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Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition.

Author Ed Regis takes a creative look at science for the future, leading the reader on a journey from the level of the proton to the edge of the universe.

Regis offers a lighthearted profile of several scientists and engineers who have extremely long-range visions of where science and technology can go in the future. Princeton physicist Gerard K. O'Neill dreams of huge space cities at points of gravitational equilibrium between Earth and the moon. Cryonics advocate Bob Ettinger is fascinated with technology's ability to freeze a human head or entire body just after the point of death. Others shared Ettinger's fascination: Regis relates one incident where police in California arrested cryogenicists who they suspected had not waited for a woman to die before removing and freezing her head.

In the early 1970s, Arthur Hamilton Milt" Smith at the University of California, Davis, conducted experiments to see how animals adapted to increased gravity levels. Davis left chickens in centrifuges for months at a time and watched them develop superior vascular and muscular systems and greater stamina - "great mambo chicken. "

Hans Moravec, head of Carnegie Mellon University's Mobile Robot Laboratory, has the idea of "downloading" the contents of the human brain into computer disks and then making backup copies. At Stanford University, Eric Drexler is interested in manotechnology - the science of incredibly small machines that could eventually manufacture or repair literally anything. Drexler even worries about eventual "manotechnology holocausts, "or" gray-goo problems," in which billions of the tiny machines self-replicate uncontrollably.

Regis, author of the critically acclaimed Who Got Einstein's Office?, has developed a niche for himself by writing about -science slightly over the edge. " With an informal and entertaining style, Regis explores the different scientists' far-out ideas and their commitment to turning science fiction into science fact.

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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Futurist
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1991
Words:297
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