A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


Eight lives to go

After a heartbreaking week, Charlie is coming home tomorrow. His blood tests are returning to normal levels, he's off the IV, eating on his own (with a vengeance, according to the vet), and acting very much like himself — though perhaps a little shaken up by the whole experience, which I'm sure will pass. His diet will have to change a bit, and we'll have to keep a closer eye on him and his health than before. But overall, we've caught things early enough to do something about it... and that's good.

A couple of things in the meantime. I've learned quite a bit about cat biology over the last few days. You'd think I would have delved into that subject already, having lived with two of them so far. No, I've always seen them as four legs and a tail (or a stub in the case of my feline friends), eyes, fur, meows, purrs, and randomness. Supply food in one end, collect waste from the other, be entertained by mischief and comforted by a fuzzy hello. But there's actually some complex chemistry going on under the hood. I suppose that's true of any living thing — easily forgotten as we all go about our business and focus on each other as whole systems instead of hundreds of interacting subsystems. The details remain hidden well enough, most of the time, to make this possible.

In my opinion, that's a pretty neat trick. If the details are running well enough, they never need to be seen. They manifest in the whole, but not necessarily in a way that you can discern — or need to discern.

Now: Perhaps unrelated, perhaps not, I've recently discovered Caprica and have been watching it like a fiend. It's a prequel, 57 years prior to the recent Battlestar Galactica reboot. I never got into Battlestar Galactica at all, more from never watching it than watching it and disliking it. I like Caprica quite a bit, and it's become a "can't miss" show for me. The basic premise is Dr. Daniel Graystone successfully — but unknowingly (so far) — uploads his dead daughter's mind, consciousness, or "soul," if you will, into a robot... effectively resurrecting her. From that spins several plotlines to explore. Is it moral? Is it really her? What is the essence of humanity? And the question which forms in my mind, will this be possible one day? After all, a person's arms and legs can be replaced with artificial ones, making 33% of their total body mass artificial. How much further can this be taken? Could all the biology be turned into a detail suitable for hiding?

I guarantee you replacing failing servos is a lot easier than replacing failing kidneys.

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