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Artificial Intelligence & Death Rincewind on 24 Jul 2012

The brain as a remote control interface

I currently have an understandance of the human brain quite different from how most people think the brain works. Instead of thinking of it as a movable super computer, I found it to be just a remote control interface for remote controlling the human body from a distance. This means that the actual brain circuits are run somewhere in a remote location, not in the human body itself. This means basically we’re all creatures lose from our bodies, and our bodies are just remotely controlled robots.

How did I figure this out? Well, at some point a small part of my brain ended up ‘vaporised’/destroyed electromagnetically. This part later grew back, but had the exact same complicated functioning it had before (this was feelable). One would expect to lose brain functionality in that piece of brain because it had been destroyed and regrown, so it should have been empty again. But this was not the case, the actual brain circuit had clearly survived the vaporisation. How can a brain circuit survive vaporisation? Well, I think the actual brain circuit is overlaid on our brain matter all the time, and that this is done electromagnetically. The electromagnetic circuit needs to be overlaid on the brain matter to form a functioning cicuit. The circuit only functioned normal with the brain matter present, with the part vaporised it didn’t work.

So I conclude that brain circuits only turn into functioning circuits when induced electromagnetically into our brain matter, and together they function as a working circuit.

My idea could be older than we think, and already been described in Descartes’ view of dualism (making the distinction between mind and a body). Descartes thought the mind was a non-physical substance, different from the physical brain. Maybe this turns out to be the electromagnetic circuit in my model, which is overlaid on the physical brain at all time. This was opposed by Spinoza, who argued there was only one type of substance, brain matter.

Artificial Intelligence & Death & Goal setting & Health Rincewind on 16 May 2012

Life goals – republished from end 2006

I was just wondering if you people have any long term goals in life, and if so, why you have these specific goals. In other words: what do you live for, what is (or will be) your most long term project spanning decades of your life?

I’m not asking for things like ‘become happy’, but some more concrete stuff. I can understand that you don’t know what exactly your lifework is going to be, but you might have at least a vague direction of where you are going. Or you might not, of course.

A lot of people seem to strive for a happy family kind of thing: marry, get children, get a car, buy a house, work really hard for a random company until you retire, have the occasional family visits and just entertain yourself through it without further goals.

I’m not even sure if these people choose to do this. I think it’s more that it kind of happens to them. The girls asks to have a baby and you might not exactly consider it very well and BAM you’re down the road of the above story. It might also be so that due to failing to reach any higher goals family life becomes top priority. It seems to me that a lot of people lose their hobbies/serious ambitions when they have kids, and eventually start living for the only purpose of giving their family/offspring a good life.

I think this is pretty sad. Why do people bother living for their offspring when their kids might live for their offspring and so forth? Where does this lead to, except far in time. It takes so much time to gain knowledge and skills of some sort already, just getting children and counting on your kids (as last hope) in reaching anything throws all of your expertise (or time to exercise your expertise) away. Why not break the cycle?

So then if you’re not parting with the American dream life goals and if you’re a little more ambitious, the most logical thing would be to have a huge project to spend your life on. I’m thinking of a big science/technology project that takes up decades of your life. It could be anything: a new physics theory, a big invention in some area or starting a thriving company. This could – if you’re lucky, good and know how to exploit it – get the real big cash floating. It’s also pretty much an opium that makes you forget about the elapse of time.

And when you have a lot of money, you can actually hire people to realize your dreams, or at least have help working on it. This makes it so much easier to achieve your end goal.

But in the end, in the end it was just you getting carried away in the game of life. There are so many of these things you can do, invent, you can work yourself up in so many ladders, jobs, you can master so many different expertises. A lot of them are great fun, but the choices are endless.

In the end you might (or might not) have benefitted the world, done something for others, and you might even have enjoyed. But yeah, there you are.

Then we have death, of course. I doubt anyone is afraid of dying (as if it matters how you die), but have you ever been in fear of being dead – the world without your presence, your consciousness lost forever? Personally I am frightened to death when I fully realise the possibility of myself disappearing. It’s so sad that death seems such an unbeatable barrier.

Many of my own projects have grown larger with myself getting older (and I’m young). Even when we’re only talking about hobby projects there are some that have have taken up years now – and these are the projects that I feel pressing on the back of my skull screaming “FINISH ME DAMMIT”. I will have the time to finish these, but what I want to illustrate with this is that if projects keep getting bigger, at some point there just isn’t more time to spend in life to finish whatever business (or life goal) you were up to. You’re going to get to the point of dying. You ran out of time, game over.

It would be great to approach living forever: do the gross of the fun things, finish all the projects you start and work yourself to the top in many different professions. The universe as a huge playground. Sadly immortality is impossible, but the most logical and noble life goal I can come up with is prolonging life to the maximum. Also obviously this includes getting rid of the fragile human body and more importantly finding a way to replace my human brains with more durable hardware. And the trick is doing this without breaking myself or my consciousness, and without accidentily copying myself instead of transferring. There is a lot of work to be done, and I really ought to get starting.

I probably sound like somebody with a bad case of premature midlife crisis. But the truth is that I’m far from that, and I’m ready to get my hands dirty. If you weren’t totally thrown off by this post, then I’d love to hear some feedback and to hear about your life goal(s).

Health Rincewind on 02 May 2012

Bad sight can lead to death

Lots of things can go wrong with your sight: your lens can drop out (this happened to me as a kid once) or a piece can break off (as happened to me recently), you can get blood clots in your eyes (this happened to me too), and you can get all kind of other nasty eye problems that ruin your sight. One would say: just an eye problem, but severe eye problems can easily lead to death by all the effects that bad sight causes. Did you read that right? Yes! Death can be a consequence of bad sight.

This is what can happen: your brain circuitry can start disfunctioning because of your bad sight (all the bad images that are being fed to these circuits). Especially if you no longer enjoy normal stereo sight because the pictures can’t merge anymore into a 3D picture because the image quality is off in one eye, your circuits will have a hard time dealing with all the picture information coming in. Important brain circuits might go inactive, and other circuits might start functioning. Circuits are at risk of being washed away by the flood of bad sight information, and side circuits might form.

What happens a lot is that veins close off after brain circuitry has gone inactive around those particular veins, which can result for example in an entire brain half through which blood no longer flows. Because the circuits are inactive, they will no longer drain energy and so the veins will close too, sometimes with blood clots in them.

This in turn will result in problems with blood pressure in other veins, which can result, when the pressure in a vein is too high, in broken blood vessels and brain hemmorrhage easily. This is exactly what happened to me and I barely escaped death. Now luckily my sight is a lot better again and when my sight was improving all the resulted problems were disappearing too.

I found myself unable to work normally, I even got trouble with speech (my intonation and vocabulary changed for the worse), and couldn’t really do anything productive all day. I was shit scared to be in traffic, even riding my bicycle. I accidentily bursted a big blood vessel when going for a run because the pressure in the vessel was too high due to my other brain half having almost no blood circulation anymore. I got lots of extra problems as a result of an eye problem.

This all means that your brain is at serious risk when there’s something wrong with your eye, and if it’s bad enough you’ll be unable to work like you used to, find yourself with trouble speaking and possibly find yourself in a downward spiral of health problems ultimately leading to death, for example by brain hemmorrhage. The only thing you can really do to go against all of this is to fix the cause, the problem with your sight, as quickly as possible.

Health Rincewind on 18 Apr 2012

The influence of food on your body, part 2

Over time I’ve written down the exact influence of food types on my own body, and decided to share these with you. These are only the perceived effects, there might be many more effects or different effects for you to find, so I can advice anyone interested to write down the effects of food types for him/herself.

Rye bread
Makes my skin look healthy.
Narrows my veins.
Changes my eye glare.
Has a small hallucinating effect that looks like the effect of rotten grapes.
Makes my head feel less ’soft’ from the inside.

Brown bread
Dumbs me down a bit.
Has a hydrating effect on the brain.
Makes my blood be contained within my veins better if the veins are damaged.
Makes my head feel less ’soft’ from the inside.
Thins my blood a little bit.
Gives me only little energy for the day.
Makes my cheeks slightly red.
Makes my skin look healthy.

White bread
Lots of energy available for the day (three times as much as when eating brown bread).
Inactive brain circuitry could become active again.

Gives me more saliva in my mouth.
Gives me more meat on the skin.

Has a calming effect.
Gives me fuller skin.
Has a hydrating effect on the brain.

Blue berries
Gives me more energy (in the eyes, the retina specifically, and in the muscles).
Aids growth.

Maybe a little more energy available.

Granny Smith Apple
Makes me grow.
Heals the brain and the rest of my body better.
Helps my immune system.
Provides more energy in the brain.
Inactive brain circuitry could become active again.

Green seedless grapes
Makes me grow.
Heals the brain and the rest of my body better.
Helps my immune system.
Has a hydrating effect on the brain.
Makes my blood be contained within my veins better if the veins are damaged.
Has a hydrating effect on the skin.
Helps against sticky stuff in my veins.

Has a hydrating effect on the brain.
Uses fat available in the brain.
Aids blood flow in the brain.

Increases mental capacity (makes me smarter temporarily).
Makes my head feel slightly less ’soft’ from the inside.

Dissolves blood clots and thins blood.
Has a positive effect on all my joints.
Makes my entire body feel relaxed.
Seems to be a sticky substance in all my veins, that lasts a few days.

Red cabbage and apples
Makes me more alert.
Gives me more energy.

Makes me think quicker (supposedly because of the iron).

Has a blood thinning effect, and possibly a blood clot dissolving effect.

More energy available (in the retina and rest of my body).
Makes me more alert.

More energy available (in the retina and rest of my body).

Hydrating effect on the brain.
Equals out the blood pressure over my brain.
Increases blood pressure.

Aquarius blue (drink)
Makes me think faster.
Thins blood.

Has a hydrating effect on the brain.
Dissolves blood clots.
Causes lots of big particles to flow around in my blood (but not big enough to cause problems).
Causes pimples.

Causes blood clots that get stuck somewhere in my body (so be careful).

Is used to repair my blood vessels.
Makes me fatter.
Hydrates my brain.

(Dutch) Cheese
Helps in repairing my blood vessels when damaged.

Kellogs Special K
My veins get stronger and fracture less fast, and the veins catch less blood clots.
Supposedly the iron in it makes me think quicker.

The ends of the veins in my brain seem to become more fatty.
More saliva in mouth after 2,5 glasses of milk.
It has a hydrating effect on skin and brain.

Nutella chocolate spread
Makes me think quicker (assuming because of the magnesium in it).
Hydrated feeling in my brain.
Can cause blood clots.

Has a very small hydrating effect on the brain.
Makes my head feel slightly less ’soft’ from the inside.

Light feeling in my head.
Provides energy for the body and brain.

Ends up near the walls of my veins to reinforce these.
Increases blood pressure.
Aids the immune system when eaten together with food.
veins heal faster.
Narrows veins.

Goal setting Rincewind on 15 Apr 2012

Setting goals in life

It’s important to define your goals in life so you can reason from there what your next step in your life is, and what action to take next. A lot of people don’t have their goals clearly defined, but loosely know what they want from life. For example, someone can be in university and know it is important to graduate, and get a job after. This however won’t cut it anymore if you’re slightly smarter than that, and your goals could look much more extensive, and a lot more detailed, too. Defining your goals in life is a great tool in getting where you want to be in your life, it’s important to keep track of them for everyone, so you always clearly know what you’re doing at any given time, and what to do next.

A lot of people update their goals on a regular base, so they can steer themselves in certain directions. Of course, certain parts of your goals can be static and not be in need of an update for a while. I’ve written this post to share a layout for goal setting with some basic goals present which are important to most people.

‘My’ goals in life


* Health *
Trying to keep good health, and fix problems in health when they arise immediately.

Working on my health by going to the fitness center weekly, and running in the local park on a daily base.

<training scheme>

Eating as healthy as possible, namely:

Growing physically stronger the longer I’m working on my health.

Avoiding death everywhere.

* Safety *
Making sure I’m in in a safe living environment (house or apartment) and stay out of trouble.

Evaluate my safety on a regular base. Ask myself how safe I feel at home.

Ignore most threats and respond to ‘attacks’ of any sort with my full capacity. My full capacity will grow the longer I work on my other goals.

Practicing martial arts for self defense.

* Freedom *
Freedom is valuable so be careful not to let anyone take your freedom away. Staying out of prison, and out of psychiatric hospitals, is an important part of keeping your freedom.

Financial independence and staying out of debt are an important part of guarding your freedom too.

* Making money *
Becoming as rich as possible by running a website with ads on it.

Getting a job that pays more than x.

* Intelligence *
Continuously increasing my intelligence and learning things about the subjects involved in these goals of mine.

Reading a scientific magazine online (www.newscientist.com) and increasing my knowledge as a computer programmer.

* Human skills *
Improving my voice intonation and learning how to communicate with my body better.

* Hobby *
Working on a Tesla coil and programming a strategy game in my free time.

* Trans-human *
Living on in a different trans-human form after (or before if possible) death.

Explanation of goals

I think it’s important for everyone to work on their health. Being healthy comes with increased productivity compared to bad health, and being healthy is important for overall productivity. Not dying is an important part of health too, but that’s basic instinct really. Being healthy is important if you want to go after the girls too, so write that sporting scheme down already.

Second is safety. If you’re not in a safe situation, you can do whatever you like but you’re always being threatened by your unsafe situation which will take everything you have away if it gets the chance. It will undermine all your other goals if you’re in an unsafe situation or when you’re unhealthy, these two goals really are the most basic goals everyone should set for themselves. One way to increase your safety is to practice self-defense, this will teach you to fight off physical attackers.

Freedom doesn’t come easy for everyone, and when you have it, there are lots of possibilities of losing that freedom again. Freedom is necessary if you want an environment you can freely work on your other goals in. For example, if you go to jail, you lose that freedom and you won’t be able to work on whatever you were doing. Another threat to freedom are psychiatric hospitals – lots of things can go wrong in life, and psychiatrists can easily lock anyone up into a psychiatric hospital in my country, which is almost as bad as going to prison. So, stay out of problems with psychiatry, too!

Debt brings lots of problems, and you could pretty much lose everything you have when you go in debt. You could lose your home, your money, and could even go to jail for it. Therefore part of keeping your freedom is staying out of debt.

Making money is an important goal for most people, because it is necessary to pay the bills. Of course, there are various ways to make money, so write down your most nifty ways of making money here, and work it out in detail. Personally I’m trying it with this website.

Increasing my intelligence is an important goal for me, because I want to keep growing as a person and keep developing myself, and the smarter I am, the more productive I will be, so it contributes to my other goals strongly. In order to keep my English and science knowledge at a decent level, I read scientific magazines, this works wonders. Me as a computer game programmer personally also want to grow as a programmer and want to keep increasing my programming knowledge.

I want to increase my human skills, by improving my voice’s intonation and want to learn how to communicate in gestures and with my body, additional to spoken language. These aid my other goals as well, in dealing with other people it helps greatly to intonate your voice well and to use body language.

I want to keep hobbies, so I made that one of my goals. My hobbies are written down under it.

I have always wanted to stay alive and not die, so it’s become a goal of mine to survive death and to live on afterwards.

This is just a basic draft of how your actual goals could look, so think of what your goals are yourself and write them down in a similar manner, preferably with some of the default goals as laid out here incorporated in them. I’m curious to what your goals are in life so feel free to share them in the comments!

Health Rincewind on 07 May 2010

Dealing with health problems

When I had severe trouble swallowing, a friend told me not to fixate on my health problem too much. I indeed didn’t do this, and instead of stopping with my study and focussing fully on regaining my health I decided to both continue my study and work on my health at the same time. I regret this decision in hindsight: the problem was so severe, that the longer it took to work on it, the more damage (from all the coughing) was done, the less likely it was that the problem would ever be fully fixed.

A health problem is like a bug in a computer program: when you don’t fix it immediatly, the problem can ruin the whole experience for you, can grow, and can possibly start to interact with other problems which makes it even harder if not impossible to fix. It is wise to overpower health problems immediatly attacking them with your full capacity: that means stopping doing what you were doing and fully focussing on fixing it with everything in your power (time, intelligence, money, relations (with health specialists), etc). Many people are born with good health and it’s relatively easy to lose it – it should be one of everyone’s top life goals to stay healthy.

It’s useful to find out as much as you can about a problem using the internet and books, so you can ask your doctors the right questions. Doctors don’t tend to like it though if you show you’ve done your research, so be subtle. If it is unclear what the problem is exactly you can use the internet to make a list of possible causes to your problem, and exclude them one by one, this might leave you with your actual problem.

If you cannot easily fix a health problem yourself you should take it to a doctor; a general practitioner or a specialist immediatly (if you can arrange this). Every day for your appointment to be earlier is very important (each day without proper care could make your problem worse), and if the problem is severe enough you can take it to the first aid. You can consult general practitioners that aren’t your own for a small price, so you can get a second or third opinion on a problem, if the first consult isn’t to your satisfaction. It’s also possible to consult multiple specialists for the same problem if you pay the bills yourself (and not leave it to insurance). In order to get to good specialists, it’s smart to exploit your own, your parents’, your family’s or your friend’s relations with doctors, this might work better than being referred to a random specialist by your general practitioner.

Besides letting the doctors have a go at it, there are multiple things you can try yourself to fix your problem. First thing is being more manic: try to find out as much as you can about your problem by (if appropiate) by going over it with your hands and listening to feedback from your body, and looking at it closely (maybe with a mirror), and perhaps even comparing it to photos of the past state. This can give you a lot of usable information for fixing your problem. Second, if there is something that surpresses the problem, for example running, increase this activity and see whether the problem will be more surpressed or even disappear. Third, if you have a problem that is a real bottleneck for your functioning, try to frustrate the bottleneck. This mostly comes down to running and sporting a lot. Write your findings down, and expand your activities based on the feedback information. For my swallowing problem this tactic meant eating a lot for me and pushing my body sportwise. Fourth, try to cycle food/drink products to see whether it influences your problem (whether to try someting like this of course depends on your problem), especially fruit and vegetables, take them in relatively big doses of the same to see whether it helps.

Other things you can do to contribute fixing your problem is asking questions on internet forums and e-mailing doctors, this way you can be helped by others who’ve had the same problem or know something about it, and most doctors are willing to provide information over e-mail. Something else you can try is to contact universities and ask a student to help you, if you need cheap help or someone to take a fresh look. If you are in real trouble, and for example have cancer, you could try writing companies letters in order to get experimental treatments, or take part in trials. If you’re really desperate and you are attractive enough, try to get yourself a partner that is a doctor. And last but not least: if nothing helps, and the doctor can’t diagnose, try to self-diagnose using the internet and order medicines online (be careful here).

It’s wise in general for serious health problems to make an attack plan, where you write down a description of your problem, a list of possible causes (or the cause if it’s known), a day log file, where you write down each day how the problem changed, and what you felt/saw, a list of symptoms, questions you want to ask a doctor, and what you are going to do to treat your problem. Especially the log file is important, this can help to fix the problem much better, because it becomes visible what is changing over time and why.

If you have a health problem to tackle, good luck doing so.

Health Rincewind on 05 May 2010

The influence of food on your body

As a child and young adult it was perfectly clear to me: eating is necessary to stay alive, so you eat and go the bathroom, and the only thing you have to watch is not to overeat or else you’ll become overweight. If you’re not overweight and you eat enough, you’re doing a good job supporting your health.

With this mindset I never really thought about what I ate. As a child I ate what my parents cooked, and when I went on to live on my own I decided I could use some extra time and didn’t cook, but instead bought microwave meals in the supermarket. I knew pre-cooked microwave meals increase your chances of getting cancer, but since the meals in the local supermarket looked reasonably healthy and it was extremely easy to prepare them I continued eating them. I also drank a lot of icetea during this time.

This all went well for over a year, but then I started to get health problems. Trouble concentrating, a heavy feeling on my heart, fluid reflux (actually a watery fluid coming back in my mouth – yek!) when lying down, and inflammation of the throat. It took a while before I realised my eating and drinking habits were responsible for this. My concentration went back to normal with better food, and with not drinking any more icetea or other sour drinks my fluid reflux and heart problems vanished. I now only drink water, milk, and fruit juice, and have never had these problems again.

Then I got serious trouble swallowing – I could barely swallow things for over a year for complicated reasons, coughing up my food again straight after it went in. I was quickly losing weight, and the least bit of food counted. I started to get deficits, and for example noticed I could think faster when eating more food with magnesium in it (which temporarily lifted the deficit), and that I needed to eat more fatty food in order to cough less (the extra fat became part of a part of my throat which made swallowing easier), and that I needed more salt.

Because I ate so little, the effects on my body of almost everything I ate was very clear, effects I would never notice if I would eat enough. I started writing these effects down, and now I now know exactly what the effect is of each food type for me, and what my body needs. This made it easy to make a customized diet for myself. I have a list of meals; there are things I have to eat weekly and some things I have to eat each day, in order to stay as healthy as possible.

Something I noticed for example is that white bread gives me a lot more energy than brown bread, which makes it my bread type of choice despite the fact that brown bread holds more fibres. Fibres are important too, but I feel that I get enough of those in the rest of my food, and that energy is a lot more important. If I would have realised this while I was in high school, I might have been less tired eating white bread during breaks.

Some other things I noticed are that rye bread makes my skin look healthy, narrows my veines, and changes my eye glare. A certain type of brown bread thins my blood and makes me less intelligent in a way. Banana makes me more calm and gives me a fuller skin. Blue berries give me more energy and improve my sight. Granny Smith apples aid growth and healing, and provide more energy for the brain. White grapes aid growth, healing and hydrate my skin. Raisins improve blood flow and deplete fat in the brain. Spinach makes me think faster (probably due to the iron), and broccoli makes me smarter in a way.

I also keep a blacklist of food: things that have proven to be bad for my health. Multivit (a vitamin drink) makes my veines stiff and less elastic, which has helped cause a TIA for me. Chocolat causes blood clots, which can decrease or stop the bloodflow through veines. Cup-a-soup beef taste makes me tired, and bread with seeds in it make me misswallow.

These are just some of the things I noticed and I can recommend anyone to write down the effects of food on his or her own body. Maybe it’s an idea even to intentionally run low on food while doing this so the effect of food you do take in becomes extra clear. Good luck!