From:-K8J ALIEN? Coincidence... what a good word to open with, nevertheless it is the only word to link with the article I had in mind when 4LW's poser came to hand on last month's disc; in fact, as I had already made a start, let me now merge the report to date.
There are times when one seems to loose control of their faculties, in my case it occurred when a volunteer was sought to chair a discussion on the reasons why mankind, (I had to add kind to satisfy the politically correct fraternity!!) had evolved as the dominant species.
To quote more than a brief resume would be so boring as to lose any impact, also it would doubtless bring about an attack of repetitive strain syndrome in my typing digit. So here goes...to engender some interest among my somnolent audience, I stated that we mostly agreed that we had evolved to our present physical form, this being so, who could suggest the next step in evolution that would produce a more useful being. There were some reasonable and some outrageous ideas.
Several thought that an increase in bodily size could be of benefit, so this was discussed, generally we agreed that extra girth was not on it would just be an overload on the human frame, height caused a much greater difference of opinion. A medico finally won the argument by firstly, an explanation of the stress the spine is subjected to and the number of cases of back pain doctors have to deal with; secondly, most people of well above average height are not able to lead an active life, consequently their life expectancy is well below the norm. In answer to those with water on the brain, in other words devotees of aquatic mammals, (whales and such like), space travel in your own ocean is beyond belief, should you journey to Mars say, any interaction would be fraught with difficulties, this was voted 'no go'.
How about a re-distribution of ones component parts, the brain sited in the thorax?. The rib cage would offer a greater protection and whiplash fractures of the neck no longer a worry, that's two good points, but what of the not so good; for the eyes to be in close contact with the brain, (the length of the optic nerve must be kept to a minimum, nerves do not flash messages at the speed of light), imagine trying to catch a ball with the signal arriving late! I hesitate to extend this theory to the female form, it has just occurred to me that babies would be fed 'past your eyes' milk. I leave you to draw your own conclusions about a quick 'snog' in this scenario.
Would extra limbs say.. be an advantage, bearing in mind that the opposable thumb is the feature that enables primates to excel in manipulative dexterity, (try screwing a nut onto a bolt with your teeth), maybe an extra pair of arms would be the answer, until you wished to stand up and found the delicate balance of the upper and lower torso, had been wrecked. So you say...make it legs, (a most attractive proposition to some: not a leg man myself!), and justify the Male Chauvinist Pig title, or would you rather be a centaur!. On a date one would be twixt horseback and foot, not conducive to romance, for me Cupid needs only two underpinnings; let's move on.
A larger brain someone calls: more weight on the neck would increase the incidence of whiplash, to mention but one hazard, there are many more waiting to cause pain and worry. Let me remind you of that derogatory term 'birdbrain'...then cast your mind back to those wonderful nature films; could you build a nest as intricate the weaver bird, or the long tailed tit?. Before you shout 'instinct' consider how small is the brain of a bee or wasp, both of which produce a comb by instinct, and still have the power to reason how to preserve their life style, if it's only to pop their stinger where it hurts most! Therefore my conclusion is that it is not the brain size, simply how well it has been trained. I know, it's a pity I missed the training!.
Then there are the exoskeleton types,(turtles) doubtless well suited to the buffeting of inter-galactic space travel, but can you resolve, having spent in excess of four years at the speed of light, to arrive on Alpha Centauri, then to take a couple of weeks to hurry across the landing area. Any sentinent beings of the welcoming party would have long since gone home, condemning the visitors from 'Sun planet three' to a life form not worthy of attention; hang your head in shame if you subscribed to their departure.
Time travel...now there's a topic to set the mind racing, that is until the basic ground rules are analysed. Suppose you advocate travelling back in time, how do you reconcile 'you' of today meeting 'you' of yesterday?. If you claim to view the situation with no actual contact, then that's all it is..a recorded view; something that is happening all the time with tele-recording, just a matter of viewing yesterday's pictures today!. O.K. so you want to try looking into the future.. now we have today's 'you' going forward to see tomorrow's 'you' doing what you haven't yet done. Let me tell a short tale on time travel: Prof. Smith has perfected an appropriate machine; Mrs. Smith is about to give birth to their firstborn, the compassionate Prof. decides to save his good lady the pain etc of childbirth, and sends her into tomorrow: yes you're ahead of me, has she been delivered naturally, or has she got a bouncing baby that has never been born?. That is the tale if all goes well, how about if she has yet to complete the birth, and the medico says, "We can't finish what we haven't started". Poor old prof. tries send her back a day, now we are into the realms forces beyond our comprehension, and a new record is set up, a fully developed baby going back up the birth canal!. I find this subject too painful to contemplate, and suggest we all take life one day at a time.
There's always a smart guy waiting to spring a surprise, my bete noir managed to wrest control from me and set off one of those uncontrolled arguments. D.N.A. he bawls, (what a pity his helix was two sandwiches short of a picnic), in no time at all there were little groups in avid disagreement on such topics as Aids, Invitro fertilization, and using pigs kidneys for other than the prevention of starvation. I feel these are subjects worthy of discussion, but at a later date, so it's: Goodbye from him, and goodbye from me.