As I was saying before I was interrupted by real life--I am happy to report ...Of Cabbages and Kings is returning. I have run out of excuses for not posting and since I am, as we say in the writing business, between contracts, I certainly have the time. So, just to catch up with what the hell is going on outside of politics:
Mommy, there is a hairy elephant in the banana trees-- Michael Critchton died a week too soon. He missed a letter in Nature reporting that an international team of scientists had decoded about 80% of the genetic code of the wooly mammoth. It's not that they are close to actually reconstructing one of the creatures, but it is an interesting step in that direction. They tested the hair of two animals who lived about 20,000 years ago and whose bodies were preserved in permafrost. In combination, think they have identified 70% of the genome of the mammoth. Wooly mammoths are closer to contemporary elephants than humans are to chimps, so instead of some day trying to reconstruct a mammoth from mammoth DNA, the quickest route to recreating the beast may be to use elephant DNA and add genes that are unique to the mammoth. Now they just have to sequence elephants.
But that was a virtual penis, dear--Let's say a woman catches her husband screwing another woman. She gets appropriately pissed, throws him out of the house and often files for divorce. Now, however the world has changed. People go to places like Second Life as avatars of varying fictionality [sic]. What would a woman do if she found her husband's avatar shtupping the avatar of another woman? Is that adultry? Virtual adultry? This is going to be hard to follow but we'll try.
Two Brits, Amy Taylor (28, a.k.a. "Laura Skye" in tight cowboy garb) and David Pollard (40, a.k.a. "David Barmy," suave and goateed), who actually met on line and moved in together, had avatars on Second Life. One day Taylor discovered Pollard having virtual sex with a virtual prostitute on line. She ended the relationship between "Skye" and "Barmy" on Second Life but kept living with him in the real world.
To test him, she hired a virtual private eye to try and seduce "Barmy" and he passed the test. So Taylor and Pollard actually got married both on Second Life and in what passes for reality. But it didn't last. She caught him on line having a deep and intimate discussion with an American avatar and divorced him, both on Second Life and in the real world. She told the Guardian: "It may have started on-line but it existed entirely in the real world and it hurts just as much," she said. "His was the ultimate betrayal. He had been lying to me." Pollard insists his avatar and the other avatar were just friends.
Aren't you glad I'm back?