how to live forever book

As you are probably aware, this blog is basically a portal into my book, which is a science-based approach to not dying.

I originally created this blog based on the idea that if I talked about the various topics in the book, then while talking about the topics, I may come up with better ways to explain the thoughts, and also come across new discoveries based on those topics.

A side-effect I had hoped would come about from the blog, was that people finding the website through Google would teach me what keywords they were searching for, and so I could expand on those topics to become more expert in them.

Mostly, this has not worked, because the book is about things that millions of people talk about every day, and so people that are far more informed and verbose than I am are writing better blogs than me.

What I found, though, is that niche information, such as on the FOXO4 DRI peptide, or on SBSI calculators, is not written about a lot online, so it’s easy to be found for those keywords.

I would be happy if there was a lot of information available about those so I could expand further into the topics, but I seem to have exhausted it!

The SBSI calculation research does not appear to be going any further than the original paper, so there’s not much more that can be written about it (if I’m wrong, please tell me!)

As for the FOXO4 DRI, it is still too expensive for me to afford so I can’t write anything from personal experience, there is still no information about human clinical trials, and those people that are self-testing don’t appear to be writing about it much either.

But, I will keep plugging away!

There are books out there already called similar names such as “how to live forever”, etc, but they are usually fiction and/or religious. It’s hard to explain to Google that when people search for “live forever”, what they’re really looking for is a non-fiction how-to; not a feel-good story or book of moral diatribe.

Diarrhoeal diseases symptoms

Diarrhoea is a sign that your body thinks you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have, and it wants to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

E_coli_at_10000x
image: some strains of E-coli can cause gastroenteritis

The most obvious symptom is obviously the diarrhoea itself – a sudden outpouring of watery excrement (stool, poo, whatever you want to call it).

Technically, doctors will only call this diarrhoea if it happens on three separate occasions in one day. Otherwise, it’s just a minor upset.

Diarrhoea is not a single disease, so there is no single group of symptoms to look out for.

There are a number of diseases that have diarrhoea as a side-effect, including lactose intolerance, cholera, coeliac disease, irritable bowel syndrome. Most likely if you have one of those diseases, the diarrhoea is not a surprise.

Diarrhoea is usually caused by a gastrointestinal infection (stomach bug – gastroenteritis), which can be bacterial, viral, or even parasitic in nature.

If there is blood in the stool, the diarrhoea is classed as dysentery, and can take up to 10 days to clear. Go see a doctor as soon as you can.

Diarrhoea is sometimes accompanied by symptoms such as stomach ache, stomach cramps, fever, bloating (your intestinal bacteria are working overtime and putting out gases that expand your body) and sometimes nausea.

In extreme cases (I’ve experienced this one – not nice), you can have strong diarrhoea and vomiting at the same time. It can feel exhausting afterwards.

Because of the amount of fluids that are being expelled by the body during an episode, it is important that you replenish as often as possible.

A person with diarrhoea can lose as much as a litre of water every hour, but it’s not just water that you lose, but salt and zinc.

Top up your zinc intake with supplements while you are affected, and regularly drink a mixture of water, sugar and salt (also known as ORS – oral rehydration solution) to stay hydrated.

While diarrhoea mostly clears up quickly in developed countries, it is still a very dangerous killer in less-developed countries, killing half a million children under five every single year.

Diarrhoea can mostly be avoided by following some very simple instructions:
1. keep your environment clean
2. keep your hands clean (and the rest of you , while you’re at it), with soap
3. don’t touch things or people that are dirty
4. make sure your water is clean (boil it if necessary)

using carbon nanotubes for neural prostheses

Carbon nanotubes are amazing things – they are electrically conductive, thermally conductive, so dark that materials made from them are blacker than whatever you think black looks like, and they are so strong that we may one day make elevators out of them that reach right out into space.

CSIRO_ScienceImage_1074_Carbon_nanotubes_being_spun_to_form_a_yarn
image: carbon nanofibers being spun into yarn

There have been fears circulating that nanotubes are biologically dangerous.

Every new thing has provoked fear-mongering – GMO, vaccines, the telephone, cars, the loom, but the more high-tech a new technology is, the harder it is to dissuade people of those fears, because it’s hard to explain high-tech in a way that’s easy for those fearful people to understand.

In the case of carbon nanotubes, the main fear is that because they are fibrous in nature (like fibre-glass and asbestos), they’re dangerous to the skin and lungs as an irritant, but because they are also so thin that they can penetrate biological cells (which fibreglass and asbestos can’t do), there is an added fear that they can disrupt the cell functions.

A study by researchers led by Laura Bellerini showed that not only do carbon nanotubes not interfere with the function of cells, but that they may be perfect for creating neural interfaces; something we will need for when we are coming up with ways to either speak directly to the brain, read directly from the brain.

The study also showed that when neurons are embedded in carbon nanotubes, they mature more quickly and grow new synapses (connections with other neurons).

While the potential for this goes well into sci-fi (uploading the brain, for example), the near-term uses are still phenomenal.

An example use in the near-term is to help create a link between an artificial hippocampal prosthesis, and the surrounding brain tissue.

The hippocampus is the simplest part of the brain to understand – data comes in one end, and goes out the other. A team of researchers spent ten years slicing a hippocampus up into tiny slices and measuring the electrical pathways, before recreating it in software, with an array of input probes, and another array of output probes. When the probes were placed in a rat’s brain (after cutting out its hippocampus), it was found that the prosthesis allowed the rat to make new memories. Human trials are currently underway.

Probably the hardest part of replacing the hippocampus is the reconnection, where the existing defunct hippocampus is removed, and the new artificial one is connected. The artifical device doesn’t need to go into the brain itself, but there must be a connection made between the brain and the device. This is currently done with an array of needles, but there is a limit to how fine those needles can get.

With carbon nanotubes, there is no such limit – because they are so much thinner than the thinnest metal needles, it should be possible to simply slide an entire array of them into place and have the carbon nanotubes automatically interface with neurons.

Mass Spectrophotometer

It’s Sunday. I had planned on getting the next part of my shed done (laying the concrete and bricks for the foundation), but forgot that shops don’t open Sundays. Damn.

The next time I’ll be free to work on this will be Wednesday, so I’m stuck here with nothing much to do but imagine.

I was trying to figure out which tools I need to build first once the lab is completed.

The end goal is to produce my own medicines/drugs, so I will need to develop a protein synthesis machine. I said yesterday that I thought it would be possible to do with home-built equipment. After reading up on it further, I am certain of that now.

But, there is no point starting off with that, yet. Even if I built a machine which could build proteins (using “solid state protein synthesis” – very simplified explanation here), I would have no way of being sure that it worked.

So, I need to build a measurement device first that can identify proteins.

The most common method used in a lab is by using a mass spectrometer. Those are quite expensive, even if you build them yourself.

Refraction-5

Mass spectrophotometers, though, are cheap to build. The idea is simple – dissolve your sample in a solution, shine light of various colours through the solution, and measure the strength of the light that gets through the sample by using a light-dependent resistor. Here’s a video showing one in action. The diffraction grate is rotated a little at a time to change the frequency of light being inspected, and the voltage change is shown on screen.

The diffraction grate, by the way, is made from a piece of CD or DVD! If you shine light onto a DVD and look at the reflection, the light is broken apart into its various colours. This happens because of quantum mechanics. I thought I understood the mechanism (as described in Brian Cox’s book “The Quantum Universe”), but Wikipedia’s description is confusing.

Even while I’m building the protein synthesis machine, this will still be useful – I can use it to analyse the content of my garden’s soil to figure out the best crops to grow in it 😉

So, I now have a small shopping list of things to buy to build this spectrophotometer.

In fact, I might already have all the ingredients! I think I’m missing a light dependent resistor, but might not be…

garden laboratory

I’ve decided to build a shed, in which I can develop a laboratory and the skills with which to do some biohacking of my own.

19787420_10213425529135525_7107876504064218547_o
image: my shed, so far 😉

Drugs such as NMN and FOXO4-DRI are hugely expensive, and even by the time they become cheaper, there will newer drugs invented that have better effects. I can either always be on the tail end of this stuff, or start catching up on how to do it myself.

So, I need a laboratory. I’ve dug an 8ft by 16ft foundation, which I will lay with concrete and bricks tomorrow.

I’m doing my best to do a good job at this. It’s not going to be a shoddy shed that’s freezing in winter, has no power, and whistles when the wind blows.

It will be thermally insulated, powered, temperature and humidity controlled, and quiet. I’m really looking forward to seeing if I can get the idea out of my head and into real life.

So far, of course, the idea is just a hole in the ground.

Once built, the first thing that goes into it is a 3D printer, with which I can start building equipment. There are open source 3D designs available for lab equipment. example, example

In the short term, I want to be able to measure progress in my weight, blood pressure, lung function and other easy-to measure things. Eventually, I want to be able to synthesise proteins, measure exact nutritional values in foods, develop an automated food combiner that can produce properly calculated food mixtures.

I don’t think any of those are impossible to do at home. Even the protein synthesis should just take time, training, and probably a lot of careful building.

FOXO4 DRI prices (July 2017)

I’ve removed a few entries from the table of prices I was tracking, because they were not DRI peptides.

If you are buying in bulk, it would be cheaper to synthesise, as discovered by some people at Longecity, who were quoted about $231.15 per 30mg dose, as long as you’re willing to fork out nearly $8000 to buy a 1000mg shipment.

The off-the-shelf prices are coming down quickly, month by month, as you can see, with NovoPro being the first lab to provide 30mg for less than $2000 (down from more than twice the price only two months ago!)

Shop May June July
Bucky Labs – 2460 2265
NovoPro 4060.2 2144.6 1756.8

Hopefully next month, there will be more labs providing FOXO4 DRI off-the-shelf.

It’s still very expensive, but I’m certain that as demand ramps up, the prices will drop.

If you are aware of any lab that sells FOXO4 D-Retro-Inverso(DRI) peptide please comment below so I can add them to the list

Is Quantum Immortality Real?

This is a difficult one to answer. It’s kind of like asking “is God real?” – there is no compelling evidence either way.

Schroedingers_cat_film.svg.png

Quantum Immortality (QI) is the idea that if the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of Quantum Mechanics is true, then every possible universe exists and is just as real as this one, including every universe where you survive cancer, you fall from a building and land in a passing truck carrying hay, your plane doesn’t crash, cures for aging are discovered before you get old (hmm- sounds like this one, right?).

Because the MWI is just an interpretation of the math of Quantum Mechanics, and gives exactly the same results as all other interpretations (such as the popular Copenhagen Interpretation), there is no way to prove that it is correct or incorrect.

It boils down to faith, in the end – which one are you more comfortable believing?
1. that a quantum mechanical wave calculation is performed every instant of time, and a random result is magically chosen to become reality; the whole thing to be repeated ad infinitum (Copenhagen Interpretation)
2. that the quantum mechanical wave equation represents all versions of reality that exist, and that we are merely one of the results.

In one of these, a magical step is taken which has never been explained, and our universe pops out as the only result. In the other, the wave equation is simply a description of all realities and our universe is no more special than any other.

In a way, the puzzle is like the old physics/philosophy question – “Why is there something rather than nothing?”

Given that “in the beginning there was nothing” (let’s agree), it does not make sense that suddenly there is one single universe, and that is all that there can be. Exactly 1. No more. No less.

Even having 1 as the number of possible universes is not sensible. How did we get from 0 to 1?

Physics shows that it is certainly possible for a universe to appear from nothing. In fact, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle demands that a universe exist, because an empty universe is one in which the velocities and positions of all particles (all zero of them) are known, and that is forbidden.

But there is nothing in physics that says “there can be only one reality”. The math always takes place against hypothetical states of the universe, and there really is no difference between a fully calculated hypothetical simulation of a real universe (this one, for example), and the actual “real” thing. Especially from the point of view of a person living within that universe.

My own opinion is this: Quantum Mechanics describes the universe exactly. There are no known differences between QM and “reality”, that I am aware. So the only question is which interpretation is correct. Well, I believe that the simpler of any two explanations is usually the correct one. Because MWI does not require any magical “quantum collapse” step in its equations, I believe it is simpler and therefore probably correct.

The next part of this is to decide whether that means that the immortality part is real. That part is philosophical in nature.

Are you the exact same person that you were yesterday? Did you even exist yesterday?

The only evidence that you existed yesterday is what your memory and your senses tell you. But, your senses can be fooled, and your memory can be fooled as well. How do you know that your memories of yesterday were not planted in you while you slept?

If you were to die today, and an exact clone of you were to be created and given your memories, that clone would think it was you, and so would everyone else that knows you.

When you save your state in a computer game, make a mistake, then reload that state to carry on, to the characters in the game, it’s as if the mistake never happened in the first place.

If you die in this universe, and survive in another, it’s as if you never died in the first place.

In fact, coming back to the beginning of the article, for all you know, in another universe only a few minutes ago, you died of a heart attack. But do you remember that here? Of course not.

The only memories you can possibly have are those of a person that has survived everything thrown at them. The thoughts of a dead you might as well not exist at all.

While there is no way to “prove” that quantum immortality is real, I think it’s much more comforting to assume it is, than to presume it is not.

You gain nothing by disbelieving, other than a sense of finality and doom. At least by believing, you can be a bit happier in your day and nicer to your fellow humans, because you’re going to be around them for a very long time.

gaining weight by yawning

In my last post, I made a statement, “I’ve found that if you wait a few minutes, the act of waking up seems to add grams of weight as you breath in the morning air and absorb it.”

Given the sharp and unforgiving nature of my friends (good for them!), this was immediately questioned.

So, I did a bit of math.

The short outcome is that yes, you do gain more than 2.5 grams of weight by breathing in the morning.

the math:

oxygen saturation in blood is about 90% when asleep, 95-100% (let’s say 97.5%) when awake.

I have about 5 litres of blood.

35% of blood is haemoglobin, and there is about .1551 moles of haemoglobin per litre.
that’s 1.75 litres of haemoglobin (5*.35).
1.75*.1551 is about .27 moles of haemoglobin.

every molecule of haemoglobin can bind to 4 O2 molecules.
That’s 8 atoms of Oxygen

so if blood was 100% saturated, it would contain 2.16 moles of oxygen (8*.27).
that’s 34.56 grams of oxygen.

97.5% of 34.56g is 33.7g of oxygen in the blood when awake
90% of 34.56g is 31.1g of oxygen in the blood when asleep

So… you wake up, you weight your self, you yawn a few times (oxygenating the blood), and you gain more than 2.5g of weight.

how I lost 10kg in 6 months with little effort

I’ve been asked this a few times recently now, so I thought I’d write a short explanation of how I did it.

Untitled

First off, exercise doesn’t work. You can do press-ups and sit-ups and all the running in the world, and every gram that you lose through your panting and sweating will be regained as soon as you stop to eat, because exercise makes you hungry.

To understand how the body loses weight, you should do a little experiment. Measure your weight just before you sleep at night, then measure again in the morning as soon as you wake up. If you’re overweight like me, you’ll probably lose about 500g. Half a kilogram. (1.1 pounds, for those of you living in a backwards country.)

People lose weight through expiration. You literally breath the weight off you. You don’t poo it out, you don’t sweat it off. In a way, you do piss it out, but mostly you lose weight by breathing.

When fat is used to generate energy, it is broken apart into carbon dioxide and water. 84% of the fat’s weight is expelled through the lungs (the reason you lose weight at night), and 16% is lost through urine.

For the first few months of the year, I followed a pretty simple diet – during the week, have whatever you want for lunch and breakfast, don’t have dinner, and if you’re peckish later in the evening, have some popcorn. For drinks, avoid anything which has lots of calories. I drank a lot of water, and a lot of Coke Zero. On the weekend, eat whatever you feel like.

Also, you must religiously record your weight as soon as you wake up. As soon as. I’ve found that if you wait a few minutes, the act of waking up seems to add grams of weight as you breath in the morning air and absorb it.

Drink a lot of water. I’ve seen recommendations that say that every male should drink 3.7 litres of water a day. Every female, 3.2 litres. Those are crazy numbers. But try to anyway.

Chill the water before drinking. When your body absorbs water, it must be raised to body temperature (37°C). The definition of calorie is “the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1°C”, so to raise 3.7 litres of water from just over freezing to body temperature burns up 136900 calories (or 137kcal).

The standard adult daily calorie intake is 2000kcal.

If you eat normal food, you don’t know how many calories you are consuming. But if you eat a future food such as Jimmy Joy, Huel, Jake, Soylent or any of the other similar all-in-ones that are available, then you know /exactly/ how much you are consuming.

For the last month, I have consumed about 1000kcal of Jimmy Joy per day, popcorn at night to soothe the savage beast, and only the occasional snack in between when I can’t occupy myself with something distracting. My weight has dropped on average about 100g per day because of that.

I said that exercise will not make you lose weight, but I find that a little exercise is enough to get you breathing hard enough that you will lose some weight through breathing (and it also measurably helps your chance of surviving the next few years). Too much, and you’ll be tempted to engorge yourself afterwards, but if you go for a brisk walk (I walk about 1.5 hours every day to/from work), that should be enough. by “brisk”, I mean you should exert a little effort.

If you have any other tips that are backed up by science (don’t talk to me about avocados…), please mention them below.

Is the Universe made of math?

Yesterday, I was looking through the Android playstore, looking for a casual game to play while waiting for sleep.

2447322_70b19998e6_b.jpg
image: is nature fractal?

One of the games I looked at was called something like “Solar System Creator”. A comment in it struck me. It said something like “This would be so much better if the math was more realistic”.

I presume the author meant how planets (particularly Mercury) follow Einsteinian gravity instead of Newtonian, but it there was a point in there that I think the author missed.

Before Newton figured out his gravitation formulas, people believed that everything fell to their “natural level” at a constant speed. Newton then showed that things are attracted to each other at speeds relating to their mass and the distance between them. Einstein went further and showed that the mass of objects affected the space surrounding the objects, which in turn affected the distance between things.

As each explanation of gravity got more realistic, the mathematical formulas became more sophisticated, but also much more accurate.

One thing can be said about math that cannot be said about anything else I can think of – it is absolute. If a formula says “this is so”, then you can be very sure that “this is so”. Math is either correct, or you’ve made a mistake.

Physics has math at its core. In fact, you could say that all of physics, and all of science, really, is a way to figure out what are the mathematics behind reality. Each leap in understanding in physics is simply a formula which more accurately models reality.

Based on this, there is an inevitable conclusion – that the universe is mathematical, and that we simply don’t know all the rules yet.

At the moment, there is a conflict between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. In the future, this will be resolved (the Grand Unified Theorem). But will we then know all the mathematics that rules the universe?

We can’t say. Science is done by checking the math, figuring out if reality doesn’t quite match what the math says, and then refining the math model you’re making. Even if the math matches what we see exactly, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t yet another substrate hidden under it all. General Relativity is more accurate than Classical Mechanics, whether you know about Mercury’s motion (etc) or not. It is possible that there is something that is yet more accurate than the Grand Unified Theorem.

Either way, it can’t be escaped that even if people don’t admit it out loud, the universe is made of math.

I mean that quite literally.

I was reading a blog recently that I thought had a catchy name – “selfaware patterns“. Both words in there deserve to be examined closely.

When we create artificial intelligence in computers, we mostly use a model called an “artificial neural network“. This is a pattern of inputs and weights formed into a lattice. When data is fed into the inputs, math happens (I’d like to also say “magic happens”), and the outputs give us values that depend on the layout of the network. We can copy the lattice from one computer to another, or save it and revive it later. This “pattern” of neural network could be considered to be a specific identity at a specific time.

“Self-aware” is a word we’ve been struggling with for centuries – why are we conscious? What does it really mean? In philosophy, there is a difference between consciousness and self-awareness, but the common understanding is that they mean the same thing. By examining myself, I find that the “I” that is conscious is only part of my brain. I’m not aware of all the muscle movements that go into typing on this laptop, for example, but I am aware of the thoughts that lead them.

A huge philosophical problem is the question of how do we know that other people are self-aware? You could ask them, and they could say “Yes, I am conscious”, but how do you know that they are not programmed to do so?

Non-player characters in computer games are getting more and more sophisticated, and will soon be indistinguishable from “real” people, in that they believe their world is real, they interact with each other, and they act semi-randomly. Just like real people. What if one of them was to one day say “I think I’m real”? Can you say that this NPC is conscious and self-aware? Can you say for a fact that it is not?

Self-awareness is an every-day example of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. If someone says “I am self-aware”, you cannot be sure that they are wrong.

Some day very soon, we will have artificially intelligent “conscious patterns”, and soon after, “self-aware patterns”, in our computers, and we won’t think the idea is strange.

But the idea opens us up to another one – what if we, ourselves, are self-aware patterns?

If the entire universe is mathematical, then we are also mathematical. We are patterns. And yet we are also conscious. This means that our very identities can be encoded as mathematical values. Inputs and weights.

Remember what I said about neural networks being patterns that can be copied to other computers or saved and revived at later times.

If this is indeed a mathematical universe, then it is possible that there are an infinite number of other mathematical universes, each as “real” as this. And there may be infinite copies of your own “unique” identity, living out a life in another universe, totally unaware of this one.

What happens if you die here but don’t die there?

Well, imagine it from the point of view of a computer game character that you “save” every now and then, and if something disastrous happens, you “restore” from the last save point. This is pretty much the same as what we’re saying here.

In the computer game scenario, you stop considering the dead version of the character – as far as you are concerned, the living version in the currently active game is the only “real” one. The fact that this version was restored from a saved copy doesn’t make it any less real, and in fact, the character itself is not “aware” that it is a copy.

If you were to die suddenly in this universe, and there are infinite other universes, there will be at least one where you survive. The analogy is obvious – by surviving in that universe, you survive. As simple as that.

Is the universe made of math? You’d better hope it is! Because a mathematical universe could literally save your life some day.