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Snow, Clones, and the New York Times

Did that title get your attention?

Over the past few days, I've read two snippets in the New York Times that I wanted to share.

First of all, on Tuesday the Times ran an article As Monsters Go, This Storm Had a Lighter Tread by Andy Newman. The article was about how even though the weekend snowstorm broke the record of the 1947 storm, it didn't have as much of an impact. But what I found even more interesting was this explanation of where New York City's official snowfall tally comes from:

One more thing. Not to cast doubt on a record — or on the hard-working people who keep it — but do you know who measures the snow at Central Park? The security guards at the zoo. They read the numbers off a stick set in a flat, tree-ringed clearing near the sea lion pool.

Therefore, the words, "According to the National Weather Service, the snowfall in Central Park..." actually mean, "According to the security guards at the Central Park Zoo."

I have this image of the sea lions measuring the snowfall now...

The other snippet came from an Op-Ed piece I read this morning, All Clones Are Not the Same by Michael Gazzaniga. The point of the piece is to remind people that there are two different types of cloning, reproductive cloning and biomedical cloning, and that a ban on the first shouldn't be a ban on the second. But most scientists aren't actively attempting reproductive cloning, so the ban on it, says Gazzaniga, is irrelevant:

The volatile issue has been debated again and again, and the president's own largely conservative Bioethics Council (of which I am a member) in 2002 made a big distinction between the two forms of cloning. We voted unanimously to ban reproductive cloning — the kind of cloning that seeks to replicate a human being. We cited many reasons, from biomedical risk to religious concerns to the flat-out weirdness of the idea. But in fact human cloning has not been attempted, nor is it in the works; so it's a theoretical ban in the first place, like banning marriage between robots.

So now I have this image of pairs of robots storming all our City Halls and Town Halls, demanding the right to marry.

Hm. Perhaps I should have titled this post "Sea Lions and Robots."
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I misread your title. Here I thought you were going to comment on snowclones in the New York Times.

Re: Snowclones?

I hear that snowclones are the new black. :-)

Re: Snowclones?

i, too, missed the comma the first time.
It's just a gateway, you see. Once robots can marry, they'll want to start getting into relationships with multiple partners, like a toaster oven, or a refrigerator. Scandal!
And there's the problem of relationships with underage robots. (Or even pets!)
"Dogs and cats, living together! Mass hysteria!"
And then "Your baby will be half-toaster" will actually be true!
In Soviet Union, baby half-toasts you!
And here, I'm thinking of the "Madagascar" penguins measuring the snow.
they'd just fudge the numbers in some kind of devious scheme.
The cloning stuff is all bogus. Many animals reproduce by cloning. I remember reading about the Whiptail Lizards of the southwest about 25 years ago in Scientific American. Back then, only 2 species were known. These are all-female species that reproduce via parthenogenesis aka cloning.

So, what's the big ethical issue?

There's nothing new under the sun.
people are different from animals because we have pineal glands that connect to our souls. Also phlogiston is involved somehow, I can't recall the details from Bio 101 last year.
So you don't believe that dogs have souls and can go to dog heaven?

human clones already exist

But in fact human cloning has not been attempted, nor is it in the works

Um, given that one of {my dad, his identical twin brother} is a human clone of the other, I'd say human cloning has no only been attempted but it's been done. Granted it wasn't done on purpose, or with any real control on their mom's part, but...

Re: human clones already exist

Yeah, yeah, you know what he meant. :-)
The pharmacy I'm working at today has two robots: Clara and Tony. City Hall is not within their battery range, so we'd probably have to get one of the hospital ministers to come up and marry them.

I actually had to interrupt this reply; someone moved Clara, and she was stuck on the 3rd floor. Even if we gave them battery backups, they couldn't make it to City Hall - there's no wireless boosters for them to track their locations off of...

Oh, and the robot field service technician says not to marry them, 'cuz he's worried they'll breed.

slips of mind

I first read the subject of this post as "Snow clones and the New York Times". I thought it was an intentional pun until I reread it after reading about half of the post and saw the commas. Note to self: must leep more.

December 2016

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