was a joke.

Or no, actually it wasn’t. For what’s the point of a half-joking technoparanoia site when Dick Cheney is in the White House? What I’m trying to say is, do you think the “D.C. Madam” killed herself, or do you think she was suicided?

By the way, that’s a link to the site “Infowars.com”, where the motto is, “Because there is a war on for your mind”. That site, like its sister site Prison Planet, represent the deepest fears of my fellow Wetmechiners about what Sundman may turn our little site into if he ever sets free his technoparanoiac demons. I guess with Infowars and Prison Planet out there, there’s no need for me to go nutz on Wetmachine. (But Harold, Greg, Howard: Watch out! The first danger sign is when he starts to talk about himself in the third person!).

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Link your brain to the brain of megacorporation, inc

Via Slashdot, more happy news about neuromarketing (kissing cousin of neuroeconomics), that is, reading your brain to see how you respond to advertising and what you’re thinking about when you decide to buy or not buy any old thing.

Yesterday in the Boston Globe (too lazy to find link) there was a story about law enforcement passively collecting DNA without a warrant by following around suspects and, for example, picking up discarded cigarette butts.

Not hard to imagine marrying these two trends. On the other hand I’m just a technoparanoid.