Neanderthals and Sci fi

9 12 2008

I just read an article about an attempt going on to sequence the neanderthal genome. This sort of thing really is astounding to me. We’re reading sci fi, but it’s actual news. How incredible is that, and how lucky are we to live in a time when this sort of thing is possible? A hundred years ago, we didn’t even have antibiotics or flight. Today we can try to sequence the genomes of species extinct for tens of thousands of years. We have, in a cell phone, as much computing power as the entire human race 60 or 70 years ago. We have spacecraft well on their way to the heliopause. We have landers on Mars. I can’t even begin to imagine what our technology will be like in 30 years, much less a hundred. The possibilities really are staggering.

I guess my point is this: sure, this is a small step. They’ve got a long way to go. But we’re actually talking about this.