The Projected Impact of Trees Upon Climate Change

ForestThroughout history, it is estimated that human beings have cut down 2,000,000,000,000 (2 trillion) – 2,500,000,000,000 (2.5 trillion) trees. This means that even if human beings plant 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) trees within the coming decade(s), this would only replace 40% – 50% of what has been taken from nature. Drones are now being used to plant trees, capable of planting 120 trees per minute per drone at 10% of the traditional cost to do so. If humanity were to plant 20,000,000,000 (20 billion) trees per year for 50 years, which is a sustainable rate, this still only equates to 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) trees which once again would only replace 40% – 50% of that which has been taken. It would take 9000 drones operating 200 days per year to accomplish this feat. Drone production for this project would not require drones more complicated than a modern day smartphone. Trees, plants, grasses etc. are essentially crystallized air, and are more than 95% formed by air. This means that the mass of a tree is equitable to the mass of oxygen which it has been crystallized from, effectively adhering to the Law of the Conservation of Mass, the First Law of thermodynamics. The average tree weighs 2 tonnes with 50% of this weight being carbon, which means that 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) trees is directly equitable to 1,000,000,000,000 (1 trillion) tonnes of carbon. The land requirement to produce such an ambitious project would take half the land mass of Brazil, with larger trees actually requiring less land, paradoxically

The Mythology of Japan Having a Closed Society Throughout History

Deshima-Island-Japan

It is a myth that Japan was completely cut off from the rest of the world throughout history, developing in a vacuum, as the official policy of the state was to close its doors, but the unofficial policy of the people was to remain open to the influence and ideas of other civilizations. The shoguns made a single exception to this rule pertaining to outsiders which was the advent of Deshima Island, a trading port that was the only place in Japan which Europeans were allowed to live and trade. Only Dutch traders were permitted access to this site due to the fact that the Dutch understood how to curry favor with influential members of Japanese society by showing tribute and swearing allegiance to the shogun, therefore becoming part of Japan’s internal feudal system. The narrow bridge between Deshima Island, Japan and Nagasaki, Japan upon the mainland was the only connection Japan had with the outside world for centuries

The Ancient Mesopotamian Law Code of Hammurabi

Code-of-Hammurabi

Dating from 1770 B.C., the most complete of ancient Mesopotamian legal texts is the Code of Hammurabi, a compendium of 282 laws which dictated the rules of commercial interactions and set fines and punishments for those found in violation of these laws. Inscribed upon a phallic piece of black obsidian, Hammurabi’s Code is depicted as receiving these laws from Shamash, the god of the sun, justice, and order, with the primary role of protecting the weak from the strong. It is written and recognized within the Hammurabi Code the first appearance of the biblical punishment of an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. Considered by many scientists to be one of the foundational stones of world civilization, the Hammurabi Code is a mixed blessing for women, both protecting women and lowering their social rank as second class citizens. Upon the positive end, the Hammurabi Code recognized women’s basic right to own property, fundamental in its importance as it provided women legal protection in regard to the control of their dowries and inheritance. The Hammurabi Code also forbade arbitrary poor treatment and/or neglect, which meant wives who were ill or barren couldn’t be simply discarded. In divorce, women were permitted to keep their dowries, and in widowhood, women were permitted the opportunity to utilize their husbands estates as their own for the duration of their lives. The Hammurabi Code essentially recognizes Mesopotamian women as distinct persons in a legal sense, rather than property which is how most of the ancient world recognized women. Upon the negative side however, women’s economic and sexual freedoms became severely restricted, forbidden from performing any commercial activity outside of their home and supporting and legalizing the concept of the patriarchy by providing men immense autonomy over the bodies of women, meaning husbands and fathers now owned the sexual reproduction of their wives and daughters which lead to women being executed for adultery, virginity becoming a condition of marriage, and rape not viewed as a violent sexual offense against the female victim, but rather an economic offense against her father as it would cause the father to suffer a severe loss in respect to a daughters bride price as the daughter would be considered a damaged commodity. It’s unclear how these legal mandates and statutes worked at the local level as they are ideals of Mesopotamian culture, but the driving force of these laws and how they are setup and constituted is abundantly clear, allowing male authority and patriarchal notions of male honor, to become sacrosanct

The Future of Body Modification

nanotechnology-dermal-implant

Near field communication, often abbreviated as “NFC” is the ability for wireless devices to communicate with eachother and has now made its way into the bodies of human beings with some opting to implant small subdermal microchips using a large gauge hypodermic syringe (e.g. 14 – 18 gauge) which is preloaded so that these individuals gain the ability to start their vehicle(s), open their home door locks, send contact information to another persons smartphone etc., wirelessly and without any intervention or effort upon the end user. This adaptation is referred to as “transhuman” as it goes beyond what the biological human body can do by introducing technology which cannot be evolved into existence. Devices have been developed for a number of different purposes (e.g. vibrating when pointed towards magnetic north turning the body into a compass or implanting a small chip containing tritium gas which glows beneath the skin but is radioactive and therefore not battery powered lasting indefinitely as tritium gas has a 12 year half-life etc.). In 2018, at the University of Colorado, Dr. Carson Bruns and his team developed a technology which allows for smart tattooing in that newly and highly specialized tattoo inks will be able to deliver new functions to the artistic medium of tattooing. The first design invented was a tattoo ink which is sensitive to ultraviolet light which allows it to lay invisible under typical lighting conditions and only appear as a blue hue once outside in the presense of sunlight or an artificial ultraviolet light source. This technology would be practical as well as esthetic as it would allow a person to know when they’ve had too much sun exposure while outside. Bruns’ team has also developed tattoo ink which changes color as the temperature of the body changes which again would be functional as well as artistic, acting as a thermometer to indicate when a person has had too much or too little exposure to cold or heat. Nanotechnology is used to engineer and design tattoo particles which have specialized properties and characteristics (e.g. thermal battery and/or storage mechanism). Real world applications could be spurred by this advent like the ability to keep the entire body at a comfortable temperature at all times, regardless of the environment, if the entire body was tattooed, either visibly with color or invisibly with translucent ink. Specially engineered tattooing can also have medical applications such as that of the distribution of a pharmacological medication or hormone which helps regulate biochemistry (e.g. insulin or neural catecholamines to control mood etc.). World militaries may find use with specially engineered tattoos as well, allowing skin to become more resilient to abrasions or epidermal damage. Specialized tattoo pigments are also tactile sensitive in that when touched, they have the ability to turn on or off as well as perform other functions (e.g. manipulate an options menu upon a screen or act as a controller for a game or software etc.). In 2018, billionaire futuristic Elon Musk unveiled Neuralink, a technology which he states provides the ability of “self-directed evolution”. Neuralink will be installed within the human body by using a specialized, robotic hypodermic syringe to inject an ultra thin mesh, referred to as “neuro lace”, into the neurocortex of the brain, to form a body of electrodes which are able to monitor and influence brain function. These microelectrodes will be able read and write onto neurons; a bi-directional information exchange. This will allow for the downloading and uploading of information to and from the internet, wirelessly. This technology will allow for thoughts to be sent between users in the same format that data is shared online during the modern day using peer to peer networking. This technology will also allow for the control of devices, remotely; in principle, telekinesis. Nanotechnology now provides scientists with the technology required to manufacture electronics small enough to become tattooed, which means that in the future, Neuralink will only require a small, cranial tattoo instead of a cranial implant

The Psychology Behind Why Human Beings Desire

psychology-of-desire

Human beings are not born with a sense of self, as the answer to the question “who am I?” is truly the accumulation of experiences and interactions with other people. This interaction and experience creates the self-image, an idea which is built by the views and responses of other people. Modern society is comprised of a civilization which spends great time, effort, and attention acquiring and accumulating objects and possessions, often with no particular use whatsoever, collected to produce a statement of each individual, leveraging objects as an extension of the self. In a society of sentient beings, desire is an inevitability. The products which a consumerist society creates are optional but the desire is not. This drive is what makes it easy for producers to create and design products and services which are acquired by the masses, products and services which aren’t necessarily useful or needed (e.g. latest smartphone with unknown features which remain unknown until used for the first time, but this being unimportant as the end user is positive they will enjoy the features once observed) but are purchased out of the compulsion of desire. This primitive desire has created the modern concept of dynamic obsolesce. The end user is permitted to achieve a positive emotional state, for a short period of time, which quickly fades and must be replaced by something else. This character trait has been bred into the human psyche through evolution. Human beings, like all animals, compete for mates. All animals display extra resources (e.g. colorful feathers, large horns, decorative patterns etc.) to advertise for potential mates that their genes are incredibly fit for selection and reproduction. Human beings partake in this evolved display by demonstrating attributes which require extra energy and natural resources which aren’t required to be genetically fit, which the human mind responds to regardless of the features usefulness (e.g. high heeled shoes and makeup, fast automobiles, designer clothing and accessories like handbags etc.). Manufacturers of these types of products intuitively understand and therefore successfully hijack the concept of status, one of the most fundamental determinants of human behavior. Producers of products and services tap into the preoccupation human beings have with what others think as human beings are effectively animals seeking social stature and prestige. Because of this, human beings prefer objects to be new, flamboyant in their display, and convenient

The First Use of Forensic Science to Resolve a Murder

sickle

Sun Tzu’s text the “Washing Away of Wrongs”, written in 1235 A.D., is the first text which records forensic analysis being used to resolve a criminal case. The murder of a farmer prompted a local judge to demand that everyone in the village lay down their sickle before him. While every cythe appeared to be clean, the judge watched for insects as he understood that insects would be attracted to and by consequence fly around within proximity of a blade with fresh blood still attached to it, even if the blood was physically removed to the point at which it could no longer be observed by the human eye. This innovative technique allowed the judge to figure out which member of the community committed the homicide with forensic certainty

The Worlds First Ride Sharing Program

Witte-Fietsenplan-Amsterdamn-Netherlands

The Dutch love of the bicycle lead to the advent of the first bicycle sharing program in 1965 which was started by John Lennon and Yoko Ono who brought attention to the fact that Luud Schimmelpennink (pronounced “lewd shim-el-pen-ick”) who purchased a bike, painted it all white, and then left it in the middle of Amsterdam for anyone who wanted to ride it, with the expectation that they would return it. Eventually, more and more white bicycles were found around the city of Amsterdam for users to pick up and use and then leave for somebody else to enjoy once they had reached their destination

The Advent of the Worlds First Parliament in Iceland

Iceland-Alþingi

When the Vikings settled Iceland, no monarch was installed, which forced these settlers to find a new system of government; democracy. The early decades of settlement were effectively without structured law, but after 2 generations, 36 leading farmer Vikings banded together to develop the concept of an assembly to govern Iceland referred to as the “Alþingi” (written “Althingi” in English) (pronounced “all-thing-ee”) in 930 A.D.. The council met once every year for 2 weeks to create laws, preside over and judge disputes, and appoint a legal speaker, whose responsibility it was to remember and recite the law. The Althingi convened at Þingvellir (written “Thingvellir” in English) (pronounced “thing-vet-lear”) which is a unique location as it is a gorge where 2 of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet and 45 kilometers east of what later became the capital city of Reykjavík, Iceland (pronounced “rake-yah-veek”). The term “Althingi” means “thing field” or “assembly field” in the Icelandic language. This form of government met for the next 800 years at this exact spot, even after merging with Norway in 1262, with the location eventually moved to Reykjavík in 1800. The Althingi is the oldest parliament in the world, which is astonishing as it is still functioning and currently running the country of Iceland as a whole

A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Oncology Treatment

T-cell-cancer

Cancer kills 9,000,000 (9 million) people each year and despite having searched for centuries, a cure has yet to be discovered by scientists. At the center of the immune system is the T cell, a type of leukocyte which respond against bacterial and viral infections alike in an effort to keep their host healthy and alive. T cells determine between threatening and non-threatening foreign and non-foreign bodies within a host by leveraging a molecule upon the surface of all cells referred to as the “T cell receptor”. Jim Allison was the first person to successfully isolate and purify the molecule which recognizes this lock and key model for infectious disease, auto-immune disease, and other innocuous substances within the body be they foreign or internally created. In 1987, French scientist Pierre Golstein and his team discovered a new protein upon the surface of T cells which he named “CTLA-4”. To study CTLA-4 in laboratory rats, Allison had to build and design a rat antibody, a Y shaped protein which would trigger a reaction by CTLA-4. Cancers are mutations and should in theory be visible to the immune system, which is why the scientific community has struggled with the paradox of why tumors go undetected by the immune system for decades. There is no discernible reason as to why the immune system can recognize and resist influenza or any other foreign or domestic body but not cancer. Allison theorized that tumors have evolved an ability to fool the immune system, engaging CTLA-4 which turns on the T cells response to halt its search and destroy measures. Allison hypothesized that if he inserted a Y shaped antibody to block the gap in between the tumor and T cells, the tumor would no longer have its ability to hide, a trait which has been evolved by tumor cells over hundreds of millions of years. This would allow the T cell to infiltrate, attack from within the tumor, shrink, and ultimately kill the growth. Allison spent the next decade trying to turn this revolutionary breakthrough discovery into a medication which could be provided to cancer patients. Allison found Alan Korman, a scientist creating medications for auto-immune disease which provided him with the expert he required to turn this idea into a reality. Korman was tasked with taking the CTLA-4 antibody which Allison and partner Max Krummell developed for laboratory rats, and turn it into a medication which could safely work within human beings with this medication subsequently being named “Ipilimumab” (pronounced “ipi-lim-ooh-mab”). Korman ended up collaborating with a friend from graduate school, Nils Lonberg to accomplish this task. Ipilimumab consists of an intramuscular injection into the leg and a 90 minute intravenous medication drip in comparison to chemotherapy and radiation therapy which take months of treatment to complete and have devastating effects upon overall health as both bad and good tissue are destroyed in an effort to eradicate all tumor cells. Allison’s work with laboratory rats demonstrated that with the help of this newly developed antibody, T cells gained the ability enter into tumors and expand their size in an effort to destroy them from the inside out. This means that the fact that tumors grow initially upon administration is a positive marker and indicative of the medication working as it demonstrates successful infiltration of the tumor cells themselves. Patients often report feeling better after a few treatment sessions, sometimes even a single session, despite computer tomography scans demonstrating that their tumors are growing larger, which under normal circumstances would make a patient feel worse. Some patients even noted increased improvement after having stopped the Ipilimumab treatment, with no further therapy required. On March 25, 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released approval for Ipilimumab. Ipilimumab and its successors have treated nearly 1,000,000 (1 million) patients worldwide with many of these patients achieving permanent remission which is essentially the definition of having been cured of cancer. Although these medications do not work in every single case, they have definitively demonstrated to be a miracle medication for hundreds of thousands of people thus far. After completing this revolutionary discovery, Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2018 for his series of discoveries related to T cells and their ability to halt cancer in its progression in perpetuity