Every day I read more and more about medical, scientific, or technological advances, stuff that seems so science-fictionally outlandish. Every day I see more and more IBooks and Smart Phones that do things that only a decade ago were unthinkable. I just read an article about a California woman who went to South Korea to have dogs cloned from her dead pit bull. Five were created. Five. My mind goes numb thinking what that implies. That’s the stuff of Robert Heinlein or Isaac Asimov, with all kinds of benevolent as well as evil possibilities. Obviously, this cloning of dogs brings up the possibility of cloning humans. And what would happen if a human were cloned, let’s say a hundred times? That would be one hundred humans possibly linked psychically, telepathically. And what if they all had evil intentions? And why stop at a hundred? Why not a thousand, or a hundred thousand . . . or a million, a whole army of like-minded villains? And what does it say about the possibility of immortality? Already, scientists are speculating about recording an individual’s every living moment, every thought, every action throughout an entire lifetime. What if that record could be entered into the brain of a clone? Then one could live forever, adding each life’s knowledge and experience to the next in line. And if cells were taken from only the intellectual and physical giants of one generation, then we would keep producing ever greater intellectual and physical giants. It’s all too much for me to grasp, what the immediate and the distant future holds for us.
Yesterday, I had to have two chest x-rays as part of my annual physical. As I waited for the technician to see if what he had was all right, I noticed on the door a sign stating that anyone who is pregnant should notify the technician. Below it, in Spanish, was the word for "pregnant": embarazado. What an unusual word choice. The Spanish word literally means "embarrassed." How does that relate to pregnancy, or more accurately, why should that relate to pregnancy? Strange.
As long as I’m talking about words, here’s another: the modern penchant for using "impact" as a verb. Nearly every newscaster now uses it to mean "to effect," as in to bring about or cause changes. But "impact" is most often used as a noun equivalent to "effect." So, when they say, "The vote in the Senate will impact medical costs for years," they really mean it will "have an effect on medical costs for years." Just another example of the way our language continues to grow and change. But is it always for the better?