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Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 104

Nov 8, 2011

Life expectancy and Fibonacci: Nature has designed us to live indefinitely

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, complex systems, futurism

After studying tables of current life expectancy (life expectancy increase per decade, in years, based upon United States National Vital Statistics) I found embedded a virtually perfect Fibonacci sequence. A Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers as follows: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, …etc, where each number is the sum of the previous two. See here for more details on the Fibonacci sequence: http://www.mathacademy.com/pr/prime/articles/fibonac/index.asp
To my knowledge, this has not been described before. This is important because, based on my ideas regarding Global Brain acting as a catalyst for promoting extreme human lifespans (http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/03/04/indefinite-lifespans-a-n…l-brain/), it may help us predict with some accuracy any dramatic increases in life expectancy. For example, the model predicts that the current maximum lifespan of 110–120 years will be increased to 175 in the next 20–30 years.

In simple terms, the fact that life expectancy increases in a certain manner, and this manner obeys deep-routed and universal natural laws, indicates that it may be possible to:
1. Predict life expectancy in the near future. Based on the Fibonacci sequence,
a 90 year old today, can expect to live another 5 years
a 95 year old can expect to live another 8 years
a 103 year old can expect to live another 13 years, then…
a 116 year old can expect to live another 21 years
a 137 year old would expect to live another 34 years
a 171 year old would expect to live another 55 years
a 236 year old would expect to live another 89 years
a 325 year old can expect to live another 144 years,
and so on.

2. Question the presence of ageing and death in an ever-evolving intellectually sophisticated human (who is a valuable component of the Global Brain). Based on current facts, the Fibonacci sequence with regards to life expectancy ends abruptly when lifespan reaches the limit of approximately 120 years. Why is this so? Why should a naturally extending lifespan deviate from universal natural laws? Life expectancy should continue to increase as an individual manages to survive to a certain age. The presence of ageing and death could therefore be considered unnatural.

3. Support the notion that ‘you need to live long enough to live forever’ (see Kurzweil
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantastic_Voyage:_Live_Long_Enough_to_Live_Forever, and also De Grey’s ‘Longevity Escape Velocity’ suggestions http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/aubrey_de_grey_says_we_can_avoid_aging.html).

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Aug 27, 2011

Calorie Restriction: A Cell Signaling Diet!

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

Some people say that a calorie restriction (CR) diet is difficult to follow. It used to be. But things have changed: Thanks to great work by leading scientists, current approaches to calorie restriction are just as much about cell signaling as about limiting calories.

It is known, for example, that serious long-term CR dramatically lowers insulin levels.1 Another hormone, with a similar molecular structure, insulin-like growth factor one (IGF-I), shares the same pathway with insulin and is downregulated by CR in animal studies and by calorie restricted humans who do not follow high protein diets.2

And there’s the rub. For if you hope to benefit from calorie restriction and do not pay attention to the special properties of macronutrient intake, individual foods, and food preparation, you may get an unpleasant surprise: excessive stimulation of the insulin/IGF-I pathway. For example, in a study using healthy volunteers, just 50 grams of white potato starch sends glucose and insulin soaring3 to levels associated with increased risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.4

Back in the 1930s, when the term calorie restriction was first applied to Dr. Clive McCay’s rat and mouse experiments,5 it was entirely appropriate because the focus was on calories since he was looking at growth retardation. Of course, little was known about the signals involved in the life-extending effects of the diet. All that changed as scientists discovered important cell-signaling patterns that produce the phenomenal life-transforming effects.6

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Apr 19, 2011

On the Problem of Sustainable Economic Development: A Game-Theoretical Solution

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, complex systems, cosmology, defense, economics, education, existential risks, finance, human trajectories, lifeboat, military, philosophy, sustainability

Perhaps the most important lesson, which I have learned from Mises, was a lesson located outside economics itself. What Mises taught us in his writings, in his lectures, in his seminars, and in perhaps everything he said, was that economics—yes, and I mean sound economics, Austrian economics—is primordially, crucially important. Economics is not an intellectual game. Economics is deadly serious. The very future of mankind —of civilization—depends, in Mises’ view, upon widespread understanding of, and respect for, the principles of economics.

This is a lesson, which is located almost entirely outside economics proper. But all Mises’ work depended ultimately upon this tenet. Almost invariably, a scientist is motivated by values not strictly part of the science itself. The lust for fame, for material rewards—even the pure love of truth—these goals may possibly be fulfilled by scientific success, but are themselves not identified by science as worthwhile goals. What drove Mises, what accounted for his passionate dedication, his ability to calmly ignore the sneers of, and the isolation imposed by academic contemporaries, was his conviction that the survival of mankind depends on the development and dissemination of Austrian economics…

Austrian economics is not simply a matter of intellectual problem solving, like a challenging crossword puzzle, but literally a matter of the life or death of the human race.

–Israel M. Kirzner, Society for the Development of Austrian Economics Lifetime Achievement Award Acceptance Speech, 2006

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Apr 13, 2011

“You are What you Don’t Eat!”

Posted by in categories: biological, life extension

As leaders of calorie restriction research and practice, Meredith Averill and I often participate in media events. A recent news conference covered rapidly evolving aspects of calorie restriction research that anyone could benefit from, whether they choose to follow a low-calorie lifestyle or not. Therefore, we thought it appropriate to share the details of the event with the Lifeboat Foundation audience.

The conference was hosted by the American Federation of Aging Research (AFAR). AFAR is a forward-looking organization that provides financial support for early- and mid-career scientists who are developing careers in the study of aging.

This conference, entitled “You are What you Don’t Eat!” presented two world-famous CR scientists, Drs. Luigi Fontana and Donald Ingram. After an introduction from AFAR’s board member, Dr. Jack Watters, both scientists shared many profound insights that could extend healthy lifespan for millions of people.

Dr. Fontana first reminded us how important calorie restriction research is for the health and financial viability of the health care system: “Cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, stroke and diabetes account for nearly 70% of the deaths in the United States and Europe. About 80% of adults over 65 years of age have at least one chronic disease, and 50% have two or more of these chronic diseases that accelerate the aging process1 .” The point he makes is that health care systems, especially with our rapidly aging population cannot sustain this large number of people with disease.

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Apr 2, 2011

A (Relatively) Brief Introduction to The Principles of Economics & Evolution: A Survival Guide for the Inhabitants of Small Islands, Including the Inhabitants of the Small Island of Earth

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, biological, complex systems, cosmology, defense, economics, existential risks, geopolitics, habitats, human trajectories, lifeboat, military, philosophy, sustainability

(NOTE: Selecting the “Switch to White” button on the upper right-hand corner of the screen may ease reading this text).

“Who are you?” A simple question sometimes requires a complex answer. When a Homeric hero is asked who he is.., his answer consists of more than just his name; he provides a list of his ancestors. The history of his family is an essential constituent of his identity. When the city of Aphrodisias… decided to honor a prominent citizen with a public funeral…, the decree in his honor identified him in the following manner:

Hermogenes, son of Hephaistion, the so-called Theodotos, one of the first and most illustrious citizens, a man who has as his ancestors men among the greatest and among those who built together the community and have lived in virtue, love of glory, many promises of benefactions, and the most beautiful deeds for the fatherland; a man who has been himself good and virtuous, a lover of the fatherland, a constructor, a benefactor of the polis, and a savior.
– Angelos Chaniotis, In Search of an Identity: European Discourses and Ancient Paradigms, 2010

I realize many may not have the time to read all of this post — let alone the treatise it introduces — so for those with just a few minutes to spare, consider abandoning the remainder of this introduction and spending a few moments with a brief narrative which distills the very essence of the problem at hand: On the Origin of Mass Extinctions: Darwin’s Nontrivial Error.

Continue reading “A (Relatively) Brief Introduction to The Principles of Economics & Evolution: A Survival Guide for the Inhabitants of Small Islands, Including the Inhabitants of the Small Island of Earth” »

Mar 24, 2011

The Existential Importance of Life Extension

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, ethics, existential risks, life extension
The field of life extension is broad and ranges from regenerative medicine to disease prevention by nutritional supplements and phytomedicine. Although the relevance of longevity and disease prevention to existential risks is less apparent than the prevention of large-scale catastrophic scenarios, it does have a high relevance to the future of our society. The development of healthy longevity and the efficiency of modern medicine in treating age-related diseases and the question of how well we can handle upcoming issues related to public health will have a major impact on our short-term future in the next few decades. Therefore, the prospect of healthy life extension plays important roles at both a personal and a societal level.
From a personal perspective, a longevity-compatible lifestyle, nutrition and supplementary regimen may not only help us to be active and to live longer, but optimizing our health and fitness also increase our energy, mental performance and capacities for social interaction. This aids our ability to work on the increasingly complex tasks of a 21st-century world that can make a positive impact in society, such as work on existential risk awareness and problem-solving. Recently, I wrote a basic personal orientation on the dietary supplement aspect of basic life extension with an audience of transhumanists, technology advocates with a high future shock level and open-minded scientists in mind, which is available here.
On a societal level, however, aging population and public health issues are serious. A rapid increase of some diseases of civilization, whose prevalence also climbs rapidly with advanced age, is on the march. For example, Type-II-Diabetes is rapidly on its way to becoming an insurmountable problem for China and the WHO projects COPD, the chronic lung disease caused by smoking and pollution, as the third leading cause of death in 2030.

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Feb 17, 2011

The Global Brain and its role in Human Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, complex systems, futurism, life extension, neuroscience

It would be helpful to discuss these theoretical concepts because there could be significant practical and existential implications.

The Global Brain (GB) is an emergent world-wide entity of distributed intelligence, facilitated by communication and the meaningful interconnections between millions of humans via technology (such as the internet).

For my purposes I take it to mean the expressive integration of all (or the majority) of human brains through technology and communication, a Metasystem Transition from the human brain to a global (Earth) brain. The GB is truly global not only in geographical terms but also in function.

It has been suggested that the GB has clear analogies with the human brain. For example, the basic unit of the human brain (HB) is the neuron, whereas the basic unit of the GB is the human brain. Whilst the HB is space-restricted within our cranium, the GB is constrained within this planet. The HB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are also connected to the whole (e.g. occipital cortex for vision, temporal cortex for auditory function, thalamus etc.). The GB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are connected to the whole (e.g. search engines, governments, etc.).

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Feb 1, 2011

Human Biological Immortality in 50 years

Posted by in categories: biological, complex systems, futurism

I believe that death due to ageing is not an absolute necessity of human nature. From the evolutionary point of view, we age because nature withholds energy for somatic (bodily) repairs and diverts it to the germ-cells (in order to assure the survival and evolution of the DNA). This is necessary so that the DNA is able to develop and achieve higher complexity.

Although this was a valid scenario until recently, we have now evolved to such a degree that we can use our intellect to achieve further cognitive complexity by manipulating our environment. This makes it unnecessary for the DNA to evolve along the path of natural selection (which is a slow and cumbersome, ‘hit-and-miss’ process), and allows us to develop quickly and more efficiently by using our brain as a means for achieving higher complexity. As a consequence, death through ageing becomes an illogical and unnecessary process. Humans must live much longer than the current lifespan of 80–120 years, in order for a more efficient global evolutionary development to take place.

It is possible to estimate how long the above process will take to mature (see figure below). Consider that the creation of the DNA was approximately 2 billion years ago, the formation of a neuron (cell) several million years ago, that of an effective brain (Homo sapiens sapiens) 200 000 years ago, and the establishment of complex societies (Ancient Greece, Rome, China etc.) thousands of years ago. There is a logarithmic reduction of the time necessary to proceed to the next more complex step (a reduction by a factor of 100). This means that global integration (and thus indefinite lifespans) will be achieved in a matter of decades (and certainly less than a century), starting from the 1960s-1970s (when globalisation in communications, travel and science/technology started to became established). This leaves another maximum of 50 years before the full global integration becomes established.

Each step is associated with a higher level of complexity, and takes a fraction of the timein order to mature, compared to the previous one.

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Nov 19, 2010

Stoic Philosophy and Human Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, futurism, neuroscience

The Stoic philosophical school shares several ideas with modern attempts at prolonging human lifespan. The Stoics believed in a non-dualistic, deterministic paradigm, where logic and reason formed part of their everyday life. The aim was to attain virtue, taken to mean human excellence.

I have recently described a model specifically referring to indefinite lifespans, where human biological immortality is a necessary and inevitable consequence of natural evolution (for details see www.elpistheory.info and for a comprehensive summary see http://cid-3d83391d98a0f83a.office.live.com/browse.aspx/Immo…=155370157).

This model is based on a deterministic, non-dualistic approach, described by the laws of Chaos theory (dynamical systems) and suggests that, in order to accelerate the natural transition from human evolution by natural selection to a post-Darwinian domain (where indefinite lifespans are the norm) , it is necessary to lead a life of constant intellectual stimulation, innovation and avoidance of routine (see http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2005.8.96?journalCode=rej and http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/rej.2009.0996) i.e. to seek human virtue (excellence, brilliance, and wisdom, as opposed to mediocrity and routine). The search for intellectual excellence increases neural inputs which effect epigenetic changes that can up-regulate age repair mechanisms.

Thus it is possible to conciliate the Stoic ideas with the processes that lead to both technological and developmental Singularities, using approaches that are deeply embedded in human nature and transcend time.

Jul 12, 2010

The True Cost of Ignoring Nonhumans

Posted by in categories: biological, ethics, futurism, policy

Posted by Dr. Denise L Herzing and Dr. Lori Marino, Human-Nonhuman Relationship Board

Over the millennia humans and the rest of nature have coexisted in various relationships. However the intimate and interdependent nature of our relationship with other beings on the planet has been recently brought to light by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This ongoing environmental disaster is a prime example of “profit over principle” regarding non-human life. This spill threatens not only the reproductive viability of all flora and fauna in the affected ecosystems but also complex and sensitive non-human cultures like those we now recognize in dolphins and whales.

Although science has, for decades, documented the links and interdependence of ecosystems and species, the ethical dilemma now facing humans is at a critical level. For too long have we not recognized the true cost of our life styles and priorities of profit over the health of the planet and the nonhuman beings we share it with. If ever the time, this is a wake up call for humanity and a call to action. If humanity is to survive we need to make an urgent and long-term commitment to the health of the planet. The oceans, our food sources and the very oxygen we breathe may be dependent on our choices in the next 10 years.

And humanity’s survival is inextricably linked to that of the other beings we share this planet with. We need a new ethic.

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