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Aaron McLin
Attended University of Illinois at Chicago
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Aaron McLin

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With apologies to +AmyBeth Inverness, I would like to borrow her SciFi Question of the Day for a moment.

The Quick and Dirty: If a robot body, capable of being indistinguishable from a "normal" human, could be had for the price of a new car, what would be the effects on the overall appearance of societies and/or humanity as a whole?

The Long Form: I was thinking about Transhumanism, specifically Technological Immortality (or at least greatly extended lifespan) via the process of Whole Brain Emulation, where the mind and consciousness are effectively uploaded into a technological, rather than natural biological system. Couple this with advances in robotics, and you could have a future with genuine Androids, Gynoids and other anthropomorphoid machines with the minds of people in them. Imagine basically being a Cyberdyne Systems T-800 (or a Raven MicroCyb Gemini). But you don't have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger - you can look like nearly anything you please. Now, I imagine that there would be rules in place to prevent direct copying; perhaps people's exact likenesses come with a form of copyright, so you can't just have your new Complete Body Emulator built to impersonate Wesley Snipes or Lucy Liu (unless, of course, you go to the black market), but otherwise, go crazy.

Now, imagine that a machine like this costs about as much to purchase and maintain as a new car. ANY new car - so there will be fairly cheap (say about $13K) low-end versions that are likely to not last as long as your biological body might to high-end, high-performance models that cost as much as a really nice house (say about $1.3M), can do all sorts of things and cost a fortune to keep running at top performance. But no matter how much, or how little you spend, the basics of how it looks are up to you. Be a walking, talking Second Life or X-Box avatar.

Whew! So... after all that explanation, my take on the Science Fiction Question of the Day is:

In a future were people can buy cyborg bodies to their own preferences, how would that change the overall appearance of humanity? Would we see a rush to obtain the commonly-held markers of attractiveness and fitness? Would visible minorities attempt to speed assimilation by looking like everyone else? Would certain looked-down-upon groups and traits effectively disappear? Would outre, and expensive, body modifications be de rigueur among the wealthy, as a way of signalling their wealth?

#SFQotD
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In the Bruce Willis movie Surrogates the moments that moved me most were...
#2) when one man provoked another, then the second man hit the first. (Both robots controlled remotely by their actual bodies in a safe pod back home.) The fist man/robot continued to laugh at the second, even as the physical abuse caused the robot's face to be destroyed. I could empathize with how helpless and frustrated the man felt. It made me think of the disparity of wealth...if a rich man is fined $20, he throws a fistfull of bills at the problem and walks away. The poor man cries, because that $20 was going to feed him for the week.
#1) Is a small spoiler...
...spoiler alert...
...but I'm going to say it anyway...
At the end, even though his wife has insisted that all her human interaction, even him, take place via her surrogate/robot, he breaks into her room and insists on holding, comforting, and caring for the REAL woman, imperfections and all.
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Aaron McLin

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For you, your reputation and your "character" may not be the same thing. For people who are not you, however, your reputation IS your character - and people thinking poorly of you may have consequences; sometimes serious ones. So I'm not convinced of the wisdom of not placing the two on an equal footing.
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I SEE THEM AS EQUAL
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That is a remarkably human expression for a gorilla. Or... is it? I mean, gorillas are fairly closely related to humans. So it stands to reason that they should have a range for facial expressions that closely overlap with our own. Still, it seems odd to see such a thoughtful expression (I half expect that Shibani was about to bust out with some deep philosophical musings on the meaning of life or something) on a non-human primate.

I suspect in the end that it's part of the intersection between the way in which many of us are conditioned to see human intelligence as unique on Earth (if not in the Universe as a whole) and our habit of reading more deeply into facial expressions than perhaps is warranted.
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Aaron,I like to think more anthroplogical
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Aaron McLin

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The first comment on this post is:

"Why do women do this to their bodies ? I like soft women personally,..not a woman that could beat me up like Rocky Balboa..lol. She is a beautiful woman though, and your photography looks great. The lighting with the shadows are fantastic."

Okay - I don't understand this tendency to snipe at models when talking about photography. If you're going to say that she's a beautiful woman and that the photography is great, why bother being critical of how she chooses to take care of herself? And why lead with that?

Now, Mr. Detweiler hasn't bothered shooting back on this one, but I've encountered other photographers who have had more than their fill of needing to defend their models from "fans" who like the camera work, but seem put out by the fact that someone dares put female bodies they don't 100% approve of in front of a camera. There seems to be a broken part of "masculinity" (or perhaps it's a fully functional piece of male chauvinism) that expects that any visible woman is a subject for critique based on one's own sexual preferences. And it's made more broken by the fact that many men feel a need to broadcast that to all and sundry, regardless of how off-topic it might be in the moment.

Personally, I think that this lady should go all Rocky on that guy's ass (or just bludgeon him with those weights), because stupid being a jackass should cost - that's how we end up with less jackass. It's Economics 101.

This isn't to say that one can't have valid criticisms of a photograph of a woman. I can think of any number of things that I would have done differently, were I the guy behind the camera. But... had I been the guy behind the camera, this picture would have sucked out loud, so I'm going to keep the "here's what I would have done" to myself.

(And I'm also quite intentionally staying away from talking about general dickery, attitudes about women and the whole "women should be soft" thing. Because the first rule of anger management is "avoid things that piss you off," and I don't want to uncork a rant this morning.)
 
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+Aaron McLin I tend to agree.
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Good evening, Internet.

After +State Farm Insurance repeatedly botched what should have been a routine claim for damage from a hit and run accident to my car, I'm in the market for a new insurance company.

So, if you have a decent insurer that operates in Washington State, please recommend them, and I'll give them a look. I'm in the market for Auto, Renters and general stuff insurance. Just to let you know, I'm not in the market for cheap insurance. It's been made abundantly clear to me that I already have that. I'm in the market for insurance that comes with a "Don't Suck" button. I already know that I'm going to pay extra, and likely significantly so, for acceptable service, given that I've been with State Farm since I got my first car, and I'm getting a pretty decent rate. But I'd rather pay what it costs to have an insurer that will reduce the chaos in my life, rather than actively add to it.

So if you have an insurer that you feel handles claims competently, and has people who understand their company's policies and procedures (and I will ask them), I'll be happy to talk to them.

Thank you very much for your time.
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Amica or Pemco, seconded.
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Aaron McLin

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Cold, cold hearted...

(But hysterically funny.)
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The mannequins were a good touch.
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By the end of September, I should have about 1,500 posts on my blog. How can I still be sucking at it?

Jeez...
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ah well, I guess we each have our own standards, and people often see the faults in their own creation, faults others don't notice.
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Now, I'm actually going to quibble with the $4,889.00 an hour number, even though I know how you get there. But still, you'd think a man with the kind of cash that Nigel Travis pulls down would have a better grasp of what constitutes "outrageous" than the average bear.

And if you'd like a bit more context on Travis' remarks, you can hear them here: http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/23/news/dunkin-ceo-minimum-wage/
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It's the coming economy of "try not breaking things faster than they can be made or fixed".

The individual at that point becomings a kind of meat sack of statistically insignificant needs, and folks with full bellies burn down less neighborhoods.
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Aaron McLin

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Well, it looks like my Windows Home Server has finally given up the ghost after several years of service. So I'm looking for a new solution for network backup and storage. Any suggestions?
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Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS Synology NAS 
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Aaron McLin

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Louisiana Governor Booby Jindal's announcement that he was running for the Presidency struck many as a renunciation of his Indian background in favor of "whiteness," which sparked the Twitter hashtag #BobbyJindalIsSoWhite . While many of the tweets that I've seen under that hashtag are riffs on ethnic stereotypes or simply open mockery of the candidate, "#BobbyJindalIsSoWhite you can't see him in this selfie," presented along with a picture of the White House, is a brilliant and multilayered piece of satire.
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Heeheehee, Booby!

But seriously, having just stuck my head into the minefield of Civil War political history, I can't help but think of that quote by the eternally quotable Abraham Lincoln when he was talking about the "Know Nothings" a nativist secret society. -As a nation, we begin by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." - 

Funny how that one keeps coming back around. 
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Aaron McLin

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There was going to be a philosophical post here, but sometimes, things are better left unpondered.
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The expectation that the people who love and care for those that we understand to be racists will see them as the same sort of monsters that we often want to is unrealistic. Instead they will look for obvious monstrosities. And, seeing none, they will claim there are none to be found.

Racism is odious, to be sure. But if we insist on seeing it as a marker of ineffable evil, rather than an obnoxious, but mundane, character flaw, we create a space for it to hide in plain sight.
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I made a post a few days ago about my heritage being dishonored by the worship of the "Confederate" flag in the South. Your post certainly gives me food for thought. I don't always completely agree with you, but I always enjoy your reasoned and thoughtful writing.
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Education
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
    Psychology
Story
Tagline
I'm Nobody In Particular. Just Another Random American.
Introduction
My name is Aaron McLin. I'm a some time gamer, avid pen and paper RPG collector and Guy With A Camera.
Bragging rights
You know how Lily Tomlin said: "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up?" I have the sinking feeling that not only have I managed to keep up, but I'm starting to pull ahead.
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Male