Saturday, March 1, 2008

Grab the nearest book~

In blogland there are memes-- fun, but a little like a chain email. Fun is relative, and I hesitate to impose it on others who experience fun differently.

But this, from Josie, is easy, interesting, and-- for me, anyway-- fun!


1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more. 

2. Open it to page 123. 

3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down. 

4. Then invite 5 friends to do the same.

I just finished reading Susan Wicklund's The Common Secret for a review to be published in The Internet Review of Books March 15. I was tempted to pull from that. But I've moved on to The Best American Nonrequired Reading, an eclectic collection of essays and other bits that "defy classification" as the promo says. Good stuff, all, and I'm enjoying it.

Page 123 happens to be smack in the middle of a section where The Edge Foundation ( posed its 2006 question to scientists:

What is your dangerous idea?

Ray Kurzwell, inventor and technologist, expounds in "The Near-Term Inevitability of Radical Life Extension and Expansion:"

On the other hand, if we factor in the doubling of the power of these technologies each year, the prospect of radical life extension is only a couple of decades away.

In addition to reprogramming biology, we will be able to go substantially beyond biology with nanotechnology, in the form of computerized nanobots in the bloodstream. If the idea of programmable devices the size of blood cells performing therapeutic functions in the bloodstream sounds like far-off science fiction, I would point out that we are doing this already in animals. One scientist cured type I diabetes in rats with blood-cell sized devices containing seven nanometer pores that let insulin out in a controlled fashion and that block antibodies. If we factor in exponential advances in computation and communication (price-performance multiplying by a factor of a billion in twenty-five years, while at the same time shrinking in size by a factor of thousands), these scenarios are highly realistic.

Dangerous ideas. Interesting thoughts. All the essays are interesting and provocative.

I have tried to think of my own version of a dangerous idea since reading. Stay tuned. If I think of one, I'll post.

I'm passing the meme torch to:




Show me the books he loves and I shall know the man far better than through mortal friends. ~Dawn Adams


sc morgan said...


What a fun thing, Ruth. I'll be working on it.

The dangerous idea will come later.

I read a group of essays about that subject this last year. The most dangerous one I remember was to ban ALL religions. WOW! What would we fight about then?

Janice Thomson said...

Gosh that looks like a very interesting book - will have to check that one out.

Ross said...

Hi Ruth, Hi Sarah:

To hop from your mention of religion, Sarah ... I recently came across (where?) "Ban smoking, save thousands of lives ... Ban religion, save millions of lives ..."

Without going into detail, I looked at page 123 of one of the books I'm reading (A LIFE OF JM BARRIE by Lisa Chaney) and the writer is discussing Barrie's take on the world of fairies, compared to that of the world of fairies for children up until PETER PAN.

Well, PETER PAN was dangerous! Still is!

I'll never grow up!


Josie said...

Ruth, that sounds like a really interesting book. For some reason, I don't enjoy reading fiction anymore. I prefer non-fiction, and that book sounds just like my cuppa tea!

Pauline said...

I will participate soon - thanks for the tag. First I have to go read more dangerous ideas!

Bob Sanchez said...

Dangerous indeed, Ruth. Let's say nanobots can root out disease among the general population so that the average life span exceeds a century. Won't there be serious social and economic implications? Say I retire at 62, which in fact I did, and collect Social Security for another 40 years--and then you multiply that by several million other people--then we have huge economic implications. This isn't to say we shouldn't extend our life spans, just that it will come with a cost.

Ruth D~ said...

Ah, Bob . . . it seems that life itself is dangerous!