0002 Ever the Optimist: Rats, Asteroid Lassoes and Goldilocks – Wyeth Digital

0002 Ever the Optimist: Rats, Asteroid Lassoes and Goldilocks

We’re uploading replays of Ever the Optimist after our tragic website crash. Enjoy, and look forward to new shows when the replays have run their course!

Today’s show features rats with test tube kidneys, failed technology predictions, Asteroid wrangling and a tragic end to a desperately bad idea.

Download the show here! Find the show on iTunes or a newsreader (RSS)!

Links we covered:

Question of the Week: Are you comfortable with the idea of lab-grown organs being implanted into you? Bonus Question: Could this lead to “Bladerunner”-style lab-grown replicants? Leave a comment below! Link: BBC.com

Future Tech: Popular Mechanics explores the history and the reasoning behind lassoing an asteroid and how it might work. Link: Popular Mechanics

Future Fail: Listverse.com has compiled a list of 30 technology predictions that missed the mark. Here’s five of our favorites (quoted from Listverse.com):

  1. “A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” — New York Times, 1936.
  2. “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932
  3. “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.
  4. “Home Taping Is Killing Music” — A 1980s campaign by the BPI, claiming that people recording music off the radio onto cassette would destroy the music industry.
  5. “Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years.” -– Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955. 

Glass Half-Full: NASA discovers three Earth-like planets in close proximity to us. One of the two stars sporting habitable “goldilocks” worlds is Kepler-62, and is relatively close by — at about 1,200 light years away (708,000 trillion miles). Sure, it’d be a bit of a walk to borrow a cup of sugar, but it’s nice to know we have some neighbors nearby! Link: USA Today

Glass Half-Empty: The Guardian reports on Youssoup “José” Matada’s tragic fall from the landing gear of an airliner.

Here was this kid, desperate for a new life, with seemingly few ties and no family; willing to risk almost certain death for a fresh beginning — instead taking up space in the newspapers and the internet as an oddity for the way he perished; a News of the Weird segment with no one to mourn him, or to honor his life and his aspirations for a better one. As our world’s politics become more unstable and as our resources dwindle, refugees like José will continue to take desperate chances to find peace and a small amount of stability to call their own. Unlike José and a few others who attempt their goals in spectacular fashion, most will continue to live lives of quiet desperation; chattel to the whims of tyrants and despots and starvation.

So I single out Mr. José Matada, also known as Youssoup, who died on his 26th birthday, with a few pieces of change and a single pound coin in his pocket for posthumous recognition — not for how he died, but for how he would have lived.

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