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About | Mormon Transhumanist Association

Posted: January 12, 2017 at 1:41 pm

What is the Mormon Transhumanist Association?

The Mormon Transhumanist Association is the worlds largest advocacy network for ethical use of technology and religion to expand human abilities, as outlined in the Transhumanist Declaration and the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation. Although we are neither a religious organization nor affiliated with any religious organization, we support our members in their personal religious affiliations, Mormon or otherwise, and encourage them to adapt Transhumanism to their unique situations.

Increasingly, persons are recognizing parallels and complements between Mormon and Transhumanist views. On the one hand, Mormonism is a religion of the Judeo-Christian tradition that advocates immersive discipleship of Jesus Christ that leads to creative and compassionate works. On the other hand, Transhumanism is a mostly secular ideology that advocates ethical use of technology to expand human abilities. However, Mormonism and Transhumanism advocate remarkably similar views of human nature and potential: material beings organized according to natural laws, rapidly advancing knowledge and power, imminent fundamental changes to anatomy and environment, and eventual transcendence of present limitations. Resources available through this site provide details on the relation between Mormon and Transhumanist views.

Transfigurism is religious Transhumanism, exemplified by syncretization of Mormonism and Transhumanism. The term transfigurism denotes advocacy for change in form, and alludes to sacred stories from many religious traditions, such as the Universal Form of Krishna in Hinduism, the Radiant Face of Moses in Judaism, the Wakening of Gautama Buddha in Buddhism, the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ in Christianity, and the Translation of the Three Nephites in Mormonism. Transfigurism also alludes to prophecies, such as the Rapture in Christianity and the Day of Transfiguration in Mormonism.

The 14 founding members of the Mormon Transhumanist Association began organizing on 3 March 2006 and adopted a constitution on 13 May 2006. We incorporated in Utah of the United States on 4 August 2006, and received 501c3 nonprofit status in the United States, effective the same date. We affiliated with Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association) on 6 July 2006 and renewed our affiliation on 2 October 2010.

As of September 2015, the Mormon Transhumanist Association consisted of 549 members, with approximately 24% living in Utah and 65% living in the United States. According to a survey in 2014, 62% of our members were also members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the largest Mormon denomination) and 59% identified as theists. On social politics, 53% identified as progressive, 20% as conservative, and 18% as moderate. On economic politics, 32% identified as moderate, 32% as progressive, and 29% as conservative. All members of the association support the Transhumanist Declaration and the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation.

The association requires that all members support the Transhumanist Declaration and the Mormon Transhumanist Affirmation. Support does not entail a specific interpretation or perfect agreement with these statements. A person may be a member of the association in good standing while sincerely holding to an interpretation of the statements that differs from that of another member, or while not fully agreeing or even constructively disagreeing with parts of these statements, so long as that person supports the Declaration and Affirmation on the whole. For example, the gospel of Jesus Christ is defined in the Affirmation as to trust in, change toward, and fully immerse our bodies and minds in the role of Christ, to become compassionate creators. Support for this statement may not require belief in or specific beliefs about the existence of God. Interpretation of the Declaration and Affirmation is ultimately the responsibility of each member. The association does not sanction a specific interpretation, and it does not expect perfect agreement.

The Mormon Transhumanist Association shares media, news, and opinions about the intersection of Mormonism with science and technology and Transhumanism with religion and spirituality. We engage as a community in discussions and conferences about prophetic vision, scientific discovery, technological innovation, as well as opportunities and risks in our rapidly changing world. We also act with common purpose on team projects to cure disease, and extend and enhance life.

Help the Mormon Transhumanist Association promote radical flourishing in compassion and creation through technology and religion. Join the association and engage in online or offline discussions. Link your website to ours. Start a blog on religion, science, spirituality or technology, and tell us about it. Attend a conference. Participate in a team project. Donate to the cause. Thank you!

You may contact us by email:

admin@transfigurism.org

You may also contact us by mail:

Mormon Transhumanist Association 21 Quiet Meadow Lane Mapleton UT 84664 USA

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Ron Paul Says Obama Helped ISIS But He’s Better Than Bush …

Posted: December 31, 2016 at 2:41 pm

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Former Republican Texas Congressman Ron Paul told The Daily Caller Thursday that the United States has been supporting the Islamic State, but he still thinksPresident Barack Obama has had a better foreign policy than former President George W. Bush.

The former Texas congressman said that the U.S. abroad isnt a peacemaker and is instead too often a mischief makers. Former Rep. Paul was a fierce critic of Bushs foreign policy andwas one of six Republicans to have voted against the House resolution authorizing military action against Iraq.

Paul told TheDC that President Obamas foreign policy has been better than Bushs, although it is miserable. He added, One thing I use is how many Americans died engaged in war duringeight years of Bush versus Obama.

More than 4,000 American troops lost their lives during President Bushs eight years in office, compared to less than 2,000 troops under Obama, according to a March report from The Atlantic.

Two things that Paul liked that the happened under Obama were improved relations with Iran and Cuba. He said, What he did with Iran is fantastic.

But he was cautious not to praise the president too much and criticized his policy in Syria. He said that in order to defeat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Obama had to ally with the Islamic State.

If hed stayed out of Syria it would haveended a couple years ago. Hes made himself look foolish and the Russians have came out pretty strong on this. Theyre the peacemakers, the former Texas congressman told TheDC. He said that Obama has supported ISIS in a similar way to howthe U.S. backed Afghan mujaheddin in their fight against the Soviet Union.

RENO, NV FEBRUARY 02: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) speaks during a campaign rally at the Grand Sierra Hotel on February 2, 2012 in Reno, Nevada. Paul is campaigning ahead of Nevadas caucus on February 4. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and President-elect Donald Trump have both previously said that the Obama administration has supported terrorists. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Why does our gov get a free pass on this?, the congresswoman from Hawaii wrote on Twitter two weeks.

President-elect Trump said on the campaign trail that President Obama was the founder of ISIS. Gabbard has pointed to a news storiessaying the United States is arming rebels allied with an Al-Qaeda affiliated groups. Rep. Paul told TheDC that the U.S. doesnt support ISIS directly but indirectly.I think Hillary was involved. The evidence is pretty good that weapons left Libya and some went south and some went to Syria. I dont think theres too much argument about that, the former congressman and two-time Republican presidential candidate said.

Ina 2013 speech Hillary Clinton gave to Goldman Sachs released by WikiLeaks, she said that American allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are supporting Jihadists in Syria. Pauls son Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said the CIAs annex in Benghazi, Libya was used to ferry weapons to Syria among other places. Clinton told Sen. Paul during a senate hearing, I do not have any information on that.

Former Rep. Paulsaid arming extremist rebel groups has almost become tradition for the American government. We do that all the time. If we use radical Islam to get rid of Assad, we think we can contain that, he told TheDC.

Paul has not been known for being a pro-Israel politician, but he came out against Secretary of State John Kerrys Thursday speech in which he attacked Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Its an unnecessary mess, former Rep. Paul told TheDC. As a libertarian, we avoid these kind of things because you always have to pick sides, individuals can pick sides, but a country shouldnt go in there and decide what is best.

He said that that Middle Eastern peace wont be able to be settled by outsiders, and that he likes the idea of being more neutral on this but the emotions are so high, you cant possibly win.

Following the United Nations resolution condemning the Israeli settlements, on which the U.S. abstained voting, Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said, If UN moves forward with ill-conceived [Israel} resolution, Ill work to form a bipartisan coalition to suspend/reduce US assistance to UN.

Graham, war hawk, and Paul, non-interventionist, are at opposite ends of the political spectrum, but Rep. Paul told TheDC he the abstaining might be the closest thing to not supporting the UN. He said that, maybe this reassessmentof the positive nature of the UN is what is necessary, but added that Grahams statement was pure political stuff.

Paul said he has hope that President-elect Trump will change the current foreign policy of aggression, but added a retreat from interventionist policies will only happen when we go broke.

Were close to that. Ill have my way someday, Paul added.

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First Amendment works and will if we still have it

Posted: December 26, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Gene Policinski, Inside the First Amendment 9:30 a.m. MST December 25, 2016

Gene Policinski writes the First Amendment column distributed by Gannett News Service. (Gannett News Service, Sam Kittner/First Amendment Center/File)(Photo: GNS)

Our First Amendment freedoms will work if we still have them around to use.

Those five freedoms religion, speech, press, assembly and petition have been challenged at various times in our nations history, as many would say they are today.

But the very freedoms themselves provide the means and mechanisms for our society to self-correct those challenges, perhaps a main reason why the First Amendment has endured, unchanged, since Dec. 15, 1791.

Case in point: The tragic mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12 was followed by a burst of anti-Islamic rhetoric across the country after the killer declared allegiance to ISIS. The speech, however hateful, generally was protected by the First Amendment.

But in turn, those attacks were followed by pushback in the other direction. Muslim leaders decried the use of their faith to justify hatred of the United States or homophobic terrorism. Opposition was ramped up to the idea of increased surveillance of Muslims in America and now-President-elect Donald Trumps suggestion for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.

In two rounds of national polling in the Newseum Institutes annual State of the First Amendment survey, support for First Amendment protection for fringe or extreme faiths actually increased after the Orlando attack, compared with sampling done in May.

The number of people who said First Amendment protection does not extend to such faiths dropped from 29 to 22 percent. In both surveys, just over 1,000 adults were sampled by telephone, and the margin of error in the surveys was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The First Amendment is predicated on the notion that citizens who are able to freely debate without government censorship or direction will exchange views, sometimes strongly and on controversial subjects, but eventually find common ground.

Of course, that kind of vigorous and robust exchange in the marketplace only can happen if there is a marketplace freedom for all to speak and a willingness to join with others in serious discussion, debate and discourse that has a goal of improving life for us all.

Heres where the survey results turn ominous: Nearly four in 10 of those questioned in the 2016 State of the First Amendment survey, which was released July 4, could not name unaided a single freedom in the First Amendment.

Perhaps not identifying by name even one of the five freedoms is not the same as not knowing you have those core freedoms. But neither does the result build confidence that, as a nation, we have a deep understanding of what distinguishes our nation among all others and is so fundamental to the unique American experience of self-governance.

We have thrived as a nation with a social order and a government structure in which the exchange of views is a key to solving problems. The nations architects had a confidence and optimism that such exchanges in the so-called marketplace of ideas would ultimately work for the public good.

What would those founders think of a society in which so many seem to favor the electronic versions of divided marketplaces that permit only that speech of which you already approve or that confirms your existing views?

Or worse yet, a society in which the five freedoms are used as weapons from cyberbullying to mass Twitter attacks to deliberate distribution of fake news to figuratively set ablaze or tear down an opponents stand?

As a nation, we cannot abandon the values of our First Amendment freedoms that protect religious liberty, that defend free expression at its widest definition and that provide a right to unpopular dissent, without fundamentally changing the character of our nation.

As a people, we must stand in defense of the values set out in the First Amendment and Bill of Rights some 225 years ago, even as we face one of the deepest public divides on a range of issues in our history.

And we must revisit and renew our faith in a concept expressed in 1664 by English poet and scholar John Milton and later woven deep into the institutional fabric of America: that in a battle between truth and falsehood, who ever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?

Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the Institutes First Amendment Center. He can be reached at gpolicinski@newseum.org. Follow him on Twitter: @genefac.

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Ron Paul Wants a Spot on Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Posted: December 23, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Ron Paul’s group, “Campaign for Liberty,” is trying to get him a spot on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, a senior politics editor with the Huffington Post reports.

Paul, a former GOP member of Congress from Texas, earlier this week criticized the Federal Reserve, saying it was manipulating the economy.

“We do not work on a free-market principle, we do not have sound money, it’s all manipulated,” he told Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network.

“Prices are going to go up and the money’s going to be so bent according to political reasons and not because of business decisions, so we want the government out of it, we want people to save money, create capital, but capital cannot come from the Federal Reserve working with a computer, that’s the fallacy and that’s why zero rates of interest didn’t work because they weren’t realistic.”

The Board of Governors oversees the work of the Federal Reserve Banks and plays a major role in crafting U.S. monetary policy. There are seven members, all appointed by the president of the United States.

Paul established “Campaign for Liberty,” his nonprofit political organization, during his presidential run in 2008 with the purpose of spreading his idea that the government should be limited in its role.

Paul also has run for president as a Republican and as a Libertarian.

2016 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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EscapeArtist – Live, Work, Travel, Retire & Invest Overseas

Posted: December 15, 2016 at 7:03 pm

EscapeArtist is one of the world’s largest and oldest expatriate resources for living, working, traveling, retiring, and investing abroad and overseas. We also have international real estate listings, international jobs, and offshore events and conferences.

Australia has grown to be among the top countries that people move to for work or leisure. Are you living in Australia alone and would like to bring your family

The IRS is investigating all US bitcoin transactions. If youve been conducting business using a U.S. bitcoin account, your transactions are not private. All U.S. based bitcoin accounts are subject

Nicaragua beachfront real estate is an up-and-coming property market, yet undiscovered by the masses. Nicaragua is a land of immense natural beauty and rich culture. One can spend their days

Traveling abroad is one of the best experiences of life it expands your horizons, gives you new perspectives, and it sometimes takes you out of your comfort zone. When

Connie and I have been digital nomads for nearly ten years. In that time we have met hundreds of people all over the world. One of the most common questions

The IRS is investigating all US bitcoin transactions. If youve been conducting business using a U.S. bitcoin account, your transactions are not private. All U.S. based bitcoin accounts are subject

Youve been running your offshore business for awhile and have some accumulated earnings and profits. You want to invest these retained earnings in the United States and prefer they be

The following article is for U.S. citizens and describes the type of income that can be retained offshore in a foreign corporation. It also defines foreign source and U.S. source

According to Oxford Economics, President Donald Trump will either be a disaster or the best thing ever for the global economy. No one knows which the chips will fall, but

Tax year 2016 is coming to a close and its the time to do some year end planning for your offshore corporation. Miss out on the FEIE or transferring money

Whether you are considering moving to China or not, the events within the country will affect you all the same. It is too big of a power not to cause

Australia has grown to be among the top countries that people move to for work or leisure. Are you living in Australia alone and would like to bring your family

Traveling abroad is one of the best experiences of life it expands your horizons, gives you new perspectives, and it sometimes takes you out of your comfort zone. When

When getting married in Thailand, there are two types of weddings. There is the traditional Buddhist religious ceremony and the legal marriage registration. The ceremony is the wedding, however, the

Governments around the world use passports as a weapon against their citizens. Your passport can be taken from you for any reason at any time, locking you, your family, and

Those who have been following my chronicles from the very beginningknow that one of my very first adventures on the amazing Ambergris Caye was taking my beach cruiser bike all

If youre an American and have tried to open an offshore bank account in the last few years, you know how difficult it can be. About 85% of banks are

Chris is a fellow American living and working in New Zealand. He came here between high school and college to try and figure out life. I worked for the hostel

Europe : https://pixabay.com/en/world-europe-map-connections-1264062/ The Old Continent is one of the favorite destinations for people all over the world, especially those who are interested in history, architecture, and good old European-style

The rule against perpetuities in the United States makes it impossible to lock up your assets in a domestic trust beyond the lives of people living at the time the

Living anywhere in Latin America offers a lot of historical opportunity for those interested in exploring the area. When I moved to San Pedro, Belize, on Ambergris Caye, the first

Connie and I have been digital nomads for nearly ten years. In that time we have met hundreds of people all over the world. One of the most common questions

One important aspect of visiting or becoming part of a new community is finding ways to involve yourself and give back to the people, animals, and environment around you. In

Driving a motorbike in a foreign country is as crazy as you would imagine. The rules of the road differ, and many times people make up the rules as they

San Pedro is the small town situated on the southern side of Ambergris Caye island in Belize. This Caribbean destination provides a diverse variety of activities for visitors of all

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Pole Camera Surveillance Under the Fourth Amendment …

Posted: December 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Placing a video camera on a utility pole and conducting surveillance can be a useful law enforcement tool to gather information without requiring an in-person presence by officers at all times. But this tool may be subject to the Fourth Amendment restrictions. This post reviews the evolving case law, particularly since the United States Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012).

Jeff Welty in a 2013 post reviewed video surveillance generally, not just pole cameras, and discussed Jones and the few cases decided in light of its ruling. This post, after reviewing Jones, will discuss a few pole camera cases decided in federal courts since his post and whether officers should seek approval from a court before conducting pole camera surveillance.

United States v. Jones. Officers installed a GPS device without a valid search warrant on a suspected drug-traffickers vehicle and then tracked the vehicles movements for about four weeks. The holding of Jones was that the installation of the GPS tracking device on a suspects vehicle was a Fourth Amendment search because it involved a physical intrusion (a trespass) into the vehicle for the purpose of obtaining information. In addition, five Justices (the four who joined Justice Alitos concurrence in the judgment plus Justice Sotomayor, who also had joined the Courts opinion) expressed the view that prolonged GPS monitoring intrudes upon a suspects reasonable expectation of privacy and is a search under the Fourth Amendment. These Justices reasoned that although short-term monitoring of a suspects movement on the public roads may not intrude upon a reasonable expectation of privacy, long-term monitoring generates so much information about a suspects movements and activities that the aggregate effect is an invasion of privacy.

Although Jones involved tracking a suspects movements, it could be used to support a broader argument about long-term electronic surveillance. One could contend that under Jones, while officers are free to observe a suspects residence from the public streets or a neighbors property to see who comes and goes, permanent round-the-clock video surveillance is substantially more intrusive and constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

Post-Jones cases on pole camera surveillance. The Jones ruling revived the trespass theory in Fourth Amendment analysis concerning what constitutes a search, so the trespass theory and the separate reasonable expectation of privacy theory both must be considered in appropriate cases.

Trespass theory. All the cases that have considered the issue have rejected a defendants argument based on the trespass theory that the installation of the camera was a trespass under Jones, because in most cases the utility pole is not on the defendants property or, even it is located there, the utility had an easement to access the pole as needed. United States v. Nowka, 2012 WL 6610879 (N.D. Ala. 2012); United States v. Root, 2014 WL 4715874 (E.D. Wash. 2014); United States v. Wymer, 40 F. Supp.3d 933 (N.D. Ohio 2014).

Reasonable expectation of privacy theory. I have found one post-Jones cases that ruled that warrantless pole camera surveillance violated the Fourth Amendment under the reasonable expectation of privacy theory. That case is Shafer v. City of Boulder, 896 F. Supp. 915 (D. Nev. 2012), where a pole camera surveilled the defendants backyard without a search warrant for 24 hours a day for 56 days, and the camera was long-range, infrared, and waterproof. The defendants backyard was protected by a solid fence and within the homes curtilage. The court cited two pre-Jones cases in support of its ruling, but not Jones, probably because it was unnecessary to do so based on the facts.

Most of the cases have ruled that warrantless pole camera surveillance did not violate the Fourth Amendment under the reasonable expectation of privacy theory. For example, a recent federal appellate case, United States v. Houston, 813 F.3d 282 (6th Cir. 2016), found that ten weeks surveillance with a camera installed on a utility pole about 200 yards from a trailer used as a residence on a farm did not violate a residents reasonable expectation of privacy because the camera recorded the same view of the residence as that enjoyed by people on nearby public roads. The court believed that the Jones case did not require a different result. Interestingly, a concurring opinion in Houston believed that Jones required the officers to obtain a search warrant.

A few case have upheld surveillance with reservations, being bound by prior pre-Jones precedents. See, e.g., United States v. Garcia-Gonzalez, 2015 WL 5145537 (D. Mass. 2015).

There have been no North Carolina appellate court or United States Supreme Court cases on pole camera surveillance since Jones.

Advice to officers. Nothing in Jones or lower court cases after Jones calls into question the use of surveillance cameras that are focused on public streets, parks, and other public areas. For example, if drug activity is commonplace at a particular intersection, the Fourth Amendment does not preclude placing a surveillance camera on a light pole facing that intersection.

It would not be surprising if in the relatively near future the United States Supreme Court decides a case on pole camera surveillance, and there is a reasonable probability that the Court might rule that extensive video surveillance of a residence requires a search warrant or its functional equivalent, such as a court order. Of course, predicting future Court rulings is highly speculative and subject to reasonable disagreement.

In the meantime, a cautious officer may wish to seek a court order authorizing the use of a pole camera directed at a residence or at least consult with the officers agencys legal advisor or a prosecutor before deciding not to do so. No case or statute sets out the proper procedure for obtaining such an order, but it likely would be similar to obtaining a search warrant or other investigative court order that could be sought ex parte and would need to be supported by an affidavit establishing probable cause. If a court order is sought, the order might limit pole camera surveillance to a relatively short period, such as 30 days, and apply again if additional surveillance is needed.

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Kurt Saxon – Survivalism, Survivalists

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 8:01 am

Many people take safety measures in order to be prepared in the case of an emergency, such as storing bottled water, canned food, flashlights, batteries and whatnot. Survivalists, however, go one, or rather, many steps farther by basing their entire lifestyle on an ongoing preparation for major social and political disruptions. Some of the events that survivalists fear, or even expect, will happen are clusters of natural and/or nuclear disasters; war; collapse of society due to shortage or unavailability of electricity, fuel, food, water; economic collapse, a sudden pandemic; and basically any other panorama of the end times.

Survivalism is believed to have originated in the 1960s, when the threat of a nuclear conflict between the United States and Russia was latent, and even though the movement has gone somewhat dormant, events in every decade have brought new waves of survivalism, for instance the 1973 crisis, the renewed US-USSR arm race in the 80s, the Y2K computer bug in 1999, and the 9/11 events.

Categories of survivalists, which may overlap each other, include safety preparedness oriented (learns principles and techniques for surviving such common calamities as structure fires, dog attacks, physical confrontations, snake bites, lightning strikes, car breakdowns, bear encounters, flash floods, home invasions, train wrecks and others that can occur anywhere at any time), wilderness survival emphasis (is concerned with thirst, hunger, climate, terrain, health, stress and fear in cases of plane crashes, shipwrecks, being lost in the woods), self defense driven (personal protection, martial arts, self defense tactics), brief natural disasters (tornado, hurricane, flood, wildfire, earthquake or heavy snowfall), long natural disasters (unusually long and cold or warm periods), indefinite natural disaster (global warning or cooling), bio chem scenario (spread of diseases through biological agents), malthusian (uncontrolled human population growth), monetary disasters investors (preparing for paper money to become worthless through hyperinflation), and others.

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UK teenager wins battle to have body cryogenically frozen – CNN

Posted: November 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

The girl — who can’t be identified and is referred to only as “JS” — suffered from a rare form of cancer and expressed a hope to be brought back to life and cured in the future.

She died on October 17 but details of the case at London’s High Court were not allowed to be made public until now.

In his judgment, obtained by CNN, Mr. Justice Peter Jackson said the girl had expressed her desire to be cryogenically frozen.

She wrote: “I have been asked to explain why I want this unusual thing done. I’m only 14 years old and I don’t want to die, but I know I am going to. I think being cryo-preserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up, even in hundreds of years’ time. I don’t want to be buried underground.

“I want to live and live longer and I think that in the future they might find a cure for my cancer and wake me up. I want to have this chance. This is my wish.”

According to the judgment, the girl’s parents are divorced and their relationship is “very bad.” Her mother was supportive of her wish, but her father — who had not seen his daughter face-to-face since 2008 — initially was not.

At the start of proceedings, the teenager’s father, who also has cancer, wrote: “Even if the treatment is successful and [JS] is brought back to life in let’s say 200 years, she may not find any relative and she might not remember things and she may be left in a desperate situation given that she is only 14 years old and will be in the United States of America.”

However, he subsequently changed his position, saying he “respected the decisions” his daughter was making.

The judge said this fluctuation in his views was understandable, adding, “No other parent has ever been put in his position.”

But he emphasized he was not ruling on the science of cryonics, but rather on the dispute between her parents over who was responsible for the arrangements after her death.

The judge also said there was no doubt the girl — described as “a bright, intelligent young person who is able to articulate strongly held views on her current situation” — had the capacity to start legal action.

“Over recent months, JS has used the internet to investigate cryonics: the freezing of a dead body in the hope that resuscitation and a cure may be possible in the distant future,” he said.

“The scientific theory underlying cryonics is speculative and controversial, and there is considerable debate about its ethical implications.

“On the other hand, cryopreservation, the preservation of cells and tissues by freezing, is now a well-known process in certain branches of medicine, for example the preservation of sperm and embryos as part of fertility treatment.

“Cryonics is cryopreservation taken to its extreme.”

The judge ruled in favor of her mother and said the girl had died peacefully, knowing her wishes had been met.

But he cautioned that hospital officials had had “real misgivings” about the way the process was handled on the day she died.

The girl’s mother was said to have been preoccupied with the arrangements after her death, rather than being fully available to her child, he said, and the voluntary organization which helped get her body ready for preservation was disorganized.

The case was said by the judge to be the only one of its kind to have come before the courts in England and Wales, and probably anywhere else. “It is an example of the new questions that science poses to the law, perhaps most of all to family law,” he added.

The cost of the procedure in the United States — which the judge said was about 37,000 ($46,000) — is being met by her maternal grandparents, he said, although the family is not well off. They chose the most basic arrangement, he said, which “simply involves the freezing of the body in perpetuity.”

The Cryonics Institute, which is based in Michigan, said the body of a 14-year-old girl from London arrived at its facility, packed in dry ice, on October 25, about eight days after her death.

“The patient was then placed in the computer controlled cooling chamber to cool to liquid nitrogen temperature,” a statement posted on its website said.

“The human cooling program from dry ice was selected and the time needed to cool the patient to liquid nitrogen temperature was 24 hours. The patient was then placed in a cryostat for longterm cryonic storage.”

The Cryonics Institute said the girl was its 143rd patient.

Its website explains the process as “a technique intended to hopefully save lives and greatly extend lifespan. It involves cooling legally-dead people to liquid nitrogen temperature where physical decay essentially stops, in the hope that future scientific procedures will someday revive them and restore them to youth and good health.

“A person held in such a state is said to be a ‘cryopreserved patient’, because we do not regard the cryopreserved person as being inevitably ‘dead’.”

However, some skepticism remains about the science of cryogenics.

Barry Fuller, professor in Surgical Science and Low Temperature Medicine at University College London, said that cryopreservation “has many useful applications in day to day medicine, such as cryopreserving blood cells, sperm and embryos.”

But, he said, “cryopreservation has not yet been successfully applied to large structures, such as human kidneys for transplantation, because we have not yet adequately been able to produce suitable equipment to optimize all the steps.

“This is why we have to say that at the moment we have no objective evidence that a whole human body can survive cryopreservation with cells which will function after rearming.”

CNN’s Simon Cullen and Meera Senthilingam contributed to this report.

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First Amendment Defense Act – Wikipedia

Posted: November 21, 2016 at 11:02 am

The First Amendment Defense Act (often abbreviated FADA) (H.R. 2802) is a bill introduced into the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate on June 17, 2015. The Senate sponsor of the bill is Mike Lee (R-Utah), and the House sponsor is Raul Labrador (R-Idaho).[1] The bill aims to prevent the federal government from taking action against people who discriminate against LGBTQ people for religious reasons.

The bill provides that the federal government “shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”[1]

The FADA was introduced into both the House and Senate on the same day (June 17, 2015), by Mike Lee and Raul Labrador. As of November 21, 2016, the House version had 172 co-sponsors, and the Senate version 34.[1] Also as of that date, the House bill had not been considered by either of the two committees it had been referred to.[1]

When asked by Heritage Action, FRC Action, and the American Principles Project if they would pass the bill in their first 100 days in office, three of the top four Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 election said they would, the exception being Donald Trump.[2] It was also supported by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and the Liberty Counsel, among other groups, shortly after it was introduced.[3] On September 22, 2016, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump changed his mind and said in a press release, “If I am elected president and Congress passes the First Amendment Defense Act, I will sign it to protect the deeply held religious beliefs of Catholics and the beliefs of Americans of all faiths.”[4]

On July 21, 2015, the Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote that FADA was “unnecessary and could allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.”[5] Later that year, Walter Olson of the Cato Institute wrote in Newsweek that the bill does not “try to distinguish rights from frills and privileges,” and also criticized it for only protecting those who opposed same-sex marriage, not those who supported same-sex marriage or cohabitation or non-marital sex.[6] It has also been criticized by Ian S. Thompson, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, who claimed that it would, if passed, “open the door to unprecedented taxpayer-funded disagreement against LGBT people.”[3]

A version of the FADA was introduced in Georgia on January 21, 2016, by Greg Kirk, a Republican state senator.[7] The bill would, if passed, protect government employees who do not want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because they object to the practice for religious reasons. Kirk cited Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis as an example of the people who would be affected by the law.[8] This bill was passed by the Georgia State Senate on February 19. The bill was then sent to the State House for consideration.[9][10] Governor Nathan Deal vetoed this bill in March 2016.[11]

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Longevity – Wikipedia

Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

The word “longevity” is sometimes used as a synonym for “life expectancy” in demography – however, the term “longevity” is sometimes meant to refer only to especially long-lived members of a population, whereas “life expectancy” is always defined statistically as the average number of years remaining at a given age. For example, a population’s life expectancy at birth is the same as the average age at death for all people born in the same year (in the case of cohorts). Longevity is best thought of as a term for general audiences meaning ‘typical length of life’ and specific statistical definitions should be clarified when necessary.

Reflections on longevity have usually gone beyond acknowledging the brevity of human life and have included thinking about methods to extend life. Longevity has been a topic not only for the scientific community but also for writers of travel, science fiction, and utopian novels.

There are many difficulties in authenticating the longest human life span ever by modern verification standards, owing to inaccurate or incomplete birth statistics. Fiction, legend, and folklore have proposed or claimed life spans in the past or future vastly longer than those verified by modern standards, and longevity narratives and unverified longevity claims frequently speak of their existence in the present.

A life annuity is a form of longevity insurance.

Various factors contribute to an individual’s longevity. Significant factors in life expectancy include gender, genetics, access to health care, hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and crime rates. Below is a list of life expectancies in different types of countries:[3]

Population longevities are increasing as life expectancies around the world grow:[1][4]

The Gerontology Research Group validates current longevity records by modern standards, and maintains a list of supercentenarians; many other unvalidated longevity claims exist. Record-holding individuals include:[citation needed]

Evidence-based studies indicate that longevity is based on two major factors, genetics and lifestyle choices.[5]

Twin studies have estimated that approximately 20-30% the variation in human lifespan can be related to genetics, with the rest due to individual behaviors and environmental factors which can be modified.[6] Although over 200 gene variants have been associated with longevity according to a US-Belgian-UK research database of human genetic variants,[7] these explain only a small fraction of the heritability.[8] A 2012 study found that even modest amounts of leisure time physical exercise can extend life expectancy by as much as 4.5 years.[9]

Lymphoblastoid cell lines established from blood samples of centenarians have significantly higher activity of the DNA repair protein PARP (Poly ADP ribose polymerase) than cell lines from younger (20 to 70 year old) individuals.[10] The lymphocytic cells of centenarians have characteristics typical of cells from young people, both in their capability of priming the mechanism of repair after H2O2 sublethal oxidative DNA damage and in their PARP gene expression.[11] These findings suggest that elevated PARP gene expression contributes to the longevity of centenarians, consistent with the DNA damage theory of aging.[12]

A study of the regions of the world known as blue zones, where people commonly live active lives past 100 years of age, speculated that longevity is related to a healthy social and family life, not smoking, eating a plant-based diet, frequent consumption of legumes and nuts, and engaging in regular physical activity.[13] In a cohort study, the combination of a plant based diet, normal BMI, and not smoking accounted for differences up to 15 years in life expectancy.[14] Korean court records going back to 1392 indicate that the average lifespan of eunuchs was 70.0 1.76 years, which was 14.419.1 years longer than the lifespan of non-castrated men of similar socio-economic status.[15] The Alameda County Study hypothesized three additional lifestyle characteristics that promote longevity: limiting alcohol consumption, sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night, and not snacking (eating between meals), although the study found the association between these characteristics and mortality is “weak at best”.[16] There are however many other possible factors potentially affecting longevity, including the impact of high peer competition, which is typically experienced in large cities.[17]

In preindustrial times, deaths at young and middle age were more common than they are today. This is not due to genetics, but because of environmental factors such as disease, accidents, and malnutrition, especially since the former were not generally treatable with pre-20th century medicine. Deaths from childbirth were common in women, and many children did not live past infancy. In addition, most people who did attain old age were likely to die quickly from the above-mentioned untreatable health problems. Despite this, we do find many examples of pre-20th century individuals attaining lifespans of 75 years or greater, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Cato the Elder, Thomas Hobbes, Eric of Pomerania, Christopher Polhem, and Michelangelo. This was also true for poorer people like peasants or laborers. Genealogists will almost certainly find ancestors living to their 70s, 80s and even 90s several hundred years ago.

For example, an 1871 census in the UK (the first of its kind, but personal data from other censuses dates back to 1841 and numerical data back to 1801) found the average male life expectancy as being 44, but if infant mortality is subtracted, males who lived to adulthood averaged 75 years. The present male life expectancy in the UK is 77 years for males and 81 for females, while the United States averages 74 for males and 80 for females.

Studies have shown that black American males have the shortest lifespans of any group of people in the US, averaging only 69 years (Asian-American females average the longest).[18] This reflects overall poorer health and greater prevalence of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer among black American men.

Women normally outlive men, and this was as true in pre-industrial times as today. Theories for this include smaller bodies (and thus less stress on the heart), a stronger immune system (since testosterone acts as an immunosuppressant), and less tendency to engage in physically dangerous activities.

There is a current debate as to whether or not the pursuit of longevity is a worthwhile health care goal for the United States. Bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel, who is also one of the architects of ObamaCare, has stated that the pursuit of longevity via the compression of morbidity explanation is a “fantasy” and that life is not worth living after age 75; therefore longevity should not be a goal of health care policy.[19] This has been refuted by neurosurgeon Miguel Faria, who states that life can be worthwhile in healthy old age; that the compression of morbidity is a real phenomenon; that longevity should be pursued in association with quality of life.[20] Faria has discussed how longevity in association with leading healthy lifestyles can lead to the postponement of senescence as well as happiness and wisdom in old age.[21]

All of the biological organisms have a limited longevity, and different species of animals and plants have different potentials of longevity. Misrepair-accumulation aging theory [22][23] suggests that the potential of longevity of an organism is related to its structural complexity.[24] Limited longevity is due to the limited structural complexity of the organism. If a species of organisms has too high structural complexity, most of its individuals would die before the reproduction age, and the species could not survive. This theory suggests that limited structural complexity and limited longevity are essential for the survival of a species.

Longevity traditions are traditions about long-lived people (generally supercentenarians), and practices that have been believed to confer longevity.[25][26] A comparison and contrast of “longevity in antiquity” (such as the Sumerian King List, the genealogies of Genesis, and the Persian Shahnameh) with “longevity in historical times” (common-era cases through twentieth-century news reports) is elaborated in detail in Lucian Boia’s 2004 book Forever Young: A Cultural History of Longevity from Antiquity to the Present and other sources.[27]

The Fountain of Youth reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks of its waters. The New Testament, following older Jewish tradition, attributes healing to the Pool of Bethesda when the waters are “stirred” by an angel.[28] After the death of Juan Ponce de Len, Gonzalo Fernndez de Oviedo y Valds wrote in Historia General y Natural de las Indias (1535) that Ponce de Len was looking for the waters of Bimini to cure his aging.[29] Traditions that have been believed to confer greater human longevity also include alchemy,[30] such as that attributed to Nicolas Flamel. In the modern era, the Okinawa diet has some reputation of linkage to exceptionally high ages.[31]

More recent longevity claims are subcategorized by many editions of Guinness World Records into four groups: “In late life, very old people often tend to advance their ages at the rate of about 17 years per decade …. Several celebrated super-centenarians (over 110 years) are believed to have been double lives (father and son, relations with the same names or successive bearers of a title) …. A number of instances have been commercially sponsored, while a fourth category of recent claims are those made for political ends ….”[32] The estimate of 17 years per decade was corroborated by the 1901 and 1911 British censuses.[32] Mazess and Forman also discovered in 1978 that inhabitants of Vilcabamba, Ecuador, claimed excessive longevity by using their fathers’ and grandfathers’ baptismal entries.[32][33]Time magazine considered that, by the Soviet Union, longevity had been elevated to a state-supported “Methuselah cult”.[34]Robert Ripley regularly reported supercentenarian claims in Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, usually citing his own reputation as a fact-checker to claim reliability.[35]

The U.S. Census Bureau view on the future of longevity is that life expectancy in the United States will be in the mid-80s by 2050 (up from 77.85 in 2006) and will top out eventually in the low 90s, barring major scientific advances that can change the rate of human aging itself, as opposed to merely treating the effects of aging as is done today. The Census Bureau also predicted that the United States would have 5.3 million people aged over 100 in 2100. The United Nations has also made projections far out into the future, up to 2300, at which point it projects that life expectancies in most developed countries will be between 100 and 106 years and still rising, though more and more slowly than before. These projections also suggest that life expectancies in poor countries will still be less than those in rich countries in 2300, in some cases by as much as 20 years. The UN itself mentioned that gaps in life expectancy so far in the future may well not exist, especially since the exchange of technology between rich and poor countries and the industrialization and development of poor countries may cause their life expectancies to converge fully with those of rich countries long before that point, similarly to the way life expectancies between rich and poor countries have already been converging over the last 60 years as better medicine, technology, and living conditions became accessible to many people in poor countries. The UN has warned that these projections are uncertain, and cautions that any change or advancement in medical technology could invalidate such projections.[36]

Recent increases in the rates of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, may eventually slow or reverse this trend toward increasing life expectancy in the developed world, but have not yet done so. The average age of the US population is getting higher[37] and these diseases show up in older people.[38]

Jennifer Couzin-Frankel examined how much mortality from various causes would have to drop in order to boost life expectancy and concluded that most of the past increases in life expectancy occurred because of improved survival rates for young people. She states that it seems unlikely that life expectancy at birth will ever exceed 85 years.[39]Michio Kaku argues that genetic engineering, nanotechnology and future breakthroughs will accelerate the rate of life expectancy increase indefinitely.[40] Already genetic engineering has allowed the life expectancy of certain primates to be doubled, and for human skin cells in labs to divide and live indefinitely without becoming cancerous.[41]

However, since 1840, record life expectancy has risen linearly for men and women, albeit more slowly for men. For women the increase has been almost three months per year, for men almost 2.7 months per year. In light of steady increase, without any sign of limitation, the suggestion that life expectancy will top out must be treated with caution. Scientists Oeppen and Vaupel observe that experts who assert that “life expectancy is approaching a ceiling … have repeatedly been proven wrong.” It is thought that life expectancy for women has increased more dramatically owing to the considerable advances in medicine related to childbirth.[42]

Mice have been genetically engineered to live twice as long as ordinary mice. Drugs such as deprenyl are a part of the prescribing pharmacopia of veterinarians specifically to increase mammal lifespan. A large plurality of research chemicals have been described at the scientific literature that increase the lifespan of a number of species.

Some argue that molecular nanotechnology will greatly extend human life spans. If the rate of increase of life span can be raised with these technologies to a level of twelve months increase per year, this is defined as effective biological immortality and is the goal of radical life extension.

Currently living:

Non-living:

Certain exotic organisms do not seem to be subject to aging and can live indefinitely. Examples include Tardigrades and Hydras. That is not to say that these organisms cannot die, merely that they only die as a result of disease or injury rather than age-related deterioration (and that they are not subject to the Hayflick limit).

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