Category Archives: Technology

The Monday Muse: Mac vs. PC

Undoubtedly you have all seen the commercials on TV. “Apple” is just hanging out, dressed down and lowkey, when uptight “PC” comes wandering up decked out in a business suit. The stark contrast is undeniable. In fact, every aspect of the appearance and encounter is opposed to one another. This is how Apple sees itself in comparison to its greatest competitor Microsoft (or all PC’s for that matter). It’s Mac vs. Microsoft for computer world domination.

I have an HP laptop at home but work on an older Apple G4 laptop at work. I guess I get the best of both worlds. There are things I like better about each one as I compare using them throughout the week. So…here’s the question for this week:

Which computer is better: Mac or PC?

Apple has a cult-like following so I’m wondering if anyone will stand tall and represent PC. This week will tell.

The Island

the-island.jpgThis weekend my wife and I had some down time so we decided to pop in The Island from our DVD collection. It’s obviously not the first time I’ve seen this movie since I own it but each time I watch it I am moved. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading this post now and go rent it. I promise that this movie will make you think. Also, I’m probably going to ruin the movie for people who haven’t seen it by discussing some details of the story.

 The Island is not necessarily unique when it comes to the idea of cloning and/or harvesting human beings. There have been several movies, such as The Matrix and Aeon Flux, that attempt to tackle the ethics of cloning while trying to give a peak into the future results of such action. Aeon Flux was a good movie and The Matrix has plenty of material to stimulate thoughtful discussion. However, I think that The Island gives us the realistic picture of cloning and its results on many levels.

In this movie, clones are created as insurance policies for individuals. Some of the people purchasing these clones have severe if not fatal health conditions. The clones that are created from the purchaser’s DNA give them exactly what they need by way of transplants. For these set of clones, they are created for the purpose of harvesting their organs. Other clones are created to be surrogate mothers for women who cannot have children. For a couple who cannot have a child naturally, a clone is created to carry and birth a child for them. Once a clone has served its purpose, it is terminated or killed. Of course, each sponsor is told that the clones do not reach any level of consciousness but remain in a constant state of vegetation. Since they are not “living” beings, it seems completely rational. No harm, no foul. However, the organs would not live and grow properly in a state of vegetation so the company had to secretly bring each clone to full consciousness and thus created an underground society of clones hidden from the rest of the world. The clones are told that they are the remaining human survivors from a worldwide contamination. However, there is one island that has been preserved and a lottery takes place each week to extract one clone from the underground society so that the island and eventually the earth can be repopulated. Once the clone is swept away to “the island,” he/she fulfills his/her purpose and is killed.

Now, several questions come to mind throughout this movie. Are clones human? Do clones have souls? What about people who can’t afford a clone? (Note: clones in this movie cost approximately $5 million) Is a clone’s status as a human being dependent on whether or not he/she is conscious or in a vegetative state? How about that same question as it relates to humans? Is it truly ethical to harvest human beings? What are the real motives behind cloning?

Answering the last question, the doctor who developed this technology says he has found the fountain of youth and path to immortality. HE did. Maybe his motives started out being pure. Maybe he wanted to help people who were hurting and dying. There is certainly nothing wrong with that intention. But then sin twisted things up for him. This doctor wanted to play God. He wanted to be God. With the ability to prolong lives and cure terminal diseases, he would be the most powerful man on the planet. Whether you believe cloning is ethical or not, sin always lurks at the doorstep waiting to overtake even the purest intentions the minute we open the door.

There are several concerns I have with cloning. First, it seems to be an attempt to play God. The root of this technology can be the lust for power. Many people might argue that cloning would help save lives. Again, the intention might be noble. But if life is created, who assigns value to that life? If it is truly a living person that is created, even at the beginning stages, who decides that the clone is less human than anyone else? Who decides that it is ok to harvest clones for their parts with no regard for the humanity of the clone? Second, there is nothing wrong with prolonging life. I am thankful for modern medicine. However, no technology can deny the inevitable. Death comes to us all. It is the result of sin. There is no science that can counter that result. The only hope we have in defeating death is repentance and belief in Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to defeat death and render us clean before the judge. So if denying death by science is the motive, to create the fountain of youth and live forever, then it is misguided. Ultimately, a discussion concerning clones must lead itself back to greater concerns about the current issue of embryonic stem cell research. The questions that I asked earlier do not only apply to fictional movies or fantastical scenarios, but must be applied to current research and scientific testing as it relates to embryonic stem cells. We could carry this discussion on much further but I fear you may be reaching your limit.

So…go rent this movie. It really makes you think about the issues of cloning and embryonic stem cell research. Though The Island is a futuristic fiction, when does fiction become reality? Time may tell.

Wedgie-Proof Underwear

Come on…this is just too good to pass up. I have to give props to Denny Burk for making this wonderful invention known to me. The interview is as priceless as the underwear. They even give a demonstration. Classic. The inventers are 8-year-old twin boys Jared and Justin Serovich. All I have to say is take that all you playground bullies. It’s your move. (Note: Growing up, I was neither a victim nor a perpetrator of wedgies on the playground or in school. However, within my friend group…well…that’s another story.)

This invention couldn’t come at a better time. Just in time for the holidays. Show someone you care. Buy them a pair of wedgie-proof underwear.

Step Away From the Computer

Joe Thorn has written a nice article on unplugging from the internet, cell phones, and other forms of technology. Technology is a wonderful thing. We have experienced many grand advances due to technology. However, technology has its dangers. How much of our day is consumed with checking email through a computer or blackberry? How often do we check our blogs? And with the internet, information is only a click away. You can find practically anything and everything on the world wide web. However, endless information means endless net surfing which results in a lot of wasted time. I would encourage you to go read Joe’s article and then step away from the computer. Go have a meaningful conversation with someone. Or better yet, go buy a few discs and invite someone to go play disc golf with you. There is nothing better than a good conversation in the midst of a round of 18.

Human Microchip Implants

rfid.jpgAre you ready to pay for that new pair of kicks with your forearm?  A company based out of Cincinnati had two of its employees fitted with RFID’s, radio frequency identification tags, as “a way of restricting access to vaults that held sensitive data and images for police departments.”  This technology was first used thirty years ago on cattle to track the herd’s eating and breeding habits.  Discussions have begun concerning other uses of the microchip such as tracking Alzheimer’s patients and military personnel.  It does not seem far fetched to imagine a day when many of the basic functions of life are tied to the microchip.  You can already hear the frantic footsteps of people running to their shelves to reread the Left Behind books for an answer to all this madness.  Of course what would a story like this be without a solid collection of picket signs?  You can read the entire article here.  So here’s the question…are we living in the end times or is this just another technological advance like all the others?  I want to hear your thoughts.  Go…