First Draft for a New Book:
H. Sapiens 2.0: Designing Our Immortal Successors © 2015
Last updated on Sunday, May 4, 2014; 7:15 PM PDT

Art work on the cover... Leonardo da Vinci's Man in a Circle, holding DNA in his right hand and a synthetic chromosome in his left hand
Leonardo Man
Title: H. sapiens 2.0: Designing Our Immortal Successors
Subtitle: Achieving Biological Immortality in Our Life Times
Inside Flap: What is this book about? ~250 words
Publisher's Page: © 2015




Chapter 1: Genesis Revised (Done; see the GRG website for Chapter 1; move references to Appendix A.1)

Chapter 2: History of Human Science and Technology

Ref.: Timothy Ferris, The Big Idea: How Breakthroughs of the Past Shaped the Future (National Geographic Publishers, Washington, D.C.; 2014).

Chapter 3: Project Immortality (August 1961) (Done: ~ 40 pages in storage unit G15 in Fontana, CA among 240 boxes of books; it must be scanned in page-by-page. This document was typed on an electric typewriter, and the font must be preserved [long before there were PC's or the Internet] to validate its original date of origin. It was classified "Restricted to Core" [a very small group of people, and all readers were required to sign the cover page of their copy and return it later] but it has now been declassified.)

3.1 Biological Interventions (45 percent effort)
3.2 Bionics (45 percent effort)
3.3 Social Implications (10 percent effort)
3.3.1 The cost of intervening in aging will be prohibitive (except for the rich)
3.3.2 The population will explode if nobody dies (myth)
3.3.3 A world with a stable population but without young children or old folks (everybody appears to be between [20 and 30] yo) will be very different than the one we know and love today

Chapter 4: What Have We Learned about Aging Thus Far?
4.1 Aging, its clinical signs and symptoms, as revealed in human civilization or in zoos (not in the wild) is the net effect of two antagonistic forces: (1) Growth/Reproduction; and (2) Entropy; consistent with an open system subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics
4.2 Human Life-History Diagrams (based on 18 parameters in a triple-linear spline function)
4.3 The biology of Supercentenarians: GRG Table E and Conclusions of 11 Autopsies
4.4 Average Life Expectancy continues to increase monotonically and systematically due to public health and obstetrical interventions, but Maximum Lifespan continues to remain at the Guinness Book of World Records Calment Limit (122 yo); we do not expect this record to be broken in our lifetimes.
4.5 The age of onset of age-related diseases appears to be highly predictable and not stochastic; explaining why a methylation algorithm predicts chronological age better than tree rings (dendrochronology)

Chapter 5: What Can We Do about Aging, If Anything?
Quote: "... customizing human stem cells to regenerate a damaged, old, or sick body ... rejuvenating worn-out muscles, and so on." - - J. Craig Venter, Ph.D. at the bottom of p. 158 of his latest book, Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life (Viking, New York; 2013); however, at UCLA on February 30, 2014 during a one-hour talk, he was silent on this matter except to say that stem-cell lines have been shown to be filled with mutations and they won't be good for therapy as they stand today.

5.1 We can't do anything about the weak force of entropy; that lives everywhere in the universe, and there's no escape from the laws of physics; but we could do something about the strong force of growth/fitness by modifying or debugging the embryogenic/developmental software program distributed within our DNA, so as to keep the force of entropy at bay, i.e., tilted in favor of fitness
5.2 Monthly infusions of ~1 million pristine autologous iPSC's i iv under medical supervision without obliterating normal tissue architecture (or creating cancer as part of the therapy)
5.3 Neurodegenerative Diseases (AD, PD, ALS, FTD)
5.3 Facilitating the Bridge Plan leading us to a Technological Singularity (~2038)

Epilogue (Prioritizing Our Efforts with Annual Two-Day Conferences)

At the conferences, we should conduct formal debates one-on-one, but supervised by others, that would allow us to critique the personal Vision Statement for how you would solve (or cure) the problem of aging. In particular, a Vision Statement would involve at least four components:

1. A partitioning or decomposition of the problem into separable components that are mutually-excusive but jointly-exhaustive, using the well-known scientific methodology of "recursive reductionism." In engineering jargon, this is referred to as "trouble shooting." In the world of software development, this approach is called "debugging." Note that I was in the room ten years ago when Dr. Aubrey de Grey first announced his own decomposition, called the SENS Plan, which I largely endorse and is no longer as controversial as it once was.

2. A proposed metric that we could use to estimate the distance by which we have not-yet solved the problem. This heuristic is sometimes referred to as "Means/Ends Analysis" or "Hill Climbing" in AI circles. It falls under Cybernetics in Systems Control Theory circles. We would apply the metric recursively to all the subcomponents.

3. A date certain when we can all expect a solution to the problem that will lead to FDA- approved clinical trials to slow and/or reverse human aging and senescence in our lifetimes. This is also the problem of when Ray Kurzweil's Technological Singularity will emerge?

4. A failure of critics to produce persuasive/compelling counter arguments or a full refutation. In legal language, lawyers would say "your case is 'without merit' ... because my client doesn't own a dog." in the case of a dog-biting lawsuit. This must be ascertained by a group of independent reviewers for whom all parties were agreed in advance.



A.1 References
A.2 Glossary (See the GRG website)
A.3 Important Scientific Historical Players (see the Resources Section of the GRG website)
A.4 Time Line for Research on Longevity
A4M: Coles, "There is no such thing as anti-aging medicine." (date)
AMMG: We need evidence-based age management medicine (date)
Both organizations are still actively functioning
A.5 Resume for L. Stephen Coles
A.6 Suggested Curriculum for an undergraduate degree in Gerontology
A.7 GRG Speakers and Abstracts [1990 - 2014] (See GRG Meetings Section)
A.8 GRG Discussion Group ~500 people contribute [5 - 10] messages a day seven days a week A.9 PowerPoint Slides (263 slides formatted six per page, minus the autopsy slides that are only intended for physician audiences)
A.10 Ten Home Work Problems (with answers) for students
A.11 Updates to Supercentenarian Tables Can Be Found on the GRG.ORG website
A.12 Related websites:
a. maintained by Stanley Primmer
b. A sister website (with commercial interests): maintained by Bobbie Brooke
c. Connectome


Color Photo and Brief Biographical Sketch for back flap
L. Stephen Coles

Back-Cover Endorsements: (James P. Watson, M.D., Steven B. Harris, M.D., Steven M. Kaye, M.D., Karlis B. Ullis., M.D.)

Contingency: In the event of my demise due to Stage-IV pancreatic cancer metastasized to the liver, before publication, I authorize James Watson and Steven Harris to obtain an Editor and get it published by a respectable publishing house at their earliest convenience.

To Natalie, Electra, and Cailyn


It is often said that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." It is the purpose of this book to provide at least a portion of evidence needed to support the claim that "biological immortality" will become feasible in the lifetimes of many of those now reading this text. The claim that current humans would seek to replace themselves with "immortal equivalents" is certainly an extraordinary claim. To find the evidence needed, we must embrace all of human cultural knowledge to gain the perspective that will make intelligible the flurry of newspaper headlines that we read every day, regarding science, technology, and medicine, that deal with what happened if the last few moments of our history and rarely if ever discuss what could happen but hasn't happened yet. And that's why I have chosen to redefine Genesis, the first chapter of the Hebrew/Christian Bible, as the first chapter of this book. But first, permit me a short explanation about how I came to this conclusion.

In 1967, while I was a graduate student at Carnegie Institute of Technology (soon to become Carnegie Mellon University [CMU]) in Pittsburgh, PA, my mentor then at the Andrus Gerontology Center at USC's main campus in Los Angeles, CA, Prof. Bernard L. Strehler, Ph.D. [19xx - 2000] (he didn't get an M.D. although he started the program at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD) and author of Time, Cells, and Aging [1] that had just come out in paperback, advised me "Steve, you have good genes. Why don't you reproduce and create some progeny for the future?" And so I did, having just gotten married that year. He then advised me to change my religion from Methodist to Unitarian Universalist. And so I did, since his arguments were compelling. Strehler and I argued at length about the significant change in tone in the first chapter of the hard-copy version and the paperback version of his seminal book. The original was very establishmentarian, while the paper-back version was much more optimistic regarding the potential for anti-aging interventions. He told me, "Steve, you were the first person to notice this shift in tone." After that, we became fast friends and I visited him at his home in the San Fernando Valley and he reciprocated by giving a talk to my AI Group at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, CA. Finally, he advised, "Stop working on all this Artificial Intelligence computer stuff (my thesis work on Computational Linguistics under Richard King Mellon Endowed Chair Professor of Psychology and Computer Science Herbert A. Simon, Ph.D. [19xx - 19yy], who subsequently went on to win a Nobel Prize in Economics for work he did at the University of Chicago long before I knew him). I didn't follow Strehler's advice on this one (at least at that time). What he said was as follows:
There are only two intellectually difficult problems worthy of anyone's attention...
1. How does the brain work? and
2. Why do we get old and die?

This was typical Strehler speaking, both presumptuous and arrogant, given all the other challenging and interesting problems that one could potentially work on.

For Strehler, the first problem was really "Where in the architecture of the brain could one locate consciousness or personhood?" He went on to build several hardware prototypes of neural networks in his living room in St. Pedro, overlooking the Pacific Ocean that he subsequently patented based on his idea of codon-encryption of transmission of axonal action potentials toward the distal synapses. We will need to do comparative anatomy of different primates to help us solve this problem with a strong focus on Broca's Area (language/speech) and solve the Connectome Problem.

The statement of the second problem should be revised to ask "How?" not "Why?" we get old and die. [We already know the answer to the Why? question... It's because our DNA runs out of things to do once we have fulfilled our Prime Directive to "Go forth and multiply."] Furthermore, to be precise the "How" answer must contain actionable items that suggest interventions/therapies, especially ones that could be tested in our lifetimes. Starting in 1975, when I left SRI and went to medical school, I went to work on, not one, but both of these problems, for the rest of my professional life. I now teach Neurophysiology to graduate students and Gerontology to undergraduates at UCLA.

Both of Strehler's problems are super hard (characterized in DARPA language as "Grand Challenge" problems), even 47 years later. The BRAIN initiative announced by President Obama in his 2013 State of the Union Address will help us make progress on the first problem. But we don't have anything comparable for Problem 2 yet. Our Group is trying as best we can to get the President's attention through the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). However, we are not authorized to speak more about this until granted permission, given that this a more politically sensitive area for the Executive Branch to spend substantial money on (>$100 million), given the culture we live in. It is likely that some US Congressmen or Senators would object, in principle, to the desirability of even working on this problem, despite the fact that partial success could lead to substantial savings for our health-care budget as demonstrated in a number of new econometric reports that relate the dollar-for-dollar investment to a big multiple return on investment [2].

Finally, there is no reason in principle to believe that neither of the these problems couldn't be solved sooner or later, given that their solutions wouldn't violate the laws of physics, chemistry, or biology.


There is a wide spectrum of opinion among human beings about the desirability of life and death. Regarding life, however, it's well known that pronatalism is the dominant philosophy. The US Government, as well as most other formal governments, provide incentives in the form of income-tax exemptions to create more children, not to mention legislation that promotes the agenda of ProLife (anti-abortion) politics, despite the exponentially exploding human population that contaminates the surface of our planet without any rational basis. I don't believe that there is any biologist who believes that we are currently in danger species' extinction as we once were, say 50 thousand years ago, when "The Force" was not on our side, and we were surrounded by nasty predators who would eat us for lunch if given the slightest opportunity and the potential for warfare with other primates over scarce resources.

Regarding death, the consensus is more mixed. One can distinguish a spectrum whose poles are represented by the following two quotes:

1. "Death is an imposition on the human race, and is no longer acceptable." - - Alan Harrington [1918 - 1978] The Immortalist: An Approach to Engineering Man's Divinity (1969)[3]

2. "The finitude of Life is a blessing, whether we know it or not." - - Prof. Leon Kass, M.D., Ph.D., University of Chicago and first Director of President Bush's Biomedical Ethics Council. (2000)[4]

So where does the average person lie along this spectrum of intervention vs. maintaining the status quo? The Pew Charitable Trust conducted a poll with a lengthy questionnaire of ["n"] random people that asked them to help us find out. It turns out that average people have a very sensible attitude toward death. They typically say, "I don't want to live forever, even if I could." [x] percent of those polled. That's because every rational person knows that anyone who manifests symptoms of aging and senescence past the age of 60, no matter what their life style, is doomed to incur further chronic diseases in an irreversible, combinatorial manner until they perish from this Earth (sometimes referred to as eternal obliteration, unless of course, as many of faith would prefer to believe, they wind up in Heaven where they can consult with other of their relatives who preceded them). Along the way, old folk often suffer increasing frailty and pain until they die of what are called "natural causes," despite the best medical care that our society has to offer. And this is true whether you view aging as a natural process or a disease of its own, for which there is a systematic increase in age-related diseases. This phenomenon is clearly proportional to chronological age, as all life insurance companies know well. Actuaries take your age, gender, race, geographical location, and smoking history into account from which they can calculate your premiums for a 10-year, $100,000 term policy and never fail to make money for their company without ever having to examine your medial/surgical history or perform any physical exams or laboratory testing, although many Internet longevity calculator algorithms require these inputs as though they were important. They may be important for the individual, but they're not statistically important for the insurance company.

Average life expectancy has been rising monotonically for centuries secondary to the low- hanging fruit of simple public health measures for the separation of water and sewage, but especially in the last century secondary to childhood vaccines, antibiotics, anesthesia for C- sections, car- and home-accident prevention, and blood type and cross-match {A, B, AB, O} for transfusions, as needed. Nevertheless, maximum human lifespan has not advanced one iota following the death of French supercentenarian, Madam Jeanne-Louis Calment who died at the age of 122 back in 1997. In fact, it's not even a "horse race," since nobody has come even close to her Guinness Book of World Records outlier status. And we should know, since the GRG consults for Guinness in the category of Longevity, and we have maintained the list of the oldest living validated people in the world for more than 15 years with help of an international team of 40 collaborators (Table E on the GRG.ORG website) as now recognized by Wikipedia, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and CNN-TV as the world authority on this topic, due to our rigorous standards for inclusion and our precise method of weeding out pretenders or detecting exaggerated claims. By the way, we were not here to validate the claims of our antediluvian patriarks in Genesis from Adam to Noah, including Noah's Grandfather, Methuselah who was alleged to have died at the record age of 969.

So why is that? One would imagine that with the base of the population pyramid expanding exponentially, the apex should also be rising, but it's not! Is there some law of biological mortality that functions as a fundamental limit on longevity (what we have chosen to call the "Calment Limit" that will not likely be broken in our lifetimes). Probably not. But there is something in our genome that is shutting our fitness down leading to increasing frailty when our DNA runs out of things to do, particularly the non-coding portion (what used to be called "junk DNA, before we knew better) . When the Darwinian Force of Evolution ceases to operate on an individual's longevity phenotype, the force of entropy (and without the correct number of Tana Leaves) takes charge (tilts in its favor), and we sink into a muck of pure protoplasm (to be consumed by our friendly microbiome), as prisoners of a decrepit body that ceases to obey our commands, even if our brains are still functional and our minds are not yet senile.

Ordinary people know that our good men (and women) in white coats (physicians who have undergone a decade or more of training and have more decades of clinical practice) are not magicians. No one routinely performs miracles (except for charlatans and homeopaths) when patients get really, really old. Nobody would want to suffer at the end of their lives in chronic pain while on a ventilator and they can hardly move, let alone know what's going on in the outside world around them (hence the medical chart designation DNR [Do Not Resuscitate]). No one wants to be permanently confined to bed or a wheel chair or become simultaneously blind and/or deaf. Furthermore, no one would want to swap places with the average supercentenarian that we have visited in person (See the 100's of supercentenarian photos in the gallery of the Supercentenarian Section of our GRG.ORG website.) I don't know if there's a term for "Put me in a medically-induced coma for the next 20 years until somebody figures how to fix/repair/cure what's wrong with me," but in the mean time, keep me well hydrated with proper nutrition, prevent muscle-wasting (sarcopenia), and avoid the onset of skin lesions due to pressure sores (decubitus ulcers). This challenge is essentially beyond the state of the art, except for those in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) or an ordinary deep coma.

Average people would prefer to die in the middle of the night in their sleep. This assumes that their remaining family (loved ones) have access to your Last Will and Testament (the decedent), life insurance policies, the data to create an Obituary if your passing were to attract media attention by a newspaper reporter or two, and your wishes for burial/cremation and funeral services (open casket or closed, etc.). There may be other things that your survivors may need to protect your legacy against malicious gossip in a tabloid newspaper.

Therefore, if we were to "fast reverse" a non-existent video tape by a 100,000 years to the time of our (illiterate) ancestors and attempt to reconstruct their "magical thinking regarding death, they probably realized that they were special (the only group of tribal primates who appreciated that no matter what they did, they would die if they managed to live long enough). This is something that present-day theologians euphemistically call "The Human Condition." As much as they may have wished to continue living, we speculate that they recognized this relentless inevitability about death, and they had to resign themselves to that reality by constructing rituals around it. By the way, even though average life expectancy was around 20 years during these prehistoric paleolithic times, there were plenty of people who lived into their 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. These folk became the tribal elders who passed on knowledge of survival techniques (designing and using tools and weapons, like spears, not clubs, how to hunt as a team, how to build a fire to stay warm in Winter and/or cook raw meat to make it more digestible/palatable, and most importantly where to move next when a particular location was hunted out). This is consistent with the idea that our H. sapiens species nearly became extinct several times, as did our competitors The Neanderthals (despite some mild inbreeding) some 15,000 years ago, probably due to numerous wars over scarce resources and/or adverse environmental effects, such as plague/pestilence, drought, floods, and so on (i.e., the four horsemen of the apocalypse). Maybe 30,000 years ago, humans domesticated wolves into a new breed of canines. These hounds were helpful for our joint survival, not as pets per se, but as guard dogs and hunters. They woke us up when a pack of wild animals entered our caves during the night with aim of eating us alive.

Though humans must have made the empirical observation that death was inevitable, they surely made a large number of herbal and other interventions, but to no avail. Death was a standard, universal event whose occurrence was directly proportional to chronological age. They must have also made the observation around this time that there was a cause-and-effect relation between copulation with females and their subsequent pregnancy nine months later. This probably led to the idea of marriage ceremonies and monogamy (although polygamy may have preceded) rather than random copulation), since that way, fathers of a defined family unit increased the likelihood that their first-born sons would stay around to protect them when they got old. In exchange, the father (and mother) could take on the role of grandparenting while the parents were preoccupied with the essential function of hunter/gathering. This idea recurs in more modern times under the rubric of "primogeniture" in which any land assets or real estate that you inherited from your own father for the purpose of agriculture (for which you have legal title or ownership) or those that you may have accumulated during your own lifetime would become available to your first-born son upon your death. This likely led to the idea of a "Will" that named your sons as Executors ... "Being of sound mind and in the presence of these witness, I hereby bequeath the following..." Remember the seemingly contradictory Shakespearian quote, "The King is dead, long live the King."

This presages "thanatology" or what to do about the dead once they have expired. (At UCLA we have an "Office of Decedent Affairs" hidden in the Anatomical Pathology Section of the David Geffen School of Medicine.)

The first thing to do is to recognize that "doing nothing" doesn't work well (especially in the absence of refrigeration). A rotten corpse quickly starts to stink. So we have to invent a new industry of mortuary sciences: (1) Bury the corpse six feet under in a special location called a "cemetery," and then hire a stone mason to carve a head stone, so that you can revisit your dearly departed at a future time with flowers. For this purpose, it would have been valuable to have already invented money (in the form of coins) to allow economic transactions that could be recorded in a written form (hence the invention of writing). If you were sufficiently wealthy, you could even build a family mausoleum on the same property. The alleged sacredness of human body tissues by religious authorities prevented the dissection of dead bodies or routine autopsies for teaching doctors the cause(s) of death for a period of many centuries. If you were poor, you might place the bones of your relative in a stone ossuary box, which would consume considerably less real estate, a practice common at ~0 AD; or (2) Cremation evolved in parallel if real estate were really scarce. The Greek practice of placing two coins under the eye-lids before lighting the pyle, so that the departed could pay the boat man to help them cross to the opposite shore of the River Styx, a curious variation on the mythology of the time, but hardly different from Egyptian mummification of people and cats. Remember that Aristotle believed that the convolutions in the brain served the function of cooling the blood that was first created in heart and magically disappeared at the extremities. This is not an unreasonable hypothesis for a philosopher sitting at his arm chair, but Aristotle was the first zoologist and the first botanist, not just the first logician, so we had a right to expect more. The scientific method of empirical observation followed by rejection of inconsistent hypotheses did not become standard until Galileo's time, many centuries later.

The second thing to do is to invent religion (pantheism), as a means to explain why we were inflicted with death in the first place (original sin). (There are creation myths in every culture [x].) Otherwise, we might look foolish in the eyes of our curious children. Prof. Richard Dawkins "Theory of Agency" explains beautifully how the idea of gods (polytheism) and then one God (Monotheism) evolved fit the bill [x]. First, we need a sacred set of fables (a bible). Next, we would need to create a place for the gods to live (Mt. Olympus, Heaven, Paradise), so that they can their conduct business, which includes sticking their noses in our affairs with miracles, rainbows, and so forth. Next, we need to build churches, cathedrals, synagogues, and mosques, so ordinary folk have a place to go at least once a week (the Sabbath) to discover God's intentions and other arcane divine wisdom. Finally, we need to train a group of clergy, folk who can serve as interlocutors, so they can teach the ordinary illiterate masses who don't speak or read Latin what God wants them to do (messiahs, prophets, saints, popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, ministers, deacons, vicars, rabbis, imams, etc.). Although Western civilization is normally thought to begin with Greeks, the Egyptians before them had very clear ideas about how their citizens should lead the good life, so as to be eligible for making it to their idea of heaven. Their Kings (Pharaohs), however, caused an entire civilization to willingly participate in their shared fantasy for several millennia at the time of the construction of the pyramids, the tombs at Thebes, and advanced mummification techniques that included a tool to extract the brain from the skull through the nose and throwing the brain tissue away lest it contaminate the rest of the corpse. The brain was hardly important compared with the heart that was carefully preserved in a jar sealed with paraphin and placed next to the sarcophricus. All this was done without the slightest idea of critical thinking. How come the Egyptian physicians never had examples of brain-injury survivors (with hemorrhagic strokes with contralateral paralysis) who could then have yielded information about how the brain really functioned? (Sigh!)

The next thing to do is to encourage art consistent with local religious beliefs. So, we get liturgical painting, sculpture (gargoyles), instrumental and choral music, songs, hymns, dance, poetry, theater, and literature. In particular, we need writers of "just so" stories that serve to warn us against interfering (or tampering) with the natural order (since the clergy already own this turf). We prefer to describe those writers who compose cautionary tales as apologists for the status quo.

Another thing to do while you're at it, is to create distractions for the masses, so that they don't spend a lot of time perseverating over the unpleasant idea of their own mortality. A good bet might be sports (Olympic Games, soccer (football), American-style football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey, lacrosse, rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, boxing, wrestling, karate, archery, bowling, squash, volley ball, badminton, ping-pong, hand ball, polo, snow skiing, ice skating, etc. (If you lived in Rome at the time, a visit to the Coliseum might be in order to watch gladiators kill each other). In addition to professional sports you might want to include casino gambling, which distracts a significant proportion of the population (slot machines, dice [craps], roulette, baccarat, poker, 21, horse racing, sports-book, etc.). Other forms of entertainment include drinking at a bar until dead drunk, after which you get kicked out by the rules of the establishment, lest you get a DUI while driving home. Clubbing, dancing till dawn. Attending rock concerts. Getting high on street drugs. And so on. Don't forget IMAX movies with Dolby Surround Sound, HD TV, radio, and tabloid newspapers and magazines with the latest celebrity gossip, cooking, hunting, fishing, whale watching, etc.

For all of the items mentioned above to play well together in our culture, we need something called "multiple lock-in phenomena." This phenomenon explains why when you flip a coin and decide to drive on right of a two-lane road, that your steering wheel winds up on the left. Conversely, if you chose to drive on the left, your steering wheel winds up on the right. Mutatis mutandis for traffic signals and road signs. Our attitude toward our discovery of mortality is at a very high level, like the coin flip. It dictates many of our decisions in our world view thousands of years later. After the dominos have settled, it would be extremely difficult without a rigorous legal separation of church and state, to prevent an absolutist evangelical religious order from taking over your life and creating a governmental theocracy (like those that will stone you to death or burn you at the stake for apostasy). Each religion treats the problem of theodicy differently. Many are fatalistic; no matter what happens your destiny is sealed. Others assume that if things go wrong, it must be your fault, and this is God's way of punishing you. Not all religious orders profess compassion as does Buddhism. Some will send you to Hell for disobedience, while others will send you Paradise with ~40 virgins for committing a suicide bombing against the evil infidels.

So we wind up with society that is controlled by a complex web of presuppositions that aging is a relentless, inevitable process that terminates in our death. Furthermore, we must avoid thinking about it, except for an occasional visit to a funeral home and cemetery when somebody we know actually dies.

But what if this rationalization were wrong? What if a more correct model were one of "no interventions in aging are possible yet."? The status quo argument would be, "If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings." or a warning around the year 1900 that "No heavier than air machine could ever fly." Yet a century later in 2000, our children take this extraordinary accomplishment for granted. How could the American bicycle makers (the Wright Brothers) at Kitty Hawk, NC have failed? Well Virginia, they failed for several days in a row until the wind conditions were just right. Indeed, visionaries in many countries hoped to imitate the seemingly effortless ability of birds to fly for hundreds of years without success, starting with Leonardo's amazing engineering design for a helicopter. Indeed, today's first-class passengers expect to fly anywhere in the world regardless of weather conditions in shirt-sleeve comfort while sipping champagne and watching a movie.

Sometime around 1970, we landed on the moon, but for whatever reasons we lost our momentum, and Mars still eludes us. It's not because NASA lacked the competence or the nerve. Many of us at CalTech/JPL in Pasadena - - where I worked at the time - - prepared detailed proposals for how to go to Mars and return safely to Earth. It seems that the US is still too self-involved in various budget battles to finance the three-year round trip for a team of four astronauts to set up shop on the surface for six months. They might return with the sad news that, although their visit was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the Red Planet is essentially uninhabitable by ordinary folk. But so what? There will always be new challenges for daring explorers. Biologists should begin by making serious and credible claims that for ordinary citizens extreme lifespan as well as healthspan is not only possible, but inevitable. It's only a matter a major influx of research funding and resources into longevity research as to how soon it happens.

Chapter 1 - - Genesis Revised (See Charter Section of GRG.ORG)

Chapter 2 - - History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Even if I took a year off to write this chapter from scratch, I doubt that I could improve on the existing literature on this topic. All you have to do is to walk into any major naional-chain bookstore like Barnes and Nobel and you will find a collection of similar books...

Here are some examples:
1. Timeline of the History of Science and Technology by Isaac Asimov.
2. Medical History with an alpha for "a" in medical.
3. Watson, Ph.D. Double Helix 1969 and 2006 (Vintage Books; Random House; New York)
4. COSMOS on Fox-TV
5. Alan Lightman, The Discoveries: Great Breakthroughs in 20th Century Science.

Nevertheless, I would like to explore my personal journey in terms of who influenced my thinking about human discovery and invention in approximately chronological order:

1. Promethian Phase [2 - 1] MYA (millions of years ago) Control of fire for both warmth in Winter and light in the darkness. Darkness must have been a particularly frightening time for humans when we arrived on the sounds about 200 KYA, since that's when packs of wild nocturnal carnivorous predators roamed the same territory, such as wolves or hiennas (not the laughing type). Hiennas, by the way, have very sharp teeth and a pack of hiennas can take down much larger animals, even isolated lions or elephants. It is likely that isolated humans were no exception, and that's why humans who did survive probably lived in tribes.

2. Tower of Babel Phase (Linguistic Competence [200 - 100] KYA and not just cries, grunts, or clicks). Teaching somebody how to manufacture spears and then how to throw them in the context of hunting where the target is profoundly unwilling to stand still while you threw it would not be trivial even in the context of abstract spoken language and almost impossible without it. Written language would come much later when the accounts arrived.

3. Hunter Phase (Sharp-tipped throwing spears are much better than clubs.)

4. Gatherer Phase (Distinguishing edibles [from poisonous plants] like nuts, fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs.)

5. Adam (inventor of God or God(s) = Pantheism).

6. Eve (inventor of fire for cooking raw meat, so as to make their calories contained in meat more digestible).

A Brief History of Western Civilization

Remembering the problem of the Sorcerer's Apprentice, a complete understanding is very important, while a partial understanding is perilous.

If you read three major national newspapers such as The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal, as I do, cover-to-cover every day for a week, you will have consumed more information than an average 17th-Century citizen would have in an entire lifetime! That's a lot of (digital) data, but it's nothing compared to what is on the immediate horizon. By comparison, from the beginnings of civilization ~10,000 years ago to the year 2003, all of humankind generated a grand total of 5 EB (Exa Bytes) of digital information. An Exa Byte is one quintillion Bytes or 1,000,000,000 GB (that's 1 followed by 18 zeros). But from 2003 through 2010, we created 5 EB of digital information every two days. By next year (2013), we will be producing 5 EB every 10 minutes. How much information is this? The 2010 total of 912 EB is the equivalent of 18x the amount of information contained in all the books ever written [on paper, parchment, or stone tablets]. This means that the world is not just changing quantitatively, it's changing qualitatively. The change is not just accelerating -- the rate of the acceleration of change is itself accelerating! [1]

Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think(2012).

If Moore's Law holds true for the next 20 years, as I expect it will (the cost of computing comes down systematically as the density of electronic circuits increases exponentially every 18 months) then the cost of a CPU chip with sensor(s) and telemetry circuits will cost less than US$1.00. That means that every single car, appliance, piece of furniture, and even clothing/shoes in your home will be "intelligent" (connected to the cloud [Internet] with a fully recorded life history of everything that has ever happened to it since it was manufactured in a factory), as it will be cheap enough and trivial to do so. The implications of this new world with an audit trail of everything that happens and ubiquitous personal home robots everywhere will be hard to comprehend. But let's try.

Maps Are Key to Knowledge

A historical map of the world as of 450 BCE was shown by Herodotus, the first true historian...
Historical World Map
This world map in its day was quite accurate. But not all historical maps were so accurate. For example, the "Island of California" refers to a long-held European misconception, dating from the 16th century, that California was not part of mainland North America but rather a large island separated from the continent by a strait now known instead as the "Gulf of California." As stated in Wikipedia, one of the most famous cartographic errors in history was propagated on many maps during the 17th- and 18th-Centuries, despite contradictory evidence from various explorers. The legend was initially infused with the idea that California was a terrestrial paradise, like the Garden of Eden or Atlantis.
Historical False California Map

It was a shame that none of the indiginous (illiterate) Carribean Indians that Christopher Columbus met on his various voyages had a map or their neighboring islands. So, as a result, Columbus never set foot on Mexico (or anywhere on North America) during his lifetime.

I. Nine Cultural Revolutions in the Self-Image of Human Beings

Over the past 2,500 years, eight revolutions in our self-image have helped us mature or evolve from troglodytes into rational, literate human beings. Because the Mayan Calender stopped abruptly in the year 2012, this led some to believe that this year should be considered the predicted end-of-the-world (the apocalypse). Many still suffer from "magical thinking." One can distinguish at least seven major revolutions in man's self image over the last three thousand years.

1. The Aristotelean Revolution

The world is a very large spheroid, not, according to an ancient Hindu Myth, a flat plate held up by a turtle and four elephants:

Giant Turtle with Four Elephants

2. The Copernican Revolution (Nicholas Copernicus; a Heliocentric Model; not a Ptolmeic Model)

The Earth spins on its own axis and revolves around the Sun (along with other planets). Galileo helped to prove this empirically with his invention of the telescope.

3. The Newtonian Revolution

Sir Isaac Newton of Cambridge/London: Calculus, Light/Optics, and Laws of Motion.

4. The Darwinian Revolution (Charles Darwin)

All animals and plants, including humans, descend from a common ancestor by means of a simple evolutionary mechanism called "natural selection" or "survival of the fittest."

5. The Pasteur Revolution (Louis Pasteur, Koch, and Jenner)

The Germ Theory of Disease. Bugs cause infection, not sin, as the Catholic Church once had us believe. Disease-causing pathogens are microbes (viruses, bacteria, fungi, rickettsia, helminthes, and other assorted parasites).

6. The Freudian Revolution (Sigmund Freud/Carl Jung)

The human mind is not fully rational, but subject to unconscious [even mutually antagonistic] drives. Three parts: (1) Id [Hunger, Thirst, Libido]; (2) Ego [will to power]; (3) Superego [accountability; responsibility for right/wrong behavior; sin/guilt; conscience).

7. The Simonian Revolution (Herbert Simon and Allen Newell of Carnegie-Mellon University)(1965)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) may someday be achieved by simulating human problem-solving processes on a computer (Expert Systems) (Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy: The jury is still out; Chess [IBM's Deep Blue] doesn't support this hypothesis; neither does "Watson" an IBM computer in the TV game show Jeopardy)(Robots: Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and the problem of a disembodied intelligence [The Imitation Game and {Turing Test}; The Krell in Forbidden Planet]).

8. The Watsonian Revolution (James Watson of Watson and Crick)(2000)

With the sequencing of the human genome, we can now start to read the "Book of Life" (Francis Collins, J. Craig Venter, Eric Lander, and Leroy Hood). Synthetic Biology will be the major application of this knowledge that will someday lead to a cure for all chronic diseases, possibly through stem-cell therapy.

9. The Hawking Revolution (Stephen Hawking and the Multiverse)(2010)

There are many parallel universes constantly being spawned with their own Big Bangs; most do not support galaxies or light given the variable amounts of dark energy/matter in empty space. See Brian Greene on The Fabric of the Cosmos.

II. 50 Key Events in the History of Human Civilization

A. The Stone Age

1. Death. The discovery that aging occurs relentlessly for all members of one's tribe (and, by extension, the frightening contemplation of one's own demise). As a corollary, this incomprehensible prospect leads to the invention of religion [immortal god(s) who "made it so" that we shall perish, while they themselves don't die; and furthermore, they didn't bother to ask for our consent, except for providing us with a Prime Directive to "Go forth and multiply."] Respectful funeral ceremonies for burying the dead with things they cared about in life are established (otherwise, corpses begin to smell like putrid meat). Cannibalism is generally rejected as a survival strategy.

2. The ability to distinguish individuals of the same kind from another tribe who are friends and not foes. As a corollary, trading for food and trinkets is recognized as an acceptable survival strategy. Knowledge of the location of water becomes valuable during times of drought.

3. The invention of complex spoken language, to include "story telling" and a variety of Genesis myths to teach children who we are and where we came from.

4. The creation of tools (clubs, knives, axes, sharp throwing spears, walking sticks).

5. The discovery of fire and how to control it and use it for (1) heat [to keep warm in winter; (2) light to see in a dark cave [torches]; and (3) the cooking of raw meat [to increase the efficiency of protein absorption]. As a corollary, a gender-specific division of labor between males (hunters) and females (gatherers/cooks) increases the survival-prospects of the tribe. Distinguishing edible plants/nuts vs. poisonous plants {mushrooms} and medicinal herbs become important for women. Long before Homo sapiens (200 KYA), Homo erectus did some open fire cooking in caves 1.7 MYA in what is now called SOUTH AFRICA.

6. The invention of clothing sewn from hides using needle-and-thread to keep warm in winter and shoes to facilitate walking over long distances.

7. The discovery of a cause-and-effect relationship between fornication (sexual intercourse) and procreation (birth of a baby) [intercourse and birth are separated in time by approximately nine months]. As a corollary, the concept of a monogamous/polygamous family is established within the tribe with words for mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew [and by extension words for husband, wife, parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, ancestor, etc.] are incorporated into the native language. The notion of primogenitor is fashioned -- inheritance by the fist-born son of a married couple. The creation of professions: tribal elders/leaders, lawyers/judges (to resolve disputes), witch doctors, priests, midwives, fortune-tellers, soldiers/warriors.

8. The creation of music and instruments to play it; composers and musicians to play music.

9. The creation of jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, and rings), hair combs, cave ornaments, and decorative cosmetics (lipstick and face paint). (barbers, hair stylists); Pottery.

10. The creation of cave drawings (art) as a way to teach group-hunting to children as a survival strategy.

11. Canine breeding [wolves are domesticated and become dogs after ~10 generations; they are further specialized as hunting dogs (blood hounds and sight hounds) and low-maintenance security dogs (barking to wake you up in the event of danger, so you can sleep soundly without fear of being eaten by a predator during the night.]

12. Animal husbandry (chickens, ducks, pigs, cattle/oxen, cows [for milk], sheep [for wool], goats, horses, llamas, camels) and, as a corollary, dogs are bred for herding.

B. The Bronze Age

13. Agriculture (Irrigation) (baking bread) and by extension, solar observatories to know when to plant seed and when to harvest. Plow.

14. Domestication of cats (they prevent stored grain from being eaten by vermin).

15. Metallurgy: Towns and Villages are built (digging water wells and pumps, aqueducts for water distrigbution).

16. Windmills to grind grain to wheat.

C. The Iron Age

17. Blacksmiths make iron horseshoes, hammers, hatchets, and metal swords/sabers/shields, saddles with stirrups.

18. The wheel, and as a corollary, flat roads; wheel barrows, chariots, carriages, wagons (first civil engineering).

19.Architecture: Construction of cities (urban planning) with thousands of people and civic monuments/statues/sculpture with massive temples to the gods (clergy are needed for maintenance).

20. Money (coins, and by extension counterfeiting; government tax collectors; precious metals [gold and silver], salt and spices).

21. Writing (literacy, scribes, ink, papyrus, chiseling of stone tablets, head stones in a cemetery, an arithmetical number system for counting and settling debts); libraries of scrolls and illuminated manuscripts in monasteries … bound books; the printing press and movable type.

22. Maps (the Aztecs and Mayans didn't invent them [sigh]).

23. Mathematics (geometry; trigonometry; algebra; the digit zero as a place holder).

24. Bow and arrow; reflex bow, crossbow.

25. Dugouts, rafts, canoes, sailboats, multi-mast ships.

26. Alchemy --> Periodic Table of the Elements.

27. Gun Powder; canons, rifles, pistols, revolvers, machine guns.

28. Glass blowing, optics: spectacles, bifocals, telescopes, microscopes.

D. The Industrial Revolution

29. Steam engine (James Watt).

30. Railroad locomotive (steam --> diesel).

31. Radio (Ham Radio --> AM/FM --> CB Radio --> Satellite Radio)(Marconi).

32. Medicine: Anesthesia, Surgery, C-sections, Germ Theory of Disease, antibiotics, vaccines.

33. Electrification of cities: Power Distribution by DC --> AC (Tesla, Westinghouse).

34. Light bulb (Thomas Edison --> tungsten filament).

35. Telegraph (Morse) Telegrams, Teletype machines.

36. Telephone (Alexander Graham Bell) Cell Phone --> Smart Phone (six billion people have accounts out of ~nine billion people on Earth).

37. Phonograph (wax cylinder --> 78 rpm --> LP --> 33-1/3 rpm --> 45 rpm --> 8-track tape --> cassette tape --> Music CD --> digital download to iPod.

38. Movies (Silent, B&W Talkies, Color, 3-D Imax).

39. Steam ships (Fulton); Nuclear Submarines (Rickover).

40. Automobile (Ford Models A,T gasoline-powered internal combustion engine with 8 cylinders --> Google Automated Driving on freeways using GPS; Nevada will require red license plates for robotically-enabled cars).

41. Airplanes (Wright Brothers; Boeing 747; Concord). 200 years ago powered, heavier-than-air flight was thought to be an impossibility; 100 years ago, the Wright Brothers gave us a prototype (proof of concept with the correct wind conditions); 50 years ago, aircraft became indispensable.

42. Atomic Bomb (1945); Hydrogen bombs; nuclear power.

43. Rockets (USSR Sputnik (1957); US [NASA] Moon Landing (1969); JPL Missions to the outer planets).

44. Satellites (GPS [resolution = 0.5 meter; 1 microsecond response]; Hubble Space Telescope --> Webb Telescope).

45. TV (B&W; Color; flat-screen).

46. Video Recording (Beta Max, VHS, DVD, BlueRay).

Ref.: Andrew Shyrock and Daniel Lord Smail, Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present (360 pages; University of California Press; November 2011)


E. The Digital Information Age

47. Computers (IBM Mainframes, Cray Supercomputers, Time Sharing, Computer Graphics; PC's (Windows OS, Office Applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Mac's, Cordless Mouse, BlueTooth) John von Neuman (Johnniac at RAND Corp.) stored programs, Software, Automata Theory, Alan Turing and the Turing Machine (Turing Test = "Imitation Game"), Emile Post (Post Correspondence Theorem), Claude Shannon (Information Theory); Norbert Weiner (Cybernetics), Alan Perlis (Algol), John Baccus (IBM/Fortran), Peter Naur (BNF), Noam Chomsky (Computational Linguistics/Transformational Grammar).

48. Digital Biology (Watson and Crick DNA) DIYBio Synthesis (Britten and Davidson)

49. The Internet: Vannever Bush, Douglas Engelbart, ("Augmenting Human Intellect"), J.C.R. Licklider (ARPA/IPTO), Ivan Sutherland, Lawrence Roberts, The ARPA Net. Vint Cerf (Google), The world wide web (www), browsers (Netscape, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome) Hypertext markup language (html), XML, Search Engines (Yahoo, Google; {Encyclopedia Britannica --> Microsoft Encarta on CD-ROM --> Wikipedia}), Social Media {Twitter, MySpace, Facebook}.

50. Artificial Intelligence (Deep Blue for Chess; Watson for Jeopardy … Watson for each person; Industrial Robots, Personal Household Robots [General Factotum]). Automatic simultaneous translation of foreign languages to and from English. Herbert Simon, Allen Newell, Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy, Arthur Samuel. Soon, teleprompters will no longer needed, as all text will be displayed in real time on your contact lenses. At a medical workstation in your bathroom, an AI Med System will analyze samples of your breath and bodily fluids {blood, tears, sweat, saliva, urine, and feces} along with your vital signs {temp, RR, Pulse, BP, EKG} in real time and provide you with immediate feedback on any significant change in your health status.

F. Thirty Years in the Future

51. The Singularity (Ray Kurzweil, based on Moore's Law)

52. Biological Immortality.

G. The Systematic North-Western Trajectory of Modern Civilization {excluding China}

1. Central Africa near Ethiopia (200 KYA) (Abstract Language; Stone-Age Tools)

2. Thebes (Egyptian Nile River Valley with Pyramids/Sphinx) (2000 BCE) (Seti, Rameses the Great)

3. Athens (300 BCE) (Socrates, Plato, Thucyddies, Herodotus, Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophenes, Homer, Pythagorus, Euclid, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Alexander the Great)

4. Alexandria (30 BCE) (Babylon, Persia) (Cleopatra, Julius Caesar)

5. Constantinople (1 AD) (Turkey/Arabia)(Galen)

6. Rome (300 AD)(Emperor Augustine)

7. Florence (1400 AD)(Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Ghiberiti, Botticelli, Donatellie, Galileo)

8. Venice (1500 AD) (Dodge)

9. Madrid (1600 AD) (Queen Isabella [1451 - 1504])

10. Paris (1700 AD) (Emperor Napoleon [1769-1821]; Louis Pasteur [1822--1895])

11. London (1800 AD) (Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin)

12. New York City (1900 AD) (Bos/Wash: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami)

13. Los Angeles (2000 AD) (San/San: San Diego, Irvine, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Francisco, Berkeley, Davis, Sacramento)

14. The Internet/Cloud (2100 AD) (Civilization is no longer focused at a single geographical location).

________________________________ __________________________________

Recent References on Paleontology, Archeology, and Anthropology

1. Ian Tattersall, Masters of the Planet (Macmillan, 266 pages; $26.00).

Neanderthals perished 25 KYA, and so Homo sapiens became the last hominids standing. Nevertheless, due to interbreeding, some of their DNA survives in our own genomes.

2. Chris Stringer, Lone Survivors (Times Books, 320 pages; $28.00).


Brian Switak, Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature (Paperback; 320 pages; Bellevue Literary Press; 2010; $11.73 on

Switak explains that "all life forms on the Earth have not progressed through evolution to end up with Homo sapiens becoming the highest such life form; rather, evolution has produced a wildly branching tree of life' with no predetermined path or endpoint."

4. Emma Maris, The Rambunctious Garden (224 pages; Bloomsbury; August 2011; $16.50 on

A good conservationist should not strive to maintain an ecological balance' among species; Nature has no such need. A jungle is not a zoo. Conservations would only meddle if they tried to establish their own personal notion of a balance. If Nature could, she would merely laugh at our conceited attempt at stewardship over the fiction of a pristine wilderness'.

5. Michael Ruse, The Philosophy of Human Evolution (Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy and Biology) (Paperback; 282 pages; Cambridge University Press; February 2012; $26.99 on

__________________________________________________________ _

III. Memory

Five different types of memory serve to enhance our species' evolutionary progress (Richard Dawkins; Oxford University)

1. DNA; our human genome (3.1 Giga Base Pairs; ~25 K genes)(speciation took place 200 KYA [thousand years ago] with mutations for a large brain [Broca's Area and Wernike's Areas] and an adipose thumb that gave rise to language and tool using, respectively [fire for warmth and cooking of meat, clothing]. Weapons for hunting in ancestral hunter/gatherer stage.

2. Epigenetics (scattered methyl groups on DNA and acetyl groups on histones, which are influenced by the environment, determine gene expression)(identical twins reared apart have greater phenotypic divergence over time more than identical [congenic] twins reared together).

3. The human Immune System (the ability to distinguish self from non-self at the tissue level)

4. The human Brain (neural pathways and synapses for short-term and long-term memory)

5. Culture (Oral and Written Recorded History) ~8,000 years ago; agriculture/animal husbandry (Egyptian Hieroglyphics and The Rosetta Stone [in three different languages])

IV. Five Branches of Philosophy

Philosophy seeks to answer at least three fundamental questions. In plain English, they are

1. Who am I?

2. Where am I?

3. Where am I going?

Surrogate questions are

1. How does the brain work?

2. Why do we get old and die?

1. Metaphysics

a. Ontology (Theory of Reality)

The Mind/Body Problem (Three Hypotheses: Materialism, Dualism, Solipsism)

Materialism: Self awareness and consciousness are emergent properties of the complexity of brain architecture shared to some extent with other mammals and to a lesser extent with all biological creatures.

(1) Sentience (Sensory Capacity)

(2) Sapience (Tropism; Rationality)

(3) Instrumentality (A Disembodied Mind possessing no Motor Functions cannot serve the purpose of solving the Mind/Body Problem.)

b. Teleology (Theory of Intentionality, Purposeful Actions, Free-Will vs. Fate [Karma]) Autonomy (Independent Agency, cosmogony, will, drive = Conation)

c. Cosmology (Theory of Creation [Cosmogony]; The Big Bang Theory with continuing expansion accelerating due to dark energy/dark matter)

d. Existentialism (Absurdity of reality and Despair)(Satre, Camus, Heidegger, Kierkegaard)

2. Epistemology (Theory of knowledge)

"When a tree falls in the forest and there's nobody around to hear it, did it make a sound?"

What constitutes evidence for an uncertain hypothesis or cause and effect?

Qualia (Intrinsic properties [mass, momentum, shape] vs. epiphenomena [like color, texture, warmth which are in the eyes of the beholder {perceiver}])

3. Ethics (Theory of Right and Wrong)

a. Deontology (Duty, Altruism, Philanthropy): The ends do not justify the means (Behavior Optimality with all actions being subject to ethical constraints) (deception/mendacity/prevarication);

b. The Ten Commandments (Old Testament)

c. The Golden Rule [Jesus]: Do unto others have you would have them do unto you;

d. Negative Golden Rule [Confucius]: Do not do unto others that which you believe they do not wish to have done unto them;

e. Four Cardinal Virtues [Greek]:(1) Justice; (2) Wisdom (Prudence); (3) Courage; and (4) Beauty;

Justice is "the having and doing of that which is one's own." Plato's Republic

f. Sin (Cardinal vs. Venal)(Felony vs. Misdemeanor)/Guilt/Confession/Repentance

g. Definition of Happiness and the Good Life

(1) In your choice of a profession, strive for excellence (e.g., a cook who prepares delectable dishes has achieved excellence.)

(2) Hedonism (maximize pleasure, luxury, sybarites)(e.g., Hugh Heffner's Playboy Philosophy)

(3) Epicureanism (collector of fine art)

4. Aesthetics (Theory of Beauty; Art [paintings, sculpture, music, literature (prose {short stories, novels}/poetry {lyrical/rhyming, narrative/non-rhyming, figures of speech: alliteration, metaphor, simile, tone color, onomatopoeia}, theater: opera, plays])

5. Logic

a. Inductive Logic (The Laplace Sunrise Problem)

b. Deductive Logic (Dialectics)

(1) Symbolic Logic (Propositional Calculus; truth tables)

(a) Tautology (proposition is always true)

(b) Contradiction (proposition is never true)

(2) First-Order Predicate Calculus (Existential and Universal Quantification)

Example: Syllogisms

All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

(3) Modal Logic (it is possible that... rhombus or vertical-diamond operator)

(4) The Situation Calculus (time embedded in "s")

(5) Mathematical Logic (Russell Paradox; Godel's Incompleteness Theorem; Post Correspondence Theorem)

(6) Logical Positivism -- The Vienna Circle (Alfred J. Ayer; Ludwig Wittgenstein)

c. Rhetoric

The art of persuasion; argumentation; sophistry, dialectics

Short Table of Classical Fallacies (Examples:

(1) "Begging the Question" demonstrates a conclusion by means of premises that assume that conclusion.


Argument: Billy always tells the truth, I know this because he told me so.

Problem: Billy may be lying. (Also called Petitio Principii);

(2) Argumentum ad hominum,

(3) Non sequitur: incorrectly assumes one thing is the cause of another.


Argument: I hear the rain falling outside my window; therefore, the sun is not shining.

Problem: The conclusion is false because the sun can shine even while it is raining.

(4) Special Cases: post hoc ergo propter hoc: believing that temporal succession implies a causality.


Argument: After Billy was vaccinated he developed autism; therefore, the vaccine caused his autism.

Problem: This does not provide any evidence that the vaccine was the cause. The characteristics of autism may generally become noticeable at the age just following the typical age children receive vaccinations.

Sophistry; marketing/advertising (manipulating the gullible into making you rich while you sleep"... 1-800- ... Call Now!")

d. Magical Thinking and Superstitions

As Sir Arthur Clarke, who died in March of 2009, has said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Our use of reason has served to safeguard us against religious fundamentalists and charlatans (mountbanks) who would profit from concealing the truth. Yet today, we have an epidemic of irrational thought running rampant in our society (new-age mystics, astrologers (zodiac, horoscopy, "What's your sign"), Tarot-card readers, palmists (chiromancy), graphologists, crystal balls readers, people who will read your aura or tea leaves, speak-in-tongues, [glossolalia], and what have you). I assert that irrational thought is not harmless: alchemy, phrenology, Ouija Boards, claims of UFO abductions by aliens in the night, crop circles, dowsing, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot (Sasquatch), Abominable Snowman (Yeti) [cryptozoology, chimera/theriantropism {Anubis, centaur, griffin, minotary, satyre, dagon, epimetheus, sphinx, pegasus, phoenix, basilisk cockatrice, unicorn, gorgon, hydra, cerabus, harpy, moloch, hippogriff, dipsas, bucentaur, pan, lamia, devil (Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan), incubus, succubus, siren, mermaid, triton, Cyclops, ogre}], ghosts, witches, warlocks, goblins, elves, gnomes, sprites, dwarfs, Leprechaun, sylph, cherub, angel, archangel, Tinker Bell, Thumbelina, Vampires (Vlad the Impaler, Count Dracula [garlic, crosses, mirrors, wooden stakes] bats), Were Wolves/Were Tigers [full moon, silver bullets], Frankenstein (Dr. Victor? or Dr. Henry?), mummies [nine tana leaves], ghouls, zombies, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Clause, can be relatively harmless, but dangers occur when we teach Creationism to school children as part of the academic curriculum, flock to witch doctors or spiritualists to heal our loved ones, Voodoo (Haiti), Santeria (animal sacrifice), Macumba (Brazil), use homeopathy or moxibustion, call on psychic surgeons [Indonesia], employ a professional medium in a s‚ance to communicate with the dearly departed (our late relatives), perform ritual sacrifices of virginal maidens (the Aztecs in Mexico), burn heretics at the stake [the Spanish Inquisition], interrogate military prisoners using "extreme rendition" employing forms of torture like "water boarding," it can profoundly undermine the ethical basis for Western Civilization. Unsound beliefs in pseudoscience like Telepathy (mind reading), Precognition (forecasting the future), Clairvoyance (Extra Sensory Perception [ESP]), Psychokinesis (bending spoons or stopping/starting clocks without touching them), or other forms of parapsychological intervention [J. B. Rhine of Duke University], such as remote group prayer for infertile women to get pregnant at a higher rate than normal all lead down a blind alley.

__________________________________________________________ _______

Here are five of the most well-known discredited substances in history [1]:

1. Phlogiston -- In 1667, German alchemist Johann Joachim Becher identified Phlogiston as the essence of fire. It was ostensibly contained within all combustible substances.

2. Miasma -- The Greeks were convinced that Malaria was spread by bad air. Medieval Europe burned incense to prevent the spread of this disease.

3. Orgone -- In the 1940's, psychologist Wilheim Reich posited that Orgone composed the sexual energy could be collected for medicinal purposes.

4. Ether -- Descartes asserted that light and gravity traveled through Luminiferous Ether that was more subtle than air as a transparent medium necessary for the propagation of light.

5. Alkahest -- In the 16th century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus discovered Alkahest, the "universal solvent," the active ingredient in the "Philosopher's Stone." (See Harry Potter )

Ref.: 1. Jeremy and Claire Weiss, "Best Discredited Substances," Wired Magazine, Vol. 19, No. 12, p. 44 (December 2011).

____________________________________________ __________

e. Mathematics (Axiomatic Pure vs. Applied Mathematics)

(1) Euclidean Geometry/Spherical Non-Euclidian Geometry/Topology/Trigonometry

(2) Calculus (differential, integral, [partial] Differential Equations [linear/non-linear], Measure Theory [based on integration by distributions rather than simple variables])

(3) Algebra (matrix algebra, set theory, group theory, ring theory, field theory, homology theory) (4) Probability Theory (Markov Chains; Stochastic Processes) a. Mathematical Statistics b. Gaussian Distribution (Bell-Shaped Curve or Normal Distribution; mean [mu], standard deviation [sigma], variance [sigma squared]) c. Game Theory (Two-person vs. n-person zero-sum games; Broward's Fixed Point Theorem in topology)

(5) Cryptography (coding and code-breaking, steganography)

(6) Graph Theory (Nodes and Arcs; Critical Path Analysis; PERT [Program Evaluation and Review Technique])

(7) Occam's Razor - When alternative explanations or models of the world have equal power of explanation or prediction, choose the simpler one.

V. Theology

Comparative Religion:

Piety (Those certain that God(s) is/are known to exist)

A. Polytheists: Pagans (Stonehenge), Babylonians, Hitites, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Norse, American Indian, Mayan, Aztecs, Incas

*** The Ra‰lian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, whom they call the Elohim. Mon. Claude Vorilhon, a former French journalist, is their spiritual leader, whom they call Rael. They are headquartered in Montreal, Canada and are very interested in human cloning. They are primarily interested in maximizing their parishioner's pleasure per unit of time. _________________________________

Given the uncertainty in the historical record (and contradictory New Testament accounts), scholars now believe that Jesus of Nazareth was not actually born on December 25th of the year 0 AD (Anno Domini), but sometime earlier between March and June in one of the years between 6, 5, or 4 BCE (Before the Common Era). In pagan traditions predating Christianity, the Winter Solstice was a very important time for celebration -- in the hopes that the days would again get longer (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the warmth of Spring would ultimately return. Thus, many gods and goddesses were presumed to have been born on or around this time. For example, the following births occurred in December (Julian Calendar): The Egyptian God Horus, Mithras (the Unconquered Sun of Persia), Amaterasu (The Japanese Goddess of the Sun), Rhea (who gave birth to Saturn, son of the Father of Time), Quetzalcoatl and Lucina ("Little Light"), Lucia (Saint or Goddess of Light, who is honored from Italy to Sweden, crowned with candles to carry us through the darkness), Sarasvati, the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge and the Queen of Heaven. Do you see a pattern here? It would have been trivial to establish the birth of Jesus as December 25th in the absence of an official birth certificate and thereby obviate the need for more than one celebration at Yule-Tide among Christian practitioners.

C. Agnostics (Unsure of the existence of God; He/he may or may not exist, but I need to hedge my bets on the grounds that there is insufficient evidence.);

D. Atheists (Sure that God doesn't exist) [modern atheists include, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens {recently died of throat cancer, but didn't change his position at the last moment}The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.]

Ref.: * His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, New York; Dec. 6, 2011; 208 pages, $16.32 on {Secular ethics means that you don't need religion to lead a happy and ethical life. But the difference between ethics and religion is like the difference between tea and water. You clearly need water to live, but if you have an ethics grounded in religion, it is more like tea, which includes water, aromatic tea leaves, spices, sugar, and, in Tibet, a pinch of salt. Prayer, although important, cannot match the achievements of modern science, including physics, cosmology, biology, psychology, and neuroscience. At the genome level, the differences between different races is less significant than the difference between different individuals, so all humans are as one regardless of race. Buddhism has a history of adapting to changing times and cultures and today, a new American hybrid of Buddhism is blossoming.}

There are many Creation Myths (Genesis)/Flood (rainbow)/Babel (language)/Messiah (Christ/Immaculate Conception/Miracles {Lazarus}/Transformation of Bread and Wine recapitulated during Holy Communion/Resurrection)(Baptism: Limbo/Purgatory/ Salvation/Heaven/{Hell}) (See Joseph Campbell's various Comparative Mythology books);

Unique Libraries Destroyed by Barbarians:

1. Alexandria, EGYPT (272 CE and again in 391 CE)

2. Timbuktu in MALI (2012)

3. Thanatology (Eschatology or "last rights")(Recognition of mortality => sacrifices, ceremonial funerals, autopsy)

Primogeniture [inheritance by first-born {legitimate} sons])

Methods for disposing of human remains (corpses) throughout history

Do nothing (side effect: bacterial decomposition with subsequent foul odor);

Allow the body to be eaten by vultures, jackals, or other carrion scavengers;

Mummify (remove internal organs, including the brain through the nose, and wrap the body with spices and gauze);

Cremation (burn the corpse on a funerary pyre with two coins covering the eyes to pay the boatman, as you seek to cross the River Styx);

Bury in a coffin in a grave six-feet-under with a head-stone marker in a cemetery (reserved real estate by consensus) or in a mausoleum [sarcophagus/crypt/inscribed stone ossuary box to hold bones of the deceased] above ground or in a cave [catacombs]; bury at sea. Morticians/undertakers perform miraculous improvements in the appearance of the decedent with cosmetics even after an autopsy; they use formalin (formaldehyde) as an embalming fluid to preserve the body for an open-casket funeral service that may require a week or more to schedule, so the remains will be well preserved;

Donate the body to science for dissection by medical students in a course in human anatomy (In Europe, dissection was once declared illegal, an invasion of a sacred body); Donate/sell body parts to private companies (surgeons in training); Plasticize (Gunther von Hagens, M.D., German Pathologist with a traveling show); Cryonic suspension (in liquid nitrogen) [Alcor, Inc. of Scottsdale, AZ].

4. Pantheism vs. Montheism: Deism (passive God, creator), Theism (an active God who answers prayers and performs miracles)

5. Theodicy (The Problem of Evil)(Book of Job)

6. Apostasy (conversion to another religion) in Islam, apostasy is punishable by death (stoning).

7. Quasi-Religious Fraternal Organizations/Civic Groups:

1. Knight's of the Round Table moved to Malta

2. Masons (Lodges)

3. Knights of Columbus

4. Kiwanas Clubs

5. Rotary Clubs International

6. Lion's Clubs

7. Optimists Clubs (Real estate agents typically network for lunch once a week.)

VI. Science

1. Physics

a. Four Forces: (i) Gravity; (ii) Electro/Magnetism; (iii) Weak Force; and (iv) Strong Force

b. Kinetic Energy/Potential Energy

c. Thermodynamics

(i) First Law (Enthalpy)

(ii) Second Law (Entropy)(entropy always increases in a closed system)(Information Theory)

c. Astronomy (Dark Matter/Dark Energy/Hyperinflation)(Drake Equation)

d. Particle Physics (Quarks) String Theory/"Brane" Theory

2. Chemistry a. Alchemy b. Inorganic Chemistry (Periodic Table of the Elements) c. Organic (Carbon) Chemistry {Created by German Scientists}

3. Biology Three components of the Definition of Life: (i) Autosynthesis (reproduction) (ii) Autocatalysis (metabolism) (iii) Tropisms (phototropism, geotropism, hydrotropism, electrotopism) Prokaryotes [naked DNA] vs. Eukaryotes [nucleus with chromosomal DNA plus cytoplasmic mitochondria with mtDNA])(The Watson and Crick (Linear) Central Dogma DNA, mRNA, protein (structural and enzymatic); feedback loops and gene expression control; message splicing, post translational modification) (1) Botany (plants) (2) Zoology (animals) (3) Parasitology (Viruses, Bacteria, Yeast, Fungi, Rickettsia, nematode worms, etc.) (3) Evolutionary Biology (4) Systems Biology (cluster genes into vast networks) Preformation Theory Regression of homunculus(es) over "n" generations from Adam and Eve up to the present day

4. Computer Science (a) Algorithms (a step-by-step procedure guaranteed to terminate in a finite number of steps) (Turing Machines Busy Beaver/Halting Problems) (b) Heuristics (Rule of Thumb; Guideline, not guaranteed to produce a result) (i) Means/Ends Analysis [difference reduction; Monkey and Bananas Problem] (ii) Hill Climbing (iii) Trouble Shooting [a partition into a set of mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive subproblems; non-linear problems cannot be partitioned; you push-down here and it pops-up there; Divide and Conquer; trouble shooting; puzzle solving; e.g. turn on switch but light bulb doesn't light: Is the bulb burned out?, the wire unpluged?, the lamp broken?, No power in the wall outlet?] (iv) Avoid premature closure on a single hypothesis without definitively ruling out alternatives or you may go down a garden path.

5. Linguistics a. Field Linguistics b. Computational Linguistics (models of a natural language)(The Imitation Game Turing Test) Semiotics (Five components of a linguistic description)(Charles Peirce) (1) Phonology (phonemes phonetics) (2) Morphology (inflections "ing" = present participle; "ly" = adverb; "ment" in French; exceptions "vitement" doesn't exist as a word in French. Why not?) (3) Syntax (a) Core Grammar (nouns, verbs, prepositions, etc. Baccus Naur Form (BNF) ::= | | (b) Transformational Grammar -- Noam Chomsky)[active voice/passive voice; interrogative; imperative] (4) Semantics (meaning; Dictionary: denotation/connotation; Thesaurus: Synonyms, Antonyms, Homonyms) (5) Pragmatics (use of language in context of the real world; "Tact" vs. "Mand" "It is hot in here." = "Open the window!")

6. Psychology a. Cognitive b. Clinical (Diagnosis, Prognosis, Therapy, Endpoints)

VII. Professions

1. Medicine 2. Law 3. Engineering: (a) Electrical; (b) Mechanical; (c) Chemical; and (d) Civil 4. Architecture 5. Clergy (Seminary) 6. Military Science (soldiers, sailors, Academies for Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Cyber Warfare, Outer space) 7. Economics 9. Political Science 10. Business/Commerce/Marketing

VIII. Communicating Our Legacy to Future Generations A. Categories of Knowledge: 1. Books and Periodicals (newspapers, magazines, Radio, TV, Movies on film, tape, or DVD's, Music CD's, Internet Blogs) 2. Proprietary Product Brochures and Specification Catalogs published by commercial companies 3. Patents ( (intellectual property); Requirements: a. Original (novelty) b. Non-obvious (non-trivial extension to existing state-of-the-art) c. Potentially Reducible to Practice 4. Classified information (Confidential, Secret, Top Secret, TS/SI/TK, Q-clearance, Unique Compartmented Data with a "Need to Know"; Not everyone signs the register!) There was nearly a military coup within the Pakistani government following the violation of sovereignty in connection with the assassination of Osama Ben Laden and the unmanned drone strikes targeting militants in the unchartered tribal territories).

B. New Knowledge is Growing Exponentially 1. Scientific Medical Literature in Peer-Reviewed Journals 2. Moore's Law of Computer Chip Density 3. "The Singularity" (Ray Kurzweil) (Date = ~2038)

C. Worry in a Straight Line: 1. Identify what we already know [Google; Wikipedia; Old Encyclopedias {Britannica, Encarta}, Dictionaries (OED, Webster), Atlases, Thesaurus, CIA World Fact Book, Almanac, Book of World Records] and how to exploit it (it is known, it's just that you personally don't know it) 2. Estimate what we need to know that we don't know yet (Former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explained to us that there are "known unknowns" and "unknown unknowns") Of the former, figure out (a) What is unknowable, in principle (and hopefully ignore it) (b) What is, in fact, knowable; but in what period of time and at what cost (affordability)? (c) Create a strategy, a plan, and a budget for learning the needed knowledge subject to the specified time and financial constraints.

IX. Extinction of the Human Race

Are Homo sapiens on a slippery slope toward species extinction? And if we are, when might this happen? Furthermore, if we had sufficient warning, would we be able to do anything about it beforehand?

The Biblical "Four Horseman of the Apocalypse" are still alive-and-well (as they were revealed in the Book of Revelation {war, pestilence, famine, and death}), but they are probably not the surest path to the complete extinction of our species. Humans have overcome a wide variety of repetitive catastrophic natural disasters over the last 200,000 years (when we first evolved to became the dominant hominid/primate species on the planet). We have survived earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes, typhoons, tsunamis, volcanos, meteor showers, sun-spot cycles, floods, droughts, ice ages, lighning-induced forest fires, variation in ocean currents (El Nino, El Nina), plagues of locus, and a variety of pathogenic microorganisms/parasites, including (in no special order) anthrax, bubonic plague (or the black death [Yersinia Pestis]), Spanish Flu, bird (avian) flu, swine flu, small pox, measles (causing shingles), mumps, German Measles, Pertusis (whooping cough), Scarlet Fever, Polio (infantile paralysis), Hansen's Disease (leprosy), malaria, Ebola (hemorrhagic fever), syphilis, gonorrhea, AIDS/HIV, HPV (venereal warts), Hepatitis A,B,C, rabies, trichinosis, yeast infections, fungus, Giardia Lamblia (protazoan in feces), Trypanosoma cruzi (a flagellate protozoan that causes Chagas Disease), Typhoid Fever, Amoebic Dysentery, Yellow Fever, Rickettsial Fever, sleeping sickness, bed bugs, ticks (Lyme Disease), fleas, mites, lice, etc., but nothing has stopped us from propagating ourselves for very long -- in recent centuries, only plague and flu have resulted in a noticeable but temporary down-tick in our global population statistics that are otherwise increasing exponentially now at seven billion and counting. Humans have continued to flourish on every continent despite any sort of adversity that Nature has thrown our way, at least so far.

Yet there are a set of potential extinction events that we really need to worry about (20 of them are cited below in approximately chronological order):

1. Accidental Nuclear Exchange (Yield >=100 MT [Mega Tons])

Given that both Russian and US missiles are still on hair-trigger alert (a Mutually Assured Destruction [MAD] strategy left over from the days of the Cold War that ended quite some time ago with the collapse of the USSR), multiple hydrogen bombs (# > 100) could result in a "Nuclear Winter." Under this scenario, dust in the high atmosphere, could extinguish all vegetation on the surface of the planet due to a block of sunlight for more than a decade. Deep ocean species like tube worms fed by funnels of hot water containing sulfur may survive, but all land mammals could be obliterated for lack of food (sunlight is on the critical path to plant photosynthesis, which are eaten by herbivores, which are eaten by carnivores, which are eaten by omnivores (like us) (as you rise up in the classical food chain/web).

Ref.: Watch the 90-minute documentary film "Count Down to Zero" (2010) which contains the following quote by Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, Chief Scientist of the Manhattan Project in New Mexico, at the time of the first test of the Trinity atomic bomb... "We knew the world would not be the same. a few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu Scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita...

Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,' Vishnu, the muti-armed Hindu God."

The documentary explains the precarious state of our modern nuclear arsenal with many examples of accidents that were first classified "Top secret" before they became known to the public.

The most likely immediate nuclear scenario, however, is of a small number of dirty bombs (containing radioactive cobalt, cesium, etc.) exploded by terrorists within major cities. This probably won't obliterate our species, but it would be a non-trivial set back to lose Hong Kong, Tokyo, Moscow, Tel Aviv, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Paris, London, Toronto, Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sydney all at the same time.

2. Biological Warfare

A single terrorist attack using a sophisticated form of (chemical or) biological warfare (WMD's) - a weaponized viral or bacterial microorganism that spreads in air by sneezing and kills infected people with ~100 percent fatality in approximately three days. (There is a Hollywood movie scenario that suggests this event would be survivable see the film Contagion.)

3. Cyber Warfare

A terrorist cyber-attack transforming all worldwide Internet-connected computers/servers into "dead bricks" (These "blue screens of death" would be survivable.)

4. Detonation of Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Weapons in the Upper Atmopsphere

Such weapons could interrupt worldwide communication, cell phone, and GPS systems for a long period. (This problem is survivable.)

5. Human Population Exceeds Earth's Carrying Capacity (> 10 billion people in < 100 years)

Over-population will lead to global conflict over increasingly scarce fresh water supplies, assuming that sea-water desalination is not economically feasible in the time frame we would need. (This unsustainability problem is survivable for the species, however; since the excess population would suffer famine and die of starvation, but not everyone would die.) Ref.: Prof. Stephen Emmott of Oxford University, UK"Ten Billion" (referring to the number of humans soon to be on our planet)

Species on Earth are becoming extinct at a rate 1,000x faster than the normal evolutionary rate, as we consume our way through our planet's resources by clear cutting forests. Our air mileage figures are the most shameful: By 1960, we had flown 100 billion miles; by 1980, we had flown 1,000 billion miles; today, we jet 6,000 billion air miles per year. The resultant climate change will leave us literally high and dry in a dystopia (recall the movie Blade Runner with a one percent of the City of Los Angeles's wealthy citizens living behind a gated community and the rest living in extreme poverty.

6. A Large Meteor Impacts the Earth

Even a potential large impact is survivable providing we detect it's presence and calculate its ETA with a lead time of [10 - 20] weeks, allowing for a controlled deflection of the trajectory (SciFi Movie = Meteor). (BTW, we should not try to blow-up the block of ice/rock into small harmless pieces with a nuclear detonation in outer spaace; this could be foolishly counterproductive by creating a shower of multiple concurrent impacts A gentle nudge of the "big guy" would be sufficient for gravity to allow for a near miss, and we will have successfully "dodged a bullet.")

7. Climate Change and/or Destruction of the Ozone Layer

Global warming due to elevated CO2 concentrations by burning wood/coal/oil/gasoline for the last 100 years, and a resulting "green house" effect, assuming we don't convert the atmosphere into a Venus-like green-house "heat trap." Sea levels rise from a few feet to a few yards as all the ice in Antarctica slowly melts. (This problem is disruptive but survivable, however, by using geo-engineering with space- based mirrors or chemical sequestering methods.)

The protective ozone layers over the North and South Poles modulate the amount of dangerous radiation that the Sun regularly puts out to which we might be exposed if the upper atmosphere ozone holes were to expand indefinitely.

Another possibility is the start of a new ice age in which the surface layer of all the world's oceans would freeze solid. Although this is likewise not a welcome prospect, it is survivable.


Climate Central, Global Weirdness: Severe Storms, Deadly Heat Waves, Relentless Drought, Rising Seas, and the Weather of the Future (214 pages; Pantheon Books, New York; 2012). Mathew E. Kahn, Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future (Basic Books, New York; 2010).

8. Bobbing of the Sun within the Plane of our Galaxy

As our solar system floats (or bobs) up and down above and below the plane of the Milky Way (our Sun is located in one of the outer arms), the Earth moves in an broadly-curved sinusoidal trajectory with respect to our disk of stars (with a period of ~62 million years) thereby exposing us to variable amounts of radiation depending on whether we are above or below our asymmetric plate (with North/South faces) at any particular time. This variation would be a function of other active processes that are presumably going on within our Local Cluster as well as the orientation of our galaxy in 3-D space while it is also moving away from the former center of the universe (the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago), but subject to local turbulent gravitational effects from near-by galaxies. The galactic disk takes about 200 million years to rotate once; its center is assumed to contain a large black hole. The Earth may be exposed to a radiation shock wave from the rotation of the galaxy in the intergalactic medium as it passes from below to above and then blow again, and this may account for periodic global life-extinction events (punctuated evolution) on the Earth. Synchronizing these cycles to find out which are causal is not easy. It is clear that, if the rate of bobbing changed capriciously, this could result in a catastrophic consequences for the human race.

9. Extinguishing the Geomagnetic Field that Shields the Earth from Solar Radiation

The Magnetic North/South Poles periodically swaps direction (flips with an oscillation cycle of ~4,000 years). This is evidenced by ocean floor sampling revealing a stripped pattern of directional iron compounds. During the time of the reversal, the Earth's protective magnetic field might be annihilated (This problem is survivable if it takes place gradually enough or in a magnetic quadrapole rather than simple-dipole manner.)

10. Lunar Detachment

The Moon escapes from the gravity field of the Earth, altering the normal tidal pattern in our oceans Our Moon, Luna, with a dead core, is gradually drifting farther and farther away from the Earth (already only one side faces us and the phases of the moon from "full" to "new" are not wellsynchronized to the months of the year resulting in what is called a "blue moon."). The Moon stabilizes the rotational speed of the Earth (giving us a 24-hour day, that at one time was a lot shorter [~10 hours]) and therefore our terrestrial weather/climate. (Later on, the Moon could spin back-in much closer and thus break up and turn into a collection of rocks like the rings of Saturn, but that will be about a billion years from now, and the Earth is likely to be uninhabitable by then anyway; so we'll have to enjoy this spectacle from a distance if we're still around ourselves. Another theory says that the Moon will fly away into space if it escapes Earth's gravity; by then all oceanic tides (neap tides, etc.) will be determined exclusively by the the Sun's gravity, assuming there still are oceans). (This problem is survivable).

11. The Diameter of the Sun Expands on Its Way to Becoming a Red Dwarf

In 200 million years, our Sun will expand to include the orbit of Mercury in its natural evolution as a star of its size (not sufficient for a supernova) that consumes all its hydrogen fuel (having converted it to helium by fusion). Anyone still on Earth will fry, after the oceans evaporate and then boil away. The sand (Earth's crust) will be sterilized and then take on the texture of molten lava. Long before then, however, we should make a mandatory visit to Europa, where temperatures will be more hospitable, there would be a watery ocean > 100 miles deep, but, sadly, the atmosphere would not be breathable [likewise for Io, Callisto, and Gannymede].) Nevertheless, we would get a good up-close view of Jupiter.

12. Imminent Galactic Collision

In about 400 million years, the Nebula-in-Andromeda is expected to collide with our own Milky Way galaxy. Due to the large empty space between stars, there may not be mutual star collisions and the two spinning wheels may pass through each other, but gravitational turbulence may cause different stars to be pulled hither and yon. (This event is survivable, assuming that the naked Earth is not cast off into deep space by a gravitational sling shot and we weren't able to find a near-by star to hook up with at the proper distance.)

13. Rogue Stars

We are about to be "rained on" by stars that have been thrown our way by a smaller galaxy that the Milky Way already collided with quite some time ago. This collision shot the small galaxy's stars toward the far side of our galaxy, but gradually the gravitation of our galaxy captured the stars and drew them back toward us. We may be located right where these stars are, and they may be due to hit our solar system.

14. Rogue Black Holes

Black holes have been detected moving around in odd locations, so there's always the chance one could drift into our vicinity from an unexpected direction, which could reduce our warning, not that we could do anything about it other than watch it from somewhere else! There are also rogue planets shooting around out there -- planets that have been torn loose from their original stars and could come careening in from any direction. Fortunately, the odds of one of these hitting us is low, and we wouldn't have the same action-at-a-distance threat that a black hole (even a micro black hole) would.

15. Atmospheric Gas Composition

The relative concentration of nitrogen/oxygen/carbon-dioxide/argon/neon/xenon in our atmosphere is in a delicate balance. Too much (or too little) oxygen could be horrific.

16. Sun Spot Cycle Anomaly (Coronal Mass Ejection or a Hugh Gamma Ray Burst)

The 11-year sunspot cycle could be disrupted. Just one big solar flare (like a belch in the liquid hydrogen as it bubbled up to the surface) might be very dangerous. Who knows what that would entail for all the species on our planet?

17. Change in the Earth's Obliquity, Radial Distance to the Sun, or Orbital Eccentricity

The spinning of the Earth on its axis makes an angle with respect to the plane of the ecliptic called its obliquity or "angle of declination." It could tilt beyond 22.45 degrees. There is also a wobble or precession associated with the spinning (like a top) which explains why our current North Star (Polaris) has changed over the centuries. An increased angle would make our Winter and Summer seasons far more extreme. A flattening of the angle toward zero would eliminate the seasons, making the Earth look more like Jupiter with large horizontal weather bands and long lasting (centuries) cyclones. (Note: Magnetic North pole is not the same as Due-North due to the presence of iron ore in a big lump and the dynamo effect of a rotating spheroid.) An increase in our eccentricity would change the number of days per year from ~365 (an ellipse is not a circle ). A change in the radial distance from the Sun ([91 - 94] million miles or ~8 light seconds) would not only change the number of days per year but have other temperature effects depending on whether it was an increase of decrease.. Milankovitch Cycles can be used to determine the periodicity of ice ages by means of mathematical formulas.

18. Disruption of Techtonic Plates

An abrupt positive feedback loop in the internal temperature dynamics of the Earth's crust, mantle, and liquid core could be catastrophic. Techtonic plates could be disrupted and all the known continents could be swallowed up in a short time with no land to replace them whatsoever! Remember Pangaea was a single supercontinent 300 million years ago (it had a number of different predecessors before it, each with exotic names) that gave rise to today's seven continents {North/South America, Asia, Europe Africa, Australia, and Antarctica} separated by oceans that we know and love (these continents drift with respect to each other at the same rate as our finger nails grow, so it's hard (without GPS) to track their motion precisely (centimeters per year), but who is to say that this rate will remain constant, and it couldn't speed up 100,000x abruptly).

19. Invasion by Aliens from Mars or Wherever

After an invasion by an intelligent but nasty species of aliens from outer space (like The Borg of Star Trek) who mean to do us harm, "all bets are off." This scenario is rather fanciful. Nevertheless, Dr. Stephen Hawking warned humanity that "we should not shout out when we're walking in the jungle." Dr. Carl Sagan already did the equivalent of shouting with our gratuitous Voyager disk. It instructs whomever finds it exactly where to locate us (SciFi Movies: War of he Worlds, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Prometheus [July 2012]). (The SETI project is still listening for extraterrestrial signals, but hasn't found anything so far, despite decades of scanning.)

20. The Big Rip

In about 100 billion years, according to our current cosmological dogma, our universe will have continued to expand to the point that at first only the stars in the Milky Way will be visible, making the night sky look pretty dark, and then all stars will be extinguished (so it's really, really dark). If all local stars are extinguished then the terms "day" and "night" can no longer be distinguished; finally, all molecules/atoms/protons/neutrons are annihilated (the "Big Rip"), decomposing into bosons/quarks. Subsequently, the "strong force" becomes irreversibly damaged, "All bets are off." "Exit stage left." through a "worm hole" to another more hospitable universe within the ostensible "multiverse," assuming this is at all possible. Calling all physicists... please rescue us from this pernicious scenario.

Conclusion for Section IX:

As far as our human species is concerned, we've moved a long way forward. Civilization has progressed from the days of our hunter/gatherer ancestral tribes. Just a few thousand years ago (2000 BCE), we concluded that there were only four elements {Earth, Fire, Air, and Water} and only four body fluids that needed to be kept in balance for good health {blood, phlem, black bile, and yellow bile}. {The words "sanguine" and "phlegmatic" in our current language are derived from this false model of physiology.} Note that none of these so-called elements is in reality an element based on our current understanding of chemistry (The Periodic Table of the Elements). Water is a compound; earth (dirt, beach sand) is a mixture; air is a mixture; and fire (combustion) is an artifact of rapid oxidation {just like rust is an artifact of slow iron oxidation}. But, we can't rest on our laurels, amused by the foolishness of our ancestors; we still have a long way to go to make sense of the world, even though the 11-dimensional Brane/String Theory of Everything (ToE) that integrates gravity with quantum mechanics with the four forces and the standard Boson/Quark model of particles is close at hand.

What is important is for us to understand how to reprogram (debug) the genetic code (the DNA in our chromosomes contains 3.1 billion base pairs {A, G, T, and C}) without disrupting the architecture of our human adult tissues. This is the next big challenge.

Here's an update from Dr. Gunther Kletetschka... Part of my research has to do with the extinction of large mammals due to a comet/asteroid that landed in Alberta, CANADA 12,800 years ago. We published our finding this year and last year in PNAS [5-8]. I believe that we have solid evidence that all mega mammals went extinct along with nearly all human beings.

Just because we've been the dominant species on the planet for the last 10K years or so, given the advent of civilization, agriculture, written language, science and technology (the Internet), why do we imagine that we have the right to be called the dominant (alpha) species, and that "this was our destiny all along"? It might have been due to chance. And sure enough, as we look at the data, it was due to chance.

About 99.9 percent of all species that ever appeared on Earth are now extinct. Except perhaps for deep, dark ocean tube-worm locations with hot sulfur pouring out of deep cracks and boiling the cold salt-water around them, the Earth has never been a Garden of Eden for anyone with its volcanoes, tornadoes/cyclones, hurricanes/typhoons, forest fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods/droughts, and ice ages. Human stone age hunter/gatherers were no exception for the majority of our time here on Earth (~200K years), and we ourselves (Homo sapiens) almost became extinct several times in competition with other forms of life throughout our history. We were never the superior, top-predator species compared with most carnivores, until we learned how to breed dogs (domesticated wolves) to help us survive the dangers of becoming prey, ~50 KYA. Tool using and the ability to walk long distances (miles) and throw sharp spears at a distance really made a big difference, especially when we used language to coordinate our hunting expeditions in teams and teach the next generation of human progeny how to make stone tools, sew clothing from skins, and build fires to cook meat and keep warm in Winter. Along the way, we learned that death appears to be inevitable -- what we now call "The Human Condition."

So where's the luck/randomness? There were at least five major catastrophic near-extinction events in the last few hundred million years on our friendly Earth that helped shape the evolution of Homo sapiens on this planet, ultimately giving us licence to take over the whole place (every continent and even parts of the Moon). Here they are in chronological order: 1. "The Great Dying" (Toxic volcanoes split the single continental land mass [Pangea ] in half with its green land-based vegetation (that raised the level of oxygen in the atmosphere) and either cooked or froze everything around one island of land sitting above a single very-large ocean, 252 MYA [1]. 2. The Dinosaur Extinction (including top predator T. Rex) 66 MYA secondary to a large asteroid impact that cooked the global environment (except for a few mouse-type mammals hiding in boroughs under ground) [2]. 3. An ice age. Primates now live in trees or walk on two legs as needed. But temperatures got uncomfortably cold [starting at ~120 KYA] and those primates North of the Congo River suffered (Chimps and hominids like us that weren't aggressive didn't survive; warlike behavior was needed, since resources became scarce). On the other hand, the bonobos South of the Congo-barrier in Africa survived in a milder climate and their personality never needed to be so aggressive as to go to war to survive, and this psychologically dark trait was not selected for as adaptive [3]. 4. The eruption of the Toba Volcano in Indonesia (70 KYA) left the global skies dark (without sunlight) for nearly ten years, so the human population without food dwindled down to ~2,000 folk in Africa (at the hairy edge of extinction) [4]. The proof is that more than 99 percent of our genomes are almost identical, which is a lot more than most other primate species, leading to the conclusion that we migrated around the Earth from one mid-African starting point that consisted of a relatively small tribe of "survivors." The illusion of profound phenotypic racial differences (Caucasians, Blacks, Orientals, American Indians, etc.) is not so much in new gene networks but in small SNP variations needed to adapt to the requirement for the right amount of Vitamin D from sunlight and calibration of our mtDNA to maintain metabolic rates (we're warm-blooded creatures with constant body temperatures, regardless of the external climate and different weather patterns required different ATP/caloric maintenance) making our appearance to one another superficially (cosmetically) different (skin color, hair texture, etc.), even though our genomes tell the story of how we almost didn't make it at the time of this more recent near-extinction event. 5. An asteroid that fell in Alberta, CANADA 12,800 years ago [5-8] killed all mega mammals and most humans along with them.

So there you have it. We should count your blessings, not brag about your superiority, for the next near-extinction event could be a full-extinction event and be just around the corner, So we should get ready for one soon. And I don't mean plan an expedition to Mars to see if we can terraform it to our purposes. I mean that we need to solve the "mortality problem," so we can live long enough to figure out what to do with our precarious Earth environment, if it decides to suddenly fail. Furthermore, our star, Sol, the sun, won't last forever either, but at least, for that, we have a substantial grace period, as we discussed above.


1. The Permian Triassic (P/Tr) extinction event, informally termed the "Great Dying," forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. This was the Earth's most severe known extinction event, with up to 96 percent of all marine species and 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct.

2. This event marked the end of the Cretaceous period and with it, the entire Mesozoic Era, opening the Cenozoic Era, which continues today.

3. Ice Ages

4. The Toba Supereruption was a massive volcanic eruption that occurred [72K +/- 5 K] YA at Mount Toba (Sumatra, INDONESIA). It is recognized as one of the Earth's largest known eruptions. The related catastrophe hypothesis holds that this event caused a global volcanic winter of [6 - - 10] years and possibly a 1,000-year-long cooling episode in Earth's climate.

5. Wittke James H., James C. Weaver, Ted E. Bunch, James P. Kennett, Douglas J. Kennett, Andrew M. T. Moore, Gordon C. Hillman, Kenneth B. Tankersley, Albert C. Goodyear, Christopher R. Moore, I. Randolph Daniel, Jr., Jack H. Ray, Neal H. Lopinot, David Ferraro, Isabel Israde-Alc ntara, James L. Bischoff, Paul S. DeCarli, Robert E. Hermes, Johan B. Kloosterman, Zsolt Revay, George A. Howard, David R. Kimbel, Gunther Kletetschka, Ladislav Nabelek, Carl P. Lipo, Sachiko Sakai, Allen West, and Richard B. Firestone. (May 20 2013), Evidence for deposition of 10 million tonnes of impact spherules across four continents 12,800 years ago,

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, Vol. 110, No. 23, pp. E2088-97 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1301760110 (June 4, 2013) PDF.

6. James H. Wittke, Ted E. Bunch, James P. Kennett, Douglas J. Kennett, Brendan J. Culleton, Kenneth B. Tankersley, I. Randolph Daniel, J., Johan B. Kloosterman, Gunther Kletetschka, Allen West Firestone, R.B., 2013. Reply to van Hoesel, et al., regarding Impact-related YDB nanodiamonds from the Netherlands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, accepted on August 8, 2013.

7. James H. Wittke, Ted E. Bunch, Kenneth B. Tankersley, I. Randolph Daniel, J., Johan B. Kloosterman, Gunther Kletetschka, Allen West, Firestone, R.B., 2013. Reply to Ives et al., regarding the impact-related YDB layer at Chobot site, Alberta, CANADA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, accepted on August 8, 2013.

8. Bunch, Ted E.; Hermes, Robert E.; Moore, Andrew M. T.; Kennett, Douglas J.; Weaver, James C.; Wittke, James H.; DeCarli, Paul S.; Bischoff, James L.; Hillman, Gordon C.; Howard, George A.; Kimbel, David R.; Kletetschka, Gunther; Lipo, Carl P.; Sakai, Sachiko; Revay, Zsolt; West, Allen; Firestone, Richard B.; Kennett, James P. (July 10, 2012), Very high-temperature impact melt products as evidence for cosmic airbursts and impacts 12,900 years ago, Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA Vol. 109, No. 28, pp. E1903-12 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1204453109, 2012, PDF

Appendix A.6 Curriculum for a four-year BS Degree in Gerontology

If I were the Chancellor of my own university and could dictate what my students should study to gain a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Gerontology with the aim of getting an M.D. or a Ph.D. in the future as a graduate degree, here's what I would propose that they study on the way to winning their Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine...

1. a. Pure Mathematics (1 year Freshman):
Arithmetic, Number Theory {integers, rational, irrational, transcendental [pi = 3.1417...; e {Base of Naperian Log} = 2.7...}] types of infinity}, Linear Algebra (Vectors and Matrices), Analysis: Calculus [differential/integral/2nd-order DE's, partial derivatives, integration/measure theory], Fractile Geometry (if you drill down deeper and deeper, the ragged edges of the sea shore still look the same!); Analytic Geometry; Circle, Ellipse, Spiral, Lemniscate, Crescent, Gibbous; Spline functions; Non-Euclidean Geometries; Graph Theory; PERT Charts with Critical Path Algorithms; But not {Fermat's Last Theorem, Group Theory, Ring Theory, Domain Theory, Homology Theory, or Topology [Genus 0 = sphere; Genus 1 = donut, Genus n >1 = manifold], which are probably not needed, so far as I can tell; but I could be wrong.
It is assumed that students have already had elementary and intermediate algebra, Euclidean Geometry (plane and solid), and trigonometry, as prerequisites in high school.

1. b. Applied Mathematics (1/2 year Sophomore):
Optimization Theory (Linear Programing; Dynamic Programming [Richard Bellman, a true genius, with whom I worked before he died of a brain tumor]; Game Theory [for zero-sum 2-person and n-person games] (John Nash/John von Neumann) Fuzzy Sets, Fuzzy Logic, Fuzzy Control Theory (L. A. Zadeh); Graph Theory (Minimum Cost Trajectories)

1. c. Probability and Statistics (1-1/2 years Junior):
Plausible or inductive Inference from soft evidence (The Laplace Sun-Rise Problem); Stochastic Processes (Doob); Markov Chains and Markov Processes (even LeoTakash's skinny book on this topic was scary tough.) Generating Pseudo random numbers, Monte Carlo Simulations, Lyapunov Stability Analysis, Linear Regression of Spline Functions; Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) {Kannisto Logistic Regression; Bonferroni Correction}

1. d. Logic (1/2 year Junior):
Syllogisms, Rules of Deductive Inference (Detachment), Propositional Calculus (Tautology, Fact, Contradiction), Predicate Calculus (Quantificational Calculus), Relations (reflexive, symmetric, transitive); Decidability, Completeness, Soundness (Russell/Whitehead; Godel's/Church's Theorems)

2. Physics (2 years Freshman/Sophomore):
Newtonian Kinematics, Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Optics; Photons, Nuclear: neutrinos, quarks, heavy particles that make up atoms and elements, Plank's Constant; General and Special Relativity, Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED), Heisenberg Uncertainty, Astronomy (Big Bang: Energy, Dark Energy, Matter, Dark Matter, an 11-Dimensional string-theory universe), Geology (Tectonic Plates/Continental Drift)

3. Chemistry (2 years Freshman/Sophomore):
Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, leading to a strong subspecialty in Biochemistry (1 year), esp. protein, DNA, and RNA folding.

4. Biology (4 years All years):
Ecology, Darwinian Evolution, the "Genotype --> Phenotype mapping problem," Apoptosis, Senescent Cells, Cell Cycle, Control of copy errors during mitosis by specific enzymes, genomics, epigenetics, telomere/chromosomal biology, histology, bacteriology, virology, fungology, parasitology, zoology, botany, gerontology, cancer [James D. Watson]

5. Medicine (4 years All years):
Human Anatomy, Physiology (with a strong emphasis on Neuroscience), Pathology (Genetics), Pharmacology, Laboratory Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Personal Genomics, Carcinogenesis, which is now understood to be the flip-side of aging.

6. Gerontology (1/2 year Senior):
Model Organisms; Human Life History; Demographics; Actuarial Science; Theory of Aging

7. Psychology (1 year Senior):
Rational Thought/Cognitive Psychology (or modeling of the mind), Developmental Psychology (Jean Piaget), Psychiatric Disorders (Sigmund Freud), Addiction, Memory encoding and decoding at the molecular level, Theory of Agency (active animal predators or other humans skilled at deception/duplicity/dissembling/lying/prevarication/cheating/stealing as a means to exploit innocent others;
Think: Pinnochio on his way to school approached by a cat and a fox with the proposition that they all sing "Hi Diddle De De, an Actor's Life for Me" on they're way to a life of luxury, when infact all the children would turn into donkeys for a life of exploitation by their new owners. Our current gambling casinos serve an identical purpose for today's adults [Richard Dawkins].)

8. Computer Science (1 year Junior):
Theory of Computation (Automata Theory; Turing Machines); Post Production Rules; Markov Algorithms; Artificial Intelligence (AI) {heruistics; voice recognition, robotics}, Programming {Machine Code, Assembly Languages, Interpretive Languages (LISP); Compiler Languages (FORTRANSIT, FORTRAN, ALGOL, JAVA)}, Operating Systems (UNIX, Windows); Lambda Calculus (Recursion), Situation Calculus, Cryptography (Encryption/Decryption Steganography), Information Theory (Claude Shannon), HTML (HyperText Markup Languages),
Search Engines (today's engines are ghastly compared with the designs of twenty years ago that were not contaminated with commercial-messages listed first; e.g., FYI, when I type in the word "cremation," I am not looking for the names and addresses of funeral directors in my geographical area; but how would you know that unless I told you?)

9. Engineering (1/2 year Senior):
Electrical [Control Theory (Fourrier and Laplace Transforms); Cybernetics (Norbert Weiner); Bionics, Chip Design (Moore's Law), Mechanical, Chemical, and Civil Engineering (Roman Engineers would be supremely proud to learn that some of their aqueducts are still standing in the Paris area!), nanotechnology.

10. Economics (1/2 year Senior):
Fiscal and Monitory Policy; Price at intersection of supply and demand curves; Capitalism, Socialism, Communism.

11. Philosophy (1 year Senior):
Metaphysics (Ontology; Cosmology; Teleology); Epistemology; Ethics (Theodicy); Aesthetics, Rhetoric (Sophistry; Syllogisms; Fallacies), Logical Positivism; The Vienna Circle (Alfred Ayre); The Mind/Body Problem (Materialism, Dualism, Solipsism); Overlapping Magesteria (Omega 1 = Physical Objects that play out in a constant-time advance, silent, B&W, odorless, tasteless movie; Omega 2 = Mental, Intellectual, Rational, Spiritual, Mathematical, variable bi-directional time, in color and sound like dreams, but mostly like contingencies plans and deliberate actions for how to escape from predators or how to prevent exploitation by members of other human or primate tribes when seeking scarce resources

12. Linguistics (1 year Junior):
Computational Linguistics (surface structure vs. deep structure), Phonology, Lexicography, Syntax (Parts of speech; Diagramming Parsing vs. Generative, Phrase Structure Grammar [Backus-Naur Form], Transformational Grammar (Noam Chomsky), Semantics (Denotation vs. Connotation), Pragmatics ("Tact" vs. "Mand"), Dialog, Speeches, Lyrics of Songs, Poetry (narrative, lyrical -- Figures of Speech: {aliteration, metaphor, simile, tone color, onomatopoeia, oxymoron, paraprosdokokians}), Plays (Tragedy, Comedy), Other Literature (Short Stories, Novels, Sci-Fi [Sir Arthur Clarke, Prof. Isaac Asimov], Biographies, Hollywood Movies).
Required Poems:
1. The Raven by Edgar Alan Poe; 2. The Hollow Men by T.S. Elliot;
3. The One-Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendel Holmes;
Required Plays: 1. Hamlet; 2. Macbeth both by Shakespeare; The Great Books Series from the University of Chicago;
Informational References: Dictionaries (Webster; OEM [300K words]); CIA Fact Book; Almanacs

13. Humanities (1 year Senior):
History of Science and Technology and the Scientific Method (Paradigm Shifts: Newton --> Einstein), History of Medicine and Surgery (BTW, contrary to what one might think, this topic is not taught in medical school where they teach you only what you need to know to do a residency and get licensed, not the absurdly ludicrous mistakes of our pathetic predecessors).
Learn one foreign language from among {Chinese [Mandarin], Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, Italian, French, or Spanish} as a second language, so you can read and speak it to a native speaker.
Learn how to distinguish spoken accents (not taught in any formal school to my knowledge, except in the Intelligence Community) from among: London (Cockney vs. Queen's), Irish, Scottish, Australian, South African, Canadian, Bostonian, Queens New York, Southern, Texas, Minnesota, etc. For extra credit, distinguish the native language of speakers of English from Spain, Mexico, Cuba, France, Germany, Russia, China, etc. It took me three years to tell native French speakers from Paris from those speakers who came from the South, like Marseilles. Dr. Gregory House, M.D. is one of those rare individuals who can switch from his native British to American English without detection!

14. Superstitions and Magical/Mystical Thinking (1/2 year Senior):
Magic [Prestidigitation, Sorcery, witches/warlocks, spiritualists or professional mediums who can communicate with our "dearly departed" {late, dead} relatives in a s‚ance], Astrology/Horoscopy [What's your sign? Capricorn, etc.], Numerology,Tarot Cards, Graphology [penmenship], UFO's, Area-51, alien abductions, phrenology [location of bumps on head], palmistry [chiromancy], tea leaves, crystal balls, Ouija Boards, Glossolalia [Speaking-in-tounges], Crop Circles, Dowsing [a forked rod or wooden stick to help dig a well for water], Witch Doctors, Voodoo [Haiti], Macumba [Brazil], Santeria (animal sacrifice), Ritual Human Sacrifice of young virgins/maidens [Myan and Aztecs of Mexico], Homeopathy, Moxibustion, Acupuncture [China], Psychic Surgeons [Indonesia], Burning of heretics at the stake or stoning them for apostasy [the Spanish Inquisition and other parts of Europe led to highly creative forms of torture, like The Rack or the Iron Maiden {Steven Pinker; Harvard; Steven Pincus; Harvard/Yale}], interrogation of military prisoners using "water boarding" following "extreme rendition"; approved-use of such torture can profoundly undermine the ethical basis for our Western Civilization, Remote group prayer for infertile women, so that they can achieve a wanted pregnancy. Paranormal ESP (Psi) {(telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis [bend a spoon with your mind]}; J. B. Rhine), False futurology (Nostradamus [1]), Assorted fantastical creatures: Big Foot [Sasquatch], Yeti [Agbominable Snowmen], The Lock Ness Monster [Scotland], zombies, vampires (Count Dracula, Vlad the Impaler [garlic, crosses, mirrors, wooden stakes, sun-light, bats]), werewolves (silver bullets), weretigers [India], Mummies who come back to life whenever ignorant archeologists disturb their ancient Egyptian tombs [tanna leaves]{Multi-Generational Curses} [Pharohes: "Look upon my work and weep." {because you obviously could never achieve what I did.}], Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Thumbelina, ghosts, goblins, gremlins, gnomes, ghouls, elves, sprites, sylphs, deformed dwarfs, demons, leprechauns, Heaven/Hell [Angels {arcangels with flaming swords, cupids/cherubs with tiny bow-and-arrows}, Devils: Satin (Lucifer) [Beelzebub]), Incubi/Succubi, Cryptozoology, chimera/theriantropism {anubis, centaur, griffin, minotar, satyre, dragon, sphinx, pegasus, phoenix, basilisk cockatrice, unicorn, gorgon, hydra, cerabus, harpy, moloch, hippogriff, dipsas, bucentaur, pan, lamia, siren, mermaid, triton, cyclops, ogres}]; tweets that go viral on cell phones showing cats that can play the piano like Mozart, List, Chopin, etc., etc.) Have you heard he urban legend about the salamander that was flushed down the toilet and a giant alligator showed up in the sewers three months later. Maybe not, since many are too busy watching the "Housewives of Beverly Hills" on the Bravo Channel. "The Theory of Agency" [No. 6 above] is needed to explain our predilection toward adopting weird ideas without skepticism (or any critical thinking whatsoever).

Ref.: 1. Nine European scientists, who did a remarkable job of predicting the future -- s

It's difficult to cover all the above topics in a narrow technological school like MIT or CalTech, and that's why I believe one first needs to go to a comprehensive university with a Law School, a Business School, a Medical School, an Engineering School, a Science School, a Humanities School, and a School of Theology. But even then, you won't get the full coverage of a Renaissance Man (Woman) (think Leonardo da Vinci). That's why one will still need to do considerable independent study. You need to read Scientific American every month cover-to-cover and read at least one book a month for ten years. Furthermore, if you don't know mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology at a significantly-professional level, it's pretentious to try and argue against a true intellectual who has, in fact, paid their dues, just because it may be intuitively pleasing to imagine that, by doing more of the same stuff that science is already doing, we will achieve a "cure to aging in our lifetimes"; all we need to do is simply "throw money at the problem" (even though that might help a lot in the short term). A simplistic approach may not converge to a solution. (Think: "The War on Cancer," announced by then President Nixon in the 1970's. Many scientists told him that it would be premature and went on to tell him later, "I told you so.")

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