Archive for the ‘existential risks’ category: Page 88

Nov 13, 2012

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: No Lifeboats Please

Posted by in categories: defense, education, engineering, existential risks, finance, military, space

It was on a long-haul flight many months ago that I recalled a visit to the National Air and Space Museum [1] to a fellow passenger whom I struck up conversation with. Asking if I could recommend somewhere to visit in Washington DC, I recounted how I had spent an entire day amazing at the collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft on my only visit to that city fifteen years or so previous as a young adult — and as always a kid at heart.

Seeing the sheer scale of the F-1 engine for the Saturn 5 rocket first hand, stepping inside an Apollo command module identical to those used during the Apollo program, not to mention seeing full life-size replicas of the Lunar Roving Vehicle, an Apollo Lunar Module and for some reason what seemed most surreal to me… the Viking 1 Lander. This was enchantment.

However, for all the amazement that such a museum can provide, it is also a saddening reminder that what once was the forefront of human ambition and endeavor has now been largely resigned to history. NASA budgets are cut annually [2] whilst military expenditure takes ever more precedence. A planned six percent budget decrease in 2013 is the equivalent savings to three hours of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Instead of reaching to explore outer-space we are encouraged to get excited about the equivalent billions [3] invested on science exploring the subatomic inner-space world. Meanwhile, we tend to forget that the ambitions of space exploration are not just to satisfy some wide-eyed childhood yearning to explore, but the serious and sobering prospect of needing to ensure that we as a species can eventually colonize to other worlds and ensure we are not counting down the days to our extinction on an ever-more-precarious planetary solitude.

In the face of such indifference, such concepts of lifeboats have become marginalized to what is perceived to be a realm solely for loons and dreamers, or ‘space cadets’ as we used to call them back in the days of school. The trillion dollar question really is what it takes to redirect all that military investment into science & exploration instead. It is down to credibility. Governments shy away from investing public funds when there is a lack of credibility.

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Nov 7, 2012

Short Contribution

Posted by in categories: existential risks, general relativity, particle physics

Einstein Described the Telemach Theorem in 1913

Otto E. Rossler

Faculty of Science, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 8, 72076 Tübingen, F.R.G.


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Nov 1, 2012

Seven Features of Black Holes Ignored by CERN jeopardize Planet

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics, transparency

1) Unchargedness (Reissner disproved)
2) Arise more readily (string theory confirmed)
3) Are indestructible (Hawking disproved)
4) Are invisible to CERN’s detectors (CERN publication disconfirmed)
5) Slowest specimens will stay inside earth (conceded by CERN)
6) Enhanced cross section due to slowness (like cold neutrons)
7) Exponential growth inside earth (quasar-scaling principle)

The final weeks of 2012 will again double the danger that the earth is going to be shrunk to 2 cm after a delay of a few years. No one on the planet demands investigation. The African Journal of Mathematics did the most for the planet. I ask President Obama to demand a safety statement from CERN immediately. The planet won’t forget it. Nor will America the beautiful. P.S. I thank Tom Kerwick who deleted all my latest postings on Lifeboat for his demanding a “substantiated” posting. I now look forward to his response.

Appendage: “It may Interest the World that I just found T,L,M in Einstein’s 1913 paper on Nordström (“On the present state of the problem of gravitation”) – so that it can no longer be ignored. The result is inherited by the full-fledged theory of general relativity of 1915 but was no longer remembered to be implicit. I give this information to the planet to show that my black-hole results (easy production, no Hawking evaporation, exponential voraciousness) can no longer be ignored by CERN. They call for an immediate stop of the LHC followed by a safety conference. I renew my appeal to the politicians of the world, and especially President Obama, to support my plea. Everyone has the human right to be informed about a new scientific result that bears on her or his survival. I recommend http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/papers/einstein-nordstroem-HGR3.pdf for background information” — 2nd Nov.

Oct 28, 2012

Mapping the Mind to Merge with Machines: Experimental Research Approaches to Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs)

Posted by in categories: existential risks, futurism, robotics/AI

The historical context in which Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) has emerged has been addressed in a previous article called “To Interface the Future: Interacting More Intimately with Information” (Kraemer, 2011). This review addresses the methods that have formed current BCI knowledge, the directions in which it is heading and the emerging risks and benefits from it. Why neural stem cells can help establish better BCI integration is also addressed as is the overall mapping of where various cognitive activities occur and how a future BCI could potentially provide direct input to the brain instead of only receive and process information from it.

EEG Origins of Thought Pattern Recognition
Early BCI work to study cognition and memory involved implanting electrodes into rats’ hippocampus and recording its EEG patterns in very specific circumstances while exploring a track both when awake and sleeping (Foster & Wilson, 2006; Tran, 2012). Later some of these patterns are replayed by the rat in reverse chronological order indicating a retrieval of the memory both when awake and asleep (Foster & Wilson, 2006). Dr. John Chapin shows that the thoughts of movement can be written to a rat to then remotely control the rat (Birhard, 1999; Chapin, 2008).

A few human paraplegics have volunteered for somewhat similar electrode implants into their brains for an enhanced BrainGate2 hardware and software device to use as a primary data input device (UPI, 2012; Hochberg et al., 2012). Clinical trials of an implanted BCI are underway with BrainGate2 Neural Interface System (BrainGate, 2012; Tran, 2012). Currently, the integration of the electrodes into the brain or peripheral nervous system can be somewhat slow and incomplete (Grill et al., 2001). Nevertheless, research to optimize the electro-stimulation patterns and voltage levels in the electrodes, combining cell cultures and neurotrophic factors into the electrode and enhance “endogenous pattern generators” through rehabilitative exercises are likely to improve the integration closer to full functional restoration in prostheses (Grill et al., 2001) and improved functionality in other BCI as well.

When integrating neuro-chips to the peripheral nervous system for artificial limbs or even directly to the cerebral sensorimotor cortex as has been done for some military veterans, neural stem cells would likely help heal the damage to the site of the limb lost and speed up the rate at which the neuro-chip is integrated into the innervating tissue (Grill et al., 2001; Park, Teng, & Snyder, 2002). These neural stem cells are better known for their natural regenerative ability and it would also generate this benefit in re-establishing the effectiveness of the damaged original neural connections (Grill et al., 2001).

Neurochemistry and Neurotransmitters to be Mapped via Genomics
Cognition is electrochemical and thus the electrodes only tell part of the story. The chemicals are more clearly coded for by specific genes. Jaak Panksepp is breeding one line of rats that are particularly prone to joy and social interaction and another that tends towards sadness and a more solitary behavior (Tran, 2012). He asserts that emotions emerged from genetic causes (Panksepp, 1992; Tran, 2012) and plans to genome sequence members of both lines to then determine the genomic causes of or correlations between these core dispositions (Tran, 2012). Such causes are quite likely to apply to humans as similar or homologous genes in the human genome are likely to be present. Candidate chemicals like dopamine and serotonin may be confirmed genetically, new neurochemicals may be identified or both. It is a promising long-term study and large databases of human genomes accompanied by medical histories of each individual genome could result in similar discoveries. A private study of the medical and genomic records of the population of Iceland is underway and has in the last 1o years has made unique genetic diagnostic tests for increased risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer prostate cancer, glaucoma, high cholesterol/hypertension and atrial fibrillation and a personal genomic testing service for these genetic factors (deCODE, 2012; Weber, 2002). By breeding 2 lines of rats based on whether they display a joyful behavior or not, the lines of mice should likewise have uniquely different genetic markers in their respective populations (Tran, 2012).

fMRI and fNIRIS Studies to Map the Flow of Thoughts into a Connectome
Though EEG-based BCI have been effective in translating movement intentionality of the cerebral motor cortex for neuroprostheses or movement of a computer cursor or other directional or navigational device, it has not advanced the understanding of the underlying processes of other types or modes of cognition or experience (NPG, 2010; Wolpaw, 2010). The use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machines, and functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRIS) and sometimes Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans for literally deeper insights into the functioning of brain metabolism and thus neural activity has increased in order to determine the relationships or connections of regions of the brain now known collectively as the connectome (Wolpaw, 2010).

Dr. Read Montague explained broadly how his team had several fMRI centers around the world linked to each other across the Internet so that various economic games could be played and the regional specific brain activity of all the participant players of these games can be recorded in real time at each step of the game (Montague, 2012). In the publication on this fMRI experiment, it shows the interaction between baseline suspicion in the amygdala and the ongoing evaluation of the specific situation that may increase or degree that suspicion which occurred in the parahippocampal gyrus (Bhatt et al., 2012). Since the fMRI equipment is very large, immobile and expensive, it cannot be used in many situations (Solovey et al., 2012). To essentially substitute for the fMRI, the fNIRS was developed which can be worn on the head and is far more convenient than the traditional full body fMRI scanner that requires a sedentary or prone position to work (Solovey et al., 2012).

In a study of people multitasking on the computer with the fNIRIS head-mounted device called Brainput, the Brainput device worked with remotely controlled robots that would automatically modify the behavior of 2 remotely controlled robots when Brainput detected an information overload in the multitasking brains of the human navigating both of the robots simultaneously over several differently designed terrains (Solovey et al., 2012).

Writing Electromagnetic Information to the Brain?
These 2 examples of the Human Connectome Project lead by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the US and also underway in other countries show how early the mapping of brain region interaction is for higher cognitive functions beyond sensory motor interactions. Nevertheless, one Canadian neurosurgeon has taken volunteers for an early example of writing some electromagnetic input into the human brain to induce paranormal kinds of subjective experience and has been doing so since 1987 (Cotton, 1996; Nickell, 2005; Persinger, 2012). Dr. Michael Persinger uses small electrical signals across the temporal lobes in an environment with partial audio-visual isolation to reduce neural distraction (Persinger, 2003). These microtesla magnetic fields especially when applied to the right hemisphere of the temporal lobes often induced a sense of an “other” presence generally described as supernatural in origin by the volunteers (Persinger, 2003). This early example shows how input can be received directly by the brain as well as recorded from it.

Higher Resolution Recording of Neural Data
Electrodes from EEGs and electromagnets from fMRI and fNIRIS still record or send data at the macro level of entire regions or areas of the brain. Work on intracellular recording such as the nanotube transistor allows for better understanding at the level of neurons (Gao et al., 2012). Of course, when introducing micro scale recording or transmitting equipment into the human brain, safety is a major issue. Some progress has been made in that an ingestible microchip called the Raisin has been made that can transmit information gathered during its voyage through the digestive system (Kessel, 2009). Dr. Robert Freitas has designed many nanoscale devices such as Respirocytes, Clottocytes and Microbivores to replace or augment red blood cells, platelets and phagocytes respectively that can in principle be fabricated and do appear to meet the miniaturization and propulsion requirements necessary to get into the bloodstream and arrive at the targeted system they are programmed to reach (Freitas, 1998; Freitas, 2000; Freitas, 2005; Freitas, 2006).

The primary obstacle is the tremendous gap between assembling at the microscopic level and the molecular level. Dr. Richard Feynman described the crux of this struggle to bridge the divide between atoms in his now famous talk given on December 29, 1959 called “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” (Feynman, 1959). To encourage progress towards the ultimate goal of molecular manufacturing by enabling theoretical and experimental work, the Foresight Institute has awarded annual Feynman Prizes every year since 1997 for contribution in this field called nanotechnology (Foresight, 2012).

The Current State of the Art and Science of Brain Computer Interfaces
Many neuroscientists think that cellular or even atomic level resolution is probably necessary to understand and certainly to interface with the brain at the level of conceptual thought, memory storage and retrieval (Ptolemy, 2009; Koene, 2010) but at this early stage of the Human Connectome Project this evaluation is quite preliminary. The convergence of noninvasive brain scanning technology with implantable devices among volunteer patients supplemented with neural stem cells and neurotrophic factors to facilitate the melding of biological and artificial intelligence will allow for many medical benefits for paraplegics at first and later to others such as intelligence analysts, soldiers and civilians.

Some scientists and experts in Artificial Intelligence (AI) express the concern that AI software is on track to exceed human biological intelligence before the middle of the century such as Ben Goertzel, Ray Kurzweil, Kevin Warwick, Stephen Hawking, Nick Bostrom, Peter Diamandis, Dean Kamen and Hugo de Garis (Bostrom, 2009; de Garis, 2009, Ptolemy, 2009). The need for fully functioning BCIs that integrate the higher order conceptual thinking, memory recall and imagination into cybernetic environments gains ever more urgency if we consider the existential risk to the long-term survival of the human species or the eventual natural descendent of that species. This call for an intimate and fully integrated BCI then acts as a shield against the possible emergence of an AI independently of us as a life form and thus a possible rival and intellectually superior threat to the human heritage and dominance on this planet and its immediate solar system vicinity.


Bhatt MA, Lohrenz TM, Camerer CF, Montague PR. (2012). Distinct contributions of the amygdala and parahippocampal gyrus to suspicion in a repeated bargaining game. Proc. Nat’l Acad. Sci. USA, 109(22):8728–8733. Retrieved October 15, 2012, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3365181/pdf/pnas.201200738.pdf.

Birhard, K. (1999). The science of haptics gets in touch with prosthetics. The Lancet, 354(9172), 52–52. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/199023500

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Oct 27, 2012

Today, a Young Man on Acid Realized that all Matter is Merely Energy Condensed to a…

Posted by in categories: biological, complex systems, cosmology, engineering, existential risks, homo sapiens, human trajectories, humor, information science, particle physics, philosophy, physics

…here’s Tom with the Weather.
That right there is comedian/philosopher Bill Hicks, sadly no longer with us. One imagines he would be pleased and completely unsurprised to learn that serious scientific minds are considering and actually finding support for the theory that our reality could be a kind of simulation. That means, for example, a string of daisy-chained IBM Super-Deep-Blue Gene Quantum Watson computers from 2042 could be running a History of the Universe program, and depending on your solipsistic preferences, either you are or we are the character(s).

It’s been in the news a lot of late, but — no way, right?

Because dude, I’m totally real
Despite being utterly unable to even begin thinking about how to consider what real even means, the everyday average rational person would probably assign this to the sovereign realm of unemployable philosophy majors or under the Whatever, Who Cares? or Oh, That’s Interesting I Gotta Go Now! categories. Okay fine, but on the other side of the intellectual coin, vis-à-vis recent technological advancement, of late it’s actually being seriously considered by serious people using big words they’ve learned at endless college whilst collecting letters after their names and doin’ research and writin’ and gettin’ association memberships and such.

So… why now?

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Oct 25, 2012

Bad Year for Security Issues

Posted by in categories: defense, ethics, existential risks, geopolitics, homo sapiens, particle physics, policy, rants

2012 has already been a bad omen when it comes to humankind solving the dangers ahead. Perhaps an early review will make next January 1 brighter.

There has been strong information questioning the existence of Hawkins Radiation, which was a major reason most scientists think Black Hole Collider research is safe, without any increase in a call for a safety conference. Once, due to classification keeping it away from the general public, there was a small debate whether the first atomic explosion would set off a chain reaction that would consume the earth. On March 1, 1954 the Lithium that was, for other purposes, put in what was intended to be a small Hydrogen Bomb test, created, by far, the dirtiest atomic explosion ever as the natives on Bikini Island woke up to two suns in the sky that morning. History would be different had the first tests gravely injured people. Eventually people in the future will look back at how humankind dealt with the possibility of instantly destroying itself, as more important, than how it dealt with slowly producing more doomsday-like weapons.

With genetic engineering the results are amazing, goats with hair thousands of times stronger than wool would offer some increased protection from its predators. Think what would happen if, 1 foot long, undigestible fibers possibly with some sharp spots gets accidental inbreed in goat meat, or very un-tasty animals spread in the wild throughout the ecosystem. In 2001 Genetic Insecticide intended only to protect corn to be used in animal feed spread by the winds and cross breading to all corn in the northern hemisphere. Bees drinking corn syrup from one discarded soda can can endanger an entire hive. Now there is fear of this gene getting into wheat, rice and all plants that don’t rely on insects in some way. The efforts to require food to be labeled for genetically modified ingredients doesn’t address the issue and may actually distract from warning of the dangers ahead.

There are some who say bad people want to play God and create a god particle, likewise some say evil Monsanto,with bad motives, is trying to prevent us from buying safe food. This attitude doesn’t help create a safer future, or empower those trying to rationally deal with the danger.

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Oct 24, 2012

Dear Dr. Kerwick, Lifeboat Administrator and first public scientific supporter of CERN’s for years:

Posted by in categories: ethics, existential risks, particle physics

A systematic decay rate of white dwarf stars in the galaxy is possibly implicit in the data that the LSAG scientists of CERN just sent you and which you kindly forwarded to me.

This preliminary evidence is quite alarming. It allows one to extrapolate to the effects that the same causally to be implicated agent (black holes) has when produced on earth in ultra-slow form at CERN. This CERN attempts to do for 2 years – and with maximum luminosity during the remaining weeks of 2012.

Much as in nuclear fission the “cold neutrons” (slow neutrons) possess a much larger “cross-section” than fast ones, so the artificial “cold mini black holes” predictably possess a much larger cross section than their ultra-fast natural cousins in white dwarfs. Hence the nightmare of but a few years remaining to planet earth would be supported by empirical evidence for the first time.

Can you arrange for a first public dialog with CERN?

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Oct 22, 2012

New whitepaper on Nuclear Industrial Safety

Posted by in categories: engineering, existential risks, nuclear energy, transparency

New whitepaper/critique on Nuclear Industrial Safety — International Nuclear Services Putting Buisness Before Safety and Other Essays on Nuclear Safety — Asserts specific concern over the 2038 clock-wrap issue in old UNIX/IBM Control Systems. This is an aggregation of previous contributions to Lifeboat Foundation on the topic of Nuclear Safety.



Comments welcome.

Oct 21, 2012

I Need your Help

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

I proved that black holes are different – they can only grow in a runaway fashion inside matter.

So if anyone would produce them on earth, earth would be doomed as soon as one would stay. No one disputes this.

Nevertheless the biggest effort at producing them on earth is going to be made during the next 10 weeks. CERN stages it.

I do not ask CERN to stop it: I only ask CERN to explain why they do it.


Oct 18, 2012

“In Search of a Friend for the End of the World”…

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

… is too early a movie at the present time (although it is nice). I instead re-iterate that I cannot understand the stubbornness of a whole planet refusing to check whether the offered proof of danger contains an error or not. All of the planet’s media never behaved as irresponsibly before: to refuse checking is never intelligent or defensible in retrospect, or is it?

A German higher administrative court (OVG Münster, Az. 16 A 591/11) ruled definitively yesterday that the principle of reversal of the burden of proof is not applicable in this case: You have to prove that the potentially earth-eating black holes are actually being produced before you can lawfully object to the ongoing attempt at their production.


Let me re-iterate how I see the situation in a manner that is maximally self-critical in a Popperian sense:

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