Wednesday, 13 January 2010

LEF-sponsored Cryonics Conference in Florida

What an event!

I went with the hope of making maybe a couple of useful new connections, and instead found a whole stack of incredibly valuable people with whom to coordinate efforts.

I was able to find very quickly and easily a strong connection with others present, in many cases mostly forgetting that I'd only just met them, and that was even before the "HT Meetings" - for those not present for these, each evening after the final events of the day there would be a large number of us congregating in and around the hot-tub by the pool, with many topics of discussion ranging from the banal to the profound, with many practical topics also being addressed in great depth (great conceptual depth, that is, being as it was just a hot-tub, not the ocean).

It is said: "No man is an island, except in the bathtub".

This humour (silly enough for me to like it, anyway) brings me to a more serious topic as well; it strikes me that one thing that has long held back our general field is periodic bouts of petty in-fighting between individuals and organisations.

Together we stand, divided we fall. "Let's stand together" was a great underlying feeling to the weekend, and it was truly brilliant to have so many people from so many backgrounds coming together for such an event, with a view to further solidifying things and working together towards our common goals.

As far as I am concerned the benefit of this conference has been immeasurable on a number of levels. My hat goes off to Cairn Idun for having the idea, and to Bill Faloon for having the foresight to fund it.

I greatly enjoyed the tour of SA, which was very useful to me, given my capacity of standby organiser in the UK. I salute the dedicated team there, especially Catherine' Baldwin's management.

Incidentally, any of you who are Immortality Institute members, or who would like to become such, can vote for me in the Directoral Election here, if you would like to further promote the efficacy of our endeavours.:

Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Brain Drain Fallacy

I’ve been noticing a fair bit in the news lately about the “problem” of “Brain Drain”, that is to say the purported emigration of intelligence from a given country.

For example, there is the recent talk of the three Japanese scientists who were awarded Nobel Prizes for research conducted in US universities.

Today on the plane I noticed an English newspaper bemoaning the terrible problem of Brain Drain, with approximately 1/3 of the country’s academics saying that they will emigrate.

I daresay that other countries are complaining in a similar vein. Ignoring the obvious possibility that a country will receive as much expertise from abroad as it will send out into the wider world, I say this is still faulty reasoning to consider it a bad thing overall.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the age of the Global Village. We do not live in the time of Feudal arrangements, city states, or the like. Frankly, these days we can even relatively comfortably do business with a country with which we are at war.

The European Union is constantly shifting slowly yet inexorably towards being a “Superstate”, and many countries in the vicinity, some not even technically in Europe, are clambering to join it.

As I type this, I’m on a plane from Manchester to Philadelphia (where I will change and head for Florida) to attend an international conference geared towards - amongst other things - further improving the connections between cryonicists who might not already be in touch. I do not have a copy of the full attendance list yet, but I know of people coming from at least the US, the UK, Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, and Poland. I expect there to be a lot of other countries represented too, but these are the ones I’m aware of already just by word of mouth.

While many present will not be scientists, technical experts, or even actively involved already in the general furtherance of the field of cryonics, very many will be, and part of the purpose is to make more headway into sharing that information as freely and widely as possible throughout all those involved. This is effectively an “open source” approach to information, and it’s for the good of all involved, no matter whether one is more of a debtor or creditor when it comes to information sharing. The point is that the more people in general know about the field, the more the field will tend to advance for all of us, because people aren’t having to double up on research.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the real world, not Sid Meyer’s “Civilization”, wherein different nations must fight for intellectual supremacy over the others. It does not matter that research is conducted in one country or another; what matters is that it is conducted! Therefore people should feel entirely free to shift about geographically to wherever is best suited for this.

I find it bizarre that in this time of unprecedented Information and Communication Technology, many supposedly intelligent people still need to get out of the Dark Ages.

The world is getting smaller by the minute (don’t worry, no global warming jokes); why confine (and thus stifle) research and development?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.

I am not a man easily moved, yet the end of this movie moves me.

Oscar Schindler has been effectively buying Jews from concentration camps, to work in his factory. This started off as a business move, and then gradually shifts to being a humanitarian effort to save the lives of as many people as possible (at great personal risk). Thus he ploughs all his own money, and anything the "business" makes, into buying more workers, anything to keep them from the death camps. He runs out of money, and does his best to continue the illusion of a functional business and still save more lives.

In the above clip, Schindler has done all the above, and must now flee, because the Allies have arrived to "liberate" the Jews who have, as far as the outside world is aware, been evily subjugated by Schindler to work in his factories for next to nothing. He faces arrest and trial as a war criminal, as that is the public guise he has been wearing in order to save many lives.

And yet he breaks down, as he realises with great regret that he could have done more.

I share this sentiment; one more life saved is precious. I hate death; it is my mortal enemy.

If a life can be saved of someone who does not wish to die, then I will do what I can to facilitate that. For this reason I feel compelled to do what I can to advance Immortalist ideas and technologies. For this reason I consider knowingly neglecting to take action a kind of passive murder, a terrible loss. And I really, really, hate missed opportunities.

For this reason, I do a lot.

But I must always do more.

Nominated for ImmInst Directoral Election.

I'm honoured to have been nominated for consideration in the Immortality Institute's 2010 Directoral Elections.

From the 9th of January to the 8th of February will then ensue a voting process open to the whole membership to decide which of the nominees will take a place on the Board of Directors.

I'm pleased to have been nominated, because I'd really like to work more for this most worthy organisation that does so much for the cause to which I devote my life.

The existing Director, who nominated me, is a like-minded fellow who seems to have the commitment, enthusiasm, and never-say-die attitude that this sort of endeavour really needs. I'd love to be a part of such a team.

If I should not be elected, I will of course continue doing what I'm doing in every area of Transhumanism in general (and Immortalism in particular) that I can.

"I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Immortalism
In our global present land"

If I am able to join the team on this occasion, I look forward to hastening the above!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Neurolinguistic Programming as a Transhumanist tool.

I developed an interest in neurolinguistic programming (Henceforth NLP) in the late 1990s, as it appealed to my ever-present desire to improve my mental attributes.

It came to my attention originally via a fellow I met by chance who introduced me to Ross Jeffries and a series of puerile yet pragmatic low-level NLP methodologies to secretly reorganise the minds of others to cause them to like you, dislike others, screw you, screw others over, etc. Simple stuff with limited applications, but it piqued my interest and got me looking into other wider areas of NLP.

Next along came Paul McKenna, and his series of alledgely hypnotic products. My own personal opinion is that there is no hypnosis involved in these at all, but rather cumulative transformational NLP. I started off with his "Supreme Self-Confidence" half-hour "trance" CD, and listened to it around once a day for the next few years, and have done so on and off since then. That particular product has since been rebranded "Change your life in seven days", by the way, but is the exact same recording, which now comes with a book on the side. I've since picked up a number of his other products, such as "Sleep like a log", "Motivation Power", and "I can make you thin"; the latter more out of curiosity than need. All are good, and I highly recommend them.

No, I had no issues with self-confidence (or motivation, for that matter), nor have I ever; but I am the kind of person who likes to improve everything as much as possible wherever possible. Despite not being stressed, I'm going to order his new "Control Stress" product. I like to do whatever I can to excel in any areas - if I already excel in an area, that's no reason to not want to excel further.

Anyway, the next stage in my journey was an NLP course to gain a Practitioner and Master Practitioner certificate. These were good, beneficial, useful, enjoyable, and altogether nothing I couldn't have got from reading relevant material and teaching myself. However, it's always nice to have papers as it lends credence to its use sometimes when it comes to the public eye. I always put it on my CV, for example.

I do, therefore, recommend doing such courses, but only if you are not concerned with outlaying large amounts of money for only slightly more benefit than you would get from teaching yourself.

Around the same period of time I acquired a lot of literature on the subject, including but not limited to books by Bandler and Grinder, Hall, and other such names, with the latter's "Sourcebook of Magic" being one of my favourites.

What I love so much about NLP is that it is a tool I can never lose, that can be used to fix almost any problem. I consider it a hugely important part of my Transhuman way of living, as in my opinion one of the biggest flaws of the human condition is the inability to become master of one's thoughts rather than slave to them. NLP allows the user to rise above this.

Consequently, after many years of rewiring my brain, it's very different now to how it used to be, and far more removed than the degree one might expect from general life experiences causing change. There are numerous emotions that I have simply "disconnected", that are now very difficult states for me to access; emotions that I consider counterproductive.

Some people say "But isn't that sad; those emotions are part of what makes us human".

Indeed, they are.

The difference is that I don't want to be human.

I want to rise above that.

NLP hastens that greatly!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Galantamine, twofold nootropic.

This thread at the Immortality Institute got me thinking about nootropics and how I should have more of them.

I've gone ahead and bought 90 x 8mg galantamine capsules at $0.83 each from

Not a bad price, especially as the long half-life means it stays in the bloodstream for around 48 hours and thus need not be taken daily.

This is a two-fold nootropic, as it is not only an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor but also actively promotes the release of acetylcholine itself.

By the way, if you should happen to shop at, use the referral code "UNE109" and you'll get a $5 discount :)

Visions of a unified Europe.

Well, we Immortalists, at least.

We are better prepared in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, which in a way is reassuring (as I get a far better service here than I would elsewhere in Europe), and in a way is disquieting (as I know that our set up, while good, is not perfect and I'd like to continue to improve it).

Right now, Suspended Animation are doing a sterling job in the US, but don't operate outside of it. Effectively, right now in the UK we're doing here what they do there, but with a fraction of the resources (money, people, and experience).

I spent some time this evening talking with Nuno Martins and co., of Alcor Portugal. We share an aspiration to have a cryonics standby organisation spanning Europe.

So Nuno was asking, as have a few people from a few countries lately, if we could offer our services abroad. I see no reason why not, if expenses are met, and our activities are legally supportable in the countries in question. Of course it means we can't use our ambulance or take heavy kit with us, so provisions will need to be made for that at the other end. We are collaborating regarding these arrangements.

I'll also hopefully be able to attend the Iberian Cryonics Conference coming up in the not-too-distant future, and possibly flesh things out more there.

What I'd really like is to get people involved from various participating countries, across Europe, and pool our resources (which does not just mean money, but experience and people-power, amongst other things) to have a central base of operations from which to provide excellent, secure, stable standby services as SA does in the US - as opposed to our own current volunteer-based situation which is fairly strong, but not ideal in my opinion.

The next step on from that would of course be to have storage in Europe, which is presently a luxury pipe-dream rather than an immediate need, like the standby services hub that I (casually and completely unofficially at this time) propose.

But we need people with the enthusiasm to do this, and the commitment to see it through.

I'll be keeping an eye out ;)

Friday, 1 January 2010

Second Life.

Originally, I dismissed Second Life (henceforth SL) out-of-hand some time ago as worthless. I considered that I had so much to do in my "First Life", that I didn't want to divide my efforts into a second.

My university (which has an extensive campus in SL) invited me to create an avatar there to attend certain events in a virtual fashion. This I did. I can be found, by the way, under the name of "Styles Evermore").

Quickly I found several things.

1) This is very user-driven, which means that while many things are poor, there is ridiculous scope for its potential.

2) This could be a very first-phase step towards uploading. Second Life now... The Matrix next? Ditching the absolute need for biologicals after that? For those who think that it's quite a step to go from SL to the Matrix... it's actually not too far a conceptual leap. We already have EEG machines being used as game controllers; enhance that technology, and hook it up with some decent VR kit, and we're on the way. Crude, yes. Very un-stylish, yes. Very limited, yes - for the time being. But the point is that the tech is rolling in and step by step we're getting there. Three words in that last sentence are really important, so I'll repeat them: "step by step". Of course it's a huge leap to jump from the tech of SL to the tech of the Matrix, but each of the small steps in between? Easy. Here's to the movers and shakers who are making those small steps. Me? I'm no software developer; no electrical engineer. But I'm right there in their shadow and I want to benefit from every shiny new tech advance they make. Lest the relationship seem parasitic, I point out that such developments need consumers to indirectly fund future R&D. I'm happy to take on that role and support the cause as I may!

3) It's a great tool to get one used to the idea that one can operate from a fabricated body with an entirely different set of benefits. Or even change one's body like one would change a suit of clothes. People can suddenly be a different build, colour, gender, species even. People can change their image and use that changed image to change their reality.

Me, I'm a touch narcissistic, so I'm just trying to make my avatar look like my biological for the moment. I've got the dress sense (frankly, my avatar isn't wearing anything that can't be found in my physical wardrobe), the build, the eyes... Now for my condamnably simple hairstyle that doesn't seem to be gay enough to feature in SL shops! The hair my avatar is wearing is just too long and gelled, despite it being the shortest simplest style I've been able to find.

Ah well, every God-from-Man must suffer his bad hair day on the way, it seems.


So, a New Year's Resolution:

I will do ten minutes of yoga each day.

Yes, that's right, just ten minutes.

* More than that and I will find it to be a drain on my time and desist after a short period.

* Less than that and it's too easy to slack on content.

Also, in doing this yoga I will explicitly NOT try to become more supple. Why not? Do I not want to become more supple? Of course, always. But if I try to become more supple then I will become discouraged at the slow progress and consider stopping it as ten minutes a day isn't visibly making me more supple.

Instead, my aim is simply to enjoy ten minutes of yoga. That's right, enjoy.

This will do good for my heart, my lungs, my general demeanour. Having a little time to relax with no specific greater goal outcome, nothing to work towards. I spend my life working towards things. I always have a million and one goals. I'm a consummate achiever in my daily life. I always strive to improve things. So instead, I'll relax out of that mindset for ten minutes.

And by doing this each day, it'll become a habit after a while.

When a habit, then maybe I'll expand on the time period.

My old yoga teacher would be proud of me.

Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition (CRON).

So this is day 13 of my CRON regime.

I keep to <1500 kCal a day, where the recommended amount for an average man is 2500/day.

This was only close to difficult for the first day or so. It seems a breeze now.

I use most of my calories up in nutrient-dense foods; commonly meat / fish / dairy products. I also now eat far more vegetation than I used to, in addition to my required protein-fix, to flesh-out (if you'll pardon the irony of the expression) my diet, since I like plenty of food despite enjoying the longevity benefits of CR.

I also supplement to Hell and back (by most people's standards, anyway), taking daily:

A (non Calorific) multi-vitamin and mineral drink, to wash down the following in pills / capsules:

Burdock Root
Calcium and Magnesium
Cod Liver Oil with extra Calcium
Dessicated Liver (less than 1g protein; I take it for the vit-B and related goodies)
Ginkgo Biloba
Glucosamine Sulphate
Selenium and Vit A, C, E

I find the Optimal Nutrition part as important as; nay, more important than; the Calorie Restriction part.

That said, the latter part has been just as easy. In fact I often finish the day some way short of the 1500 kCal cap.

The important part was getting over the idea of eating for the sake of it.

New Year, New Blog.

So, people would know my mind. Those who ask many questions, will now be able to find many answers.

And my own thoughts can be saved in a fairly organised fashion.


And apparently free writing is good for someone of my Enneagram type, in my case a Type Three.