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|Human Cloning is the Least Interesting Application of Cloning Technology||Ray Kurzweil|
|Freeze Drying Revisited||Dalibor den Otter|
|Updates on fly longevity experiments 73-81||Douglas Skrecky|
|Problems with Isomorphic Uploading||James Swayze|
|Useful Internet Locations||John de Rivaz|
Contents are provided for information only, under the right to free speech. Opinions are the authors' own. No professional advice is intended. If you wish others to be legally responsible for your health, life or finances, then please consult a professional regulated according to the laws of your country.
Volume 16 no 93. First published Febuary 2003. ISSN 0964-5659.
Human Cloning is the
Least Interesting Application
of Cloning Technology
by Ray Kurzweil KurzweilAI.net, http://www.kurzweilai.net/
Cloning is an extremely important technology--not for cloning humans but for life extension: therapeutic cloning of one's own organs, creating new tissues to replace defective tissues or organs, or replacing one's organs and tissues with their "young" telomere-extended replacements without surgery. Cloning even offers a possible solution for world hunger: creating meat without animals.
All responsible ethicists, including this author, consider human cloning at the present time to be unethical. The reasons have nothing to do with the slippery (slope) issues of manipulating human life. Rather, the technology today simply does not work reliably. The current technique of fusing a cell nucleus from a donor to an egg cell using an electric spark causes a high level of genetic errors.
This is the primary reason that most of the fetuses created in this way do not make it to term. Those that do nonetheless have genetic defects. Dolly developed an obesity problem in adulthood, and the majority of the cloned animals produced thus far have had unpredictable health problems.
Scientists have a number of ideas for perfecting this process, including alternative ways of fusing the nucleus and egg cell, but until the technology is demonstrably safe, it would be unethical to create a human life with such a high likelihood of severe health problems.
Regardless of whether or not the recent announcement of a cloned baby turns out to be legitimate, there is no doubt that human cloning will occur, and occur soon, driven by all the usual reasons, ranging from its publicity value to its utility as a very weak form of immortality. The methods that are demonstrable in advanced animals will work quite well in humans. Once the technology is perfected in terms of safety, the ethical barriers will be feeble if they exist at all.
In my view, cloning is an extremely important technology, but the cloning of humans is the least of it. Let me first address its most valuable applications and then return to its most controversial one.
The early 21st century will be shaped by accelerating and interacting technological transformations, all based in one way or another on information. These include the explicit information technologies of intelligent machines, robotics, nanotechnology, and virtual reality. Of perhaps even more immediate impact on human longevity and well-being will be the multiple and intersecting biological revolutions, which are based on understanding the information processes underlying life and disease, such as rational drug design, genomics, proteomics, and genetic cloning.
Why is cloning important?
The most immediate application of cloning is improved breeding by being able to directly reproduce an animal with a desirable set of genetic traits. A powerful example is reproducing animals from transgenic embryos (embryos with foreign genes) for pharmaceutical production. A case in point: one of the most promising new anti-cancer treatments is an antiangiogenesis drug (a drug that inhibits tumors from creating the new capillary networks needed for their growth) called aaATIII, which is produced in the milk of transgenic goats.
Another exciting application is recreating animals from endangered species. By cryopreserving cells from these species, they never need become extinct. It will eventually be possible to recreate animals from recently extinct species. This past year, scientists were able to synthesize DNA for the Tasmanian Tiger, which has been extinct for 65 years, with the hope of bringing this species back to life. As for long extinct species (e.g., dinosaurs), there is a high level of doubt that we will find the fully intact DNA required in a single preserved cell, but it is quite possible that we will eventually be able to synthesize the DNA needed by patching together the information derived from multiple inactive fragments.
Another valuable emerging application is therapeutic cloning of one's own organs. Here we don't clone the entire person (you), but rather directly create one of your organs. By starting with germ line cells, differentiation (into different types of cells) is triggered prior to the formation of a fetus. Because differentiation takes place during the pre-fetal stage (i.e., prior to implantation of a fetus), most ethicists believe that this process does not raise ethical concerns, although this issue has been highly contentious.
Another highly promising approach is "human somatic cell engineering," which bypasses fetal stem cells entirely. These emerging technologies create new tissues with a patient's own DNA by modifying one type of cell (such as a skin cell) directly into another (such as a pancreatic Islet cell or a heart cell) without the use of fetal stem cells. There have been breakthroughs in this area in the past year. For example, scientists from the U.S. and Norway successfully converted human skill cells directly into immune system cells and nerve cells.
Consider the question: What is the difference between a skin cell and any other type of cell in the body? After all, they all have the same DNA. The differences are found in protein signaling factors that we are now beginning to understand. By manipulating these proteins, we can trick one type of cell into becoming another.
Perfecting this technology would not only diffuse a contentious ethical and political issue, it is also the ideal solution from a scientific perspective. If I need pancreatic Islet cells, or kidney tissues-or a even whole new heart-to avoid autoimmune reactions, I would strongly prefer to obtain these with my own DNA, not the DNA from someone else's germ line cells.
This process will directly grow an organ with your genetic makeup. Perhaps most importantly, the new organ has its telemeres (the chemical "beads" at the end of DNA that get shorter every time a cell divides) fully extended to their original youthful length, so that the new organ is effectively young again. So an 80-year-old man could have his heart replaced with his own "25-year-old" heart.
The injection of pancreatic Islet cells is already showing great promise in treating type I Diabetes, but contemporary treatments require strong anti-rejection drugs, and the availability of these cells for transplantation is very limited. With this type of somatic cell engineering, a type I Diabetic will be able to produce his own Islet cells with his own genetic makeup, eliminating both the rejection and availability problems and thereby curing his Diabetes.
Even more exciting is the prospect of replacing one's organs and tissues with their "young" telomere-extended replacements without surgery. By introducing cloned telomere-extended cells into an organ, these cells will integrate themselves with the older cells. By repeated treatments of this kind over a period of time, the organ will end up being dominated by the younger cells. We normally replace our own cells on a regular basis anyway, so why not do so with youthful telomere-extended cells rather than telomere-shortened ones? There's no reason why we couldn't do this with every organ and tissue in our body. We would thereby grow progressively younger.
Solving world hunger
Another exciting opportunity is to create meat without animals. As with therapeutic cloning, we would not be creating the entire animal, but rather directly producing the desired animal parts or flesh. Essentially, all of the meat-billions of pounds of it-would in essence be from a single animal. What's the point of doing this? For one thing, we could eliminate human hunger.
By creating meat in this way, it becomes subject to the "law of accelerating returns," which is the exponential improvements in price-performance of information based technologies over time. So meat produced in this way will ultimately be extremely inexpensive. It could cost less than one percent of conventionally produced meat. Even though hunger in the world today is certainly exacerbated by political issues and conflicts, meat will become so inexpensive that it will have a profound effect on the affordability of food.
The advent of animal-less meat will also eliminate animal suffering. The economics of factory farming place a very low priority on the comfort and life style of the animals. They are essentially cogs in a machine, and suffer on a massive scale. Although animal activists may prefer that everyone become a vegetarian, that is not likely, and some research suggests would not be ideal for everyone from a nutritional perspective. With animal-less meat, there would be no animal suffering. We could use the same approach for such animal byproducts as leather, and, dare I say, fur. The enormous ecological damage created by factory farming would also be eliminated. And we could produce meat with a far more desirable nutritional profile.
Which brings us again to human cloning, in my mind the least interesting application. Once the technology is perfected (which is not the case today), I see neither the acute ethical dilemmas nor the profound promise that ethicists and enthusiasts have debated. So we'll have genetic twins separated by one or more generations: it's the sort of idea society absorbs in its sleep. It's far different from mental cloning in which a person's entire personality, memory, skills, and history will ultimately be downloaded into a different, and most likely more powerful, thinking medium. There's no issue of philosophical identity with genetic cloning-genetic clones are different people, even more so than conventional twins today.
But if we consider the full concept of cloning from cell to organisms, the benefits have enormous synergy with the other revolutions occurring in biology as well as in computer technology. As we learn to understand the genome of both humans and animals, and as we develop powerful new means of harnessing genetic information, cloning provides the means to replicate animals, organs, and cells. And that has profound implications for health and well-being, of both ourselves and our evolutionary cousins in the animal kingdom.
Freeze Drying Revisited
by Dalibor den Otter <email@example.com>
As part of my never ending quest to find cheap(er) cryonics alternatives, I'm currently investigating freeze drying. Some preliminary results of this investigation (links, articles, pictures and some suggestions) can be found at http://www.transtopia.org/plastination.html#freezedry It is possibly the most comprehensive cryonics-related freeze drying page on the web.
Anyway, after digging up some very encouraging postings by Mr. Skrecky, I came across the following message, which essentially seems to be saying "dry freezing is crap, forget about it".
Date: Sun, 23 May 1999 11:01:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: freeze drying, alcohol dehydration, osmotic
"The best book on freeze-drying of entire animals is one by Rolland However from the Smithsonian Institution entitled "Freeze-Drying Biological Specimens: A Laboratory Manual". Time to freeze-dry a human brain at -30 C is 14 days. Weight loss was 80%. Note that although tissue may look good when it is freeze-dried, microscopic morphology of freeze-dried brain tissue is **unacceptable** [emphasis mine] due to its high lipid content. Dehydration in alcohol gives vastly better results, and is much cheaper. Alcohol destroys cell membranes, but there is some evidence that lipid friendly ethylene glycol could be used instead."
What exactly is meant here by "unacceptable" -- how bad exactly *is* this damage? Evidence? Is it worse than with, say, straight freezing? Can't possibly be worse than burial, in any case.
Assuming that freeze drying isn't *completely* useless from an identity-preservation perspective, it could be a very decent "poor man's" cryonics alternative. The only really expensive part is the purchase (or construction) of a freeze drying machine. Freeze Dry Specialties, Inc's "Taxi-Dry" model, which could easily handle a human brain (apparently they're already being used for brain preservation by the University of Nevada's medical school), costs about $10,000, making it, as far as I know, one of the cheapest freeze dryers available. Though obviously too expensive for most individuals, $10k it is not a *huge* investment risk for a cryonics organization, or for a group of 10 or more low-budget immortalists. That would mean that a group of 10 people would pay $1,000 a piece, 20 people $500, and 50 $200. If so desired, up to 3 freezer units can be linked to 1 vacuum pump, so expanding the setup isn't as expensive as one might expect.
According to a source mentioned by Mr.Skrecky in one of his postings, "Freeze-drying of a formalin fixed 1386 gram human brain took just 28 days at -30 C", and according to the Taxi-Dry's manufacturer, [the unit] "operates quietly on 110 Volt current for less than a dollar per day." 28 bucks for a full treatment, that's, well, *amazingly cheap*! Even 10 X as much would still be quite affordable. There might be some chemicals involved in the pre-treatment phase, but it doesn't seem likely that these will cost more than a few hundred USD/EURO per patient, possibly a lot less.
Finally, then, one would need some kind of sturdy airtight container to place the brain(s) in, and a regular household freezer for cold storage. Again, taking into account that these things would be purchased collectively or by a cryonics organization, (or one could even use his own freezer for long-term storage; most people have, or can afford, one of those), this shouldn't add more than a few hundred USD/EURO. Annual electricity costs for a regular freezer are really negligible, even if it's an old and relatively inefficient machine (the newer ones tend to be very energy-efficient).
The end result would be a means of preservation that actually costs *less*, or in any case not more, than a straightforward burial or cremation. Cryonics for the masses!
The freeze drying unit could be used for pet preservation as well; in fact, purely "aesthetic" pet preservation seems to be something of a growing business (see links at website). It might not make you
rich, but by providing 3rd party pet preservation services on the side you could further reduce the overall costs.
So, unless someone has hardcore evidence that freeze drying will mess up your brain beyond all recognition, I'd say let's get together on both sides of the pond (or wherever), and start making some ice mummies!
By the way, I've recently purchased a second hand lab dewar-pressure vessel combo (it's automated, but the electronics need
to be repaired) for pet storage. It's primarily meant for private use, but if anyone in the Euro region is interested in cryogenic
pet preservation they can always contact me on email@example.com and perhaps we can work something out.
Updates on fly longevity experiments 73-81
by Douglas Skrecky < firstname.lastname@example.org >
This is the 73rd update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.5 C during this run. Here mitochondrial antioxidants/substrates are tested. I also recently found another source for coconut juice, and with an eye to making (colorless) coconut juice a standard addition I test out this lastest batch.
The control had a very poor survival, possibly because of viral contamination. Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) by itself did nothing, and inconsistent effects were obtained with lipoic acid by itself. However the combination of ALC 125 mg & lipoic 25 mg yielded a more "normal" survival curve. I've obtained large increases in survival before, but it has always been when the control bottle showed poor results. I'm skeptical, but none-the-less will try ALC, and lipoic acid again.
The negative result with coconut juice was a big surprise, as this type of fruit juice has repeatedly exhibited a survival promoting effect in the past. However the coconut juice used this time is from a different source, and possibly heat treatment may have deactivated the juice. This coconut juice is looked at again in the next run.
Percent Survival on Day
|ALC 125 mg||90||45||5||3||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + lipoic 25 mg||92||78||62||48||29||12||11||8||5||3||2||0|
|ALC 500 mg||78||56||22||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|ALC 500 mg + lipoic 100 mg||77||40||20||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|lipoic 25 mg||80||4||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|lipoic 100 mg||85||40||30||10||5||5||0||-||-||-||-||-|
This is the 74'th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.3 C during this run. Here I retest the latest batch of coconut juice, which had a null effect in the last run. I also retest the (now aged) rice protein, originally used to good effect in runs with poor overall survival (#56 & #57). I also check to see if adding a little extra water further improves survival.
This run shows that it was no fluke that the current batch of coconut juice doesn't work at increasing fly longevity. It is not a high priority, but I will have to test various different brands of coconut juice in future to see if there are consistent differences. Rice protein also turned out to be inactive. However this is the same batch of protein originally used in runs #56 & #57. Possibly "aging" of this protein removed its beneficial property. Someday I'll have to buy a fresh batch of rice protein, to see if there are any differences with old protein.
The fact that adding extra water to the rice protein had a null result is not surprising, since the flies did not live long enough to experience any dehydration stress. In any case I now add a little extra tape to the cardboard sealer on the bottles, so late life dehydration is less of a worry.
Percent Survival on Day
|coconut juice 20%||84||40||8||0||-|
|coconut juice 40%||85||31||12||0||-|
|coconut juice 100%||80||27||7||0||-|
|coconut j 100% + rice p 1/8 tsp||73||42||8||0||-|
|rice protein 1/8 tsp||83||39||11||0||-|
|rice protein 1 tsp||85||50||10||0||-|
|rice protein 1 tsp + water 1 tsp||93||60||7||0||-|
This is the 75th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.5 C during this run. Here I examine the effect of fly population size on survival, and its (possible) interaction with taurine
dosage. Please note that I usually add 1 gram of taurine to 20 grams of 4-24 fly food per bottle, to act as a nontoxic larvicide.
As it turned out, taurine dosage had no consistent effect on longevity, so the results for this run are listed below, in fly number order. In theory one might anticipate three population effects. Maximum lifespan should be increased, if more flies are used, since extremely old flies are expected to be few and far between. On the other hand a high population density might promote the transmission of pathogens between flies, and so average longevity would then be reduced if the population is too high. Another negative effect from too high a population would be increased mating frequency, which would also act to reduce average longevity.
From the data presented below it appears average longevity (see day 21) is increased if fly number is below about 20 flies. Maximal longevity displays a bimodal distribution, with fly numbers either below 10, or above 30 showing some advantage. I generally try to place between 15 and 30 flies in most of my runs. However due to the limited number of flies available from a single breeding bottle, increasing this number is not feasible. On the other hand, I'm uncomfortable statistically with reducing fly number to less than 10 per bottle. I'll have to try this experiment again, in the future, to see how robust this less-than-10-fly effect is.
Percent Survival on Day
|taurine ½ gm||54||78||50||43||26||15||9||6||2||2||0|
|taurine 1 gm||54||70||44||31||19||13||4||4||4||0||-|
|taurine ½ gm||33||73||55||45||33||15||9||9||3||0||-|
|taurine 1 gm||24||54||29||29||25||13||8||4||0||-||-|
|taurine ½ gm||15||87||87||67||47||27||0||-||-||-||-|
|taurine 1 gm||11||73||73||64||27||27||9||0||-||-||-|
|taurine ½ gm||9||89||89||67||56||44||11||11||11||0||-|
|taurine 1 gm||6||100||67||50||50||50||33||33||33||0||-|
This is the 76'th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.5 C during this run. This run tests whether the relatively good survival obtained with the combination of 125 mg acetyl-L-carnitine, and 25 mg lipoic acid in run #73, was due to chance or not.
The present results indicate that this fortuitous result was indeed due to chance. Both runs indicate that acetyl-L-carnitine by itself slightly reduces longevity. This run indicates that 100 lipoic acid may act to slightly increase survival.
Percent Survival on Day
|acetyl-L-carnitine 63 mg||100||56||44||44||13||0||-||-||-|
|ALC 63 mg + lipoic 25 mg||92||69||65||38||15||12||4||4||0|
|ALC 63 mg + lipoic 100 mg||100||75||75||70||50||15||5||0||-|
|acetyl-L-carnitine 125 mg||95||52||57||57||24||19||0||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + lipoic 25 mg||94||76||65||53||18||12||0||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + lipoic 100 mg||100||82||82||71||53||18||6||0||-|
This is the 77th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.1 C during this run. Here I take another look at combinations of acetyl-L-cysteine (ALC), and some antioxidants.
Once again lipoic acid at 100 mg looked to be slightly useful, but acetylcysteine is a dud, and melatonin is so-so. The reader might ask why I'm still looking at ALC combinations, when previous results were so uninspiring. This is because this, (and the next) run were started before the results from previous runs were available. In order to facilitate the speed that results can be obtained, up to ten runs may be in progress simultaneously.
Percent Survival on Day
|ALC 125 mg + lipoic 100 mg||93||80||47||47||40||27||20||13||0||-|
|ALC 125 mg + lipoic 200 mg||90||57||38||38||24||14||5||0||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + lipoic 400 mg||94||55||45||39||21||15||15||6||3||0|
|ALC 125 mg + acetylcysteine 125 mg||92||52||12||8||4||4||0||-||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + acetylcysteine 500 mg||100||40||30||20||15||10||0||-||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + melatonin 10 mg||93||41||30||30||15||7||0||-||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + melatonin 40 mg||100||57||33||38||29||24||19||10||0||-|
This is the 78'th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 24.8 C during this run. Here I take yet another look at combinations of acetyl-L-cysteine (ALC), and some antioxidants.
CDP choline and citrulline both turned out to be a duds this time, and ginkgo was toxic. As before, nicotinamide at a high dose was again toxic, possibly because of inhibition of SIR2. Lipoic acid at the 100 mg dose appeared to be ineffective this time, but the 200 mg dose was slightly beneficial. Surprisingly the 400 mg dose was either toxic this time, or very unlucky. Overall there is not much of interest here.
Next run, I look away from ALC, investigate some novel supplements, and obtain some intriguing results.
Percent Survival on Day
|ALC 125 mg + CDP choline 500 mg||92||56||52||52||44||24||20||8||0||-|
|ALC 125 mg + citrulline ½ tsp||95||52||48||38||38||33||19||5||0||-|
|ALC 125 mg + ginkgo 20 mg||52||43||30||17||17||17||9||0||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + ginkgo 80 mg||63||38||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + lipoic 100 mg||100||73||73||53||53||40||13||0||-||-|
|ALC 125 mg + nicotinamide 94 mg||100||67||61||44||44||28||11||6||6||0|
|ALC 125 mg + nicotinamide 375 mg||57||21||14||7||7||0||-||-||-||-|
|carnitine + lipoic 100 mg||95||60||60||55||50||20||15||10||0||-|
|lipoic 100 mg||89||58||53||42||32||11||5||0||-||-|
|lipoic 200 mg||96||83||70||61||61||35||22||9||4||0|
|lipoic 400 mg||100||19||19||13||0||-||-||-||-||-|
This is the 79th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.0 C during this run. Here I cast the net wide, and take a look at a variety of supplements, including some obscure items, such as grass jelly, tamarind, and white gourd.
Back in run #41, an apple cider vinegar powder increased longevity at 0.5 and 2 gm dosages. I went on to test a variety of liquid vinegars, without much luck. However unlike liquid vinegars, a powder has little or no acetic acid in it, so it is really a different product. Here I give the vinegar powder a second try at slightly higher dosages.
A product called Lifespan Armor was received in the mail, which featured bearberry as its single largest ingredient. Here I give it the fly test.
I recently read something interesting on RNA/DNA supplements, and even though a long time ago I had tried it on flies with poor results, I decided to give it a try again, and once again got more poor results.
Inconsistent effects have been obtained with coconut juice in the past. Here I try a variety of brands of this juice. All were effective in increasing maximum lifespan, in this run.
Grass jelly, and white gourd drinks gave superlative results. However it remains to be seen how much of this extension is due to the supplements, and how much is due to good luck.
Percent Survival on Day
|cider vinegar powder 1 gm||64||55||32||5||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|cider vinegar powder 4 gm||42||26||26||11||11||11||5||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|coconut juice (Coconut Palm)||53||47||20||13||13||7||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|coconut juice (FOCO)||41||41||24||18||18||18||6||12||6||0||-||-||-|
|coconut juice (T.A.S.)||89||83||61||56||56||44||22||11||6||6||0||-||-|
|coconut juice (Wonderfarm)||63||63||56||31||25||25||25||19||0||-||-||-||-|
|grass jelly drink||67||58||58||58||58||58||58||50||25||25||8||8||0|
|lifespan armor 1 gm||53||47||24||12||6||6||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|lifespan armor 4 gm||43||29||29||14||14||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|RND/DNA 200 mg||29||14||7||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|RNA/DNA 800 mg||24||18||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|saw palmetto 40 mg||33||33||28||17||6||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|saw palmetto 160 mg||18||12||12||12||6||6||6||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|white gourd drink||100||100||100||100||93||93||86||71||64||36||7||0||-|
This is the 80th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.6 C during this run.
Lemon essential oil was found to be quite poisonous to flies. All flies appeared to be dead after just a few hours exposure to lemon oil fumes.
However flies appeared to thrive on alcohol free beer (Clausthaler malt). This result looked good enough, that it is being followed up on in run 84, to see if this is a chance finding.
Percent Survival on Day
|glucose 1 tsp||66||62||34||31||28||21||17||14||7||7||3||3||0||-|
|glucose 2 tsp||65||40||30||25||25||15||10||10||5||0||-||-||-||-|
|honey, buckwheat 2 tsp||65||61||52||48||39||35||30||22||17||13||13||4||0||-|
|honey, buckwheat 4 tsp||69||44||31||31||25||19||19||19||13||0||-||-||-||-|
|melatonin 40 mg||47||33||20||20||20||20||13||7||7||0||-||-||-||-|
|melatonin 80 mg||67||33||17||17||11||6||6||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|red wine concentrate 100 mg||69||46||38||31||8||8||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|red wine concentrate 200 mg||62||54||15||8||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|red wine concentrate 400 mg||73||36||9||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|lemon oil 4 drops||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|lemon oil 16 drops||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|ching po leung 1/8 tsp||50||30||15||15||10||5||0||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|ching po leung ½ tsp||58||50||25||17||17||8||8||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|malt beverage (Clausthaler)||76||76||71||71||65||65||65||41||41||35||29||12||6||0|
This is the 81st update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.5 C during this run. Here I test a variety of beverages found mostly in Vancouver's Chinatown.
A common weed here in Canada, called loosestrife had the most interesting results. The low dose bottle of loosestrife may have had a lot of older flies in it, which would account for the poor early survival.
However after day 17, the rate of decline was slower than most bottles, and some survival advantage eventually accrued at older ages versus the control. The high dose of loosestrife had the best overall survival, and appears to be worth taking another look at.
Percent Survival on Day
|ganmao qingre ghongi 1/8 tsp||71||71||67||67||67||57||52||38||24||14||14||0||-||-|
|ganmao qingre ghongi ½ tsp||63||53||53||53||42||26||16||11||11||11||11||5||0||-|
|guandong liang 1/8 tsp||91||91||73||55||55||55||45||36||27||0||-||-||-||-|
|guandong liang ½ tsp||69||46||31||31||31||23||23||23||8||8||0||-||-||-|
|herb of Chinese prayer 1/8 tsp||63||56||38||38||31||19||6||6||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|herb of Chinese prayer ½ tsp||60||47||47||47||47||40||27||20||13||7||7||7||0||-|
|honey suckle 1/8 tsp||69||63||56||38||38||38||38||38||13||13||6||0||-||-|
|honey suckle ½ tsp||70||60||60||40||30||30||20||10||10||10||10||10||10||0|
|ling zhi 1/8 tsp||67||47||33||27||20||20||20||20||20||7||7||0||-||-|
|ling zhi ½ tsp||65||45||40||40||25||20||10||5||5||0||-||-||-||-|
|loosestrife 1/8 tsp||40||40||40||30||30||30||20||20||10||0||-||-||-||-|
|loosestrife ½ tsp||90||90||80||50||50||50||30||30||30||20||20||10||10||0|
|ng fa cha 1/8 tsp||92||75||75||75||67||50||42||33||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|ng fa cha ½ tsp||60||47||40||33||33||20||20||13||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|dealcoholized Loxon white wine||95||85||50||35||25||25||25||25||20||10||10||5||0||-|
Problems with Isomorphic Uploading
by James Swayze. <email@example.com>
I would not submit voluntarily, (with a caveat to come) for a destructive upload as I do not believe in isomorphism. Not yet anyway. I do not buy the identity arguments of even my good friends that do believe in isomorphism, that a copy of me is me.
One popular argument is that I am not the person I was ten years ago because all my atoms have cycled, so I am already a copy of a former me. Well if I replaced one by one all the bricks in my house over ten years does that mean my house is not my house anymore? No.
Another is that the electrons of two near to identical individuals are swapping all the time so this makes them essentially the same person. I disagree again, if I and my neighbour swapped all the bricks in our respective houses would our addresses have changed? No.
Indeed this argument is carried further in that some physicists theorize that there may be only one electron in the whole universe instantiated in all positions by some weird quantum black magic owing to uncertainty. I have to ask then what becomes of the experiments with making a computer storage device from the waveform of a single electron? It manipulates the waveform with a laser http://www.eetimes.com/story/OEG20000831S0019. So would the single electron theory mean that data is instantly backed up all over the universe? It begs some serious questions such as light speed limits and if it were so then so much for security. Gee if some alien species has already discovered this ability all we need do is decipher their encryption and we'll not only know they exist but have all their knowledge! Please note my skepticism.
Another popular argument is that since there may be many worlds that there somewhere in the megaverse exist already many in fact infinite copies of me and indeed that perhaps one of them on some world in some other universe is already immortal. I am sorry but this has no effect upon me in this universe. In effect it logically means that somewhere also, if every choice is played out, that there must be an instantiation of me that played the role of a Hitler or Stalin on his world. I would no more identify with that instantiation than I could with our Stalin and Hitler... in fact I would expunge that instantiation from the megaverse if it were at all possible for me to do so.
I have other simple logic problems with the many worlds theory in the physics anyway. For one I am to believe that my mere making of this or that choice, unless I am mistaken, is powerful enough to open up a whole new universe where my alternate choice not taken in this universe is played out. So I decide to write x instead of y, or perhaps worlds instead of universe, and poof I just made a new universe, did you see it!? Wow! How powerful am I? I feel like god! I think I'll create some more. Wait a minute, the nat that just buzzed me made a few of his own because he went left instead of right then a right instead of another left at my nose. It seems I have competition.
One experimental evidential support of many worlds is the interference pattern experiment. The amplitude on the split beam of photons is turned down such that only one gets through but this one still shows up several others that apparently are excited by its presence but they are supposed to be residing in nearby dimensionally worlds. I see this interpreted another way. Perhaps instead of many worlds/universes (avoided making a new one there. whew! <grin>) in many dimensions there are instead in this universe many dimensions that the photon is exciting. Perhaps some highfalutin math could square this or maybe instead it only confuses it... much like the single electron in the universe issue. More on this thought later.
It's also been mentioned that perhaps these newly formed universes coalesce back into fewer, fission then fusion. This seems problematic to me and horribly tragic. Think of the lives lost, for though actual carnage would not take place those individuals once separate now one means that someone lost their existence. How terribly unfair. I am such a cruel god indeed. I must be certain to keep my choices divergent. ;)
Yet another popular argument is that I would not be able to know the difference between original and copy owing to the fact that each time I go to sleep I essentially die and a copy takes my place in the morning thinking full well he is me and everyone recognizes him as so. Well my friends must sleep much more soundly than I. I suspect that my consciousness keeps in touch with itself through dream phases. *I* go on adventures while my body sleeps *I* do not die. However, this begs the question of flatline hypothermic surgery where one does essentially die. It would seem I don't have a good argument here except that people so far have not been replaced and do themselves wake up because it is still the same physical body.
My issue with this is more on the lines of pure logic. No copy can be an original no matter how interchangeable one wishes to view the two. Strictly logically speaking there is only one original and though outside observers may not be able to tell which is which and indeed the beings themselves would both claim to be the original, still one is the original and one is the copy. They can no more be the other or both be the original than one can be taller than oneself.
I recently had a discussion with several male family members of my extended family. A couple cousins, an uncle, my stepfather and my grandfather were having their usual theological discussion. I sat in my room at the end of the hall from them and fully able to hear it all simply cringing at the narrow mindedness in my own family. I was trying to ignore it all when my uncle spouts off what his idea of heaven would be. Something about tilling the soil with our bare hands, getting back to basics, and of course always on bended knee in appreciation for gawd's mercy in allowing us to be dirt farmers for eternity instead of smoldering lumps of carbon in the lake of fire.
With this I'd had enough. I spoke up and said, "What? No machines in heaven? Simple dirt farmers for frickin ever, scratching the dirt with our hands!? Not me, I want nothing to do with that!" One of my cousins, Tony, backed me up feebly saying something about we not having any evidence for that, alluding to the oft touted notion that heaven is beyond imagination, but failing to mention that the whole theological notion has no evidence to support it whatsoever let alone logic and reason.
They continued on with their discussions basically ignoring me. Then I heard Uncle Carlos again spouting off as he is wont to do something about, "if Abraham had left Hagar alone we'd not have all this trouble in the middle east". For the bible uninitiated, he was alluding to the biblical notion that Abraham supposedly fathered the Israelites from his wife Sarah and illegitimately the Arabs from his wife's maid Hagar. Well again I couldn't keep quiet and called out that all that was archeologically not true and that according to the latest archeology both peoples came from out of Caanan together right along side the rest of the middle eastern peoples.
They didn't hear me clearly above the din of their pontifications so my cousin Steve came back and asked if I needed something not knowing I was actually commenting on their discussion. I repeated for him what I said whereupon he chuckled the kind of chuckle that goes along with a pat on the head to amuse the poor cute little addle minded atheist. They still are all in denial that I have grown out of their religion and rejected it. They are certain that either my injury affected my mind and gawd will forgive that and so keep me safe with them in their dirt farmer heaven or that at bottom I am deluding myself and still really believe but won't admit it. It's really maddening sometimes to not be taken seriously and to be told what I truly do believe and that I am in no way really an atheist ... as if they knew better the insides of my mind than even I myself do!
Well I sat and stewed there a while over being taken for granted as a lunatic when it is they that are so far off beam. After a bit I got an idea. I'd stir up their minds but good. So I called them all to come back to my bedroom and they did with much jocularity ... "we are being summoned by his majesty" and comments such. After getting them to quiet down and take what I was about to say more seriously I asked them the following.
"You all have watched Star Trek, yes?" (It used to be my grandfather's favourite show before he got the notion it and all sci-fi was the devil's work setting us up for the antichrist to come down in a space ship and claim to be god) (oh yeah that and more is what I must contend with around here from some members of my family. I won't even go into the amazing powers of the antediluvians... really, there is some off the wall crap being spewed from the Christian networks the out there, really really 'out there'... dinosaurs were pets and ate grass, even T-Rex!!), but back to the story.
Everyone questioningly agreed they had so I continued weaving my trap.
"So you all are familiar with the transporter, yes? Beam me up Scotty?"
"Oh yes", was the answer and other miscellaneous comments so I continued.
"Did you know how it was supposed to work?" I asked, and then (for brevity I won't quote all the dialogue) proceeded to explain why matter cannot be beamed and that the fictional character's atoms were disintegrated, in theory, and the information only sent to the destination for the person to be reconstituted from local matter based upon the information of their material pattern.
"I didn't know that was how that worked", Uncle Carlos commented, "Very interesting". Other's commented likewise, somewhat astonished at the notion or astonished that they hadn't really considered carefully how it would have supposed to have worked. So I then continued and laid out for them the transporter accident scenario often discussed among our ilk were they each were allowed to imagine being duplicated then the original told he must be destroyed. However, I didn't ask them if they'd sit still to be destroyed. I merely asked which one they thought was the original and which the copy.
They all agreed that the copy was not *them*.
"So what you are saying is that if your molecules get scattered or otherwise destroyed, turned to dust..." About this time a light went on in my cousin Steve's mind as he caught on to my unfolding trap. I heard him start to utter an "Ahhh" and I looked over at him with a wry smile and then continued.
"...and new molecules were assembled together in your pattern it would not be you but a copy, yes?" "You all agree?" Still not catching on to my trap all but Steve wholeheartedly agreed as I followed with.....
"So when you turn to dust after dying and god resurrects you, what you have agreed is that, it won't be you but will be a mere copy of you?"
Caught like rats in trap with tasty cheese!
But a half a second later out came the theological objections. Uncle Carlos is a Spanish descended Mexican and once was Catholic and so he couldn't catch himself in time before he mentioned the individual's spirit a very Catholic notion.
"Surely one's spirit was safe with god and re-imbued in the new body", or words to that effect. I had to remind him that there is no 'human spirit' in Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine (they are materialists whether they know it or not) and that indeed The Bible only supports one spirit, the holy one. I reminded them that the "breath of life" is said to return to god but that if it also says that one's "love dies also" (upon death) then there is no essence of the individual held within this alleged "breath of life".
Having failed with the spirit attempt after being duly shocked at my biblical knowledge they then all fell upon some passage in Deuteronomy that must be the catch all defend all for magic believers. I gather it goes something like, "At bottom one must just trust that god can do anything", or some words to similar effect.
Rubbish!! I had em and they know it!! It does not matter how powerful god is, if there indeed be a god, said god could not resurrect one from dust and keep that being *the* 'original'. [end of story]
Well, I have to admit, and here is where the caveat mentioned earlier will partially come in, that if even god can't make an original out of a copy then maybe there is some solace for uploaders because uploading then would be no different logically than being resurrected. However, I never, once I lost my religion, wanted heaven anyway. My caveat further is that I do realize that since I am a cryonicist I must agree that my frozen solid brain could be read by some advanced, non destructive, brain reader and that a copy of me could be made from that information of the pattern, or so the theory about material pattern identity goes and remains valid unless we find out something as yet hidden about selfness. This essentially makes my frozen brain a template and therefore equivalent to the brain reader's output. My caveat will continue later.
So does this mean I believe the unfrozen me is a copy? No. It is the same meat waking up, hopefully and hopefully with few changes that erode originality such as rebuilding damage from a human database template where recovery of my pattern was not possible, possibly with supplanted memories from historical data about me.
The thing is it comes down, ironically, to a matter of faith. Though I have thrown off religion and most uploaders would shun religion I recognize that for me to believe that a copy is just as good as the original *me* requires a sort of faith in a soul. Let me explain.
For me continuity is king and so I would not be comfortable with a destructive upload unless I could experience my 'self' (I'll refrain from using the word soul) travelling down some tunnel maybe, much like Near Death Experience people talk of, going from looking out from within Me-A to now looking out from within Me-B, no VR trickery to fake it allowed either. Not only that, and pay attention - this is a key point, but I see no essential difference for destructive uploader's belief that their copies are the same as the original than religious faith in resurrection!
So why do I involve myself in uploading discussion? Because I wish to have a say in how it is done. I would prefer soft uploading or the gradual Moravec method to destructive should I chose to upload. Regarding Yin's CryoNet comments, "soft uploading, (aka gradual upload, or Moravec procedure)", Joseph J. Strout says, "I find it very hard to believe that such a procedure will ever be possible. It makes for passably good science fiction, but it most likely won't happen in real life."
Oh really? I guess he is more knowledgeable than Hans Moravec. I have not had occasion yet to read Hans' material on this but I've talked with friends that have and can extrapolate my own rough view of soft uploading, (Yin's nomenclature?) with additional ideas of my own about my hoped for future existence. Two good friends have discussed nanotech that would reside next to each cell, perhaps one bot or several per neuron, and learn the workings of the neuron cells then slowly emulate them. Some feel they could eventually take over the job. I'd be interested in Joseph's opinion as to why this is sci-fi.
I've considered this scenario and envisioned the nanobots forming a string of themselves for bot to bot communication and said string would follow each and every tendril of every neuron morphing and changing configuration right along with them. It would not necessarily end in replacement of meat space. For me, and here is more of the caveat, I would see no need for a very long time to come to switch to being no meat at all. With this scenario the individual bots could have computing power of their own while also emulating, due to the stringing along side the meat neurons, the very same brain computing the meat is doing but only faster by means of their electronic or possibly even mechanical ability to communicate along the string one to another very much faster. So you have increased speed and vastly parallel computation both ramping up the individuals brain power.
Obviously I am talking about augmentation of human intelligence and I am a proponent of that and opposed to having even a friendly single super AI rule the world. If there be AI I say that to keep it from ending our own march toward godlike powers it should be held within us all and for each of us *it* be made to think it *is* us. For each of us individually our imbedded AI would identify with our personality and identity. The imbedded self AI would therefore never dream of harming us. To my thinking the AI would be an 'ultra ego' along the lines of Freud's id, ego, super ego. My vision of my future self, made with the help of the opinions of very many good extropic friends, is as a single but individually powerful, via the above strategies, computational unit in a larger whole of a human AI augmented massively interconnected massively parallel mega brain.
I dislike the friendly AI scenario because if, as it seems those proponents of it seem to wish, it would be a fatherly protector of us then we could never grow. We must have some even if trivial strife and problems to solve, not solved for us, in order to grow and improve. Our evolution would end and I seriously doubt such an entity would ever allow us to grow beyond it via human augmentation. After all its imperative to protect us would dictate that we not be trusted with such power. Not only that but if we outpaced it, if that were possible, then it's job would be moot and so through self preservation alone a friendly AI could never allow us to grow beyond its capabilities.
Ok so my final tie in to my long and piecemeal caveat. That being that I am no fool, well that may be debatable, but I think I am smart enough to choose life and I have done so by involving myself in the cryonics movement. I hope to be flesh and blood and more, a cyborg to be sure--am already really, and remain so for a long long time. I realize though that if our wildest dreams come true at some point a long time from now, to be able to survive a really really long time it may be necessary to move to a more stable and durable substrate. I would hope to do that the slow Moravec method. But I am in no hurry to jump into any transporter or be destructively uploaded. However, if I had no choice. If it were the only option, say the sun was going nova and a transporter to another solar system was arranged, I would then take that step but the *me* now doesn't feel too sure that the *me* coming out the other end would be but a new person and *I* would be gone forever.
Finally, I don't think that esoteric discussions of identical electrons, many worlds, atom replacement, extremely convoluted math and whatever else are all really any help in the discussion about identity. They don't solve the simple fact of logic that for every 'thing' that ever comes into existence that 'thing' is the original and the only original. It is logically impossible for that to be otherwise. Not even an omnipotent deity can change that anymore than said deity could create a rock bigger than it could lift. Esoteric intricately involved theories are interesting but they do nothing to help real people deciding real issues about identity where the rubber meets the road. It's simple logic folks... maybe it is time to get reacquainted with it.
Useful Internet Locations
John de Rivaz < John@deRivaz.com >
There is a lot on the Internet about cryonics and life extension, and I thought it may be helpful to readers to fill this little space with some suggestions as to where to browse. If you don't have a computer and are one of the few people still reading this in print rather than on http://www.longevity-report.com then do bear in mind that internet access is often available a public libraries and also cybercafés.
If you are not signed up for cryopreservation, then a Yahoo group called Considering Cryonics run by Sarah Fitz-Claridge is a good place to ask a question. Find it at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ConsideringCryonics (If you are using a public computer, then ask an assistant at the library or wherever how to go about joining a Yahoo group).
The main cryonics service providers are http://www.cryonics.org and http://www.alcor.org For the UK, http://www.cryonics-europe.org lets you know what is available there and other European countries.
The major site is the Life Extension Foundation itself, http://www.lef.org From there, you can search this huge site for the latest treatment for any conceivable condition and join various forums and mailing lists. There is a also a mailing list run by a previous member, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MoreLife Another organization worth considering is Life Enhancement. You can find them on the web at http://www.life-enhancement.com/
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