Thanks, Ursarodinia

  1. spsffan says:

    After my visit yesterday to the outlet mall, I’d say that we are indeed, drooling, blithering idiots. And rather rude ones, at that!

    • msbpodcast says:

      I’m staying the fuck away from the knuckle dragging uni-brows down at the mall until well into February and maybe not even then. (We got lots of toilet paper laid in… 🙂 )

  2. ubiquitous talking head says:

    Nah. Poorly done.

    1% difference in genetic code is not equivalent to a 1% difference in intelligence (or any other single attribute, or even any other quantifiable group of attributes.)

    What is the percentage difference in genetic terms between Albert Einstein and, say, George W. Bush? Possibly 0.001%? And yet one is a genius while the other is a simpering fool. Or to generalize, the difference in genetic code between the engineers who put men on the moon and the cretins who think the earth is only 5000 year old?

    • msbpodcast says:

      The difference is not in the DNA (a genetic mechanism) but in the epigenetics which cause some, not all but some, homo sapiens to develop a richer set of interconnections between neurons.

      This is reflected in the gray matter (the outer layer of the brain,), the white matter (the thicker the better and the greater the connections that can be made) and the cortical convolutions which cause the overall surface to be folded to occupy less space.

      In the meantime, some people must have brains as smooth as ball bearings.

      This would explain why most fundamentalists have brains which seem to rattle around in their empty heads, trying to explain to themselves how many angels can dance on a head of a pin-head.

      • The Pirate says:

        There you go again, making sense at first then slipping into single-view agenda mode, ruining your probably valid points with bullshit personal opinions.

        Its like you’re a smart idiot.
        Good luck with that.

      • Somebody_Else says:

        He didn’t say 1% difference in nucleotides, he said 1% difference in DNA. Those epigenetic mechanisms you’re talking about are part of DNA, they just involve variations in the helix structure (histones and CpG sites) rather than the nucleotides.

        Humans have significantly more neurons than the other primates. That factor seems to be coded into the 1% difference of nucleotides.

        I get your point, it’s an oversimplification, but Tyson is correct. The difference between us humans and the other primates who came before us are the mutations we’ve accumulated over a very brief period of time (relatively speaking). The differences are tiny. There must be ways of putting brains together which would result in intelligence far greater than our own. It may not take very many tweaks to do it.

  3. Ursa says:

    For those of us (them) who think we homo sapiens are so different from the other animals, maybe it will give them a little something to think about. But, of course, those that should think about it will poo poo it.

  4. Joe says:

    The title proves it.
    It should read: Maybe we’re not as smart s we think we are.

    ubiquitous talking head nailed it.

  5. Kent says:

    Lets hope they don’t show up “To Serve Man”.

  6. mainecat says:

    Turned off after 30 seconds. Give me the time back please.

  7. orchidcup says:

    If homo sapiens are the species that defines what intelligent life is, then it should not be a surprise that homo sapiens are defined as intelligent.

    An objective explorer from outer space might conclude that whales and dolphins have superior intelligence to homo sapiens.

    An objective explorer from outer space that visits a shopping mall or a sporting event would likely conclude that homo sapiens are not as intelligent as other species.

  8. AdmFubar says:

    i am so glad i am in the top 2% ^_^

  9. WmDE says:

    Sitting in a car in a mall parking lot while wife and grand daughter redeem gift cards and look for ways to save money by spending money. I noticed that the wall of the building in front of me was about to go from sunlit to shade. As it did so imperfections in the plumbness of the wall began to be obvious., Each brick had rough surfaces, some concave, some just slightly canted. Then the final peaks dropped into shadow. The sun had set as far as that wall was concerned.

    A chimp could have noticed the same event. What he couldn’t do is tell someone about it.

    The 1% may just be language…. Or not! I told my wife and g-daughter about the wall changing from sunlit to shade. After an appropriate amount of “so what?” silence. I asked about the shopping? Fortunately we didn’t “save” too much money.

  10. HUGSaLOT says:

    good gawd not more of this 99% nonsense.

    • Hmeyers2 says:

      For you and me, chimps share 99% of our DNA.

      Bobbo can do that one better, he and chimps share 100% of DNA.

  11. #21--bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    I’m not very conversant in the ins and outs of hooman intelligence, nor in genetic differences, but ubi and peapod have it about right. We may not even be measuring where the real differences are–the junk dna that turns out to contain most of the switching code?

    But the interesting question to me was what would an extremely advanced intelligence form think of life forms on planet Earth? Would they actually think whales are smarter than hoomans?

    fun to “say” but total BS to actually contemplate. Startrek did imagine up various scenarios of different forms/levels of intelligence interacting with one another always with the hoomans winning/solving in the end.

    Hoomans will be “smart enough” to relate to life forms many times more intelligent than us and vice versa. But what will be the fantasies of those out there? Kind like us, or species centric like us? Good thing the vastness of space will keep these questions unanswered. Who needs the conflict?

    Silly Hoomans.

    • e? says:

      But the interesting question to me was what would an extremely advanced intelligence form think of life forms on planet Earth? Would they actually think whales are smarter than hoomans?

      There are already people amongst us who believe that whales are smarter than humans. They are not the cream of the crop. Why would aliens be any better? Maybe aliens who would think whales are smarter than humans would be too dumb to figure out a way to get here.

      Maybe these people are actually kamikaze aliens, whose home planets sent them here on a one-way mission to dumb down the human population in preparation for a large-scale alien colonisation.

  12. Glenn E. says:

    Uh huh. Well I’m already convinced that Neil deGrasse Tyson is a drooling, blithering idiot. He revealed his true colors some time ago when someone asked him why we should bother with going to Mars. And his answer was something like, “We’d better seed ourselves on other planets, so when the killer meteors come to earth, the human race doesn’t become extinct like the dinosaurs”. Well, the dinosaur extinction by meteor “theory” has never be proven. So it’s just a guess, really. And any other planets we could colonize is just as vulnerable to meteors, maybe even more so. Especially as population numbers would be tiny, by comparison to earth, for a very long time. It would be far easier, cheaper, and more successful to try making living on earth more survivable. Than trying to seed it anywhere else.

    But Tyson’s thinking part of the aerospace cabal that sponsors his career. So naturally he touts their tax dollars for Space Arks rhetoric. And when that fails, he’s got these other half-baked ideas, the corporate cabal probably feeds him. Like this pre-supposing that there MUST be more intelligent life out in space. And we’re just smart apes, thinking we’re tops. Even though, scientifically, there isn’t the slightest evidence of it. Whatever they are, where ever they are, they are extremely good at hiding their existence. Maybe they’re so smart, that they don’t waste any of their limited resources exploring space, looking for greener pastures elsewhere. And they don’t signal us of their presents, because they suspect we’ll come and loot their world. Just as humans have looted every “new world” on earth, they first came to. Tyson wants us to go find them and loot their asses, for his corporate sponsors. What a piece of work he is. He’s no Capt. James T (non-interference directive) Kirk. That’s for sure. More like the PR agent for the plunderers of new worlds.

    BTW, I wasn’t aware that they had actually mapped out all the DNA of apes and monkeys. It was expensive and time consuming enough just to do the human genome. What they know of other primates is likely piecemeal and mostly guesswork. So this 99% identical DNA idea is a load of poppycock. Prove it Neil. It’s not even his field of study. So somebody else had to have sold him that rubbish. Also we don’t know enough about DNA, to judge that it’s all the same in complexity. That 1% could be the most dense part of the coding. While the other 99% is largely simple coding, and obsolete junk code that no longer has any purpose. Who says it all has to be tight and useful? Tyson isn’t God, he doesn’t know. Nor do the real DNA researchers. Call us back, when they do know.

    Ya know, that 1% might not seem significant. But if you think of human DNA as a skyscraper building. And a single entry door represented 1% of the total structure. How useful would the building be without that door? And would having a second door, really make the whole building that much more advanced? By that logic, a tall building that had an entrance doorway to the outside, on every floor, would be the most advanced building in the known universe. It would also be a huge joke. Fire escape stairs only go so high up. The rest would be death traps. at least until we invent flying taxi cabs. “Yeah, pick be up outside the 35th floor, cabbie.”

    • Buzz Mega says:

      From 9.1.2005:

      Scientists Map Chimp DNA

      A team of scientists from the University of Washington School of Medicine have mapped the DNA of human’s closest relative, the chimpanzee. The team hopes to determine what makes us different from the chimp.

      So far there are no firm answers to why humans walk upright or communicate with a developed complex language. However, Dr. Robert Waterston said: “We’ve got the catalog, now we just have to figure it out.”

      He went on to say that “It’s not going to be one gene. It’s going to be an accumulation of changes.” Dr. Frances Collins from the National Human Genome Research Institute said: “We now have the instruction book of our closest relative.”

  13. Glenn E. says:

    Before we try colonizing other planets, which is what this trash that Tyson is talking, is all about. We ought to try colonizing the highest regions of earth. And the most accessible parts of the ocean floor. So far we mainly stuck to building close to sea level, and often close to the sea shores. How smart is that? The only humans doing anything on mountain tops, are astronomers. So if there really is a meltdown or huge tidal wave, they’ll survive at work.

    And of course, if you’re already living below the ocean, a few more feet of water overhead, isn’t going to effect you that much. I’m not saying that living on mountain tops, or below the waves, would be easy or practical. But, it would be much easier and practical then trying to set up shop on Mars or Venus. Certainly easier getting back home for Christmas, from there than from Mars. Right now, the most remote place on earth we’ve occupied is the Antarctic. And that’s only because it’s become a turf war. All the major powers have scientist there, because all the major powers have scientists there. To NOT be there, means you lose your stake. Should anything useful or valuable be discovered there. Like Dilithium crystals. Or Penguin poop that cures cancer. Well I think we shouldn’t just put all our eggs in sea level land property and south pole huts. That’s not how you survive the big one. Should it ever come.

    The “space program” that Tyson has in mind, is basically a tax payer financed ponzi scheme. We shouldn’t be “bailing out” the aerospace giants, to promise us they won’t plunder the cosmos.

    • orchidcup says:

      There are vast areas of the ocean that have never been mapped or explored.

      There are vast areas of the planet’s surface that have not been explored.

      There are large areas of the Grand Canyon in Arizona that are forbidden to exploration, even for archaeologists.

      Does anybody ever wonder why?

    • Buzz Mega says:

      Two points:

      1. All money spent in space is really spent on earth.

      2. The Mars-as-security idea is an “eventuality,” not a must-do-tomorrow thing. The notion that a chunk of rock sailing into our planet at tremendous speed is not a high probability, but it’s far from being zero probability. Want proof: Look at the moon.

    • TheMAXX says:

      Actually it is easier to design living spaces for mars than for the bottom of the ocean. The problems of pressure is much harder and more expensive to deal with than dealing with the atmosphere of mars. If humans are on several planets it certainly makes us safer than if we are on one planet. Odds have to be smaller that something catastrophic will happen to several different planets at once. Plus our sun will eventually run out of fuel so we have to head off into space eventually. Just as climate change drove people out of forests and into grasslands, etc.

  14. soundwash says:

    um..anybody know off hand if the so called 1% DNA difference includes the 90% of dna our brain-dead geneticist call “junk dna?”

    -and was 90% of all the genomes on the planet of all other species summarily dismissed as junk as well?

    these questions and more…


    • nate says:

      Exactly what I was thinking the whole time I watched this video.

      I also imagine the fundamental processes of life, shared by all living things, take a lot of DNA information as well. Each organ in our bodies, every basic life process, the ability to grow a limb the formation of an eyeball, and all the structure, process description, etc. to make it work, takes a lot of DNA. Intelligence is nothing but how many/complex/well made the cerebral connections are.

      1% of our total DNA seems like more than enough to accomplish that after all is said and done, considering all the common code that has to be in place for 2 mammals.

      Furthermore, if 90% is junk, there is no reason to believe that it changes much between species in the evolutionary process, so… that leaves a 10% difference in the useful DNA. Thats a lot considering all the similarities we have.

      Of course, I’m a programmer, not a geneticist, so that last point is probably not that valid =).

    • Buzz Mega says:

      Junk DNA is an old concept. That’s so ’90s. Turns out it all does “something.”

      We’re the blithering idiots who just don’t know exactly what, yet.

      If the 1% included the same percentage of so-called junk, then it would be less than 1% “important” DNA to start with. So there.

  15. Buzz Mega says:

    Neil’s point is made to point out ironies. But the 1% “difference” he points to is in how DNA operates in making structures. The FLESH of a chimp an us is virtually identical, structurally. So too are the bones, nerves, organs and mechanisms of growth and maintenance. But there are profound differences in every cell. Not too many chimp organ transplants to humans. So much for 99% compatibility.

    But as others have noted, microscopic, sub-1% changes that began a million years ago or so started our DNA along a path that produced a brain that solved problems for a living.

    That part of the “change” from chimp to human may be 0.00001% of the DNA’s structural difference.

    After all, the changes in many, many other things is also lurking in that so-called 1% difference: Hair cover, skull shape and size, facial structure, body structure, eye structure, foot structure (!), limb length, blood type, nose shape, tooth shape, and all the protein differences here and there in various organs.

    By the time you add everything up, you might find that the mental difference between a chimp and human involve massive form factor alterations and a tiny brain-development “push.”

    Which begs the next question: If a human-looking neo-brain individual were to have an extra tiny nerve-wiring enhancement that is as profoundly advanced vis a vis human/chimp, as Neil suggests, would they consider us blithering idiots?

    Do we consider chimps to be blithering idiots? If so, why have we studied them so deeply?

    Neil’s “conclusion” by inference is what it is: a punchline, nothing more.

  16. Uncle Patso says:

    Some of the differences that have been discovered so far:

    * defects in the gene for one of the proteins in the muscles that power the lower jaw result in smaller, weaker muscles, allowing smaller muscle attachment points on the skull (leaving more room for the brain). Also, the plates that make up the skull don’t fully join together in humans until age mid-twenties, as opposed to 1 to 3 years in chimps

    * the HOX genes (genes that control one or several other genes) in humans allow one more round of reproduction than chimp genes

    Imagine what one more doubling of brain cells might produce! Of course, the ratio of individuals with serious mental problems, as well as the seriousness of those mental problems might more than double as well. Also, our brains already use approximately 25 percent of our resting metabolism — doubling that could put too much of a load on our bodies.

    Maybe we’re already about as smart as it’s possible to be without disastrous mental instability. What a horrible thought!

  17. Uncle Patso says:


    “* the HOX genes (genes that control one or several other genes) in humans allow one more round of reproduction than chimp genes”

    should read “one more round of reproduction OF BRAIN CELLS than chimp genes”

  18. deowll says:

    Great Intelligence is an expensive trait that doesn’t always pay off. If being intelligent doesn’t mean more descendents it won’t be selected for.

    At the moment the ability to manipulate our fellow humans seems to offer the biggest advantages but in our society that doesn’t seem increase the number of your descendents in most cases.

    For example people of western European descent are, for cultural reasons, going extinct after a recent unprecedented increase in numbers.

    They will of course be replaced by those fortunate enough not to be contaminated by such views.

  19. Cursor_ says:

    Ah the open ended, droll, plebeian, pseudo-philosophical “what if”.

    IF we all worried about “what if” we would all be in closets, curled up in fetal position, pissing ourselves.

    Fornicate what if!



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