Lake Life

     
Clubs
& Such

Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 498-4351.
Cedar Creek NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405. Saturday is a 10 p.m. candlelight meeting.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday and fourth Saturday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at The Jalapeno Tree in Gun Barrel City, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943 or Malisa Bilberry at (903) 340-7451, or email glbstotts@hotmail.com
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Tuesday at the Nutrition Center in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at Dairy Queen in Seven Points. Everyone is welcome. Email bhanstrom@embarqmail.com  for more information.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to attend.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For more info, call (903) 498-2140.
SUICIDE SURVIVORS GROUP for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
TAMARACK LADIES CLUB meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
TVCC Singles meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 489-2259.
   

 

 

Robots, androids and cyborgs: Kiwanis hear about artificial people
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–One of the central themes of science fiction has always been artificial people.
The concept of artificial people has been around for a very long time, The Monitor editor Kerry Yancey told Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis members at their weekly luncheon Wednesday.

Monitor Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Newspaper editor Kerry Yancey talks about artificial people during the Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis club’s weekly luncheon Wednesday.
 

Jewish mythology has the golem, first described in stories attributed to Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (1512-1609), an artificial being created from sand and mud and animated through a religious ritual, Yancey reported.
“The golem had no past and no future – it has no inclination to either good or evil, it has no soul and it cannot reproduce,” he said. “A golem is literally a tool for a task.”
Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus,” is generally considered to be the first science fiction novel, as opposed to fantasy, because it was based upon known science of the time.
Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein used electricity, then still being studied as a potential tool, to reanimate a human body, itself made up of stitched-together portions of dead bodies.
In her introduction to the 1831 edition, Shelley explained her novel arose from a challenge to write a ghost story.
“What would be more horrible to Victorian thinking than playing God?” Yancey said.
Of course, playing God has its price – for Victor Frankenstein, the price is a life on the run, fleeing from his creation, who is seeking revenge for having been brought to life in a world that is not ready for him or his kind.
“As reanimated dead tissue, Frankenstein’s Monster is technically a zombie, but zombies are a whole ’nother talk,” Yancey said. “When people think of artificial people, they usually are referring to robots, androids or cyborgs.
“The terms robot and android are often used interchangeably,” he noted. “Robots are mechanisms, which may or may not have what is generally considered intelligence, as opposed to programming.
“Androids usually – but not always – are organic beings, in that they are grown, as opposed to built,” he added.
Probably the most well-known robots are R2-D2 and C3PO from the Star Wars movies. Both are mechanisms with artificial intelligence, although the intelligence part is deliberately limited by their design.
To counter the Frankenstein curse, famed SF writer Isaac Asimov built into his robots his Three Laws:
1. A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with either the First or Second Laws.
“Asimov’s stories often centered around odd robotic behavior based on the restraints of the Three Laws and efforts to achieve a result without breaking one or more of them,” Yancey said.
Asimov’s robots had “positronic” brains that functioned clearly, without emotional needs or physical wants.
The word “robot” was introduced to the world by Czech writer Karel Kapek in his 1921 play “RUR,” which stands for “Rossum’s Universal Robots.”
“Robot is derived from the Czech word robota, for ‘indentured worker,’” Yancey explained.
In his play, Kapek uses the concept of the Frankenstein curse, as the robots, in an act of self-preservation, hunt down and kill the humans who created them.
“Kapek’s robots were actually androids, grown in special chambers,” Yancey said. “The term android, which means ‘manlike,’ wasn’t commonly used until the 1940s.”
Probably the most famous android is Data from the “Star Trek: the Next Generation” television show and movie series, Yancey said.
Data was manufactured by a brilliant scientist, Noonien Soong, not incidentally in Soong’s own image (playing God, you know). In a nod to Asimov, who was still living when “Star Trek: the Next Generation” premiered, Data’s brain was a “positronic” mechanism.
Robots and androids have been a staple of movies since the beginning of filmmaking, Yancey said.
“One of the very first movies, made in 1897 by French filmmaker George Melies, featured a man fighting a robot, and the very first version of Frankenstein was made by Thomas Alva Edison in 1910,” he said.
The majority of films with robots and androids as central characters have played on the Frankenstein curse, promising doom to those who play God by creating life, Yancey said.
For example, 1973’s Westworld featured Yul Brynner as The Gunfighter, a robot that continues forward as the central control collapses.
Ridley Scott’s hugely influential 1982 film Blade Runner featured android “replicants” that were marketed with the slogan, “more human than human.”
Blade Runner, based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” also touched on Dick’s usual theme of blurred reality, in that the central character, Rik Dekard, may or may not be a replicant, just like the ones he is ordered to “retire,” Yancey explained.
In contrast to robots and androids, cyborgs – a contraction of cybernetic organism – are part man and part machine, most famously used as the basis for the 1970s TV show “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
Cyborgs also played a major bad-guy role as “the Borg,” in the “Star Trek: the Next Generation” TV show and the 1996 feature film, Star Trek: First Contact.
Robots are widely used now in industry, Yancey said.
“If any of you are driving cars less than 10 years old, those cars were made by robots,” he pointed out.
There are few robots now being used in medicine (the forerunner of the medical droids used in Star Wars?), but humanoid robots continue to be expensive and not very practical toys, he said.
Androids are even less likely to be developed in the foreseeable future, but cyborgs are another matter, he noted.
“Artificial arms that can pick up a heavy object or safely handle a raw egg are being tested now,” Yancey said. “Military scientists also are now testing exoskeletons that provide soldiers with the ability to move great distances and carry heavy loads without severe physical exertion.”
Artificial organs – eyes, hearts, lungs or skin – are no longer in the realm of science fiction, he added.
In his Hugo-winning 1976 story “The Bicentennial Man,” Asimov tells the story of Andrew, a robot who unexpectedly received a positronic brain capable of true sentience.
As Andrew goes through the years, outliving his original owners, he develops the science of biomechanics, and through court battles, sets the legal concept that no amount of mechanical aids – such as artificial eyes, organs or limbs – makes a person not human.
Eventually, Andrew transfers his intelligence into a completely organic body, but is still not recognized as human, until he undergoes an operation that will cause him to die, shortly after the 200th anniversary of his awakening.
“Choosing death over immortality leads the world government to declare Andrew ‘the Bicentennial Man,’” Yancey related.
“Will that be the next big legal question, in an era when people literally can be rebuilt with artificial limbs, eyes and organs?” he asked. “How much technology will determine whether the person is ‘human’ or not?”
In club news, Kiwanis members:
• welcomed four visitors from the Athens club, including outgoing District Lt. Gov. Jo Ann McCarty and incoming Lt. Gov. Bobbie Hawkins.
• were reminded of the club’s upcoming installation banquet at Seasons restaurant in Mabank Thursday, Oct. 22.
 


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