Immortality is a Waste of Time
Forget about immortalizing yourself. Don’t waste money. Don’t waste time. Don’t waste thought or anxiety on having yourself frozen or your brain frozen.
Don’t curtail all your everyday enjoyments for the sake of a rigorous diet which is what Kurzweil among others has written. He has in fact written a diet book with this very goal in mind and if you follow this rather radical diet you’ll live long enough to become immortal because you’ll live long enough for the Singularity in which believes, this explosion of knowledge and technology will occur. Forget about all that.
It’s a waste of time because in the meantime all kinds of contingencies will occur to you. Some of them will be welcome. Others will be less welcome, but there will be personal contingencies, changes in your life. But also history will go on and history is a great mocker of these kinds of projects because if there are wars, if there are civil upheavals, if there are great economic changes that you have no prospect at all of controlling, your best bet for a fulfilling life is to respond by creative improvisation as things occur, not to try and outwit them by escaping from history, by escaping from time. You can’t do that for the reason that the very technologies that you use to attempt to escape from history are themselves tied up with history.
I'll give one example. You might project a version of yourself into cyberspace, but as we now know, cyberspace is not a deathless realm of invulnerability. Cyberspace is a battlefield. It’s a battlefield between corporations and Wikileaks and governments and others in which they are constantly trying to get the better of each other. So you might find yourself in the middle of virtual battlefield if you end up in that world. Forget about all of that.
It makes good sense to take care of your health, to try to remain healthy for as long as possible because you can enjoy more of your life. And as new life-extension possibilities develop, make use of them, but not by obsessing with death because if you obsess with the prospect of immortality you lose your life.
That’s why I don’t want a society that is one of cryonic suspension, a freezer-centered society, a society in which we spend our thoughts, our desires, our passions, our incomes on tending freezers. That is a death obsessed society worse even than anything that happened under the ancient Egyptians. On the contrary, we should use the new technologies to enhance the mortal life we have. Beyond that, we should rely on our own animal powers of invention and resourcefulness, and if we then come to die or we grow tired of life, which is entirely possible, we can end it.
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Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."
- Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
- This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
- On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.
Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.
Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.
Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.
Two space agencies plan missions to deflect an asteroid.
- NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working together on missions to a binary asteroid system.
- The DART and Hera missions will attempt to deflect and study the asteroid Didymoon.
- A planetary defense system is important in preventing large-scale catastrophes.
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