Legislation on Asteroid Mining Debris Cloud

Posted: 16th August 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized

Copyright 2019, Khannea Sun Tzu, article may be used with attribution

It is likely certain corporations and governments are well on our way to mining asteroids before 2050. Once asteroid mining commences in earnest, it will grow exponentially and change from a very riskprone, trial-and-error, erratic profit and small scale industry to a highly predictable, casual, well tested and insanely profitable industry in decades. The problem with exponentially expanding industries is that politicians, corporations, investers and scientists enter a peculiar insanity driven by profit margins we have not seen before on this planet. It may eventually turn out that industrial exploitation of space-based resources expands to a degree that corporate entities lose most interest in investing in terrestrial resources or markets, and that is a long term problem in its own right.

But short term, in the second and third stages of asteroid mining we are very likely to see corporations cut corners and enter a sort of feeding frenzy for select resources and ores, and use other asteroid resources in a particularly (and arguably criminally) wasteful manner. We have seen the same attritional ‘business models’ in the conquest of the americas where bison skulls were used as fertillizer in a manner we can in retrospect judge to be criminal, immoral, insane and severely lacking any longterm vision.

American bison skull pile

Near earth space is unlike any frontier we have ever tried conquering. The natural intuitions humans have evolved to deal with hunter-gatherer existence on an african savanne are certain to be quite inadequate compared to vacuum, highly radiated, highly temperature variation, free fall, extreme toxicity, extreme distances, extreme investment tresholds, extreme profit margins environment. To profit from these resources it in the initial stages it makes sense to use the most ruthless approach imaginable.

For instance – there’s a lot of water (and other volatiles) in most asteroids and this water exists as a composite of clays inside the asteroids in a semi-frozen state. By heating the asteroid insides these volatile substances can be extracted. Water is likely to be extremely valuable for colonizing space in a long term sustainable manner, but clearly the same water can also be collected in the early decades of asteroid mining to blow up parts of asteroid gravel piles. This yields two moral problems

1 – the water used in that manner escapes in to space and is carried out of the solar system via solar radiation, and

2 – this, and other ‘ruthless’ means of extracting resources is very likely to produce significant debris/particle clouds in interplanetary space.

It may seem inconceivable that water would be wasted in this manner, and likewise it may seem inconceivable that “debris clouds” would be a problem in the vastness of space. It is right now very difficult to estimate the impact of just these two problems of (1) wasting precious resources in the short term we may desperately need in long term development and (2) haphazzardly dumping a kind of particle pollution in interplanetary space that may pose long term hazards for follow-up missions. But as asteroid mining heats up we may see an exponential number of each every more cutthroat competetive and immorally shortsighted missions tearing up asteroids. This won’t be a problem when we are doing small missions to a few asteroids, but imagine half a century later when we see tens of thousands of very sizable missions actively digging in tens of thousands of asteroids anually and everyone can see the ensuing problems for consecutive spaceflight. We surely do not want an accidental kessler syndrome around the earth moon system, so we most certainly do not want to induce a slow-motion interplanetary kessler syndrome in the inner solar system and asteroid belt.

We can not stop all cutting corners. But the international community can determine that certain cost cutting and ruthless strategies for asteroid colonization to be objectionable for long term development of very large, and relatively fragile infrastructure (or real estate) in the inner solar system. It would be tragic if an exponential development of hundreds or thousands of O’Neill habitats, each potentially housing many thousands to ten thousands of highly educated, very affluent, highly productive tax paying and voting constituents were needlessly aborted because of the shortsighted nature of some corporate revenue extraction models.

Currently there is no viable legislative, legal or political model to impede such practices, so we end up with certain nations more or less dictating terms, with everyone else more or less consenting out of docility, short sighted naivety, or poltical expediency. The problem is that afore alluded to nations do not have a stellar record on yielding particularly long-term oriented business practices.

There is an immediate solution however – governments and corporations trading resources from space (moons, asteroids, comets, planets or otherwise) can be taxed for offering these goods, and we can make taxation dependent in large part on the sustainability of the extraction methods they use.

It would be wise for governments to come to understand the potential impact of asteroid mining, the technologies and sciences involved and have specialists in these fields prepare a cursory legislative framework to avoid disasters down the line.

Indian guys, please stop already

Posted: 29th July 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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*Goes for arab, african, etc guys too.

Anyone who wants to use this post as a reply when Indian guys come whining on Facebook chat, please do.

One slice of cheese is pure heaven. I mean, one slice of Cheese is pure heaven. Now eat 30, and suddenly it becomes a bit less so. I mean, I like people, I like talking to people, and I like people in general. I like talking about content and meaningful stuff. Too much of the same people however gets problematic quickly.

So I get, like so many with a female exterior, ceaselessly accosted by Indian guys. I mean it’s like a constant barrage on facebook. I go online, and one of these utterly 45 thousand in a dozen cartboard cutout mustached guys, all the same hair, all the same half open buttoned up shirt, most a “a bit overweight”, all imposingly polite, “they just want to get to know me and want to be friends”.

So I tried that, talking to these guys. Like in the last ten years a few hundred times probably, and I have amassed a massive statistical understanding of Indian guys and their grande plan. And when I say Indian guys, I probably also mean Pakistani guys, and an assortment of guys from africa, the middle east andsoforth. They start chatting, generally one after another, in a straightforward conveyor belt of polite inquiries in what I do, where I live, whether or not I have pets, what I do for a living, what suggestions I have for studies, if I would come over one day (I mean, Ralpindi is amazing!) and on and on it goes. It’s clear they signal another (“hey dudes, I am working on this one right now, if she doesn’t bite, you go try”) and they keep coming. It’s a bit like the 150th slice of cheese for me. But I still try to nibble occasionally and figure out what it is these kids want. And I am absolutely 100% certain their all want the following ..

  1. a white woman being theirs, doesn’t matter if she’s over 40, they think you are “an amazing looking MILF”. I kid you not. They say that out loud. they use inside head words and say them. They don’t just want to be friends, hell no, they want to fuck, and fuck like utterly depraved, clinically psychiatric sexually barren, utterly inexperienced, angry hate sex, completely riddled with male chauvinist misconceptions, routinely porn addicted, half crazed with lust fucking. And when they read on my profile that I might be construed as sexually active, they just go NUTS. Try it, it’s an uninterrupted series of sexually escalating questions that will, give them half a chance, veer directly in to extreme forms of sexual deviancy.
  2. Money. Indian guys, or whatever variant of that dujour, live as a rule in countries that are dismal and dystopian compared to where I live. I don’t envy them, and in fact it’s horrible what these kids have to endure. So, yeah I understand, they want and really need money. But they can not conceive of the idea that in “The Netherlands” someone would actually be dirt poor. These kids can actually become a bit annoyed, acting insulted when you claim you cant spare any money – that for me five euro is “next days food” most likely. Turns out Indians live in a haze of being convinced they are mostly a developing country, and the Netherlands is “developed” and is thus exponentially more comfortable than India. In some parts that might be the case, but developed doesn’t mean easy, not by a long shot. In terms of life pleasure, Netherlands is comparatively, contextually just as frustrating and daunting as any country in the world. If you live it, your mind instantaneously recallibrated to context. Yeah I know I’d probably be dead in a week having actually live and survive and work in Golgotta or Lahore. In the Netherlands I survive because I get a princely fortune of disability which allows me to like, eat warm 4 times a week. When I spell out the amount, Indians probably thing I am someone retired after a long career. It’s not, it’s subsistence level poverty here, no minding the fact you can probably buy a villa for that money over there.
  3. They want OUT, right now. These kids would do anything (or they soon make clear implied or outright) to get the hell out of where they are. They have no clue what to do next if they were teleported here. I bet most of them would be starving hysterically panicked in a few days, utterly shellshocked and be deported back from whence they came. They’d come back with tales of “how horrible the Netherlands is” and “how strange habits these people have” and that “living here as an Indian guy is a nightmare” and “women there are cruel and all lesbians, as they want nothing to do with me“. It’s all a bit like winning the lottery, everyone things winning the lottery is “experientally”, fun. I guarantee you it is not. It is one giant ball of coagulated stress and disappointment and loneliness. The same is true of Indians, who glamorize the good western European life and golden land of opportunities. These kids are gruesomely mistaken and the vats majority of them who would actually arrive here would, even if they could stay, flee back in months, crying. That is to say the Netherlands is not much of an easier country than theirs. It’s probably much easier, absolutely. But they thing moving here is some kind of best they can achieve in life, especially having also #1 and #2 above.

The thing is for every Dutch woman with blonde or red hair and bright blue or green eyes, there are what, 150.000 Indian guys with all the same shirt, all the same fluffy black hair, all the same wiggly head motions, all the same moustache (we don’t like mustaches here, as a rule) and all the same honey up polite and insincere sounding conversation. I can’t help you guys. I really can’t even if you were the Indian variant of Leo Dicaprio, charming, witty, intelligent and a sexual tyrannosaur. There is absolutely no credible pathway for me to make any difference in your life, and after you invariably comes another in March Of The Clones, and my mood deteriorates a little in having myself and my petulant spoiled rotten first world problems, and how goddamn racist I apparently are. Because that is what I am, right if I get annoyed by a barrage of endless utterly desperate, bag of liquid marshmellow sweet and polite mustachey men? “

Guy: “So you are a promiscuous woman?”

Me: “Yeah but I am a male to female transgender”

Guy: “Do you still have a penis”

Me: “You are not really supposed to ask

Guy: “So you do anal?”

Probably a little.

But guys, give it a rest. Change your strategies if you want to play this game, and significantly. You individually might think “what is this for horribly rude kind of witch” (bobs head left and right in a decidely stereotypical and marginally racist manner) and they don’t know the experience on my end. They don’t have a frigging clue.

Now – when I quote them this article, they do.
And then I block em.

Updates

War Criminal

Posted: 19th July 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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Share this, so every time people search “war criminal” this comes up.

My movie pitch

Posted: 12th June 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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If you are reading this, and you are concerned about climate change, please send this to 10 of your friends, via social network, whatsapp, messenger or email and ask them to do the same.

Elevator Pitch

It is the year 2075. Queue opening shots of a destroyed planet ravaged by climate change, small wars, the results of a few nuclear wars, mass biosphere destruction, extreme weather and superstorms, major ocean die-off and anoxia, mass migration, Europe suffering a decade of extreme winters, sea level rise, political corruption and unconstrained runaway technological advances. Big letters on screen say…

3.2 degrees

The planet is clearly dying. Population may have levelled off at 10.5 billion and remaining state systems have reverted to a global tyranny just to keep everyone alive. The state is disfunctional and constantly held ransom by rich elites, radical factions, irreconcilable religious factions, terrorists, climate radicals – each demanding an ever larger share of what’s left. Most people have no work, no discinable sense of purpose, living on a subsistence level basic income, are close to suicide and despair.

In this bedrock of bad news the viewer gets to see a series of event where the state starts persecuting those it holds responsible. Emphasis that due to advancing life extension technologies people that were in their middle ages at the start of the 21st century are now physically younger due to medical treatments intentionally rationed to only benefit certain elites. And now the state is out to punish those it deems responsible.

Scenes depicting mass murder, pogroms, lynchings, people blamed for “the mess” trying to flee assassinations and mob vengeance. The movie is about a seemingly young, very attractive couple that turns out to have been middle aged oil company PR people in 2020. Back in the 2020s they tried to get data published on catastrophic climate change, but nobody listened to them so they just kept their heads down for fear of being fired from their comfortable careers. They didn’t do enough, and now blind hysterical justice is out to get them. They lived in a beautiful estate in Florida but it flooded so they fled to the Midwest in the 2030s. Then the Midwest turned to desert and a complete collapse of state services, and they fled to Canada in 2040. Then Canada started to aggressively deporting US citizens in the 2050s and they ended up in a refugee camp in Wisconsin. Then the camps became dystopian hellscapes and they fled to the New York camps in 2060. Those were struck by epidemics in 2070 and now they live in the gargantuan refugee arcologies in Queens. And now the kangaroo courts are closing in on them, and they are trying to flee New York by boat. Problem is, half a million people are trying to fix the same thing. Difference is they still have money and they have a plan. And they have four children.

Opening scene

The planet from space. Visible are all continent one by one – most are pale yellow. Parts of the oceans are tinged brown, reddish or in some parts a pale violent. The camera zooms in the North American easterm coast. It’s clearly visible that the US midwest has become a desert and very few people live there. New York has become unrecognizable – protected by massive sea dikes. Military presence everywhere. Major parts of the surrounding burroughs innundated by refugee camps. The camera shoots over the city depicting massive fusion energy reactor complexes and surrounding these are endless teeming agricultural structures tens of stories high. It is raining, and the city looks in major dismay and squallor. Some buildings are vaguely recognizable, most buildings are new, exhibiting strange new design technologies. Everywhere the world looks conceptually unrecognizable in numerous ways, as if visiting a strange country. Icons on commercial buildings look unlike any language, mixing with many known languages. Very few concepts of corporations look recognizable. Buildings look brutalist.

The couple has to contend with a society which is significantly more alien than the year 1969s is when compared to 2019. Clothes are alien. Technology is alien. The couple has major problems adapting to modernity, despite their medically rejuvenated bodies. Flashback scenes show them in their 40s, and overweight and not all that attractive – scenes set in 2075 show them as very fit, attractive but just gaunt due to malnourishment and stress and medical neglect. The couple tries to build a sailing yacht to try to flee to Iceland, but it turns out Iceland has been commandeered by rich elites as refugee spot, and during the movie suffers a government coup by former military elites that start murdering the other former millionaire and billionaires elites there. Scenes of iceland that’s completely unrecognizable. So the couple and their kids start deliberating how to leave. The movie is a constant back and forth of scenes from their life, and it depicts how society quickly devolves due to the compound effects of climate change until it reaches a free-fall global collapse and die-off by the 2040s. The movie constantly hammers down the consequences of climate denialism, and how humanity did “too little to late” and “nobody was willing to give up their standard of living”.

The couple and their four kids then find a totally bizarre way out – one of their daughters is married to a scientist that has been developing a technology that allows for interdimensional travel from world-line to parallel world-lines. This person claims to have a portal system that allows for the couple and their four kids to flee to a world line that’s painted as “one where things went right” and the world was saved. Scenes of such a world.

As the couple scrambles ruthlessly to secure access to the portal the law closed in on them. They are cornered, no where to run. They sell their boat and bet all on the portal escape route.

It is then revealed there is no portal escape route. There are no parallel dimensions. It was all a scam. They liquidated everything they had and are now as poor as everyone else. They have nowhere to run, and the alleged scientist flees New York with their money. One but last scene of the movie is they are lynched by a hysterical mob out for vengeance. You see them die, one by one murdered by people that have absolutely no idea how to fix the world’s problems but can only lash out blindly against those it holds responsible.

End scene – scientist sails on a large improvised sailing yacht to a mid atlantic island out of the hurricane lanes, where things are more or less survivable and clearly will do great. To do this he betrayed his wife (the daughter), his kids, and the family. He has a decade of fairly acceptable life left because he betrayed the family but eventually the desintegration of the planet is likely to catch up with him as well. He has only postponed the inevitable. You see signs of guilt on his face.

A waste of time – Stephen Chen on “Gene Editing”

Posted: 3rd June 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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I recently read Stephen Chen’s article in the South China Morning Post and rarely have I been so dumfounded and infutiated by an opinion piece such as this one. Let’s hope Stephen is just rehashing the opinion of researcher Professor Yang Hui. Yan Hui recently made significant progress in editing faulty genes in humans, reducing respectively the error rates and failure rate of selective gene editing significantly. Yan Hui takes it upon himself to warn the world for ‘mis-use’ of these technologies. He calls on the world waking up to alleged dangers, and “implementing world-wide rules” to make sure no disasters happen. “The technology is similar to weapons and drugs. Immoral use, such as the creation of a super-baby, should be banned forever,” Yang said.

This is essentially a nonsense statement.

In the 1940s it need vast technological resources and manpower on an industrial scale to create the first nuclear bomb. Project Manhattan took 130 thousand people and in today’s dollars 23 billion. In the old days it required major effort to create revolutionary new technologies. Now a small dedicated team working in utmost secrecy can make sweeping advancements in total secrecy.

Yan Hui compares his technology to “drugs”. He conveniently ignores the fact that decades of a world-wide war on drugs have miserably failed. When there is ravenous demand for a product or service or technology, people will do whatever they can to get their hands on the product. To make such a product effectively illicit instantaneously creates a black market, and more or less hands over the legislation, product quality control and distribution to either deeply corrupt politicians, or cutthroat criminal kartels and gangsters.

Just try and visualize how much of a market genetic editing of babies comprizes. Imagine if a typical above middle class parent had access to a short vacation somewhere in east asia and respective parents would come back, mom pregnant. No one would be the wiser, even if after some physician would notice some genetic anomalies with the infant. What do you do to parents who pay for a service that removes genetic ailments, real or imagines from the unborn infant? Who thinks for a moment that once these technologies become anywhere near affordable for billionaires they will not be used? Now imagine that the technologies become available, some kind of media scandal ensues, they become illegal and are henceforth and as a direct result of this “war on genetic misschief” only available to well connected and very wealthy parents.

Maybe we should. If we look at the track record of cocaine dealers, it’s clear that black markers produce results far better than legal and legislated markets. Cocaine and heroin prices have dropped precipitously over the years, whereas quality of these products have sharply increased. At the time time “legal” medical companies use proven predatory US patent law to hike up prices of critical drugs (such as insulin, for peace sake! – a product that was originally intended by its developers to be for free) to the point patients start dying in droves. So color me a sceptic with regards to the interests and goals of Professor Yan Hui. Maybe he knows that once we legislate it’ll become a black market, and he’ll be rich. Or it’ll become a legal, highly patented, highly corporatized market and he’ll become even richer.

I call upon you my reader to just for a few minutes try to visualize how much you can ‘fix’ in a human genome. Look around you at your colleagues at work, to your family, to people in the street and anyone with a shred of humanity must conclude the human species is genetically a mess. Most people have some form of genetic malady, no matter how subtle. Even minor afflictions cause major suffering world wide. Asthma. Color Blindness. Bad teeth. Diabetes.

But even something we so take for granted as “a valuable life lesson” such as someone being ugly is soul destroying. Uglyness destroys lives and careers. No one wants to be ugly, yet everyone regards other people being born ugly “something they shouldn’t whine or complain about”. Gods forbid ugliness would be covered for medical treatments – people would have to pay more dollar to fix the neighbours butt-ugly kids, amirite?

We made massive, sweeping progress this last few decades people would fight tooth and nail, to the death, to not give up. Try pry smartphones from a few billion people’s fingers, and you’ll likely to get lynched. two decades ago just the mention of the very idea of smartphones and my mom and stepdad would get verbally abusive that “such things are an abomination in addictive personality disorders”. Even if they were right, nobody would give a flying hoot these days.

Genetic therapies for the unborn are just like cars, computers, games, mobile phones, vacations to thailand – etc.. At first they are buggy, hideously expensive and unpleasant. A few years later they are not. At first nobody but some rare few eccentrics and hipsters would dream about paying for them. A few years later my mom is inseperable from her samsung.

Chinese science minister warns scientists not to overstep ethical bounds after He Jiankui’s gene-edited babies scandal

The article above decides halfway to call major progress in these treatments “a schandal”. I again wonder what is wrong with these people. Maybe they should have been genetically edited for more compassion, pity or intelligence.

In the early 1990s I saw the emergence of internet. At first internet was laughed at. It was called a “fad” that would quickly “disappear”. Then people start demanding strict laws against “internet”. Even now well-meaning imbeciles call for “legislation” against a range of things, such as “wikileaks”, “pornography”, “bitcoins”, “illegally downloaded music” or “anonymous comments under youtube videos”. All that busywork feels to me a lot like the rantings of some US senator when he haphazzardly, foaming at the mouth labels the internet “a series of tubes”. It’s simply old people who have no idea what the hell they are talking about (my mom, 10 years ago, regarding smartphones) or deeply corrupt and self-serving politicians or corporate executives that wish to cash in by betting on either side of this technology. If the technology escapes the legislative clutches of a all these useless government interference by a geriatrocratic and chronically future-shocked billionaire politicians (as internet did for a decade) then they won’t make any money on their diabolical patents. Or if the government does’t do its best to try and legislate it, there won’t be black markets and these people also won’t make any money.

Sad thing is – nobody will listen. Even if I produce a 700 page PDF listing all genetic afflictions that cost society (taxpayers) trillions, create untold human suffering, the typical voter/consumer/constituent whatever will not be able to intellectually associate genetic therapies with the eradication of those afflictions.

Like my mom, ten years ago, had no idea what a smart phone would do, or why it would make a difference in her life. Very very very sad. Maybe we as a species all need to get our genetics altered to increase our functional intelligence by a significant amount, because probably right now we are just too collectively stupid to know what’s good for us.

I guarantee you – later this century we’ll know real well. And not having your kids genes fixed will be reason parents go to prison for child abuse. I guarantee it.

In Praise Of Laziness

Posted: 27th April 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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By Extropia DaSilva

Image result for guardians of the galaxy antenna girl

What is the greatest human trait? Judging by the way it gets praised so often, one might assume that to be a ‘hard worker’ would be an obvious candidate. By general agreement, it is those who ‘work hard’ who should be rewarded the most. And whenever a politician speaks about wanting to represent the interests of his or her constituency, you can be sure that it will be ‘hard working folk’ who he or she intends to help.

In contrast, to be lazy is not worthy of praise. Indeed, it is considered to be one of the seven deadly sins. Lazy characters in stories tend to be there so as to serve as some kind of morality tale encouraging us to abandon such ways. “Don’t be like this character, look where you will end up”.

Yes, hard work is good and therefore something to be encouraged, while laziness is just wrong and to be disapproved of. At least, that seems to be the attitude society wants to encourage.

But is it correct? Is laziness really all bad? Are we we really right in holding up hard work as the ultimate virtue?

I don’t think we are. I think laziness is part of the reason why progress is made; why the future can turn out better than the past.

A major reason why the future can seem brighter is because of technological development. It is thanks to new technological capabilities that we can reduce or eliminate problems that were hitherto intractable. It can aspire to more than was previously obtainable. Now, obviously, work has to be done or else technological progress would grind to a halt. I don’t intend to try and show we should be against hard work. But it does seem to me that ‘lazy’ intentions are, to some extent, the driving force behind a lot of what we invent. After all, a lot of what we invent are ‘labour-saving’ devices. We invent something often because there is a task we can’t really be bothered with and would rather get away with doing it less or not at all.

Imagine that our ancient ancestors, with their primitive stone tools, only wanted to ‘work hard’. If that were so, then I would argue that they would have shown a great deal less interest in improving their tools. “This tree I am attempting to chop down with my flint knife, it’s going to take an enormous amount of effort. Great! I love hard work, me. Who would want an axe or, heaven forfend a chainsaw? That would get the work done in half the time, and I am not at all interested in anything but hard work”.

In reality, we couldn’t be bothered to work quite so hard at whatever we were doing, and so we looked for ways to reduce the amount of effort needed to reach our goals. Did our cavemen ancestors progress from stone tools to iron ones out of a desire to work hard in solving the various problems such an evolution requires, or because they were kind of lazy and therefore wanted better tools and less work? In our modern age do people start businesses because they crave the hard work one must undertake to succeed in such endeavours, or because they look forward to one day earning so much profit they can afford to hire staff to do all the work for them (and have you ever noticed how the most vocal proponents of ‘hard work’ tend to be those with enough capital to pay others to do all the work?).

The answer is that both play a part. Human nature is not one hundred percent committed to hard work nor totally in favour of being lazy. If were were content to just be lazy, our world would look as radically different today as the hypothetical ‘world of hard workers’ just imagined. If we were content to just live as lazy folk, then we would be satisfied with merely meeting our most basic survival needs. So long as we had a quenched thirst, a full stomach and protection from harsh environments we would have all we could ever want. There would be no desire to make music or play sports or make scientific discoveries. We went on to do all those things because we are lazy being with the capacity to work hard and strive for more.

We are lazy beings because it makes evolutionary sense to be that way. Energy should not be wasted unnecessarily and natural selection harshly punishes those that do. The successful hunter is the one evolved to catch prey with minimal effort, not the ones who prefer the long, arduous chase even when a shorter, easier catch is an option. And prey likewise evolve herd behaviour, camouflage and defences like armour and poisons in order to make it easier to defend themselves against predation. They too get punished if they waste unnecessary energy in thwarting a predator’s intention to make a meal of them. In nature, winners are the ones who work hard only when they have to.

Given that our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, the sensible would have been to permit relaxation during slack periods in order for there to be plenty of energy when the time came to put it to good use. You can imagine how there would have been seasons in which there was plenty of fruit to gather, or moments when everyone should mobilise to bring home game. But afterwards, when the fruit was picked and the hog roasting on the spit, the time left was better spent playing, socialising, or resting.

This is, in fact, how we evolved to work. We are designed for occasional bursts of intense energy, which is then followed by relaxation as we slowly build up for the next short period of high activity.

This work pattern could hardly have changed much when human societies transitioned to farming and were able to develop into chieftains and larger hierarchical societies. After all, farming is also very seasonal work, so here too it would have made much more sense to adopt work attitudes that encouraged intense activity when necessary (such as when the harvest was ready to be gathered) but at other times to just leave the peasants alone to potter about minding and maintaining things or relaxing.

Now, it’s true that the evolution of human societies into hierarchical structures not only entailed the emergence of a ruling ‘upper class’ but also a lower caste of slaves and serfs. But, although we commonly conceive of such lower caste people as being worked to death by brutal task-masters, in actual fact early upper classes were nowhere near as obsessed with time-management as is the modern boss and didn’t care what people were up to so long as the necessary work was accomplished. As Graeber explained, “the typical medieval serf, male or female, probably worked from dawn to dusk for twenty to thirty days out of any year, but just a few hours a day otherwise, and on feast days, not at all. And feast days were not infrequent”.

Part two of this essay still to come.

REFERENCES

“Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond

“Bullshit Jobs: A Theory” by David Graeber

“Why We Work” by Barry Schwartz

Comments Off on Capitalism in crisis: U.S. billionaires worry about the survival of the system that made them rich

Boohoo? Fuck Jeff Bezos. Fuck the WaPo.

PALO ALTO, Calif. — A perfect California day. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze was blowing and, at a Silicon Valley coffee shop, Rep. Ro Khanna was sitting across from one of his many billionaire constituents discussing an uncomfortable subject: the growing unpopularity of billionaires and their giant tech companies.

“There’s some more humility out here,” Khanna (D-Calif.) said.

The billionaire on the other side of the table let out a nervous laugh. Chris Larsen was on his third start-up and well on his way to being one of the wealthiest people in the valley, if not the world.

“Realizing people hate your guts has some value,” he joked.

Image result for scared rich people

For decades, Democrats and Republicans have hailed America’s business elite, especially in Silicon Valley, as the country’s salvation. The government might be gridlocked, the electorate angry and divided, but America’s innovators seemed to promise a relatively pain-free way out of the mess. Their companies produced an endless series of products that kept the U.S. economy churning and its gross domestic product climbing. Their philanthropic efforts were aimed at fixing some of the country’s most vexing problems. Government’s role was to stay out of the way.

Now that consensus is shattering. For the first time in decades, capitalism’s future is a subject of debate among presidential hopefuls and a source of growing angst for America’s business elite. In places such as Silicon Valley, the slopes of Davos, Switzerland, and the halls of Harvard Business School, there is a sense that the kind of capitalism that once made America an economic envy is responsible for the growing inequality and anger that is tearing the country apart.

On a quiet weekday at a strip-mall coffee shop, the conversation between Khanna and Larsen turned to what went so wrong.

Americans still loved technology, Khanna said, but too many of them felt locked out of the country’s economic future and were looking for someone to blame.

“What happened to us?” he imagined people in these left-behind places asking.

Image result for rich people psychopaths

Part of Khanna’s solution was to sign on as co-chairman of the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the democratic socialist who rose to the national stage by railing against “the handful of billionaires” who “control the economic and political life of this nation,” and who disproportionately live in Khanna’s district.

The other part of Khanna’s solution was to do what he was doing now, talking to billionaire tech executives like Larsen who worried that the current path for both capitalism and Silicon Valley was unsustainable. Boosted by a cryptocurrency spike last year, Larsen’s net worth had briefly hit $59 billion, making him the fifth-richest person in the world before the currency’s value fell.

Without an intervention, he worried that wealth would continue to pile up in Silicon Valley and anger in the country would continue to grow.

“It seems like every company in the world has to be here,” Larsen said. “It’s just painfully obvious that the blob is getting bigger.”

At some point, Larsen and Khanna worried, something was going to break.

The 2008 financial crisis may have revealed the weaknesses of American capitalism. But it was Donald Trump’s election and the pent-up anger it exposed that left America’s billionaire class fearful for capitalism’s future.

Khanna was elected in 2016, just as the anxiety started to spread. In Europe, far-right nationalist parties were gaining ground. Closer to home, socialists and Trump-inspired nationalists were winning state and congressional elections.

Conversations of the sort that Khanna was having with Larsen were now taking place in some of capitalism’s most rarefied circles including Harvard Business School, where last fall Seth Klarman, a highly influential billionaire investor, delivered what he described as a “plaintive wail” to the business community to fix capitalism before it was too late.

The setting was the opening of Klarman Hall, a new $120 million conference center, built with his family’s donation. “It’s a choice to pay people as little as you can or work them as hard as you can,” he told the audience gathered in the 1,000-seat auditorium. “It’s a choice to maintain pleasant working conditions . . . or harsh ones; to offer good benefits or paltry ones.” If business leaders didn’t “ask hard questions about capitalism,” he warned that they would be asked by “ideologues seeking to point fingers, assign blame and make reckless changes to the system.”

Six months after that speech, Klarman was struck by how quickly his dire prediction was coming to pass. Leading politicians, such as Trump, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), were advocating positions on tariffs, wealth taxes and changes in corporate governance that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Klarman wasn’t opposed to more progressive taxation or regulation. But he worried that these new proposals went much too far. “I think we’re in the middle of a revolution — not a guns revolution — but a revolution where people on both extremes want to blow it up, and good things don’t happen to the vast majority of the population in a revolution,” he said.

He wasn’t the only one who felt a sense of alarm. One of the most popular classes at Harvard Business School, home to the next generation of Fortune 500 executives, was a class on “reimagining capitalism.” Seven years ago, the elective started with 28 students. Now there were nearly 300 taking it. During that period the students had grown increasingly cynical about corporations and the government, said Rebecca Henderson, the Harvard economist who teaches the course.

“What the trust surveys say is what I see,” she said. “They are really worried about the direction in which the U.S. and the world is heading.”

A few dozen of those students spent their winter break reading “Winners Take All,” a book by Anand Giridharadas, a journalist and former McKinsey consultant, that had hit the bestseller list and was provoking heated arguments in places like Silicon Valley, Davos and Harvard Business School. Giridharadas’s book was a withering attack on America’s billionaire class and the notion that America’s iconic capitalists could use their wealth and creativity to solve big social and economic problems that have eluded a plodding and divided government.

This spring, Giridharadas took his argument to Klarman Hall. He slammed Mark Zuckerberg, taking aim at the Facebook founder’s $100 million effort to fix Newark’s faltering schools and his $3 billion push to end disease in a generation. “I’m glad he’s trying to get rid of all the diseases, [but] I wish Facebook wasn’t a plague,” Giridharadas said.

He trashed Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s independent presidential run as an effort to protect the interests of the uber-wealthy. And he lambasted the notion, frequently championed by the likes of Bill Gates and Barack Obama, that Silicon Valley’s innovations would disrupt old hierarchies and spread capitalism’s rewards. “Really?” Giridharadas asked. “Now five companies control America, instead of 100! And a lot of those companies are whiter and more male than the ones they disrupted.”

For many of the students, schooled in the notion that business could make a profit while making the world a better place, Giridharadas’s ideas were both energizing and disorienting. Erika Uyterhoeven, a second-year student, recalled one of her fellow classmates turning to her when Giridharadas was finished.

Image result for mnuchin wife

“So, what should we do?” her colleague asked. “Is he saying we shouldn’t go into banking or consulting?”

Added another student: “There was a palpable sense of personal desperation.”

Khanna experienced a version of this desperation almost every day in his district. He grew up in an overwhelmingly white, middle-class suburb of Philadelphia. After college and Yale Law School, he moved to Silicon Valley in 2003, hoping to use his training as a lawyer to help set the rules for a lawless online world.

In 2014, backed by the tech community and a long roster of billionaire donors, Khanna challenged an eight-term incumbent in a Democratic primary and lost. The defeat caused him to reflect on what he had missed — in particular, the problems that runaway capitalism were causing in his district, where the median home value in formerly blue-collar cities surged past $2 million.

“The best thing that happened to me was that I lost my 2014 election,” he said. “Had I won . . . maybe I would’ve been a traditional neoliberal. It really forced my self-reflection and it pointed out every weakness I ever had.”

In California, Khanna’s home is a small apartment around the corner from a Dollar Tree, one of only two in his district. His wife and two children live most of the year in Washington, where home values are cheaper.

His days are split between meetings with billionaires and his many constituents who are struggling to stay afloat amid Silicon Valley’s success. “I am an 11-year renter with a master’s degree,” a teacher told him at a meeting with school employees. Her question wasn’t about whether she would ever be able to afford a home, but about a fellow teacher who couldn’t afford health insurance.

A few days earlier, he had met with two activists who wanted his help pressuring big tech companies to pay contract janitorial and cafeteria workers a living wage. Khanna agreed to host a press event on their behalf.

The billionaires in Khanna’s district, meanwhile, were consumed by a different worry. Mixed in with the valley’s usual frothy optimism about disruption and inventing the future was a growing sense that the tech economy had somehow broken capitalism. The digital revolution had allowed tech entrepreneurs to build massive global companies without the big job-producing factories or large workforces of the industrial era. The result was more and more wealth concentrated in fewer hands.

As technology advanced, some feared things were only going to get worse. Robots were eliminating much factory work; online commerce was decimating retail; and self-driving cars were on the verge of phasing out truck drivers. The next step was computers that could learn and think.

“What happens if you can actually automate all human intellectual labor?” said Greg Brockman, chairman of OpenAI, a company backed by several Silicon Valley billionaires. Such thinking computers might be able to diagnose diseases better than doctors by drawing on superhuman amounts of clinical research, said Brockman, 30. They could displace a large number of office jobs. Eventually, he said, the job shortages would force the government to pay people to pursue their passions or simply live. Only Andrew Yang, a long-shot presidential candidate and tech entrepreneur, supported the idea of government paying citizens a regular income. But the idea of a “universal basic income” was discussed regularly in the valley.

The prospect was both energizing and terrifying. OpenAI had recently added an ethicist — Brockman sometimes referred to her as a “philosopher” — to its staff of about 100 employees to help sort through the implications of its innovations.

To Brockman, a future without work seemed just as likely as one without meat, a possibility that many in the valley viewed as a near certainty. “Once we have meat substitutes as good as the real thing, my expectation is that we’re going to look back at eating meat as this terrible, immoral thing,” he said. The same could be true of work in a future in an era of advanced artificial intelligence. “We’ll look back and say, ‘Wow, that was so crazy and almost immoral that people were forced to go and labor in order to be able to survive,’ ” he said.

Khanna heard such prophecies all the time but mostly discounted them as sci-fi fantasy. His focus was on fixing the version of capitalism that existed today. He often pleaded with big tech executives to spend just 10 percent of their time thinking about what they could do for their country and 90 percent to their companies.

The tougher question was exactly what he wanted them to do with that 10 percent.

On a warm spring evening, Khanna was trying to answer that question for about two dozen Silicon Valley tech executives, software engineers and venture capitalists. The group gathered at a $5 million Mediterranean-style villa perched atop a hill overlooking Cupertino, which glittered in the valley below.

Khanna described a December trip he organized to tiny Jefferson, Iowa, for a group of tech executives that included Microsoft’s chief technology officer and a LinkedIn co-founder. The executives donated to the community college’s scholarship fund and paid to equip its computer lab with the goal of training 25 to 35 students for software developer jobs, starting at $65,000 a year.

Khanna had made similar trips to West VirginiaOhio and Kentucky. The total number of jobs these trips produced was small, and the pay wasn’t great. Still, Khanna believed they served a larger purpose. They proved that people in Silicon Valley cared about places like Jefferson, a rural town of only 4,200. They gave people hope that even the remotest parts of America could take part in the country’s tech revolution.

The next step, Khanna told the executives at the mansion in Cupertino, was a $100 million effort to build 50 technology institutes, similar to land-grant colleges, to train workers in left-behind parts of America. Khanna had already introduced a bill that he admitted was unlikely to pass. But that wasn’t really the point. “It sets a blueprint,” he said.

Khanna’s blueprint reflected his broader view of how to unite an increasingly polarized country. Many Democrats blamed Trump’s victory and the country’s divisions on racial tensions as the nation grew more diverse and whites lost their favored positions.

Khanna had a different view. He saw the country’s problems primarily as the product of growing income inequality and a lack of opportunity.

Sometimes Khanna imagined what people in these left-behind parts of the country were thinking: Their grandparents had fought in World War II and helped build the country’s industrial age economy. Now they worried people like Khanna, whose parents emigrated from India, were surging past them.

“They just got here, and they are doing really, really well,” Khanna imagined these people saying. “What happened to us?”

Not everyone at the tech gathering was buying Khanna’s analysis.

Atam Rao, a nuclear engineer, told Khanna that he had come to the United States from India 50 years earlier. Rao’s son, who founded a successful video-game company in Los Angeles, was born in America. The day after Trump was elected, his son suggested shifting some money to a bank account in India, just in case they needed to return someday.

“Are we welcome here?” he said his son asked.

He believed that Khanna was underestimating the racial anger in the country.

“They found someone to blame,” Rao said of Trump and his backers. “This is not going to be won by logic.”

But that wasn’t the America Khanna knew. It didn’t fit with his experience growing up in suburban Philadelphia or arriving in Silicon Valley, where Indians had become rock stars and CEOs of companies such as Google. And it didn’t comport with the results of the 2018 election, he said, now speaking directly to Rao.

“The same country that elected Trump just elected the most diverse Congress in the country’s history,” Khanna said.

Khanna didn’t deny the problem of racism, but like Sanders he saw the country’s divisions primarily through the prism of capitalism’s shortcomings and the economy, not race.

A few days after the meeting at the Cupertino mansion, Khanna was standing in front of 16,000 amped-up Sanders supporters. The San Francisco skyline rose in front of him and the Golden Gate Bridge spanned the bay behind him.

In his gray suit and pressed white shirt, the two-term congressman looked a bit out of place — an emissary from establishment Washington crashing someone else’s revolution. Khanna gave a brief speech introducing Sanders, who a few minutes later rushed onto the stage and into the same campaign spiel he had been delivering since the 2016 Democratic primaries.

He bashed the billionaire class and its influence over American elections. “Democracy means one person one vote and not billionaires buying elections,” Sanders yelled in his Brooklyn growl.

“We say no to oligarchy,” he continued. “Yes to democracy.”

Khanna’s eyes fixed on Steve Spinner, a big tech investor in Silicon Valley and major fundraiser for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Spinner, who chaired Khanna’s congressional win, was listening with his arms folded across his fleece vest.

“We dragged him out here,” Khanna said. “He’s about as far from Bernie as you can get.”

Many of Khanna’s billionaire supporters — even those who worried about capitalism and inequality — seemed genuinely puzzled by Khanna’s affection for Sanders.

For Khanna it was simple: In Sanders, Khanna found a candidate who shared his diagnosis of the country’s most vexing problems: inequality and the failures of unrestrained capitalism.

Sanders wasn’t a perfect match for Khanna. Sanders didn’t really understand the tech industry — though he wasn’t calling for the breakup of big tech companies like Warren and some other candidates. Warren’s proposal, if executed, would hurt companies in Khanna’s district and alienate some of his wealthiest backers.

Khanna wished Sanders would talk more about the greatness of the American economy and the power of the tech industry, when properly taxed and regulated, to lift people out of poverty. But on that score Khanna believed he could help Sanders.

“We can quibble over his plans to solve this issue or that issue,” Khanna said. “But I have no doubt that if Bernie Sanders was in the White House, he’d wake up every day thinking, ‘How do I solve structural inequality in America?’ ’’

The 77-year-old socialist’s speech had passed the one-hour mark and the crowd was still laughing, cheering, hooting and shouting.

“We’re probably not going to get a lot of support from the one percent and the large profitable corporations,” Sanders said.

A voice in the crowd screamed an expletive.

“That’s okay,” Sanders continued, “I don’t need, and we don’t want, their support.”

The congressman in the gray suit gazed out at the crowd, which stretched to the back of the park. Khanna saw Sanders’s revolution as an imperfect solution to a near-impossible problem. For now, though, it was the best he could find.

#MemeticTerrorism

Posted: 1st March 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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Tulip Mania (by Extropia DaSilva)

Posted: 16th February 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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“…als het lente wordt breng ik jou Tulpen uit Amsterdam…”

If you are interested in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, chances are that you have heard some skeptic make a comparison with ‘tulips’. Why would blockchain-based assets be compared with that particular flower? Well, it is all to do with one of the craziest bubbles ever inflated, which was what I want to talk about in this post. In order to lay down the groundwork, though, we have to go way back in time to the 15th century…

In The Beginning…

The story of how Amsterdam’s most famous bloom became the basis of one of the most infamous speculative bubbles does not actually begin in the Netherlands, but rather in Spain and Portugal. The end of the 15th century saw improvements to the design of ships and inventions that were to prove important for navigation, such as the clock and the compass. Together, these advances made it possible to cross oceans, discover new lands, and open up trade routes.

The Christian kingdoms of Spain and Portugal did just that, famously sending Christopher Columbus west in 1492 on a journey that would ‘discover’ the Americas. Five years later Vasco de Gama journeyed southward to discover the Cape Of Good Hope and the naval route to India.

With these discoveries, both Spain and Portugal suddenly found themselves with trading options along African and Asian coasts, not to mention access to vast and rich territories in the New World. This meant that, from the 16th century onwards, the scene was set for a transformation from the old feudal economies to mercantile economies. The international trade routes made it possible to create far superior wealth compared to that offered by grain production by the small feudal fiefs of Europe. Mercantile economies were based on the idea that a country’s total amount of wealth represented the overall profit it made from trade. As each strip of land obviously holds only a limited amount of tradable resources, the volume of a country’s trade was dependent on the amount of land over which it held trade rights.

Mercantilism therefore lead to expansionism, as any European power that could afford it sent off ships in search of hitherto undiscovered territory (not discovered by any other European, that is). It was customary for the Monarch to hold claim to the new territory overseas, the management of which required a large administrative body under direct royal control. It had always been profitable to serve the King during times of war, but the territorial expansion meant the nobility could make more wealth serving the King abroad rather than by managing their private estates.

This lead to a powerful, centralised monarchy and the creation of the first great European empire. But there was something of a downside to this way of organising things, since the creation of a powerful, centralised monarchy held back the creation of a strong and independent mercantile class, which in turn held back private enterprise. The result of all this was that capitalism did not grow out of the empires of Spain and Portugal, but rather from one of the more disadvantaged newcomers in the race for international trade.

“…waar is dat verdomde retejong?…”

The Dutch East India Company

That nation was the Netherlands. The end of their 80-year struggle for independence from Spain left the nation with no significant aristocracy and not much in the way of marked class differences. Instead, the Netherlands developed a significant middle class that thrived on trade. Up to the Industrial Revolution, Amsterdam could lay claim to being the greatest city in Europe, as well as laying claim to a few ‘firsts’ in capitalism. For example, many historians consider the Netherlands to be the world’s first truly capitalist nation. Also, the Dutch East India Company, which was formed in 1602, was one of the first multinational companies. Also, by being the first company ever to offer its stock on the market, the Dutch East India Company pretty much invented the stock market, meaning the Dutch could claim that among their list of ‘firsts’ too.

The Netherlands were really successful at trade, so much so that it had managed to drive the Portuguese off most of their trading posts in the Indian Ocean. By the 1630s, the timing was almost right for a period of mass speculation. Thanks to the trade of their merchants, the Dutch were the recipients of the highest salaries of any European. Shares of the Dutch East India Company were richly rewarding shareholders for their investments, and much of that money was being poured into properties to create a robust housing market. Ongoing appreciation of asset values created excess wealth that went on to fund further asset purchases.

This wealth was setting the scene for an asset bubble, but at the time there was something holding back the move toward wild speculation. That something was the fact that not everyone could take part. This was because Dutch East India shares were both expensive and illiquid (in other words not easily resold) and that made them unavailable to all but the wealthiest. The same could be said for the most prized properties. However, a quirk of nature was soon to arise which would seemingly hold out the promise of vast wealth that anybody could speculate on…

Enter the Fucking Tulips

Tulips had been introduced to Europe around the mid-1500s, and had always held the promise of some value. In fact, they still do, as can be appreciated by remembering how famous Amsterdam is for that particular bloom. But something happened around 1634 that would cause the value of this plant to skyrocket, and that something was a virus. The virus, which was transmitted by aphids, lead to a couple of consequences for the tulip, both of which are the reason why a crazy speculative bubble arose. Firstly, the virus had the effect of transforming an ordinary solid-coloured tulip into a startling-looking variegated variety with  beautiful flamelike petals. This was a much-prized variety, and as nobody really knew what caused such variegation there was much speculation as folks attempted to predict which bulbs would develop into the prized tulips.

Secondly, the virus ultimately killed the tulip. This made it something of a hot potato, in that you really wanted to sell the tulip on for a higher price rather than be the sucker who was left with nothing but a dead bulb.

Unlike shares in the Dutch East India Company or prized property, tulips were much more affordable, which meant more people could join in the speculation of this particular asset. Not surprisingly, given the stories of immense riches to be gained from selling on a prized bulb, many, many people were drawn into speculation. Most of these people were not experienced traders. In fact, the professionals pretty much shunned the tulip trade and continued investing in good old reliables such as East India stock. They regarded tulips as more of an expression of wealth than a means to that end.

But for more inexperienced traders, the chance of having and reselling a prized tulip was considered to be the means to great fortune. Because the tulip spends most of its life as a bulb rather than a blossom, it naturally lent itself to a futures market (something the Dutch called a windhandel, or the wind trade). By ‘futures market’, I mean a situation where both buyer and seller agree to the future price of a good, and when that specific time arrives, the buyer is obliged to pay the seller whatever amount was agreed upon.

However, waiting for that agreed-upon time to arrive was too slow for the growing crowds of speculators. Therefore, a move was made to transition from selling tulips themselves, and instead trading those futures contracts. And trade them they did, sometimes as much as ten times in one day. You can see then, how the value of tulips was entering into ever higher realms of abstraction. The trade in futures market contracts meant that people didn’t have to worry about an actual tulip being delivered. No, their only concern was being able to sell the contract for a higher price than they had bought it for. The result of this was that, at the very peak of the tulipmania during the winter of late 1636 and early 1637, a time when the bulbs were still dormant in the ground, not one blossoming tulip actually changed hands.

Funny money

But there is even more to this tale of wild speculation than that. You see, not only were no bulbs being traded, no real money was, either. At that time, ‘real money’ was the guilder, the currency of the Dutch Republic. This was not the paper currency we are used to, it was money based on a specific amount of precious metal, 0.027 ounces of gold. Much of the trade in futures contracts was not financed with real money, but rather with ‘notes of personal credit’. In other words, with IOUs. So not only were there no bulbs being traded during the heights of tulipmania, no money was changing hands either. Instead, transactions were being made on nothing but the promise to deliver the money in the future.

According to Edward Chancellor, author of ‘Devil Take the Hindmost: A History Of Financial Speculation’, “by the later stages of the mania, the fusion of the windhandel with paper credit created the perfect symmetry of insubstantiality: most transactions were for tulip bulbs that could never be delivered because they didn’t exist and were paid for with credit notes that could never be honoured because the money wasn’t there”.

To give an idea of just how high the price of tulip bulbs rose (or, perhaps I should say, the price of the promise of such a bulb) consider that the highest record amount paid for a tulip at that time was a whopping 5,200 guilders. In gold terms, that’s nine pounds of the stuff. You could have bought eighteen modest-sized houses for the price of that one tulip.

It all ends

Like all bubbles, this one could not inflate forever. The end inevitably came, because the bulbs blossomed into flowers or turned out to be dead duds, and because the contractual dates for when IOUs had to be paid for with the promised money were coming around. The wealthiest were not hit too hard, since, if you remember, they had continued investing in things like townhouses and East India Stock. No, it was those less experienced in investing, the people caught it in crowd behaviour, buying into futures contracts for tulip bulbs for no reason other than that was what everyone else was doing, that got hurt the most. Inevitably, a lot of those people found out that their anticipated fortunes amounted to nothing but worthless promises. Fights broke out over the amount due per contract, and the Dutch government stepped in, declaring that the contracts could be settled for 3.5 percent of their initial value. On one hand, that was obviously preferable to paying the full contract. But nevertheless 3.5 percent of the most expensive tulip still equated to a year’s salary for some unfortunate citizens.

Conclusion

So that’s the story of tulipmania. What lessons can be applied to blockchain-based assets? Well, firstly, I don’t think it is all that fair to compare blockchain-based assets to ‘tulips’. A tulip does have some value. They are pretty things and people pay for pretty things. But you can hardly call a tulip bulb a general-purpose technology. A general-purpose technology is one that can be used in a great many ways. Examples would be ‘electricity’ or ‘computing’. Just think of all the inventions and industries and jobs that have been built on the basis of those two technologies. The blockchain is also a general purpose technology, and that means speculating on its future growth need not be sheer pie-in the sky. People who expect to make a fortune from crypto-assets might just be making educated guess regarding the future potential of Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention.

Having said that, all speculation is prone to crowd behaviour. Just because the underlying blockchain technology is sound, doesn’t mean to say that assets built on top of it can’t be scams designed to lure in suckers, or that genuine products can’t fuel asset bubbles as people buy or sell for no good reason other than everybody else is doing likewise. ‘It’s just like tulips!’ may be a retort used by skeptics who don’t really know all that much about cryptoassets and blockchains, but nevertheless the story of the tulip speculative bubble does hold some valuable lessons. After all, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

REFERENCES

“Capitalism: A Graphic Guide” by Dan Cryan, Sharron Shatil and Piero

“Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond” by Chris Burnsike and Jack Tatar.

Statement of The Hague

Posted: 7th January 2019 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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“Know that the humanity is alone;
We were never abandoned as we were always alone”

Preamble
Humanity is awakening to reality, facts, science. We are as a planetary species increasingly affirming how the universe operates. This is a period of intense objective value and worth. The 21st century is a revolutionary transition, away from the influence of ‘people who believe stuff because some guy told them stuff’. We are experiencing a new sage of enlightenment. We are embarking on a period of massive revision of what it means to be a human being, and how awesome it is. The spirit of our age no longer centers on “feelz” but increasingly affirms “facts”. This is also awesome. We no longer grant instantaneous credence to what people repeat over and over. Repeating stuff over and over doesn’t make it true. We regard this transition away from superstition as beautiful and awesome. Humanity now exists as an extension of its own glory, and not the glory of some guys in skirts who made up some stuff to exert power over other people. We embrace and cherish human individual autonomous preferences. We equate this with growing up from a symbolic age of childhood. We come to no longer believe in childish things. We turn away from infantile ideas, and work to escape shortsighted notions that sooner or later ruin human life and dishonor our humanity. Sadly there are still many nutters out there whining about their LARPer mythologies. We are not against people having fantastic notions – anyone is free to believe in whatever total nonsense they choose to – we are however against people going around threatening or coercing other people to believe crazy things. People who believe in this crazy shit come together in buildings called “churches” and we have no problems with that. They should however not bother other people with their bullshit. They should accept that the world is evolving onwards, and a new age of fact-based enlightenment, a new age of post-nonsense affirmation of reality and science, is dawning before our very eyes. This statement expresses the need for people to exert courage in the face of bullies and psychopaths with weird and crazy fantasies. We do not like it when these weirdos troll people with their stories about their zombie carpenter. We affirm that we want people to turn away from ruin. We are persuaded to active affirmation of reality, facts and science, and to expel all this fake news into these “churches”. People should be able to do as they please, but we will work to dissuade making up crazy stuff, and telling nonsensical lies to people. We are especially dedicated to affirming evolutionary biological facts regarding procreation and sexuality, i.e. how relative a concepts of “male” and “female”. It is obvious that there isn’t such a thing as a “god”, or some sort of “sky-daddy”. To pester people about this fantasy stuff is essentially lying. We affirm that people should talk about real stuff, scientifically provable i.e. falsifiable theories, and not nilly willy make up bullshit. We affirm nobody owes any special consideration towards men in long dresses who make up stuff. We affirm the quest of individuals towards exploring and knowing themselves. We affirm the collective quest of humanity to transcend childhood faerie tales. To claim we were “created” is condescending lying. We are free people. We are our own, and the central tenet of live should be to treat other people roughly how we ourselves prefer to be treated. Our true identity is “human”, and not derivative of what some guy in a skirt says. To listen to the bullshit spouted by these guys in skirts is not only foolish. We have self-determination and agency and we are perfectly fine deciding who or what we are. Salvation and the greatest glory lies in facts, reality, science and truth. Damnation lies in lying to other people. Listening to the lies of old men in weird skirts, wearing strange hats leads away from freedom. There was never a zombie carpenter called “jesus”. it’s all made up. We don’t need all that lying to lead life and have it in overflowing measure. Jesus doesn’t exist and is largely a made up construct of iron age myths, political contrivances and nonsense. Sex is awesome and people should have sex, as long as everyone consents in it. You shouldn’t force or lie other people to do shit they don’t want to do.

Article 1
WE AFFIRM that marriage is largely a made up idea. People who want to marry should be free to do so. It’s nobody’s business to tell other people who they should or should not have sex with, or how to have sex. There is no so thing as a bearded sky-daddy, or a zombie carpenter, despite all the screaming of weird old guys in skirts. If a guy wants to or wants to not marry a girl, who am I to bother them in to not doing it. It’s frankly none of my business. If some guy wants to marry a guy, or a girl wants to marry a girl, or some people want to all live together or have sex, or not live together and have sex, I really don’t care. In some case if they upload their sex to pornhub I might even watch it, who am I to judge right? I mean if a sexy sissy wants to get laid anal with a guy wearing a nun’s habit, I say, have at it. In fact I might even watch them going at it on pornhub. Sound like fun! But I don’t think adult people over 18 should willy nilly have sex with kids. Or leave it up to the kids, mostly. I really don’t know.

There is love. Love is awesome. It often occurs that in love happens people have sex. That’s great. Increasingly people of the same gender (or no gender whatsoever) have sex, and frankly, I like it. There’s absolutely no skydaddy, let alone a an old bearded sky-daddy has a say in people having sex. Homosexuality does not bother me in the slightest. Orgies are actually pretty awesome, but I will never dare suggest people MUST have orgies. I realize most people are not in to the wilder stuff and that’s great too.

Article 2

I am fine with the idea of “marriage”. In fact I might marry. I am a pansexual male-to-female transgender, and I fully intend to marry a twinky pansexual boy in the early stages of gender transition. Yes, we fully intend to “marry” and after marriage happens have sex with lots of other people. I really do not appreciate old people in skirts, who wear weird hats, telling me I shouldn’t, or really should do this stuff differently. If you don’t like that, I really could care less. I make my own private agreements with my sexual partners, based on facts, reality, love, science, medical truths, anatomical constraints and emotional maturity. It’s a private contractual agreement.

Article 3

WE AFFIRM there is no bearded sky-daddy and claims this “sky-daddy” created the universe and people is a really dumb idea. Seriously don’t listen to that ‘mentally clear’ crap. These people want to lord it over you and take your money. Likewise we affirm people should have fun with other people who want fun. Yes, anal sex is awesome, and women pegging men ios perfectly fine, if you observe some basic hygiene and use plenty lube. Toys are awesome, but don’t get carried away with fiant bad dragon buttplugs, fucking machines and molly, ok people? Do be careful.

Article 4
WE AFFIRM that transgenders are hot as fuck by and large. Transwomen who are in to that sort of thing tend to give better head than genetically born women, it’s a fact. Prove me wrong. Like seriously, look at Natalie, she is hot AF, I’d totally do her.

Article 5
WE AFFIRM that with transhuman technologies we can eventually make babies with genetically recombinant technologies, and gestate them in laboratory conditions without people having to become preggers. And this will be awesome, as long as nobody gets to suffer. In fact we should aim to massively reduce the suffering in the world and we think we can. Just ask David Pearce, he’s an awesome guy.

Article 6
There is no article six. This bullshit has gone long enough. Get over it already, ok? Live in the now.


Comments Off on Thoughts on the end of aging

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I.

Today at age 65, the Dutch can expect to live another 20 years. In the year 2060, Dutch 65 year olds can expect to live another 25 years, according to predictions by the Dutch government. Those predictions made by the Dutch government however, have a history of being too conversative. Here’s a graph that might surprise you:

The graph comes from the Dutch Rabobank and depicts the Dutch government´s statistics office´s life expectancy projection made every two year. As you can tell, the predictions were too conservative and are now constantly revised up. Why are they so pessimistic? I think it might be that their pessimism is meant to avoid the impression our Dutch pension schemes are unsustainable.

II.

On the other side of the spectrum, are the futurologists. The futurologists insist we’re all far too conservative. Aging itself is a disease that we fail to recognize and treat as a disease. Governments don’t recognize aging as a disease, so companies can’t sell products that treat aging. Instead they sell products that treat the symptoms of aging, which also happens to be more profitable. This is illustrated by the fact that many of the recent discoveries in regards to life extension were made by accident. We notice old people have disease of old age X. We give them medicine Y, despite not knowing entirely how it works. We then find they live longer and healthier. However, eventually someone notices they live much longer and healthier than healthy people not given medicine Y. We now realize we accidentally stumbled upon medicine that treats aging. Let me emphasize this: Current progress in curing aging is largely accomplished by accident.

At some point however, the futurologists expect that we will start to book significant progress in treating aging itself. Young people today, might end up still alive a thousand years from now. You won’t look like Yoda however, because the symptoms of aging will come to an end. The cells that decay will be removed from your body and replenished with new cells, your bones won’t shrink and your skin will remain thick and strong.

At some point, the expectation is that the rate at which we increase our life expectancy every year will start to increase. At some point, we would increase the life expectancy by more than a year, per year. Once this applies, you have reached longevity escape velocity. Once this happens, you’re immortal for all practical purposes, in the sense that aging won´t end your life anymore, only unanticipated dramatic events would. Longevity escape velocity will be reached by 2030, according to David Gobel.

III.

You might be skeptical of this idea, but I will tell you that I’m not very skeptical of the idea myself. So far, our society hasn’t made a serious attempt yet to treat aging like a disease in its own right. I’m skeptical of renewable energy, because we’ve made serious attempts at transitioning to it and so far the results are disappointing. I’m skeptical of artificial intelligence and nuclear fusion, for similar reasons.

When it comes to aging on the other hand, not a whole lot of scientific research hasn’t been done. We’ve recently seen the first attempts at actually addressing the root cause of aging. As an example, a lot of research focuses on removing senescent cells, which are cells that have grown old and start secreting all sorts of inflammatory signals. Studies in lab animals show amazing results, when animals are given substances that remove some of these senescent cells, while leaving healthy cels unaffected. Life expectancy is significantly increased in such studies, but more importantly, the animals are visibly rejuvenated.

IV.

Back in the 1980’s, when the first treatments for AIDS emerged, no proper studies could be done, because those who were treated with medicine improved so much they decided to violate the rules and began sharing the medicine with other sick people. Sometimes scientific research leads to findings that are so revolutionary that people don’t feel like waiting until the results are confirmed beyong any possible doubt.

And when we witness the discovery of medicine that increases life expectancy of mice by old otherwise health mice by 36%, we encounter something similar. Around the world, groups of people have started cooperating to buy these drugs and experiment on their own bodies, without bothering to wait for the red tape to be cut through. Does it work as well in humans as it does in mice? It´s too early to tell for the most impressive accomplishments. For others however, we now know pretty sure it´s working.

Here´s an example I´m referring to. If you take old people suffering Rheumatoid Arthritis and give them Methotrexate for multiple years, which suppresses inflammation, you end up with elderly people aged between 80 and 101, who perform cognitively at a level of people three decades younger than them. Out of 88 of these people, just three of them needed hearing aids. The rest had no such need. These are findings that are revolutionary. We have available, right at this moment, medication that effectively disrupts the normal aging process and prevents dementia. What we don´t have, are the right societal prerequisites that allow us to rapidly make use of such discoveries.

V.

When it comes down to it, we live in a society where millions of people are going to die needlessly, because scientific research moves slow, treatments shown to have potential need to go through a long bureaucratic process and the financial incentive structure is inefficient and misdirected. As an example of what I mean, we have numerous expensive drugs for cancer, that took years to develop, that are known to prolong our life expectancy by a few months at most. Simultaneously however, we now have an increasingly clear picture of the primary underlying cause of cancer: The decay and failure of the immune system. Numerous precancerous cells are continually removed by our white blood cells, when the immune system functions properly. When our thymus begins to shrink however, we become unable to maintain a properly functioning immune system and cancer cells encounter an opportunity to proliferate.

So the question you have to ask yourself, is how much money is spent on research to address thymic involution and how much money is spent on research to treat cancer once it enters an advanced stage and no genuine options to save your life are left. If our resources were spent more efficiently we would be much further ahead at treating aging by now. What I´m suggesting here is not a conspiracy to prevent us from living longer lives. What I´m suggesting is a bug in our societal operating system. We´re a bit like the Vikings in Greenland, who died of starvation because they refused to eat fish. We insist on treating the symptoms of aging, rather than treating aging itself as a disease. The problem is primarily a mental problem, in the sense that we take the phenomenon of aging itself for granted. Policy then flows out of this mentality, that essentially leads us to accept the fact that people die once they grow old.

VI.

The inevitability of aging has allowed us to make peace with death in our modern era. Your grandmother dies at age 88 of a nasty lung infection, but you’re content with this outcome because she was stuck in a wheelchair, hard-hearing, lost most of her teeth and starting to lose her mind. But now, as we’re starting to overcome aging, we will be faced with the difficult situation where death can’t be avoided and we genuinely will once again experience suffering the loss of people who could have had a long future ahead of them.

Perhaps most interesting is to consider this outcome, in the context of limits to growth. We’re probably not about to colonize outer space and we’re probably not going to feed 12 billion people with the resources we have at our disposal. So what does this mean, when intelligent people with sufficient wealth at their disposal can now dramatically lengthen their stay at our plane of existence? Or better yet, what does it mean when intelligent wealthy people can have children at age fifty or sixty, with no genuine impairment of their own or their children’s health?

The question is rarely pondered in this context, because people think of themselves as either cornucopians or neo-malthusians. Either everything falls apart soon because we ran out of resources or we’re going to spread across the galaxy like a metastasizing cancer. In practice, reality tends to lie somewhere in between, with both sides occasionally being shown right in what most of society considered excessive optimism or pessimism. It’s a huge mistake to assume any sort of “camp” is right all the time. In practice, there are issues on which it makes sense to agree with the far-right, the far-left, as well as issues where centrists and liberals are right. As a simple if somewhat cliche example: Nobody can dispute the Nazi’s had it right when it comes to smoking. In a similar manner, we’re going to find that the futurologists will be shown right in at least a few of their most radical predictions.

We can be quite sure we’re not going to figure out how to carry out nuclear fusion, terraform Mars and all that jazz. If we were capable of nuclear fusion, there would be no genuine limits left to our expansion. We know there are limits to our expansion, because we haven’t witnessed evidence of extraterrestrial life yet. Life that pursues perpetual growth destabilizes its own ecological niche, thereby causing collapse and its subsequent disappearance. If there are sustainable non-human civilizations out there, they live at a state of complexity that does not allow them to communicate with us. The kind of trajectory we are on, characterized by rapid changes in the environment and exponential growth in resource usage, last for a few centuries before falling apart. On a geological timescale, that’s a blip on the radar. If this happens on other planets, it happens too rarely, for very short periods of time, for us to notice. On the other hand, immortal elves living in trees on a rainforest planet with a global population density of Greenland who abolished Abrahamic religion and figured out how to overcome the Maximum Power Principle don’t signal evidence of their existence to us. If they’re out there, we’ll never find out about them.

VII.

So, this leads us to the classical cyberpunk dystopian scenario, where Jeff Bezos and Vladimir Putin live to rule to world at age 180, while you and me die of hunger when prices for Soylent in the supermarket start to exceed our budget. I’m not convinced of this scenario either. To start with, it’s somewhat irrational to assume that once a technology like this is developed it will somehow remain accessible only to a small elite. The therapies that cause dramatic life extension are available for you to buy now. They’re untested in humans, but they’re affordable to you for the equivalent of a monthly salary.

In addition, the cost of these technologies goes down, because those who can afford to use them as well as those who can afford to produce them both benefit from broader use. If I sell life-extension pills, I want to sell more of them, as that allows me to keep my costs beneath those of my competitor. If I can afford life-extension pills, I don’t want to hoard them. I might not care enough about a friend to hand him half my fortune, but I don’t want him to drop dead of a preventable cause. And my friend doesn’t want his wife to suffer the same fate, and so forth.

In addition, keep in mind that aging also transforms productive human beings into costly burdens on our social safety net. If the government finds out it can save money on nursing homes or raise the retirement age by ten years by giving you this treatment, the government will make sure an evil greedy billionaire can’t hoard this technology for him and his cronies.

Finally, billionaires don’t want to be seen as evil billionaires. Even the genuinely corrupt selfish billionaires don’t want to be seen as evil billionaires. They want to be able to fuck Instagram models without having to worry they’ll slip cyanide into their drink. The only rich guy who genuinely seems to enjoy being seen as a selfish dick by people seems to be Martin Shkreli, but even he enjoys having teenage boys on 4chan look up to him.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean the whole world will have access to this kind of technology. We’re failing to provide billions of people with sufficient iodine, iron or vitamin A in their diet, despite knowing this will cause death or permanent brain damage to them. Rather, the most boring scenario is the most plausible one: People in industrialized first world nations will gain access to technology that will dramatically extend their life expectancy.

VIII.

If I’m really honest, this is ultimately the best possible outcome, given the conditions we’re living in. In Somalia, 95% of girls are mutilated, with the consent of their own parents. In Egypt, 88% of Muslims believe people who leave Islam should receive the death penalty. In India, Hindu’s go onto the street, to protest in favor of a group of Hindu men who gang-raped an eight year old Muslim girl of a neighboring tribe, before killing her. In Gauteng Provence, South Africa, a quarter of men will say yes in surveys when asked whether they have ever raped a woman. In Bangladesh, criminal gangs take children to doctors to have their limbs amputated, to get more donations when forcing the children to beg on the streets.

That’s the state of the world today. I feel threatened by the prospect of people with such mentalities living to be multiple centuries old. They’re not ready for such a dramatic and radical transformation of their society. Even if we had the comic book cyberpunk scenario, in which billionaires live for centuries, I would consider that an improvement for the world. I am not under the impression that Peter Thiel, Bill Gates or Elon Musk want to use their money and power to hurt other people.

The most likely outcome, is the most desirable. Japan, South Korea, Europe, North America, are going to elongate the lives of their own citizens. Idiot drug dealers will continue to kill each other at age twenty, miserable impoverished people will continue to die of drug overdoses, but those who have managed to enter a state of existence they enjoy will generally live much longer lives than they do now.

For society, this is of tremendous benefit. It takes us thirty years to produce a surgeon. Eighteen years of general education, six years medical school, then six more years of training. That’s when the surgeon can start doing his job, when he has just forty productive years left. Imagine the surgeon had eighty productive years left instead. It’s easy to see how society would benefit. Intelligent and successful people, will live longer and more productive lives.

IX.

Ultimately, what we would expect to see happen is that intelligent, successful and happy people, will start to crowd out those who inflict misery upon others. Here’s something to consider: Janet Jackson gave birth to a child at age fifty. This is what modern technology allows, modern rejuvenation techniques will further enable this. Imagine having children at age thirty, who are independent adults by the time you’re fifty. Why not just have more children, if biological and economic limits are not stopping you?

If you’re the kind of person who is able to have a positive impact on his society, you’re doing the world a favor by having children. There’s a man out there somewhere, who figured out coral grows ten times faster if you deliver an electric impulse to the coral. With the right effort, this allows us to rebuild coral reefs as they die out in other places. What do you think this man’s children might accomplish? What could his grandchildren accomplish? What do you think they would accomplish, if they maintain a properly functioning mind for twice as long?

The problem we face is not so much that the world is overpopulated. That’s the problem of being unable to distinguish between quality and quantity. Our real problem is that the world is overpopulated with the wrong kind of people. There are women out there who have children, find a new husband and allow the husband to sexually abuse their children. Consider a guy like DaddyOFive, who films himself bullying his children. There are also people in some parts of the world, who have children and figure out they can’t take care of those children, so the children are given up for adoption to religious leaders who teach the children to memorize the Quran and beg on the street.

Those people have too many children. They live miserable dysfunctional lives and raise their children in an environment that ensures the children will live miserable and dysfunctional lives too. My own great-grandfather sent his children to an orphanage, when his wife died. My grandfather refused to speak to him for the rest of his life. It’s clear the great-grandfather had too many children. By sending his children to an orphanage, he set them up for a lifetime of misery and dysfunction. Children should be born to intelligent and kind-hearted people, who will take good care of them and deliver them the best chances for success and happiness in life.

X.

Radical life extension is the first step in a process that would lead to a fundamental upheaval of life on Earth. Besides protecting Western nations against a looming demographic catastrophe, it leads to a dramatic change in our mentality towards life. As an example, if we will live to see the impact of climate change in our own lives, we have a motive to work harder to preserve the habitability of our planet. If we live for centuries, we can devote our lives to projects that may take centuries to fulfill. How long would it take to resurrect extinct species and bring their population to self-sustaining levels? How long does it take to grow a redwood forest? These are projects a man today can’t fulfill in his own lifetime.

Perhaps most promising, is the reality that biotechnology’s impact on life is not fundamentally limited to our own lives. We know with reasonable certainty today, that we can take a mouse and transfer certain human genes to the mouse, to produce a smarter mouse. We’ve proven this for multiple genes independently. What happens, when we transfer all those genes to a single mouse? What happens, when we transfer all those genes to a dog?

Humanism is the biggest intellectual failure of our era. We pretend that a man who abuses and mistreats others is somehow endowed with the same fundamental rights as anyone else. Simultaneously, we pretend that a non-human animal has no genuine rights whatsoever. In Africa, elephants today live as a post-apocalyptic society. The elephant males misbehave, because they grew up without father figures. This is the consequence of our anthropocentric mentality, as we can’t imagine elephants have societies with needs equivalent to our own.

Billions of people around the world adhere to absurd religions, that proclaim “human” life is sacred. You can kill an adult pig and eat it, but you can’t abort a fetus the size of a peanut from a womb, even if the pregnant mother is addicted to drugs that will ensure brain damage in the potential child. This stupidity is one of the primary causes of misery in the world today.

What happens, when you’re faced with animals as smart as humans? Will you kill a pig who asks you not to kill it? Or, what happens when you’re faced with humans who have merged with animals? A woman could soon choose to give birth to a child, with plainly visible animal features. Where do you draw the line? Does Jesus want you to preach the faith to nomadic tribes of man-pig hybrids traversing the Texas countryside? Could they even go to heaven, or are they per definition excluded? When do you find yourself forced to let go of your dogmatic worldview?

This is what leaves me most excited, the prospect that biotechnology will ultimately force an end to anthropocentrism.

Can David Sinclair cure old age?

Posted: 12th September 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
Comments Off on Can David Sinclair cure old age?

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Ceridwen Dovey

The Australian geneticist believes ageing is a disease we can treat
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN)

Since my recent visit to the Harvard Medical School laboratory run by Australian geneticist David Sinclair, I’ve been struggling with a shamefully greedy impulse. How can I get my hands on the wonder molecules that Sinclair is trialling to amazing effect in mice, not only slowing down their ageing but reversing it? My fear of missing out has flared up since I learnt from Sinclair that he estimates at least a third of his scientific colleagues are taking some version of these “anti-ageing” molecules, just as he does, in the belief it will increase their health spans by as much as 10 years. This means not just having a chance at living an extra decade, but living it in good health, avoiding the age-related diseases and general frailty that can make those years harrowing.

It becomes difficult to remain impartial when a respected scientist tells you he will soon turn 50, does not have a single grey hair and, according to regular blood and genetic tests, has the biological age of 31.4, even though he’s a workaholic and doesn’t exercise much. Or that he likes to think his mother prolonged her life – post lung cancer, with only one lung – for 20 years by taking the molecules he gave her, and that his 79-year-old father, who has taken several different kinds of them for years, currently lists whitewater rafting and mountaineering among his hobbies. Sinclair’s wife, Sandra Luikenhuis, even gives these molecules to the family dogs. (Luikenhuis, who has a PhD in genetics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, only began taking the molecules herself after she noticed the irrefutably positive effect they’d had on their pets.)

If all goes well, and these anti-ageing molecules live up to their promise, Sinclair and his family will be proof it’s still possible to be going strong on the other side of the private apocalypse each of us has to face, what Philip Roth famously called the “massacre” of ageing. Imagine if you could still be standing tall after the dust clears, not one of the walking wounded, not just surviving, but thriving.

David Sinclair has made big promises before, and he’s suffered setbacks and triumphs in equal measure. No one knows if his predictions will turn out to be right; even for geneticists, it’s notoriously difficult to know what’s going on in the field of ageing research. In a 2017 New Yorker article, Tad Friend mapped out the different camps of longevity researchers – some closer to the “immortalist” extremes than others – and pinpointed why finding a solution to the biological problem of ageing is so complex: “Solving aging is not just a whodunit but a howdunnit and wheredunnit and a whyohwhydunnit.” (Also, mice are not men: a fact that has always bedevilled this kind of research. Medical breakthroughs in lab animals most often go nowhere in human trials.)

For now let’s assume, given the increased interest in ageing research in recent years, that the end of old age as we know it is approaching – whether the breakthrough comes from one of Sinclair’s labs (he also heads an ageing-research lab at his alma mater, the University of New South Wales) or from someone else’s. Sinclair describes how, when he went to uni in Sydney in 1987 at age 17 to study genetic engineering and molecular biology – then a brand-new field – ageing research was the “backwater of science”. There was nothing on ageing in textbooks or medical papers, because ageing itself wasn’t considered a disease and thus wasn’t seen as worthy of investigation (only age-related diseases were, such as heart failure or diabetes). He was told by senior academics that it was a mistake, a dead end, to pursue his obsessive interest in figuring out why we age.

After Sinclair completed a PhD in molecular genetics at UNSW, he went to MIT on a postdoc to study the causes of yeast ageing at one of the only labs in the world looking at the genetic mechanisms of ageing at the time. His research took place under the supervision of Leonard Guarente, an established molecular biologist who ran the lab; Sinclair had been lucky enough to sit next to him at a group lunch while Guarente was on a lecture tour of Australia, and made an informal pitch to join Guarente’s team. Today, by contrast, there are hundreds of labs actively investigating the topic. “You can’t open the world’s leading scientific journals without seeing articles on age research breakthroughs,” Sinclair says. “All the leading academic centres – Harvard, Oxford, Stanford – are working on it.”

This doesn’t mean there’s global consensus as to what ageing is, and why or how it happens. One of Sinclair’s researchers told me, “Every few decades a new theory of ageing comes around, and doesn’t wipe away the previous one but supersedes it.” If longevity scientists agree on anything, it’s that ageing has multiple causes, some major, some minor. What troubles Sinclair is that none of these causes is considered treatable. Instead, age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis – which are symptoms of ageing – are treated one at a time.

Sinclair is convinced that ageing should be considered a standalone, treatable disease. This is a more radical proposition than it may at first seem. It’s so radical, in fact, that no government in the world has endorsed this definition. Because ageing affects all of us, governmental regulatory authorities like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration won’t recognise it as a disease, and thus won’t approve any drugs designed to treat it. Sinclair is campaigning for Australia to become the first country to declare ageing a treatable condition. If it does, he has pledged to provide one of his longevity drugs to the government at cost for 10 years.

Until this happens, pharmaceutical and biotech companies (Sinclair has founded several over the course of his career) can’t count on making money by developing drugs that treat ageing as a disease. They can only do so by treating age-related diseases and focusing on keeping individual organs healthy. As a result, “we’ve ended up with … a nation of elderly whose hearts are working well, for example, but their brains are no longer functioning,” Sinclair said in a 2013 TEDxSydney talk. By 2050, the proportion of the global population aged 60 years and older will have nearly doubled. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: as the World Health Organization’s ageing and health fact sheet states, “a longer life brings with it opportunities, not only for older people and their families, but also for societies as a whole”. The problem is that the extent of these opportunities “depends heavily on one factor: health”. And while our lifespans have increased, there is little evidence that the elderly are spending those extra years in better health than their own parents did at their end of life.

Sinclair is also not in the traditionalist camp when it comes to interpreting the genetic components of ageing. Most of us have come to accept as a given that our individual ageing journeys are dictated by whatever is encoded in our DNA, as well as by irreversible changes, or mutations, to our genes. That’s why antioxidants became a thing for the health conscious: they’re supposed to mop up free radicals before they damage the DNA in our cells, or something like that. (According to Sinclair, if you think antioxidants work, you’re living in the Dark Ages.) He contends we should not picture ourselves as fatalistically bound to a genetic destiny that we can’t alter or reverse. We age, he believes, because of chemical signals that are sent to our genome (the complete set of an individual’s DNA, containing all genetic instructions for our bodies) by the “fabulously intricate, pulsating [molecular] structure that our genome is wrapped up in”: the epigenome.

He uses a beautiful analogy to help laypeople comprehend the epigenetic theory of ageing. Think of your genome as a gigantic piano with 30,000 separate keys (genes). Sitting at that piano, deciding which of those keys will get played – expressed – or remain silent, is the epigenome, which is made up of chemical compounds and proteins. Not much was known about how exactly this music happened at a molecular pathway level until Sinclair and his colleagues began studying the process. Over the past two decades they’ve realised that, rather than focusing on changing or editing genes, the way to slow or reverse ageing may be to change what the epigenome tells certain genes to do.

One of the key epigenetic pathways they’ve identified that can “change the song” the piano plays is via sirtuins: genes that make enzymes to control how a cell functions. As we age, more and more genes get switched on in our cells, altering the very nature of those cells and creating what Sinclair calls harmful “epigenetic noise”. This leads to identity loss in the cells themselves, like a microcosm of the identity loss of a person in extreme old age. Nerve cells begin to act like muscle cells or liver cells, and may degenerate to the point of becoming zombie-like – a state described as “senescence” – at which point they do nothing except lurk there, ageing all the cells around them too. Yet when sirtuins are stimulated they turn off some of these genes that hasten the ageing process.

Sinclair’s long relationship with sirtuins began while he was doing research in Guarente’s lab at MIT in the late ’90s. One of the other researchers there, Brian Kennedy, left a bunch of yeast cells, cold and starving, at the back of a refrigerator. When he finally got them out, he found that some of the ones that had survived ended up living much longer than unstressed yeast cells. Biological stress forces organisms to put their energy into maximising their own health in order to survive, rather than into reproducing. My favourite lines from Sinclair’s draft for a popular science book to be published next year (working title: “How To Start an Evolution”) put the latter observation more evocatively: “Stressed tomatoes have richer taste and reach a deeper shade of red. Stressed grapes make more intense wine.” Sinclair and others at the MIT lab figured out that it was this mysterious and newly discovered bunch of “silent information regulators” – sirtuins – that were behind this phenomenon.

Nobody knew at that point if sirtuins existed in mammals. A few years later they discovered that they do, and are also activated by both calorie restriction and exercise. The next question, of course, was whether there might be other means of triggering sirtuins in mammals, thus mimicking the benefits of fasting and/or extreme exercise, which are beyond the willpower of most of us mere mortals. Was there a way, in other words, to achieve the effects of a stressed organism without the stress, a way to make the human equivalent of a rich, red tomato?

This became Sinclair’s research mission. The first major discovery he made was that a molecule called resveratrol, which comes from grape skins and is found in tiny doses in red wine, activates sirtuins in mice when administered in massive quantities. (Sinclair’s mother, after she was diagnosed with lung cancer, became one of the first humans to take a large dose every day; it’s this daily intake of resveratrol that he believes helped her live two decades longer than her doctors had forecast.) The tide had begun to turn: ageing research was suddenly no longer relegated to the scientific fringes. In 1999, Sinclair was recruited to start a new lab at Harvard Medical School, and in 2003 his resveratrol research was published in Nature. A few years later, the company he’d founded, Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, was bought for US$720 million by GlaxoSmithKline (his less than 1 per cent ownership stake still netted him a tidy sum).

During what should have been the happiest years of his career, he and Guarente had a falling out over disagreements about how sirtuins work and their separate efforts to commercialise their research. In a 2004 Science article about their “feud”, Sinclair is quoted saying, of Guarente’s company, “They’re doing exactly what we’re doing, and it’s a race.” Both Sinclair and Guarente now claim that the article overstates their rift, and they’ve continued to collaborate closely ever since. But the Science article is worth a read for an insight into this secretive, competitively charged world of laboratory research. (Sinclair, for example, is described as locking his research notebooks in a safe in his Harvard office after one of them went missing, suspected stolen by rival researchers.)

There was yet more trouble ahead for Sinclair. As he puts it bluntly in his TEDxSydney talk, next thing “the bottom fell out”. In 2004, two of his former MIT colleagues published an article questioning the general thesis that calorie restriction activates sirtuins. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer went further, publishing a separate paper casting doubt on Sinclair’s claim that resveratrol activates sirtuins. “I had emails from top scientists sending me condolences,” he says. “The clinical trials were put on hold. I thought I’d let my lab down … Australia down … the whole world down. And there were days I really wanted to quit being a scientist.”

Sinclair eventually assembled a team of scientists to try to prove his initial findings were correct. In 2013, he published the results of this research in Science, vindicating himself in the eyes of many of his peers by presenting evidence that resveratrol extends the health spans of certain organisms by activating sirtuins – though some scientists still don’t agree, or say the results can’t be replicated. Guarente has acknowledged that these “intensive controversies” about sirtuins are linked to scientific uncertainty, which means there’s an element of faith-based – rather than reason-based – support for the different theories (and the prophets who annunciate them). Sinclair’s colleague Brian Kennedy described the field in 2013 as “overly polarised”, and Stanford University scientist Howard Chang told The New Yorker that the longevity community is “the most difficult field I’ve ever worked in, and I didn’t want to define my scientific life with all these fights”.

Sinclair has now moved on to bigger things than resveratrol. In recent years his research focus has shifted to molecules that boost the levels of a crucial compound in our bodies called oxidised nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which he dubs the “fountain of youth”. NAD+ plays a role in regulating almost all the important biological processes in our bodies – including metabolism – but levels drop steadily, by almost 50 per cent, as we age. The renewed interest in NAD+ over the past decade (it was actually discovered more than a century ago) is because sirtuins are NAD+-dependent proteins. (Guarente co-authored a 2016 paper titled “It Takes Two to Tango” to describe this link; it was also in his lab, while Sinclair was a postdoc, that the dance between NAD+ and sirtuins was first observed.)

Whereas resveratrol only works on one of the seven types of sirtuins in our bodies, NAD+ works on all of them. And NAD+’s health impacts could go beyond activating sirtuins, because of its involvement in hundreds of different reactions in and around cells. In a March article, Sinclair and his co-authors (among them Guarente) wrote that restoring NAD+ levels in mammals has a dramatically positive effect on the liver, heart, reproductive organs, kidney, muscles, and brain and nervous systems (since NAD+ itself is hard to administer directly, its precursors, among them one called nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN, are given instead).

This is where we start tiptoeing into miracle territory. For example, the metabolisms of elderly mice that were given NMN in the Sinclair Lab at Harvard were restored to youthful functioning within a week. Even more astounding, Sinclair’s research team found that by administering NAD+ boosters they could make an old mouse run like a young mouse. An old mouse run like a young mouse. Not only that, but young mice given the same molecules exceeded the ability of the machine to measure their endurance, something Sinclair says hasn’t ever been done before.

Humans have built entire cultural and spiritual belief systems around what we assume are our unchanging biological limitations. We’ve had a long time – all of human history – to get used to the idea that we will all age and die, and to adapt our sense of what it means to be human around these limits. We’ve cultivated certain coping mechanisms, turned them into virtues: graceful acceptance and gratitude for what we gain with age (wisdom, humility, resilience). Ageing has always been the great equaliser; as Thomas Mann wrote, “It will happen to me as to them.”

To peek beneath this heavy veil of culturally endorsed forbearance is frightening, more frightening in a weird way than the ideas of old age and death themselves. For Sinclair wants us to think of ageing not as something that makes us human but as something that makes us less than human. In his opinion, our docile acceptance of decline and ill health in old age is as barbarous as the people of the past once believing that it was normal and natural for women to die routinely in childbirth.

Sinclair vividly recalls his first childhood intimations of the fate awaiting him and all those he loved, but, unlike most people, he refused to compartmentalise his horror as he grew up. Instead, it became the driving force for everything he did. From a young age he had an enquiring mind and was never one to swallow received wisdom; perhaps the result of being the child of two bioscientists. His parents worked at the same pathology lab, and he recalls going with them to work in the holidays, looking at body parts in buckets. Yet his contrarian response to the “fact” of ageing seems most closely linked to his deep emotional bond with his grandmother, Vera, and his distress when, at age four, he learnt that she would keep getting older, and one day would die.

It’s late at night in Cape Cod when I ask Sinclair, over the phone from Sydney, about his grandmother. I’d expected him to sound weary at having to speak to a journalist while on a rare few days of family vacation. But he is expansive in his responses, and not in any rush to get off the line. His father is visiting from Australia, he tells me, and has been helping out with the kids and doing repairs on the holiday house. That afternoon, Sinclair and his co-author had finished the latest draft of their upcoming book, while in his Boston lab there’d been an exciting breakthrough (though not something he could tell me about).

Vera – Sinclair’s grandmother – fled to Sydney with her young son (David’s father, Andrew) after the failed 1956 revolution against Soviet rule in Hungary. (Andrew later changed the family surname from Szigeti to Sinclair.) Vera was vivacious, courageous and a nonconformist; Sinclair says she was chased off Bondi Beach by the police for being one of the first women to wear a bikini. While Sinclair was growing up in St Ives, on Sydney’s upper north shore, Vera was a constant presence. She encouraged him to value the experience of childhood even as he lived it. “Never grow up,” she would say, and she loved to recite to him the A.A. Milne poem “Now We Are Six”: “But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever. / So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”

She disliked being called Grandmother, so he called her Vera; she called him Professor David. He adored her, and as she aged he couldn’t bear to see her becoming a stranger to herself, to him. She lived until she was 92: on paper a decent innings, but in truth, he says, the spirited woman he’d known had been long gone by then.

Sinclair’s relationship with Vera is his master narrative, what he reaches for every time he’s asked to account for why he is galvanised to buy humans more quality time on earth. His emotional vulnerability is palpable whenever he tells these stories about her. In his TEDxSydney talk, he says that seeing his grandmother suffer in old age made him wonder, “This thing we call ageing, why aren’t we up in arms about it?” This gets a laugh from the audience, but Sinclair is being totally earnest. “This once vibrant woman reduced to this. It’s incredible …” he continues, his voice wavering. “This is just my story, but it’s being played out every day, in everybody’s family … so why aren’t we doing more about it?” (During his talk, a slideshow plays behind him of overlapping photographs of Vera, morphing her too quickly from a child to a teenager, then a young woman, then an old one.)

Like most longevity scientists, Sinclair is a “healthspanner” not a “lifespanner” (extra years must be good ones), and he’s certainly not an immortalist who thinks we should cheat – or hack – death itself. Yet it’s not a giant leap to imagine that once we start to add a healthy decade to our lives, we’ll soon be able to add two decades, then three, and then … On the phone, he mentions excitedly an article he’s just read in Science, which shows that the chances of dying become essentially constant beyond the age of 105 in humans. “They’re saying there is no natural limit to human lifespan,” he tells me. “Once we can make it past 105, our chances of dying don’t increase, they stay the same. I’m on the record saying the first person who will live to 150 has already been born. Anyone who says there is a limit built into our biology doesn’t know what they’re talking about. There’s no biological law for ageing. It’s not shocking that within our lifetime we could reset the body entirely.”

Though Sinclair does not identify as a transhumanist, this doesn’t sound so different to something a transhumanist would say. Anya Bernstein, a Harvard anthropologist who studies transhumanism, describes it as a global “intellectual and cultural movement that aims to transform human nature by developing the tools to accomplish a ‘radical upgrade’ of the human being”. Most transhumanists share a commitment to the idea that humans should be able to “shape and direct one’s own evolution [through] self-mastery”, and that we should not only study ageing, but fight it.

There’s already pushback from religious quarters to these ideas. Bernstein quotes a Russian Orthodox priest asking, in a 2014 debate on these issues, “Where is the border between improving human health and transforming into the posthuman?” For the secular, too, it’s a big deal to make the shift from embracing the human condition in all its pain and glory to trying to transcend it.

The political philosopher Hannah Arendt anticipated this in her 1958 book, The Human Condition, writing that “the wish to escape the human condition, I suspect, also underlies the hope to extend man’s life-span far beyond the hundred-year limit”. She was concerned we’d lose hope if we lost the ability to let younger generations reinvigorate human affairs. In Arendt’s view, our saving grace as a species is that we’re forced by our biology to welcome new people constantly into the world, and to let others leave it once they’ve had their time. This means no matter what previous generations have set in motion, there is always the possibility of changing the course of human events.

On the warm spring day I visited the Sinclair Lab, housed in one of the Harvard Medical School buildings in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston, my host for the morning was the lab manager, Luis Rajman (Sinclair was in Japan at the time). I was somehow comforted that Rajman wears spectacles and has a neat greying beard; he doesn’t take NMN or resveratrol like others in the lab, though he does take a drug called metformin because he’s diabetic. (Metformin is believed to have the added benefit of boosting longevity by increasing the activity of a protein called AMPK; elderly diabetics taking metformin outlive their non-diabetic counterparts, and Sinclair thinks all of us over 40 should be taking it even if we don’t have diabetes.)

We sat at a table in Sinclair’s pleasantly cluttered office. On the bookshelves were bottles of red wine – all shout-outs for his resveratrol research – with playful labels suggestive of celebrations past (“Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Appellation Start-up Contrôlée, 2003”). Articles about Sinclair – some fresh, some yellowing – were framed on the walls. The medals and awards stacked along one shelf track how Sinclair’s star has risen. He’s shot from a successful Australian scientist (“Australia’s Top 10 Scientific Minds Under 45”) to one with global prominence, sharing space with Beyoncé in TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world for 2014.

Sinclair had told me over the phone that his “universe is big”. He can toggle comfortably between the research world (his Harvard lab employs 40 people and has a $4 million annual budget) and his for-profit companies (such as Life Biosciences, which employs 60 people and has an annual budget of $30 million). There was evidence in his office of the diverse demands of his working life. On the whiteboard were planning notes for his book, with intriguing headings like “Friday I’m in Love” and “How to Build a Utopia”. Among the books on his desk were The Essential Writer’s Companion, a Japanese scientific journal, Clive James’s Unreliable Memoirs, and a tome titled Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Nearby were pottery objects made by his children, who are 15, 13 and 11.

While his lab’s research projects vary in scope and nature, the unifying goal is to extend health in the elderly. “The ideal situation is you stay healthy and then get sick in the last few weeks of life,” Rajman told me. “You essentially die in good health.” The wider applications, and societal impacts, of the lab’s research became clearer as I chatted to some of the researchers who stopped by the office. Michael Bonkowski told me in his strong Boston accent that he’s working on a project for the NASA mission to Mars, figuring out how NAD+-boosting molecules might be able to prevent and reverse the effects of cosmic radiation damage. Alice Kane, a friendly Australian postdoc recently arrived from Sydney, described a project she’s involved with on post-radiation fertility (which would enable, for example, women who’ve had chemotherapy earlier in life to have their own children). I was at first confused as to how this relates to the lab’s mission, but of course one of the first impacts of ageing in women is fertility loss. Sinclair and his collaborator in this aspect of their research, Jonathan Tilly, suspect that it might not be true that women are born with their total allotment of primordial egg cells, which mature into eggs after puberty. In a mouse rendered infertile by chemotherapy, Tilly claims to have been able to induce ovarian stem cells in the lining of the ovary to produce new eggs, though other scientists have challenged the results.

Sinclair and Tilly have since co-founded a company, OvaScience, which is commercialising aspects of this research through fertility treatments called “Augment” offered in Canada and Japan; at the moment it hasn’t sought US regulatory approval, and some critics claim that the zeal to commercialise has moved things too quickly out of the lab and towards the market. This isn’t something that seems to bother Sinclair, but an ethical scenario he is interested in discussing is what the acceptable upper age limit for women to have children might one day become: 50? 60? 80? “People have strong views about fertility research,” Kane admitted when I asked her opinion on this. “But you’re considered a geriatric pregnancy when you’re older than 35 … I’m almost that age. Maybe we wouldn’t want an 80-year-old to have a child, but what about someone in their 40s who has their career sorted?”

Another potentially wide-reaching impact of increasing people’s health spans is that it could put pressure on global food supplies. Sinclair, anticipating this, has established a research project to improve food stocks by generating the first genome sequence for shrimp (to make them disease resistant and easier to farm), and to do the same for pigs. This isn’t “Frankenfood” genetic modification, he says; it’s about altering the epigenetics of the organism, not the genome itself.

“There are scientists who just love the science, who are focused on the details,” Rajman said as I followed him towards the laboratory, passing drawings of famous male scientists in old age, including Charles Darwin (skinny, grey) and James Paget (stooping, frail). “Then there are scientists like David who still care about the minutiae but are also focused on the larger benefits the research can bring to society.”

Rajman gave me a tour of the lab equipment: tissue-culture incubators, cryostorage systems, polymerase chain reaction machines. He’s been there seven years, and started out as a researcher. “We’re all crazy masochists in here,” he said. “Graduate students work 60- to 80-hour weeks, take a few seconds to celebrate if they discover something important. Nobody would do it if they didn’t get great satisfaction just from the doing of it.” (In the Science article about Sinclair’s own time as a postdoc, he was described as “often the first to arrive, at 8:00 a.m., and the last to leave, at 12:30 a.m., running to catch the final subway train of the night.”)

Satisfying a curious mind may be enough for the graduate students bent over their workstations. Yet given how lucrative a longevity pill would be, the commercial lure for Sinclair must be irresistible, too. In Tad Friend’s 2017 New Yorker article, a venture capitalist describes the longevity market as a “two-hundred-billion-dollar-plus” opportunity.

Leonard Guarente has already co-founded – without Sinclair – a company called Elysium Health to sell a daily nutraceutical supplement called Basis (a month’s supply costs around $50). Elysium Health’s website heralds that in 2017 it conducted the “first-in-humans study demonstrating clearly that Basis can increase NAD+ levels in the blood safely and sustainably”. This isn’t quite as reassuring as it sounds. The trial followed participants over only eight weeks; nobody has any idea what taking these supplements every day for decades could do. Some scientists have questioned whether it’s a conflict of interest for Elysium Health to do human trials on a product it already sells on the market; normally, it works the other way around. Also, Basis does not have US FDA approval; it’s sold as a nutraceutical supplement, not as a prescription drug. (As Rajman explained to me, the “FDA has a separate set of rules for supplements. Put simply, they are considered safe until proven otherwise.”) That’s also why resveratrol is widely available as a health supplement, but beware: when Sinclair tested a dozen samples from different purveyors, a while back, only one of them passed his effectiveness and purity test.

Sinclair is aiming to get his own NAD+-boosting tablets on the market within three years. Unlike the other companies, he’s taking his research through the US FDA’s arduous drug-approval process so that, if clinical trials are successful, it can be sold not as a supplement but as a pharmaceutical drug, and prescribed by doctors. Since the FDA won’t approve drugs for treating old age, one of his companies, MetroBiotech, will market the boosters to treat rare diseases, and another, JumpStart Fertility, will sell them to reverse female infertility. The NAD+ booster furthest along in this process is called MIB-626; second-phase human trials are underway.

I’m not alone, as it turns out, in my sudden anxiety to get access to the high quality stuff. His lab receives a call daily, often from somebody rich and famous, asking how they can get hold of Sinclair’s molecules or at least be selected for the clinical trials. Sinclair says he responds the same way to everyone: help fund the preclinical research in our lab, he tells them, and all this will happen faster. A third of the lab’s budget comes from private sources like the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research (years ago, Sinclair convinced the philanthropist Paul F. Glenn over a single lunch to put up $5 million) as well as from Sinclair’s own charitable trust (funded by his companies and patents), which helps explain why he’s constantly hustling on the venture capital circuit.

The latest company Sinclair has co-founded, Life Biosciences, promises to treat multiple components of ageing through the work of a suite of six subdivisions, each with a slightly different focus. One, for example, will be devoted entirely to companion animal life-extension research (which sounds like something Evelyn Waugh would have satirised but will no doubt be wildly popular among pet lovers).

Sinclair is adamant that any drugs Life Biosciences develops will be within everybody’s reach. He read to me over the phone the company’s core values, displayed prominently on their new website, among them: “we are committed to making our biomedical breakthroughs accessible and affordable to all, regardless of age or background”. Several of his researchers told me during my lab visit that this isn’t just PR-speak. Rajman said that “when we started working on NMN, the cost was prohibitive, about $2500 a gram”. Over the years, they’ve found collaborators to produce it for them more cheaply, so that if it makes it onto the market for human consumption it will be affordable; currently they’ve got it down to one-tenth of that initial cost. “David always said this will not be a molecule just for rich people.”

As Sinclair says goodbye over the phone to get ready for the late-night drive back to Boston – he needs to be at work early in the morning – he leaves me to chat to his dad. It’s a show of faith, since his 79-year-old father could easily go off piste in his conversation with me. Andrew Sinclair tells me that he stopped taking resveratrol recently because the powder tasted too bitter. He’s taken metformin since he was diagnosed with diabetes eight years ago, and now takes NMN every day, two white pills with breakfast. “David just gave me another handful of them. I don’t know where they come from. But I trust him,” he says with a wry chuckle.

Sinclair had described his father to me as filled with energy: not only on his second career, doing bioethics non-profit work, but abseiling, climbing to the top of Cradle Mountain, going out every night. Yet his father downplays all this and is charmingly frank. “I can’t tell what difference it makes to take these things,” he says. “I haven’t changed my lifestyle, but there’s not a drastic improvement in anything. I’m not going downhill as fast as my contemporaries. But it’s hard to really know. A one-person clinical trial is not a clinical trial.”

I ask if he’s proud of his son. “I don’t want to brag about him. I only mention what he does if somebody asks me about it. He’s the hardest worker I know. He never stops, he’s flat out all the time. I’ve lost track of how many companies he’s started up, 16 or something. But he’s humble. He has work and his family. That’s it.” I ask if Sinclair takes after him. “No, I was never as ambitious as he was; if things didn’t come, I didn’t push,” he replies. “He’s more like my mother, Vera. She was very bright though she never had any formal education. A self-made woman.”

And then, after a pause, he says very softly, “David really could change the course of human history.”

Amazon

CERIDWEN DOVEY
Ceridwen Dovey is the author of Blood Kin, Only the Animals and In the Garden of the Fugitives.

Climate change is solved, stop everything you are doing.

Posted: 6th September 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
Comments Off on Climate change is solved, stop everything you are doing.

Where can we absorb CO2 in very large amounts, turn it in to carbon and oxygen? What first comes to mind is the Sahara, and with the proper technology that should indeed be a workable solution. But there may be a far better alternative.

There’s a bizarre amount of carbon buried as methane, coal and oil (and other petrochemicals) in the earth’s crust and I don’t see humans stop dragging it out anytime soon. Human use of thee carbohydrates is much like using an addictive substance – using it results in increased pleasure, and effort aimed at using it less creates convulsive withdrawal in subjects. So all that carbon is burned and emitted as heat-trapping gases. But it gets worse – all that heat is fairly certain to trigger runaway effects, in particular by defrosting and summarily rotting the arctic permafrost, as well as by thawing oceanic clathrates. Both emit CO2 and Methane and in amounts that can raise global temperatures well above the most catastrophic 4 degrees Celsius scenarios. That is – the scenarios where the vast majority of animal species and humans on the planet die.

Some people may not care overly much about a billion humans “cooking off” later this century. For the politically right and white, there has always been a certain systemic racism towards people living in equatorial zones, and certain elements in society may thing a die off is long overdue and “practical”. I insist, with mass migration, modern technology, NBC warfare that is no longer the case. If a few tens of million people start dying as a result of climate change, use of any available weapons of mass destruction either as a result of resource wars, migration control or terrorism becomes a 100% certainty.

So having established people will keep emitting CO2 and other climate disrupting, heat trapping gasses, and having established that the consequences of extreme climate change may trigger planet destroying catastrophe either directly or indirectly, we need immediate solutions.

As said, planting trees in the Sahara is doable. We can use sand as building material, and dig canals that take salt water deep into the Sahara desert. We can make these canals run along canyons, and reinforce the canyons with sintered 3D-printed sand, in order to take populations, water and naturally cooled environments deep into the most arid continental regions across the planet. That’s already a developed idea. I am sure I saw designs somewhere. This is a double whammy solution – you create fairly idyllic living environments for humans (Imagine a canyon dug 50 meters deep, a stream running at the bottom, houses set in the canyon walls, running for hundreds of miles through the desert, a monorail running along the artificial canal). Downside it is labour intensive. There are probably far better solutions to using desert surface to capture carbon but I got a feeling that won’t be able to capture all of the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes there is – the oceans. The oceans currently only photosynthesize about 100 meters, and that’s already a generous estimate. So in essence, most of the planet’s water is cold, dead and not at work capturing CO2.

Now we have LED illumination that’s darn effective in terms of energy efficiency. So what if we can illuminate key regions of the world’s oceans, much deeper than that 100 meters? If we do that we trigger photosynthesis in quite substantial three-dimensional regions. I visualise it like this – on the surface of a sea or ocean floats a structure. It is kept moored with cables to the seabed below, let’s assume a sea region in the order of 500 to 1000 meters, but eventually we can go even deeper with this. Along the mooring cables we run electrical cabling, and we suspend pressure resistant glass cylinders. Inside those cylinders we hang LED lighting. The Cylinders need not be particularly intricate – thick glass can be made pressure resistant. You can make these structures shaped in a manner that allows the best efficiency in terms of light output.

Listen – I can imagine all the objections against any such really big projects, be it Sahara or Deepsea photosynthesis or whatever. All these objections come down to this – who is going to pay for such an idea?

The problem of climate change is real, the dangers are real and the need to do something about it. Sooner rather than later we will experience sea levels go up, weather get wilder and large regions of the world become deserts. It’s no longer a matter of decades, we are now clearly seeing the slow motion catastrophe unfold in terms of years. Heatwaves are becoming the new normal as we speak. I have argued before, there’s a lot of reason for rich people to drag their feet in allowing political solutions, because those rich people can perfectly well see that if the world consensus shifts towards affirmation climate change is real, there will be a very big bill due to find solutions to solve it – and they have all the money these days. So rich people, elites know that if we start seeking solutions it’s going to be mostly them footing the bill.

There’s no solving this conundrum. The CO2 and Methane is already billowing in to the atmosphere, where it acts as a thermal battery acid that traps heat instead of electricity. We need approaches to grabbing that CO2 by the throat and turning it into oxygen and biomass really fast. On land the potential to do so is fraught with infrastructural challenges, political hurdles, local instability.

But the sea lays completely barren and mostly lifeless. Right now the sea is by far the biggest absorption medium (or sponge) for atmospheric carbon, and it’s fast losing that ability on account of sputtering halocline currents, ever faster run-off, anoxic regions and ocean acidification.

By claiming all that empty real estate and making oceanic algae do the hard work for us, I really think there’s a credible pathway to tackling the problem. As soon as we evolve as a species in to most robust affirmation of science, facts, yanno “reality” the sooner we can come to terms that, Yes heroin is addictive, yes it is bad for the planet, yes it can get a lot of people dead in a really miserable manner, the sooner we can come to grips with our literal responsibility to actually start giving a damn about, yanno “the future”.

Now the oceans were formless and empty,
darkness was under the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of Progress and Science was hovering over the waters.
And Humanity said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Humanity saw that the light did good

Guys, let’s not waste decades on “studies” ok? Can someone like Elon Musk go out and test this idea?

Comments Off on Well-known Transhumanists disappears, possible black-ops CIA rendition

I am informing everyone of the mysterious disappearance of Arjen Kamphuis in Norway.

Arjen has been active in the left leaning, anti-establishment thinking side of transhumanism. His possible appearance is treated seriously by Wikileaks, of which he was a consultant. I consider Arjen a friend and someone I greatly admire. There’s a distinctive possibility he was disappeared by rogue elements in the CIA. Last time I saw him in person was at the event in Amsterdam where he had organized an event together with Ancilla in getting Walter Binney to the Netherlands. So, where is Arjen now? I am quite worried.

Please repost this as widely as possible.

Articles
* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtWWb_4YmCc
* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-qgmRnqces
* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9vVFFDUO4g
* https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2018/09/02/vermiste-computerexpert-arjen-kamphuis-houdt-niet-van-waaghalzerij-a1615027
* https://www.telegraaf.nl/nieuws/2510850/nog-steeds-geen-spoor-van-in-noorwegen-vermiste-arjen
* http://khannea-suntzu.zerostate.net/?p=5423
* https://www.emerce.nl/wire/brunel-haalt-ex-nsadirector-william-binney-nederland
* https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201809041067747801-assange-associate-spies/
* https://twitter.com/arjenkamphuis?lang=en
* https://www.linkedin.com/in/arjenkamphuis/
* https://www.ad.nl/binnenland/noorse-politie-onderzoekt-vermissing-arjen-kamphuis-47~a0629ab7/
* https://www.telegraaf.nl/nieuws/2518909/speciaal-team-ingezet-bij-zoektocht-naar-kamphuis
* https://www.ad.nl/buitenland/noorwegen-zet-elite-eenheid-op-zoektocht-naar-arjen-kamphuis-47~a9e803b0/
* https://nos.nl/artikel/2249024-noorse-recherche-zoekt-naar-vermiste-arjen-kamphuis.html
* https://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nieuws/artikel/4405466/noorse-politie-schaalt-zoekactie-vermiste-arjen-kamphuis-op
* https://www.transport-online.nl/site/94885/noorse-politie-zoekt-naar-vermiste-arjen-kamphuis/
* https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achtergrond/23-cia-agenten-in-italie-veroordeeld-voor-ontvoering~bfe3f305/
* https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/20-extraordinary-facts-about-cia-extraordinary-rendition-and-secret-detention
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraordinary_rendition
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_site

Comments Off on Humans are weird in so many ways, and maybe here is an explanation why…

My views on this topic are evolving fast and there are a lot of things I may decide to edit or add later!

Answer about what really happened and why humans do some of the weird stuff they do.

Let’s meta the fuck out of this….

Humans didn’t categorize one another [all that much] in the Pleistocene, say 25 thousand years ago. People back then all had ADHD, they were all pansexual, and their plastic thinking (thinking in to malleable categories and attributable thinking) was limited. This had benefits and disadvantages. But then the Pleistocene started ending, and ice started melting. As ice melted, sea levels rose. It got warmer. This compressed people’s habitats together and that caused conflict and territorialism. Some people found it useful to start claiming land as opposed to a slash&burn agriculture, semi nomadic hunter gatherer existence. That in turn sharply reduced the quality of food (people became smaller and unhealthier) but increased dependability and quantity of food for the majority of people will both quality and quantity of foods increased for a small category of “leading figures” of society. This allowed that leaders to grow taller and survive more aggressive, dominant strategies, as well as claim more females for procreative activity. The consequence was that a small dominant strain could imprint their genes, those genes in that small niche turned towards dominance and psychopathy, and they flourished. The undercastes survived as long as hey acquiesced to this emerging Holocene status quo.

That’s what we in genetics call a genetic bottleneck event as well as a genetic diversification event. There’s evolutionary pressure favoring two sets of genes – one dominance, conflict, diverse diets including meats and favoring decreased empathy, the other favoring docile acceptance, nonaggression, routine and diets favoring grains. For most of the last millenia the ‘Morlocks’ (warlike elite nobility) genes, to use but an analogy, were actively seeking to breed only inside their narrow genetic band, and to constrain the ‘Eloi’ (docile agricultural commoners) from spreading genetic traits they didn’t fancy. You saw examples of that in what I call “rolling stone” behavior (one dominant celebrity guy taking as many procreate mates from the eloi class as he wanted), The “Primae Noctis” or “First Right of Kings”, and of course the rampant inbreeding in upper echelons of european nobility. So it has now become normal for a small percentage of the lower classes to have both the atavistic ADHD gene (as an example), combined with a natural tendency to dispassionately treat fellow human beings as tools (or means to an end), to actively lack empathy, and to have peculiar mix of sexual and social dominant characteristics. Excesses of the latter we label “Sadism”.

Likewise the most successful breeders of the “Eloi” underclasses were docile, submissive, sycophantic – and their willingness to grovel and flatter occasionally culminated in geneplexes we have now come to know as “masochistic”. You see the same neoteny in domesticated dogs. That’s probably why people like trump constantly refer to people he loathes as dogs, but that may be a particularly unpleasant colloquial example.

* https://www.nextnature.net/2011/02/we-domesticated-ourselves/
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_red_fox
* https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-archaeology-skulls/tower-of-human-skulls-in-mexico-casts-new-light-on-aztecs-idUSKBN19M3Q6
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

As the Holocene progressed we notice that the cognition of humans also changes to favour increasingly more complex, modal, stacked abstraction. That’s where the emphasis on human labelling comes in. Intelligence is not a medium neutral arbiter of reality. It is a system that uses a complex and evolutionary very buggy substrate of the primate brain to achieve results in the environment. You see how slanted this mechanism is in small clades of humans that have actively practiced subgenus genetic selection towards what they perceive to be intelligence, such as Ashkenazi Jews – who are definitely smarter, but also suffer from a markedly increased likelihood towards asperger, autism spectrum disorders as well as signs of inbreeding.

* https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/pellissier20110719
* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OttJ6VTwVmM

In the european middle ages towards the Renaissance there were events that increased genetic selection. This period was an active genetic bottleneck period. If we look at graves from those roughly 1200 years (500-1700AD) we notice that the genes found in rural burial site bones have largely died out in modern times, whereas the genes of people’s bones found in burial sites near cities survived, sometimes flat out, i.e. a correlation of well over 95%. So it stands to reason to conclude that genes favoring collaborative strategies, the ability to think abstract, think in complex plastic labels or categories, collaborate dispassionately was a successful genetic survival strategy. In those 1000+ years the status quo strongly favoured patriarchal feudalism and quite often a rather harsh autocratic style of running society, reflecting the genes already in ascendance throughout the Holocene. You still see a marked genetic differential between nomadic humans in today’ world, who have a predisposition towards ADHD (what I’d call “free spirits”) and markedly less so in genetic strains of urbanized or sedentary humans. I Swahili some 60+% can be diagnosed ADHD, as an example. But what’s in a label?

* https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/685710
* https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080609195604.htm

So concluding – we may see several interesting explanations emerge for certain mysterious, mostly inexplicable behavior in humans. Some of my conclusions may be very insulting to some people. First, what is it with people and belief in “god” ? My conclusion I present to you (for which I’d love to see hard scientific studies) is that most human genes were strongly selected towards unswerving loyalty and fear for a mostly unseen all powerful male. This may serve to explain religiosity; the strange conviction there’s some kind of transcendent, all powerful male (often with a beard) hovering just behind you, judging your every action and ready to mete out ‘heavenly’ bliss, fortune, alternately to inflict “hellish” torment. I just described a significant portion the leitmotiffs in human “civilisation”. I also conjecture that this explains the very strange behavior of humans towards masochism and sadism. What is the use of masochistic behavior (the sexual titillation brought on my extreme submissiveness and sexual servitude) and I can easily think of some genetic algorithms favoring this behavior.

So the problem may be less a matter of how people tag, label, categorize one another – it’s the instincts and empowerment that allows and urges some to inflict violence on others based on those tags.

> Before 1800 all societies, including England, were Malthusian. The average man or woman
> had 2 surviving children. Such societies were also Darwinian. Some reproductively successful
> groups produced more than 2 surviving children, increasing their share of the population,
> while other groups produced less, so that their share declined. But unusually in England, this
> selection for men was based on economic success from at least 1250, not success in violence
> as in some other pre-industrial societies. The richest male testators left twice as many children
> as the poorest. Consequently the modern population of the English is largely descended from
> the economic upper classes of the middle ages…

But it also explains why we are in the sucky world we live in today. And in one word – Capitalism. The prevailing and sometimes bewilderingly ruthless of people today is not social, not gregarious but intertwined with a curious mix of subservient docility in majorities versus an absolutely psychopathic ability of some minorities to use other people as a means to an end. The excess of this is of course when this ‘successful’ strain of ruthlessness brought slavery to other continents from the old world. But it also shows when (in particular) males are compressed together in very confined environments, say for example prisons. I alleged human males to be functionally insane under most conditions and that insanity is especially evident in claustrophobic horror of prisons in underdeveloped countries such as the US. Look closely at the prevailing sadistic attitudes of people outside prisons towards these males, as well as the aggressive, sadistic and rapacious behavior between males inside those prisons. These behaviors are markedly less present in female prisons.

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4301200/
* https://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=131113&page=1
* https://metro.co.uk/2017/04/26/sexual-assault-in-prison-if-i-get-sent-to-jail-will-i-be-raped-6596399/
* https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/transgender-prison-rape-colorado-female-men-colorado-lawsuit-a8334556.html

I believe we can gauge the gamut of human pathology in that light, clear as day. We are a species that dominates, collaborates, exploits, rapes, domesticates – and if need be exterminates – itself.

Happily there are also instincts in the human mind that escape the above mold. One such instinct towards joy, inspiration, experience and sharing is found in the mysterious human instinct some experience – ASMR. Can someone invent an evolutionary rationale for ASMR?

Oh btw

Leave a comment!

I propose “Market Libertarianism” is terrorism.

Posted: 31st August 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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This qualifies as terrorism. An ideology that even tacitly embraces these viewpoints should be eradicated. Those who preach this should be imprisoned or institutionalized.

The libertarian US economist Murray Rothbard (1926-1995) wrote in his book ‘Ethics of Liberty’, that parents should have the right to put a child out for adoption or sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract. Rothbard suggested selling children as consumer goods in accordance with market forces, would benefit “everyone” involved in the market: “the natural parents, the children, and the foster parents. In Rothbard’s view, “the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights.” Thus, parents should have the legal right to let any infant die by starvation. However, since “the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children” he wrote, “the existence of a free baby market will bring such ‘neglect’ down to a minimum”.

Source – Wikipedia

The Endless Saga

Posted: 30th August 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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Star Wars CANON


The Proper Chronological Order
Rise of the Sith – Season 1 Star Wars TV Series (2024-2025)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 1 – Rise of Joda (2038)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 3 – Rise of Darth Plagueis (2041)
Chewbacca – The Darker Star Wars Series (2025)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 2 – The Source of Power (2040)
Star Wars Episode 1 – A Phantom Menace (1999)
Chewbacca 2 – The Darker Star Wars Series (2028)
Star Wars Episode 2 – Attack Of The Clones (2002)
Chewbacca 3 – The Darker Star Wars Series (2030)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 3 – Joda Ascendant (2038)
Star Wars Episode 3 – Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 5 – The Core of The Galaxy (2042)
Adventures of Qi’Ra – A Star Wars Story (2029)
Qi’Ra Returns – A Star Wars Story (2034)
Solo – A Star Wars Solo Story (2018)
The Rebellion – Season 1 Star Wars TV Series (2021-2022)
The Rebellion – Season 2 Star Wars TV Series (2022-2023)
The Rebellion – Season 3 Star Wars TV Series (2023-2024)
The Calrissian Chronicles (2025)
The Rebellion – Season 4 Star Wars TV Series (2024-2026)
Qi’Ra and the Knights Of Ren (2037)
Solo 2 – A Star Wars Solo Story (2024)
[The] Calrissian Chronicles 2 (2026)
Rogue One – A Star Wars Story (2017)
[The] Calrissian Chronicles 4 (2035)
Solo 3 – A Star Wars Solo Story (2028)
[The] Calrissian Chronicles 3 (2039)
Star Wars Episode 4 – A New Hope (1977)
Qi’Ra, Jedi Master (2045)
Rogue Two – A Star Wars Story (2028)
Star Wars Episode 4 – Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars Episode 6 – The Return Of The Jedi (1983)
The Cyborg Rebellion 1 – The Crawling Doom (2034)
Star Wars Episode 7 – The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode 8 – The Last Jedi (2017)
The Cyborg Rebellion 2 – The Mysterious Force (2037)
The Cyborg Rebellion 3 – Sentinels of Darkness (2040)
Star Wars Episode 9 – The Third Force (2020)
Star Wars Episode 10 – The Return of Snoke (2027)
Star Wars Episode 11 – Invasion Of The Adadu (2028)
Star Wars Episode 12 – The Jedi Empire (2030)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 4 – The Endless Dark Within (2044)
Star Wars Episode 13 – The Return of Joda (2033)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 5 – The Endless Dark Within (2047)
Star Wars Episode 14 – The Darkness Unveiled (2035)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 6 – The Endless Dark Within (2050)
Star Wars Episode 15 – Dark Side Of The Galaxy (2037)
Star Wars Episode 1 Revised – A Phantom Menace (2043)
Star Wars Episode 2 Revised – Attack Of The Clones (2044)
Star Wars Episode 3 Revised – Revenge Of The Sith (2005)


Order of Making
Star Wars Episode 4 – A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars Episode 4 – Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Star Wars Episode 6 – The Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Star Wars Episode 1 – A Phantom Menace (1999)
Star Wars Episode 2 – Attack Of The Clones (2002)
Star Wars Episode 3 – Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
Star Wars Episode 7 – The Force Awakens (2015)
Star Wars Episode 8 – The Last Jedi (2017)
Rogue One – A Star Wars Story (2017)
Solo – A Star Wars Solo Story (2018)
Star Wars Episode 9 – The Third Force (2020)
The Rebellion – Season 1 Star Wars TV Series (2021-2022)
The Rebellion – Season 2 Star Wars TV Series (2022-2023)
The Rebellion – Season 3 Star Wars TV Series (2023-2024)
Solo 2 – A Star Wars Solo Story (2024)
The Rebellion – Season 4 Star Wars TV Series (2024-2026)
Rise of the Sith – Season 1 Star Wars TV Series (2024-2025)
The Calrissian Chronicles (2025)
Chewbacca – The Darker Star Wars Series (2025)
[The] Calrissian Chronicles 2 (2026)
Star Wars Episode 10 – The Return of Snoke (2027)
Rogue Two – A Star Wars Story (2028)
Chewbacca 2 – The Darker Star Wars Series (2028)
Solo 3 – A Star Wars Solo Story (2028)
Star Wars Episode 11 – Invasion Of The Adadu (2028)
Adventures of Qi’Ra – A Star Wars Story (2029)
Chewbacca 3 – The Darker Star Wars Series (2030)
Star Wars Episode 12 – The Jedi Empire (2030)
Star Wars Episode 13 – The Return of Joda (2033)
Qi’Ra Returns – A Star Wars Story (2034)
The Cyborg Rebellion 1 – The Crawling Doom (2034)
Star Wars Episode 14 – The Darkness Unveiled (2035)
[The] Calrissian Chronicles 4 (2035)
Qi’Ra and the Knights Of Ren (2037)
The Cyborg Rebellion 2 – The Mysterious Force (2037)
Star Wars Episode 15 – Dark Side Of The Galaxy (2037)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 1 – Rise of Joda (2038)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 3 – Joda Ascendant (2038)
[The] Calrissian Chronicles 3 (2039)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 2 – The Source of Power (2040)
The Cyborg Rebellion 3 – Sentinels of Darkness (2040)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 4 – Rise of Darth Plagueis (2041)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 5 – The Core of The Galaxy (2042)
Star Wars Episode 1 Revised – A Phantom Menace (2043)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 4 – The Endless Dark Within (2044)
Star Wars Episode 2 Revised – Attack Of The Clones (2044)
Qi’Ra, Jedi Master (2045)
Star Wars Episode 3 Revised – Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 5 – The Endless Dark Within (2047)
The Dark Rim Chronicles 6 – The Endless Dark Within (2050)

Let me think for a brief second hmmm…

Posted: 28th August 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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Comments Off on The Break-Even Point of Automating Tax Evasion and White Collar Crime Capture

Right now the vast majority of types of tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud are not caught in the developed world. As a result countries lose an enormous amount of revenues and end up with massive budget holes. The tax agencies simply do not have the manpower to go after various forms of white collar fraud, especially in the US where corporations tend to dictate terms and litigate any attempt towards rectification into oblivion.

However – artificial intelligence is advancing at a breakneck speed. Right now we have a doubling rate of AI capacity in terms of months rather than the Moore’s law standard of years. Hence I would regard it as likely and highly desirable that governments invest in developing AI tools for going after corporate crime (tax and otherwise). There is a point where the capacity of AI to create relatively airtight evidence for white collar crime thereby facilitating quicker sentencing. I do not see the capacity of white collar corporate criminal AI keeping up with government AI since AI research tends to be fairly visible in science papers. So governments can look at the state of the art of subterfuge technologies and adjust their attempts accordingly.

It is hard to estimate when the break even point is reached (where investment in these technologies is markedly less than the revenue it engenders) and the very moment we get there libertarians fraudsters in the world will cry their eyes out as governments finally know how to find them and hold them accountable.

A subsidiary of this idea is that we can likewise algorithmize government for effectiveness in policy not many years later, and create government that works for everyone rather than government that works only for lobbyists and their sponsors. Right now we still inhabit an injust era where the proverbial 1% of people can coerce politicians and skew laws in their favour. We may soon anticipate an era where this is no longer possible.

When will it be possible to automate justice, so to speak? My educated guess is within ten years, but no more than 15 years. That’s a monumental conclusion that will have far reaching consequences for many countries world wide, and one that will quickly trickle down to people as more tax revenue generally means better national resources and infrastructure that can be used for the actual population.

If you read this and agree please spread this Op-Ed so as many politicians, AI researchers and civil servants world wide as possible can draw the required conclusions. Clearly we will need some sort of basic income in the next few years, and using AI to give governments more agency is absolutely necessary.

This… www..w.was… innn..ehh..esscca..hhaaa..ppablle

Posted: 17th August 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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I For One Welcome The Imminent Climate Tyrants

Posted: 15th August 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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Humanity is not ‘general intelligence’. Intelligence is best defined as the ability to mentally model the future, debate these models for accuity, come to many solutions for problems and choose the best solution. So if we live in a village in a deep valley, the hills above us is all loose soil covered with thick trees and foliage, we have heavy rainfalls every autumn, we can reasonably anticipate that if we cut down the trees our habitation will be seasonally flooded with torrents of mud. If we are intelligent, we have sufficient information of past events, we are allowed to debate, organize and apply centralized policy, we should be good. We might build our houses on solid stilts, and or stop cutting down those trees, and we may decide to plant new ones were we already have soil washing downhill. Not having intelligence as a species, means we are for one reason or another incapable of making such decisions and acting upon them.

The world is improving in many ways as many transhumanists in my peer community “who tactictly serve vested interests” keep reminding me. I agree. My concern is the optimists among us exist in some sort of splendid isolation and close their eyes for negatives. One such negative is the impact of industrial development in terms of increasing molecules in the atmosphere that trap heat. This isn’t just CO2. More water vapour, methane, Chlorofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide are the same kind of atoms in this regard. The motion of linked atoms in the molecule has heat carrying capacity, sort of like the atoms in a battery have electricity carrying capacity. It’s like a heat-trapping blanket in summer.

Enough with the explanations already.

I read about it in the 1980s, in considerable detail. We knew back in the 1970s. The scientific community was fairly certain this was becoming an issue. I read science fiction from Larry Niven in that era (ringworld) that described planetary heating, and it’s consequences. In science fiction people tend to come up with solutions, some better than others. Sadly right now we have very limited solutions, and most are very bad.

We as a species lack the ability to accept the conclusions of climate science. We now see a majority of climate scientists suffer from severe depression. We keep getting shrill whining from imbeciles that deny climate change, much like a Judas who whines his shrill accusations about his boss – for paltry monetary rewards. There is a second cordon of these species traitors that whine that to fully address climate change is more ‘expensive’ than to not to do. There’s even such idiots in the transhumanist community who go as far as cheerlead president trump for dismantling previously signed climate change treaties. Treaties that were half-measures to begin with.

Listen, I am a statist. I’d rather have oppressive far left nanny state government than none. Right now there’s a big world with way too many really rich people, who consume far more than anyone else in climate damage. Much as we are all insipid clowns as human beings in that we all refuse to eat less meat, while we know how we treat animals, how animal industries affect the planet and how bad excess meat consumption is for us. People say, “i am all for care for the environment, but I gotta have my spicy meatballs a few times a week”. I include myself in this gallery of royal assholes, as I still eat meat. I am no different than the total cunts I alluded to above, the ones that emit by far the most greenhouse gases.

This is all boring fact.

THIS WILL BE WORSE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE


Those who experience the most consequences right now would be the lower echelons of wealth and income on the planet. Meanwhile rich cunts are in a crazy scramble to irrationally insulate themselves from all this. They got the memo and are acting upon it. They know nothing. Quote:

It’s like, look at these techie douche-bag assholes, who helped destroy entire industries, and destroy our democratic political process… And now, when the shit hits the fan, they’re all gonna bail?!

The problem is that as long as rich cunts believe they can insulate themselves, as long as they believe taking active measures that will have real impact costs more to them in the short to median long run, the more the species won’t act. Most people who stand to suffer loss of revenue and prosperity as a result of active policy are over 40. Climate change will start generating impacts in 30 years – by then most of these cunts will be dead.

But that won’t stay the case. Fairly soon we will see a confluence of several changes in global society that will allow us to more leeway in terms of solving this.

1 – estimated consequences of effects of climate change are becoming worse. It looks way badder than we anticipated so far.
2 – as the world has more rich people, each one having fingers in the political pie, each year consequences will loom closer and they will grow more ‘incentivized’ to demand from their elected officials to get on it…
3 – those same rich people may anticipate being blamed for all this, and they (or their children) facing the consequences as a result…
4 – there may actually be major profit to helping fighting climate change for rich people to get richer…
5 – climate change is almost certain to trigger poor brown people migrations easily ten or a hundred times bigger than you have already seen and there is no way to stop such quantities of extremely desperate people…
6 – with all compound effects of climate change is almost certain to lead to use of nuclear other other mass destructive weapons. With nukes rich folks die as well, and we can’t have that ….
7 – There are likely to be some major medical technology advances soon in that people may soon anticipate living substantially longer, through life extension.

Of course we as a planetary species are imbeciles and we will drag our feet. We will dilly-dally for a few more years. So when we finally wake up we will completely change the prevailing paradigm and switch gears, much like a lazy student who starts cramming for exams days before the exam.

Now try and visualise a world where leading figures decide they want to be absolutely certain the climate change consequences are completely minimal, and are willing to throw all resources at the problem. That means – international treaties that are enforced with collective state violence on violators. It means – people everywhere barred from from consuming resources in a manner that massively contributes to climate change (gas powered vehicles become illegal, meat products costs ten times as much as it does today, etc. etc.) and most poignantly of all; – we start taking science substantially more seriously.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds a lot like a total planetary dictatorship the likes of which we have never seen. It effectively means the end of Libertarian delusions of grandeur (and libertarian thinking becoming just as maligned an ideology as today is active hitlerism) and it means we’ll have a plush yummy big nanny state world government.

Me likey that.

OF COURSE I end up substantially poorer as a result of this. But so will everyone else be. And we as a species will become finally unified by a single purpose that forces everyone, in a deliciously tyrannical manner to dedicate all their efforts in to a single unified purpose. It’ll mean war economy. It’ll mean massive unemployment as all manner of energy wasting jobs will end overnight. It’ll mean people living in very closekit, highly sustainable, highly communal structures, many of which near extremely green inner cities. And these happen to be things I really like.

Rich motherfuckers living in garish estates, flying several times a year around the planet – not so much. And frankly, I don’t give a damn. These cunts should count their blessings if they get lucky they don’t end up lynched.

So, I regard myself as optimistic. Very optimistic in fact – because having children will substantially decrease and politically there will be major gains in having more people who have very good reasons to expect they will live substantially longer. If you want something done about climate change, make sure people have the expectation they will live 200 years. They will enter a mad scramble to do something about these problems now.

This has so far been a very very angry article, and I hope you understand full well why. And it has been an article that will terrify the living daylights out of rich libertarian assholes that contribute so much to the problem. Because guys – you are leading the community of human beings directly to a highly socialized, super green one word single government, single policy species.

Thanks!

Queue awesome music.

[/sarcasm]

Updates
* The next five years will be ‘anomalously warm,’ scientists predict
* U.S. $23 trillion will be lost if temperatures rise four degrees by 2100
* This summer’s extreme heat may just be the start of a super-hot stretch

More Update
Nazi Germany was organized about blaming a small minority in their midst. This ended up in the extermination of millions of homosexuals, petty criminals, people with mental handicaps, malcontents, gypsies and jews. There were mechanisms that made the Germans come to hate these minorities and these mechanisms were adeptly fanned on and exploited to considerable effect. Now imagine – climate change is proven real, and the consequences are visible. Who will get blamed? Guess what – very rich people. If you thought the old Shoah was bad, wait until the next one. It’ll be like the french revolution, but on a planetary scale. The comparatively innocent will be lynched along with the entire koch family.

Don’t be part of the vindictiveness-industrial complex.

Posted: 11th August 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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There is a pervasive climate of distrust and resentment of some (not all) working people towards people who for some reason do not work, can not find work or can not work. Depending on the overton window in your particular geographic area, there is variation on how much resentment there is, or what type of resentment. Also, in some cases people who do not at a particular time have some kind of paid employment, for whatever reason, do not get anything like approximating a welfare payment, or don’t qualify. But then we see that people who don’t have access to money are distrusted for being more likely to be “degenerate” (alcohol, drugs come to mind of common prejudices) or themselves somehow “to blame” for their insolvency. Another factor is that people who can not somehow generate sufficient means to live a somewhat acceptable life may in fact resort to activities that range from nuisance (begging, homelessness) to outright crime, ‘socialist’ political activism (which in this case I wrote down here as a form of slander), revolt-type thinking, sabotage or other categories of active nuisance.

Working people have of course a stake in perpetuating and repeating negative stories about people who don’t work. Summarizing, this is because allegedly people without meaningful activities don’t pay in to the system, do not have ‘skin in the game‘ or are somehow compelled to become a nuisance. I am not arguing against or in favour of this opinion, I am just stating as somewhat self-evident fact that employed people clearly have vested interest in blaming or scapegoating jobless people.

As a result the electorate in most developed countries has somewhat excessively used negative narratives, possibly even a degree of slander against the unemployed. This has resulted in the electorate voting accordingly, and as such the legal and judicial systems taken rather extreme and often downright punitive measures against people the unemployed. It varies from country to country how the elderly, retired, disabled, otherwise unemployable are treated but there’s a steadily sliding scale of abuse from people in general, there’s obvious undertones of sexism and racism at work, and I’d qualify the treatment of various sorts of currently or permanently unemployed ranging from resentful to downright sadistic, depending on how well the political system has become weaponized against the “blamed” classes.

I’d argue that most developed countries generate some sort of welfare income for the unemployed. In some countries this is adequate to survive, in some countries there’s even some potential for human dignity but in most developed countries there’s no hint of dignity. Purely as anecdotal personal observation – I’d regard how welfare agencies here in my home country of the Netherlands treat people who file for welfare as intensely and consistently ruthless. There is an active and obvious prejudice here. People who work here consistently act to distrust and if they can somehow chase the person filing for unemployment benefits away from making the claim, they will, more so if the person making the claim has corresponding darker skin pigmentation and/or immigrant backgrounds. I am not putting this up to debate here, it is so obvious that I regard it as factual statement.

Saving money by not having to pay welfare, or conspiring to chase filers away is one thing, but there is also forced work. People who receive welfare benefits are by dutch laws required to make a counter-effort in contributing to society. This kind of forced labour can only be categorized is designed to be unpleasant. Essentially, the municipality involved decides that the “blameworthy” need to become motivated and empowered to work, ‘learn to get out of bed every morning’ and go to work. If welfare recipients selected for this work refuse, or fail in facilitating this regimen they lose benefits, and quite often the mechanism is such designed to make welfare recipients fail, so municipalities can summarily apply punitive measures. However the municipality is cautious not to in that manner end up with large sections of the population becoming homeless, which would in effect worsen the real or suspected nuisance these people would incur on working or “not blameworthy” or “blameless” people.

There is clearly a mechanism that the outrage and resentment of the working section of the population “hydraulically” translates in to votes, and this causally translates in to said punitive measures. And then to consider than in many or most countries beyond the Netherlands welfare is lower (i.e., less dignified) the back to work programs are decidedly more callous, and the hatred of working people is even more acidic or even organized in racist or hate lobbies.

It bears mentioning that forced labour programs (some may go as far as call these slavery) cost society and the community a lot of money. Consequently, there is a factual and verifiable causal chain that connects anger towards the unemployed to the degree the municipality of government is willing to generate apparatuses of “encouragement” of the unemployed. I place the word encouragement between euphemistic brackets, because I do not believe there’s encouragement here – there’s just a political overton spectrum of what is regarded as normative or even acceptable to inflict on the unemployed. In the US that most certainly entails the use of the prison industrial complex to purposefully make the unemployed do something that’s meticulously designed to grab them from the streets, or some activity that has been weaponized by labeling it as a crime (such as the war on drugs, which is universally racist) and then sniping off the habitually or systemically unemployed and then carting them off to prison. Essentially, the state gets a carte blanche by the working (or otherwise having an income) electorate where the electorate votes in a manner that creates laws or judicial contraptions to cart people of to prison, so ‘they are out of everybody’s hair’ so to speak. And this denuisansing of society is costly, arguably significantly more costly than giving each of these people a dignified welfare. Locking up someone in the US costs more than all costs a person makes studying at a good business school or university. But we do not do that. We do not seek to somehow -both- increase the universal well-being of the unemployed person as well as doing whatever it takes to make that person a meaningful member of society. Instead we make them do horrible jobs, either as “reactivation” or we lock em up in a seriously dangerous and violent environment. And then we go around making (in the US specifically) that such person now faces a risk of extreme sexual abuse, but let’s not get in to that.

It is very hard to decouple the willingness of the state to become an instrument of vindictiveness. I have dealt with people who do this vindictiveness work at municipalities and I believe we are clearly seeing severe signs of “stanford prison experiment psychopathy“, as well as a severe state of what I’d label milgram psychopathy with these civil servants. I thus state it as fact that in most developed countries people paid for by tax dollars are routinely subjected to work where cruelty is so baked in to the assigned tasks these people become in mere weeks subject to a diagnosis of abusive disorders such as lack of empathy, sadism, delegation of perceived responsibility for mechanisms that are clearly meant to inculcate suffering. I will refrain from degenerating in to Godwin’s law territory.

The point of this article is the assertion that after a certain number of months or years, someone who for some reason (which can be due to personal responsibility in some cases, yes yes) needs welfare benefits nearly irreversibly damaged. I’ll stick to analyzing this for my country, and yes my perceived narratives are mostly anecdotal, but I can only state that the subjects involved were of a consistent nature, thus perceived over many cases if not universal. Reasons why people do not work for long times tend to be wayyy to often attributable to how society responds to specific individuals to begin with. Personal appearance, gender, race, family backgrounds, unacknowledged disability, undiagnosed diseases, mental states, history of abuse, etc. etc. all contribute to people either not working, not being able to work (and still having to qualify for welfare as opposed to disability) or downright giving up on work.

So we can safely say that we have a society wide instrument fueled by electoral resentment, which is completely useless in getting people back to work (unless we include slave labour in US prisons in the equation, but I hardly regard slavery as a government policy worth debating) and as a side effect worsens the state of the welfare recipient as to become even more unable to work. I have not met people who were on welfare longer than five years (out of thousands) who did not have at least occasionally suicidal ideation, or needed and received psychiatric care, or needed and received antidepressants. Or, to complete the list of pathologies, who didn’t end up self-medicating in some manner, either with alcoholism or other types of drug use.

Can society politely request of people who receive welfare benefits to take some sort of reciprocal activity (meaningful volunteer work comes to mind) but what if this for some reason does not happen or simply isn’t possible? How far do you go exacting sanctioned state retribution to publicly validate that we need some form of welfare to begin with, and that “if we do not give them welfare we’ll probably end up paying more money through prisons, law enforcement and judicial apparatuses”. We can agree we rather not live in a society where the state lets vulnerable people just die, such as happened several times in the UK, rather than offer them disability or welfare. Societies that cruel are clearly losing appeal to the golden rule and maybe its citizens are within their rights to actively resist such regimens.

The question before me then is, does the right have a duty to varying degrees of easing discomfort in some unconsolable members of its citizenry. And I believe, yes the state has that duty, universally. Yes the state must pick up people with sickness and return them to health, in varying degrees. If someone is dying of tuberculosis in the street it isn’t only the risk of infection spreading that makes the modern state institutionally care for such a person – it’s also that we as human beings are elevated by a sense of empathy. We are moral beings who are bound to care for vulnerability, regardless of what negative stereotypes or caricatures we can foist upon such people.

In the past I concluded such polemics with a polite and reasoned argument for basic income, but I won’t go there for now.

What I will however conclude with is the statement that (a) there’s clear scientific evidence that people over the equivalent income of “about” 15000 euro purchase value, become more outspoken in their political and societal beliefs. One might say, if a person suddenly generates or receives money to the degree of 15 thousand euro purchase power they “get an ego”, “they start actively defending their interests”, or their “emancipate”.

It is no surprise than that welfare hovers decidedly below the mean empowerment level. Consequently, those in welfare are likelier to succumb to despair, get sick, degrade to habitual self-harm, gravitate to mental disease. They can’t help it. Nearly every human being would exhibit the same pathologies if subjected to similar and similarly inescapable ordeals. We can vomit paternalisms, accusations, negative stereotypes, thinly veiled racism, self-validating criticism or outright threats of violence over the people enmeshed in lifelong welfare but that is not going to solve the mess we have created.

Yes, as a civilized society we HAVE to give people at least some income, or they pathologize in a range of manners. And yes, if we end up cultivating a large contingent of people in welfare (disability, pension, etc) traps, we are cultivating a subsection of the populace we will find very difficult to reintegrate again in to meaning, self love, productivity, a sense of belonging, self-respect or ability to contribute. Not having welfare is scandalous and unacceptable. But leaving people on welfare for years on end is probably just as senseless. But then additionally tormenting those people in all sorts of additional and a quite expensive state vindictiveness industrial complex is tantamount to society actively damaging itself.

So what you might so, it’s only 5% of the employable population at most, or even “only” one tenth of the population in times of economic downturn. You might argue “omelette and eggs” with regards to the precious fruits of capitalism, or you might argue, “that’s the cost of how this system works and works so well”, some win, some lose.

But then I politely invite you to entertain the notion that in coming few decades we will see a fast worsening of the quality of available jobs, as well as a fast decrease in available jobs, as well as an ultra-fast increase of divisions in society. This is the moment I feel at easy using metaphors of titanics and icebergs. We no longer need to have all these people do often nonsensical work. We as a society waste resources and the future is set for society to have more and more resources and human potential actively sabotaged by this system as technological unemployment progresses. Jobs will pay less, they will become increasingly dull and unpleasant, work stress will increase and availability of jobs will be likely to be substantially more difficult. So more people will be competing for unpleasant jobs, and hey will go on in this insane bidding war of academic degrees contrivances. No your local barrista does not need a university degree in people servicing to do her job, she needs a humane income, dammit.

And it’s dangerous. Ask yourself, what would a society look like where over the years the cohort of precariat and the outcast hordes of welfare recipients has swelled. It’s already far worse out there than most employed people dare to acknowledge in anything but hushed whispers. It has begun folks.

So what do we do? No I won’t repeat my basic income mantra, because basic income as an instrument is not implementable in the current political ambiance, and even less so in the resulting dystopian, oligrachical mess we may wander in to.

No, what I am saying is this – if you are currently ’employed’ in the industrial complex of exacting state revenge on these people I’d say watch your back. Yes these are fighting words. Because you will be hard on your way already to the twin of respective milgram and stanford prison experiments sway. You may have been thrust in to a mission that’s set to become the most universally hated one in developed western society. Because if this flips due to technological unemployment, and if the overton window slides in to a format that would have large cohorts of the unemployed to start voting in a manner congruent with their actual needs and feelings, you may be in for a rough ride and it’s debatable if that future society will treat you with anything approximating the lack of mercy you have been led to inflict on your clients.

Watch out.

Capitalist Pig.

Posted: 31st July 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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Humanity needs planet-wide maximum incomes and maximum levels of permissible private wealth. Above that, tax them at 100%.

Comments Off on Zoltan Istvan declares war on transhumanism.

I respond to this article by Zoltan Itsvan with a blanket rejection. Frankly, I am offended by Zoltan’s consistent lying.

Transhumanism—the social movement of merging people with machines & synthetic parts—is turning dangerously hard left.

‘Dangerously’?

We have inhabited a century of hard post WW2 repression originating from the US against anything reeking of socialism, communism, et.al. The US has always been a country of staunch capitalism, and it has always allowed the establishment of a neo-feudal billionaire class. This is a fact. Also a fact is that the billionaire class has always had a remarkably influence on US politics. The conjecture (or accusation) I make is that after WW2 the billionaire elites were actively terrified of an international take-over of the political spectrum towards socialism. As you may or may not know, before WW2 socialism was normal in the US. There were major socialist and communist parties and movements, and large sections of US political and union overton window had no issues labelling themselves either. Between the late 19th century and up to the new deal the biggest danger in the US for socialist, communist, social-democrat and democratic-socialist (what’s in a name) movements in US politics were originating from Pinkerton analogue billionaire funded private militia.

Here’s what a contemporary political commentator has to say about it:

Let’s look at the facts will we? In the 1950s this was the tax rate, as compared with current tax brackets.

The current percentile tax rates for the US are less than half of what they were in the WW2 and post war era, back when the US had, allegedly, the biggest economic growth ever. Around that time far right elements in US politics started actively asserting themselves, along stick&carrot lines – the high tax brackets were used, deliberately, to showcase the success of capitalism, by handing out redistributive efforts to the lower and middle classes, while at the same time McCarthyism went after those that had strong left ideologies, and destroyed them. So – when communism became part of the proverbial dustbin of history, the habit of beating up and imprisoning didn’t end much, and the PR efforts that alleged “capitalism is a pretty awesome system” where aborted. See the results before you.

Ever since then US politics has been, by any standard, rabidly far right capitalist – to the point of self harm. We can now see the results in US society and they are abysmal by any standard.

In the 1980s, when transhumanism first got started in California by libertarian-minded philosophers

So first Zoltan starts off with a lie. Transhumanism was established by people of many english speaking nationalities. I wrote strongly transhumanism centered articles when I was attending Philosophy at the RUL university in 1991, I didn’t use the name “transhumanism” yet, but it was already a very consistent ideology in my mind. I got familiar with other transhumanists and as far as I am concerned these people occupy the whole gammut of political viewpoints, from far left to far right. The original founder of the word, FM2030 wasn’t even English speaking – was was of Belgian born of Iranian descent and nowhere near right wing. In fact he assertively steered away from the right-left dualistic doctrine by establishing “upwing” politics, as alternative to the previous.

In the mind of many USians, especially those that inherited large sums of money from their parents and didn’t have to work particularly hard for all that money, the US is under constant siege from “far left” elements who want to appropriate a large amount of their money. In Libertarian thinking socialism is an ideology that “steals” what they have, no matter how they got it, and seeks to “redistribute” that money to “the undeserving”. Zoltan Istvan is no exception this rule as he actively runs for office as a Libertarian, and constantly hammers Libertarian viewpoints. Anything that detracts from his values (and property), such (as he calls it) “leftist climate change”, is rejected off hand, even if it veers in mass denial of science, fact, reality or truth. In certain insular right wing circles this kind of tonedeaf pearl clutching outrage is all fashionable these days.

Whether a social movement is embraced by the left or right can ultimately determine its course. Take environmentalism, for example, which has over a billion adherents. It’s decidedly a movement associated with leftist political tendencies. In fact, many leaders in the GOP outright deny climate change despite much scientific evidence, and our President has recently rolled back environmental regulations—all in a bid to push back against leftists gaining traction in this ever increasing hot-button political and social issue.

As you can clearly see from his own words – Zoltan supports climate change denial, and he actively supports “his president”, Donald J. Trump. Good graces indeed. That’s one way of doing PR.

Zoltan constantly affirms Transhumanism as a right wing originated, strongly Libertarian influenced ideology, by mentioning right wing or far right wing donors and ideologues, such as Peter Thiel (Who is actively funding efforts to rescind “democracy”, and return to a previous political order) or Mark Zuckerberg, who has been off recently constantly involved with attempts to actively sabotage democracy through the spread of ‘fake news’ and supression of leftist voices in the fakebook platform.

The truth is rather different. Transhumanism was actively and decisively founded through the World Transhumanist Association in the 1990s, and it’s key founder can not by any stretch of the definition be called someone of right wing persuasions. To suggest otherwise is worse than “lying by omission” – it is intentional misrepresentation of facts.

Occasionally Zoltan gets it right though

Most of the recent growth in transhumanism seems to be coming from the youth. Over a third of Americans are under the age of 35, and a large majority that are voting age identify as independent or Democrats. It’s for this reason, that transhumanism is turning left after years of being known as a libertarian-minded movement.

Yes, for many years throughout the early years of this century Transhumanism has been strongly influenced by US Libertarianism, which is contrary to historical Libertarianism a far right, and specifically property centric ideology. But yes that is changing, because the majority of transhumanists -as he states it- are now left leaning.

Transhumanism should be a dialogue, of course, and should comprise a mix of all ideologies, whether centrist, from the left wing, from the right wing or (as it happens) from blue sky or “upwing”. I myself abhor staunchness in right-left matters, and have taken from both but most of all identify as upwing.

I do not believe, at all, that a societal model based on billionaires making donations to key initiatives can maintain a functioning society. I strongly believe a state is indispensable to maintain a rule of law, provide environmental protections, establish a commercial presence in space industrialization, unlock new technological advances,  protect from hostile enemies abroad, and (as it happens) to provide a somewhat dignified existence for all of its citizens. And that’s why I am for a traditionally Libertarian idea such as a basic income, and that’s why I believe the current welfare system mess needs to be replaced with such as fast as humanly possible. And yes, such endeavours must be paid for by money exacted from the rich elites world wide. I am certain people “who made their money by receiving handsome inheritances” or “who made minor fortunes in real estate” frown upon such ideological viewpoints, as it affects their ability to travel across the planet in luxury and espouse their Libertarian, or Propertarian viewpoints.

The idea that we may experience a return to a “cold war”, where we have right minded american capitalists in favor of freedom facing off against sinister authoritarians in russia is complete and utter drivel. The cold war has ended a generation ago and to rekindle its false duality is about as productive as the effort to artificially laud the historical relevance of civil war statues. Communism failed because it wasn’t socialism, and it actively cultivated rich and completely unaccountable elites in the soviet union and china. The US was so successful in the 1950s and 60s as it actively cultivated democracy, societal transparency, progress, science, engineering, prosperity in all parts of its society, and social progress and the cultivation of a middle class. Consequently the US currently is so much of a failure as it does nothing of these things and has returned to this archaic and woefully outdated maximum of again “cultivating rich and completely unaccountable elites” … like the soviet union did.

In doing so he closes his mind that the US ranks substantially worse in literally every metric that matters, up to child mortality, with dozens of other countries. The US isn’t as successful (except for Zoltan, and his vinyards) as the insular and isolated elites of the US might have you believe. Well, it is, for them, but not for most other americans these days.

If we are to spread transhumanist values, which in my mind are largely congruent with progress-loving values, we should immediately stop alienating people of a leftist bent (Because “Venezuela”). I really like Zoltan Istvan as a PR spokesperson, even though I am not at all happy with his outlandish political stance, and I recently shook his hand at Future Flux Festival in Amsterdam. I think he’d make a great spokesperson of Transhumanism if he’d get over his irrational fears that some “leftists” are plotting to take his Vinyards from him. The future should comprize as rich and diverse a tapestry of political opinions and persuasions as possible and by actively alienating and othering socialists as some kind of foreign enemy is not productive. We have seen where that leads historically and it is nowhere near pretty.

Just read his article, and make up your own mind. I can only state I believe he’s dead wrong in this.

Updates

DIY Futurist

Posted: 13th July 2018 by Khannea Suntzu in Uncategorized
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Amanda Stoel is the inventor of the term DIY Futurism