Busting Out

Postby Kesh on Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:47 am

allan_ecker wrote:I figure he's talking about Rhonda, in which case he's got a point. Actually the majority of the cast is like, Real Ultimate Jailbait at this point.

:o


True. But, sexuality at that age is a part of the comic too. I'm hoping I didn't come across too perverse there. Regardless of which character it had been, seeing that strip plus the comment of hacking an eye-fi to force someone into a simulation just caused my brain to slip a gear and think: well, they should at least get something out of that. :shucks:
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Postby Cyril_Dran on Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:00 am

I think it's 16 state side, but I'm not sure if it's a state law or a national law, so it might vary depending on where you are.. I know it's 16 in MD and Ohio, at the least.
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Postby GreatLimmick on Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:56 pm

It varies depending on the state... and probably depending on what you're consenting to as well. I've seen charts that break it down by state, but I didn't really care enough to save or memorize them.
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Postby DetailBear on Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:51 pm

GreatLimmick wrote:It varies depending on the state... and probably depending on what you're consenting to as well. I've seen charts that break it down by state, but I didn't really care enough to save or memorize them.


It varies by state and used to vary by gender. Example Certain states had age differentials between male-male and male-female interactions. Many never considered female-female interactions, although in those states, much of what two females might do was considered illegal regardless of age. I think Nevada and New Hampshire are the only hold outs right now.
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Postby E_voyager on Mon Dec 18, 2006 3:07 pm

i guess that i do drop a letter here and there and spell checkers can't catch them all. still i have to wonder what all goes throng the mind of the charters? and aside form the first generation ASCII seems to be the eldest member of the second generation. also ASCII could be wrong some humans live form 800 to 1000 years in places other then earth. (yes i am a john carter fan)
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Postby Cyril_Dran on Mon Dec 18, 2006 5:19 pm

Human life span is based upon the rate at which your cells submit to entropy.. as time goes on, your DNA degrades through endless copying, stuff starts getting built wrong, and your body starts making mistakes. "Old age" doesn't kill, in and of itself, the aging is simply the catalyst to the decay.

If we could find a way to "renew" our DNA on a cellular level throughout the entire body, say, every 20 or so years, we could achieve immortality. In the same way, a drug that enhanced our ability to accurately replicate DNA would achieve much the same effect. (Blish fans, Ascomycin)

Is it likely we're gonna find such a thing? Not really. Too much time would have to go into cellular DNA renewal with the tools we have now, it'd take years, and your immune system would attack the "altered" cells because the DNA would most likely be synthetic, and we're not perfect. Human lifespan has only increased because we've found better ways to maintain our bodies, so that the impact of time has less effect on them.. in effect, we're rust proofing them with medicine and proper diet. Without some kind of inhibitor to entropy, though, I doubt human lifespans will ever surpass 150 years, 180 tops.

Of course, I'm hardly an authority on all this, I've put this together from reading multiple reports over time and a little bit of figuring of my own accord. No experimental research has gone into this thesis, so I'm probably wrong by a good degree.
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Postby GreatLimmick on Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:24 am

Well, if the DNA spliced on to replace the telomeres that wear away with age were sufficiently generic, there might not be much of an immune reaction. There are also drugs that suppress the immune system, which are given to organ transplant recipients to prevent organ rejection (still a risk no matter how good the biochemical match is, unless it's your own tissue). Too many immune suppressors can be dangerous, of course, but it might not be as much of a risk in an artificial environment (like a space station or moonbase-- hey, this is the future we're talking about) as it is in a natural biosphere.

Of course, extending human lifespan the way we've been doing it so far isn't just about improving the conditions under which the body is built in the first place. It's also about eliminating risk factors (death by accident/disease) and applying temporary fixes to the inevitable problems that do develop (heart medication, dialysis, insulin, etc).
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Postby Shurhaian on Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:21 am

Telomeres(for the uninitiated: the "junk" DNA on every end of a DNA strand, a bit of which gets snipped each time the cell replicates) aren't the only problem; the meaningful portions of DNA steadily degrade with time through mutation. Much of it is fairly minor, or leads to immediate death of the replicated cell(and the body just tries again); eventually, though, mutations will start piling up.

Telomerase alone will not halt the body's aging process, though it WILL turn the "biological clock" into something more random(and on average, likely longer than current). And efficient DNA copying, at this point, isn't something likely to select for itself, because by the time one reaches that advanced age, one's reproductive days are well over. A drug or treatment that performs this task, or helps the existing mechanism work better, might help; once genetic techniques are refined, hand-tailored improvements to the polymerases in the zygote(or, to ensure it doesn't divide first, the gametes) during in vitro fertilisation would, if possible, probably do more.

Don't be too confident of the safety of a hermetic environment; people will bring their microflora with them - and some that are otherwise benign might become pathological. (Look at E. coli for a fairly extreme case.)
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Postby Tetramorpheus on Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:41 am

Isn't it also true that, theorhetically, anyone would develop cancer if they lived long enough?
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Postby Shurhaian on Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:47 am

Cancer is a subset of those deleterious mutations. If nothing else - including other negative mutations - kills someone, they will, yes, eventually contract cancer(which is fairly distinct among such mutations as a localised mutation can quickly have negative effects on the whole body).
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Postby Allan_ecker on Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:05 am

Ya gotta love a forum where a discussion about the age of majority can segue into cellular biology on a dime.


I guess you could have some good ol' fashioned nanobots tracking and issuing repair commands on individual cells... but you'd need a way to do it non-destructively (rather difficult) or else the patient would have this Eternal Cold which would be sort of a sucky immortality...
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Postby Alfador on Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:30 pm

allan_ecker wrote:
Shurhaian wrote:
allan_ecker wrote:Actually the majority of the cast is like, Real Ultimate Jailbait at this point.
Well, maybe they imported some laws from, oh, Canada or some other place? Age of consent here for most things is 14, though our current Prime Minister wants to bump it to 16... long and stupid story there.


...

Britain would do in that case; the primary cast is pretty much all 16 and up.

-_-


Here in Washington the age of consent is 16, unless three factors all apply:

If there's a person age 16 or 17 who is having sex with someone who is:
1) over 60 months older
2) in a position of authority over the younger person
3) AND who uses that authority to coerce or solicit sex from the younger person
THEN it's illegal. Of course, that last number in my mind makes such an act equivalent at the very least to sexual harassment, at worst to non-statutory rape.

Of course, if you travel from out of state to take advantage of state age laws, no dice--the federal minimum of 18 applies in that case.

Yes, I did a lot of research on this when I was 17. No, it didn't help. ;)
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Postby Alfador on Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:35 pm

Shurhaian wrote:Telomeres(for the uninitiated: the "junk" DNA on every end of a DNA strand, a bit of which gets snipped each time the cell replicates) aren't the only problem; the meaningful portions of DNA steadily degrade with time through mutation. Much of it is fairly minor, or leads to immediate death of the replicated cell(and the body just tries again); eventually, though, mutations will start piling up.

Telomerase alone will not halt the body's aging process, though it WILL turn the "biological clock" into something more random(and on average, likely longer than current). And efficient DNA copying, at this point, isn't something likely to select for itself, because by the time one reaches that advanced age, one's reproductive days are well over. A drug or treatment that performs this task, or helps the existing mechanism work better, might help; once genetic techniques are refined, hand-tailored improvements to the polymerases in the zygote(or, to ensure it doesn't divide first, the gametes) during in vitro fertilisation would, if possible, probably do more.

Don't be too confident of the safety of a hermetic environment; people will bring their microflora with them - and some that are otherwise benign might become pathological. (Look at E. coli for a fairly extreme case.)


How 'bout an artificial immune system? By that time, we could program one to discriminate between healthy human cells and benign microorganisms, and diseases and cancer cells.
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Postby GreatLimmick on Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:56 am

allan_ecker wrote:I guess you could have some good ol' fashioned nanobots tracking and issuing repair commands on individual cells... but you'd need a way to do it non-destructively (rather difficult) or else the patient would have this Eternal Cold which would be sort of a sucky immortality...

For one thing, my allergies are so bad that I can barely tell when I have a cold most of the time, so an eternal cold would be about par for the course here.

However, one thing I've never seen resolved in any discussion of nanites is the issue of powering them. Seriously, what do the little critters run on? And, of course, there's also the issue that they will eventually malfunction. (No machine, no matter how simple or complex, lasts forever.) Malfunctions could be particularly devastating if they're self-replicating. (But then, with all the stories about the potential of self-replicating nanites going haywire, would any sane roboticist actually make any?)
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Postby Shurhaian on Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:47 am

I think the best way to do it would be either an outside power source(in 21st Century Fox, medical nanites are powered by a big honkin' chair in the case of lower-body work; in general, something encasing the limb. I believe it's said to work on low-amplitude microwaves but am not sure offhand), or to have them be just biological enough that they can run on blood sugar. Having them be made of organic compounds would be good so they can just self-destruct when their job is done, and be cleared out by the kidneys. Rather than replicators, building a batch(tailored with the subject's cell surface markers) and injecting them as needed might be the way to go - no need to make teeny-tiny Von Neumann machines.

EDIT: If you DO want a constant supply of the things, a macroscale implant - an artificial organ of sorts, using the body's own resources to work - might be the way to go; the programming wouldn't be subject to the corruption of something that's replicating itself, it'd just be a big factory. With a suitable blend of organic and inorganic construction, it'd probably last longer than a normal cell - and consider how long the heart and nerves last. And even if it does wear out, it could be carefully sited so that minor surgery would allow for its swift replacement.
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Postby Allan_ecker on Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:11 am

Well, fortunately for potential nanoroboticists, there's already someone in the business who's had a few billion years of experience, and to make matters better she's an open-source nut. :twisted:

For somatic nanites, I'd generally advise sugar-run technologies. Honestly, in fact, I see no reason to *not* rely on organic chemistry exclusively, using talored microbes as opposed to little steel beasties. In that case, provide plenty of food and bed rest and a patient could "support" an army of the buggers. We know it'd work since anyone who's ever had a cold has done it. EDIT: Actually you've got a couple ~pounds~ of 'em at work helping you digest at the moment...

As for other environments, ones with high temperatures, extreme radiation, lack of atmosphere or otherwise organic-chemistry-hostile environments, I'd propose a ~collection~ of technologies, from solar for space-born nanites, hydrocarbons for industrial cleanup, and probably direct-beam stimulation for applications where a rampaging gang of out-of-control nanites is likely and potentially dangerous.

The "grey goo" scenario assumes a number of things about your nanites: that they can replicate on any material that has the base *elements* and that they have enough power. Energy will be a big factor in the little buggers' spreading. I tend to consider Greg Bear the best "authority" on theoretical nanotech because he has an exceedingly level head when it comes to technology, peering ahead and predicting both social boons and banes in endeavors of all kinds.

As to malfunctions, remember that, should you choose to make self-replicating machines, you are in fact going to need ~every~ facet of manufacturing, including quality control.

Note Feynman:
http://www.zyvex.com/nanotech/feynman.html

Nanomachines of course can only work precious few miracles, but some of them could really save our bacon, economically speaking. While of course they can't undo the laws of thermodynamics, they certainly can re-arrange things on scales that would before be too costly for us to reach into. They could take a trash dump and re-organize the molecules into drums of hydrocarbons, ingots of metals, and package away or even neutralize dangerous chemicals. We'll continue to need more energy, but given that energy, a robust nanotechnological society would essentially have access to near-perfect recycling capabilities, as well as manufacturing to make even modern IC fabrication look clumsy.

And IC fabrication is at around 100 nanometer feature sizes already, by the way...
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Postby E_voyager on Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:10 pm

many you just have to love a forum that raises you IQ are you interact with is. as for the eternal cold... i can pretty much could the day without a stuffy/runny nose of any given moth in my life on one hand. i don't know if it's allergies or not but i've learned to life with it. nanobot. this intreems me so i'll be reading the web page and now i'm pretty sure that the nanobots are there to give us super power but they may be useful for braking down poisons
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Postby Schol-R-LEA on Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:00 am

It's really quite astonishing how frequently the web site ageofconsent.com turns out to be relevant for threads in webcomic fora...
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Postby GreatLimmick on Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:48 am

Shurhaian wrote:EDIT: If you DO want a constant supply of the things, a macroscale implant - an artificial organ of sorts, using the body's own resources to work - might be the way to go; the programming wouldn't be subject to the corruption of something that's replicating itself, it'd just be a big factory. With a suitable blend of organic and inorganic construction, it'd probably last longer than a normal cell - and consider how long the heart and nerves last. And even if it does wear out, it could be carefully sited so that minor surgery would allow for its swift replacement.

I like it. It basically operates on the same principle as bone marrow (the body's own blood cell factory).

Oh, and regarding nanites in extreme environments, it turns out that the Lord provides more than just a boat and a blue tarp. There are extremophiles that thrive in most conditions that exist on or near the Earth's surface-- heat, cold, acid, base, concentrated salt, high pressure, low pressure, ultraviolet or even nuclear radiation... Cryptobiosis can even keep some organisms (including some animals) alive, though inactive, in hard vacuum.
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Postby Allan_ecker on Fri Dec 22, 2006 8:44 am

Our progenetor had provided us with a pretty impressive open-source library for carbon-bonded nanotech. It's really quite amazing.

But even the extremophiles, with their pre-shrunk proteins which actually work better unfolded by extreme heat, or wadded up with sub-zero temperatures, or bombarded with radiation, have limits which could be overcome with other types of chemical bonds.

Inorganic nanotech will find its place, I can assure you, but as you point out, organic nanotech may go further than some would think.
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