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Biohacker Guide | Nootropics

 Nootropics  Comments Off on Biohacker Guide | Nootropics
Jul 012016
 

Nootropics are a broad classification of cognition-enhancing compounds that produce minimal side effects and are suitable for long-term use. These compounds include those occurring in nature or already produced by the human body (such as neurotransmitters), and their synthetic analogs. We already regularly consume some of these chemicals: B vitamins, caffeine, and L-theanine, in our daily diets.

A fundamental aspect of human evolution has been the drive to augment our capabilities. The neocortex is the neural seat of abstract and higher order cognitive processes. As it grew, so did our ability to create. The invention of tools and weapons, writing, the steam engine, and the computer have exponentially increased our capacity to influence and understand the world around us. These advances are being driven by improved higher-order cognitive processing.1Fascinatingly, the practice of modulating our biology through naturally occurring flora predated all of the above discoveries. Indeed, Sumerian clay slabs as old as 5000 BC detail medicinal recipes which include over 250 plants2. The enhancement of human cognition through natural compounds followed, as people discovered plants containing caffeine, theanine, and other cognition-enhancing, or nootropic, agents.

There is an ancient precedent to humans using natural compounds to elevate cognitive performance. Incan warriors in the 15th century would ingest coca leaves (the basis for cocaine) before battle. Ethiopian hunters in the 10th century developed coffee bean paste to improve hunting stamina. Modern athletes ubiquitously consume protein powders and hormones to enhance their training, recovery, and performance. The most widely consumed psychoactive compound today is caffeine. Millions of people use coffee and tea to be more alert and focused.

The term nootropic is simply a descriptor, and this descriptor spans across all legal classifications of compounds. Broadly speaking, there are four main classifications:

Nootrobox stacks are strictly derived from the first category – compounds that are GRAS and approved for human consumption as dietary supplements.

The mechanisms by which nootropic compounds influence our cognition and neurophysiology are as diverse as those of prescription drugs. We present below our in-progress work, detailing the mechanisms, effects, and history of various nootropic compounds. Check in for updates and additions.

2016 Nootrobox, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

For informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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Biohacker Guide | Nootropics

18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule : zen habits

 Golden Rule  Comments Off on 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule : zen habits
Jun 282016
 

thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself., Leviticus 19:18

One of the few rules I try to live my life by, and fail every day trying, is the Golden Rule.

I love the simplicity of the Golden Rule, its tendency to make I interact with happier and its tendency to make me happier as well.

Its true: the rule of treating others as you would want to be treated in their place will ultimately lead to your own happiness.

Lets say that you apply the Golden Rule in all of your interactions with other people, and you help your neighbors, you treat your family with kindness, you go the extra mile for your co-workers, you help a stranger in need.

Now, those actions will undoubtedly be good for the people you help and are kind to but youll also notice a strange thing. People will treat you better too, certainly. Beyond that, though, you will find a growing satisfaction in yourself, a belief in yourself, a knowledge that you are a good person and a trust in yourself.

Those are not small dividends. They are huge. And for that reason not even considering that our world will be a better place if more people live by this rule I recommend you make the Golden Rule a focus of your actions, and try to live by it to the extent that you can.

I will admit that there are strong arguments against the Golden Rule, that there are exceptions and logic arguments that the Golden Rule, taken to extremes, falls apart. Im not concerned about that stuff. The truth is, on a day-to-day basis, living by the Golden Rule will make you a better person, will make those around you happier, and will make the community you live in a better place.

With that in mind, lets take a look at some practical tips for living the Golden Rule in your daily life:

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18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule : zen habits

 Posted by at 2:56 am  Tagged with:

How Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson hopes to win over …

 Libertarian  Comments Off on How Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson hopes to win over …
Jun 242016
 

At 9 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, Americans can tune in to watch a presidential hopeful who’s received significantly less media attention than his bipartisan competitors: Gary Johnson, former Republican governor of New Mexico and 2016 candidate for the Libertarian Party.

Mr. Johnson and his running mate, former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, will field questions from voters in a live town hall event broadcast on CNN and moderated by CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

The event is important, in part, because it’s an opportunity for Johnson to expand his support among American voters. If Weld and Johnson’s support reaches 15 percent, they qualify for the scheduled autumn presidential debates. Current general electionpollsshow the Libertarian candidates drawing about 9 percent overall.

This is Johnson’s second run for the Libertarian Party (LP): in 2012, he set the record for most votes earned by a Libertarian candidate in the general election, coming in third with 1.27 million votes more than double what his predecessor, LP candidate Bob Barr, earned in 2008.

Even then, Johnson only earned about 1 percent of the vote.

But interest in the Libertarian Party seems to have surged for the 2016 election, as Johnson prepares to go up against two polarizing candidates with low favorability ratings: presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Following Mr. Trump’s win in Indiana last month, membership applications for the Libertarian Party doubled, the Washington Examiner reported, and Google searches for “Libertarian Party” and “Gary Johnson” skyrocketed, causing conservative news site Breitbart to encourage its readers to “panic.”

Libertarians are not conservatives. Theyre not just Republicans repulsed by Trumps racial and religious scapegoating and megalomania,” writes David Boaz,executive vice president of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, for The Daily Beast.

The Libertarian Party platform has “for decades” supported ideas that directly contradict traditional conservative stances, such as the legalization of drugs and gay marriage, and opposition to most US wars, Mr. Boaz notes.

But, he continues, “given what Sasse, Romney, and other serious Republicans think of Trump and Clinton, is it hard to imagine that they would prefer Johnson and Weld in the White House?

Johnson’s campaign has caught the attention of disenchanted Republicans and Democrats alike, particularly supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders: a recent Bloomberg poll found that 18 percent of Sanders’s supporters say they plan to vote for the Libertarian candidate in November, rather than vote for Hillary Clinton.

Johnson has been more favorably received by the general public than most Libertarian candidates, but many members of the party itself are not quite as enthused. He just barely earned the nomination at the party’s convention in May, scraping by with 55.8 percent of the vote on the second ballot, and was booed by the crowd when he voiced support for driver licenses and the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The Libertarian candidate’s support of certain anti-discrimination laws and willingness to talk about issues such as the threat of militant Islamists have also drawn criticism from members of the party. At the same time, these views may make him more palatable to a mainstream audience, says Brian Doherty, senior editor at Reason magazine and author of “Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.”

A lot of libertarians in the party, what they really want the most is not someone whos going to get the most votes or raise the most money, but someone who represents their vision of what libertarianism is with clarity and lack of compromise, says Mr. Dohertyin a phone interview with The Christian Science Monitor.

Johnson’s self-described “pragmatic” campaigning strategy, which lacks “principled statements” and core libertarian “lingo,” has raised concerns from party members who “get the sense that Gary doesn’t believe [in a lack of government intervention] as a matter of core principle, that he’s just an intelligent guy who happens to notice that most of the time, government doesn’t work very well,” Doherty says.

However, he points out, Johnson needs to earn million of votes in the general election. There are only about 250,000 voters registered to the Libertarian Party, according to the party’s website.

As Johnson’s focus changes from getting the Libertarian nomination to earning general election votes, “the party kind of becomes irrelevant,” Doherty says. “He can’t worry about the party faithful any longer. There’s just not enough of them.”

Part of Johnson’s attempt to appeal to a mainstream audience involves his use of the phrase “fiscally conservative and socially liberal” to describe the party. It’s a “best of both worlds” pitch that may appear to describe a lot of Americans.

However, as The Christian Science Monitor’s Francine Kiefer reported in May, this ideology may also come with challenges in attracting voters, as Democrats who appreciate Libertarian social stances also value the role of the government in working toward social justice. On the other end of the spectrum, #NeverTrump conservatives may agree with downsizing government and cutting taxes, but might disagree with cutting military spending, as Johnson proposes.

In an election where personalities have taken priority in the media, the demeanor of third-party candidates is bound to play a role, as well as policy.

“[Johnson] doesnt have that sort of fire-behind-the-podium feel that both Trump and Hillary, in different ways, can get. Hes just kind of a really reasonable guy,” Doherty says. “He’s going to be who he is. And I think he’s hoping there’s a mass of Americans who want quiet, mellow, and reasonable. We’ll find out if he’s right or not.”

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How Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson hopes to win over …

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The Zeitgeist Movement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Zeitgeist Movement  Comments Off on The Zeitgeist Movement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

The Zeitgeist Movement was established in 2008 by Peter Joseph and advocates a transformation of society and its economic system to a non monetary system based on resource allocation and environmentalism.

Originally, the ideas were based on a societal model by Jacque Fresco a social engineer with The Venus Project.[1][2] In the Venus project machines control government and industry and safeguard resources using artificially intelligent earthwide autonomic sensor system super-brain connected to all human knowledge.[3]

The Zeitgeist Movement was formed in 2008[4] by Peter Joseph shortly after the late 2008 release of Zeitgeist: Addendum, the second film in the ‘Zeitgeist’ film series.[5][1] In its first year the group described itself as “the activist arm of The Venus Project.[6] In April 2011, the two groups partnership ended in an apparent power struggle, with Joseph commenting, Without [The Zeitgeist Movement], [The Venus Project] doesnt exist it has nothing but ideas and has no viable method to bring it to light.”[1] Jacques Fresco in an interview said that although the Zeitgeist movement wanted to act as the ‘activist arm’ of Venus project, Peter Joseph never clarified what that would entail. In addition Fresco’s ideas of how to change society were not followed, leading to Fresco dropping participation in the Zeitgeist Movement.[7]

VC Reporter’s Shane Cohn summarized the movement’s charter as: “Our greatest social problems are the direct results of our economic system”.[5]

Samuel Gilonis describes the movements opinions as wanting to replace all private property with for what Joseph refers to as “strategic access” as well as replacing democracy with a form of technocracy whereby the ruling class would comprise technical experts in control of their relevant domains.[8]

The group is critical of market capitalism describing it as structurally corrupt and inefficient in the use of resources. According to The Daily Telegraph, the group dismisses historic religious concepts as misleading and embraces a version of sustainable ecological concepts and scientific administration of society.[9][10][11][12][13][14]

In January 2014, the group published a book, The Zeitgeist Movement Defined: Realizing A New Train Of Thought, composed of eighteen essays on psychology, economics, and scientific theory written by the ‘TZM Lecture Team’ and edited by Ben McLeish, Matt Berkowitz, and Peter Joseph.[15]

The group holds two annual events: Z-Day (or Zeitgeist Day), an “educational forum”[16] held in March and an artivist event called Zeitgeist Media Festival.[3] The second Z-Day took place in Manhattan in 2009 and included lectures by Peter Joseph and Jacque Fresco. The organisers said that local chapters also held sister events on the same day.[16] The Zeitgeist Media Festival was first held in 2011. Its 3rd annual event took place on August 4, 2013 at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub in Los Angeles, California.[17][3]

An article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion describes the movement as an example of a “conspirituality,” a synthesis of New Age spirituality and conspiracy theory.[18]

Michelle Goldberg of Tablet Magazine called the movement “the world’s first Internet-based apocalyptic cult, with members who parrot the party line with cheerful, rote fidelity.” In her opinion, the movement is “devoted to a kind of sci-fi planetary communism”, and the 2007 documentary that “sparked” the movement was “steeped in far-right, isolationist, and covertly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”[19]

Alan Feuer of The New York Times said the movement was like “a utopian presentation of a money-free and computer-driven vision of the future, a wholesale reimagination of civilization, as if Karl Marx and Carl Sagan had hired John Lennon from his Imagine days to do no less than redesign the underlying structures of planetary life.”[16]

In Socialist Unity magazine and also Tablet Magazine the films relationship to anti-Semitic texts is claimed and it is claimed that those theories are made to look left-wing or liberal. A relationship between the film and a book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, along with the films use of other anti-Semitic tropes is claimed.[20][21]

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The Zeitgeist Movement – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …
Jun 172016
 

If you think the Supreme Court is poised to expand or restrict gun rights sometime soon, don’t hold your breath.

As handwringing continues over what might have prevented the Orlando massacre– an old-time filibuster sparked by it even broke outin the Senate on Wednesday — the justices are about to consider a state gun control law enacted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

According to its docket, the court on Thursday will weigh whether to take up Shew v. Malloy, a case with all the elements that could make it emblematic for the battle over the Second Amendment’s meaning.

It’s a dispute between a host of gun rights groups, businesses and individual gun owners against Connecticut over the constitutionality of a sweeping regulatory regime that bans so-called “assault weapons” — semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity magazines of the very sort used in Newtown and Orlando.

Back in October, an appeals court in Manhattan said the Connecticut law and a similarly restrictive law in New Yorkwere constitutional –and the plaintiffs vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court.

Tom King, the head of New York’s biggest gun rights group, even said he was “happy” to have lost the case because that meant his organization could now ask the highest court of the land to decide the issue once and for all.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

But then Justice Antonin Scalia died. And suddenly,the gun lobby’s calculations changed — including King’s, who told the New York Daily News weeks after Scalia’s death that it was “just the wrong time” to continue the fight in the absence of a reliable conservative vote at the Supreme Court.

That might explain why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) glowingly pointed to the National Rifle Association’s opposition to Merrick Garland, the president’s high court nominee, to rationalize his own refusal to hold a vote and a hearing for Garland.

None of this matters, and yet it matters a great deal.

Because despite the pleas from gun rights advocates who still want the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to the weapons ban, the justices could wield all kinds of reasons not to touch the case with a 10-foot pole.

It’s not that they aren’t interested in clarifying the scope of the Second Amendment in the wake of Scalia’s magnum opus in District of Columbia v. Heller, which for the first time recognized a fundamental right to gun ownership in the home. But to echo King, it’s just not the right time — not with a short-staffed Supreme Court, a volatile political environment, and a nomination fight that may very well continue after President Barack Obama’s successor takes office.

As things stand now, all signs point to an extremely quiet and uncontroversial Supreme Court term beginning next October — a dry season that will stand in stark contrast to the current term’s constitutional blockbusters on affirmative action, abortion and immigration, to name only a few.The court just isn’t taking many new cases.

This paucity of potential big decisions aside, the courthassent some signals that the Second Amendment is safe, even as it has rejected dozens of cases challenging gun control measures across the country, leaving lower courts as the final decision-makers.

Over the protest of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court refused in December to review an appeals court decision that effectively upheld an assault weapons ban in a small Illinois town. Thomas said that decision treated the Second Amendment as a second-class right.

But in March, a month after Scalia’s death, the justices tipped their hand the other way, ruling that a Massachusetts ban on stun guns may violate the right to bear arms, quietly but forcefully endorsing the late justice’s Heller decision.

The Second Amendment extends … to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” the court said in a very brief rulingthat no justice signed his or her name to.

But writing separately, Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have gone further, asserting that indeed, gun ownership for self-defense is a “fundamental right” while making clear that Americans’ safety shouldn’t be “left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.”

Fighting words, as well as fodder for debate about where the court may go next on guns.

It is precisely this seeming tension within the Supreme Court — plus the political fallout from Scalia’s vacancy and all the work that other courts are doing to make some sense of the Second Amendment — that indicates why the justices probably won’t pull the trigger on the next big gun rights case soon.

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Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

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Online Gambling Sites & Games Guide | Gambling.com

 Gambling  Comments Off on Online Gambling Sites & Games Guide | Gambling.com
Jun 132016
 

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Online bingo has been growing at a rapid rate. The latest figures estimate that in the UK alone there are more than four million players — great news for this quick-fire group game with a highly social core.

While some countries have resisted the move from brick-and-mortar casinos to online gambling, many have welcomed the phenomenon, changing the landscape and culture of casino gambling forever.

Fantasy sports have been around for decades, tracing its roots back to 1980 when the original fantasy league started around Americas pastime, baseball. From that early league, fantasy sports have grown to encompass a huge variety of sports and formats, including the dramatic rise of Daily Fantasy Sports.

Recent advances in technology have meant that, while some lotteries are only open to residents of the same country, others can now be played by a global audience. This makes lottery betting today a more exciting and varied prospect than ever before.

According to Adweek, as of 2014 mobile users were spending over 85% of their time using apps, with 32% of this spent gaming and 17% on social media site Facebook. With so many more people reliant on their phones, the gambling industry responded, finding new and exciting ways for gamers to get online.

Switching from conventional multi-currency gambling websites to Bitcoin-only sites might seem a bit daunting, but it can also be a lucrative opportunity. There are a range of pros and cons that users should consider before signing up, especially now that Bitcoin gambling sites are becoming increasingly competitive.

The online poker scene has exploded in the last decade, offering an altogether different experience from live poker games in brick-and-mortar casinos, while retaining the high level of skill required to master the deck.

Online betting is more than just having your local bookies at your fingertips, it’s about finding creative ways to maximise enjoyment and profit from some of the greatest, most exciting and even the most obscure events from around the world.

The term “betting markets” covers a broad swath of events, basically anything that one could reasonably take bets on. While the sports world is the largest, odds on non-sports events can all be found at various online casinos.

When one thinks of bingo, variety is not the first thing that springs to mind, even though it is an integral part of the online bingo world. Most people think of bingo as one all-encompassing game, but that is not the case.

Casino games are the ‘Bell-of-the-Ball’ in terms of gambling offerings, as most top operators ensure their development teams concentrate a majority of their power on creating and optimizing casino games above even poker or bingo games.

Daily Fantasy Games represent a new paradigm in sports betting, and are also lightning rods for legislation in the United States. Regulation in that country appears imminent, and once a system for oversight is in place these games have the potential to drastically alter how players around the world enjoy sports.

Most popular casino games have a companion Live Dealer version offered by at least one operator if not them all. From the fan-favourite blackjack to the more risky Roulette, Live Dealer casino games should never be hard to find.

Long gone are the days when physical location limited a player’s gaming options thanks to online casinos. One such feature that is growing in popularity is lottery betting, which now allows customers to participate in the world’s largest lotteries from the comfort of their own home.

Poker has experienced a surge in popularity in the last decade or so, and nowhere has that translated into growth more than the world of online poker.

Slots and poker are the two games perhaps most associated with online casinos (and casinos in general), so it makes sense that gaming providers figured out a way to combine them years ago in the form of video poker.

Whether in a physical gambling hall or a digital one, slot games are afforded prime real estate, and for good reason as they are among the most popular and entertaining games around.

Poker Networks allow online casinos to draw from a massive player base to ensure that their games are always full. By offering multiple sites the same base software with personalized design schemes, both parties benefit alongside the players.

Depositing and withdrawing funds from an online casino account has never been easier, thanks to the rise of dedicated payment services and improvements in software that allow sites to accept funds from many different sources.

The software provider that an online casino chooses to partner with is one of the most crucial aspects of that casino’s identity. Beyond determining site functionality, the games available at a given casino is also affected by who they work with.

Community has long been at the heart of bingo’s success but with the iGaming revolution taking the industry by storm, it’s no surprise some are beginning to consider bingo software the primary engine of online bingo.

It can be easy to overlook the underlying software at an online betting hub, especially when getting lost in the flurry of numbers and odds on screen. The design and organization of these sites certainly play a major role in the betting experience.

Mobile gambling is one of the fastest growing sectors of the gaming industry. A quality mobile platform is a must-have for internet casinos, and a variety of studios have specialists dedicated to creating those platforms, much to the delight of gamers on the go.

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Online Gambling Sites & Games Guide | Gambling.com

 Posted by at 12:56 pm  Tagged with:

Liberal Conspiracy

 Liberal  Comments Off on Liberal Conspiracy
Jun 132016
 

by Sunny Hundal

Whether Britain acts against ISIL in Syria isnt about provoking them or if they pose a threat, but whether our actions will be effective and justified. Whatever we decide, we will get attacked by ISIS; its their aim and in their interests. The bigger question is whether we should join our international allies against a terror group that has already declared war on us.

If we have to engage with ISIS sooner or later, then we have to evaluate whether this is the right time and we have the right plan. I said earlier that Cameron hadnt properly made the case, and want to continue evaluating that.

The people who made up their mind ages ago whether for or against are the ones I tend to ignore. Its clear they arent interested in the details and are driven more by ideological than operational reasons.

Yesterday, Cameron set out his case for air-strikes against ISIL (over 36 pages) and then Jeremy Corbyn responded with seven questions. Some of those questions are quite important and I find it odd that some in the shadow cabinet have already made up their mind without see Camerons response.

When Islamic State came to notoriety last year, many commentators including myself made assumptions about its plans.

I wrote for Al-Jazeera that it poses a far greater threat to Muslims than it does to the west and this has remained true. I also said its impact on community relations in Europe and the US could be devastating an obvious prediction that is also turning out to be true, sadly.

But I said something else which now doesnt apply: Its leaders believe fighting apostates is more important than fighting non-Muslims for now. They want to unite the Middle East under their banner before truly turning their sights on the US and Europe. I wasnt alone in this assumption: Obama and his team have not engaged ISIS more forcefully also because of the belief that ISIS did not pose an immediate threat to US interests (see this and this).

But following the attack in Paris its clear that despite Islamic States initial focus on local sectarian wars, its priorities have now changed. The execution of journalist James Foley and aid worker Alan Henning showed it that it gained a lot (attention, supporters and perhaps donations) for going after western targets.

This goes to the heart of why Ive been arguing with Al-Jazeeras Mehdi Hasan over this issue. Mehdi wrote that Russian bombs provoked the ISIS attack, and so do western bombs. The implication is that if we stop bombing ISIS, maybe theyll stop retaliating. Thats two separate arguments there, one about provocation and other about our response.

Keep this in mind: I agree with Mehdi on foreign policy issues far more than I disagree with him. This isnt a debate about whether western foreign policy is counter-productive or not (it can be, frequently). I should also add that I dont think he is excusing or justifying ISIS, as some claim.

My problem is that just as the Right try and divert debate about ISIS to immigration and refugees, many on the Left try and divert it to foreign policy. I think Mehdi et al only see world events through the lens of western foreign policy. All this obscures more important issues that we need to debate about tackling ISIS. (I spend 90% of my time criticising the right for their diversion, so Im allowed to criticise fellow lefties too). And it assumes the world revolves around what we think / do.

As is common these days, I get abused on Twitter by some lefties outraged that Ive not fallen in line with popular opinion on the left.

In my latest column for LabourList I show why the assumption that Jeremy Corbyn will appeal to non-voters or UKIPers with his clear principles or economic populism seem wildly optimistic. Britons who dont vote or opt for UKIP are largely culturally conservative Britons who prefer the Daily Mail and Express over the Mirror, and value policies that the left would not want to sign up to (patriotism, low immigration, cutting welfare). Their biggest gripes are about immigration and welfare benefits, and in favour of reducing them not increasing them.

When you know Corbyn is a bit radical, why the shock when someone points out he may only appeal to other radicals?

Anyway, my point is this: yes, Ive changed my opinions views the election.

I havent changed what I believe in. I still believe in economic and social equality, I believe in an economy that doesnt unfairly reward the already rich and privileged, I believe in the free provision of education and other public goods like health. I believe the railways should be nationalised and that large parts of the banking sector have become a parasite on our economy. I still believe that climate change, sustainability, clean energy and ending waste are among the biggest challenges of our time.

But the British left is broken.

A few weeks before the General Election in May, I found that the National Council of Hindu Temples a registered charity posted a message calling on British Hindus to vote Conservative. It was clearly in violation of the Charity Commission rules, which state that charities cannot be politically aligned, and I complained. The []

The revolution doesnt start a thousand miles away, it starts with you.

It could be a statement put out by ISIS, the group that has encouraged its sympathisers all over the world to take action in defense of the Caliphate. But actually thats the strapline on the front page of National Action, a neo-Nazi group in the UK that is committed to fighting to recapture our country in an increasingly hostile and foreign environment.

Yesterday, Zack Davies was sentenced for the attempted murder of Dr Sarandar Bhambra, a man who was assaulted because he looked Asian according to Davies. His family said after the sentencing:

We are in no doubt, given the racial and political motivations, that this should have been rightly defined as an act of terrorism. By his own admission, the defendant Zack Davies had extreme neo-Nazi views and is a member of a white supremacist organisation.

So why werent the actions of Zack Davies seen as an act of terrorism, when a similar attack by a Muslim man would have been?

Seamus Milne says:

Opposition to all this [austerity] has barely begun. But theres no democratic reason for people to accept it. The Tories were elected by fewer than 37% of voters. Only 24% of those eligible backed the Conservatives and thats not counting the unregistered.

I know some people will not want to hear this but this is a ridiculous argument.

This came to my inbox last night, and I think the findings are worth sharing in full. Important to note, this was commissioned by a centre-right group, not a leftwing group.

Survation, on behalf of Bright Blue the independent think tank & pressure group for liberal conservatism, conducted an in-depth study of ethnic minority voters attitudes to immigration to inform their new report: A balanced centre-right agenda on immigration: Understanding how ethnic minorities think about immigration.

The report has six main findings:

This week I was kindly invited by the Cambridge Universities Labour Club for a talk on where Labour goes from here.

A lot of people made mistakes in predicting outcomes in the 2015 General Election, mostly because the polling was so out of sync with the eventual result. I made predictions based on polling too, and it was embarrassing enough when they turned out to be very wrong.

But I made other assumptions in the last election cycle and its only right to own up to them. Partly, I feel its important for my readers, but partly I think its worth articulating them so I can learn from my mistakes.

Despite losing his seat in Westminster, Jim Murphy is trying to hang on as leader of Scottish Labour. I find this astonishing. Late last year, when he became leader, he said they could hang on to most seats in Scotland. He said he was astonished at how easy its been to outwit the SNP. Yup, []

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Liberal Conspiracy

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies – Wikipedia …

 Superintelligence  Comments Off on Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies – Wikipedia …
Jun 132016
 

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (2014) is a book by Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom from the University of Oxford. It argues that if machine brains surpass human brains in general intelligence, then this new superintelligence could replace humans as the dominant lifeform on Earth. Sufficiently intelligent machines could improve their own capabilities faster than human computer scientists.[1] As the fate of gorillas now depends more on humans than on the actions of gorillas themselves, so will the fate of future humanity depend on the actions of the machine superintelligence.[2] The outcome could be an existential catastrophe for humans.[3]

Bostrom’s book has been translated into many languages and is available as an audiobook.[4][5]

It is unknown whether human-level artificial intelligence will arrive in a matter of years, later this century, or not until future centuries. Regardless of the initial timescale, once human-level machine intelligence is developed, a “superintelligent” system that “greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest” would follow surprisingly quickly, possibly even instantaneously. Such a superintelligence would be difficult to control or restrain.

While the ultimate goals of superintelligences can vary greatly, a functional superintelligence will spontaneously generate, as natural subgoals, “instrumental goals” such as self-preservation and goal-content integrity, cognitive enhancement, and resource acquisition. For example, an agent whose sole final goal is to solve the Riemann hypothesis (a famous unsolved, mathematical conjecture) could create, and act upon, a subgoal of transforming the entire Earth into some form of computronium (hypothetical “programmable matter”) to assist in the calculation. The superintelligence would proactively resist any outside attempts to turn the superintelligence off or otherwise prevent its subgoal completion. In order to prevent such an existential catastrophe, it might be necessary to successfully solve the “AI control problem” for the first superintelligence. The solution might involve instilling the superintelligence with goals that are compatible with human survival and well-being. Solving the control problem is surprisingly difficult because most goals, when translated into machine-implementable code, lead to unforeseen and undesirable consequences.

The book ranked #17 on the New York Times list of best selling science books for August 2014.[6] In the same month, business magnate Elon Musk made headlines by agreeing with the book that artificial intelligence is potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons.[7][8][9] Bostroms work on superintelligence has also influenced Bill Gatess concern for the existential risks facing humanity over the coming century.[10][11] In a March 2015 interview with Baidu’s CEO, Robert Li, Gates claimed he would “highly recommend” Superintelligence.[12]

The science editor of the Financial Times found that Bostroms writing “sometimes veers into opaque language that betrays his background as a philosophy professor” but convincingly demonstrates that the risk from superintelligence is large enough that society should start thinking now about ways to endow future machine intelligence with positive values.[1] A review in The Guardian pointed out that “even the most sophisticated machines created so far are intelligent in only a limited sense” and that “expectations that AI would soon overtake human intelligence were first dashed in the 1960s”, but finds common ground with Bostrom in advising that “one would be ill-advised to dismiss the possibility altogether”.[3]

Some of Bostrom’s colleagues suggest that nuclear war presents a greater threat to humanity than superintelligence, as does the future prospect of the weaponisation of nanotechnology and biotechnology.[13]The Economist stated that “Bostrom is forced to spend much of the book discussing speculations built upon plausible conjecture… but the book is nonetheless valuable. The implications of introducing a second intelligent species onto Earth are far-reaching enough to deserve hard thinking, even if the prospect of actually doing so seems remote.”[14]Ronald Bailey wrote in the libertarian Reason that Bostrom makes a strong case that solving the AI control problem is the “essential task of our age”.[15] According to Tom Chivers of The Daily Telegraph, the book is difficult to read, but nonetheless rewarding.[16]

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Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies – Wikipedia …

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The official web site of Tangier Island: Tangier Island …

 Islands  Comments Off on The official web site of Tangier Island: Tangier Island …
May 122016
 

Water Trails

Tangier Island Transportation Joyce Marie II – Onancock, Virginia Steven Thomas, Crisfield, Maryland Chesapeake Breeze, Reedville, Va. R L Charters – Ches. Bay Western Shore Sharon Kay III, Crisfield, Md.

Tangier Island Restaurants Fisherman’s Corner Four Brothers Crab House & Ice Cream Deck

Tangier Island Bed and Breakfasts

Tangier Island Escape Vacation Rental ‘A Watermans Hideaway Vacation Rental Hilda Crockett’s Chesapeake House BB Bay View Inn Bed and Breakfast Island Girl Vacation Retreat Mimosa Cottage

Tangier Island Parks Marina

1882 Colonial Manor Inn Onancock Virginia ___________________________________

Tangier Island Buggy Tours

Chesapeake Bay Crab Shanty Adventures

Tangier Island Eco Tours, Sunset Tours, Crabbing, or

A Pictorial View of Tangier Island. Photos provided by: Neil Kaye and Virginia Taylor Click Here

Additional Tangier Island Photographs

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Schooner Serenity and Schooner Alliance

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Various Tangier Videos as shown here!

Tangier Island – Medical

A Waterman’s Life

Tangier Island Video By: University of Richmond Video

Camping and Kayaking on Tangier Island

Archive

He was known as “Dr Copter” Mainland Doctor Dr David Nichols

While coming over on the Joyce Marie II or the Sharon Kay III, ask the Boat Captains about the afternoon and evening Tours. Also available tour information at the Fisherman’s Corner Restaurant and Hilda Crockett’s Chesapeake House.

The Biggest* Sports Town in America *Per Capita —- ESPN3.com See Tangier Island Video on You Tube

Tangier Island Museum Tangier Island History

A Chesapeake Bay Virginia’ Northern Neck Bed and Breakfast

Fisherman’s Corner: Variety – Order from Menu Four Brother’s Crab House & Ice Cream Deck – Ice Cream, Pizzas, Sandwiches, Crab Cakes & more.

Hilda Crockett’s Chesapeake House – Family Style All You Can Eat. (Same Menu Daily) Lorraine’s on Tangier – Variety – Order from Menu – Waterfront Restaurant – Great Sandwiches.

All offer great Seafood and Crab Cakes

Contact us Direct for Details

Please send us your Comments!

Chesapeake Bay Bed and Breakfasts Eastern Shore of Virginia Bed and Breakfasts

Miss Mollys Inn Bed and Breakfast Click Here or Above to submit a request for information regarding travel to Tangier, accommodations, restaurants, tours, eco tours, sunset cruises, and more.

Where time stopped-still some twenty years ago! One visitor to Tangier Island states, “The most unbelievable sunsets you can ever imagine; no doubt, the next thing to heaven. It is truly a great experience, getting back to the roots of your being.”

No cars, no trains; the only transportation to Tangier Island is by boat or by small airplane. When you arrive, plan to leisurely stroll around the island. Bike and Golf Cart Rental transportation is available: Contact Tommy@FourBrothersCrabHouse.com or call 757 891 2999. Obtain information regarding boat transportation, restaurants, and Bed & Breakfasts, museum, kayaking, and more by going to: http://www.TangierIsland-va.com/tangier

The Tangier-Onancock Ferry (Joyce Marie), the Steven Thomas open for transportation to Tangier in May of each year thru September and transportation to and from Tangier is available year round via the Sharon Kay III. Also, there is Off-Season Accommodations at the Mimosa Cottage, the Bay View Inn and Doug and Patsy’s Place, the Island Girl Get-a-Way. “Lorraine’s on Tangier” welcomes all to come and join delicious foods all year round. Tangier is a great place to visit even during the tourist “Off Season”. It’s quiet, relaxing, and most enjoyable. Enjoy the museum, kayaking, walks on the beach, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Contact Us

Eastern Shore of Virginia Real Estate to include but not limited to both seaside and bayside waterfront real estate provided by the Chesapeake Bay Samlpler

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The official web site of Tangier Island: Tangier Island …

Food fortification – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Food Supplements  Comments Off on Food fortification – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mar 272016
 

Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food. It may be a purely commercial choice to provide extra nutrients in a food, while other times it is a public health policy which aims to reduce the number of people with dietary deficiencies within a population.

Diets that lack variety can be deficient in certain nutrients. Sometimes the staple foods of a region can lack particular nutrients, due to the soil of the region or because of the inherent inadequacy of the normal diet. Addition of micronutrients to staples and condiments can prevent large-scale deficiency diseases in these cases.[citation needed]

While it is true that both fortification and enrichment refer to the addition of nutrients to food, the true definitions do slightly vary. As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fortification refers to “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, ie. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health,” whereas enrichment is defined as “synonymous with fortification and refers to the addition of micronutrients to a food which are lost during processing.”[1]

Food fortification was identified as the second strategy of four by the WHO and FAO to begin decreasing the incidence of nutrient deficiencies at the global level.[1]

As outlined by the FAO, the most common fortified foods are:

The four main methods of food fortification (named as to indicate the procedure that is used in order to fortify the food):

The WHO and FAO, among many other nationally recognized organizations, have recognized that there are over 2 billion people worldwide who suffer from a variety of micronutrient deficiencies. In 1992, 159 countries pledged at the FAO/WHO International Conference on Nutrition to make efforts to help combat these issues of micronutrient deficiencies, highlighting the importance of decreasing the number of those with iodine, vitamin A, and iron deficiencies.[1] A significant statistic that led to these efforts was the discovery that approximately 1 in 3 people worldwide were at risk for either an iodine, vitamin A, or iron deficiency.[4] Although it is recognized that food fortification alone will not combat this deficiency, it is a step towards reducing the prevalence of these deficiencies and their associated health conditions.[5]

In Canada, The Food and Drug Regulations have outlined specific criterion which justifies food fortification:

There are also several advantages to approaching nutrient deficiencies among populations via food fortification as opposed to other methods. These may include, but are not limited to: treating a population without specific dietary interventions therefore not requiring a change in dietary patterns, continuous delivery of the nutrient, does not require individual compliance, and potential to maintain nutrient stores more efficiently if consumed on a regular basis.[3]

Several organizations such as the WHO, FAO, Health Canada, and the Nestl Research Center acknowledge that there are limitations to food fortification. Within the discussion of nutrient deficiencies the topic of nutrient toxicities can also be immediately questioned. Fortification of nutrients in foods may deliver toxic amounts of nutrients to an individual and also cause its associated side effects. As seen with the case of fluoride toxicity below, the result can be irreversible staining to the teeth. Although this may be a minor toxic effect to health, there are several that are more severe.[7]

The WHO states that limitations to food fortification may include: human rights issues indicating that consumers have the right to choose if they want fortified products or not, the potential for insufficient demand of the fortified product, increased production costs leading to increased retail costs, the potential that the fortified products will still not be a solution to nutrient deficiencies amongst low income populations who may not be able to afford the new product, and children who may not be able to consume adequate amounts thereof.[1]

Food safety worries led to legislation in Denmark in 2004 restricting foods fortified with extra vitamins or minerals. Products banned include: Rice Crispies, Shreddies, Horlicks, Ovaltine and Marmite.[8]

Danes said [Kelloggs] Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Special K wanted to include “toxic” doses which, if eaten regularly, could damage children’s livers and kidneys and harm fetuses in pregnant women.[9]

One factor that limits the benefits of food fortification is that isolated nutrients added back into a processed food that has had many of its nutrients removed, does not always result in the added nutrients being as bioavailable as they would be in the original, whole food. An example is skim milk that has had the fat removed, and then had vitamin A and vitamin D added back. Vitamins A and D are both fat-soluble and non-water-soluble, so a person consuming skim milk in the absence of fats may not be able to absorb as much of these vitamins as one would be able to absorb from drinking whole milk.

Phytochemicals such as polyphenols can also impact nutrient absorption.

Ecological studies have shown that increased B vitamin fortification is correlated with the prevalence of obesity and diabetes.[10] Daily consumption of iron per capita in the United States has dramatically surged since World War II and nearly doubled over the past century due to increases in iron fortification and increased consumption of meat.[11] Existing evidence suggests that excess iron intake may play a role in the development of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.[12]

Fortification of foods with folic acid has been mandated in many countries solely to improve the folate status of pregnant women to prevent Neural Tube Defectsa relatively rare birth defect which affected 0.5% of US births before fortification began.[13][14] However, when fortification is introduced, several hundred thousand people are exposed to an increased intake of folic acid for each neural tube defect pregnancy that is prevented.[15] In humans, increased folic acid intake leads to elevated blood concentrations of naturally occurring folates and of unmetabolized folic acid. High blood concentrations of folic acid may decrease natural killer cell cytotoxicity, and high folate status may reduce the response to drugs used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and cancer.[15] A combination of high folate levels and low vitamin B-12 status may be associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment and anemia in the elderly and, in pregnant women, with an increased risk of insulin resistance and obesity in their children.[15] Folate has a dual effect on cancer, protecting against cancer initiation but facilitating progression and growth of preneoplastic cells and subclinical cancers.[15] Furthermore, intake of folic acid from fortification have turned out to be significantly greater than originally modeled in pre mandate predictions.[16] Therefore, a high folic acid intake due to fortification may be harmful for more people than the policy is designed to help.[14][15][17][18]

There is a concern that micronutrients are legally defined in such a way that does not distinguish between different forms, and that fortified foods often have nutrients in a balance that would not occur naturally. For example, in the U.S., food is fortified with folic acid, which is one of the many naturally-occurring forms of folate, and which only contributes a minor amount to the folates occurring in natural foods.[19] In many cases, such as with folate, it is an open question of whether or not there are any benefits or risks to consuming folic acid in this form.

In many cases, the micronutrients added to foods in fortification are synthetic.

In some cases, certain forms of micronutrients can be actively toxic in a sufficiently high dose, even if other forms are safe at the same or much higher doses. There are examples of such toxicity in both synthetic and naturally-occurring forms of vitamins. Retinol, the active form of Vitamin A, is toxic in a much lower dose than other forms, such as beta carotene. Menadione, a phased-out synthetic form of Vitamin K, is also known to be toxic.[20]

There are several main groups of food supplements like:

Many foods and beverages worldwide have been fortified, whether a voluntary action by the product developers or by law. Although some may view these additions as strategic marketing schemes to sell their product, there is a lot of work that must go into a product before simply fortifying it. In order to fortify a product, it must first be proven that the addition of this vitamin or mineral is beneficial to health, safe, and an effective method of delivery. The addition must also abide by all food and labeling regulations and support nutritional rationale. From a food developer’s point of view, they also need to consider the costs associated with this new product and whether or not there will be a market to support the change.[21]

Examples of foods and beverages that have been fortified and shown to have positive health effects:

“Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is the single greatest cause of preventable mental retardation. Severe deficiencies cause cretinism, stillbirth and miscarriage. But even mild deficiency can significantly affect the learning ability of populations…….. Today over 1 billion people in the world suffer from iodine deficiency, and 38 million babies born every year are not protected from brain damage due to IDD.”Kul Gautam, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF, October 2007[22]

Iodised salt has been used in the United States since before World War II. It was discovered in 1821 that goiters could be treated by the use of iodized salts. However, it was not until 1916 that the use of iodized salts could be tested in a research trial as a preventative measure against goiters. By 1924, it became readily available in the US.[23]

Currently in Canada and the US, the RDA for iodine is as low as 90g/day for children (48 years) and as high as 290g/day for breast-feeding mothers.[24]

Diseases that are associated with an iodine deficiency include: mental retardation, hypothyroidism, and goiter. There is also a risk of various other growth and developmental abnormalities.[24]

Folic acid (also known as folate) functions in reducing blood homocysteine levels, forming red blood cells, proper growth and division of cells, and preventing neural tube defects (NTDs).[25]

In many industrialized countries, the addition of folic acid to flour has prevented a significant number of NTDs in infants. Two common types of NTDs, spina bifida and anencephaly, affect approximately 2500-3000 infants born in the US annually. Research trials have shown the ability to reduce the incidence of NTDs by supplementing pregnant mothers with folic acid by 72%.[26]

The RDA for folic acid ranges from as low as 150g/day for children aged 13 years old, to 400g/day for males and females over the age of 19, and 600g/day during pregnancy.[27]

Diseases associated with folic acid deficiency include: megaloblastic or macrocytic anemia, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and NTDs in infants.[28]

Niacin has been added to bread in the USA since 1938 (when voluntary addition started), a programme which substantially reduced the incidence of pellagra.[29] As early as 1755, pellagra was recognized by doctors as being a niacin deficiency disease. Although not officially receiving its name of pellagra until 1771.[30]Pellagra was seen amongst poor families who used corn as their main dietary staple. Although corn itself does contain niacin, it is not a bioavailable form unless it undergoes Nixtamalization (treatment with alkali, traditional in Native American cultures) and therefore was not contributing to the overall intake of niacin.[31] Although pellagra can still be seen in developing countries, fortification of food with niacin played a huge role in eliminating the prevalence of the disease.[30]

The RDA for niacin is 2mg NE(niacin equivalents)/day (AI) for infants aged 06 months, 16mg NE/day for males, and 14mg NE/day for females who are over the age of 19.[31]

Diseases associated with niacin deficiency include: Pellagra which consisted of signs and symptoms called the 3D’s-“Dermatitis, dementia, and diarrhea. Others may include vascular or gastrointestinal diseases.[30]

Common diseases which present a high frequency of niacin deficiency: alcoholism, anorexia nervosa, HIV infection, gastrectomy, malabsorptive disorders, certain cancers and their associated treatments.[30]

Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it cannot be added to a wide variety of foods. Foods that it is commonly added to are margarine, vegetable oils and dairy products.[32] During the late 1800s, after the discovery of curing conditions of scurvy and beriberi had occurred, researchers were aiming to see if the disease, later known as rickets, could also be cured by food. Their results showed that sunlight exposure and cod liver oil were the cure. It was not until the 1930s that vitamin D was actually linked to curing rickets.[33] This discovery led to the fortification of common foods such as milk, margarine, and breakfast cereals. This took the astonishing statistics of approximately 8090% of children showing varying degrees of bone deformations due to vitamin D deficiency to being a very rare condition.[34]

Risk factors for vitamin D deficiencies include:

The current RDA for infants aged 06 months is 10g (400 International Units (IU))/day and for adults over 19 years of age it is 15g (600 IU)/day.[35]

Diseases associated with a vitamin D deficiency include rickets, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer (breast, prostate, colon and ovaries). It has also been associated with increased risks for fractures, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune and infectious diseases, asthma and other wheezing disorders, myocardial infarction, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease.[34]

Although fluoride is not considered an essential mineral, it is seen as crucial in prevention of tooth decay and maintaining adequate dental health.[36] In the mid-1900s it was discovered that towns with a high level of fluoride in their water supply was causing the residents’ teeth to have both brown spotting and a strange resistance to dental caries. This led to the fortification of water supplies with fluoride with safe amounts to retain the properties of resistance to dental caries but avoid the staining cause by fluorosis (a condition caused by a fluoride toxicity).[37]

The tolerable upper intake level (UL) set for fluoride ranges from 0.7mg/day for infants aged 06 months and 10mg/day for adults over the age of 19.

Conditions commonly associated with fluoride deficiency are dental caries and osteoporosis.[36]

Some other examples of fortified foods:

Despite having some scientific basis, but with controversial ethics, is the science of using foods and food supplements to achieve a defined health goal. A common example of this use of food supplements is the extent to which body builders will use amino acid mixtures, vitamins and phytochemicals to enhance natural hormone production, increase muscle and reduce fat. The literature is not concrete on an appropriate method for use of fortification for body builders and therefore may not be recommended due to safety concerns.[42]

There is interest in the use of food supplements in established medical conditions. This nutritional supplementation using foods as medicine (nutraceuticals) has been effectively used in treating disorders affecting the immune system up to and including cancers.[43] This goes beyond the definition of “food supplement”, but should be included for the sake of completeness.

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Food fortification – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom

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Mar 232016
 

1. What is Transhumanism?

Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades.[1] It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

The enhancement options being discussed include radical extension of human health-span, eradication of disease, elimination of unnecessary suffering, and augmentation of human intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities. Other transhumanist themes include space colonization and the possibility of creating superintelligent machines, along with other potential developments that could profoundly alter the human condition. The ambit is not limited to gadgets and medicine, but encompasses also economic, social, institutional designs, cultural development, and psychological skills and techniques.

Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.

Some transhumanists take active steps to increase the probability that they personally will survive long enough to become posthuman, for example by choosing a healthy lifestyle or by making provisions for having themselves cryonically suspended in case of de-animation.[2] In contrast to many other ethical outlooks, which in practice often reflect a reactionary attitude to new technologies, the transhumanist view is guided by an evolving vision to take a more proactive approach to technology policy. This vision, in broad strokes, is to create the opportunity to live much longer and healthier lives, to enhance our memory and other intellectual faculties, to refine our emotional experiences and increase our subjective sense of well-being, and generally to achieve a greater degree of control over our own lives. This affirmation of human potential is offered as an alternative to customary injunctions against playing God, messing with nature, tampering with our human essence, or displaying punishable hubris.

Transhumanism does not entail technological optimism. While future technological capabilities carry immense potential for beneficial deployments, they also could be misused to cause enormous harm, ranging all the way to the extreme possibility of intelligent life becoming extinct. Other potential negative outcomes include widening social inequalities or a gradual erosion of the hard-to-quantify assets that we care deeply about but tend to neglect in our daily struggle for material gain, such as meaningful human relationships and ecological diversity. Such risks must be taken very seriously, as thoughtful transhumanists fully acknowledge.[3]

Transhumanism has roots in secular humanist thinking, yet is more radical in that it promotes not only traditional means of improving human nature, such as education and cultural refinement, but also direct application of medicine and technology to overcome some of our basic biological limits.

The range of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and activities accessible to human organisms presumably constitute only a tiny part of what is possible. There is no reason to think that the human mode of being is any more free of limitations imposed by our biological nature than are those of other animals. In much the same way as Chimpanzees lack the cognitive wherewithal to understand what it is like to be human the ambitions we humans have, our philosophies, the complexities of human society, or the subtleties of our relationships with one another, so we humans may lack the capacity to form a realistic intuitive understanding of what it would be like to be a radically enhanced human (a posthuman) and of the thoughts, concerns, aspirations, and social relations that such humans may have.

Our own current mode of being, therefore, spans but a minute subspace of what is possible or permitted by the physical constraints of the universe (see Figure 1). It is not farfetched to suppose that there are parts of this larger space that represent extremely valuable ways of living, relating, feeling, and thinking.

The limitations of the human mode of being are so pervasive and familiar that we often fail to notice them, and to question them requires manifesting an almost childlike naivet. Let consider some of the more basic ones.

Lifespan. Because of the precarious conditions in which our Pleistocene ancestors lived, the human lifespan has evolved to be a paltry seven or eight decades. This is, from many perspectives, a rather short period of time. Even tortoises do better than that.

We dont have to use geological or cosmological comparisons to highlight the meagerness of our allotted time budgets. To get a sense that we might be missing out on something important by our tendency to die early, we only have to bring to mind some of the worthwhile things that we could have done or attempted to do if we had had more time. For gardeners, educators, scholars, artists, city planners, and those who simply relish observing and participating in the cultural or political variety shows of life, three scores and ten is often insufficient for seeing even one major project through to completion, let alone for undertaking many such projects in sequence.

Human character development is also cut short by aging and death. Imagine what might have become of a Beethoven or a Goethe if they had still been with us today. Maybe they would have developed into rigid old grumps interested exclusively in conversing about the achievements of their youth. But maybe, if they had continued to enjoy health and youthful vitality, they would have continued to grow as men and artists, to reach levels of maturity that we can barely imagine. We certainly cannot rule that out based on what we know today. Therefore, there is at least a serious possibility of there being something very precious outside the human sphere. This constitutes a reason to pursue the means that will let us go there and find out.

Intellectual capacity. We have all had moments when we wished we were a little smarter. The three-pound, cheese-like thinking machine that we lug around in our skulls can do some neat tricks, but it also has significant shortcomings. Some of these such as forgetting to buy milk or failing to attain native fluency in languages you learn as an adult are obvious and require no elaboration. These shortcomings are inconveniences but hardly fundamental barriers to human development.

Yet there is a more profound sense in the constraints of our intellectual apparatus limit our modes of our mentation. I mentioned the Chimpanzee analogy earlier: just as is the case for the great apes, our own cognitive makeup may foreclose whole strata of understanding and mental activity. The point here is not about any logical or metaphysical impossibility: we need not suppose that posthumans would not be Turing computable or that they would have concepts that could not be expressed by any finite sentences in our language, or anything of that sort. The impossibility that I am referring to is more like the impossibility for us current humans to visualize an 200-dimensional hypersphere or to read, with perfect recollection and understanding, every book in the Library of Congress. These things are impossible for us because, simply put, we lack the brainpower. In the same way, may lack the ability to intuitively understand what being a posthuman would be like or to grok the playing field of posthuman concerns.

Further, our human brains may cap our ability to discover philosophical and scientific truths. It is possible that failure of philosophical research to arrive at solid, generally accepted answers to many of the traditional big philosophical questions could be due to the fact that we are not smart enough to be successful in this kind of enquiry. Our cognitive limitations may be confining us in a Platonic cave, where the best we can do is theorize about shadows, that is, representations that are sufficiently oversimplified and dumbed-down to fit inside a human brain.

Bodily functionality. We enhance our natural immune systems by getting vaccinations, and we can imagine further enhancements to our bodies that would protect us from disease or help us shape our bodies according to our desires (e.g. by letting us control our bodies metabolic rate). Such enhancements could improve the quality of our lives.

A more radical kind of upgrade might be possible if we suppose a computational view of the mind. It may then be possible to upload a human mind to a computer, by replicating in silico the detailed computational processes that would normally take place in a particular human brain.[4] Being an upload would have many potential advantages, such as the ability to make back-up copies of oneself (favorably impacting on ones life-expectancy) and the ability to transmit oneself as information at the speed of light. Uploads might live either in virtual reality or directly in physical reality by controlling a robot proxy.

Sensory modalities, special faculties and sensibilities. The current human sensory modalities are not the only possible ones, and they are certainly not as highly developed as they could be. Some animals have sonar, magnetic orientation, or sensors for electricity and vibration; many have a much keener sense of smell, sharper eyesight, etc. The range of possible sensory modalities is not limited to those we find in the animal kingdom. There is no fundamental block to adding say a capacity to see infrared radiation or to perceive radio signals and perhaps to add some kind of telepathic sense by augmenting our brains with suitably interfaced radio transmitters.

Humans also enjoy a variety of special faculties, such as appreciation of music and a sense of humor, and sensibilities such as the capacity for sexual arousal in response to erotic stimuli. Again, there is no reason to think that what we have exhausts the range of the possible, and we can certainly imagine higher levels of sensitivity and responsiveness.

Mood, energy, and self-control. Despite our best efforts, we often fail to feel as happy as we would like. Our chronic levels of subjective well-being seem to be largely genetically determined. Life-events have little long-term impact; the crests and troughs of fortune push us up and bring us down, but there is little long-term effect on self-reported well-being. Lasting joy remains elusive except for those of us who are lucky enough to have been born with a temperament that plays in a major key.

In addition to being at the mercy of a genetically determined setpoint for our levels of well-being, we are limited in regard to energy, will-power, and ability to shape our own character in accordance with our ideals. Even such simple goals as losing weight or quitting smoking prove unattainable to many.

Some subset of these kinds of problems might be necessary rather than contingent upon our current nature. For example, we cannot both have the ability easily to break any habit and the ability to form stable, hard-to-break habits. (In this regard, the best one can hope for may be the ability to easily get rid of habits we didnt deliberately choose for ourselves in the first place, and perhaps a more versatile habit-formation system that would let us choose with more precision when to acquire a habit and how much effort it should cost to break it.)

The conjecture that there are greater values than we can currently fathom does not imply that values are not defined in terms of our current dispositions. Take, for example, a dispositional theory of value such as the one described by David Lewis.[5] According to Lewiss theory, something is a value for you if and only if you would want to want it if you were perfectly acquainted with it and you were thinking and deliberating as clearly as possible about it. On this view, there may be values that we do not currently want, and that we do not even currently want to want, because we may not be perfectly acquainted with them or because we are not ideal deliberators. Some values pertaining to certain forms of posthuman existence may well be of this sort; they may be values for us now, and they may be so in virtue of our current dispositions, and yet we may not be able to fully appreciate them with our current limited deliberative capacities and our lack of the receptive faculties required for full acquaintance with them. This point is important because it shows that the transhumanist view that we ought to explore the realm of posthuman values does not entail that we should forego our current values. The posthuman values can be our current values, albeit ones that we have not yet clearly comprehended. Transhumanism does not require us to say that we should favor posthuman beings over human beings, but that the right way of favoring human beings is by enabling us to realize our ideals better and that some of our ideals may well be located outside the space of modes of being that are accessible to us with our current biological constitution.

We can overcome many of our biological limitations. It is possible that there are some limitations that are impossible for us to transcend, not only because of technological difficulties but on metaphysical grounds. Depending on what our views are about what constitutes personal identity, it could be that certain modes of being, while possible, are not possible for us, because any being of such a kind would be so different from us that they could not be us. Concerns of this kind are familiar from theological discussions of the afterlife. In Christian theology, some souls will be allowed by God to go to heaven after their time as corporal creatures is over. Before being admitted to heaven, the souls would undergo a purification process in which they would lose many of their previous bodily attributes. Skeptics may doubt that the resulting minds would be sufficiently similar to our current minds for it to be possible for them to be the same person. A similar predicament arises within transhumanism: if the mode of being of a posthuman being is radically different from that of a human being, then we may doubt whether a posthuman being could be the same person as a human being, even if the posthuman being originated from a human being.

We can, however, envision many enhancements that would not make it impossible for the post-transformation someone to be the same person as the pre-transformation person. A person could obtain quite a bit of increased life expectancy, intelligence, health, memory, and emotional sensitivity, without ceasing to exist in the process. A persons intellectual life can be transformed radically by getting an education. A persons life expectancy can be extended substantially by being unexpectedly cured from a lethal disease. Yet these developments are not viewed as spelling the end of the original person. In particular, it seems that modifications that add to a persons capacities can be more substantial than modifications that subtract, such as brain damage. If most of someone currently is, including her most important memories, activities, and feelings, is preserved, then adding extra capacities on top of that would not easily cause the person to cease to exist.

Preservation of personal identity, especially if this notion is given a narrow construal, is not everything. We can value other things than ourselves, or we might regard it as satisfactory if some parts or aspects of ourselves survive and flourish, even if that entails giving up some parts of ourselves such that we no longer count as being the same person. Which parts of ourselves we might be willing to sacrifice may not become clear until we are more fully acquainted with the full meaning of the options. A careful, incremental exploration of the posthuman realm may be indispensable for acquiring such an understanding, although we may also be able to learn from each others experiences and from works of the imagination.

Additionally, we may favor future people being posthuman rather than human, if the posthumans would lead lives more worthwhile than the alternative humans would. Any reasons stemming from such considerations would not depend on the assumption that we ourselves could become posthuman beings.

Transhumanism promotes the quest to develop further so that we can explore hitherto inaccessible realms of value. Technological enhancement of human organisms is a means that we ought to pursue to this end. There are limits to how much can be achieved by low-tech means such as education, philosophical contemplation, moral self-scrutiny and other such methods proposed by classical philosophers with perfectionist leanings, including Plato, Aristotle, and Nietzsche, or by means of creating a fairer and better society, as envisioned by social reformists such as Marx or Martin Luther King. This is not to denigrate what we can do with the tools we have today. Yet ultimately, transhumanists hope to go further.

If this is the grand vision, what are the more particular objectives that it translates into when considered as a guide to policy?

What is needed for the realization of the transhumanist dream is that technological means necessary for venturing into the posthuman space are made available to those who wish to use them, and that society be organized in such a manner that such explorations can be undertaken without causing unacceptable damage to the social fabric and without imposing unacceptable existential risks.

Global security. While disasters and setbacks are inevitable in the implementation of the transhumanist project (just as they are if the transhumanist project is not pursued), there is one kind of catastrophe that must be avoided at any cost:

Existential risk one where an adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.

Several recent discussions have argued that the combined probability of the existential risks is very substantial. The relevance of the condition of existential safety to the transhumanist vision is obvious: if we go extinct or permanently destroy our potential to develop further, then the transhumanist core value will not be realized. Global security is the most fundamental and nonnegotiable requirement of the transhumanist project.

Technological progress. That technological progress is generally desirable from a transhumanist point of view is also self-evident. Many of our biological shortcomings (aging, disease, feeble memories and intellects, a limited emotional repertoire and inadequate capacity for sustained well-being) are difficult to overcome, and to do so will require advanced tools. Developing these tools is a gargantuan challenge for the collective problem-solving capacities of our species. Since technological progress is closely linked to economic development, economic growth or more precisely, productivity growth can in some cases serve as a proxy for technological progress. (Productivity growth is, of course, only an imperfect measure of the relevant form of technological progress, which, in turn, is an imperfect measure of overall improvement, since it omits such factors as equity of distribution, ecological diversity, and quality of human relationships.)

The history of economic and technological development, and the concomitant growth of civilization, is appropriately regarded with awe, as humanitys most glorious achievement. Thanks to the gradual accumulation of improvements over the past several thousand years, large portions of humanity have been freed from illiteracy, life-expectancies of twenty years, alarming infant-mortality rates, horrible diseases endured without palliatives, and periodic starvation and water shortages. Technology, in this context, is not just gadgets but includes all instrumentally useful objects and systems that have been deliberately created. This broad definition encompasses practices and institutions, such as double-entry accounting, scientific peer-review, legal systems, and the applied sciences.

Wide access. It is not enough that the posthuman realm be explored by someone. The full realization of the core transhumanist value requires that, ideally, everybody should have the opportunity to become posthuman. It would be sub-optimal if the opportunity to become posthuman were restricted to a tiny elite.

There are many reasons for supporting wide access: to reduce inequality; because it would be a fairer arrangement; to express solidarity and respect for fellow humans; to help gain support for the transhumanist project; to increase the chances that you will get the opportunity to become posthuman; to increase the chances that those you care about can become posthuman; because it might increase the range of the posthuman realm that gets explored; and to alleviate human suffering on as wide a scale as possible.

The wide access requirement underlies the moral urgency of the transhumanist vision. Wide access does not argue for holding back. On the contrary, other things being equal, it is an argument for moving forward as quickly as possible. 150,000 human beings on our planet die every day, without having had any access to the anticipated enhancement technologies that will make it possible to become posthuman. The sooner this technology develops, the fewer people will have died without access.

Consider a hypothetical case in which there is a choice between (a) allowing the current human population to continue to exist, and (b) having it instantaneously and painlessly killed and replaced by six billion new human beings who are very similar but non-identical to the people that exist today. Such a replacement ought to be strongly resisted on moral grounds, for it would entail the involuntary death of six billion people. The fact that they would be replaced by six billion newly created similar people does not make the substitution acceptable. Human beings are not disposable. For analogous reasons, it is important that the opportunity be become posthuman is made available to as many humans as possible, rather than having the existing population merely supplemented (or worse, replaced) by a new set of posthuman people. The transhumanist ideal will be maximally realized only if the benefits of technologies are widely shared and if they are made available as soon as possible, preferably within our lifetime.

From these specific requirements flow a number of derivative transhumanist values that translate the transhumanist vision into practice. (Some of these values may also have independent justifications, and transhumanism does not imply that that the list of values provided below is exhaustive.)

To start with, transhumanists typically place emphasis on individual freedom and individual choice in the area of enhancement technologies. Humans differ widely in their conceptions of what their own perfection or improvement would consist in. Some want to develop in one direction, others in different directions, and some prefer to stay the way they are. It would neither be morally unacceptable for anybody to impose a single standard to which we would all have to conform. People should have the right to choose which enhancement technologies, if any, they want to use. In cases where individual choices impact substantially on other people, this general principle may need to be restricted, but the mere fact that somebody may be disgusted or morally affronted by somebody elses using technology to modify herself would not normally a legitimate ground for coercive interference. Furthermore, the poor track record of centrally planned efforts to create better people (e.g. the eugenics movement and Soviet totalitarianism) shows that we need to be wary of collective decision-making in the field of human modification.

Another transhumanist priority is to put ourselves in a better position to make wise choices about where we are going. We will need all the wisdom we can get when negotiating the posthuman transition. Transhumanists place a high value on improvements in our individual and collective powers of understanding and in our ability to implement responsible decisions. Collectively, we might get smarter and more informed through such means as scientific research, public debate and open discussion of the future, information markets[8], collaborative information filtering[9]. On an individual level, we can benefit from education, critical thinking, open-mindedness, study techniques, information technology, and perhaps memory- or attention-enhancing drugs and other cognitive enhancement technologies. Our ability to implement responsible decisions can be improved by expanding the rule of law and democracy on the international plane. Additionally, artificial intelligence, especially if and when it reaches human-equivalence or greater, could give an enormous boost to the quest for knowledge and wisdom.

Given the limitations of our current wisdom, a certain epistemic tentativeness is appropriate, along with a readiness to continually reassess our assumptions as more information becomes available. We cannot take for granted that our old habits and beliefs will prove adequate in navigating our new circumstances.

Global security can be improved by promoting international peace and cooperation, and by strongly counteracting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Improvements in surveillance technology may make it easier to detect illicit weapons programs. Other security measures might also be appropriate to counteract various existential risks. More studies on such risks would help us get a better understanding of the long-term threats to human flourishing and of what can be done to reduce them.

Since technological development is necessary to realize the transhumanist vision, entrepreneurship, science, and the engineering spirit are to be promoted. More generally, transhumanists favor a pragmatic attitude and a constructive, problem-solving approach to challenges, preferring methods that experience tells us give good results. They think it better to take the initiative to do something about it rather than sit around complaining. This is one sense in which transhumanism is optimistic. (It is not optimistic in the sense of advocating an inflated belief in the probability of success or in the Panglossian sense of inventing excuses for the shortcomings of the status quo.)

Transhumanism advocates the well-being of all sentience, whether in artificial intellects, humans, and non-human animals (including extraterrestrial species, if there are any). Racism, sexism, speciesism, belligerent nationalism and religious intolerance are unacceptable. In addition to the usual grounds for deeming such practices objectionable, there is also a specifically transhumanist motivation for this. In order to prepare for a time when the human species may start branching out in various directions, we need to start now to strongly encourage the development of moral sentiments that are broad enough encompass within the sphere of moral concern sentiences that are constituted differently from ourselves.

Finally, transhumanism stresses the moral urgency of saving lives, or, more precisely, of preventing involuntary deaths among people whose lives are worth living. In the developed world, aging is currently the number one killer. Aging is also biggest cause of illness, disability and dementia. (Even if all heart disease and cancer could be cured, life expectancy would increase by merely six to seven years.) Anti-aging medicine is therefore a key transhumanist priority. The goal, of course, is to radically extent peoples active health-spans, not to add a few extra years on a ventilator at the end of life.

Since we are still far from being able to halt or reverse aging, cryonic suspension of the dead should be made available as an option for those who desire it. It is possible that future technologies will make it possible to reanimate people who have cryonically suspended.[10] While cryonics might be a long shot, it definitely carries better odds than cremation or burial.

The table below summarizes the transhumanist values that we have discussed.

Read the rest here:

Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent

 Nihilism  Comments Off on CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent
Feb 122016
 

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The term was first used by Turgeniev in his novel, “Fathers and Sons” (in “Russkij Vestnik”, Feb., 1862): a Nihilist is one who bows to no authority and accepts no doctrine, however widespread, that is not supported by proof.

The nihilist theory was formulated by Cernysevskij in his novel “Cto delat” (What shall be done, 1862-64), which forecasts a new social order constructed on the ruins of the old. But essentially, Nihilism was a reaction against the abuses of Russian absolutism; it originated with the first secret political society in Russia founded by Pestel (1817), and its first effort was the military revolt of the Decembrists (14 Dec., 1825). Nicholas I crushed the uprising, sent its leaders to the scaffold and one hundred and sixteen participants to Siberia. The spread (1830) of certain philosophical doctrines (Hegel, Saint Simon , Fourier ) brought numerous recruits to Nihilism, especially in the universities; and, in many of the cities, societies were organized to combat absolutism and introduce constitutional government.

Its apostles were Alexander Herzen (1812-70) and Michael Bakunin (1814-76), both of noble birth. The former, arrested (1832) as a partisan of liberal ideas, was imprisoned for eight months, deported, pardoned (1840), resided in Moscow till 1847 when he migrated to London and there founded (1857) the weekly periodical , “Kolokol” (Bell), and later “The Polar Star”. The “Kolokol” published Russian political secrets and denunciations of the Government; and, in spite of the police, made its way into Russia to spread revolutionary ideas. Herzen, inspired by Hegel and Feurbach, proclaimed the destruction of the existing order; but he did not advocate violent measures. Hence his younger followers wearied of him; and on the other hand his defense of the Poles during the insurrection of 1863 alienated many of his Russian sympathizers. The “Kolokol” went out of existence in 1868 and Herzen died two years later. Bakunin was extreme in his revolutionary theories. In the first number of “L’Alliance Internationale de la Dmocratie Socialiste” founded by him in 1869, he openly professed Atheism and called for the abolition of marriage, property, and of all social and religious institutions. His advice, given in his “Revolutionary Catechism”, was: “Be severe to yourself and severe to others. Suppress the sentiments of relationship , friendship, love, and gratitude. Have only one pleasure, one joy, one reward the triumph of the revolution. Night and day, have only one thought, the destruction of everything without pity. Be ready to die and ready to kill any one who opposes the triumph of your revolt.” Bakunin thus opened the way to nihilistic terrorism.

It began with the formation (1861-62) of secret societies, the members of which devoted their lives and fortunes to the dissemination of revolutionary ideas. Many of these agitators, educated at Zurich, Switzerland, returned to Russia and gave Nihilism the support of trained intelligence . Prominent among them were Sergius Necaev, master of a parochial school in St. Petersburg, who was in constant communication with nihilist centers in various cities, and Sergius Kovalin who established thirteen associations in Cernigor. These societies took their names from their founders the Malikovcy, Lavrists, Bakunists, etc. They enrolled seminarists , university students, and young women. Among the working men the propaganda was conducted in part through free schools. The promoters engaged in humble trades as weavers, blacksmiths, and carpenters, and in their shops inculcated nihilist doctrine. The peasantry was reached by writings, speeches, schools, and personal intercourse. Even the nobles shared in this work, e.g., Prince Peter Krapotkin , who, under the pseudonym of Borodin, held conferences with workingmen. As secondary centres, taverns and shops served as meeting places, depositories of prohibited books, and, in case of need, as places of refuge. Though without a central organization the movement spread throughout Russia, notably in the region of the Volga and in that of the Dnieper where it gained adherents among the Cossacks. The women in particular displayed energy and self sacrifice in their zeal for the cause. Many were highly cultured and some belonged to the nobility or higher classes, e.g., Natalia Armfeld, Barbara Batiukova, Sofia von Herzfeld, Sofia Perovakaja. They co-operated more especially through the schools.

The propaganda of the press was at first conducted from foreign parts: London, Geneva, Zurich. In this latter city there were two printing offices, established in 1873, where the students published the works of Lavrov and of Bakunin. The first secret printing office in Russia, founded at St. Petersburg in 1861, published four numbers of the Velikoruss. At the same time there came to Russia, from London, copies of the “Proclamation to the New Generation ” (Kmolodomu pokolkniju) and “Young Russia” (Molodaja Rosija), which was published in the following year. In 1862, another secret printing office, established at Moscow, published the recital of the revolt of 14 December, 1825, written by Ogarev. In 1862, another secret press at St. Petersburg published revolutionary proclamations for officers of the army; and in 1863, there were published in the same city a few copies of the daily Papers, “Svoboda” (Liberty) and “Zemlja i Volja” (The Earth and Liberty); the latter continued to be published in 1878 and 1879, under the editorship, at first, of Marco Natanson, and later of the student, Alexander Mihailov, one of the ablest organizers of Nihilism. In 1866, a student of Kazan, Elpidin, published two numbers of the “Podpolnoe Slovo”, which was succeeded by the daily paper, the “Sovremennost” (The Contemporary), and later, by the “Narodnoe Delo” (The National Interest), which was published (1868-70), to disseminate the ideas of Bakunin. Two numbers of the “Narodnaja Rasprava” (The Tribunal of Reason) were published in 1870, at St. Petersburg and at Moscow. In 1873, appeared the “Vpred” (Forward!), one of the most esteemed periodicals of Nihilism, having salient socialistic tendencies. A volume of it appeared each year. In 1875-76, there was connected with the “Vpred”, a small bi-monthly supplement, which was under the direction of Lavrov until 1876, when it passed under the editorship of Smironv, and went out of existence in the same year. It attacked theological and religious ideas, proclaiming the equality of rights, freedom of association, and justice for the proletariat. At Geneva , in 1875 and 1876, the “Rabotnik” (The Workman ) was published, which was edited in the style of the people; the “Nabat” (The Tocsin) appeared in 1875, directed by Thacev; the “Narodnaja Volja” (The Will of the People), in 1879, and the “Cernyi Peredel”, in 1880, were published in St. Petersburg. There was no fixed date for any of these papers, and their contents consisted, more especially, of proclamations, of letters from revolutionists, and at times, of sentences of the Executive Committees . These printing offices also produced books and pamphlets and Russian translations of the works of Lassalle, Marx, Proudhon, and Bchner. A government stenographer, Myskin , in 1870, established a printing office, through which several of Lassalle’s works were published; while many pamphlets were published by the Zemlja i Volja Committee and by the Free Russian Printing Office. Some of the pamphlets were published under titles like those of the books for children, for example, “Deduska Egor” (Grandfather Egor), Mitiuska”, Stories for the Workingmen , and others, in which the exploitation of the people was deplored, and the immunity of capitalists assailed. Again, some publications were printed in popular, as well as in cultured, language; and, in order to allure the peasants these pamphlets appeared at times, under such titles as “The Satiate and the Hungry”; “How Our Country Is No Longer Ours”. But all this propaganda, which required considerable energy and sacrifice, did not produce satisfactory results. Nihilism did not penetrate the masses; its enthusiastic apostles committed acts of imprudence that drew upon them the ferocious reprisals of the Government; the peasants had not faith in the preachings of those teachers, whom, at times, they regarded as government spies, and whom, at times, they denounced . The books and pamphlets that were distributed among the country people often fell into the hands of the cinovniki (government employees), or of the popes. Very few of the peasants knew how to read. Accordingly, Nihilism had true adherents only among students of the universities and higher schools, and among the middle classes. The peasants and workmen did not understand its ideals of destruction and of social revolution.

Propagation of ideas was soon followed by violence: 4 April, 1866, Tsar Alexander II narrowly escaped the shot fired by Demetrius Karakozov, and in consequence took severe measures (rescript of 23 May, 1866) against the revolution, making the universities and the press objects of special vigilance. To avoid detection and spying, the Nihilists formed a Central Executive Committee whose sentences of death were executed by “punishers”. Sub-committees of from five to ten members were also organized and statutes (12 articles) drawn up. The applicant for admission was required to consecrate his life to the cause, sever ties of family and friendship, and observe absolute secrecy. Disobedience to the head of the association was punishable with death. The Government, in turn, enacted stringent laws against secret societies and brought hundreds before the tribunals. A notable instance was the trial, at St. Petersburg in October, 1877, of 193 persons: 94 went free, 36 were sent to Siberia ; the others received light sentences . One of the accused, Myskin by name, who in addressing the judges had characterized the procedure as “an abominable comedy”, was condemned to ten years of penal servitude. Another sensational trial (April, 1878) was that of Vera Sassulio, who had attempted to murder General Frepov, chief of police of St. Petersburg . Her acquittal was frantically applauded and she found a refuge in Switzerland. Among the deeds of violence committed by Nihilists may be mentioned the assassination of General Mezencev (4 Aug., 1878) and Prince Krapotkin (1879). These events were followed by new repressive measures on the part of the Government and by numerous executions. The Nihilists, however, continued their work, held a congress at Lipeck in 1879, and (26 Aug.) condemned Alexander II to death. An attempt to wreck the train on which the Tsar was returning to St. Petersburg proved abortive. Another attack on his life was made by Halturin, 5 Feb., 1880. He was slain on 1 March 1881, by a bomb, thrown by Grineveckij. Six conspirators, among them Sofia Perovskaja, were tried and executed. On 14 March, the Zemlja i Volja society issued a proclamation inciting the peasants to rise , while the Executive Committee wrote to Alexander III denouncing the abuses of the bureaucracy and demanding political amnesty, national representation, and civil liberty.

The reign of Alexander III was guided by the dictates of a reaction, due in great measure to the counsels of Constantine Pobedonoscev, procurator general of the Holy Synod. And Nihilism, which seemed to reach its apogee in the death of Alexander II, saw its eclipse. Its theories were too radical to gain proselytes among the people. Its assaults were repeated; on 20 March, 1882, General Strelnikov was assassinated at Odessa; and Colonel Sudezkin on the 28th of December, 1883; in 1887, an attempt against the life of the tsar was unsuccessful; in 1890, a conspiracy against the tsar was discovered at Paris; but these crimes were the work of the revolution in Russia, rather than of the Nihilists. The crimes that reddened the soil of Russia with blood in constitutional times are due to the revolution of 1905-07. But the Nihilism, that, as a doctrinal system, proclaimed the destruction of the old Russia, to establish the foundations of a new Russia, may be said to have disappeared; it became fused with Anarchism and Socialism , and therefore, the history of the crimes that were multiplied from 1905 on are a chapter in the history of political upheavals in Russia, and not in the history of Nihilism.

APA citation. Palmieri, A. (1911). Nihilism. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11074a.htm

MLA citation. Palmieri, Aurelio. “Nihilism.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. .

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Bob Mathewson.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can’t reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

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CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Nihilism – New Advent

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Beaches in Baltimore, Maryland | USA Today

 Beaches  Comments Off on Beaches in Baltimore, Maryland | USA Today
Jan 142016
 

Baltimore features county-run beaches and parks. (Photo: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images )

The beaches in Baltimore County, Maryland offer daily rates for seniors, children and adults. The rates vary on the weekends and by time of day. Season passes are available, as well as group discounts and deals. Groups with children must have one adult per seven children. The beaches offer rental spaces for large groups and feature lifeguards for swimmers. Baltimore County has three state beaches, while nearby Calvert County also attracts visitors with its beach.

The Rocky Point Beach and Park (baltimorecountymd.gov) features 375 acres of waterfront land. The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks founded the park in 1969. The park offers picnic areas, which visitors may reserve for private parties. Additional amenities include a large pavilion, a fishing pier and boating ramps. Visitors may swim between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

According to the “Baltimore City Paper”, the Oregon Ridge Beach (baltimorecountymd.gov) is the best place to swim in the Baltimore area. Located in the city of Cockeysville, slightly less than 25 minutes from Baltimore city, Oregon Ridge Beach has two areas that visitors may rent: a pavilion that can hold 60 guests, complete with a picnic area and two grills, and another area that holds between 100 and 250 people. The park prohibits pets and alcohol, but permits swimming between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The beach opens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until 7 p.m. on weekdays.

The Miami Beach Park (baltimorecountymd.gov) features 400 feet of beach in the 60-acre area. Located in the city of Middle River, the park provides a bathhouse, grills and a pavilion. Guests may rent the pavilion; rental fees also include admission of up to 100 guests. Non-profit organizations receive a nominal discount on the rental charge. The park also features a nature trail and a playground. The park also has fishing opportunities.

Nearby Calvert County features the Breezy Point Beach and Campground (co.cal.md.us), located in the western portion of Chesapeake Bay. Breezy Point Beach offers half a mile of beach. Activities include swimming, volleyball and boating, with two boat ramps available. Those who like to fish can use the fishing pier, and picnic areas are available. Guests enjoy the daily camping opportunities, and a bath house offers added convenience. The beach’s convenience store offers fishing supplies. Pets are not allowed on the beach.

A resident of Riverside, California, Timothy Peckinpaugh began writing in 2006 for U.S. History Publishers, based in Temecula, California. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Riverside, with a bachelor’s degree in English.

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Dallas SEO – Helping Your Business Get More Business

 SEO  Comments Off on Dallas SEO – Helping Your Business Get More Business
Nov 022015
 

Hire an Dallas SEO Expert today. Remember in case you are running an online business or a website where you will like to communicate some message a website that is well designed by following search engine optimization rules will be the best for your website. In most cases search engines such as Google will end up imposing penalties to those who will fail to follow the rules. Penalties can impact negatively on the overall performance of your website hence you should try and ensure all is well when designing your website. Some of the issues that you need to check on are to try and employ experts who are highly qualified to offer you the services. For you to access the best experts you need to take your time and visit several of them in Dallas so that you will be able to decide on the best. Even if you are too busy in your daily routine you can still access the best experts while carrying out your comparison online. When carrying out your comparison online you should try and compare as many companies as possible so that you will decide on the best. Carrying out your comparison online is very easy hence you should prefer it over other forms of comparison. The following are benefits that you will enjoy after you decide to work with the best Dallas SEO company:

The best company will offer you the best Dallas SEO services

For you to enjoy the best services you need to look for a company that has enough experts who will be able to offer you the best services. Remember search engine optimization services are very crucial in the design of any website because it is through search engine optimizations where your website will gain great access online. The main aim of designing a website is to try and gain access online and after you carry out enough search engine optimization you will be able to land on the best position in Google ranking s which will enable your website achieve more. As a resident in Dallas it is your duty to ensure you access all the possible opportunities online by making your website rank up in the Google rankings. After a website is rank well it will always access more audience which will transform into a lot of customers which is healthy for any business.

Dallas SEO services will enable you access more customers online in case you are running an ecommerce website

In case you use your website to run an online business it will be to your advantage after you decide to hire experts for search engine optimization services. From statistics it has been known that many people who search for websites that offer services or products online will tend to concentrate in accessing services from websites that appear in the first page. After you take your time and carry out the necessary search engine optimization services you will end up getting your website consistently in the first page of Google rankings. This will make you access more audience for the services or products which you are offering online. In some cases the audience will turn directly into your customers or they may end up referring others. This will make you achieve more sales which are very necessary in any business.

Dallas SEO will enable you avoid search engine optimization penalties easily

There are some penalties that search engines can impose on websites that fail to follow rules set in place. After you take bold steps and look for experts who will offer you search engine optimization services in Dallas you will end up avoiding all the penalties which can really affect the overall performance of your website. Penalties are risky where they can end up making you fail to appear online hence making your potential customers go for other websites that offer services similar to yours. They may never come back again in case they access the same services from your competitors hence making your website incur great losses. To avoid the penalties permanently, you need to hire experts who will offer you quality Dallas SEO services.

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What is Cryptocurrency? – YouTube

 Cryptocurrency  Comments Off on What is Cryptocurrency? – YouTube
Oct 272015
 

Let’s learn about money that only exists digitally and can sometimes make you rich. GMM 362! Good Mythical MORE: http://youtu.be/KA4EaLJ7iXA

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Free SEO tools from SEO chat

 SEO  Comments Off on Free SEO tools from SEO chat
Aug 302015
 

SEO Tools

Check out these free SEO tools and discover what SEO strategies are working for your site. Identify most common issues and errors like broken links and images, empty alt text, absent meta tags, etc

Use our FREE social media analysis tools to track and analyze your social efforts. Compare social media buzz and analyze content authorship and social media signals

This page provides a list of schema tools that webmasters can use to markup their pages with microdata in conjunction with existing HTML in a way that is recognized by search engines. Most search engines including Google, Yahoo, and Bing, rely on these markups to improve how search results are displayed thus making it easier for users to navigate to the right web pages. Our schema tools allow you to very easily generate different types of markup for your product, book, movie, article, and other pages.

Need to figure out your ROI for a new PPC campaign, or determine the effectiveness of a recent change in your PPC strategy? Taking a proactive approach and trying to estimate potential earnings? There are tools for that

Increase the efficiency of your daily webmaster tasks by using this free suite of webmaster tools. Create robots.txt, extract information with a RegEx and more.

Use these web design tools and show your users their experience matters to you. Convert HTML to PHP, clean up your HTML, and more with this free suite of tools.

Use these tools to protect your information and the information of your users, as well as make a single list from several.

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Free SEO tools from SEO chat

So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? – The New Yorker

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? – The New Yorker
Jul 222015
 

Does the Second Amendment prevent Congress from passing gun-control laws? The question, which is suddenly pressing, in light of the reaction to the school massacre in Newtown, is rooted in politics as much as law.

For more than a hundred years, the answer was clear, even if the words of the amendment itself were not. The text of the amendment is divided into two clauses and is, as a whole, ungrammatical: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The courts had found that the first part, the militia clause, trumped the second part, the bear arms clause. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, and the lower courts as well, the amendment conferred on state militias a right to bear armsbut did not give individuals a right to own or carry a weapon.

Enter the modern National Rifle Association. Before the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. had been devoted mostly to non-political issues, like gun safety. But a coup dtat at the groups annual convention in 1977 brought a group of committed political conservatives to poweras part of the leading edge of the new, more rightward-leaning Republican Party. (Jill Lepore recounted this history in a recent piece for The New Yorker.) The new group pushed for a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms. It was an uphill struggle. At first, their views were widely scorned. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who was no liberal, mocked the individual-rights theory of the amendment as a fraud.

But the N.R.A. kept pushingand theres a lesson here. Conservatives often embrace originalism, the idea that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed when it was ratified, in 1787. They mock the so-called liberal idea of a living constitution, whose meaning changes with the values of the country at large. But there is no better example of the living Constitution than the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment in the last few decades of the twentieth century. (Reva Siegel, of Yale Law School, elaborates on this point in a brilliant article.)

The re-interpretation of the Second Amendment was an elaborate and brilliantly executed political operation, inside and outside of government. Ronald Reagans election in 1980 brought a gun-rights enthusiast to the White House. At the same time, Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, became chairman of an important subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he commissioned a report that claimed to find clearand long lostproof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms. The N.R.A. began commissioning academic studies aimed at proving the same conclusion. An outr constitutional theory, rejected even by the establishment of the Republican Party, evolved, through brute political force, into the conservative conventional wisdom.

And so, eventually, this theory became the law of the land. In District of Columbia v. Heller, decided in 2008, the Supreme Court embraced the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment. It was a triumph above all for Justice Antonin Scalia, the author of the opinion, but it required him to craft a thoroughly political compromise. In the eighteenth century, militias were proto-military operations, and their members had to obtain the best military hardware of the day. But Scalia could not create, in the twenty-first century, an individual right to contemporary military weaponslike tanks and Stinger missiles. In light of this, Scalia conjured a rule that said D.C. could not ban handguns because handguns are the most popular weapon chosen by Americans for self-defense in the home, and a complete prohibition of their use is invalid.

So the government cannot ban handguns, but it can ban other weaponslike, say, an assault rifleor so it appears. The full meaning of the courts Heller opinion is still up for grabs. But it is clear that the scope of the Second Amendment will be determined as much by politics as by the law. The courts will respond to public pressureas they did by moving to the right on gun control in the last thirty years. And if legislators, responding to their constituents, sense a mandate for new restrictions on guns, the courts will find a way to uphold them. The battle over gun control is not just one of individual votes in Congress, but of a continuing clash of ideas, backed by political power. In other words, the law of the Second Amendment is not settled; no law, not even the Constitution, ever is.

Photograph by Mario Tama/Getty.

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So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? – The New Yorker

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Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis
Apr 142015
 

By City & Finance Reporter for the Daily Mail

Published: 17:06 EST, 13 April 2015 | Updated: 17:06 EST, 13 April 2015

Almost a quarter of British firms are paying far lower taxes than the rates demanded by the countries in which they operate, an international study has suggested.

Analysis of more than 1,000 listed companies by MSCI found a tax gap of 56billion from firms using tax havens and loopholes to whittle down their bills.

By comparing the overall tax payments of the companies against the corporation tax rates levied in the countries where they did business, the investment research group was able to determine how many companies were scrimping on payments.

Tax loophole: Almost a quarter of British firms are paying far lower taxes than the rates demanded by the countries in which they operate, an international study has suggested

In the UK, 16 of the 71 included businesses had a tax gap of more than 10 per cent, it said.

MSCI director Linda-Eling Lee said these firms faced the prospect of falling profits if the tax loopholes were closed, as well as reputational risk if they are exposed for minimising tax.

The findings will inflame the debate around the issue of legal but dubious avoidance of tax.

The Government has sought to lead an international crackdown on what it sees as immoral tax dodging by multinational firms.

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Almost a quarter of UK firms 'whittle down tax bills' using tax havens and loopholes, says new analysis

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PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I’M AN ISLAMO REALIST – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I’M AN ISLAMO REALIST – Video
Apr 132015
 



PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I'M AN ISLAMO REALIST
BBC, 9th April 2015.BBC. Election 2015 smaller parties: Liberty GB… Last updated at 13:45 BST A party leader who made a video declaring “I am a racist” was asked about the claim on the Daily…

By: Roni Stoker

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PAUL WESTON LIBERTY GB: I’M AN ISLAMO REALIST – Video




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