Can nanotechnology give eternal youth? Pledge drive continues

View 823 Tuesday, May 06, 2014

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983



This is pledge week at KUSC, which means it is subscription drive week at Chaos Manor. This place operates on the Public Radio model: it is free to all, but it can only exist if enough people subscribe to it. Rather than constant nagging of the readers for money, I get it over with during subscription week, and I leave it to the Los Angeles Good Music station KUSC to set the times for the pledge drives. If you have never subscribed to this place now would be an excellent time to do so. If you can’t remember when you last renewed your subscription, now is a good time to do that. Thanks to those who have already responded by renewing, and thanks and welcome to our new patrons and subscribers.

We continue the discussion of Thoughtcrime.


VDH: ‘If the NBA establishes the precedent that it can force the sale of an owner’s property because of one’s illiberal speech, however odious, what now is the new standard of behavior? A sort of descending French Revolutionary justice, predicated on the sound and fury of the mob?’



Roland Dobbins

That expresses my concerns very well. And Sterling did not make a speech or proclaim his views to the world; he told his mistress that he did not want her consorting in public with black basketball players and particularly not with Magic Johnson. He said that in private, to her and her alone, and it was later leaked – possibly sold – to the scandal publishers. For that he was fined some $3 million and forbidden for life from attending games of a team he owns; and was told he had to sell the team, although the legal status of that particular sanction is not clear.

Had he made a public speech would it have been a different matter? That’s worth discussing, but in fact he did not. He expressed his sentiments in private. Now there is a clamor for sanctions against him. When I was in high school we were shown as a class the old black and white 1935 Ronald Colman Tale of Two Cities. The scene of revolutionary justice is well done. Of course Sterling will not face the guillotine; what he gets is a billion dollars or so to compensate him for selling his team. It’s hard to feel sorry for him, and few will; but is this a precedent for future action against those guilty of Thoughtcrime?

Thoughtcrimes and their opposite

Perhaps advances in technology will enable the detecting of overall quality of consciousness. High quality consciousness presumably would be judged by parameters such as aspirations, conscience, etc. Individuals who do well on this test could receive better treatment from society than individuals who do poorly at it.

Dan Gollub

And we can have a Ministry of Truth and Good Feelings to administer this. God save the Republic.



A new reminder that in historical times Earth’s climate has been both warmer and colder than at present.

1066, Hastings was fought on an isthmus!

Hi Dr. Pournelle,

Some years ago I wrote you regarding a discussion of the impact of the Medieval Warm Period on AGW theories. I said (after apologizing for citing a TV show as a source) that I’d seen a documentary about the battle of Hastings that claimed the battlefield was in a different location than previously supposed because the sea was much higher in the medieval period than now, which led to mistaken readings of the primary sources. At the time, I couldn’t find the name of the show or lay hands on other documentation.

Well, I recently found a similar presentation on YouTube (which, by the way, has turned into a gold mine of historical documentaries). It’s the “Time Team Special #57 (2013), 1066 – The Lost Battlefield” from the BBC.

The punch line is that area around Hastings was “…effectively islands in a sea of marshland” due to the much higher sea level. Hastings was at the end of a peninsula jutting out into the marshes, and the only way to the mainland was the modern-day Hastings Road, which crossed an isthmus just at the southern outskirts of the modern-day town of Battle. Harold established a roadblock at the neck, and the rest is history. In addition to the trivia aspect, it’s very interesting to see just how much of the English coastline was inundated at the time.

The relevant point in the program starts at 31:30 minutes. The link below should take you right to it: <>


Come now. The Scientists have proven that there was no Medieval Warm period, it was just a small phase, nothing to worry about. But if the sea was in fact much higher as recently as 1066, just how much northern ice would have had to melt to cause that? The seas are rising now, but not to that extent. The eleventh Century is not well recorded, but we do have monastery crop records and planting date, and there is evidence that China had fortunate harvests in that period. And doesn’t Domesday Book have something to say about vineyards in York?

I don’t think there is much evidence to challenge that the Earth was warmer in Viking times (including 1066) than it is now, which makes the Hockey Stick an indefensible proposition, and also makes it plain that it can’t have been CO2 that caused the Viking Warming however much it contributes to the present warming trend. Which asks whether the Earth will cool and the seas fall if we don’t have the CO2…


On your recommendation

Dr Pournelle

On your recommendation, I got Fehrenbach, This Kind of War. I do not recommend the Kindle version. It is full of typos, glaring text omissions, and transposed paragraphs. Enough comes through that it makes sense, but the translation from paper to e-ink appears to have been done by a cross-eyed, drunk baboon.

Thank you.

Live long and prosper

h lynn keith

I consider Fehrenbach’s book the best available history not just of the Korean War, but of American military policy and doctrine after World War II, and I am sorry to hear that the Kindle edition is flawed. Perhaps a complaint to Amazon would help? Ted Fehrenbach died last December or I’d write him about it. He was an outstanding commentator on military history and policy, and This Kind of War ranks with the best works on why men fight.

My Kindle edition of _This Kind of War_ is just fine.

Your correspondent should delete his copy and re-download it. If the errors persist, he should complain to Amazon – I’ve been successful in getting errors in Kindle editions of novels corrected that way.


Roland Dobbins

Thank you.


Mexican Army in the US


I suppose this is how Pakistan feels about the US conducting ops within Pakistan.

Civilians getting shot, US border patrol agents getting caught up in border crossing events, and the lack of official US govt response points to a tacit under the table agreement permitting these cross-border operations. Sounds awful familiar, except this time we’re on the receiving end.

(serving officer)

You have my view of how we should react to the jailing of the Marine who inadvertently crossed the border with his firearms in the trunk of his car and was jailed rather than be allowed to return. I imagine the Pakistanis feel somewhat the same way. The relationship with Pakistan has been long and bumpy. Steve Possony always believed that Gary Francis Powers was not shot down in his U2, but downed by a bomb placed in the craft in Pakistan. Possony had good reasons including technical analysis of USSR SAM capabilities of the time. England and Russia and their Great Game make for great reading, but it is not a game that interests the United States; yet if containment was to work as a grand strategy the requirement was to commit the resources to contain the USSR…


Methuselah’s Children?

>>[E]xposure of an aged animal to young blood can counteract and reverse pre-existing effects of brain aging at the molecular, structural, functional and cognitive level.<<



Young Blood May Hold Key to Reversing Aging

From Heinlein’s Methuselah’s Children


"I still want to find out about the new rejuvenation process," insisted Master Hardy some time later.

"I think we all do," agreed King. He reached out and refilled their guest’s wine glass. "Will you tell us about it, sir?"

"I’ll try," Miles Rodney answered, "though I must ask Master Hardy to bear with me. It’s not one process, but several—one basic process and several dozen others, some of them purely cosmetic, especially for women. Nor is the basic process truly a rejuvenation process. You can arrest the progress of old age, but you can’t reverse it to any significant degree—you can’t turn a senile old man into a boy."

"Yes, yes," agreed Hardy. "Naturally—but what is the basic process?"

"It consists largely in replacing the entire blood tissue in an old person with new, young blood. Old age, so they tell me, is primarily a matter of the progressive accumulation of the waste poisons of metabolism. The blood is supposed to carry them away, but presently the blood gets so clogged with the poisons that the scavenging process doesn’t take place properly. Is that right, Doctor Hardy?"



Of course Methuselah’s Children had a technique for creating the young blood rather than harvesting it; it took a lot, and there would never be enough donors to supply everyone or even a large pro0portion of the population.  Which leads to the greatest inequality of all:  harvesting enough young blood to live for a very long time, at the cost of faster aging for the donors. We may be certain that Congress will have really good reasons why they should have this resource, which makes re-election all that more necessary, and changes the nature of elections considerably.  And there will be a black market, as there is in slave girls now.  Indeed it may be the same market and same customers.

If it is true that you can stay young – or younger – by replacing your blood with that of a younger person of your blood type, the social implications will be enormous. And of course the army will learn…

When you go by the Via Flaminia, by the legions’ road to Gaul,
Remember the luck of the soldier, who rose to be master of all.
He carried the sword and the buckler, he mounted his turn on The Wall,
And the Legions elected him Caesar, and he rose to be master of all! leads to my decade old report on a walk through modern Rome, with pictures.  Click on a picture to expand it.  The text has nothing to do with Methuselah’s Children, but Rome should remind you that not long ago it elevated Il Duce; you still see many monuments and public works marked with tributes to Umberto, Rex; Benito Mussolini, Duce.  Had we known that young blood can preserve youth in those days–

All this is new and has not had time to ferment through the culture.



If anyone knows enough about nanotechnology to say with authority whether nanotechnology is getting close to the capability of produce – synthesizing – young blood in quantities, please tell me.  I am particularly interested in (1) is it possible, and (2) how long will that take? If all this is true we may be in a race between finding the technology to synthesize young blood, and an ugly social situation.  And there is already a slave market in young people.  You can buy two hundred or so young school girls in Nigeria this afternoon… 



Do not forget that it remains Pledge Week at Chaos Manor.  This place operates like public radio. It is free to all, but if not enough subscribe it will not stay open.  If you have not subscribed, this would be a great time to do that.  If you subscribed but don’t remember when you renewed your subscription, then surely it is time.  And to our patrons and platinum subscribers I can only say Thank You.  I also thank all those who have recently renewed.



Gary Francis Powers himself became convinced that it was a bomb that brought down his U-2.

He was originally skeptical because the security at Peshawar was very tight, but seems to have come around to the conclusion that it was an insider job – e.g., a bad actor who’d wormed his way inside, or who was paid, placed a bomb in the aircraft.

Powers discussed this on a radio talk-show not long before he had his fatal helicopter accident. The conspiracy theorists have made great hay of this, of course, claiming that Powers’ helicopter was sabotaged. I doubt that, personally – there are far surer ways of getting rid of someone and still making it look like an accident.


Roland Dobbins

Interesting.  About a year before he was killed in what I am sure was an accident, I explained Possony’s views to him.  He’d heard it before and wasn’t at all convinced. We were not close and I didn’t see him in the months before his crash, and I was unaware that he had come around to Steve’s views.  I am quite convinced Possony was right.  The Soviet surface to air systems just weren’t good enough to have done that job, particularly where it happened.  I worked out some of the math for Possony, and it all added up to a high probability of a bomb, including the reported damage to the ship and the fact that Powers got out of it alive.




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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