The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 18 No. 8 • December 2015




You’d better watch out,
You’d better not cry,
You’d better not pout,
I’m telling you why,
Santa Claus is tapping
Your phone.

He’s bugging your room,
He’s reading your mail,
He’s keeping a file,
And running a tail,
Santa Claus is tapping
Your phone.

He hears you in the bedroom,
Surveils you out of doors,
And if that doesn’t get the goods,
Then he’ll use provocateurs.

So—you mustn’t assume
That you are secure,
On Christmas Eve
He’ll kick in your door,
Santa Claus is tapping
Your phone.

Our thanks to Eugene Volokh,
posted 9 Sept. 2013

When I played drunks I had to remain sober
Because I didn’t know how to play them
when I was drunk.

— Richard Burton

LSD is a drug that causes psychotic and aberrant behaviors in people who have not taken it.

— tyr

If that’s an army, they are too few. If it’s a diplomatic embassy, they are too many.

— Tigranes the Great of Armenia at Tigranocerta in 69 BC, surveying the 12,000 Roman soldiers who were about to tear apart his army of some 135,000 men (from The Classical Compendium by Philip Matyszak, Thames & Hudson, 2009)

Love is not altogether a delerium, yet it has many points in common therewith.

— Thomas Carlyle

Love is a great beautifier.

— Louisa May Alcott

There is pleasure in the pathless woods.

— Lord Byron

Joy is not in things; It is in us.

— Richard Wagner

Random processes produce many sequences that convince people that the process is not random after all. You can see why assuming causality could have evolutionary advantages. It is part of the general vigilance that we have inherited from our ances- tors. We are automatically on the lookout for the possibility that the environment has changed. Lions may appear on the plain at random times, but it would be safer to notice and respond to an apparent increase in the rate of appearance of prides of lions, even if it is actually due to the fluctuations of a random process.

— Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011) (pg. 115)

(D & S Comment: The automatic vigilance is described in the book as being part of System 1, the intuitive way of thinking. So while it is certainly good to be vigilant of marauding lions even if you think their appearance is caused by the boogie man, the fly in the ointment is that the belief in an incorrect assumption of a cause can, in the world of politics, end up costing a huge amount of money if the process is random rather than caused by what people believe intuitively. And, unfortunately, as the author points out earlier in the book (pg. 91) the people who are most likely to make snap (intuitive) judgments of the competence of political candidates on the basis of whether they have a “competent” face were those that were most politically uninformed and who watched a lot of television.

Francis Crick (Nobel Prize Winner, Medicine, 1962) must have been bom- barded with mail following his receipt of the Nobel Prize. Here is a response he is reported to have sent out: Dr. Crick thanks you for your letter but regrets that he is unable to accept your kind invitation to: send an autograph/ help you in your project/ provide a photograph/ read your manu- script/ cure your disease/ deliver a lecture/ be interviewed/ attend a conference/ talk on the radio/ act as chairman/ appear on TV/ become an editor/ speak after dinner/ write a book/ give a testimonial/ accept an honorary degree.

— reported in David Frost’s The Impossible Takes Longer the 1,000 wisest things ever said by Nobel prize laureates (Walker & Co. 2003)

(D & S Comment: We think we know how he felt. After the publication of “Life Extension, a Practical Scientific Approach” and our very extensive publicity tours in 1982 and 1983, we received over 500,000 letters with nearly all of the above requests.)

To be secure, take the advice of a 19th century Boston politician, Martin Lomasney: “Never write if you can speak, never speak if you can nod, and never nod if you can wink...“

I was asked at a lecture by someone in the audience who said, why can’t I clone myself and keep the copies as spare parts? And my answer was, be careful, one of the copies might keep you for spare parts.

—Sydney Brenner, Nobel Prize for Medicine, 2002

A common principle often invoked in scientific discourse is Occam’s Razor. This principle dictates that the simplest or most parsimonious explanation should be favored. However, one shouid keep in mind that a simple explanation that does not explain the facts is to be discarded. Sydney Brenner introduced the concept of “Occam’s Broom,” which is used to sweep inconvenient truths under the rug to salvage the ‘simplest’ explanation. Recognizing when to use the razor and avoid the broom is a use- ful reflection in evaluating scientific models as the subtle Mendel and McClintock examples attest.

— pg. 11, Birchler, Mendel, Nechanism. Models, Marketing, and More in the Sept. 24, 2015 Cell

The philosopher Friedrich Hayek, who led the debate against social and economic planning in the mid-twentieth century, noted a paradox that applies today. As science advances, it tends to strengthen the idea that we should “aim at more deliberate and comprehen sive control of all human activities.” Hayek pessimistically added, “It is for this reason that those intoxicated by the advance of knowledge so often become the enemies of freedom.“

— Nico Stehr, in an oped (“Democracy is not an inconvenience”) in the 24 Sept. 2015 Nature

(D & S Comment: Scientific journals are disproportionately full of opeds propos ing regulations before, during, and after any technology not fully understood (as they all are). In the end, their agenda ends up attempting to regulate nearly all human activities, thus supporting Hayek’s pessimistic suggestion above.)

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