I don't know about you, but with all the craziness in the world, I could use a "fun" story beyond a herd of elephants going on a rampage in China. T.M. found one, and shared it (thank you), and I definitely want to blog about it, because I have some high octane speculation to advance in respect to it:
So here's the story in a nutshell:
When you hold a job like Defense Minister of Russia, you presumably have to be bold and think outside the box to protect your country from enemy advances. And with his latest strategic idea—cloning an entire army of ancient warriors—Sergei Shoigu is certainly taking a big swing.
In an online session of the Russian Geographical Society last month, Shoigu, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, suggested using the DNA of 3,000-year-old Scythian warriors to potentially bring them back to life. Yes, really.
First, some background: The Scythian people, who originally came from modern-day Iran, were nomads who traveled around Eurasia between the 9th and 2nd centuries B.C., building a powerful empire that endured for several centuries before finally being phased out by competitors. Two decades ago, archaeologists uncovered the well-preserved remains of the soldiers in a kurgan, or burial mound, in the Tuva region of Siberia.
Now, to be clear, I'm not doubting that Defense Minister Shoigu said what he said.
What I'm much more interested in - for the sake of our high octane speculation of the day - is why he said it. With DARPA and other groups in the West proposing, and doing research in, the creation of super-soldiers that can go without sleep for prolonged periods of time like dolphins (yes, dolphins!), heal themselves through nano-technology, communicate telepathically, and so on, one shouldn't be surprised that sooner or later someone - in this case, Marshal Shoigu - would get the brilliant idea of "resurrecting" the fierce warriors of the past, be they Scythian warriors, Darius' Persian "immortals," perhaps Caesar's Tenth Legion, and so on.
The difficulty of cloning humans is, of course, an obstacle, and the article goes into an explanation as to why it's so difficult.
Which brings me to my high octane speculation: What if Shoigu is simply joking? It would be a very Russian thing to do: point out an area of "neglected military research", make a serious proposal to a group of serious academics like the Russian Geographical Society, and sit back and wait for the West - already experimenting with dolphins to learn how they manage to let one half of their brain sleep while the other half continues fully awake, and so on - to jump on the bandwagon: "Scythian warriors! What a wonderful idea!", and spend beaucoups amounts of money creating cloned armies and updating Caesar's legions or Darius' "Immortals" with the latest in military technology and weaponry. Of course, such a strategy assumes that the West is so devolved into utter lunacy that it would do it...
... oh, wait, the West really is devolved into utter lunacy...
So, "you tell me." Is Marshal Shoigu serious? Or perhaps having a little bit of serious fun?
Or is he hinting at something more serious, namely, that the "super-soldiers" of the past may have been bred - genetically engineered - for the purpose?
See you on the flip side...