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LONGEVITY REPORT 86

The Newsletter of Longevity Books, West Towan House, Porthtowan, Truro, Cornwall TR4 8AX

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Man and Superman Roger L. Bagula
Selling Cryonics Steve Harris
The Life Lottery Robert Ettinger
More on Simulations Scott Badger
As Others See us Deian Vincent
Why not more cryonicists? Olaf Henny
The Relevance of God to Cryonics Thomas Donaldson
Religion and Rights of Cryopreserved People and Embyros Transoniq
The Morality of Changing People's Minds David Pizer
Fly Longevity Experiments 43 - 46 & Food Satiation Experiments Doug Skrecky
Ethics: Religion vs Secular Groups Charles Platt
Differences Between Science and Religion Gurvinder Bagga
Argument Amongst Cryonicists Douglas Skrecky

Man and Superman

( An essay)

by Roger L. Bagula 8 Aug. 2001 ©

This essay started in the fact that the new Dune movie was so very different than the first. I went back and read the edition of Dune that I had bought used, but that wasn't the original book I had read in the late 60's while in college. I read the Tactics of Mistake in some where near the same time span. Both Herbert and Dickson went back from their original masterpieces. Herbert changed his to become more literary and Dickson changed the Dorsai to make a messiah like hero. It is the concept of the messiah superman that has bothered men from George Bernard Shaw to Herbert.

In our future we face gene manipulation to produce superior people. There seem to be all kinds of reasons to try to make Mozarts on demand. The Nazis thought it was a good idea, too, that should be one thing that makes us more careful of such concepts!

So what do we demand of our supermen? Miracles would be nice?! Messiahs to lead their peoples to freedom and new heights of culture. We have had Moses, Christ, Mohammed, Buddha and Gandhi who all started religions or political movements. Have we ever as a people become more like such supermen ourselves? Would mothers if given the choice have babies that might grow up to be such men? I really doubt it. It is safer in the crowd and less risky. Men like Julius Caesar often die by violent means. Suppose we can get a DNA sample of such men and clone them. Or even cross a Mozart with a Riemann to get even better genius in the result? We are at such a cross road in our science. We know that Stephen King is a genius who is alive today. We also know that Steven Weinberg is alive and we could get his DNA, too.

Would we want a cross between two such men? Yes, we naturally produce a small number of people who are very close to supermen already. Should we start a sperm bank for Nobel prize winner or Fields metal winners? How about Olympic decathlon gold metal winners? Or maybe we should clone Tour de France bicycle race winners?

Do we aim at the body or the mind of a God or both? In terms of body we might be better to start at a primate level, since they are much stronger than we are? An ape with the mind of a mathematical genius who can throw a ball further, more accurately and faster than anyone maybe? And he's got to be very tall, for sure. blue eyes and blond hair and a straight European nose... we design a human then on beauty, strength and intelligence? So what did Gandhi look like and how strong was he? Einstein was not a pretty fellow. Mandelbrot isn't a very likable guy face to face either!

Why have the rest of the human race killed off so many of these naturally produced "supermen"? Should we think it would be different if we turned them out in larger numbers to demand? We are just going to produce wars where one group follows one of them against another of them? Such men don't fit well into the jobs society has for it's people: has anyone ever seen an advertisement that asks for a charismatic genus able to run marathon races for a high salary level? Creating more supermen will not help solve our social problems; it will probably create more difficult problems!

Suppose we create great poets? They still can't get their works published and read! When a John Lennon shows up and combines great poetry, great music and a political point of view, he is assassinated. Would twenty people like him be easier to control?

Suppose we try for the perfect soldier as the Dorsai did? And what would success lead to? Wars in which normal people haven't a chance and are slaughtered? The messiah of Dune was a drug induced "seer" who could control how the future came out by seeing the time lines in waking dreams and he used it for gain in war, wealth and power , but his followers couldn't become more like him because he was the result of a genetic breeding program!?

These naturally supermen that are our geniuses are not what we might think they should be. They don't often behave by our rules. Anarchy is not a pleasant alternative to a calm ordered society. Asimov in his linked time line series about the robots and a controlled history of mankind was very much against the idea of supermen since they too often result in social upheaval and uneven historical cycles of wars , famine and cultural declines. If we go out of our way to manufacture more, who will dig the ditches and collect the garbage? Will their become two human types or classes? The "gifted" genius class and those who only live to serve them? We certainly already have such class distinctions that are very hard to overcome. In England they have the result in the likes of Prince Charles and we in our elite like Clinton. I have met a humble gardener from Mexico who is more admirable to me than either of these men! So what we have held up as standards for what men should be may be a basic cultural failing and if we manufacture people to those specifications, we may be in for more trouble than good.

I would rather trust the wheels of natural chance than have my genetic code picked by some social committee to meet their idea of what a man should be. We have had anti-utopias like Brave New World to warn us. I think that as much as we like Dune and the Dorsai books, we have to realize that a messiah is God's work, not that of man himself.

Editorial comment:

... or possibly that there is really no such thing as a messiah - it is just a name given to someone, usually with hindsight, by his followers.

Also it is likely to be relatively easy to create people of greater intelligence, and if such activity is commonplace there will be no great advantage to those involved. In fact, a world where everyone has equally greater intelligence is less likely to contain bad deeds. If antisocial behaviour is examined pragmatically and logically it is seen to confer no great advantage to the perpetrators.

The character "God" in The Old Testament cannot really be the both benevolent and omnipotent super being he is made out to be. If he were he would have been able to work out that by sending Moses and his people to exterminate tribes in the country known today as Palestine or Israel, and try and take it over as their own, he would have created over 4,000 years of hatred and war. Instead he would have found another solution to their problem. Therefore his messiahs and prophets carry these flaws in his reasoning. Of course "God" could contain only one of the properties "benevolent" and "omnipotent", but that is not what The Old Testament says. [If he is malevolent and omnipotent, then his advice to Moses makes sense, as it does also if he is benevolent but incompetent.]


Selling Cryonics

by Steve Harris < sbharris@ix.netcom.com >

Theo Theodorus Ibrahim commented on cryonet:

Many people (now and in the past) have talked about selling cryonics.

Rather than just convince the public it makes more sense to primarily sell it to the medical community as an idea. Most people don't after all on their own initiative go and "buy" heart transplants or other significant medical procedures, in fact they want to AVOID these things. Ultimately the reason they have them is because in times of need, people they contact i.e. medical professionals, recommend them.

While we're at it, let me point out that instead of worrying about global warming from CO2, why don't we just move the Earth a little farther out from the Sun?

I'm tired of people showing up with a new way to sell cryonics. My answer is: you're welcome to try it and show us. Or write a check and we'll hire somebody to try it.

The history of medicine is mostly the history of new things being tried first by a few desperate people with problems, who goaded or allowed a very few mavericks (professional and not) into doing something odd and new. This continued until there arose a general demand (as with bone marrow transplants to in-vitro fertilization), following which the service was offered at a few centers, then more generally. Even the fastest revolution in medicine that I know of (introduction of surgical anaesthesia) was still driven by public demand. In fact, ESPECIALLY by public demand.

Throughout history, the great mass of the medical profession has been almost completely reactionary/conservative. That modern scourge, the professional academic "ethicist", has been no exception, either. Which is to say, that (as J.B.S. Haldane said) the average mind treats a new idea at first in the same way the body treats a foreign protein: it rejects it. The hand wringers who become professional ethicists and the old farts who become the grey eminences of the great medical institutions are not known for their willingness to "try it and see." But unfortunately, that is how cryonics has to be done, and done for an unusually long time, before the final facts are in. Thus, if you think you're going to involve the entire medical profession in the doing of a vast and difficult and dubious experiment on par with heart transplantation, but with outcomes unknown for 50 years (or more), think again.

Let me give just one illustration. Have you all been following the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 stories? These were genes discovered in the 1980s which, if a woman had them, gave a woman a 50 to 80% chance of eventually developing breast or ovarian cancer. A commercial test for the gene was developed by Skolnik and others, who argued that women from families with a high breast or ovarian cancer predominance might want to have the information, so that they could make a decision to have breasts and ovaries removed prophylactically, after they had children but before they reached the age of maximal risk.

The ethicists, naturally, threw a fit. They argued that such surgery hadn't been proven to affect cancer risk, or (if it did) affect survival. Maybe close screening was as good. They argued that Skolnik had financial biases. They argued that more epidemiologic studies had to be done before a test of surgery could be ethically rationalized. They accused men of wanting to mutilate women, as effort to preserve paternalistic patriarchy. They argued that until the surgical test was done, doctors could ethically make no recommendations from the gene test. They argued against doing the gene test at all, because (chicken and egg) there could be no ethical recommendations forthcoming about what to do about the results...

While all this hysteria was going on, a number of concerned women from at-risk families took the test, and demanded the surgery after finding out the results. Very recently, it has been shown that what happened to these women was exactly what you would expect, and what they expected: they saved their own lives. Women who did not have the surgery but opted for careful screening, developed cancer at the expected rate. Statistically, some will die from it.

Presently, recommendations for what to do with BRCA gene evidence are undergoing a quiet revolution in medicine. Not only are the patriarchy doing prophylactic mastectomies more readily, but the Amazon female surgeons, too. But that revolution did NOT come from the medical establishment at large. THEY fought it all the way, as did the medical decision-making "scholars" of ethics. And all of this over a fairly straightforward piece of induction involving an outcome which finally had to be proven anyway by experiment, in order to change anything about the general recommendations of physicians.

Now, apply this lesson to cryonics.

Do I think that all of this will be repeated in 50 or 100 years or whenever, after the first cryopreserved human is reanimated? Sure. Medical recommendations will change. Meanwhile, however, you're all dead.

Unless, of course, you screw up your courage and think for yourself.


The Life Lottery

by Robert Ettinger, < Ettinger@aol.com >

There has been another little spate of ignorant remarks in various media about the probability of success of cryonics (revival of patients), including the statement that you are better off buying lottery tickets. For newcomers especially, perhaps it's time to review this.

Few people know much about probability theory, and very few of those apply it to everyday life in anything like a systematic way. Yet many "scientific" critics of cryonics have the gall to call their guesses or biases "estimates of probability." Often they say the probability of success is very small; sometimes they say it is just unknown. Not so.

As it happens, I know more about the foundations of probability theory than most people - including most scientists and most mathematicians. Yet it is relatively easy to understand, and those who can bear with me for a while, regardless of mathematical background, are likely to get the point.

To begin with, one cannot generally speak of "the" probability of an event. A probability does not refer to an event only; it refers to an event (or outcome) in a series of experiments or observations suitably described or chosen. The series is real, not imaginary, even though one can often use previous experience to substitute for new experiments. Since it is real, the series is also finite. If there are n trials and m successes, then the probability of success on the next trial (experiments independent) is p = m/n. For every new series of experiments, p will change (as will the variance); but if the experiments are sufficiently well defined, and the series long enough, the numbers p will tend to converge toward some "ideal" ratio, which in simple cases is intuitively obvious. For example, the probability of drawing a spade from a well-shuffled deck is said to be 25%; you will do it, on average, once in every four trials.

But these simple cases are badly misleading in the broader arena of life. It does no great harm to say that "the" probability of drawing a spade is 25% but it does a great deal of harm to leap to the conclusion that other kinds of events have similarly simple properties.

On our web site I have a long discussion of cryonics and probability, and will omit most of it here. But for a very simple example of different probabilities for the same event, I talked about three people estimating the probability that a certain team will win a certain football game. Their conclusions disagree widely, yet each is objective and correct; they are operating from different databases. This state of affairs is the rule, not the exception.

Further, in the cryonics case we do not have independent experiments nor fixed probabilities. Your own choice will change the probability. The very act of joining an organization and making your arrangements will improve your chances and those of others, in a variety of direct and indirect ways--in addition to just plain making you feel better.

In the state lotteries, the "expected gain" on a dollar is about fifty cents. On average, the players lose about half their money. Is it therefore stupid to bet? Not necessarily, because it gives you something to talk about and daydream about, which in some cases may be a net benefit. On the other hand, you can improve the odds in the lottery by picking unpopular numbers (reducing the risk of sharing), but one could say it would be stupid to bet one dollar even if the expected gain were two dollars, since the chance of winning remains minuscule.

Also, in the lottery, note that for a dying person (without cryonics) the "value" of a few million dollars is not much. He could buy a fancy car, but he couldn't drive it. He could buy fancy meals, but he couldn't eat them. He could rent a fancy concubine, but then what? He could endow a Chair at his school, or give money to his relatives, and he might settle for that fleeting pleasure.

But in the cryonics case, the expected gain or the value of success is estimated by some of us as so immensely large as to defy description. Al Capp had a Billionaires' Club with a sign on the front to warn the riff-raff, "Millionaires, Keep Out." Eventually, there will be no such disadvantaged wretch as a billionaire. Much more importantly, the goods or pleasures available, including the improvements in ourselves, will include kinds and qualities previously unknown. An oyster does not aspire to play the violin, but we at least can predicate the parallel.

If your daily life is one of suffering, as in James Swayze's case, it doesn't take much imagination to understand the possibility of vast improvement, although it does require a great deal of courage to actually work to that end. But if your current life is not so bad, it is very easy to keep a worm's-eye view and rationalize the cop-out. Well, call it evolution in action -self-selection of survivors.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society
www.cryonics.org


More on Simulations

by Scott Badger < w_scott_badger@yahoo.com >

I made some earlier comments suggesting this apparent reality was most probably a simulation and it was either Olaf or Yvan that responded on CryoNet with what I thought was a great counter-point. Specifically, it was suggested that it would be ridiculous to assume that some entity would use the enormous amount of resources required to simulate an entire universe just for us to reside in. Interestingly enough, this is an argument I used to apply to the concept that god created an entire universe just so that humans could cavort on this single planet.

Anyway, two counter-counter-points came to me recently:

(1) We really can't make any assumptions about how reasonable/unreasonable it might be for an unknown entity to go to that much trouble.

(2) If this is a simulation, it may be the case that the designer did not actually create the rest of the universe. It may be that the designer only feeds us (hubble, astronomers, etc) the information about the universe. IOW, when anyone looks at a point of light we call a star, there's no proof the star is really there. We may examine the point of light with our very best instruments and come to many conclusions about the nature of that point of light, but for all we know, it may just be information "about" the point of light, not the point of light itself. After all, it wouldn't take nearly as much memory/resources to provide us with information about the rest of the universe as it would to actually try to simulate the universe.

This view is likely faulty, so somebody please correct my thinking if they can.


As Others See usby Deian Vincent .

New Hope International Review - http ://www.nhi.clara.net/online.htm

NHI Review, 20 Werneth Avenue, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 5NL

Longevity Report #82

This short pamphlet is basically about the people, companies and scientists who are involved in Cryogenics and longevity.

You know, living forever, that sort of thing.

If you want to understand the mechanics and the reasoning behind longevity and what the boffins of this world are doing to try and achieve immortality then get yourself a copy pronto. Included are graphs and reports on the freezing process, charts on the longevity of various flavoured tea, as well as a graph on the longevity of coconut juice after it has been frozen. And they do make for some interesting reading, but ù hey, you knew it was coming! ù it's all rather too esoteric for my tastes. Perhaps if I'd read Longevity Report #1 I'd make better headway here. But somehow I doubt it.

As well as graphs on the lifespan of tea and people, we have various articles too. One of which is an interesting one penned by Dr Yuri Pichugin. Interesting the way it delves into the mind of a cryobiologist and interesting the way it tends to conflict with itself. You see on the one hand he writes of a belief in God but also notes that,

'I stand on the base of observations and facts rather than religious beliefs and anyone's fictions.'

He also seems keen to get young people into cryogenics too saying,

'Better they go to cryonics societies than, for instance, Jehovah's Witnesses.'

Yet gives no reason as to why they should. It's a confusing article that seems to have missed the irony of criticising religious groups for its unscientific attitude to cryogenics and not subscribing to their way of thinking. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Ultimately, though an interesting look into a possible scientific future, Longevity Report, like the Religions it tends to criticise, throws up more questions than it answers.

reviewer: Deian Vincent.


Why not more cryonicists?

By Olaf Henny < olafh@otvcablelan.net >

IMOEO [In My Often Erroneous Opinion :)] the reasons why many decline to even get informed about cryonics are as follows:

- We have *all* been subjected from early childhood on to very persuasive deathist conditioning. It started with the evil witch, the evil stepmother or the evil queen in the fairy tales who poisons the poor princess, prince, or child and is at the end somehow put to death herself (do I detect also some sexism? - I cannot remember one evil guy in fairy tales for the very young originating in Europe, though there are some evil viziers in 1000 & 1 Nights). Furthermore about once a decade young children are exposed to someone close in the family dying, (great-) grandparent, parent, uncle etc. The resulting trauma is mitigated by references to heaven and eternal happiness, mostly out of traditional believes, which found their origin in trying to explain "why God lets the best die" and in an attempt to reduce the pain as well as to explain, why all those prayers did not help. This deathist believe has been deeply entrenched in all cultures and for good reason: Up 'til now everybody, in all cultures, has died within 125 years of birth. By all we have experienced in all history, death is inevitable. To grasp the concept of eliminating death, takes a whole lot of independence of thought, which, although helped by education and intelligence, often even the brightest brains cannot achieve, due to the overwhelming power of conditioning they received throughout their lifetime. "I cannot refute your arguments, - yet I find it impossible to believe them"

- Most people do not consider the possibility of their own death until they are confronted with the realization of their own flagging energy. By the time they notice it, they are already in an advanced state of tiredness, their careers are running into a dead end, they have difficulties with adjusting to the new technologies, methods etc. for practising their profession and they realize, that in order to live an extended live, they will have to learn and study more than their present energy level will allow them to keep up with. Rather than admitting that to themselves and others, they fall back into their comfort zone of accepting death as inevitable and surround themselves with a wall of denial against our reasoning. They do not want "to talk about it!" They feel annoyed by us, because we remind them of their present weaknesses, which they do not want to admit, so they come up with overpopulation and other reasons, why they "have to die". They do not realize, that they will have the same level of energy, that they had as students in their twenties, probably more, because they will be at their optimal function in all "circuits". Unfortunately they are rarely disposed, to listen to us long enough to explain, lest they might appear gullible.

Just my opinion... [but correct and irrefutable :)]


The Relevance of God to Cryonics

by Thomas Donaldson < 73647.1215@compuserve.com >

Ultimately whether or not there is a God (even a God with a personality) means nothing at all to us unless that God somehow constantly interferes in our lives. Given the size of the Universe and the importance of the Earth, and our own history, there's not been any sign at all that God has bothered to intervene in our affairs, nor that he/she ever will.

Just what we do with our lives, as a consequences, depends on our parents, friends, and our own background. God or not. If we really want to know what to do with ourselves (short term or long term) then we examine ourselves and those around us. WE must set our own purposes, and no God or other creature can do that. Yes, we set our purposes based on our genetics and history, but WE INDIVIDUALLY remain the responsible party to do that. Giving that task to God merely gives one more way to fool ourselves about what we're really doing.

Naturally this issue also goes into the issue of what we do as immortalists. Here I can say little not said before. WE INDIVIDUALLY believe that WE should change ourselves to become immortal. That is sufficient. To try to put the responsibility on imaginary beings is not an effective way to think out the problem.

God is worse than nonexistent. HE/SHE is irrelevant.


Religion and Rights of Cryopreserved People and Embyros

by "Transoniq" < wodent@spiretech.com >

Cryonics has about as much to do with religion as does first aid or chemo or any other death-delaying measure - but there's an even better example of how religious objections don't enter into cases of temporary interruption of activity. Quiet the contrary. The recent stem-cell controversy has been so dominated by its "stem-cell-ness" and "right-to-life-ness" that's it's hardly noticed (or at least mentioned) that somewhere along the way, the working assumption among even the most fundy of the fundies - right up to and including the Pope - is that people who are frozen solid (even if they're really only a few cells...) have the same rights as the unfrozen. Whether this is zero rights or all rights depends on other issues - the frozen aspect isn't even a consideration. If these people are even a tiny little bit consistent, it should be obvious that this includes adults as well as embryos. In fact, they should have at least a little relief that in defending frozen adults at least they don't get into the "clump of cells" issue. The deeply religious could actually, very easily, become our most adamant defenders and strongest allies. Funny world.

And on a gloomier note... There is (at least) one reason why the folks in the future won't be giving suspendees the hero's welcome that a lot of people seem to expect: survivor's vilification. This is what happens in certain "life-boat" types of disasters where the survivors are sometimes looked upon with a "why you?" type of attitude. When biostasis is commonly accepted it's going to be really easy for folks to forget (if indeed, they ever knew) just how goddamn hard it is (was) to convince someone to consider cryonics. They may look at suspendees and say, "You KNEW this would work! You KNEW everyone else was dying! Why the hell are you here and not everybody!?" Might be a good idea to tape a note to your capsule: "People I convinced..."

Eric


The Morality of Changing People's Minds

by David Pizer < pizer@primenet.com >

1. If a religious person (who thinks cryonics is bunk) talks a cryonics person out of getting frozen at death, and if cryonics turns out to work, and if it turns out that there is no god nor heaven, then that religious person, (who was trying to help), has caused a terrible thing to happen. He/she has cost another person his eternal life.

2. On the other hand --- If a cryonics person, talks a religious person out of being religious, and convinces that person to give up his/her religious ways, and if it turns out that cryonics doesn't work, and that God and Heaven do exist and the religious person (because of the persuasion of the cryonics person) gave up his/her only chance to have eternal religious salvation, then the cryonics person has done a terrible thing.

3. So, since we can neither know whether religion offers eternal life nor can we know cryonics offers eternal life (or even merely extended life), we should not try to talk anyone out of either one.

So, yes, I do consider it immoral to talk someone out of something, (persuade them to change their minds), if I don't know what the real answer is. I consider it a moral obligation to be very careful when trying to convince people to do things, to be sure that you don't misrepresent anything and to be sure that you disclose all the possible problems with the view your are defending.

That is why I advocate trying to talk people into going for cryonics, without trying to talk them out of their religious beliefs. In addition, I do not see cryonics as an opposite to religious salvation. Most religions (if not all), consider it important for the individual to try to live here on earth for as long as possible. In addition to this, the Christian religion suggests that people should try to heal the sick and raise the dead.

You raise your ideas up by really raising them up, not by lowering the ideas of others.


Fly Longevity Experiments 43 - 46

& Food Satiation Experiments

by Doug Skrecky < oberon@vcn.bc.ca >

This is the 43'rd update of my fly longevity experiments. Except where indicated 1/2 tsp citric acid was added to all bottles. I decided to retest a variety of doses of citric acid, since I was not convinced that dosage really matter at >1/4 tsp. The present results confirm dosage is unimportant, and that variations in longevity are due to chance.

I also tested a variety of teas. The most bitter of these was yin hong tea, and it as well as eucommia appear to be the only ones that were significantly toxic.

Run #43

Percent Survival on Day

supplement 9 15 21 26 31 36 43 47 52 57 62 68 73 77
citric acid 1/4 tsp 100 100 96 88 88 79 50 38 38 25 8 0 - -
citric acid tsp 100 100 96 88 88 76 32 8 4 0 - - - -
citric acid 1 tsp 96 93 93 93 89 74 63 52 41 22 7 0 - -
blood sugar reducing tea 85 88 85 77 65 58 50 46 27 15 8 4 0 -
chrysanthemum tea 89 86 80 77 69 54 34 23 20 11 6 6 3 0
herbal diuretic tea 91 91 89 83 77 71 57 54 31 14 6 0 - -
eucommia tea 74 74 74 74 70 52 30 17 9 4 0 - - -
yin hong tea 83 76 62 45 34 24 14 10 10 0 - - - -

This is the 44'th update of my fly longevity experiments. As mentioned in the last update, I am skeptical whether doses of citric acid over 1/4 tsp offer any advantage. I test this again in the current run, along with acetic acid used by itself or in combination with citric acid. Acetic acid

has been found to increase fly longevity in published studies, but I am skeptical whether this amounts to anything more than an antipathogen effect.

As the current results indicate acetic acid in the form of white vinegar offers no advantage over citric acid. The next run will examine different types of vinegars.

Run #44

Percent Survival on Day

supplement 10 15 20 27 31 36 41 46 52 57 61 66 71 76 83
citric acid 1/4 tsp 100 100 100 96 96 96 88 88 80 48 28 16 4 4 0
+ vinegar 1 tbl 96 91 83 83 83 78 61 61 39 13 4 0 - - -
+ vinegar 2 tbl 100 100 100 86 86 82 77 73 45 14 9 0 - - -
citric acid tsp 81 81 81 81 81 75 75 63 50 25 0 - - - -
citric acid 1 tsp 100 97 97 89 89 80 77 60 37 9 0 - - - -
vinegar 1 tbl 100 100 93 86 86 86 79 79 57 43 29 0 - - -
vinegar 2 tbl 100 100 88 75 75 63 63 44 19 0 - - - - -
vinegar 3 tbl 94 94 94 81 75 69 69 50 19 0 - - - - -

This is the 45'th update of my fly longevity experiments. All bottles contained 1/4 tsp citric acid as standard. Here I test a variety of vinegars at a lower 1 teaspoon level this time. Best result was with balsamic vinegar, which offered superior survival for the first month.

This vinegar had the darkest colour, and so I presume the highest phytochemical content. I note that this vinegar is manufactured from grape juice, and that grape juice has offered survival advantages on several occasions in the past when I have tested it.

Since in humans potassium depletion is a side effect of excessive vinegar use, I decided to test the effect of a small nutritional supplement of potassium. This did appear to restore maximum survival of white vinegar treated flies to close to control levels. It is interesting that in a published study, which did not use an added acid, potassium also improved survival in flies. The next run will test the effect of various potassium salts.

Run #45

Percent Survival on Day

supplement 4 11 15 20 25 30 36 41 45 50 55 60 67
control 100 88 76 64 60 56 56 56 48 36 24 8 0
vinegar, apple cider 1 tsp 96 78 74 65 52 35 22 4 4 0 - - -
vinegar, balsalmic 1 tsp 100 100 94 94 89 72 50 44 17 0 - - -
vinegar, malt 1 tsp 100 89 83 72 78 56 39 33 6 0 - - -
vinegar, red wine 1 tsp 100 94 78 72 72 56 44 39 33 6 0 - -
vinegar, rice 1 tsp 100 94 61 56 56 50 22 6 6 0 - - -
vinegar, white 1 tsp 100 75 67 58 42 42 33 17 17 0 - - -
+ KHCO31/64 tsp 100 91 82 64 64 45 27 27 27 18 18 0 -

This is the 46'th update of my fly longevity experiments. All bottles contain 1/4 tsp citric acid as a standard additive, except lemon and lime juice bottles, which already contain citric acid. Additional potassium has improved survival in a published experiment, and according to my last update, it also does appear to improve survival when acetic acid is used as an additive.

Both lemon, and lime can induce phototoxic reactions, so it is perhaps not too surprising that they reduce survival. The current results strongly suggest that potassium does not aid survival in citric acid treated flies. The tartrate salt in contrast appears to be quite toxic. I had earlier found tartaric acid itself to be toxic. It is possible that current fly food batches may have an increased potassium content. If so this could account for the null result with potassium.

During the summer months longevity decreases. For this experiment average temperature was 25 C. The limiting factor in fly survival under optimal conditions is known to be due to motor neuron degeneration. However few of the flies in the current experiment lost the ability to fly

before expiring, so some other factor is responsible for their deaths.

Acid addition prevents molds and bacteria from inducing visible changes to the fly food. As a result I doubt that these pathogens are responsible for the early mortality. The literature is surprisingly sparce it its examination of other causes of fly mortality. However it is apparent that

pathogens are a factor in published experiments. The experimental group headed Dr Harold Massie has duplicated a number of experiments that found large increases in survival with certain additives, and consistently obtained null results under clean room conditions. Massie himself attributed these contradictory results to the confounding effects of pathogens. I believe the most likely explanation of the early deaths my own experiments are now experiencing is due to viral infections. Acids would not affect most of these, and flies are known to harbor a wide

variety iof viruses. It is intriguing that death due to pathogens in aged humans is almost exclusively from viral infections. This is how one of my own grandmothers expired.

Grape skins are known to exert an antiviral effect. This may account for the my own past positive results with grape juice, as well as grape containing elderberry juice. In the next run I will further investigate these.

Run #46

Percent Survival on Day

supplement 4 9 14 19 25 30 34 39 44 49 56 61 67
control 95 90 85 80 45 35 30 10 10 10 5 5 0
lemon juice 92 42 17 17 8 8 0 - - - - - -
lime juice 77 15 8 0 - - - - - - - - -
KHCO3 1/64 tsp 100 75 50 42 25 17 17 0 - - - - -
KHCO3 1/32 tsp 100 89 56 56 22 22 22 11 0 - - - -
KCL 1/64 tsp 92 83 58 50 33 25 25 9 9 0 - - -
KCL 1/32 tsp 100 81 69 56 44 44 19 13 6 0 - - -
K tartrate 1/32 tsp 67 42 25 8 8 8 7 7 0 - - - -
K tartrate 1/64 tsp 80 60 33 20 7 7 7 7 7 0 - - -

This is the 47'th update of my fly longevity experiments. All bottles except those with vinegar contain 1/4 tsp citric acid as a standard additive. Here I examine elderberry juice again, as well it's major components such as apple and grape juice. Balsamic vinegar is made from grape juice.

Back in Run #36 freeze concentrated elderberry juice greatly increased average longevity from 40 days (control) to about 80 days. Maximum survival increased from 73 days (control) to a record 118 days. The current experiment was done in the summer, and average temperature had increased to about 25.5 C. Higher temperatures are known to accelerate motor neuron disease in flies, but also may greatly increase the confounding effect of viral infections.

Balsalmic vinegar turned out to be a dud this time, but my failure to add extra potassium to counter the potassium depleting effect of acetic acid may have biased the result.

Few flies in my recent experiments lost the ability to fly before perishing. In is interesting that at the day 49 census the surviving 32% of flies in the freeze concentrated elderberry juice bottle had ALL lost their ability to fly. This strongly suggested that this concentrated juice was successful in blocking many of the pathogen associated deaths. At the day 54 census the surviving 21% had even lost the ability to walk. These extremely decrepit flies could barely move even when the bottle was greatly agitated. Under magnification they exhibited only slight signs of movement. They were literally on their last legs.

I am reluctant to make freeze concentrated elderberry juice a standard additive to all my bottles because the colour it imparts to the fly food makes a census difficult. Therefore I will continue to look for other additives that are effective in allowing flies to live long enough to die of motor neuron disease. In my next experiment I look at the effect of removing all dead fly corpses from bottles at each census.

Note: Below FC means freeze concentrated.

Run #47

Percent Survival on Day

supplement 7 12 16 21 26 31 38 43 49 54 59
control 85 85 75 70 60 55 20 20 0 - -
apple Okanagan FC 100 96 78 78 65 48 39 17 4 0 -
elderberry 100 80 77 73 73 70 33 20 7 0 -
elderberry FC 100 89 84 84 68 58 47 47 32 21 0
grape 89 84 84 84 79 53 37 16 11 5 0
grape FC 93 87 80 73 73 60 47 40 13 0 -
vinegar, balsamic 1 tbl 93 73 67 47 40 40 20 7 0 - -
vinegar, balsamic 2 tbl 100 64 45 36 27 9 9 9 0 - -
vinegar, balsamic 3 tbl 100 95 84 58 42 26 5 0 - - -

Food Satiation Experiments

This is the third update on my food satiation experiments, in which I compare my ad libitum calorie intake of various foods over a period of one day.

I tried drinking Lucerne 2% chocolate milk to see how this compared with Astro's sugar free no fat fruit yogurts. The chocolate milk tasted good, but the lack of variety placed this in the middle palatability group. Despite this reduction in liking, I glugged 2100 calories of choco milk. On a per liter basis the sugar sweetened chocolate milk came with 700 calories, which is 65% higher than the caloric density (424 cals/liter) of the sugar free no fat yogurt. I strongly suspect that this increased density accounted for the 42% higher calorie intake. It amazes me how many calories sugar can add to foods. For example I found that sweetened apple sauce contains double the calories of unsweetened apple sauce.

I next tried Astro's 1% fat sugar sweetened yogurt. I found this to be less sweet than the no fat yogurt, and also it has less fruit, but more calories (936 cals/liter). Again despite the lower palatability I ate 2354 calories of this yogurt! Sugar calories are evidentally quite dangerous to

my waistline. Caloric density of liquid palatable foods has a dramatic effect on my ad libitum intake. This is in marked contrast the complete irrelevance of density to intake of low palatability foods. Indeed I can not convince myself that any food characteristic has a consistent effect on intake of low palatability foods. Without the lure of taste, my only motivation to eat appears to be to ingest the minimum calories my body needs to survive, which seems to be about 1500 calories/day.

Palatability Food Daily Calorie Intake
Low rye bread 1388
Low apple, Gala 1413
Low chicken breast 1478
Low rye crispbread 1564
Low vegetables/cottage cheese 1768
Low potato 2179 (skipped lunch next day)
Medium yogurt, fruit, no sugar & Gala apples 1976
Medium 2% fat chocolate milk 2100
Medium yogurt, fruit, sugar 2354
Medium peanuts 2689 (malabsorption)
High yogurt, fruit, no sugar 1483
High cookies & chili 4055

This is the forth update on my food satiation experiments, in which I compare the ad libitum calorie intake of various foods over a period of one day . These were added to the table above:

Palatability Food Daily Calorie Intake
Low rice cake with turkey, mustard 1602
Medium yogurt, fruit, aspartame & Gala apples 1976
High angel food cake, jam 2396

I ate turkey/mustard sandwiches, using the same rye bread, which tested out by itself to yield a daily intake of 1388 calories. These sandwiches fell into the medium palatibility group. Possibly due to this increased palatibility, intake jumped significantly to 2371 calories.

Next I tried rice cakes, also with turkey and mustard on them. Although this tasted okay, the texture of the rice cakes resembled styrofoam, and because of this this palatability was low. Intake was 1602 calories, which is similar to other low palatability foods.

Finally I tried angel food cake, with raspberry jam on top. I selected this as a food with high air, and low calorie content per volume. This turned out to very palatable. However the cake proved to be very compressible during mastigation, and although the quantity looked like a lot on a plate, it proved not to be very filling. Intake was 2936 calories. At least this is still 1000 calories less than cookies.


Ethics: Religion vs Secular Groups

by Charles Platt <cp@panix.com>

In a debate about religion, it was suggested that secular movements, such as Communism, produce in the deaths and suffering of far more human life than that of their religious counterparts.

First this is rather a poor argument since the members of any religion (with the probable exception of Buddhism) will tend to claim that they are ethically guided and hence less likely to act unethically than their atheist counterparts. If this were true, one should expect to find no religious wars at all, and barbaric conflict should be purely an atheistic occupation. To say that religious people have had ugly wars, but so have atheists, is to say that the whole idea of religious guidance is a total failure.

Second, I think you will find, if you add up the body count, that the total from wars in which the aggressor invoked "God's blessing" is higher than from other conflicts; and religious conflicts are notoriously vicious (e.g. Spanish Inquisition) since any behaviour is supposedly excused by the Creator, and the participants are encouraged to take extreme measures because they probably believe in an afterlife.

One could argue reasonably that people doing these things were misinterpreting their holy guide books. However, if a guide book is so easily misinterpreted, I regard it as badly written and dangerous. The US Constitution is a model of clarity by comparison.

The only religious group I trust (again, apart from Buddhists) is the Quakers. Their record is pretty much unimpeachable, because of their refusal to interfere in other people's business. This almost puts them on a par with the libertarians. However, the relative unpopularity of Quakerism suggests to me that religions are more successful when they do in fact have a record of gross interference with competing faiths.


Differences Between Science and Religion.

by Gurvinder Bagga < quantumgul@yahoo.com >

  1. A scientist will give up his life for the betterment of humanity. A religious fanatic will sacrifice humanity for his ideals.
  2. A scientist will or can never impose his ideas on others unless he can prove himself . A religious priest forces his thoughts on others and threatens punishment if others don't follow.
  3. A scientist cannot issue a fatwa or commandment to prove a point. A religious priest can issue a fatwa or commandment over a point he himself might not like to follow.
  4. Science does not force children who cannot speak into communities or cults. Religion forces children who cannot speak into believing ideas the child might disagree when he really can speak!
  5. Science encourages freedom. Scientist dress the way they want to. The work is not related to the dress a scientist wears. Religion forces a dress code. People are made to look alike. Freedom of dress is banned.
  6. Science does not discriminate against females. A scientist can be of either sex and be respected for his or her work. Religion mostly discriminates against females. They are not allowed to express themselves and even entrance inside a religious institution is often not allowed. Head priests of almost all religions of the world are MALES.
  7. More people have been killed in the name of religion than for or against any scientific discipline. In fact science has in the last two hundred years saved millions of lives.
  8. Science evolves and learns from it's mistakes. Religion does not evolve and NEVER learns from it's mistakes.
  9. Scientists are required for the day to day running of the world. Religious priests are not required for the day to day running of the world.
  10. A scientist might invent weapons of mass destruction but he is responsible and knows the consequences of his actions. A religious fanatic cannot make weapons of mass destruction but STEALS form scientists these weapons and kills thousands not knowing the consequences of his actions.
  11. Science does not reject GOD and is in fact trying to find the ultimate meaning of life. This is done through hard work which might take maybe thousands of years. But scientists have tremendous patience and are mostly fascinated by the journey rather than the goal. Religious priests KNOW GOD exists! They have not offered any proof nor are interested in doing so. They get extremely irritated if asked for proof. They are very impatient and want to go to heaven without doing any real hard work in this world.
  12. Scientist admit the world exists and can be manipulated for our benefit. They also use the fruits of their discovery. Religion does not give importance to this world and almost always talks of heaven or hell. But deeply religious people USE the fruits of discovery of science.
  13. MONEY which is the most important tool invented by man the scientist is the ONLY thing accepted by any RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!! BLESSINGS CANNOT BE EXCHANGED FOR BLESSINGS.
  14. Science discovers truths which are applicable all over the universe. A hydrogen atom is the same everywhere. So is a oxygen atom. Similarly gravity works in the same way all over the universe. And light in it's current form travels at the same speed. Common sense tells us that a GOD should be same all over OUR universe.(IT might be different in another universe) But religion on earth does not agree. Already we have GODS of all colours and shapes found all over the world. And no GOD is compatible with another. GODS as we know them on this planet are non-fungible! They also follow political boundaries created in the last three hundred years! For example a GOD in INDIA is not a GOD when you cross a political boundary and go to PAKISTAN!!

I know Longevity Report readers are mostly very intelligent and already are aware of the above although some might not agree with all the points. But it is important that I have made the above after great thought and it has actually taken years of experience to arrive at some of the above conclusions.


Argument Amongst Cryonicists

by Douglas Skrecky

Following a number of very heated debates on Cryonet, Douglas Skrecky had this to say:

After seeing and evaluating the behaviour of a number of people involved in cryonics, I've reluctantly concluded that a number are mentally ill.

A possibly relevant study was done on creativity and psychopathology in 291 world-famous men (British Journal of Psychiatry 165: 22-34 1994). Guess which profession was associated with the highest incidence of psychopathology?

No, it wasn't politicians, of which 17.8% suffered from severe illness, including Hitler, Woodrow Wilson and Lincoln. The group that scored the worst was writers. One is reminded of the saying: genius is next to insanity. The breakdown for writers was as in the table to the right.

Editorial Comment

I must say that I had always found it strange that people united in the fight against ageing, disease and death should be so vituperative towards each other. "Fools fighting in burning houses" is how I describe it.

There is an old joke:

If you get two cryonics people stranded on a desert island, soon there will be three cryonics providers there.

But still, that is human nature after all. Those who believe in a benevolent all wise god seem to spend a lot of effort in attacking others of similar but not quite identical beliefs.

Degree of Psychopathology
None Mild Marked Severe
2% 10% 42% 46%
Maupassant Chekov Balzac Conrad
France Bennett Dostoevsky
Hauptmann Brecht Faulkner
Melville Camus Gide
Orwell Dickens Gogol
Dumas(pere) Hemingway
Flaubert Hesse
Galsworthy Ibsen
Gorky Joyce
Hardy Kafka
Hugo Kipling
Huxley (A) Lawrence
James (H) Mann (T)
Maugham (S) Manzoni
Pasternak Proust
Pirandello Sartre
Shaw Scott Fitzgerald
Thackeray Stendhal
Trollope Strindberg
Turgenev Tolstoy
Zola Waugh (E)
Wells
Wilde

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