Saturday, July 30, 2005

The New Commonplace - The SENS Challenge

Some know of the unpleasant anti-Aubrey de Grey articles some time ago published in the MIT Technology Review. For those that don't, Aubrey is a biogerontologist who works in anti-aging research, specifically for halting and reversing age-related decline in adult subjects, currently mice. (see Methuselah Mouse Prize) Two articles were written, one a mildly negative biographical sketch of de Gray and his opinions and goals, the other a much more negative abstract dismissal of de Gray and his goals. Needless to say, his more erudite defenders(including yours truly) wrote the Technology Review and chastised them for poor science, poor journalism, and poor form.

Pontin, the writer of the more negative piece, went to some gerontologists for return ammunition for a further piece, but was shocked to find that no reputable gerontologist would be dragged into the fracas. And so, MIT Technology Review begins their attempt to find some decent arguments, by offering a 20,000 dollar bounty on a 750 word piece explaining why de Grays ideas wouldn't work.

((In capsule form, de Gray proposes seven architectural strategies, which he calls SENS(Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) which will provide it's patients with indefinite, or at least indeterminitely extended natural lifespans. ))

In my view, and de Gray's, this editorial desperation is emblematic of two things. First, the surprising intellectual honesty of mainstream science, unwilling to deride radical ideas, so long as they do not violate known scientific law, and second, the unusual resistance from journalists to admit they are not qualified to judge the scope of scientific progress. To further a nasty analogy I am reminded of a New York Times article which lampooned rocketry pioneer Goddard for stating that rockets would work in a vacuum. ((The author of that piece confused the methods rockets work on(inertial reaction mass) with an aerodynamic interaction(like propellors) and claimed rockets would have nothing to push against)).

Three cheers for Aubrey de Gray for sticking to his guns and being quietly scientifically credible. Having big wild ideas doesn't mean you have to be ridiculed by Established Science, because for the most part, scientists are people too. It's just when you run around saying ridiculous unprovable things that scientists are forced to disagree.

I'm glad this sort of thing is happening. I am a supporter of Aubrey's work, and believe it deserves support. Now back to creating an artificial intelligence.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

dbacl project homepage

A bayesian spam filter is tested, to see if it can learn to play chess.

Amusing, and relatively interesting.
"I don't think I would like to be chopped up and turned into corn"
~ Jay Fox, Director Immortality Institute

bweh heh heh

the above was said on the Daily Show, in response to a truly deranged question by Ed Helms. You usually can't control how you end up being portrayed on the comedy program, but the Immortality Institute turned out to do okay, despite Jay Fox being initially described as a "Crazy Doctor-like Guy", and being perhaps the stiffest person I've ever seen on camera.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I'm outta here.

I'll be back online and in touch on Monday, It's too bad, right in the middle of an interesting discussion on SL4, but it's okay not to air all my opinions in public.. occasionally.


Friday, July 08, 2005

AdaptiveAI Opportunities Page

Since posting the latest news, we've been getting a lot more applications than previously. Which is a good thing, because we need more people.

You should apply.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Jurors Acquit Ex-IRS Agent


"Silence can be equated with fraud where there is a legal or moral duty to speak, or where an inquiry left unanswered would be intentionally misleading. . . We cannot condone this shocking behavior by the IRS. Our revenue system is based on the good faith of the taxpayer and the taxpayers should be able to expect the same from the government in its enforcement and collection activities."
U.S. v. Tweel, 550 F.2d 297, 299. See also U.S. v. Prudden, 424 F.2d 1021,
1032; Carmine v. Bowen, 64 A. 932.