27.1.04

"Four legs good. Two legs bad." Scientific research, Orwell and the the dangers of "animalism".

Plans to build a centre of excellence for neuroscience research have been shelved by Cambridge University due to financial and public order reasons.

The increased costs of new animal welfare regulations and the security costs due to the possibility of violent protests by animal rights activists are behind the decision. "We can't afford to build and run Fort Knox" commented a source connected with the project, reports the BBC. Animal rights fundamentalists have become a major obstacle to medical progress in Britain by adopting the public face of harmless-looking high street tin rattlers, while at the same time resorting to violence or the threat of violence to impose their extreme views. Many such groups have been quick to celebrate the sad news as a victory, to the dismay of patients' groups who hoped the research could have found cures for brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Funnily enough, "animalism" (as is tempting to call the warped ideology of animal rights fundamentalists) was the philosophy of the revolutionaries depicted in Orwell's "Animal Farm". From a fascinating little website dedicated to everything Orwell: "Animalism has amazing similarities to present-day Environmentalism, which gains money and power by extolling the virtures of animals and nature over human-beings, and blames human activity for the world's evils." Today's animalists have no doubt about which is worth more: the life of an animal or the life of a human being. Four legs good. Two legs bad...

25.1.04

ExtroBritannia - January meeting: "Transhumanist Resources"

The next ExtroBritannia lunch/get-together is scheduled for Saturday the 31st of January at 12 noon in central London.
The theme of the meeting is: "transhumanist resources": come along to offer transhumanist-related books you are willing to lend or to look for books you are interested in (the same applies to other media: tapes, DVDs, etc) or just come along for a transhumanist-related chat.

WHERE & WHEN

If you want to attend, you have three choices:

1) you can show up at the basement cafe' of Europe's largest bookshop (Waterstone's in Piccadilly, London) at 12,00

2) you can go directly to the restaurant for lunch ("Chowki", 1,00 o'clock).

3) you can join us back at Waterstone's for coffee/drinks and further discussion at about 2,30/3,00 pm (either in the basement cafe' or restaurant).

If it's your first time at an ExtroBritannia meeting I'll be the guy clearly displaying a copy of Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" on the table we'll be sitting at.

DETAILS/MAPS

WATERSTONE'S - From Piccadilly Circus, Waterstone's is about 50 yards down Piccadilly (on the left handside). Once inside take the stairs on the right, down to the lower floor cafe'/restaurant: the cafe' will be right in front of you.

MAP

CHOWKI - The restaurant is a five minutes walk from Waterstone's: Chowki, 2-3 Denman Street, London W1D 7HA
(Nearest Tube Station: Piccadilly Circus)

MAP

18.1.04

Cancerous Britain?

Hit Spiked-Online's "Don't Panic" button for some common sense on the so-called cancer epidemic

Cancer cases might be at an all-time high in the UK, but that is, paradoxically, the result of increased longevity: "Cancer mainly affects older people, and as our population ages we are inevitably seeing more cases." Not to mention increased detection rates: "More cancers are getting caught earlier, which improves the chances of successful treatment. While the incidence rates have been rising steadily since the 1970s, the death rates have been declining". The article brings some badly needed rationality to the debate on pollution and its effect on health.