From the best brain science program on radio, with the enchanting Natasha Mitchell: “Lead in paint. Methylmercury in fish. Arsenic in groundwater. Just some of the toxic insults on our vulnerable brains. But are they the thin end of the industrial chemical wedge? Could the world’s children be experiencing a silent pandemic in neurodevelopmental disorders? Harvard’s Professor Phillipe Grandjean thinks so, and joins Deborah Cory-Slechta at Rutgers University to unpick the latest compelling science. Don’t miss two of the world’s trailblazers in neurotoxicology.”
Whether we like it or not, geoengineering—what I’ve taken to calling “(re)terraforming the Earth”—is on the table as a strategy for dealing with onrushing climate disaster. This isn’t because it’s a particularly good idea; as far as we can now tell, the potential negative impacts of geoengineering projects may significantly outweigh any benefits. The reason why (re)terraforming is now the subject of so much attention is that, if it could be made to work, it would be a climate change remediation method, not just a climate change moderation method.
RU Sirius is a pioneer of technoprogressive futurism. As founder/editor of the magazine Mondo 2000 RU Sirius forged a brand of scientifically-literate psychedelic gonzo radicalism that nurtured and inspired the emerging transhumanist subculture, and is now emerging again as an important critical voice. As prime driver of the growing MondoGlobo media operation, RU has been profiling leading technoprogressive thinkers, activists and issues for the last five years.
the wild changes that may be coming to the human species during the 21st Century. In a series of interviews, author/host RU Sirius explores a series of (r)evolutions in disciplines ranging from the evolution of clean energy to the possibilities of endless neurological ecstasy; from open-source free access to nearly everything under the sun to self-directed biotechnological evolution; from psychedelic culture mash-ups to the possibilities of a technological singularity that alters not only humanity but the entire universe.
Matt, my Significant Other, is a fellow engineer and quirky-geeky sort, and he’s been very supportive of my continuing involvement in activities relating to life extension, transhumanism, etc. However, he isn’t really the “activist” type, and doesn’t tend to get irate like I do about things like death and discrimination, or gleeful to the point of running around in circles about how awesome being alive is.
I’ve been hearing some rather dismaying arguments recently about how important biological ties are—that family is biological, not social—which is a form of what I view as genetic determinism. It’s a view that misses the point that our capacity to choose to love and form relationships distinguishes us from other mammals (generally).
This is a very simple slideshow movie of events and pictures from uvvy island in second life, where there is an ongoing silent revolution into posthuman, transhuman and artistic innovations. Visit us at http://www.uvvy.com.
BBC: “Meet the scientific prophets who claim we are on the verge of creating a new type of human - a human v2.0. It’s predicted that by 2029 computer intelligence will equal the power of the human brain. Some believe this will revolutionize humanity - we will be able to download our minds to computers extending our lives indefinitely. Others fear this will lead to oblivion by giving rise to destructive ultra intelligent machines. One thing they all agree on is that the coming of this moment - and whatever it brings - is inevitable.” Link
So this year, I and many of my friends are turning 30. And don’t think people aren’t noticing. This month and next month alone, three close friends will mark the birthday. And this has brought on the inevitable anxiety about aging, getting older, leaving youthful days behind, and various other manifestations of ageist bullshit that, thankfully, is being driven further and further out of our culture with each new development in antiaging medicine, and each fresh take on what it means to mark birthdays in a transhuman era.
Policy makers across the industrialized world are staring down the barrel of a gun: the growing retirement age population, and the shrinking birth rate. They see the “old age dependency ratio” with dread because they project current rates of senior disease and disability, and related medical and nursing costs, and they don’t see how welfare systems will survive.
But there is an answer, and it should be obvious, since senior disability rates have been plummeting. When seniors stay healthy and vigorous they can continue contributing their lifetime of accumulated skill and experience to society, without driving up nursing or healthcare costs, or becoming dependent on loved ones. If medical therapies could be developed which slowed the rate of aging, and the development of disease and disability, we may be able to slip past the demographic transition in economic strength, and greater health and longevity for everyone. This is the promise and challenge of the “Longevity Dividend.”
Join us in Chicago on July 23rd for a day long seminar with leading experts on the politics, science and political economy of longevity - including Jay Olshansky and Aubrey de Grey - to help build the campaign for an intensive international research program on anti-aging medicine. (The seminar will take place the day before the three-day gala Transvision 2007, with keynoter Ray Kurzweil.)
Monday, July 23, 2007
Chicago Fairmont Hotel (same hotel as Transvision 2007 which will take place the following three days)
8:30am-9am Registration & coffee
9am-Noon Political Economy of the Longevity Dividend
Jay Olshansky Ph.D.
Additional Speakers TBA
1:30-5pm Building the Campaign for the Longevity Dividend
Aubrey de Grey Ph.D. “Arguing the Scientific Feasibility of Anti-Aging”
Nick Bostrom Ph.D. “Answering the Philosophical Objections to Longevity”
James Hughes Ph.D. “Building Coalitions for Anti-Aging Science and Medicine”
Additional speakers TBA
Audience The targets for this event are:
- scholars and journalists interested in the future of aging and healtcare
- legislative aides and policy makers considering Longevity Dividend as a policy program
- pro-longevity, health care and senior activists interested in building the Longevity Dividend campaign
Admission: $150/person, $75 for students
(For now, checks can be sent to “IEET” c/o James Hughes, William 229B, 300 Summit St., Trinity College, Hartford CT 06106. We will shortly have up a Paypal link.)
Anders Sandberg’s take on How Power Corrupts brings to light a particular cognitive bias associated with power imbalances that I think has much relevance to issues of morphological/cognitive liberty, diversity, and self-transformation in a technologically enabling society.
I just dashed off a version of this over at Jason Rosenhouse’s EvolutionBlog, which is an excellent site in support of evolutionary theory against the efforts of creationists and Intelligent Design warriors.
The “Good Ancestor Principle” is based on a challenge posed by Jonas Salk:
...the most important question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we being good ancestors?” Given the rapidly changing discoveries and conditions of the times, this opens up a crucial conversation – just what will it take for our descendants to look back at our decisions today and judge us good ancestors?
Would-be professional techno-prognosticators, when they want to think out loud about “the future,” seem to me to turn more often to discussions of concerns about human survival than to concerns about human self-creation, so too to the demands of security over the demands of democracy, as well as to the urgencies of threat over the possibilities of hope.
IEET Director Mark Walker has an interesting article responding to an article published by Peter Singer in the 1990s, in which Singer considers the possibility of an anti-aging drug, and concludes that, on the scenario presented: “we should recommend against any further development of the anti-aging drug.”
George discusses why Jehovah Witnesses’ babies need to be protected from their parents’ ideas about blood, ethical eats, and how everyone in the future will be able to play the guitar like Eddie Van Halen.