ISSN 0964-5659

LONGEVITY REPORT 96

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

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Instability Charles Platt
The Costs of Cryonics Steve Harris
Chairman's Report on the Year at Cryonics Europe Chrissie de Rivaz
Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA: Biocompatibility Robert A. Freitas Jr.
Cryonics magazine back issues on the web -
Fly Longevity Experiments 96- 110 Douglas Skrecky
Emergence of Consciousness Francois
Population Issues Charles Platt

Volume 16 no 96. First published October 2003. ISSN 0964-5659.

Instability

by Charles Platt < other@platt.us >

Tim Freeman has wondered publicly on CryoNet why frequent personnel changes seem endemic in cryonics. Here are some suggestions based on my personal experience of personality types who tend to be drawn to our field. (Undoubtedly I exhibit some of these traits myself.)

  1. Cryonics is stressful and unrewarding, and seldom pays well. It's stressful because it is still a relatively new endeavour in which there are countless traps for the unwary, whether you are doing field work, giving news interviews, negotiating with regulators, or trying to raise money. It's unrewarding because you can't really tell whether you have done a good job. The ultimate outcome of every case is unknown and will remain unknown for decades.

  2. Most people working in cryonics organizations would prefer to be doing something else. Very few have chosen cryonics as a job or a career, and the ones who did have tended to be (how can I put this tactfully?) far from the centre of the bell curve. Cryonics appeals only to a tiny fraction of humanity; cryonics activists are a subset of that tiny fraction; and cryonics careerists are a subset of that subset.

  3. Because there has been a perpetual shortage of help, people have been assigned tasks for which they lacked experience or aptitude. Individualists who perform poorly in groups have been asked to serve as managers. People with no experience in book keeping have tried to handle corporate finances. Others with no formal medical training have gone out to rescue dying patients in hospitals. And so on. Really it's remarkable that so many gifted amateurs have done so well, but sometimes errors have occurred, or a person who is inappropriate for a job has realized his inadequacies or has been encouraged to quit. I had hoped that cryonics could avoid this kind of problem by employing professional help, but one of the most visible professional helpers turned out to be untrustworthy.

  4. Now we get to the psychological factors, which I personally think are more important. Cryonicists obviously are driven by a strong desire to avoid mortality. This is an odd motivation for people to share in a business or even in a nonprofit organization. It creates an emotional environment. Moreover, since anger is a classic response to fear, people who are apprehensive about death tend to become contentious.

  5. Statistically cryonics has tended to attract libertarians, contrarians, and others who rebel against the status-quo. Such people are usually elitist, argumentative, and reluctant to change their opinions on any topic. Also they have little respect for authority, even within their own group. It's hard to run an organization that consists of rule-breaking rebels.

  6. Cryonics also tends to attract a minority who are deluded. By this I mean that they have unrealistic expectations, wacky ideas about science, impractical business plans, and personal ambitions based on wishful thinking. Deluded people often insist that there is a shortcut which everyone else is too dumb to see. Olga Visser, who thought she could resuscitate rat hearts and cure AIDS patients with the selfsame elixir, seemed deluded. Unfortunately deluded people can sometimes generate so much excitement, they tempt others to share the delusion. When the bubble bursts, the deluded instigators may be excommunicated.

  7. Cryonics activists also tend to be narcissists, which is natural when you consider that you have to believe strongly in your own worth to feel that preserving yourself justifies a significant amount of time and effort. Narcissists are not team players.

  8. Cryonics activists tend to be idealists. Only an idealist could proclaim, "Death is an imposition on the human race, and no longer acceptable." (Alan Harrington's first line in his book, The Immortalist.) Unfortunately, cryonics is a bad place for idealists because its aims are so ambitious and its human and financial resources are so limited. Idealists become unhappy when they are forced repeatedly to compromise, and people tend to quit when they are unhappy in a job. Of course in cryonics, quitting itself is stressful, because *not* trying to make it work feels bad too. So, we have seen people who vacillate and seem unable to make a lasting decision. They disappear into obscurity and then return. I can think of at least a dozen who fit this profile. This does not please an organization's members, who just want a reliable service in exchange for an annual fee; but if they would recognize that cryonics is an experiment, not a validated service, and if they would respond by getting more involved, they might gain a better appreciation of the problems that I am describing. (To some extent cryonics organizations are at fault for having encouraged the idea that cryonics is a validated service.)

  9. There are situational factors specific to the current phase of cryonics. The number of members has grown while the number of hardcore activists has diminished. Consumers are proliferating while an important class of service providers is shrinking. The early-early-early adopters (those who joined before 1980, say) joined when cryonics was even more speculative than it is now, and consequently they had to be very highly motivated. They would endure almost anything to try to make it work. But they have human limits, and they exhibited some or all of the traits I have listed above. So, many of them either burned out or made errors or were driven out by their socially maladjusted peers. We are thus in a transitional period where volunteers are relatively scarce but organizations cannot quite afford to pay market rates for professional help (and may be afraid to do so after the Larry Johnson fiasco). This again creates a stressful situation.

Now for the upside:

I have seen some highly productive people in cryonics who shared few of the personality traits listed above. They came into the field for very rational reasons, and have been patient, amiable, consistent, and willing to make compromises. As the concept of cryonics becomes more socially acceptable, I see no reason why we shouldn't find more people like this entering the field.

I must also add that some of the problematic traits in cryonics activists have also been extremely valuable. The field would never have developed reliable storage and sophisticated standby procedures without selfless contributions from narcissistic, contentious, rebellious amateurs. One could also argue that most of the people who have worked hardest in cryonics have been deluded to some extent, because they believed that progress would be faster and mainstream recognition was just around the corner. An outsider would suggest that all cryonicists are deluded for believing that they have a chance to be resuscitated.

Thus the same personality profile that leads to instability also sustained the field in its most difficult early years.

The Costs of Cryonics

by Steve Harris, M.D. < sbharris@ix.netcom.com >

It has often been said that there is no penalty for trying for cryonics. I wish this was true ala the classic Pascal wager, but it's not. The penalties are:

1. It costs a lot of money. Something on the order of $70,000 to $130,000 with Alcor, depending on what you want done and saved.

There is no use saying that it costs less than this, because it's paid for by life insurance. On average, that's wrong. Life insurers aren't fools. They are like casinos, and you're playing a slot machine with no advantage. You'll pay (on average) far more than the policy value if you pay for cryonics this way. It's exactly like buying a house on mortgage.

In fact, the harder you work on preventive medicine, on average the more money you will pay over the policy value for cryonics, if you fund it by life-insurance mechanism. Yes, you can "get lucky" and die early. You can get lucky at a slot machine, too. But on average, odds are against you, so don't count on it. Cryonics costs what it costs, and the patient and family foot the bill for both principal and interest, and generally money isn't free.

Yes, you can cheat, by managing to sign up for insurance even though you have some extra mortality factor your company didn't know about, and never discovers. But don't bet on not being caught, if you have cancer or whatever when you sign your policy.

Also, in theory you can "cheat" by signing up for life insurance and then committing suicide after the "no-suicide" clause runs out, generally in a year or two. But I think this describes few cryonicists.

Instead, most of us are going to end up making the insurers money. For example, I myself am well on the way to doing this after being signed up for 15 years for cryonics on a whole life policy. By now, I'd be well ahead in payments and still protected if I'd been for 15 years a disciplined investor in an index fund or just about any diverse market instrument, held by a trust to avoid estate tax. Live and learn.

2. There are social costs. People and institutions may treat you and your family differently, and probably to your detriment, since you're doing something odd.

There are psychological costs, at least for well-done cryonics. A good cryonics stand-by is like doing a few days of do-it-yourself hospital care, followed by bystander CPR, followed by no casket and no viewing, and also usually no grave, headstone, or closure. Nobody in their right mind would want to go through that, unless they felt they had no other choice (which is the case for many cryonicists, but not everyone agrees). Some of this extra stress is placed on family, which (remember) may not believe in cryonics.

3. And there are stresses on the patient as well, who often has to die more slowly and publicly. I've seen both families and (in at least one case) the patient break under the stress, and decide during a cryonics stand-by that they didn't want cryonics, because the intangible costs were too high (they didn't put it in those terms, but that's what happened).

Remember, in most places, when a person dies, all the family member is required to do is pick up the phone, call a funeral home, and have a credit card ready. Cryonics is generally MUCH harder on everybody than that, even if all the planning has been done ahead of time. Cryonics "stand-by" puts a high stress on the cryonics organization that does it, also. No good deed unpunished.

Can all these things be positive, for a family which believes along with the patient? Sure. I'm just saying that doesn't happen as often as we'd like. Cryonics is a terrible invasion of privacy even for believers, and for non-believers it's an invasion which is well-nigh intolerable.

4. The cryonics "death" (deanimation) is more often than not a more painful, drawn out, and undignified process than it would be otherwise.

Not only are cryonicists denied many conventional forms of suicide, due to risk of autopsy, but because of the very public nature of standby, they can be denied the best "under the table" forms of euthanasia, also. These "happy death" options are quite common in hospice for the non-cryonicist; i.e, for *conventional* hospice where nobody looks too closely. But the more you bother the hospice people and the more closely you observe them, the stricter and less liberal about euthanasia-like situations they get. And that's not good for the cryonics patient. Death by dehydration has been touted, but in practice it's a fairly long, and not all *that* pleasant, a way to die. The best that can be said is that it beats dying of malnutrition/infection while hydrated by IV's, which used to be the only option for cancer patients. A better way to die is by overdose of morphine when you're septic and headed that way anyway, but that's harder to do (not impossible, but harder) in cryonics. And if you want a good suspension, you don't GET to die in your sleep and be discovered in the morning, then to be shipped off to the funeral home at a leisurely pace.

In summary, cryonics has all kind of hidden costs, and the harder you work at doing it right with little brain damage, the higher these costs are. It's best not to deny them.

Robert Ettinger Comments

On (1), Insurance being like a mortgage:

No, it's very different, in obvious ways. More importantly, the cost of life insurance is less than it seems, for the following reasons. (1) The premiums are figured based on experience, which includes the fact that many policies are eventually abandoned, or not renewed, with no refund. This gives a "profit" to those who maintain the policies. (2) The alternatives to life insurance, such as savings/investments, have their own special costs, including stress and worry and the temptation to spend the savings. (The whole rationale of social security is the inability, in practice, of too many people to manage their own long term finances.) (3) Steve appears to overlook the importance of combination options. For some younger people recently quoted, the rate for $100,000 of 20 year term is only about $160 a year or so. This means that an arrangement otherwise impossible in the younger years becomes easy.

On (3) stresses on the dying patient:

This has happened, but the opposite has also happened, as Steve acknowledges but doesn't emphasize - I have seen patients and families wonderfully sustained and cheered by the hope, and by fighting rather than surrendering, and in my experience this positive outcome is more frequent than the other.

On (4) invasion of privacy:

This can be positive, especially for the patient. It's much easier to be a hero in public than in private. Nobody in the spotlight is likely to cave. I have not seen any cases of media publicized dying-in-progress, but several cases where the dying was known to family and friends, and the patient was definitely helped by the attention.

I have been close to several hospice situations, with excellent results in all cases. The hospice people were very cooperative. Incidentally, in some states, such as Arizona, in a hospice situation it isn't even necessary for a health professional to pronounce death. In Mae's case, I pronounced death--within seconds--with her daughter and my son in attendance.

On funeral directors and "dying in your sleep":

There is nothing leisurely about the response of the Cryonics Institute's funeral directors. And the choice is not between a full premortem standby team on the one hand, and "discovered in the morning." One of the alternatives is the hospice, home setting or hospital setting. In any case, there is no need for long delays, if someone is willing to make reasonable preparations.

Steve concludes by saying it's best not to deny the costs of cryonics. That is inverting the problem. It's a bit like saying, "Sure, smoking is bad for you, but quitting is hard and stressful, so we should focus on the stress and difficulty of quitting." I don't think so.

Chairman's Report on the Year

at Cryonics Europe

Chrissie de Rivaz

The massive media attention in UK after the New Scientist competition last September, seemed to continue for some months. I made personal appearances on two popular UK chat shows and several other members were interviewed for a number of magazines. We even gathered a few new members, some of whom have signed or are in the process of signing with CI. Mark Walker has been acting as Membership Secretary for Cryonics Europe and reports that there are currently nine new members in the process of signing. One might argue that only a few new members was a pretty poor result after so much media exposure but it is hard to pinpoint what makes someone reach their decision. It could take several years before some are able to reach the decision as a result of these early 'seeds' coming to fruition. I see our role as educators and never as salesmen, a long slow process as any teacher will agree. One good thing is that I hear people talking about cryonics much more nowadays and I've even given 'talks' to people I meet when walking my dogs!

Several students contacted us during the year. It seems that cryonics is a popular subject for media studies, journalists and film makers as well as PhD topics and subjects for Masters degrees.

In April I went to Paris to participate in a live debate on French Television. Facing a sceptical opposition of eminent scientists, I confess I was unable to make a great impact but hope I represented our view in some way. It was an interesting experience and I enjoyed conversation with Yvan Bozonetti who hopes to organise a French group at some stage.

Alan Sinclair has continued to work tirelessly to improve our own equipment and expertise as a stand-by team. There have been a number of training session during the year, following the long-distance session at out home last year, when the Mobile Perfusion Unit made the 300 mile journey most successfully. Alan has since perfected the perfusion system with arrival of the new pump and continues his research and reporting in a way we can only marvel at. Undoubtedly, without his enthusiasm, we should never have reached the point where we are ready to go at a moment's notice. I should not omit to thank the members of the standby team who have attended training meetings so regularly and to Alan's wife who always feeds us all!

In January 2003 we had a visit from Charles Platt. It was a cordial meeting and he was most willing to share information and discuss future possibilities. Obviously, there were a number of differences between our protocols but we would not allow this to prevent harmonious exchanges.

We discussed the possibility of co-operation for standby and ways in which we might some day share equipment and expertise. I was invited to join the Alcor UK meeting. The outcome of this was that they prefer to assemble their own team and equipment but would be willing to assist us should the need arise and were reticent to use our team. At least there are a few of us who have a spirit of co-operation and I felt that a few minor bridges can be considered 'under construction'. There are surely too few cryonicists, especially in UK, for us to bicker.

In early September, John and I hosted what has become an annual meeting in Cornwall and we had several people attending to inquire about cryonics as well as a funeral director from the South West, who seems willing to learn our requirements and become a participating member of the organisation.

This past week, Ben Best took the time to visit UK and discuss our views and see our equipment for himself. He will doubtless have his own comments to make but we found his enthusiasm encouraging and his willingness to listen to our views, a good sign for the future, should he be elected President. [... Which he was. Picture right shows Ben Best talking to Chrissie during the visit.]

We all send our grateful thanks to Robert Ettinger for his tireless work and encouragement over the years and wish him a slightly less demanding future role with CI. I'm sure everyone will agree, without his foresight and inspiration, we wouldn't even know each other, let alone have a distant future to look anticipate. Thank you Bob, and everyone at CI.

Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA: Biocompatibility

by Robert A. Freitas Jr. < rfreitas@rfreitas.com http://www.rfreitas.com >

The second volume in the Nanomedicine book series by Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA: Biocompatibility, has been published by Landes Bioscience. This comprehensive technical book describes the many possible responses of the human body to the in vivo introduction of future medical nanorobots. Such advanced nanodevices could quickly eliminate pathogens and cancer cells, conduct molecular repairs of damaged biological structures, and restore and maintain the body in a state of youthful health, revolutionizing 21st century medicine. It is likely that the first medical nanorobots may be buildable 10-20 years from today using an advanced molecular manufacturing technology.

The first volume in the Nanomedicine book series, Nanomedicine, Vol. I: Basic Capabilities, was published by Landes Bioscience in 1999. Volume I described manufacturing pathways for medical nanorobots and the many technical capabilities these nanodevices must have in order to perform their medical missions - including onboard sensors, molecular pumps and valves, computers, energy supplies and power transmissions, and components for communication, navigation, manipulation and locomotion.

Volume IIA extends this analysis by considering whether medical nanorobots will be biologically compatible with the human body. The safety, effectiveness, and utility of medical nanorobotic devices will critically depend upon their biocompatibility with human organs, tissues, cells, and biochemical systems. While classical biocompatibility has often focused on the immunological and thrombogenic reactions of the body to foreign substances placed within it, Nanomedicine Vol. IIA broadens the definition of nanomedical biocompatibility to include all of the mechanical, physiological, immunological, cytological, and biochemical responses of the human body to the introduction of medical nanodevices, whether "particulate" or "bulk" in form.

Since a common building material for medical nanorobots is likely to be diamond or diamondoid substances, the first and most obvious question is whether diamondoid devices or their components are likely to be hazardous to the human body. Chapter 15.1 briefly explores the potential for crude mechanical damage to human tissues caused by the ingestion or inhalation of diamond or related particles.

Classical biocompatibility refers to the assessment of the totality of nanorobot surface material-tissue/fluid interactions, both local and systemic. These interactions may include cellular adhesion, local biological effects, systemic and remote effects, and the effects of the host on the implant. Chapter 15.2 summarizes the current status of medical implant biocompatibility and then discusses the important future nanomedical issues of protein interactions with nanorobot surfaces, immunoreactivity, inflammation, coagulation and thrombosis, allergic reactions and shock, fever, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity.

A great deal of preliminary information is already available on the biocompatibility of various materials that are likely to find extensive use in medical nanorobots. Chapter 15.3 includes a review of the experimental literature describing the known overall biocompatibility of diamond, carbon fullerenes and nanotubes, nondiamondoid carbon, fluorinated carbon (e.g., Teflon), sapphire and alumina, and a few other possible nanomedical materials such as DNA and dendrimers - in both bulk and particulate forms.

The purposeful movement of solid bodies and particulate matter through the various systems of the human body is also of particular interest in nanomedicine. Chapter 15.4 examines the requirements for intact motile nanorobots that can locomote inside the human body while avoiding geometrical trapping, phagocytosis, and granulomatization, thus achieving controlled or indefinite persistence without clearance by the natural immune system. The analysis extends to the fate of free-floating nanorobots and their material ejecta, or fragments, as well as the fate of motile nanorobots that have malfunctioned and lost their mobility, or which are moving passively through the body, or are being driven by cell-mediated processes.

Chapter 15.5 describes the mechanical interactions of nanorobotic systems with human skin and other epithelial tissues, including mechanical tissue penetration and perforation leakage, as well as mechanical interactions with vascular systems, extracellular matrix and tissue cells, and nontissue cells such as erythrocytes, platelets, and leukocytes. The Chapter ends with a detailed review of cytomembrane and intracellular mechanocompatibility, and a brief consideration of electrocompatibility and nanorobot-nanorobot mechanocompatibility.

Finally, otherwise biocompatible medical nanodevices might provoke unwanted reactions by simple physical displacement of critical biological systems or fluids. Chapter 15.6 examines issues of volumetric intrusiveness - the degree to which artificial systems can safely displace natural systems volumetrically. The brief discussion includes a look at the acceptable limits of volumetric intrusiveness of macroscopic objects placed inside the human body (or its various organs), the bloodstream, and in individual human cells.

The primary intended audience of this book is biomedical engineers, biocompatibility engineers, medical systems engineers, research physiologists, clinical laboratory analysts, and other technical and professional people who are seriously interested in the future of medical technology.

The full Table of Contents for the book Nanomedicine, Vol. IIA (2003), is available online at http://www.nanomedicine.com/NMIIA.htm. The book is currently available for purchase at $99 in hardcover from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1570597006, and includes 348 pages, 6259 literature references, and an extensive index. Interested parties may contact the author by email at rfreitas@rfreitas.com or visit his homepage at http://www.rfreitas.com.

The full text of the first volume in the series, Nanomedicine, Vol. I (1999), is available online at http://www.nanomedicine.com/NMI.htm, and the book may also be purchased at $89 in softcover from Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1570596808, from Barnes & Noble at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?isbn=1570596808, or from many other web sources.


For a long time Longevity Report was the only cryonics based newsletter

to have most of its back issues on the web.

Recently Alcor's magazine Cryonics joined the club, with back issues available on

http://www.alcor.org/CryonicsMagazine/

Fly Longevity Experiments 96- 110

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

This is the 96th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.1 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 127 days. Here Food Club dyes are tested. Not much of interest this time, except for possibly the yellow dye. This appeared to exert a transitory benefit. However this also might be due to chance.

Run #96

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

6 11 16 21 27 33 39 44 49 55 61 66 71 77
control 100 96 92 73 69 69 54 46 31 12 8 4 4 0
blue dye 1 drop 100 100 82 71 65 47 47 47 47 29 6 6 0 -
blue dye 4 drops 93 74 64 57 57 50 50 36 36 14 14 7 7 0
green dye 1 drop 100 78 67 56 56 56 50 39 33 11 11 0 - -
green dye 4 drops 100 91 91 68 64 41 32 14 9 9 5 0 - -
red dye 1 drop 96 92 92 85 85 65 62 46 46 27 12 0 - -
red dye 4 drops 100 92 81 69 65 58 54 42 38 23 15 4 0 -
yellow dye 1 drop 100 100 100 86 77 68 59 50 32 32 27 18 14 0
yellow dye 4 drops 100 100 100 80 80 67 53 40 40 13 13 0 - -

This is the 97th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.1 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 124 days.

Blueberries have exerted some significant neurotropic effects in rodents. So it was with some surprise, that I found blueberry juice to be ineffective in previous fly longevity experiments. I theorize that blueberry (and prune) juices may have previously been exerting toxic side effects due to too high a dosage, since the juice fed flies were incapable of flight. I try small doses of these juices here, to test this idea out. Neither blueberry nor prune juices prevented flight in the flies in this experiment. However no longevity benefits were noted either.

Run #97

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

5 10 15 21 27 33 38 43 49 55 60 65 71
control 100 100 96 88 58 50 46 38 38 38 17 8 0
blueberry J tsp 100 100 87 73 67 57 50 33 23 16 7 0 -
blueberry J 1 tsp 100 100 67 47 43 37 37 30 20 16 7 7 0
blueberry J 2 tsp 96 96 69 65 54 46 42 31 12 8 4 0 -
prune J 1/ 2 tsp 100 100 77 67 67 53 47 40 37 23 10 7 0
prune J 1 tsp 100 91 59 50 41 36 36 32 23 14 14 5 0
prune J 2 tsp 100 96 81 70 63 59 59 56 44 22 11 4 0

This is the 98th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.1 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 122 days. Here I recheck previous "winners" such as loosetrife, oxymol, and pomegranate. I also decided to try annatto. Since annatto toxicity is known to be mediated by riboflavin deficiency, some riboflavin was added to see if this would make any difference. Annatto may have been slightly beneficial, but riboflavin did nothing. Loosestrife, oxymol, and pomegranate all came up winners again, with oxymol holding a significant lead.

Run #98

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

13 19 25 30 35 41 47 52 57 63 68 73 80
control one 85 80 75 70 65 60 55 20 5 0 - - -
control two 94 83 74 74 74 49 26 9 3 0 - - -
annatto 1/4 tsp 81 77 77 73 73 58 38 38 23 4 4 0 -
+ riboflavin 100 mg 88 76 80 76 68 32 32 16 12 0 - - -
" tsp + B2 100 mg 91 91 91 86 77 59 36 27 9 9 5 0 -
loosestrife tsp 90 90 86 86 81 71 67 33 14 5 0 - -
loosestrife 1 tsp 94 82 82 82 82 76 65 59 24 0 - - -
oxymol 2 tsp 94 94 94 94 92 88 82 76 59 41 35 24 0
pomegranate paste 1/4 tsp 88 85 85 81 77 77 77 62 38 12 8 0 -
pomegranate paste tsp 100 94 88 88 83 76 65 53 24 12 6 6 0
riboflavin 100 mg 95 85 85 65 65 40 25 20 10 0 - - -
riboflavin 400 mg 96 92 84 72 64 40 12 8 8 0 - - -

This is the 99th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.4 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 112 days.

Exposure to sunlight reduces some measures of immunity in mammalian skin. Since viral infections are my main proposed controlling factor in early fly lifespan, I decided to test whether keeping some flies in darkness could increase their survival, at least early in the experiment. Vitamin D deficiency can lower immunity, I also added a skim milk bottle to see if adding a little extra vitamin D could further improve survival. Early (22 day) survival in dark control was indeed increased, but adding skim milk offered no benefit then. Milk may have been beneficial by the day 44 census. Milk was toxic with regard to maximum lifespan back in run #91 as well, but this result was not yet available when I started this experiment. It is interesting that the normal control bottle had the highest maximum longevity. However this result was due to only one fly. If this single animal is ignored then no significant differences in maximal longevity were evident in any bottle. Soya bean drink may have slightly reduced early survival.

Pomegranate was disappointing in this run, but it was an very old bottle of pomegranate paste that was used, instead of a fresh one, which may have skewed the results.

Run #99

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

22 27 33 39 44 49 55 60 65 72 78 83 88
control 82 82 77 64 41 32 27 27 23 14 5 5 0
almond juice 80 70 55 55 50 45 40 35 20 0 - - -
dark control 93 86 71 36 36 36 36 29 21 14 0 - -
+skim milk 80 80 75 70 60 45 40 25 25 10 0 - -
++ annatto 1/8 tsp + B3 100 mg 100 94 94 88 88 82 35 18 12 6 0 - -
++pomegranate sp 89 89 89 89 78 78 44 33 33 11 0 - -
oat drink 82 76 70 70 64 52 27 24 15 3 0 - -
soya bean drink 69 69 56 56 50 50 25 13 13 0 - - -
sugar beet syrup 1/8 tsp 82 76 76 59 53 53 41 35 18 12 0 - -
sugar beet syrup tsp 69 56 56 44 44 44 31 31 31 13 0 - -

This is the 100th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 23.1 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 104 days. In celebration of my 100'th fly experiment, I've decided to retest all the supplements in duplicate, that produced at least one fly that reached over 105 days of age in the first 99 experiments. These are always from experiments conducted during the winter, when indoor temperatures are lower. The supplements are as follows: Kambiz pomegranate paste (124 days - run# 87), Knudsen elderberry nectar [freeze concentrated] (118 days - run# 36) Sun-Rype apple juice + vit C (107 days -run#36) Huaqi hawthorn juice (106 days - run# 84) Taisun Enterprises starfruit juice (106 days - run# 83) Nu'O'C Bi Dao white gourd juice (106 days - run# 83) For this experiment a few substitutions had to be made, as neither fresh pomegranate paste, nor the starfruit juice were currently available. A very old and somewhat smelly bottle of pomegranate paste was still in my fridge, so I used that. I also bought some fresh raw starfruit and blended it into a homemade juice.

As an added wrinkle I had noticed some survival benefit early in run #99 to some bottles kept in darkness. I decided to place every second bottle in the dark at day 11 of this experiment, to further test the effect of light deprivation. A number of published experiments have found a modest survival advantage to flies stored in the dark.

Darkness had parodoxical effects on the control bottles this time. The dark control had slightly increased maximum longevity, but at the same time decreased average longevity. This parodox might be due to my using a smaller pint size milk bottle, instead of the standard quart size for the dark control. When I had started this experiment, I had intended to test only the effect of bottle size on the controls. A smaller bottle, means flies will come in physical contact more often, and possibly exchange viral infections more quickly.

Storage in the dark increased maximum survival in the control, apple, elderberry, hawthorn, and pomegranate bottles, but reduced it in the Starfruit, and white gourd ones. Is all this due to chance? (I further test dark storage in run #101.) All supplements increased maximum survival. White gourd juice garnered the maximum survival sweepstake, with a winning score of 88 days. However hawthorn juice provided more consistent results, and gained the runner-up position at 82 days. These are just 24%, and 15% above the control maximum longevity of 71 days.

Run #100

supplement

Percent Survival on Day
27 32 37 43 48 53 60 66 71 76 82 88 93
control 86 86 86 67 62 52 24 5 0 - - - -
+(dark after day 11) [SB] 65 70 50 25 25 10 10 5 5 0 - - -
apple juice 70 70 61 39 39 30 13 9 0 - - - -
+(dark) 79 79 74 63 53 37 32 11 5 5 0 - -
elderberry nectar FC 81 81 81 63 63 63 38 13 6 6 0 - -
+(dark) 94 94 83 72 61 61 50 39 28 11 0 - -
hawthorn juice 88 88 79 75 71 67 42 25 13 13 0 - -
+(dark) 100 100 83 78 78 57 48 48 26 22 4 0 -
pomegranate paste tsp 85 80 80 70 60 50 35 15 0 - - - -
+(dark) [old paste] 85 85 85 75 55 55 25 15 10 5 0 - -
starfruit juice, raw 95 79 79 68 58 58 37 21 11 5 0 - -
+(dark) 83 83 67 50 33 25 8 0 - - - - -
white gourd juice 81 81 76 67 48 48 38 24 19 10 10 5 0
+(dark) 88 88 81 31 25 13 0 - - - - - -

This is the 101st update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 23.2 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 103 days.

Here I retest each supplement under both ambient light, and under dark storage conditions. In all cases the day 36, and day 41 survivals were increased with dark storage, though maximum survival was not always increased. Possibly the elimination of light induced immune suppression, may have reduced virally mediated mortality. In any case I have decided to use the dark storage condition as part of my standard protocol for subsequent runs.

Tamarind juice increased longevity in a previous run, and this run retested this juice, and again found increases. Wax gourd drink, like white gourd drink previously, also increased maximum longevity. The beneficial result with coffee and milk came as a surprise. However further testing of coffee/milk will be needed to verify this benefit.

Run #101

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

3 9 15 20 25 31 36 41 48 54 59 64 70 76
control 100 90 81 62 57 52 48 33 10 5 0 - - -
+(dark) 100 100 100 88 88 76 65 35 18 6 6 0 - -
basil seed drink 100 95 91 82 82 77 77 59 41 14 5 0 - -
+(dark) 100 89 89 89 89 89 78 61 56 28 11 6 0 -
coffee/milk 100 100 100 86 81 71 62 48 48 19 5 0 - -
+(dark) 100 100 100 92 92 85 69 69 62 54 46 15 0 -
sterchlia drink 100 92 96 84 84 84 56 52 32 12 0 - - -
+(dark) 100 100 100 85 85 77 77 69 69 38 8 8 8 0
tamarind juice 100 96 88 88 88 83 83 79 59 8 0 - - -
+(dark) 100 100 100 100 94 94 89 83 39 6 0 - - -
wax gourd drink 100 85 80 75 70 65 65 55 45 30 20 5 0 -
+(dark) 100 100 100 100 100 88 82 65 47 29 12 6 0 -

This is the 102nd update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 23.3 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 102 days.

Starting with this run, dark storage conditions are standard. Here I reexamine at higher doses oxymol, and sour cherry syrups, as well as take a first look at raspberry syrup. Oxymol has previously improved survival at a 2 teaspoon dose in run #98, and sour cherry was beneficial at 1 tsp in run #93.

Oxymol this time yielded only a modest advantage at a 2 tsp dose, late in the experiment. Higher doses proved to be toxic. Sour cherry was also helpful at a 2 tsp dose, but 4 tsp was toxic. Raspberry was also slightly beneficial at the lower doses. In all these cases there appears to be a narrow therapeutic range, with effective doses becoming rapidly toxic at higher doses. [However the remaining raspberry syrup did prove to be delicious.]

Starting with the next run I'll be testing the effect of raw vegetable extracts found at local supermarkets.

Run #102

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

5 10 15 21 26 31 38 44 49 54 60 66
control one 100 100 92 92 92 77 62 15 0 - - -
control two 94 94 94 69 69 63 31 19 19 6 6 0
oxymol 2 tsp 100 92 92 83 75 67 50 38 33 17 0 -
oxymol 4 tsp 96 87 87 83 78 70 39 4 0 - - -
oxymol 6 tsp 94 94 88 69 63 50 13 0 - - - -
raspberry syrup 2 tsp 100 95 95 90 90 71 57 33 24 5 0 -
raspberry syrup 4 tsp 100 100 96 96 91 91 57 30 17 0 - -
raspberry syrup 6 tsp 100 100 100 94 89 44 6 0 - - - -
sour cherry syrup 2 tsp 100 95 95 95 95 89 63 53 21 11 0 -
sour cherry 4 tsp 100 100 100 100 95 84 32 5 5 0 - -

This is the 103rd update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 23.8 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 96 days. Here I test raw vegetable extracts by blending with water, and then screening out the roughage. The extracts are then used in place of water to hydrate the fly food powder. None of the vegetables offered any significant advantage on average survival, and green cabbage at a high dose appeared to be toxic. Maximum longevity was slightly improved by savoy cabbage.

Run #103

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

4 9 15 20 25 32 38 43 48 54 60 65 71
control 100 100 74 74 63 47 26 21 16 5 0 - -
green cabbage 13% 100 97 81 71 58 45 29 23 19 13 0 - -
green cabbage 50% 100 100 76 56 28 12 8 8 0 - - - -
red cabbage 13% 96 89 68 54 39 39 21 18 18 18 0 - -
red cabbage 50% 100 97 65 59 56 26 18 18 18 12 9 0 -
savoy cabbage 13% 100 97 77 73 63 43 33 27 17 13 7 7 0
savoy cabbage 50% 100 100 84 81 65 35 16 13 10 6 3 3 0
suey choy 13% 100 96 85 73 65 54 42 31 15 12 12 8 0
suey choy 50% 100 92 88 79 75 58 29 21 13 4 0 - -

This is the 104th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 24.5 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 89 days. Here I continue testing raw vegetable extracts by blending with water, and then screening out the roughage. The extracts are then used in place of water to hydrate fly food powder. None of the brassica vegetables tested offered any significant advantage on average survival, and at high doses some vegetables were toxic. Broccoli stem slightly increased maximal longevity. Although a high consumption of vegetables has been reputed to be associated with reduced mortality in humans, flies are not believed to typically die of either cardiovascular disease, or cancer. Motor neuron degeneration limits maximal fly longevity, but I suspect viral infections may also account for some deaths.

Run #104

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

12 17 24 30 35 40 46 52 57 63 68 73 78
control one 96 92 88 88 85 81 65 27 19 8 0 - -
control two 98 94 90 80 71 59 39 16 12 2 0 - -
bok choy 13% 97 94 94 92 89 81 61 44 33 11 0 - -
bok choy 50% 97 94 91 91 79 71 59 24 21 12 6 3 0
broccoli, flower 13% 96 86 75 75 57 46 32 18 0 - - - -
broccoli, flower 50% 96 81 70 48 37 19 15 7 4 4 0 - -
broccoli, stem 13% 97 97 90 68 68 65 39 35 29 23 23 10 0
broccoli, stem 50% 97 97 72 50 39 28 14 11 6 3 3 0 -
brussel sprouts 13% 94 94 82 65 65 47 44 24 18 12 6 3 0
brussel sprouts 50% 80 52 48 36 28 20 16 12 8 4 0 - -
cauliflower, head 13% 91 91 77 69 60 43 40 20 11 3 0 - -
cauliflower, head 50% 86 59 36 27 27 9 9 9 9 0 - - -
cauliflower, leaves 13% 95 95 79 68 53 47 32 26 21 11 5 0 -
cauliflower, leaves 50% 96 72 48 36 20 4 4 4 0 - - - -
kale, leaves 13% 100 92 88 88 81 62 42 31 27 19 12 4 0
kale, leaves 50% 88 77 65 54 50 46 27 19 19 12 0 - -
kale, stem 13% 100 100 86 86 77 73 64 41 27 18 5 0 -
kale, stem 50% 88 85 77 50 35 23 23 12 0 - - - -

This is the 105th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 24.5 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 89 days. Some toxicity may have been evident in some of the raw zucchini extracts, as well as high dose carrot in this run. High dose spinach appeared to provide an advantage, but this still might have been due to chance.

Run #105

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

5 10 15 22 28 33 38 44 50 55 61 66 71 76
control 96 96 93 82 82 71 61 46 25 18 11 4 0 -
carrot 13% 100 100 85 73 54 42 35 31 15 4 4 4 0 -
carrot 50% 100 91 85 76 55 42 27 9 3 0 - - - -
celery 13% 100 100 97 90 81 65 61 52 32 23 13 0 - -
celery 50% 100 100 83 71 71 58 54 33 25 13 8 4 0 -
cucumber 13% 96 96 92 92 88 79 54 38 21 4 0 - - -
cucumber 50% 100 95 95 90 80 65 50 45 40 15 5 0 - -
spinach 13% 100 100 92 92 92 85 77 54 31 8 0 - - -
spinach 50% 100 100 100 94 94 94 88 82 71 71 24 12 6 0
zucchini 13% 100 100 100 90 80 60 60 55 10 0 - - - -
zucchini 50% 100 100 75 75 58 33 25 8 8 0 - - - -

This is the 108th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.3 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 80 days.

Here I retest oxymol, and pomegranate, and look to see if product freshness had any impact on the benefits previously shown by these two food supplements.

To my great surprise no consistent effect of product freshness on survival was demonstrated. Whatever the active ingredients are, they must be very stable indeed. As previously shown in run #98, oxymol again beat pomegranate, with the 2 tsp dose being somewhat more effective than 1 tsp.

Run #108

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

10 15 20 26 32 37 43 48 53 58 63 68
control one 93 88 79 76 52 36 17 7 0 - - -
control two 80 80 77 63 34 31 9 6 0 - - -
oxymol, new 1 tsp 100 93 85 85 75 63 53 28 23 3 0 -
oxymol, old 1 tsp 89 83 83 83 66 57 34 29 11 6 0 -
oxymol, new 2 tsp 100 95 90 86 86 76 57 43 10 5 5 0
oxymol, old 2 tsp 100 100 96 92 80 68 52 40 24 16 0 -
pomegranate, new tsp 96 87 87 83 61 57 26 22 13 9 0 -
pomegranate, old tsp 95 95 95 95 70 60 40 20 15 5 5 0
pomegranate, new 1 tsp 100 96 92 96 71 58 33 21 21 13 0 -
pomegranate, old 1 tsp 100 91 91 86 73 50 32 14 0 - - -
pom tsp & oxy 1 tsp 100 94 94 94 82 65 41 29 12 0 - -

This is the 109th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.5 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 77 days. Here I continue testing raw produce extracts. Dill was the most toxic this time. Eggplant may have offered a small benefit early in the experiment.

Run #109

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

4 9 15 21 26 32 37 42 47 52 57 63
control one 100 93 89 70 52 22 7 4 0 - - -
control two 100 94 83 51 29 20 11 6 3 3 3 0
asparagus 8% 95 82 68 55 45 27 9 5 5 0 - -
asparagus 33% 100 89 58 26 21 5 0 - - - - -
anise 8% 95 81 71 19 14 5 5 5 0 - - -
anise 33% 100 71 62 29 29 24 0 - - - - -
dill 8% 100 93 79 50 36 0 - - - - - -
dill 33% 6 0 - - - - - - - - - -
eggplant 8% 100 100 100 75 30 20 5 0 - - - -
eggplant 33% 100 100 87 73 67 27 7 0 - - - -
green beans 8% 95 75 70 20 15 5 5 5 0 - - -
green beans 33% 100 85 69 31 15 0 - - - - - -
snow peas 8% 100 85 46 23 15 15 8 0 - - - -
snow peas 33% 100 80 53 40 20 13 13 7 0 - - -

This is the 110th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.8 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 74 days.

Here I continue testing raw produce extracts. Parsley and high dose mint proved to be toxic. Apricot and endive lettuce appeared to be beneficial.

Run #110

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

3 9 15 20 26 31 36 41 46 51 57 63 68
control one 97 92 82 59 38 31 21 13 5 0 - - -
control two 97 67 58 52 24 18 9 9 3 3 0 - -
apricot 8% 100 94 88 79 58 42 27 15 9 6 6 0 -
apricot 33% 97 92 86 75 72 64 53 50 17 14 14 6 0
endive 8% 97 84 61 52 35 29 29 16 10 3 3 3 0
endive 33% 100 92 88 81 38 31 27 19 8 8 4 4 0
mint 8% 100 80 70 67 37 27 10 10 7 3 3 3 0
mint 33% 71 33 25 21 0 - - - - - - - -
parsley 8% 100 67 52 52 33 29 5 0 - - - - -
parsley 33% 98 2 0 - - - - - - - - - -

Emergence of Consciousness

by Francois < asimov_orion@videotron.ca >

I read a nice little story sometime ago which illustrated how consciousness and self awareness could have evolved in nature. Most caterpillars live in trees. They walk along branches and twigs, looking for the leaves they eat. When they reach the end of a twig, they feel around with their front legs, trying to find some close by twig to keep on walking. If they find none, they turn around and go back the way they came.

Now, if you hold a twig in your fingers and put a caterpillar on it, the caterpillar will reach the end, do its little search dance and turn around. If you pick up the twig at the other end, the caterpillar will again walk to the opposite end and repeat the process. If you keep switching the end you hold the twig by, the caterpillar will keep going back and forth until exhausted, never realizing that something is wrong. Consciousness began when a part of an animal's brain evolved that could monitor this activity. A caterpillar so equipped would realize after a few trips back and forth that something is amiss and would change strategy, like letting itself drop from the bizarre two ended twig or something like that. Consciousness began when part of a brain was dedicated to monitoring the activity of the whole brain. Self referencing loops were established that enormously increased the complexity and flexibility of the brain's activity. It was like using the output of a video system as its input. (see below) If you do that, you will get intricately complex and variable figures, much more complex than intuition would lead you to expect. Maybe self-awareness is nothing more than a way for a brain to represent its own activity. It represents the colour red as the visual impression of "red", represents a rough surface as the tactile impression of "rough" and represents its own inner workings as the mental impression of "self aware". It could be as simple as that.

Click on image for article using a camera and tv to make chaotic images.

Population Issues

by Charles Platt < other@platt.us >

Population is limiting itself. The demographic transition is pretty much undeniable at this point, with births per female lifetime down to 1.2 in some Euro nations (which are now worried about population decrease). Of course this has happened at the same time that average life expectancy has increased. Therefore your suggestion that life extension tends to worsen the population problem has already been disproved, if we are talking about average life expectancy. Women don't necessarily have more children just because they expect to live longer; the reverse has turned out to be true.

If you're concerned about the effects of lengthening the maximum human lifespan (say, from 120 to 250 years, more or less) it's important to remember that this only leads to linear growth as opposed to the exponential growth caused by an increase in the birth rate. Therefore I regard an increase in the maximum lifespan as being far less likely to impose "population stress" than an increase in the birth rate. But what are the actual numbers?

A few years ago, I searched for any kind of UN-sponsored or other simulation/projection of the consequences of an increase in maximum lifespan. Finding nothing, I called various government agencies and nonprofit population study groups. So far as I could tell, no demographers anywhere had ever studied this issue. The people at Worldwatch and the Population Institute, for instance, were baffled by my question.

So, I wrote my own little simulation program and ran various scenarios (all relating to US population). I found that if maximum lifespan increases by 5 years during each future 10-year period, while fertility rate decreases by 1.5 percent every 5 years, and an assumed reduction in age-related diseases lowers the risk of death by 60 percent every five years, everything balances out. The result after 200 years is the same as if the current birth rate and maximum lifespan remained the same, coupled with a slight decrease in risk of death in higher age groups.

Of course life extensionists are expecting a much bigger increase in maximum lifespan, and it may happen more suddenly instead of being spread out over a couple of centuries. And nanotechnologists have their own view of the future. But my projection is more consistent with the historic rate of change of population variables.

In any case, the principle is very clear: An eventual doubling in maximum lifespan, coupled with a very large reduction in disease risk, can be offset by a relatively modest decline in fertility. The decline that would be necessary in the US has already been exceeded in some other nations.

I believe the concern about the effects of an increased maximum lifespan is rooted more in psychology than in reality. We feel an instinctive resentment in response to the idea of 150-year-olds becoming a dominant age group. This resentment probably is linked with an assumption that someone of that age is parasitic and unproductive. Of course if life extension therapies are successful, the assumption is wrong. One last point: Since life extension will cost money, it should affect richer nations more than poorer nations. Fortunately, richer nations have lower birth rates than poorer nations, generally speaking, and are much better positioned to tolerate an increased maximum lifespan without catastrophic environmental consequences.

Anyone who worries about population should be much more concerned with third-world birth rates than first-world life expectancy.

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