2mb pdf file here - The Seventeenth Extrapolation by hkksew3563rd


									XVIIth Extrapolation
Incomplete Information


i.           Extrapolation is the process of constructing new variables outside of a known range1.
ii.          Extrapolation is an international journal of non-discipline specific scientific discourse.
iii.         Extrapolation provides reviews and analysis of disparate areas of research; observation, experiment or thought.
iv.          Extrapolation acknowledges uncertainty, and encourages diversification and cross-referencing.
v.           Extrapolation is a resource for ideas, not information.
vi.          Extrapolation is impartial and non-profit making.
vii.         Extrapolation has no agenda other than Extrapolation.
viii.        The Seventeenth Extrapolation and all ideas within it, alluded to, or subsequently extrapolated from its contents are
             considered the intellectual property of, and therefore copyrighted to, the XVIIEX Foundation.

1This is similar to the process of interpolation - which constructs new points between known points - but the results of extrapolations are often less meaningful, and are subject to
greater ambivalence.


Autoimmune Indiscrimination......................................................................................................................................................................171
Carlson Rogers
Disseminating Information Into The Unnerving Void..................................................................................................................................172
Samuel Bingham OBE
DNA Related Waveforms............................................................................................................................................................................173
Vincent Engel
Antispadism And The Antistatement...........................................................................................................................................................174
Justin O'Connor
End Of Statistics..........................................................................................................................................................................................175
Leonora McGonagal
Humans Studying Humans.........................................................................................................................................................................176
Timo Voracek
Case Report #A103.....................................................................................................................................................................................177
Nathaniel DiSaronno
Alternative Systems Of Value And Exchange.............................................................................................................................................178
Ann-Marie Kennedy
Everything Is Everything.............................................................................................................................................................................179
Werner Jakob Karlsson
Auto-Ophthalmoscopy And The Homunculus.............................................................................................................................................180
Antonio Ventura
Immortality In Papua New Guinea..............................................................................................................................................................181
Maurice Blanco
Loopholes In A Taxonomy Of Thought........................................................................................................................................................182
Rowena Hunley
Epidemiology Of Common Sense...............................................................................................................................................................184
Jemma Ericson, Nigel Vaudry and Su Mizushima
Infantile Deconstruction of Language.........................................................................................................................................................186
Agnetha Lomborg, Eric Gostov
Non-lethal City Neutralisation.....................................................................................................................................................................187
Lawrence Hanks
Real Time Bioelectric Nociceptive Modelling..............................................................................................................................................171
Lennon Akwasi
Human Enantomerism................................................................................................................................................................................173
Victor Trejo
The Fundamental Article.............................................................................................................................................................................174
Rosalina Odam
Language By Injection?..............................................................................................................................................................................175
Martin Einfeld
The Colour Of The Wild..............................................................................................................................................................................177
Antonio Ventura
New Conceptual Model Of Interplanetary Topography...............................................................................................................................178
Jessica Saunders
Romanian Helmet.......................................................................................................................................................................................179
Hugo Depolo
José Garner and Dale Estridge
Syntax is not Sufficient for Semantics: Incomplete Translation in the Southern Amazon..........................................................................181
Hector Redmond
A Conspiracy Against Happiness................................................................................................................................................................182
Simon Coker
Sleep Awareness........................................................................................................................................................................................183
Ranjit Sharma
Perception of Personality............................................................................................................................................................................185
Kitty Emberlain

The Coanda Gate........................................................................................................................................................................................187
Peter Ikechukwu
Originality and Randomness.......................................................................................................................................................................188
Valentine Nadler
Case Report #B270.....................................................................................................................................................................................190
Carlo Hallez
Death and Extrapolation.............................................................................................................................................................................191
Michelle Blomkamp
The Turing Test Plus...................................................................................................................................................................................193
Jakob Wolfenberger
Stating The Obvious....................................................................................................................................................................................194
Bailey Rees
The Highway Ballet.....................................................................................................................................................................................195
Fatima Rahman
Nootropia Rising..........................................................................................................................................................................................196
Albert S. Patin
XVIIEX   2010;17:170
XVIIEX                                                                                                                       2010;17:171

Autoimmune Indiscrimination
Know Yourself And Die
Carlson Rogers
Faculty of Medicine, University of Cairns

Our group has made a worrying discovery. It challenges our             Imagine if you were unable to tell the difference between yourself
perception of existence, and shakes the foundations of our             and your bed, or a television, or the number 79 bus, or a glass of
individualistic and immoral Western philosophy!                        milk, or a tree, or the rain, or another human being – or anything.
We have described several cases of a new neurological auto-            You might be very comfortable as a bed – you may have
immune disease which works on a more profound scale than               experienced something similar awakening from a very deep
those previously identified.                                           sleep. But would you always remain supine? If you ever got up
                                                                       would you “make” yourself?
The basis of auto-immune disease is destruction of tissues
caused the body’s own antibodies. The innate immune system             You might struggle to tell differentiate between a television and
loses the the ability to distinguish between substances that are       reality. One of our cases initially believed he was influencing the
‘self’ and ‘non-self’.                                                 TV's contents. However, in the face of endless repeats he soon
                                                                       realised that this was not true. The determinism of his fate
This newly-discovered disease differs in that it is the individual     psychologically crippled him. Another of our cases drank herself
themselves loses the facility of distinction. He or she can no         and may well have excreted herself, if she didn't succumb to
longer tell the difference between themselves and anything else.       kidney failure first. A further case found himself indistinguishable
The consequences can be startling. We have collected a series of       from the sound of the wind, and other peoples thoughts of
case studies, due for publication in the fall (subject to release of   himself. By the end of the report we were unable to tell the words
subjects statutory rights).                                            from the paper.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                      2010;17:172

Disseminating Information Into The Unnerving Void
Alien Math Fuck
Samuel Bingham OBE
Hurst Professor of Xenophysics, University of Carlisle

The unmanned Viking probes were cast into outer space in the           In social situations it is deeply unnerving to encounter someone
late 60's. They carried not only the hopes of science but also         wholly unfamiliar to yourself, who seems to know every last detail
each possessed a curious metal disc. With pictures of naked            about you.
                                                                       Indeed in such circumstances it is difficult not to fall under the
This was accompanied by set of instructions, engraved upon             impression that this person is toying with you, rather as a cat
metal plates. The instructions were structured around the              plays with a mouse before despatching them.
wavelength of hydrogen and “fundamental” mathematics.
                                                                       Disseminating information into the unnerving void concerning our
I propose that these discs and mathematical inscriptions are but       form and location was idealistic, perhaps naïve or even
shiny examples of mankind’s facetious and arrogant nature.             irresponsible. This was done without previously consulting those
                                                                       whom this action directly concerned, i.e. the population of Earth.
It is grossly presumptive to imagine that alien beings would be in
any way similar enough to ourselves to be able to figure out these     This is nothing short of a travesty!
We might in fact only serve to anger and infuriate alien beings!       Electromagnetic Deluge
                                                                       Once we have established the folly of one sided communication
Xenophilia                                                             we must consider all the forms which this may take. Unmanned
                                                                       space probes are the least of our worries.
This brings us to a major point of contention. Luminaries of
society often reassure the public that aliens, if they should deign    I am, of course, referring to the electromagnetic deluge issued
to visit Earth, would do so with the utmost benevolence.               forth from this planet. Every television signal and every radio
                                                                       wave of sufficient frequency to escape atmospheric reflection is
The theory propounded by naïve Trotskyist xenophiles states that       now, and forever more, reaching across the stars. News reports,
such aliens would be more advanced than ourselves. Following           nature documentaries, and a million poorly-acted soap operas.
on from this, they claim that technological prowess implies a high     Every facet of life on this planet: a blueprint of planet Earth!
level of intellectual development. Ipso facto, aliens would adopt a
paternal and loving attitude towards humans.
                                                                       United Nations
The sum total of human experience and knowledge (which is all
we have to go on) shows this to be woefully, spitefully, untrue! You   I hereby call on that most toothless of organisations, the
only have to look at the examples of “advanced” early European         enfeebled United Nations, to order an immediate cessation of all
settlers and their encounters with the indigenous populations of       such activity.
Australia, Africa and the Americas. Sadly this lesson has been
                                                                       No more pornography attached to our satellites. All transmissions
lost on the alien apologists.
                                                                       liable to escape the atmosphere must be encrypted. Perhaps we
The only conclusion that can be drawn from possession of               need to install a device to limit the leakage of man-made
superior technology is the existence of superior weaponry!             electromagnetic radiation.
                                                                       We must conceal ourselves.
Some more rhetoric
                                                                       When we meet another life-form ( and we will) it must be on our
Let us for a moment (!), assume that aliens who discover a probe       own terms.
are actually able to decipher the message.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                     2010;17:173

DNA Related Waveforms
Vincent Engel
Wellington Advanced Imaging Labs, Wellington, New Zealand

Using technology derived from Magnetic Resonance Imaging             measure, there being so much other interference at a cellular
(MRI), scientists at Rotterdam Technological Foundation believe      level.
they can investigate the presence of the hypothetical
phenomenon of DNA Related Waveforms (DRW).                           The problem may be solved by co-aligning all the base protons to
                                                                     produce a more coherent field. In the MR scanner this is done by
MRI, or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance imaging as it is correctly        means of a powerful magnetic field. However this is costly and
termed, is best known as a medical imaging technique. It works       impractical to operate on any great scale.
by virtue of potent magnetic fields interfering with the spin of
protons, i.e. hydrogen nuclei. Sequential magnetic fields cause      Hype is building up around the Dutch boffins. The word is that
the protons to absorb and then emit energy as radiowaves at the      they have overcome this problem by using the Earth's own
Larmor frequency. These radiowaves demonstrate the                   magnetic field and a large gyroscope. As yet no official word has
temporospatial location of the protons and are collated into         come forth. It remains unclear exactly how they may have
images.                                                              achieved this improbable feat – but Extrapolation has received
                                                                     unofficial confirmation from reliable sources.
The process of medical MRI is mostly concerned with hydrogen
nuclei. These are hugely are abundant in the human body, in          But just what are the implications of DRW technology?
water. Of course this is highly nonspecific; we are all two thirds   Here conspiracy-theorists and other concerned spectators step
water. Compare with Deoxyribonucleic Acid, which is pretty           forth. It seems likely that DRW technology would be a highly
specific to individuals.                                             accurate means of population tracking; allowing development of a
MRI relies on the quantum mechanical property of spin. The           Human Positioning System (HPS). Information contained in a
alignment of subatomic particles in a magnetic field is known the    flake of skin or a glob of spittle could be all that is necessary to
Zeeman effect. It is a combination of this and the Larmor            identify a persons LFS, and subsequently their location. Fears are
frequency of nuclei that provide a quantum fingerprint. In 2008 a    mounting that it could be used by governments to further infringe
team at WAIL hypothesised that the hydrogen nuclei in DNA may        upon our privacy and human rights.
be measured by a technique broadly similar to that of MRI. As        If that wasn’t enough, global scientific rumour has it that the US
DNA differs on an individual level, the hypothesis follows that      military has already requisitioned similar technologies and is
every homo sapiens (indeed every living thing) has a unique          developing a weapon vastly more frightening than any Star Wars
identifiable Larmor frequency spectrum (LFS).                        escapade. It is speculated that reversal of the Zeeman effect
This theory has not yet been verified because the extremely          could be used to completely fragment DNA, thereby giving the
diffuse nature of the LFS makes it inordinately difficult to         ability to locate an individual anywhere within the world and
                                                                     neutralise them with only a fingernail.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                        2010;17:174

Antispadism And The Antistatement
Le Cadavre Exquis Boira Le Vin Nouveau
Justin O'Connor
Associate Professor in the Philosophy of Science, University College of Maryland, Baltimore

The recent past has seen a massive have increase in                   Our scorned so-called expert is a professional gardener with over
communications. There is increased data recording, on a               25 years experience in soil management. His statement has been
personal and societal level. This has heralded a triumphant rise of   taken from an article he wrote in a rather staid industry journal. It
Individualism. Massive weighting of subjectivity. “Public” opinion    was part of a discussion on some subtle hortensian metaphysics:
presented as “fact”. Widely available information extends little      This spade is not really a spade, and is probably more accurately
further than a headline.                                              called a shovel. The article drew the attention of a public relations
                                                                      company which had been hired to raise the profile of horticulture.
There is no more truth.                                               It was abbreviated by someone with no knowledge or experience
                                                                      of the trade, but possessing an intention to attract attention. It was
Assumption 1                                                          this press release which was read by a journalist, who was
                                                                      looking for stories to support the belief that gardening experts are
For every statement       there   is a   diametric   opposite,   an   patronising bullies. The journalist rewrote the press release (to
Antistatement.                                                        avoid accusations of plagiarism), submitted it to the editor, who
Compare:                                                              asked the copy-editor to devise the headline.

  A) This spade is a spade                                            This process presents a problem for anybody who is quoted by
                                                                      the media, be it print, television, radio or internet. How to
  B) This spade is NOT a spade                                        articulate ideas without being vilified and maligned in the face of a
                                                                      big machine that sucks in ideas and spits out bitterness and
Figure 1: A spade                                                     provocation? This is Spadism, a philosophy of compressing the
                                                                      world into abbreviated soundbites of binary, polar, half-truths.
Assumption 2
                                                                      Much journalism, and especially science reporting would appear
For any given population, some individuals will believe Statement     to be constructed around the headline - having been based on
A is true and Statement B is false. Others will believe the           press reports written by pressure groups or plagiarised from
converse.                                                             whimsy found on the internet. Apparently written largely by arts
                                                                      graduates possessing inadequate understanding of basic science
If the statement concerns a political agenda, an emotive topic or           and indeed often a base antipathy towards their subject
indeed any matter of 'public' concern then there is an                            matter.
opportunity for opinion and fact to collide. This will
typically be the case regardless of any                                                   And just because journalists never reveal their
objective veracity.                                                                         sources, it doesn't mean they have any.
                                                                                              They appear content to bounce from one
The subset of the population who                                                                scare story to the next, regardless of
believe Statement A to be true (let us                                                            contradiction and hypocrisy.
call them Spadists) may take extreme
umbrage at Statement B. At worst                                                                    Continuing with the current state of
these disagreements may lead to a                                                                    affairs is unacceptable, only to
diplomatic incident or even civil                                                                     receive hatred and create fear and
unrest.                                                                                                loathing in the general public.
                                                                                                       Some       authorities     propose
                                                                                                       abandoning      open    publication.
                                                                                                       Others favour hiding behind
Consider that Statement B has
                                                                                                      impenetrable jargon. But these
been reported in a newspaper. The
                                                                                                     approaches are unpalatable and
quote is attributed to a so-called
                                                                                                    can only restrict the growth of human
expert. It is displayed across the front
page in a bold and angry typeface.
The implication is clear. Right-thinking                                                        An alternative may be Antispadism. This
folk should vehemently disagree with                                                          involves following every significant
Statement B. The so-called expert is telling                                               statement with its own antistatement. This
them that they are stupid, weak-minded fools.                                          deliberate obfuscation makes random quotation
                                                                                    meaningless, because ultimately quotes taken to
At this point it may be helpful to clarify our original,
                                                                                pursue contradicting agendas will neutralise each other.
apparently dichotomous, statements. This could be
achieved by referring to the original source material or even         The aim is to force a full and considered evaluation of the original
applying some “context” to the statement.                             source material.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                                             2010;17:175

End Of Statistics
Trouble Rides A Fast Horse
Leonora McGonagal
Bayesian Professor of Redditch College, Worcester

An enterprising group of statisticians from Portugal claim to have        Bayes'2 theorem allows probability can be assigned to a
derived all remaining uninvented statistical theorems, using a            hypothesis, which is not possible under the Frequentist view,
linear aggression analysis.                                               where a hypothesis can only be rejected or not rejected.
Their research appears to be borne from frustration at the use of         •   The probability of a hypothesis (H) conditional on a given body
statistics by non-statisticians, the abuse of probabilities and               of data (E) is the ratio of the unconditional probability of the
significance testing.                                                         conjunction of the hypothesis with the data to the unconditional
                                                                              probability of the data alone.
It highlights the fundamental discrepancies in the very concept of
probability, and our ability to make any sensible predictions.            •   The probability of H conditional on E is defined as PE(H)
                                                                              =P(H&E)/P(E), provided that both terms of this ratio exist and
They are believed to be angry at the widespread Frequentist
                                                                              P(E) > 0.
interpretation of probabilities. Much scientific research follows the
destruction of a null-hypothesis; believing that the probability of       Here probability is seen as a “degree of belief” in a statement
an event is its relative frequency over time. Some, including the         given the evidence. Consequently, probabilities can be attached
Portuguese group, believe that this reduces the world to a                to any statement not just random processes.
deterministic black and white hole, denying the grey area that the
rest of us live in.                                                       It many ways “scientific method” is an extension of Bayes'
                                                                          theorem: a hypothesis is confirmed by any body of data that its
                                                                          truth renders probable. As more data becomes available this can
Problems with Frequentism                                                 be used to improve the strength of a hypothesis
For any calculation to be valid the experiment must be totally
random, which is difficult to prove. Furthermore it is probably           Maximum Entropy
impossible to perform the process an infinite number of times in
order to measure the true frequency. Different runs of the                The Principle of Maximum Entropy is a technique that can be
experiment will result in differing probabilities due to differences in   used in conjunction with Bayes' theorem. It allows the estimate of
measurement, environment etc. To get around this the error of             input probabilities more generally and removes the subjectivity
measurement can be expressed as a probability, but by then you            associated with “degrees of belief”. The result is a probability
are chasing your tail.                                                    distribution that is consistent with known constraints expressed in
                                                                          terms of averages, or expected values, of one or more quantities,
However, the biggest problem with Frequentism is the                      but is otherwise as unbiased as possible.
interpretation of the results and the application to real life events.
                                                                          Using this approach the Portuguese team have created a model
                                                                          of all future scientific discoveries, at least until the next paradigm
Insignificance                                                            shift3. Utilising the Standard Cosmological Model4 as a base they
The standard approach for checking a null hypothesis is to                applied all known markers of causality and calculated all possible
perform a significance test. It is important to realise that a            outcomes.
significance test looks at the difference between two sets of             Put simply, in layman's terms, if the scientific method is held to be
numbers and little to do with the usual meaning of the word               logical and consistent then it was only a matter of time before
significant, as in important or “influential”.                            someone averaged it all out and plotted it on a graph.
Significance is arbitrarily set at 5%. Ultimately in any big enough       And calculate the contents of Extrapolation and the entire world.
set of numbers there will be a 5% degree of difference
Conceptually this is quite different to rhetorical logic where a
single counterargument can lead to the dismissal of a theory.
However, any borderline results, which are only slightly one side
or the other of the significance point are subject to all manner of
claims, such as unfairness, measurement error, insufficient power.
On top of this the null hypothesis is open to abuse, an artificial
device selected to be deliberately contradicted by the data –
invalidating it's rejection. There is a clear and well documented
publication bias towards research which rejects the null
hypothesis1.                                                              1Not exercised by the Extrapolation!
                                                                          2Described vividly in “Essay Towards Solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances” by
And yet, even after all this, much published data is subsequently         Reverend Thomas Bayes, an 18th Century mathematician.
contradicted by similar studies.                                          3Since Thomas Kuhn argued that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather
                                                                          a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions" ordinary
                                                                          science-fearing folk have lived in mild trepidation awaiting the day when one conceptual
Alternatives                                                              world view is replaced by another. Well known examples include the transition from
                                                                          Ptolemaic cosmology to Copernican and the shift from Classical to Quantum
                                                                          mechanics. An infamous rogue-scientist in Albuquerque claims to have developed a
It may be more practical to study the size of the effect you are          pocket sized machine capable of unleashing paradigm shifts at the touch of a button,
measuring. If some course of action has a very big effect, then it        which in itself represents a paradigm shift. It is far too early to understand the
follows that it should be both easier to spot and more important.         implications of the Kuhnian device, suffice to say they are likely to be profound.
                                                                          4There are multiple problems with the Standard Model which prevent us from
There are many tools for doing this, such as Pearson's r                  proclaiming this the end of the world. (These problems include, of course, the elusive
correlation.                                                              Higgs-Boson, all that missing matter and gravity.)
XVIIEX                                                                                                                             2010;17:176

Humans Studying Humans
Into The Looking Glass
Timo Voracek
Braun Department of Transpsychology, Vienna University College, Austria

Observer/Observed                                                        The Brain Bias
Traditionally human observers have performed all studies into            In ancient folklore the heart is the organ to which is attributed
human psychology, behaviour and nature. Intraobserver bias is            principle faculties. The heart was seen as the location of the soul,
unique to this kind of investigation. It would be aberrant to have a     as the origin of all decisions. Remains of this philosophy can be
chimpanzee studied by a bunch of other chimpanzees.                      seen in contemporary romantic fiction.
Dark figures of the international psychology fraternity are              However, this notion of soul, the human “essence” got separated
beginning to question the validity of this approach.                     from the body. It is intricately tied into the concept of the afterlife.
                                                                         The result was a Judeo-Christian concept of Mind-Body duality,
Fundamental to their thoughts is the question: “How can humans           which persists to this day.
study the human brain without the function of their own brain
influencing the interpretation?”                                         Finally with the advent of anatomical and physiological studies the
                                                                         brain has mostly supplanted the heart and the “mind” as the seat
This could manifest itself in numerous forms... A subconscious           of power. Medicolegal constructs such as “Braindeath” reinforce
lack of objectivity or cognitive imprinting. At worst a total internal   this.
reflection of ideas.
                                                                         The Brain Bias describes the widely accepted notion that the
Could it be that all psychological science is wildly and obscenely       brain is everything. Seated behind the eyes, calmly “seeing”
divergent from the truth?                                                everything you “see”.
And with this comes the dawning realisation that our brains may          But a brain. Floating. Alone in a jar of nutrients. Would not be a
be subconsciously conspiring against us to withhold their secrets.       Human1.
How could you detect that the human psyche is lacking in a
specific quality if that particular quality is itself necessary to       The Outsider
identify its presence. How could you see that you had no eyes if
you were blind?                                                          Colleagues at the International Transpsychology seminar, held in
                                                                         Lausanne, posited a tertiary genotype sufficiently different as to
                                                                         be immune to Recursive Anthropocentricity. (Obviously all
Recursive Anthropocentricity                                             reasoning on this subject is dubious.)
This concept has been gaining momentum, and has been called              This genotype would be immediately, but unquantifiably, different.
Recursive Anthropocentricity.                                            Other humans would be transparent in their gaze.
Amongst other things, Recursive Anthropocentricity has been              They would be an Outsider.
posited as a mechanism of action for the “Romanian Helmet”.
                                                                         As yet there is no empirical evidence for such a genotype. It
Perhaps it is this Recursive Anthropocentricity            which    is   seems that, for the time being, only God shall judge us.
responsible for the so-called “Brain Bias” effect.                       1 Not Homo Sapiens anyway.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                    2010;17:177

Case Report #A103
From The Extrapolation Archives... An Occasional Series Looking At Unusual Things That Happened
Nathaniel DiSaronno
Staff Writer

This case report describes a young child, henceforth referred to     domiciles refuse.
as “Child A103”, and an incident which occurred late in 1997.
                                                                     The party finished in the early afternoon and Child A103 returned
As with all Extrapolation case reports every effort has been made    home with its mother. It is understood that A103 was in “high-
to corroborate the account through multiple sources. These           spirits” and there was a disagreement between mother and child.
include interviews, physical examination, scouring local and         The nature of the disagreement is unclear, but may have involved
national media: television, print, radio phone-ins.                  a “Buzz Lightyear” figurine. As a result Child A103 was
                                                                     temporarily confined to their bedroom.
At the time of the incident Child A103 was a healthy nine year old
human. They grew up in a lower middle class suburb of Toronto.       The mother of Child A103 proceeded to do some laundry for a
Child A103 was up to date with the vaccination schedule, whilst      period of approximately 45 minutes. It seems that she then
still maintaining some deciduous teeth in-situ. Other public         became disturbed by unusual noises emanating from upstairs.
records reveal the family of Child A103 to be unassuming and law     Neighbours also report hearing rhythmic and mechanical bass
abiding. None of them had ever risen higher than mediocrity.         tones. Several animals in the vicinity became distressed and the
                                                                     weather became overcast. A young woman who lived next door
On the day of the incident Child A103 had attended a school          stated on record that she was unable to pacify her (normally
friends birthday party. The party took place in a domestic           placid) baby.
residence near to A103's home. Nineteen children were present
(median age 8.9 years). All of them were close personal friends of   The mother of Child A103's first concern was for her progeny and
Child A103 and of a similar socio-economic profile.                  she rushed to the bedroom of its confinement. Her frame of mind
                                                                     at this juncture can only be speculated. Perhaps she was
A pictorial essay written by one of the children a few days later    concerned that Child A103 had further indulged in bad behaviour.
gives an insight into the party. The essay vividly depicts a scene   Perhaps she felt some guilt over their earlier argument.
of indulgence and euphoria:
                                                                     Upon opening the door she was met by an unnerving blackness,
•   The venue was decorated with bright colours                      a void - and then a sharp drop in temperature which caused her
                                                                     to lose her breath. Peering into the emptiness she was able to
•   There was a vast assortment of food, including but not limited
                                                                     vaguely discern the outline of Child A103's bedroom; bunk bed,
    to: sausage rolls, cheese strings, pizza and potato chips
                                                                     wardrobe, a poster of a panda. Near the centre of the room there
•   The food was served on paper plates, decorated with garish       was an unusual object. It stood one metre tall and had an
    images of “Power Rangers”                                        obscene, reptilian silhouette. Child A103 appeared to be
                                                                     manipulating this device, which it is assumed they built. It was
•   The ham and pineapple pizza proved very popular                  later discovered to be partially constructed from components of
                                                                     “Lego”, a stereo, a “Scalectrix” slot car set, and a “Nintendo 64”
•   The was also a wide assortment of beverages: cordial, fruit      computer game.
    juice, cola and “Sprite”
                                                                     A vigorous plasma disc slowly rotated from the apex of this
•   One child spilt milk on the couch, but did not cry               machine. This disc was the only source of illumination in the
                                                                     room, however the mother of Child A103 later described it as
•   An entertainer performed a routine which involved balloon
                                                                     “sucking the light out of your eyes”.
                                                                     It is alleged that through the disc an observer could see “the
•   There was a game of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey”                 agonies of tormented souls” and that the device was a “gateway
•   All the guests left with a “Goodie bag” containing               to the afterlife”.
    confectionery, a small plastic toy and a comic book              It is uncertain whether these “tormented souls” could see Child
This account was largely verified by forensic examination of the     A103 or its mother.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                         2010;17:178

Alternative Systems Of Value And Exchange
Please Sir! Can I Have Some More!
Ann-Marie Kennedy
Doncaster School of Economics

Introduction                                                             city's economy is based entirely upon the periodic table and the
                                                                         relative abundance of each element.
This review takes a brief look at four important independent
community projects. All of which have taken a fresh look at              Everything is considered in terms of it's Earthly frequency with
methods of value and exchange. They propose an alternative to            respect to Hydrogen, and values may fluctuate owing to
those based on traditional financial systems – ‘the root of all evil’.   availability. For example, at the time of writing one Selenium atom
                                                                         was worth 10760 Hydrogen atoms. The base unit of currency is
In spite of a long history of economic research and theorising,          therefore the hydrogen atom, usually referred to in quantities of
there has been little practical experimentation in the field. It has     10,000 million billion – or 1 “Sulizkk”.
always been considered extremely dangerous – notwithstanding
the example of the Soviet Union.                                         Any physical item can be taken to a ‘bank’, and ‘deposited’.
                                                                         Except here the bank is the back wing of the HOQA accelerator.
Thanks to the treachery of bankers and the absence of any                The deposit is then atomised by an electron beam, before being
economic foresight we currently have global recession,                   run through a mass spectrometer to determine it's constitution.
unemployment, homelessness, poverty and suffering. There has             This information is transferred to the owners’ account.
never been a better time to re-think our strategy.
                                                                         The constituent atoms are stored and used in manufacturing,
                                                                         which vastly reduces waste and means that Selenium is rarely left
Reverse Money
                                                                         lying around unattended.
Our review begins in Juban, a small town on New Zealand's
southern island. The 3,000 inhabitants recently elected a well-          Redistribution
known local anti-capitalist as mayor. Immediately upon taking
office he proposed a town-wide experiment. The official                  Redistribution, Connecticut is an enclave populated almost
pamphlets describe it as “a bold statement on the irrelevance and        exclusively by exiled Scandinavians. Here the town's authorities
hypocrisy of money” and his idea was as simple as its execution          have embarked upon an ambitious “Robin Hood” policy of wealth
was complex.                                                             redistribution.
Essentially he demanded that all transactions were to be                 Their stated aim is to stop financial remuneration being the prime
reversed. Individual assets were determined at the beginning of          motive for employment. They seek to encourage a philosophy of
the experimental period: the mean personal wealth of an                  fulfilment through gainful occupation.
inhabitant was calculated and the economic reversal took place
around this amount. The economy was re-aligned, so financial             The single most obvious implementation of this is the dramatic
reimbursement was delivered to those purchasing goods, and an            narrowing of salary gaps. This is achieved through rigorous
earned wage resulted in salary being given to the employer.              capping of income, generous minimum wage and virtually no
                                                                         unemployment benefits. The local government uses resources
Amongst the (many) stated aims of the project include                    recouped through careful taxation and buoyant public services to
encouraging people to explore the interrelationship between              ensure adequate job numbers.
industry and employment.
                                                                         The brave inhabitants of Redistribution raise numerous important
                                                                         It remains to be seen, with most jobs receiving a similar wage, will
Money was cast out of Umberville, Utah in the 1920's, after the          societal status remain attached to the customary professionals?
last great depression. Inhabitants of this austere community
adhere to the principles of an obscure and irrelevant Orthodox           If individuals are not required to choose one job over the other for
Christian text. From this biblical tome locals developed a scale of      economic reasons, then will they be more free to chose
worthiness, and have had the algorithm cast in bronze. Their             employment? Will they be more content and more productive?
calculation is incredibly comprehensive and includes a complete
                                                                         Conversely, do capped salaries cause disincentives for individuals
description of human behaviour, which is an achievement in itself
                                                                         and stifle economic growth?
and worthy of a separate article. (See Extrapolation XXIV.)
                                                                         Ultimately, what would be the effect on human culture and
Followers are all given a handheld computer with audiovisual
                                                                         civilisation? Would redistribution cause stagnation?
capture capabilities. They then log their deeds with their devices,
ideally corroborated with evidence.
                                                                         Brave Experiments
Positive deeds gain the purveyor points, whereas negative deeds
lose points. (Self-flagellation is considered extremely worthy.)         All our brave experiments are ongoing, with few publicised
                                                                         difficulties. We shall endeavour to bring you further news on their
These points are exchangeable for simple goods – not luxury              progress, and the progress of other schemes, including:
items – but items of sustenance such as water, coal and cheese.
                                                                         •   Usury
Periodic Table                                                           •   Profit sharing
An experiment running in the Hungarian city of Sulizkk, could            •   Islamic style bank accounts
hardly be more reductionist than Umberville's. The city is a
modern conurbation serving the nearby HOQA particle                      What is the main stimulus for progress: money or happiness?
accelerator. Appropriately enough for a place of science, the
                                                                         Does this matter?
XVIIEX                                                                                                                        2010;17:179

Everything Is Everything
Simultaneity, Symmetry, Syntax
Werner Jakob Karlsson
Nordstrand Institute, Stockholm

Let us assume that we desire to develop an understanding of our        and that nothing can be known or communicated. An extreme
surroundings. How can we hope to have a complete                       form of metaphysical nihilism holds that existence itself does not
understanding of the universe?                                         exist.
If we assume that the universe is very big then it seems unlikely      An alternative approach suggests that objects with proper parts
that an understanding will come from observation of the whole.         do not exist, and only basic building blocks without parts exist,
                                                                       and thus the world we see and experience full of objects with
Therefore our understanding must come from studying a part and         parts is a product of human misperception.
making inferences. Is it possible to have such an understanding?
If not, then is there any point in trying?                             In the case of nihilism there is nothing to understand. Or only
There are three main approaches to a complete understanding.
Either the universe is made of nothing, one thing or many things.
Pluralism                                                              The final option is that there is only one thing. As it appears that
                                                                       there are indeed many things in the world, then they must either
In metaphysics, pluralism claims a plurality of basic substances       be aspects of the one thing or derivative from it.
making up the world; in epistemology, pluralism claims that there
are several conflicting but still true descriptions of the world.      It is difficult to derive a complete understanding of something by
                                                                       studying only a small aspect of something with many different
If the universe is pluralistic and often contradictory then it seems   aspects. But it is not inconceivable that if that aspect were derived
unlikely that we'd be able to fully examine all the plurals.           from a whole that understanding the derivation would lead to an
Therefore there is no single, complete, understanding.                 understanding of the whole.
                                                                       This is our way in. Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter
Nihilism                                                               necessitatem.

Nihilism generally describes the belief that all values are baseless
XVIIEX                                                                                                                        2010;17:180

Auto-Ophthalmoscopy And The Homunculus
Can the Eye See Itself?
Antonio Ventura
Neapolitan Visual Institute

It is possible to examine one's own retina, and thus peer dimly at      own homunculus, ad infinitum.
one's own neurology. And some would say, soul.
                                                                        Auto-ophthalmoscopy effectively destroys the homunculus.
The techique involves a direct ophthalmoscope and two
perpendicular mirrors. Thus it possible for the left eye to see         Infinite regression may occur with Cartesian mind-body dualism,
inside the right, or vice-versa. The technique requires some            and indeed the concept of a soul. Here the suggestion is that the
practice, a steady hand, spotless mirrors and large pupils.             body must receive instruction from a separate mind before an
                                                                        action; “The ancestor of every action is a thought.”
The first thing to be seen is the red-reflex, light reflected back
from the blood in the choroid. (This is similar to the red-eye          Gilbert Ryle argued that intelligent behaviours cannot be
phenomena seen with compact cameras.) By moving in on the               explained, in general, by assuming that theoretical operations
red-reflex it is possible to see the blood vessels on the retina. The   have gone on behind the scene, since those operations
blood vessels may themselves be followed back to the optic disc,        themselves can be intelligent or non-intelligent. The supposition
and hence the optic nerve.                                              that intelligent behaviour always requires prior (or even
                                                                        contemporaneous) theoretical operations launches a vicious
But what are we seeing? Light from the outside world forms an           regress of theoretical operations. The mind has become a “Ghost
image on the retina and there follows a tacit assumption that           in the machine”, another homunculus.
“something” inside the brain “sees” this image. It could be
conceived as a little man, perhaps, a Homunculus (Latin: “little        Thus, it must be allowed that some intelligent behaviour is not the
human”). How does the homunculus see? He would require his              outcome of prior theoretical operations. The question is where did
                                                                        it originate?
XVIIEX                                                                                                                       2010;17:181

Immortality In Papua New Guinea
Fear And Be Slain! Believe And live!
Maurice Blanco
Department of Anthropology, Basle Humanist Institute, Basle, Switzerland

Whilst preparing my doctorate at the Basle Humanist Institute, I       It was well known that he had discovered a previously new tribe
had the great privilege of working alongside Christophe Elias.         and was making contact. It was widely believed that he had
                                                                       perished in the jungle, either through malfeasance or
Many of you will know him by reputation alone, and let me assure       happenstance. The last that was known of him was when his
you that his reputation was deserved. He was the bravest,              belongings - clothes and diaries from the trip - materialised in
fearless and, above all, most intellectually rigorous man I have       fishing village several years later. As I perused his elaborate
ever met. He had a lust for life like no other.                        copperplate script something more complex emerged.
I maintained a close friendship and correspondence with                Christophe believed that he had discovered a race who were
Christophe, although this was often difficult due to his frequent      completely unaware of their own mortality.
and prolonged expeditions abroad. Despite immersing himself
fully in foreign cultures, he would always be interested to hear of    They were completely unafraid of death! They did not believe they
my own work and petty university politics. I remember one              could die!
occasion chatting casually with him in a Viennese cafe. His lips
were still stained from a diet of parrot blood and rice. He would      This was manifest in their language... they had no word for death
nod thoughtfully and offer me a Gauloises before asking another        or dying in their language. Unusually for jungle dwellers they were
piercing question.                                                     strict vegetarians and did not hunt other animals.

Much, much later I took control of his estate. The intimidating task   According to Christophe, they existed completely without
of sorting and cataloguing his work fell into my unworthy hands.       violence. They had no word for murder because they never
There were crates of leather bound diaries, cases of relics, icons,    harmed one another. In fact, they had had no concept of religious
artefacts, clothing, seeds, animal hide, teeth, letters, receipts,     or spiritual beliefs!
visas, airline and boat tickets. Of course there was the original      Christophe remained objective enough to note that this kind of
documentation of his great Congolese fiasco which earned his           cultural philosophy would seem to be evolutionarily counter-
place on the world stage. I found amusing trinkets from his time       productive. If you don't understand death then how can you
spent running a Nepalese bath-house. These would eventually            protect your health and enjoy a long fertile life?
form the basis of his Wagnerian opus on Himalayan positivism. All
that and more.                                                         It appears to offer no form of protective behavioural mechanism
                                                                       and no obvious survival benefit. However, he found were
For some months I was immersed myself in this fascinating              unusually content and free from disease. And he specifically
collection. It was both invigorating and uplifting. I felt the         reports never having seen any of the tribes-people become ill or
indomitable power of the human spirit surge through Christophe's       die.
words, and the peoples he had met sprung to life. In my minds'
eye they spat, they laughed, they cavorted, they danced – they         My own research has found little in the conventional literature.
were alive forever.                                                    Perhaps a smattering of case reports of individuals suffering from
                                                                       schizophrenia who exhibited similar behaviour. (Charles DiPortia,
In the end however, I could not escape the fact – this was not         a minor Belgian neuropsychiatrist posits an inherited deformation
what I was looking for. I had been avoiding the real issue.            in frontal lobe-amygdala communication.)
I wanted to know what happened in Papua New Guinea.                    Another analogy is the unholy lack of fear some small children
The evidence was scattered wildly. A notebook in one crate, a          exhibit before hurting themselves often enough. In all of these
letter wedged into diary from 30 years earlier. It took me several     cases the behaviour is short lived and corrected by suffering.
more months to gather a semblance of a story.                          Sadly, that is where the diaries draw short. What ill-fitting end
Certainly Christophe Elias, was working in the deep rain-forests of    became of dear Christophe I suspect we will never know. Is he
Papua New Guinea towards the end of the last century. And              even dead? Meanwhile I continue to scour his work for clues, for
certainly he had never returned.                                       wisdom, that I and all men may live better lives.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                             2010;17:182

Loopholes In A Taxonomy Of Thought
When You Think... What Are You Thinking Of?
Rowena Hunley
Royal Flemish University of Brussels

Thinking - the process of thought - describes the manipulation of         individual being directly aware of them. It is possible for the
information. It is usually ascribed to the mind, which in itself is an    individual to be aware of and interact with their surroundings but
abstract concept – related, though not necessarily limited to the         not directly aware of their thoughts.
                                                                          If this is the case are they still thoughts as described above? If so
Thoughts might be thought of as building blocks, constructions of         how can the individual be certain of their origin?
which allow the mind to interpret and interact with the world1.
                                                                          A curious phenomenon occurs when an individual attempts to
Taxonomies of thought are invariably complex and contradictory.           consider their own thought processes, especially those of volition.
Ongoing research at our unit seeks to investigate this. An                Perhaps they have been asked to “speak their mind”. Those
abridged summary of some of our findings are presented.                   processes may become vocalised, converted into language.
                                                                          Whereas previously they had not been. They may be seen from a
                                                                          “Third Person” perspective.
Cognition and Affect
                                                                          Once an individual focuses attention up on their own volition it
Early systems, influenced by Thomas Aquinas, considered two
                                                                          degenerates into the cognitive or affective.
categories: the Cognitive2 and the Affective. Respectively, how we
know the world and how we feel about it.                                  If this is the case then it becomes incredibly difficult to understand
                                                                          and articulate thoughts. Paraphrasing them in terms of external
These categories could be further described in terms of memories
                                                                          sense data and language can only result in a decrease in
and emotions3. Memories are taken to be composed of sense
                                                                          information, a loss in translation. This is liable to result in a
data; vision, audition, olfaction, gustation etc.
                                                                          corresponding limitation of volition and thought itself.
Emotion is a mental state which may be accompanied by a
                                                                          The result is an internal, unknowable void (IUV).
physiological response, e.g. Robert Plutchiks wheel of emotions;
acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness,             What is contained in such an IUV is anybody's guess. Some
surprise. It could be considered an internal sensation, analogous         authorities suggest qualia6.
to, say, vision. Here the input would be experience and the organ
the mind, instead of electromagnetic wave-particles and the eye.
Some consider that emotions arise spontaneously, rather than
through conscious effort, and hence are not thoughts. However, it         Neuropsychologists and philosophers alike struggle with the
appears that emotions can be under conscious control. They can            definition, let alone the existence, of qualia. Broadly, a qualia
be recalled at will, they can be dissociated from the physiological       appears to be a mental state which is distinct from the property of
response. Furthermore, there is widespread inter-individual               an object; a ‘bare presence’, or knowledgeless sensation. An
variation in emotional response to identical experiences 4. Work          irreducible, non-physical entity.
from our unit suggests that the affective is indeed a subsidiary of       For example, an individual may see a red flower, or bang their
cognition.                                                                head in a low doorway. In each case the individual is in a
                                                                          distinctive subjective mental state. There is something it is like for
Thought Relativity                                                        them to be in that state. It is different to seeing a yellow flower, or
                                                                          feeling warm sunshine on their head. The difference is the
All components are highly influenced by sense data; experience.           phenomenal character.
And as such are likely to be (at least partially) temporally, spatially
and culturally relative.                                                  The disagreement follows over whether qualia are intrinsic and
                                                                          how qualia relate to the physical world. It could be argued that
The degree to which this is true raises disturbing questions about        qualia suggest a mind-body duality.
the presence of any absolute or pure thought - or indeed the
presence of any absolute truth.                                           A thought experiment proposed by Frank Jackson describes the
It is possible for an individual to think of a situation which they
have not previously experienced based on constructions of                 “Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to
memories. In this situation cognition and affect could be                 investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and
considered prospective, and not purely retrospective. This                white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology
process is central to the other aspect of thought: the Volitional.        of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information
                                                                          there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes,
                                                                          or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’,‘blue’, and so on... What will
Volition and Motivation                                                   happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or
This is the act of making a choice or decision through association,       is given a colour television monitor? Will she learn anything or
concept formation, language, attention, perception, problem               not?”
solving and mental imagery. It requires Motivation. What becomes          If Mary does learn something new then two things follow. Firstly
unclear is the medium of volition.                                        that qualia exist and secondly that a purely physical description of
                                                                          the universe is incomplete. It is also something of a problem for
Emergence                                                                 the auto-didact.
Another concept of thought is as an Emergent Phenomenon.                  Neurologists, including VS Ramachandran and Oliver Sacks have
Consciousness, a state of wakefulness and awareness is                    sought to find case studies - blind synaesthetes or feral children -
generally considered necessary before thought can occur5.                 to unconvincingly answer the question.
Attention allows a thought to rise from the disordered, “scatter-
brained” state, the Zerstreutheit.                                        Private Language Argument
With that in mind, consider that all the above processes can be           Ludwig Wittgenstein explained a private language whereby: “The
applied either willfully or automatically, reflexively - without the      words of this language are to refer to what can be known only to
Loopholes In A Taxonomy Of Thought                                                                                                    XVIIEX 2010;17:183

the speaker; to his immediate, private, sensations. So another           Philosophical Zombies
cannot understand the language.” This is not the same as
recording an individuals experiences into a code. Any code could         Philosophical zombies are thought experiments to investigate the
be cracked given a big enough computer.                                  nature of mind. A zombie is exactly like a human being in all
                                                                         physical attributes, except that it lacks consciousness. It may also
It is in fact more intrinsic to the concepts of thought, attributed to   lack qualia (if they even exist). There is nothing it is like to be a
Locke, and even Descartes: that interpersonal communication              zombie.
works by the speakers' translation of their internal mental
vocabularies into sounds followed by hearers' re-translation into        If these zombies existed, or even if they could exist, it might have
their own internal vocabularies.                                         implications for a materialistic view of mind.

Wittgenstein's conclusion is that a language unintelligible to           It might even have implications for the relationship between what
anyone but its originating user is impossible. The reason for this is    is conceivable, what is possible and what is real.
that such a so-called language would, necessarily, be                    Of course, it is illegal to attempt to produce zombies under
unintelligible to its supposed originator too, for he would be           international law, and ethical norms would make it socially
unable to establish meanings for its putative signs.                     unacceptable. However, it would seem prudent to be alert for their
Sadly, no one is really able to understand how he came to this           presence; it is almost certain that there are organisations devoted
conclusion.                                                              to such activity.
                                                                         The single biggest problem in searching for an entity which is
Destruction of Solipsism through Technology                              physically and behaviourally identical to a human – is
                                                                         distinguishing it from a human.
It is clear that thoughts cannot be adequately transcribed onto
paper, nor viewed on a television (although legions of artists have      This in itself would seem to preclude their existence.
tried). The only immediately likely device for receiving, interpreting
and monitoring thoughts would be another mind. Our group is
currently working on such technology.
There are two main aspects - firstly capturing the mental state
and secondly relaying it to another mind. Investigations combine         1 Here the term world is used advisedly, to describe everything, external and internal to
                                                                         the mind in question.
the electroencephalogram, functional magnetic resonance                  2 The word cognitive is used in a limited sense.
imaging, transsphenoidal IR, positron emission tomography,               3 Although they are by no means exclusive; clearly it is possible to have memorie s of
transcranial magnetic stimulation and super conducting quantum           emotions.
                                                                         4 This may well be the case with all senses.
interface devices. So far we have published results conveying the        5 As with Descartes' cogito.
mental states of anticipation and frustration.                           6 Compare this with Plato's theory of Forms, whereby he asserts that Forms, ideas, are
                                                                         the highest kind of objective truth and not the material world.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                       2010;17:184

Epidemiology Of Common Sense
For Inspiration To Occur The Lungs Must First Expand
Jemma Ericson, Nigel Vaudry and Su Mizushima
West Midlands Academy Of Social Studies, Solihull

A quantitative study into the prevalence of Common sense in           Some questions asked by important people are: Do enough
a sample population of the United Kingdom                             people possess “common sense” to keep a country’s workforce
                                                                      consistently productive? Is the public's’ “Common sense” enough
“Before men can reason together, they must agree in first             to keep the peace or are new laws necessary? Will they vote us
principles; and it is impossible to reason with a man who has no      back in?
principles in common with you.”1
                                                                      In today’s stringently measured and vigorously restricted
Introduction: What is common sense?                                   bureaucratic society, commodities such as “hearsay” or “common
                                                                      sense” are nowhere near good enough, and they don't make any
Despite everybody extolling a return to “Common sense”, it            money. We need empirical data. Evidence. Scientific method. The
remains almost indescribable. Is it nothing more than a cheap         gold standard can only be the “Randomised Controlled Trial”.
argument, something to appeal to once all other reasoning has
failed? Alas, oh Nathaniel! Why did you not do as common sense        In lieu of the possible introduction of a “Common sense” syllabus
dictates?                                                             to National Curriculum in England, Wales and Northern Ireland,
                                                                      Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7), we were commissioned to investigate
The Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid has perhaps written the          this important issue. A summary of our findings lay before you.
most on the subject. He viewed “Common sense” as an appeal to
certain innate principles of human nature – ones that are partly
constitutive of what it is to reason. He believed that the creative   Method
intellect requires some constraints other than pure logic. Many       Fraught with difficulty.
things may be logically consistent but when analysed under
“Common sense” they come into doubt.                                  A test was devised in which a random sample of 1,573 people
                                                                      from the electoral register, representative of the target population,
Two interpretations are frequent in the literature:                   was tested on their reactions to a number of situations. These
“Common sense” could be considered as something that people           situations were developed from genuine instances where non-
in common would agree on. In other words, they have some              specialist intuitive behaviour could be usefully applied. We wanted
sense data, or experience, in common, or shared. Most people          to see what proportion of the population responded similarly and
who have seen a whale would agree that they are big animals.          whether non-similar responses would also result in a positive
A slightly different interpretation, and one more common (!) in the
populace, might be understanding “Common sense” as what most          The situations fell into two broad categories, “everyday” and
people would consider good judgement. Most people would               “extraordinary”, reflecting how likely the subjects might be to
consider it good judgement not to play with fire.                     encounter them in “real life”.

These ideas are not necessarily irreconcilable... the first is        Subjects undertook the test in a neutral environment, either a café
required for the latter. (In conjunction with some sort of data       or bar, and it took the form of an interview. Situations were
interpretation.)                                                      described to them and they were asked how they would act. They
                                                                      were not given any further information beyond that
                                                                       predetermined. Their answers were recorded and analysed by a
                                                                       separate team. In the second part of the interview process
                                                                       subjects were presented with a (different) set of scenarios and
                                                                       previous (unknown) subjects response. They were asked to rate
                                                                       the effectiveness of the response.
                                                                      There was then a bilateral analysis to the results, based upon the
                                                                      two differing constructs of “Common sense”, as described earlier.
                                                                      Firstly, what was the frequency of common responses? Secondly,
                                                                      would the responded choice of action result in a positive outcome
                                                                      to the scenario?
                                                                      Because the answers to the test were necessarily presented in a
                                                                      free form we sought to broadly categorise them, in order to
                                                                      gauge their frequency.
                                                                      Rating of the response again, took two forms. This included
                                                                      rating as given by other subjects, and also expert analysis. We
                                                                      sought the opinion of panels of experts in each of the particular
                                                                      fields into which the scenarios fell.

                                                                      We found no broad category of response reached more than
                                                                      51% incidence to any of the scenarios (range 15 – 51%, median
                                                                      The most prevalent responses, in their low frequency, were not
“Common sense” also puzzles those who would attempt to create         rated very highly by other subjects: mean rating 5.1 out of 10.
an Artificial Intelligence, as it would conceivably be a most         (range 0 – 7.15, median 5.4). Even more damning were the
beneficial property.                                                  ratings of the same most prevalent responses by expert panel:
                                                                      mean 3.0 out of 10 (range -8 – 4.8, median 3.1).
Epidemiology Of Common Sense                                                                                                          XVIIEX 2010;17:185

We performed a multivariate analysis against socioeconomic               Human experience is so disparate that unless “Common sense” is
status, age, body mass index, classical intelligence, emotional          entirely relative then it must depend on something more than
intelligence, ethnicity, morality and gender. In spite of this we were   learned behaviour. Could this be an example of a genetic
unable to find any statistically significant patterns.                   memory4?
In summary there was no clear consensus of decision, and the             Alternatively, if there is indeed some sort of inherent human ideal
most common decisions were not particularly good in opinion of           of good judgement then the whole argument becomes horribly
either general public or expert.                                         circular5. Would “Common sense” then be independent from
                                                                         reality? Purely a construct of the human mind?
There are two possible explanations for our findings. Either
“Common sense” is a fallacy or our study was flawed.                     The sentiment that "Common sense is the collection of prejudices
                                                                         acquired by age eighteen” is often attributed to Albert Einstein.
We do not believe our study to be flawed.                                Allegedly he saw “Common sense” as an impediment to abstract
There was no clear unifying code. No collective unconscious              thought.
knowledge-body of “Common sense” in our sample group.                    The question remains, if our subjects were not using common
Problems largely stem from the incomplete and nebulous                   sense, then by what mechanism did they draw their conclusions?
definition of the subject.                                               The poor quality of their answers suggests they were not using
                                                                         logic, or any reasonable sort of intellect. This surely presents
The idea “Common sense” is the most likely choice of decision is         problems for democracy and any other mechanism based on
not borne out. Our study shows no mutual theme to people's               gauging public opinion.
decision making process.
                                                                         Any notion of common sense creates serious problems for an
Perhaps this definition is tautologous. The most often chosen            “expert”. Here the word describes an individual with specialist
action would certainly be “common”, but so what? How would that          experience and knowledge. Who's view should be considered if
be an indication of merit? It is probably only useful for predicting     they contradict?
human behaviour3.
                                                                         Mankind cannot exist on “Common sense” alone!
The second interpretation relies upon some sort of definition of
good judgement. Here, “Common sense” is a decision that most
                                                                         Competing Interests
people feel is a “good”. This could only be culturally subjective.
Presumably the Conquistadors thought it common sense to                  Supported by a grant from The Curriculum and Qualifications
slaughter native South Americans. Contemporary Spaniards may             Authority, an executive non-departmental public body of the
think differently.                                                       Department for Children, Family and Schools in the United
                                                                         Kingdom. The full data set remains property of the CQA and Her
Any decision taken using “Common sense” is likely to be
                                                                         Majesty's Government.
extremely circumstantial. So, if “Common sense” is best viewed
as a cultural phenomenon then would how do you limit its
relativity? To geographical areas? To socioeconomic groups? To
individual human beings?
In other words a “Common sense” decision for one person would
                                                                         1Thomas Reid
be different to another. Without access to that individuals              2You are invited to test yourself. Sample questionnaires are available for viewing on the
complete neuropsychology; their experiences and memory, any              website of the West Midlands Academy of Social Studies.
value judgement regarding their “Common sense” is meaningless.           3See: XVIIEX Alternative Systems of Value and Exchange
                                                                         4See: XVIIEX How many people are there
                                                                         5See: XVIIEX Humans Studying Humans
XVIIEX                                                                                                                    2010;17:186

Infantile Deconstruction of Language
Eeny Meeny Miny Mo
Agnetha Lomborg, Eric Gostov
Centre for Linguistics and Semantics, Gothenburg, Sweden

Introduction                                                        Why were misspellings included? Because small children are
                                                                    smarter than grown-ups give them credit for, and otherwise the
This paper shall show words for what they really are. Which is to   reversed words might have made them suspicious.
say, they are ridiculously foolish social constructions from a
forgotten era.                                                      These incorrect spellings were genuine mistakes. They were
                                                                    taken from a database gathered by software embedded in a word
What I am writing now, although you may have been fooled into       processor at the computer departments of two schools - the
thinking otherwise: it makes no sense. Language is essentially a    schools from which the study population was drawn. Copies of
tool used by humans to keep other species oppressed. An             the code are available through the author. It was then measured
elementary investigation was performed to demonstrate these         how many of the words each child gave the correct meaning for.
notions. Anyone who possesses a decent vocabulary, or has
access to a dictionary can repeat this.                             How can it be judged what is the correct meaning for a word
                                                                    spelled backwards? Here the results were analysed rof
                                                                    consistency. Where more than one child had put the same or
                                                                    similar answer they were judged to have given a ‘correct’ answer.
One hundred children with a median reading age of 8 underwent       This was also corroborated with the polygraph.
three separate tests. Reading age was calculated in the standard
manner. Each test had an identical format, and was undertaken       Results
on an individual basis.
                                                                    When ew look at the ‘correct’ answers given in response to test b
The child sat unaccompanied in a bare room with only a television   it is worthwhile to compare them to the meaning of the word when
screen. A word would flash up on the screen and the child was       written the correct way round.
asked to state out loud what they felt the word meant. Their
comments were recorded and analysed later. They had a                      Note: a ‘correct’ answer was given where more than one
period of 36 seconds to define each word and they were                       child had given the same definition for a backwards
shown four sets of 15 words. Each child was attached to                       word. Each child saw the same 30 backwards words in
a standard US Military Intelligence polygraph, to                              their test. Overall 3000 definitions of these words
determine if they were telling the truth.                                       were given by 100 children: not one child gave a
                                                                                 definition that would be correct for the unreversed
The television was a 22” plasma flatscreen, chosen for                           word.
unequivocal replication of the words. The visual cues
were presented in 50 point letters, Times New Roman                              It would appear taht over 60% of words make sa
font. The 60 words were randomly drawn from a set which                        much sense nehw written backwards as they do nehw
contained all the words in the concise Oxford English                         written correctly.
Dictionary, within the children’s level of reading ability. The
Heathcliff algorithm was used for randomisation.                              These results ylpmis cannot be dismissed as due to
                                                                                ecnedicnioc or pattern recognition. The fact that words
The three tests were as follows:                                                 are ‘comprehensible’ whilst hircy supposedly
                                                                                    incomprehensible ghambo only compounds their
1. In one test the children were presented with a                                     hallafratish utter hopelessness, lack of simon
   combination of 50% normal words and 50%                                             meaning and worth raftim. We live in a fantasy
   normal words spelt incorrectly.                                                     world ivy constructed on a senseless, highly
2. In the other test the children were presented with                                  irrational form of ‘communication’. Our everyday
   a combination of 50% normal words and 50%                                          prek interactions era nothing tub hot ria. They
   words from the same sample - written                                               era on erom useful wurly than a.
   backwards.                                                                   Hlam inky.
3. In the third test all of the words shown to them
   were correct.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                       2010;17:187

Non-lethal City Neutralisation
Beneath It All, Desire Of Oblivion Runs
Lawrence Hanks
New York Institute Of Psychogeography

Introduction                                                         transport links. These include: the world's oldest intercity
                                                                     passenger railway, the Leeds Liverpool canal (via the Bridgewater
A group in the UK have published early proposals for a new urban     canal at Wigan), and the M62 motorway.
warfare strategy.
                                                                     The first phase was to remove of all public references to
They modelled war games between the rival cities of Liverpool        Manchester. This included not only road signs and road markings
and Manchester, set amidst the post-industrial landscape of          but also advertisements
England's North West.
                                                                     Bus and rail timetables were altered to create the impression that
They chose these cities for their close proximity and long-          there was no public transport available to Manchester.
standing rivalry which traces back to rapid growth during the 19th
                                                                     Sport and Commerce
During this period Manchester's economy grew into a
“Cottonopolis” as a result of textiles, whilst Liverpool developed   Sport, and in particular football2 is an essential aspect of the local
into the world's most important port, largely on the basis of        identity with the cities hosting numerous pre-eminent teams:
slavery.                                                             Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC, Everton FC and
                                                                     Manchester City FC.
After the second world war, and the subsequent weakening of the
British empire both cities declined. They are only now starting to   The Liverpool tactic was to pointedly refuse to acknowledge or
recover, and as they become economic competitors once more           engage in any sporting engagement with any Mancunian team.
the rivalry has returned.
                                                                     Simultaneously they undertook mass orders of all Manchester
                                                                     related merchandise, only to return it. This effectively rendered
Method                                                               the consignment lost in a no-man's land between cyberspace and
                                                                     the grey belt.
In essence the group's technique relies on distorting local
psychogeography1, subverting it in favour of one city at the         This physical denial-of-service attack (PDOS) was not limited to
expense of the other. The researchers arbitrarily took the            sporting regalia but included any product which specifically
viewpoint of a Liverpudlian attack on Manchester. They sought                           referenced “the other place”. For example,
to recreate the “Fog of War” - in order that                                              maps, literature and tourist gifts.
one city might get lost.
The first step is constructing a                                                            Media blackout
sociological analysis of variance
                                                                                                                 A   time   lag    on   all
between the two cities. This is
based on standard data mining:
surveys, mass media and library
data from the Office of National
Statistics etc.
This construct allowed them to
determine a list of cultural                                                                                  Liverpudlian          media
reference points around which                                                                                 allowed      the     careful
the attacks were framed.                                                                                       censoring and removal of
                                                                                                               all references to the rival
The city centres are 35                                                                                                Social
miles   apart    and
served        by                                                                                                         Infantry spread
numerous                                                                                                                  negative
                                                                                                                 gossip,           actively
                                                                                                                 denying the existence
                                                                                                                  of any city within a 60
                                                                                                                   mile radius. A large
                                                                                                                     PR campaign was
                                                                                                                      begun              to
                                                                                                                        encourage local
                                                                                                                              wild factoids
                                                                                                                               about the
2010;17:188                                                                                                 Non-lethal City Neutralisation XVIIEX

physical beauty and success of Liverpool's inhabitants.                is absorption into neighbouring territories and rapidly fading
In addition, the war game used a clandestine group of fifth
columnists who undermined the other city from within. The              Declaration of Possible Conflict of Interest
activities of this group ranged from duplicating some of the above
techniques and also positively reinforcing the image of Liverpool      Some details of “Nonlethal City Neutralisation” have been
as powerful and prosperous.                                            voluntarily withheld due to UK Counterterror laws. (Subsection
                                                                       Cartographical terrorism).

The intended and indeed, projected, consequences of this attack
are clear: a realignment of fortunes in favour of one city at the
expense of another.                                                    1 Psychogeography, in the tradition of Guy Debord, the French Marxist , concerns the
                                                                       specific effects of the geographical environment on the emotions and behaviour of
Liverpudlians benefit from a sense of reawakening, a liberation.       individuals.
They experience the opening new avenues of thought and                 2 Association football, “soccer”.
                                                                       3 It is of note that projections without the intervention described above foretell a different
expression. Victory heralds the dawning of a new age of Aquarius!      form of neutralisation for the cities of Liverpool and Manchester.
A rebirth from the “Pool of Life”!                                     Urban sprawl and close proximity means that Manchester and Liverpool will likely
                                                                       merge. They will probably be absorbed into a Megacity, formed around the trans-
On the other hand, the inhabitants of the other city experience        Pennine transport links, specifically the M62 motorway. It would also incorporate the
denigration, denial and ultimately, cultural destruction. The result   cities of Leeds and Hull, spreading across the width of the United Kingdom.
                                                                       Current data suggests that this is likely to happen by the year 2050.
XVIIEX   2010;17:170
XVIIEX                                                                                                                       2010;17:171

Real Time Bioelectric Nociceptive Modelling
Do You Make A Distinction Between What YOU Experience And What Your Cells Experience When They Register Pain?
Lennon Akwasi
Staff Writer

Pain is probably only the seventh most common experience in the        experience; an initial sharp pain, followed by a prolonged, less
world today1. In spite of this, and in spite of the achievements of    intense sensation.
Western civilization, few individuals can claim to have lived a life
without pain. Indeed, as Buddha tells us: life is suffering2.          These afferent fibres synapse in the dorsal horn of the spinal
                                                                       cord. Aδ fibres form synapses in Rexed laminae I and V, C fibers
But what is pain?                                                      connect with neurons in lamina II.
                                                                       After synapse second order neurones cross the midline of the
A definition of pain                                                   spinal cord and ascend to the thalamus, and from here to the
                                                                       cerebral cortex.
The International Association for the Study of Pain defines acute
pain thus:                                                             It is important to note the presence of descending, or efferent pain
                                                                       pathways which have an inhibitory role.
    “An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience
    associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or
    described in terms of such damage.”                                Cultural Attitudes
The definition is followed by a postscript:                            Generally pain is agreed to be an unpleasant sensation,
                                                                       otherwise it would serve little role as a deterrent against tissue
    “The inability to communicate verbally does not negate             damage. However, cultural interpretation of pain has changed.
    the possibility that an individual is experiencing pain and
    is in need of appropriate pain-relieving treatment. Pain is        These attitudes likely reflect improvements in anaesthesia and
    always subjective. Each individual learns the application          analgesia. Prior to these technologies people just had to “put up”
    of the word through experiences related to injury in early         with pain.
    life. Biologists recognize that those stimuli which cause
    pain are liable to damage tissue. Accordingly, pain is that        In Victorian times many religious authorities taught that pain was
    experience we associate with actual or potential tissue            a deliberate act of God, a consequence of original sin and
    damage. It is unquestionably a sensation in a part or parts        therefore its manipulation was abhorrent.
    of the body, but it is also always unpleasant and therefore        This was certainly the case in childbirth. Clergymen feared that
    also an emotional experience. Experiences which                    women should lose all inhibitions and yield their fruits to the
    resemble pain but are not unpleasant, e.g., pricking,              incubus. This only began to change after Queen Victoria had
    should not be called pain. Unpleasant abnormal                     chloroform administered in labour by John Snow in 1853.
    experiences (dysesthesias) may also be pain but are not
    necessarily so because, subjectively, they may not have            Although few people would consider surgery without some form of
    the usual sensory qualities of pain.”                              pain modulation, opposition labour analgesia persists.
It goes on:                                                            This is not to mention other sadomasochistic practices.
    “Many people report pain in the absence of tissue                  However, it can be argued that it is a fundamental human
    damage or any likely pathophysiological cause; usually             behaviour (and by extension one purpose of society) to avoid
    this happens for psychological reasons. There is usually           pain. Avoiding tissue damage has a clear survival benefit, whether
    no way to distinguish their experience from that due to            perpetrated consciously or not.
    tissue damage if we take the subjective report. If they
    regard their experience as pain and if they report it in the       To a certain extent this concept has been rationalised in
    same ways as pain caused by tissue damage, it should               numerous texts such as the Ten Commandments. Perhaps this is
    be accepted as pain. This definition avoids tying pain to          most implicit in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of
    the stimulus. Activity induced in the nociceptor and               1948. For example, the right to life, that none shall be subjected
    nociceptive pathways by a noxious stimulus is not pain,            to torture, or slavery, the right to social security. The clearest
    which is always a psychological state, even though we              statement of intent is article 25:
    may well appreciate that pain most often has a proximate           “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the
    physical cause. “                                                  health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food,
This succinct account barely begins to unravel the complexities of     clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social
pain. It seems that the IASP is unable or unwilling to separate the    services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment,
physical from the psychic (See footnote 2).                            sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood
                                                                       in circumstances beyond his control.”
Even when taken in isolation the physical processes underlying
pain are opaque and poorly understood. They are documented             These human rights have been enshrined in law in many
badly elsewhere, but a rudimentary overview is included for            countries. There is a plethora of legislation and organisations
completeness sake and simpletons.                                      directly aimed at reducing tissue damage, perceived or otherwise,
                                                                       such as the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work,
                                                                       nationalised healthcare systems, or even the Royal Society for
Pain pathways                                                          the Prevention of Accidents.
Nociceptors are sensory neurons in various guises, depending           Is it possible that individuals in modern societies have reduced
upon that which stimulates them. They may be, for example,             levels of pain compared with their ancestors? Anecdotally there is
thermal, mechanical (detecting pressure), or chemical. The             a difference in pain attitudes between generations; current
chemicals that stimulate nociceptors are legion, ranging from H+       generations are less willing to accept pain. The implication being
and K+ ions to capsaicin and substance P.                              that previous generations have higher pain tolerance and are less
                                                                       likely to seek analgesia. An extreme variation of this may be the
These then propagate an action potential down a nerve axon.
                                                                       increasing “misuse” of analgesics in society, specifically the
These axons are classified as Aδ (thick, myelinated and fast) or C
                                                                       endemic use of opium alkaloids. Sadly, this behaviour all too often
(thin, unmyelinated and slow). This results in a multiphasic pain
                                                                       results in disease, social deprivation and tissue damage.
2010;17:172                                                                         Real Time Bioelectric Nociceptive Modelling XVIIEX

Numerous non-governmental organisations exist with the stated         electrodes are arranged in mirror of the standard nociceptive
aim of eradicating pain, perhaps the best known of which is the       anatomy. These can be incorporated into a three dimensional
Pain Liberation Society.                                              array, much like a conventional CT scanner. Alternatively if the
                                                                      individuals nervous system has been appropriately mapped then
What might be the consequence of a pain free world? Lessons           the electrodes are integrated into combat fatigues. This system
may be learned from the military.                                     allows real time bioelectric nociceptive modelling (RTBNM). This
                                                                      data can be relayed to the combatant and to the command
Military Implications                                                 centre. When coupled with cardiorespiratory biometrics it provides
                                                                      extremely sensitive diagnostic and prognostic information3.
Armed forces are by their nature organisations designed to inflict
pain. Many military scientists are researching various aspects of     The implications of RTBNM are massive. Some campaign groups
the subject and rumours abound of various breakthroughs.              are already concerned that the technology could be perverted into
                                                                      highly specific torture devices.
A soldier who does not feel pain has several advantages over
who one who does. They fight harder and longer; therefore this is     RTBNM could be of immense civilian medical value. Patients
the first goal.                                                       often find it difficult to articulate pain. RTBNM could enable its
                                                                      localisation, and when coupled with therapy provide a marker of
Furthermore, a soldier who doesn't feel pain is less inhibited        response.
about delivering it. Studies derived from the infamous Stanford
Prison experiment show that where an individual has a                 Certainly such a device requires detailed calibration. All pain
detachment between tissue damage and suffering they have an           modalities need to be measured, cross checked and verified.
increased capacity to inflict such damage. Efficiently. Unhindered    Whether it is a pinprick or having a limb ripped off. Our sources
by emotion.                                                           tell us that currently all human pain is being measured and placed
                                                                      on a logarithmic scale, the Dolor (Latin: pain).
Unfortunately a soldier who can't feel pain is also unable to tell
when their own body is damaged. They are at significant risk of       Ultimately they will tell us exactly what is the pain of human
early and unnecessary death.                                          existence.

This lack of self preservation is an expensive double edged
From this conundrum springs forth the second goal; an
mechanism of objectively measuring tissue damage. And
therefore an objective measurement of pain.                           1 Behind vision, audition, gustation, olfaction, touch, equilibrioception, thermoception
                                                                      and proprioception. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that a deficit in any of these faculties
It is widely believed that the US military are working to achieve     is likely to result in pain.
                                                                      2 However, suffering may be seen as a possible and not inevitable consequence of
this. They have found a way of measuring action potentials            pain. This enables a distinction between physical and psychic processes.
generated specifically by nociceptors. The purported technique is     3 One possible approach would be to use the suit in a feedback loop with a target
not dissimilar to standard nerve conduction studies as used in,       controlled infusion of an ultra potent ultra short acting opiate, neutralising all afferent
                                                                      signals. This would be possible, but risk respiratory depression and other opiate side
say, the diagnosis of motor neurone disease. Complex proprietary      effects. More promising would be the new class of substance P antagonists,
algorithms are required to filter extraneous noise. A vast array of   pamoglimates.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                             2010;17:173

Human Enantomerism
Through The Looking Glass
Victor Trejo
Cornwallis Institute, Adelaide

Bulgarian optometrists are making progress in the field of human    These previously undiscovered awarenesses have caused
enantiomerism, it was announced at T-GOC1 last month.               significant psychic distress in the past. They may steal your
                                                                    girlfriend and even replace you in the admiration of your few
During a slideshow presentation they claimed to have nearly         remaining friends.
perfected advanced reflection techniques allowing the creation of
optical isomers at a fundamental molecular DNA level.               Perhaps still more concerning is the possibility that the
                                                                    enantiomer might have significant mind-body disinhibition. They
This would result in a non-super imposable twin.                    may possess a lack of innate qualia; they might be a mythical
Optical isomerism is extremely common in nature. All essential      “Philosophical Zombie”. A being identical to yourself but without a
amino acids2 in the human body are found in the dextro-rotatory     “soul”.
form.                                                               The Bulgarians were quick to deny this as “infinitesimally
Products of the Bulgarian technique would have levo-rotatory        unlikely”.
amino acids.
They speculate that your enantiomer might have markedly
different cognitive processes as a result.
This follows from well documented research into the Intracarotid    1 The Triennial Global Optometry Conference.
Amobarbital Procedure3 which isolates the cerebral hemispheres,     2 With the exception of glycine which is achiral.
                                                                    3 Also known as the Wada test, performed before Epilepsy surgery to determine
and subsequently allows distinct personalities to emerge.           hemispheric dominance and document cognitive function prior to its destruction.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                           2010;17:174

The Fundamental Article
Everything In Anything
Rosalina Odam
Staff Writer

Behind the famous Wenceslas Square in Prague, stands the               For example, last month the entire operation was halted for a
hundred year old Svoboda library. Its decrepit façade is               fortnight whilst searching for an important ‘nodal’ article. That is,
unassuming and architecturally insignificant. The wind of change       one through which several ‘referral paths’ travel. Junior
carries the remnants of fast food and other benefits of                researcher Kristian Kratchovil was responsible for obtaining this
Westernisation to its doorstep. Yet it may once again be that          article in the now defunct “Le Journal de la Société Internationale
Prague is the scene for a revolution.                                  de la Géographie de l'Esprit Intérieur”, from the Sorbonne in
Perhaps this dusty library is an unlikely setting for a discovery to
rock the very foundations of modern science - but that does not        “I went to the place it should be… I looked for the years’ journals,
concern the group of dedicated academics who’s life’s toil hangs       the year of 1966. Oh no! I thought. They had the March, and the
heavy in the air.                                                      May, and there was an empty space in between. But not what I
                                                                       needed. This was very bad. A student had loaned it in 1982 and
The sordid back room which they occupy, is unexceptional save          not returned it yet.”
for beech veneer and the network of thirty six extremely powerful
and handmade computers. When I first visited, this network had         The team was saved after a previously unknown copy was
been running a complex search algorithm for the past three             discovered in the University of Bratislava State Library.
months. Only a loping, rickety, ceiling fan serves to keep it cool.
                                                                       What exactly do Vesely, Kratchovil et al ultimately hope to
And what drives this mysterious set-up? The premise is                 discover? Is it really likely that the will find only one such
surprisingly simple, as the softly spoken team leader, Jakub           fundamental article, or a diverse group of unrelated articles?
Vesely, states:
                                                                       Perhaps they will find some pattern within the complex trees of
“All scientific literature takes on a similar format. A paper          ‘referral paths’ which will tell us about the development of
published in a journal, building on the results of previous            scientific discovery. They have already identified several long
research. When using evidence from other studies it has always         forgotten connections between disparate facts and observations.
been common practice to refer the reader to the original paper
which contained this evidence. You can check the source of any         Perhaps the discovery of the ‘fundamental article’, and where the
statement. What we are doing here at the Svoboda library is            modern scientific community came from, will enlighten our
tracing those references back to what we speculate is the              perspectives on where it is heading.
fundamental article.”                                                  Six months after my first visit I received an excited email from
Sceptics have questioned the significance of their pursuit. But, as    Professor Vesely proclaiming success. I duly took a budget flight
Professor Vesely is at pains to explain, it is important not to        with a crowd of drunken young men and returned to the beautiful
misunderstand what is meant by the ‘fundamental article’:              Czech capital.

“We are not tracing our references back in a temporal sense. No,       However, it soon became clear that something was wrong. Vesely
we are not talking about the first ever article – that does not take   greeted me at the airport, his warm enthusiasm noticeably
36 extremely powerful and handmade computers! No! No! What             absent. He was edgy and trembled slightly. He looked exhausted.
we are dealing with here is the one article upon which the most        We retired to a beer hall and I bought him a pilsner. He clutched
other articles can be traced back to through references. This          the slender glass with both his hands. I was desperate to learn
would be the very core, the keystone, if you like, of science as we    more, but I didn't want to push him in his current fragile state. I let
know it!”                                                              him take his time, and drink. Eventually, softened by the pale
                                                                       hopsy lager, he opened up. He explained that they had indeed
It is difficult not to be drawn up in his excitement as Vesely         found the fundamental article. It was the original, most
describes his search for this most referred and revered article. He    referenced, prime piece of scientific literature... the antecedent,
recounts some of the difficulties he and his qteam of crack            the crux, the keystone of all modern thought!
librarians have faced.
                                                                       At this point he looked up at me, for the first time our eyes met; I
Problems with funding and programming have often been                  saw a broken man. “I cannot take you back to Svoboda.” He said.
dwarfed by sheer logistics. Ninety seven percent of scientific         “You must leave Praha and you must never return! I cannot show
literature was published before computers and the Internet. All        you the article and I cannot tell you which it is... ” He tailed off, his
this data is only available in hard copy – often necessitating         eyes swinging back to his empty glass. I asked why.
researchers being sent to distant library collections.
                                                                       “Because,” he said. “because there is a mistake in it...”
XVIIEX                                                                                                                       2010;17:175

Language By Injection?
Just A Little Prick
Martin Einfeld
Von Hassell University, Bonn, Germany

Memory-Learning-Association                                           The result - it is hoped - would represent a far purer
                                                                      understanding, not only of the learned language, but also the
Our group reports a fundamental breakthrough in memory-               mother tongue.
                                                                      Fevered speculation has arisen amongst semanticists and post-
We have conceived a method whereby it would be possible to            lingual philosophers about the effect this technology would have
learn a language by a simple intravenous dose of a genetically        on language and society
modified retroviral agent: a lexovirus.
The existence of lexoviruses is controversial. Even the word itself   Two Arguments
is in doubt; presumably derived from the Greek lexikos, the term
should technically be lexivirus.                                      One proclaims the development of a sophisticated lingua franca
                                                                      employed by recipients of the injection, superior to ordinary
The concept has come in and out of favour over the years.             spoken language and almost perfectly representative of thought,
Originally it was hypothesised as a possible cause for dyslexia,      allowing unparalleled dialogue between individuals and
and as such may explain temporal and geographical variations in       organisations. A shocking revelation of this theory states that the
its incidence and prevalence.                                         written and spoken word – indeed all words - may become
                                                                      completely superseded by the technology. This would usher in a
Lexoviruses may also be an explanation for the biblical
                                                                      new third age for mankind! And possibly everlasting peace.
phenomena of glossolalia and xenoglossia.
                                                                      The other describes an annihilation of language and a complete
Lately interest has been rekindled in anthropological circles.
                                                                      degeneration of communication. Accompanied by destruction of
Lexoviruses may be able to explain certain other bizarre linguistic
                                                                      all humanity has communicated to achieve over the past 10,000
phenomena. Phenomena seen in isolated races which have not
been exposed to these diseases, or have alternative endemic
lexoviruses.                                                          These two arguments may or may not be the same. It is difficult to
                                                                      understand what the proponents are saying.
Spelling Bee                                                          We are currently at the stage of advanced containment. Having
The technique facilitates interpretation of syntactical arrangement   isolated several possible strands of lexovirus we are working to
and non-verbal cues, going a long way beyond pure vocabulary          achieve its complete genetic description.
translation.                                                          Further results will be published in Extrapolations XVIII or XX.
The virus affects disparate brain areas involved in language as a
whole, not simply a generic “dictionary” area. Language clearly       Declaration
being more complex than a simplistic model based on Wernicke's
and Broca's “areas”.                                                  Adapted from a slideshow given at the Gothenburg Semantic
                                                                      Seminar, 31/01/ 2011
XVIIEX                                                                                                                                       2010;17:176

The Colour Of The Wild
See More, Think More
Antonio Ventura
Neapolitan Visual Institute

Introduction                                                           This may, in part, be a gender issue – for all naturally occurring
                                                                       tetrachromats are female. Genetic coding for colour vision is X
It is understood that the US military are developing (amongst          linked, which is why colour-blindness 3 is far more prevalent in
other things) soldiers with superior vision. One technique they are    males.
pursuing involves retinal injections of stem cells cultivated from
tetrachromatic females which result in greatly increased photopic      Because human tetrachromacy was completely unexpected,
vision.                                                                there exists absolutely no descriptive framework for it.
                                                                       Consequently it is almost impossible for a tetrachromat to convey
                                                                       concepts to the trichromat. It is inevitably a retrograde step,
Photopic Vision
                                                                       limited to invented adjectives and whimsical metaphor.
Photopic vision describes the workings of the eye under well-lit
                                                                       And yet experiences must have existed earlier in history but were
conditions. Photopic vision allows colour perception and is
                                                                       never formulated in science or language. This may simply be due
mediated by “cone" cells. The human eye uses three types of
                                                                       to tetrachromats belonging to the non-dominant gender, leading
cones to sense light in three bands of colour. (“Rod” cells are
                                                                       to an impoverished colourscape.
used for contrast vision in low-light: “Scotopic” vision.) The
pigments of the cones have absorption values at wavelengths of         Data from the Human Genome project suggests the incidence of
around 420 nm (Blue), 534 nm (Blue-Green), 564 nm (Yellow-             tetrachromacy should be around 10% and yet the preliminary
Green). They overlap to provide vision throughout the visible          observational studies have found them to be vanishingly rare.
spectrum. The maximum efficacy is 683 lumens/W at a                    There are many possible explanations for this, but probably the
wavelength of 555 nm (Green).                                          main one is the ongoing subjugation of women.

Colour                                                                 Technology
"Black," "White," "Red," "Green," "Yellow," "Blue," "Brown,"           The first step in implementing the new technology is identifying a
"Orange," "Pink," "Purple" and "Gray."                                 source of stem cells.
In English there are only 11 (eleven) true colours. All the others
                                                                       Unfortunately, the only certain method of identifying a
are adjectives borrowed from nouns1. As we have seen, in the
                                                                       tetrachromat is histologically, ie at post mortem. Therefore
human eye there are only 3 (three).
                                                                       surrogates have been developed which involve questionnaires
Some would argue that Black is not a colour, rather it is the          and special four-dimensional imaging devices. Coupled with
absence of light. In that sense, White is probably not a colour        ancestral studies and DNA analysis the US Department of
either because it is a compound made up of all colours; it is too      Defense have developed crude genetic tests.
much of a good thing.
                                                                       The second stage is priming the recipients. The extra data
Brown isn't much of a colour either. It only looks brown when it is    channel provided by a fourth cone necessitated increasing the
compared to something else - otherwise it's actually Yellow.           bandwith of the optic nerve. This was achieved by a course of
                                                                       neural hormones.
On the other hand, the electromagnetic spectrum is continuous. It
has no beginning. And not much of an ending. There is always a         It is understood that various permutations have been laid forth
light wave/particle with half the wavelength of the previous one.      including a fourth cone with sensitivities in IR wavelengths.

So there's pretty much an infinite colour palette and a very limited   Civilian scientists involved in the project report numerous teething
method of describing it2.                                              troubles. Many of these stem from difficulties with communication
                                                                       between tetrachromat marines and trichromat officers. This has
                                                                       often lead to antagonism and insubordination.
                                                                       The unexpected consequence has been: See more, Think more.
Tetrachromacy describes the condition of possessing four
independent channels for conveying colour information.
Organisms exhibiting tetrachromacy are called tetrachromats,           Learning Points
they possess four different types of cone cells.
                                                                       The complexities of vision are not limited to discussions of
A tetrachromat may see wavelengths beyond those of a typical           tetrachromacy. But through them we begin to realise how poorly
human being's eyesight, and may be able to distinguish colours         we understand the normal sight experience. This might be
that to a trichromat are identical. They have four-dimensional         questioning to what extent our own vision represents reality, or
colourspace, but it is worth noting that the colours that can be       just beginning to grasp the magnitude of interindividual variation.
made with these primaries will not cover all possible colours.
                                                                       Perhaps an offshoot of this military technology, ostensibly
The zebrafish (Danio Rerio) is a tetrachromat, containing cone         intended for violence, is that we become a step nearer to truly
cells sensitive for red, green, blue, and ultraviolet light.           seeing.

Perhaps surprisingly, nobody seems to have anticipated human
tetrachromacy and it was only discovered within the last decade.
                                                                       1 Although Pink, and definitely Orange are suspect. Which came first: the colour or the
Certainly, it is rare. Furthermore, Western society and industry is    fruit?
inherently geared towards trichromacy: in photography, television,     2 Of course, hexadecimal and RGB colour systems have propagated with the advent of
printing, art, fashion and most of all language.                       computing - but these are practically meaningless against the everyday experience.
                                                                       3 In many ways, colour blindness is the physiological opposite to tetrachromacy.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                         2010;17:177

New Conceptual Model Of Interplanetary Topography
The Sky Is Falling In
Jessica Saunders
Staff Writer

Brief reports are filtering through about an exciting new               Attempts to do so only create an illusory intersection.
development in the field of experimental topography.                    Constructing the object in R4 allows the object to temporally
                                                                        present its aspects with differing orientation – enveloping itself -
Professor Wakke from the University of Plymouth is widely               thus neatly explaining the Earth's orbit of the Sun. The
believed to be working on an elaborate new conceptual model for         subsequent universe is constructed out of multiple layers of the
shape of the Earth. The model boldly unites the ancient ‘Flat           object.
Earth’ theorem with the classical ‘Spherical Earth’ idea.
                                                                        Because of the inherent difficulties comprehending the Wakke
His work threatens to up heave all previous advances in the field,      model in three dimensions, the team have constructed a
dismissing past concepts of earth-shape as simplistic and               cartographical projection by dissecting object through the
inaccurate.                                                             international date line.
Topographers across the globe are already baying for his blood,         This results in a single Möbius strip, a large twisted band, orbiting
and the paper has yet to be published!                                  the sun and: “rotating in its own inimitable fashion.”
An industry insider sates that with his team of itinerant-rogue         It is believed that the Wakke model will allow more economical
mathematicians, Professor Wakke has used the very latest in             intercontinental travel, particularly through the fourth dimensional
soul-destroying statistical techniques:                                 ramifications. It may also be a vehicle to promote interracial
They model the Earth as a non-orientable boundary-less surface,         harmony. Finally we may reconcile individual human experience
similar to a Klein bottle. This object has no discernible “inside” or   with scientific thought; the experience of standing in the middle of
“outside” and cannot be embedded in three-dimensional                   a single plane with no discernible curvature, with only 'up'... and
Euclidean space.                                                        no end in sight.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                         2010;17:178

Romanian Helmet
Eyes Do More Than See
Hugo Depolo
Staff writer

A young Romanian scientist claims to have designed and                  In a frantic telephone conversation with Extrapolation, Voiculescu
constructed a helmet that shields the wearer’s brain from cosmic        described some of his bizarre findings. He has made several test
rays.                                                                   runs with this device which is at present rather ungainly and
                                                                        weighs in at over 400 kg.
Cosmic rays mainly consist of protons and the nuclei of hydrogen
and helium atoms, travelling at exceptional speeds. Millions of         When testing it in the presence of his girlfriend he was alarmed to
cosmic rays pass through the atmosphere every hour. On                  find that it caused her to vanish, but not his laboratory colleagues.
average three cosmic rays penetrate through your brain every            After the test she reappeared, apparently non the wiser. After
minute.                                                                 several further tests he speculates that she is actually a
                                                                        phenomenon of cosmic ray interaction with the human brain, and
Serghei Voiculescu, from the Physics Department of Bucharest            has since broken up with her. Today, as ever, we face the threat of
State University says that his device completely stops the              all-out global unclear war. We live in a world where what we “see”
passage of cosmic rays and neutralises the possibility of any           is governed by the nervous system and not reality... If only we
ionising effect.                                                        could lift the veil.
Previously it has been speculated that these rays might cause           Should Voiculescu’s remarkable findings prove repeatable then a
ionisation within the brain, possibly interfering with the electrical   full paper can be expected exclusively in this journal.
synaptic signals which constitute the functioning of the brain
XVIIEX                                                                                                                          2010;17:179

Familiarity Breeds Contempt
José Garner and Dale Estridge
Universitario Sur Buenos Aires

It is truly astonishing how unaware most of us are of our                 sociologist who helped Dr Cartwright formulate his theories on
immediate surroundings.                                                   TVAI. Together they produced several groundbreaking studies
                                                                          attempting to derive a formula for the τ-interval, measuring this
The things which are around us every day, but do not immediately          period on rats, rhesus monkeys and lately university students.
concern us: the short man who works at the other end of the
office; the colour of our neighbours car; the price of the pint of        Unbeknown to Cartwright, Anders was simultaneously carrying
milk which we buy every day; things we leave lying around our             out his own series of investigations into TVAI. Crazed writings,
front room; the next street down the road; the postman…                   found in Anders apartment, allowed Cartwright to piece together
                                                                          his story.
Sociologists have recently become interested in this
phenomenon, this ability to shut out certain stimuli. This is best
appreciated in terms of touch sensation. For example: the first           Prosorinosagnosia
time you dress in the morning you feel the slight pressure of a
                                                                          Derived from the Greek; “prosorinos” temporary and “gnosis“
cool cotton shirt upon your back, but before long you’re ignoring
it. Those with long hair don’t feel it on their neck, or on their face.
In essence you have become used to the sensation. That a                  Compare with the following concepts:
similar process occurs with our visual sense is less appreciated.
We become used to seeing things, inured even. We develop
                                                                          Pluralistic ignorance
tunnel vision.
                                                                          Members of a group think that they hold different beliefs or
Dr Matt Cartwright, of the Ohio State Sociological Intervention
                                                                          opinions to others in the group. Although they do not agree with
Center has coined the phrase “Transient Visual Agnosia of
                                                                          the group norm, they do not dissent because no-one else does
Ignorance” or TVAI. In a leaked inter-departmental memo he
                                                                          and they believe assent to be unanimous. This behaviour only
describes with passion a series of experiments investigating TVAI.
                                                                          serves to reinforce the perceived consensus.
Of particular concern to him, it would seem, is what he denotes as
the τ-interval.
                                                                          Rational ignorance
The τ-interval is the time taken from initially acknowledging a
visual stimulus to forgetting it.                                         If an individual has to make a decision between two outcomes,
                                                                          they must consider the difference between the two outcomes
t is described as a transient phenomenon because it is possible to        against the cost of identifying the difference. For example: before
bring a persons attention back to the object, forcing them to             buying a car a person may spend some time visiting garages,
acknowledge it.                                                           reading reviews, taking test drives. However, these activities take
Or at least this is so in the majority of circumstances.                  time, and may cost money and cannot be carried on indefinitely.
                                                                          Finally a decision is made. That person cannot know everything
Dr Cartwright gave a moving presentation last week at the Fourth          about all cars, but is satisfied that they know enough.
Ohio International Social Seminar, in memory of his colleague Dr
Nigel Anders.                                                             When the cost of acquiring information is greater than the benefits
                                                                                                       to be derived from the information, it
Dr Anders was a talented young                                                                         is rational to be ignorant.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                            2010;17:180

Syntax is not Sufficient for Semantics: Incomplete Translation in the Southern Amazon
An Internal Monologue
Hector Redmond
Harriet Stanton Professor Of Linguistic-Anthropology, University Of California, Huntington Beach

I have spent the last two decades fraternising with the peoples of        Metaphorically.
the world. Rich or poor. “Civilised” or not. I sought empathy,
compassion and above all understanding. Oh, they taught me                I could converse freely in Quexatch, discuss the weather, make a
much.                                                                     joke about a monkey. But there remained gaping holes in my
                                                                          understanding. These were obvious in all aspects but their true
At it's core, my search was all about our common humanity. By             nature. I struggled to discuss abstract notions, spiritual issues,
seeking to learn about others, I wished to learn about ourselves. I       emotions, thoughts, mortality. Anything but the most superficial
thought this knowledge was our right, I thought it would enrich us        matter.
                                                                          Initially I conceived that it was the Quexatch, that they had no
Some might say this was selfish. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps          need, and hence no knowledge of these things. I naively
I was only ever searching for myself. Undoubtably, it has required        assumed that this was a function of their primitivity.
a great deal of physical and mental challenge. A lot of soul-
searching, if you will. And, yes, I have made quite a bit of money        I was mistaken. It gradually became clear that they understood
from the lecture circuit.                                                 me. They grasped all the above concepts. The problem was not
                                                                          with them: it was me. I only had the fluency of a four year old
Yet.                                                                      child.
And yet I do not know everything about myself. There is a                 Ultimately I retired, no – retreated - to the safe confines of my art-
blackness. A void. An unknown which I have internalised and               nouveau coastal residence. I gathered all the cassettes I had
upon which I refuse to turn the inner eye.                                amassed. I spent 9 months transcribing. The sounds of Quexatch
                                                                          echoing in my ears against the crashing of the mighty Pacific.
It centres around a collection of several hundred C90 audio
cassettes. These tapes represent many, many hours of                      It was a difficult gestation. I used every resource available to
conversation from the Quexatchextzel tribe.                               myself. I asked every other academic I knew for assistance. I self-
                                                                          funded a team of 16 students to help me. We cross referenced it
The Quexatchextzels live deep within the Amazon basin. By some            against every known South American dialect, all Indo-European
apparent coincidence they live far from any rich mineral deposits.        languages and several artificial. I fed the data transcriptions and
Consequently they have been unaffected by logging and mining.             audio through the Chimp supercomputer in Berkeley. But got
They remain gloriously isolated and unaffected by any form of             nowhere.
modern civilisation.
                                                                          Finally it became clear, through a process of elimination, that
I had the great privilege of making the initial contact with this tribe   there was only one possible explanation, no matter how
and studying them for a period of years.                                  improbable. Quexatch was untranslatable.
Communication was, as ever, difficult. There was no possibility of        The Quexatchextzel apparently spoke of unspeakable things,
common language, no translation in existence. I adopted                   they had thoughts and ideas which apparently bore no direct
standard protocols as developed by the philanderer and polyglot           comparison with anything known elsewhere.
Richard Francis Burton, and subsequently endorsed by
UNESCO.                                                                   Quexatch was utterly alien, unlike anything encountered before.
                                                                          Inscrutable. Impenetrable. And this dark chasm haunts me.
This was a wonderful opportunity to study a virgin language,
ostensibly developed in isolation, or at the very least                   What does it represent?
uncontaminated by any other tongue.
                                                                          DNA analysis of samples I brought back is still being analysed,
And so it proved, at least initially. I learned the nouns for basic       but so far we can certain that the Quexatchextzel are human.
items of cultural importance to the Quexatch; food, plants,
animals, body parts. I learned various verbs associated with              In simple terms this chasm must be caused by either something,
common daily activities. Having grasped the rudimentary system            or nothing. Either the Quexatchextzel have some kind of cognitive
of tenses and declensions I was able to fashion these words into          ability that the rest of the world has lost – or they have developed
crude sentences.                                                          it de novo.

They were a kind and gracious people, numbering less than two             Beyond that, we can only speculate because we certainly don't
hundred. I became accepted and even respected.                                                           have     the     vocabulary to
                                                                                                              articulate it.
After nearly two years I suddenly drew a blank. I hit a wall.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                          2010;17:181

A Conspiracy Against Happiness
Dolce Somnore Est
Simon Coker
Extrapolation Staff Writer

In the past few months rumours have been filtering through about       the Old World. Their self-satisfaction goes through the roof.
a radical pharmacological development.
                                                                       Further investigations have lead us to the Leibnitz laboratory, a
Reports - which have been difficult to substantiate - describe the     small private concern in Geneva, although nobody was prepared
discovery of a compound which evokes strong feelings of well-          to talk on the record. This facility has a low profile, but is regarded
being and contentment. It is suggested that the agent may be a         for several successes in the field, including the harvesting of
pure agonist at the fabled Orphanin FQ receptor. This receptor         omega-3 oils from old newspaper in 2005.
has troubled physiologists for a decade since it's discovery. A
member of the opioid receptor family, it is found solely deep within   The Leibnitz laboratory itself had at the time of writing, been
the limbic system.                                                     closed without explanation for over ten days, and a platoon of
                                                                       armed guards placed in situ.
It is believed to facilitate all known positive human emotions.
                                                                       Several days following this a document                was    delivered
Harold Ziggard has pioneered a lot of research into OFQ. His           anonymously to the offices of the Extrapolation.
Helsinki based team have carefully outlined over 1400 different
human emotions. These have been catalogued against a variety           We believe that the document contained details of the structure of
of neurotransmitter concentrations and electromagnetic field           the       molecule,      referred       to        within       as
variations. Data was collected variously from functional MRI, deep     “Giboxyisoproprophenolamine”, however we were unable to
brain stimulation and post mortem studies.                             confirm this due to high levels of encryption, impenetrable
                                                                       pharmacological jargon, and a lack of immediate access to vital
Most of these emotions are in fact differing degrees of “self-         laboratory equipment.
satisfaction”, and can be seen to cause “love”, “happiness”,
“generosity”, “prudence”, “intellectual curiosity”, a “playful sense   Certainly it contained details of effects on individuals trying the
of humour”, “a healthy work ethic” and so on.                          drug, presumably in the nightclubs of central Europe. Amongst
                                                                       other claims, the document stated that the drug had a strong
Many chemicals and physical activities may produce such mood           neuro-protective. It also described a remarkably flat dose-
states in susceptible individuals, and there's nothing new in that.    response gradient and virtually no gastrointestinal irritation.
These activities range from snorting cocaine to falling in love with
“the one”. But there's always been a catch. As almost everyone         The result (if the document is to be believed) is an extremely
knows (and usually ignores): what goes up must come down.              potent mood-lifting compound, which causes no long term brain
                                                                       damage, is practically impossible to overdose on and has no side-
Either your nose falls off, or “the one” sleeps with your brother.     effects.
A pure OFQ agonist would produce a direct manifestation of             As yet, Extrapolation has no evidence supporting or denying the
these mood states without counterbalance in another                    existence of such a substance, or of any explanation for the
neurotransmitter. It would not produce any cardiorespiratory or        document or even the closure of the Leibnitz facility.
endocrine changes, because of the receptors isolated location
and function...1 In other words such a drug would produce              Coincidentally or otherwise, the night following the delivery of this
happiness with no negative side-effects.                               document brought a destructive robbery of the Extrapolation’s
                                                                       offices, in which the only item stolen from the premises were
These reports coincide with word-of-mouth circulating the club         computers containing copies of said document. In the day
scenes in Geneva and Berlin. Ravers are talking about a new            following this incident the police quarantined our entire data
kind of pill known as ‘Gib’: identified by a penguin brand engraved    system on suspicion of holding ‘terrorist’ information.
on it.                                                                 Extrapolation was forced to move its operations in order to
                                                                       continue its work and was only able to return after substantial and
Perhaps this is almost the perfect phase II trial. Elegantly           expensive legal intervention.
perspiring youths dance to minimalist techno in the basements of       1 Why?
XVIIEX                                                                                                                                          2010;17:182

Sleep Awareness
Today is the Tomorrow I was worried about Yesterday
Ranjit Sharma
Nuevobossa Nocturnal Institute

Introduction                                                            Pubescine
At one time or another most of us have experienced sleep                By this stage several years had passed. The team was eager to
dissatisfaction. You wake up after sleeping for eight hours             begin clinical trials. We gave nine healthy volunteers increasingly
overnight... but it feels as if you've only blinked. As you stare at    large doses of Pubescine, before asking them a lot of questions.
the alarm clock dust drifts into your eyes, carried by sunbeams         Initial results were extremely encouraging. The subjects uniformly
leaking through the curtains.                                           responded positively to the experience, all of them (albeit
It can be profoundly unsettling. It leaves you feeling robbed,          subjectively) reported feeling refreshed and invigorated. In simple
cheated and tired.                                                      cognitive tests the subjects slightly outperformed matched
Disordered sleep is extremely common, and tiredness is the              subjects who had slept in the traditional manner.
second most frequent medical complaint1. The result is                  They described being semi-aware of the sleep process and also
unhappiness, poor productivity and a greatly impoverished               in some cases being able to exert greater control over their
society.                                                                dreams. This gave them an unrivalled opportunity to review
Would it not be worthwhile to develop more refreshing techniques        memories and sense data. The subjects reported that they were
of sleep?                                                               up to 11.3% more able to face dilemmas from the previous day.
Specifically: if you knew you were asleep when you slept, or at         Audio education provided during the Pubescine-sleep was
least, felt the passage of time, would you awake feeling better?        recalled with 19.8% greater accuracy.
This was the central conceit of our project.

                                                                        Side Effects
Problematic Terminology
                                                                        There were side effects and these became pronounced with
The initial problem was definition of terms.                            extended use, and higher doses. These included manifestations
What does it mean to be “asleep” and what does it mean to be            of REM atonia and alternately somnabulism.
“awake”? Are they mutually exclusive? Is the sleep state is merely      Atonia is a normal occurrence during REM sleep, presumed to
the absence of awareness? If so, then does that mean it's going         prohibiting the individual from carrying out the activities of their
on all the time2? If that's the case then why can't we just stay        dream. (Curiously, it affects all skeletal muscle motor neurons
awake all the time?                                                     except for those of the eye - hence the definition Rapid Eye
These states, whilst easily reproducible, are poorly understood.        Movement.) Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain awakes from a
We therefore focussed our gaze upon the grey area in between            REM state, but remains paralysed. This phenomenon is widely
sleep and wakefulness; “Hypnagogia”.                                    attributed as explaining the ancient Nordic tale of the putrefying
                                                                        old Hag which would rides upon peoples chests whilst they are
                                                                        sleeping, bringing bad dreams. This myth is striking in its
Hypnagogia                                                              universality across continents and cultures. She is the Mare of the
                                                                        night, the nightmare. This Hag leaves her physical body at night,
Hypnagogic phenomena include a selective amnesia of
                                                                        and sits on the chest of her victim. The victim wakes with a feeling
hallucinations, sights, sounds and symbolism that have long been
                                                                        of terror and has difficulty breathing because of a perceived heavy
associated with various positive cognitive outcomes. Many artists
                                                                        weight on their chest. They are totally paralysed.
and scientists have credited this mind-state with inspiration.
                                                                        Several of our subjects began to suffer progressively vivid
Consider the savant Kekule and his discovery of the structure of
                                                                        visitations from the old Hag. These repeated Nightmares left them
benzene3, or the degenerate Coleridge's vision in a dream: a
                                                                        inconsolably distressed as they became increasingly personal
                                                                        and took on a disturbing sexual slant.
It was thus hypothesised that elucidating the mechanism for
                                                                        With the blurring of boundaries other subjects developed an
hypnagogic phenomena, and reproducing it in part, would allow
                                                                        inability to distinguish between sleep and waking states, and thus
realisation of “Sleep Awareness” or at least increased sleep
                                                                        reality and imagination. They began to perpetuated bizarre acts in
                                                                        their sleep, such as putting inappropriate items in the refrigerator
Initial studies looked at various ways of reproducing this
                                                                        and sending meaningless emails. Unfortunately these acts
transitional state. Variously employing inappropriate usage of
                                                                        became evermore unconscionable and depraved. The subjects
stimulants and depressants, and hypnosis. This was met with
                                                                        denied all responsibility.
modest success and was difficult to quantify. All too easily the
                                                                        Ultimately it began necessary to withdraw all Pubescine A and
subject either woke up. Or fell asleep. This made it difficult to
                                                                        stop the research.
study the hypnagogic state in isolation.
Following on from this we developed a biofeedback loop whereby
tiny, subtherapeutic, doses of a short acting sedative were
administered intravenously and titred against fourier analaysis of
EEG readings. This facilitated a crude oscillatory state of sleep-
Using various imaging techniques revealed areas of the brain            1After pain.
                                                                        2As Jung speculated: “The soul exists as a perpetual companion to consciousness; its
which were particularly active during hypnagogia, and even more         utterances in words and symbolic images proceed ceaselessly below the threshold of
importantly, areas which were actively suppressed.                      everyday communications. Normally we are unconscious of these priceless
In a complicated step of reverse engineering we reproduced our          communications, just as we cannot perceive the stars in the daytime because we are
                                                                        dazzled by the sun. But if we can cease to be dazzled by ego-consciousness, the soul
biofeedback model in rats and took sections of their cerebral           becomes as apparent as the stars at night.” All we need to do is to darken the sun.
tissue when hypnagogia had been achieved. Staining and protein          3Described by Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz in a speech given to the
analysis allowed us to isolate several neurotransmitters peculiar       Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft: “I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work
                                                                        did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed.
to this mental state. A particularly attractive molecule, Incubusine,   Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept
an isomer of Tyrosine, already had a direct agonist available. This     modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated
was “Pubescine A”, a cyclopeptide alkaloid derived from Discaria        visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation;
                                                                        long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like
pubescens6.                                                             motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and
                                                                        the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this
                                                                        time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the
XVIIth Extrapolation                                                                                                                                 XVIIEX 2010;17:183

hypothesis.“                                                                              but this resulted in a more aggressive, unpleasant mental state.
4“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree: / Where Alph, the sacred     6Discaria pubescens is a shrub native to southern Australasia, known in English as the
river, ran / Through caverns measureless to man / Down to a sunless sea“                  “Hairy Anchor Plant”. Intriguingly, it has long been a staple ingredient of secretive
5Similar results were obtained by administering electric shocks to very tired subjects,   Aboriginal “Proving” ceremonies.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                           2010;17:184

Perception of Personality
Limitations in a Limitless World
Kitty Emberlain
Professor of Human Interaction, Neuroinstitüten Geneva

Introduction                                                            such as astrology, Hindu castes, medieval feudal divisions.
Although the limitations of the human brain are far from defined,       Seeking patterns and relentless categorisation is an eternal
Mankind seems unable to sort out basic problems such as world           human desire. Consider George Polti's “dramatic situations”,
peace, physics and economics. Certainly: the brain's capabilities       developed after studying the classical Greek texts. He claimed
are as finite as our bitter lives.                                      that there were 36 possible emotional states and, although these
                                                                        are poorly defined in his 1917 treatise, he used them as a basis
Neurophysicists across the globe strive daily to determine these        for describing 36 specific dramatic situations – which form the
boundaries and how they may affect our realities – often with with      basis of all art. These include such classics as Number 27
alarming results.                                                       “Discovery of the Dishonour of a Loved One” and Number 19
                                                                        “Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognised”.
Kruschev's Area 12 Postrema
                                                                        Perhaps the most difficult question here is: what actually defines
The Egregious fissure is an unassuming, shallow recess                  'personality'?
traversing the frontal lobe, common to humans and some lesser
                                                                        In 1934 Carl Jung wrote: “Personality is the supreme realization
primates. It was long ago shown to be part of the brain
                                                                        of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of high
responsible for processing and assessing behaviours and
                                                                        courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that
interactions with other humans.
                                                                        constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the
Amongst the earliest were crude observational studies performed         universal condition of existence coupled with the greatest
in Canada. Essentially, these involved removing peoples lids –          possible freedom for self-determination.”
whilst they were awake - and poking bits until something
                                                                        Another, less verbose, concept is that Personality is “I”. As Rene
happened. They found that stimulating the Egregious fissure (then
                                                                        Descartes clearly stated: “I think therefore I am”.
known as Kruschev's Area 12 Postrema) resulted in a biphasic
response. Initially the researchers encountered a remorseless           Much later, Thurstone described the “Big Five” Personality Traits:
outburst of chit-chat and emotional sensitivity. Overstimulation
would then cause the subject to withdraw and recede to a blank               •    Openness - appreciation for art, emotion, adventure,
catatonia.                                                                        unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.
Because these experiments were carried out upon incarcerated                 •    Conscientiousness - a tendency to show self-discipline,
individuals who were considered criminally insane, the results                    act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather
were dismissed as freakish and non-representative.                                than spontaneous behaviour.
However, times change, and today many such people are                        •    Extraversion - energy, positive emotions, and the
considered 'normal' and walk freely among the rest of us.                         tendency to seek stimulation and the company of
Perhaps it is time to take a fresh look.                                          others.
                                                                             •    Agreeableness - a tendency to be compassionate and
Contemporary Research                                                             cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic
More modern versions have been since undertaken at the                            towards others.
Neuroinstitüten. They now employ functional MRI, in which
                                                                             •    Neuroticism - a tendency to experience unpleasant
sequential images make a little animation when you put them
                                                                                  emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or
together. Bits of brain light up like a Christmas tree, allowing
researchers to match thought activity to a physical location. Many
of these studies had a similar basic format, in which people were       To what degree is there a contribution or overlap with
asked to study video tapes of scenes from dinner parties. (More         consciousness and cognition? Personality is likely to be function
recently these have been superseded by DVD.)                            of consciousness... a feature that emerges from its murky
                                                                        landscape. Could it be used as a surrogate in studies of
These scans are followed up by careful structured multi-focal
                                                                        consciousness and cognition?
questioning by psychologists. Here, participants are encouraged
to 'bitch' about the people in the dinner party.                        If personality is limited in such a fashion as our research shows...
                                                                        then it could follow that so is consciousness. It may be that we
Through this approach it has been possible to match up brain
                                                                        actually possess a very limited palette of mental states and only a
processes with the way in which we view our fellow human
                                                                        limited understanding of the world.
In fact, the studies conclusively prove that the average human          Contemporary Romantic Theorem
brain only perceives 52 different 'personalities'. Whether this is
because there are only 52 different personality configurations, it is   Contemporary romantic theorem may be broadly summarised as
impossible to say. As far as the human brain is concerned it            “You can't help who you fall in love with.” Casting aside
amounts to the same thing. This is all we are capable of                interpretations of “Love”, this notion immediately implies a
perceiving: 52 different people. If you know 53 people – then at        limitation of free will and a deterministic worldview.
least one of them is a repeat.1
                                                                        A more mundane speculation may consider a combination of
                                                                        agreeable characteristics: physical attributes, socioeconomic
Controversy                                                             factors and Personality. When these co-exist at an appropriate
                                                                        moment then “emotion” may result.
Unsurprisingly, various groups have been quick to condemn these
findings. These people mostly fit personality types 33 and 19.          This need not be any less deterministic than the first theory and
                                                                        our personality limitations may have great ramifications for
Perhaps, this research might not be as controversial as it seems.
It could be viewed as a more empirical system to succeed others
Perception of Personality                                                                                                        XVIIEX 2010;17:185

The Cult of Personality and The Cult of Celebrity                        individual.
Our political masters frequently use the mass media to project           There is hope for you yet.
favourable images of themselves upon us. These images utilise
core personality types for ease of association. Similarly the            Every copy of Extrapolation that is sweat, bled or photocopied is a
widespread popular interest in “famous” individuals regardless of        spit in the eye of the machine!
their achievements or merit.                                             For every lie that profligates in this complex world we will print
How much of your rotten, flaccid mind is full of useless, fleeting,      three items of sheer truth, or else seven more lies.
insubstantial tabloid gossip concerning ‘celebrities’, much of
which is filth, speculation or untrue? People you don’t know,            Limitations in a Limitless World
people you’ll never know, people who despise you, people who
despise themselves, people who’s drug-fuelled-orgies you                 Our studies show that people repeat. It follows that their
subsidise, you condone, you condemn and you dream of                     interactions repeat.
participating in. Just how much?                                         Either because of limited permutations of human existence or a
A research group in Toulouse, France, have used vivisection to           limited capacity for human imagination and understanding.
find out.                                                                It may even be a manifestation, a re-enactment of our ancestral
And the answer is: More than you will ever know. Much more, you          genetic memory.
sad fool.                                                                Nonetheless, it raises disturbing questions about the richness of
This breed of ignorant, self-aggrandising, prostitutes have long         the human experience and our capacity for suspending disbelief.
since replaced the Greco-Roman human ideal with something
vulgar and unhealthy. Thanks, Warhol. The cause celebré has
wilfully stolen the ambition from our children and defaecated on
the future of society.
Thankfully, the very fact that you are reading this fine example of
scientific literature, which is based on forgotten truths such as fact
                                                                         1Perhaps more worrying, even if you only know 52, then one of them is identical in
and evidence, honour and valour, marks you out as a very special         character perception to yourself. You narcissist.
                                                                         2Liable to occur sooner or later.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                        2010;17:186

The Coanda Gate
In my opinion, we should search for a completely different flying machine, based on other flying principles.
Peter Ikechukwu
Our own Correspondent, In the Bush

On assignment for the Extrapolation I find myself deep in the           wind channelled above the surface. Each coanda switch is made
heart of the Australian outback. On an isolated and barren plain        out of organic plastic derived from southern Australian rape seed
stands the white throb of a wind farm. It is cold. Sand washes          oil.”
over my elastic-sided boots.
But this is no ordinary wind farm.
                                                                        “It's a beautifully simple manufacturing process!” I was later
It stands above deserted selenium mines which now give shelter          assured by Dr Harvey Rammstein, who was responsible for
to one of the most astounding information technology projects of        producing the 94 trillion switches in the machine.
the past millennium.
                                                                        “We have deliberately used household ingredients to create an
Nothing less than a supercomputer that contains no microchips           extremely lightweight low-friction plastic. The prime constituents
no circuit boards no electricity and not even any metal.                besides oil are vinegar and salt! The perennial problem of
                                                                        plastics' lack of biodegradability is a bonus here... calculations
Seeking refuge in a portacabin, I asked project manager Dr Barry        show that these devices will last 90 millennia in these dry mines!”
McCarthy to explain more:
                                                                        A particularly exciting development is its input/output modulator,
“Way back in 1910 when Henri Coanda the brilliant Romanian              also powered by fluid dynamics - in essence a voice box and ear.
engineer first observed the strange phenomenon that would later
take his own name in the burning wreckage of one of his                 I had the privilege to try this for myself. I found myself speaking
prototype jet planes. He studied this process for twenty years          into a rather erotic shaped mouthpiece as a series of diaphragms
before fully describing the Coanda effect; which is the basis of this   sensed flow fluctuations, transduced and amplifed these into the
entire project.”                                                        general datastream.
Dr McCarthy is a stocky, muscular man for a computer engineer           “What's the logarithm of pi?” I asked, urged on by McCarthy and
and as he continued describing his work he became increasingly          Rammstein's childlike enthusiasm. My spine began tingling. My
animated. I found his gesticulation a little intimidating in the        every pore opened. A breathless ethereal voice entered the room
cramped environment. I feared he might hit me, but he was
nothing if not passionate about the project. This was something         “Logarithm to the base of what?” it asked. And I wept with joy.
he held in common with all on site.
“The Coanda effect,” he explained, “Describes the way fluid flow        The computer known, simply as “The Coanda Gate”, has been
adhering to the side of a tube or container. This effect can            running for the past six months. Plans are afoot to connect it to
incorporated into a switch with the input being a second flow           the internet, meaning that at least something will survive the
perpendicular to the main stream. We have built a computer out          upcoming nuclear winter.
of these coanda logic circuits. They receive the power/flow from
XVIIEX                                                                                                                           2010;17:187

Originality and Randomness
Guided In Circles
Valentine Nadler
O'Meara Institute, Tel-Aviv

Introduction                                                              Quantum Mechanics and Randomness
It could be argued the human endeavour is about striving for              The original motivation in the early 20th century for relating
originality. Striving for something new, something novel. Most            quantum theory to consciousness was essentially philosophical. It
obviously this occurs in the arts, perhaps a new painting                 is fairly plausible that conscious free decisions (“free will”) are
technique or album of “avant garde” pop music. But also in                problematic in a perfectly deterministic world, so quantum
science; original ideas and original research is prized over              randomness might indeed open up novel possibilities for free will.
rehashing someone else's plagiarism. In fact this may be seen in          (On the other hand, randomness is problematic for volition as
all aspects of society; industry and commerce demand                      Burdian's ass demonstrates.)
development and advances; originality is enshrined in law, to
protect intellectual property; and in certain societies the individual    Quantum theory introduced an element of randomness standing
(as a singular human being) is often regarded as sacrosanct.              out against the previous deterministic world view, in which
                                                                          randomness, if it occurred at all, simply indicated our ignorance of
                                                                          a more detailed description (as in statistical physics). In sharp
Is This A Realistic Goal?                                                 contrast to such epistemic randomness, quantum randomness in
                                                                          processes such as spontaneous emission of light, radioactive
If something is to be truly original then it must be unique, or at
                                                                          decay, or other examples of state reduction was considered a
least “sufficiently” different to that which came before.
                                                                          fundamental feature of nature, independent of our ignorance or
Uniqueness as a concept has been rigorously defined in                    knowledge. To be precise, this feature refers to individual
Mathematics as “exactly one object with a certain property                quantum events, whereas the behaviour of ensembles of such
existing”. The symbol for this is "∃!".                                   events is statistically determined. The indeterminism of individual
                                                                          quantum events is constrained by statistical laws.
Following this, if something is to be truly different to its
predecessors then it would exhibit no relationship or bearing to
them. It would be random. This is quite contrary to a stepwise            Uncertainty Principle
increase in information such as might occur through data                  In quantum physics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states
acquisition or trial and error.                                           that certain pairs of physical properties, like position and
                                                                          momentum, cannot both be known to arbitrary precision. That is,
Randomness                                                                the more precisely one property is known, the less precisely the
                                                                          other can be known. This is not a statement about the limitations
Randomness, as defined by Aristotle, is the situation when a              of a researcher's ability to measure particular quantities of a
choice is to be made which has no logical component by which to           system, but rather about the nature of the system itself.
determine or make the choice. A classic example of this is
Buridan's ass. An ass, placed between two identical bales of hay          In quantum mechanics, a particle is described by a wave. The
cannot make a decision between the two – and so starves to                position is where the wave is concentrated and the momentum is
death.                                                                    the wavelength. The position is uncertain to the degree that the
                                                                          wave is spread out, and the momentum is uncertain to the degree
If something is to be truly original, and hence random, then it's         that the wavelength is ill-defined.
conception may be said to be illogical.
                                                                          The only kind of wave with a definite position is concentrated at
                                                                          one point, and such a wave has an indefinite wavelength.
Probability Theory
                                                                          Conversely, the only kind of wave with a definite wavelength is an
The analysis of randomness is probability. Application of                 infinite regular periodic oscillation over all space, which has no
probability theory could conceivably be used to create original           definite position. So in quantum mechanics, there are no states
thought. Please see elsewhere for detailed discussions of                 that describe a particle with both a definite position and a definite
probability.                                                              momentum. The more precise the position, the less precise the
Information Entropy                                                       The uncertainty principle can be restated in terms of
                                                                          measurements, which involves collapse of the wave function.
In information theory, entropy is a measure of the uncertainty            When the position is measured, the wave function collapses to a
associated with a random variable.                                        narrow bump near the measured value, and the momentum wave
A fair coin has an entropy of one bit. However, if the coin is not        function becomes spread out. The particle's momentum is left
fair, then the uncertainty is lower (if asked to bet on the next          uncertain by an amount inversely proportional to the accuracy of
outcome, we would bet preferentially on the most frequent result),        the position measurement. The amount of left-over uncertainty
and thus the Shannon entropy is lower.                                    can never be reduced below the limit set by the uncertainty
                                                                          principle, no matter what the measurement process.
The entropy rate of English text is between 1.0 and 1.5 bits per
letter, or as low as 0.6 to 1.3 bits per letter, according to estimates
                                                                          Observer Effect
by Shannon based on human experiments.
                                                                          A common layman misuse of the term refers to quantum
The thermodynamic entropy is interpreted as being an estimate of
                                                                          mechanics, where, if the outcome of an event has not been
the amount of further Shannon information needed to define the
                                                                          observed, it exists in a state of 'superposition', which is akin to
detailed microscopic state of the system, that remains
                                                                          being in all possible states at once. In the famous thought
uncommunicated by a description solely in terms of the
                                                                          experiment known as Schrödinger's cat the cat is supposedly
macroscopic variables of classical thermodynamics. For example,
                                                                          neither alive nor dead until observed. However, most quantum
adding heat to a system increases its thermodynamic entropy
                                                                          physicists, in resolving Schrödinger's seeming paradox, now
because it increases the number of possible microscopic states
                                                                          understand that the acts of 'observation' and 'measurement' must
that it could be in, thus making any complete state description
                                                                          also be defined in quantum terms before the question makes
2010;17:188                                                                                       Originality and Randomness XVIIEX

sense. From this point of view, there is no 'observer effect', only    programming any five-word sentence, 42.55 binary steps are
one vastly entangled quantum system.                                   required.
                                                                       The average sentence contains 25 letters (symbols) and each
                                                                       symbol carries between one and two bits of information. Taking
                                                                       1.5 bits per symbol, the average five-word sentence carries 37.5
The Many-Worlds Interpretation posits the existence of multiple        bits of information, thus being shorter than its program, the above
universes in which an observed system displays all possible            42.55 bits.
states to all possible observers. In this model, observation of a
                                                                       This is an estimation based on the five-word sentence; not yet a
system does not change the behaviour of the system -- it simply
                                                                       proof. However, as language is a combinatorial system, the
answers the question of which universe(s) the observer(s) is(are)
                                                                       number of combinations grows exponentially as the size of the
located in: In some universes the observer would observe one
                                                                       combination (i.e. the words in the sentence) linearly increases.
result from one state of the system, and in others the observer
                                                                       Hence not far beyond the five-word sentence, the program
would observe a different result from a different state of the
                                                                       overtakes the text-length.
                                                                       Thus any text is a random sequence. It is impossible to obtain a
Kolmogorov-Chaitin Complexity                                          program from say, the first part of a book to predict exactly any
                                                                       following section of the work.
The Kolmogorov-Chaitin Complexity of an object (such as a piece
of text) is a measure of the computational resources needed to         As any image or sound can be expressed as chain of binary
specify the object .                                                   symbols (digitalization) this statement remains valid for any
                                                                       human-created music or visual art.
Working with (possibly infinite) sequences of integers, these
researchers suggested that a sequence of integers of a given           Clearly this has profound (negative) implications for theories of
length is algorithmically random if and only if it cannot be encoded   monism.
into another sequence of integers that is substantially shorter
than the original sequence. Such a sequence is said to be              Summary
                                                                       Is originality possible in human thought? Probably not.
According to Chaitin the definition of "random number" is "a
number which cannot be described by a program shorter than the         Is randomness possible in human thought? Probably not.
sequence itself".
                                                                       How much does free-will rely on the ability to have original and
Any text, literary or else, after eliminating all redundancies of      random thoughts?
language, grammar, word frequency, narrow context like rhyme,
                                                                       In a random world how can there be self-determination? In a
written by a genius and even more, when written by a fool
                                                                       deterministic world how can there be freely made decisions?
unbound by any constraint, is a random sequence in the sense of
the above definition.                                                  How much of the Seventeenth Extrapolation is random?
Pinker calculated that there are 6.4 * (ten to the twelfth power)      How much of the Seventeenth Extrapolation is original?
grammatically correct five-word sentences. Hence, for
XVIIEX                                                                                                                          2010;17:189

Case Report #B270
From the Extrapolation archives... An occasional series looking at unusual things that happened.
Carlo Hallez
Our Own Correspondent

This case study tells the story of a young woman's intrepid              words contain absolutely no reference to herself whatsoever. Add
journey into depths of human awareness. Our heroine shall be             to this her disappearance from inside a locked room.
known as B270.
                                                                         Did she achieve a state of such pure awareness that her being
Information is mostly sourced from her diaries of that period, but       was no longer necessary? Psychoanalysis of the documents are
also from circumstantial evidence gathered at the time. This             ongoing.
includes statements from police, medical examiners and other
interested third parties. Therefore, it is important to treat the
                                                                         Attempted Objectivity
following account with appropriate levels of caution.
                                                                         “Know Thyself”
B270 was approximately 29 years old, of medium height and
slender in build. People who knew her stated that she possessed          Extrapolation has learnt of several incidents which share
a feline grace. Photographs suggest that she was not                     similarities with Case Report #B270. Many owe a debt to the
unattractive. She worked as a freelance copywriter.                      1794 masterpiece of Xavier de Maistre, “Voyage Autour De Ma
                                                                         Chambre”. Perhaps the most modern is ongoing work by
For reasons that are not immediately apparent B270 chose to              Colombian artist Roger Vicente.
pursue an uncompromising examination of: “Her Earthly
Purpose”.                                                                Vicente is an exemplary artist who's life's work is the attempted
                                                                         materialisation of mind. This began with a childhood obsession,
Preparations are carefully documented in a consistent looped             where he collected a copy of every book and paper he read.
script with circular dots. This was found on several hundred pages
of lined notepaper, each curled and indented from firm pen               Lately he has followed an extreme reductionist approach, raising
pressure.                                                                the possibility of reincarnation as a digital construct.

Once the necessary supplies were sequestered and appropriate             His technique has three stages. The first is perhaps the most
arrangements made, she locked herself in her bedroom.                    controversial: brainwashing. Vicente remains adamant that he
                                                                         must start with a clean slate, even if this involves destroying
The room had been fastidiously prepared to remove extraneous             himself! Thus he began by wiping all his memories. He has
distracting items. Only the absolute essential remained. Certainly,      followed various means, both inhibiting new memories and
this included: food, water, warmth, clothing, toiletries (en-suite       erasing old one. In itself this is a vast and complex task.
facilities were available).
                                                                         It involves conventional brainwashing techniques; as used in the
There was also various measuring devices and documentary                 Korean war, or Guantanamo bay. This can be assisted by simple
equipment. Furthermore, all the above appear to have been                damping of sympathetic response, eg beta blockade, and
carefully selected for simplicity of design and appearance. All the      amnesiac sedatives such as benzodiazepines. All of which are
clothes, bed linen, towels, curtains and furnishings were plain,         about as subtle as a head injury. A more recent development
non-patterned and non-branded.                                           involves DPT (diptheria toxin) expressing neurones implanted
                                                                         with stem cell technology. DPT is then triggered by raised levels
Upon commencing her self-imposed incarceration the auto-
                                                                         of CRE, a quasiprotein, expressed when new memories are
documentation changes style and takes on a diary form. Each
                                                                         formed and the diptheria then kills the cell and the new memory.
entry, time coded to the nearest second, contains an exquisitely
                                                                         Ultimately the most reliable method is through the use of very
detailed description of her environment and all interactions with it.
                                                                         powerful magnets.
The diary opens with a full inventory and detailed measurements
                                                                         The second part of Vicente's schwanengesang is data collection.
of the rooms.
                                                                         All subsequent experience must be recorded. This is achieved by
Of course this includes the length and breadth of every wall, the        conventional means: cameras, microphones, olfactory devices
location of the door – but it goes further, much further than this.      and so on to capture sense data. Also complex biometric data has
B270 painstakingly describes every crack in the plaster, every           been preserved including heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory
drip of paint, every stain and irregularity. The texture of the floor,   rate, oxygen saturations, sympathetic stimulation1, as well as high
the smell, the air quality, the changing light conditions. Everything.   frequency external imaging of Vicente himself. In addition there is
Literally everything. The small camping stove and the packaging          a physical data collection, which mirrors Vicente's earliest work.
of the cheap, water bloated burgers she cooked on it. The way            Every newspaper, book, magazine that he reads is collected.
she cooked it, the duration                                              Every cd, dvd, tv program stored. Every webpage, text message
                                                                         and email cached. Every phone call. Every transmission and
These long paragraphs were often repeated, sometimes                     every emission. Measured, documented and recorded.
verbatim, sometimes differing only in some minor detail. Perhaps
there was less jam left in the jar, perhaps she'd noticed a new          The third phase, interpretation, is assumed to be completed after
detail in the wallpaper.                                                 Vicente's death. The greatest challenge with interpreting the data
                                                                         is the sheer amount of it. Much like Tristram Shandy and his epic
A detailed examination of the writing reveals the marked changing        digressions, readers do not even reach Tristram's own birth until
aspects of a simple room; the smell, the accumulating dust, the          Volume 3. Likewise, it would literally take someone their entire life
fluctuating air quality.                                                 to got through all the data collected by Vicente. And for this
                                                                         reason, probably no-one will bother.
Perhaps the most startling aspect is it's most predictable – the
overwhelming monotony. The work, whilst one of some                      Probably no-one. But some-thing perhaps.
undeniable genius, is boring. Extremely boring.
                                                                         If a computer reviewed all of Vicente's data then is it possible that
It's so dull that subtleties are lost to the unfocussed reader. The      it might capture something of his essence? Maybe in some sense
elephant in the room is B270. As time progresses there is less           Vicente would live again. The computer would absorb Vicente,
and less description about herself. Less introspection, less             and would become Vicente!
mention of her thoughts or her actions. In fact the last 200,000         1 Measured through the proxy of skin conductance.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                       2010;17:190

Death and Extrapolation
For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have
will be taken away
Michelle Blomkamp
University of Life

Introduction to an Exposition on Mortality                             variations of immortality.
Death poses many problems and contradictions. It is both an            The quantum mind/body problem refers to the philosophical
obligatory part of life and also deeply unnatural. Surely one of the   discussions of the mind/body problem in the context of quantum
primary objectives in life is not to die... and yet it seems so        mechanics. Since quantum mechanics involves quantum
inevitable.                                                            superpositions, which are not perceived by observers, quantum
                                                                       mechanics apparently places observers in a special position.
Since the beginning of life some organisations of individuals have
refused to accept death. An obsession with resurrection and            The founders of quantum mechanics debated the role of the
immortality is a common human trait.                                   observer, and of them, Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg
                                                                       believed that it was the observer that produced collapse. This
The first step in preventing your own death is acknowledging that      point of view, which was never fully endorsed by Niels Bohr, was
it can happen.                                                         denounced as mystical and anti-scientific by Albert Einstein. Pauli
An awareness of ones own mortality is vital to counter the             accepted the term, and described quantum mechanics as lucid
prevalent solipsism and narcissism. This is necessary both for         mysticism.
individuals and society. (Some quarters are becoming                   Unlike Heisenberg and Bohr, who always described quantum
increasingly fearful of the death of the entire race!)                 mechanics in logical positivist terms, Hugh Everett took the
                                                                       wavefunction of quantum mechanics as a real description of the
The second step is recognising threats which might cause your          world. In the many-worlds interpretation, the memories of the
demise.                                                                observer splits at every measurement, leading to the subjective
                                                                       appearance                       of                      collapse.
Causes of death may broadly be categorised as either disease or        This observation was separated from many-worlds interpretation
injury. Here, disease refers to a disordered or incorrectly            by Eugene Wigner, who proposed that the consciousness of the
functioning structure or system of the body. The major players in      observer is what causes collapse of the wavefunction,
worldwide mortality are cardiovascular disease, infectious             independent of any realist philosophy or splitting observers.
disease, and cancer (specifically lung, gastrointestinal and breast    Colloquially known as "consciousness causes collapse", this
cancers). The most common injuries includes the unintended,            interpretation of quantum mechanics states that observation by a
(road traffic accidents) the intended, (war) and the self inflicted    conscious observer is what makes the wave function collapse.
                                                                       Quantum immortality follows from this many-worlds interpretation,
In fact, much is already known about preventing many of these          and is a variation of Schrödinger's cat thought experiment:
                                                                       "A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following
Future developments in medical science will yield further gains.       device (which must be secured against direct interference by the
These must be coupled with education to ensure any meaningful          cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive
improvement. Peace, diplomacy and road safety all have a role to       substance, so small that perhaps in the course of the hour, one of
play.                                                                  the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none;
However, these strategies will only going to get you so far.           if it happens, the counter tube discharges, and through a relay
                                                                       releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic
Let us not forget Niklas Boström's concept of “Existential Risk”. In   acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one
this table the columns represent scope and the rows intensity:         would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has
                                                                       decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this
                       Thinning    of        the                       by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression)
GLOBAL                                             X
                       ozone layer                                     mixed       or      smeared        out      in     equal     parts."
                                                                       When viewed from the cat's perspective there is, in each and
                       Recession        in    a
LOCAL                                              Genocide            every quantum moment, a 50:50 possibility that it may die.
                                                                       However, in one strand the cat lives. In fact, this strand can be
PERSONAL               Your car is stolen          Death               followed ad infinitum, thus giving the cat immortality.
                       ENDURABLE                   TERMINAL            The trick is making your consciousness collapse the waveform in
                                                                       the right bit.

X or "Existential risk" – One where an adverse outcome would           Whether it is the "Tao of Physics" or Deepak Chopra and his Ig
either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently    Nobel prize, it is easy to force metaphysical and nonverifiable
and drastically curtail its potential. Boström argues that risks in    claims onto the physics. The unfortunate result is the degradation
this sixth category are a recent phenomenon. This is part of the       of science into little more than an advert for shampoo, or even
reason why it is useful to distinguish them from other risks. We       religion.
have not evolved mechanisms, either biologically or culturally, for    But then again who cares, if they live forever?
managing such risks. And we must if we are to survive.
                                                                       Zenos Paradox
Novel Approaches
                                                                       At the other end of the philosophical timeline sit the ancient
Difficult problems requires inventive solutions. Numerous have         Greeks. Zeno's paradoxes are a set of problems devised to
been bandied about, and here are a few of the least ridiculous1.       support the doctrine that "all is one" and that, contrary to the
                                                                       evidence of our senses, the belief in plurality and change is
Quantum Immortality                                                    mistaken. There are many variations of the paradox but they may
                                                                       be summarised as:
A healthy misappropriation of Quantum Physics allows many
Death and Extrapolation                                                                                                                 XVIIEX 2010;17:191

"That which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage           her to travel on a spaceship at a speed close to that of light.
before it arrives at the goal."
                                                                         Many have argued against time, but none more successfully than
If life is considered as a state of motion, then although we may         J.M.E. McTaggart did in 1908. He begins his argument by
draw ever closer to death... we never reach it. Once this reductio       distinguishing two ways in which positions in time can be ordered.
ad absurdum is considered, and we intellectually accept our              First, he says, positions in time can be ordered according to their
immortality then it is apparent that our sense data is incorrect. If     possession of properties like being two days future, being one
we could find a way of adjusting our faculties, or at least their        day future, being present, being one day past, etc. (These
interpretation then we could fully realise Zeno's dream.                 properties are often referred to now as “A properties.”) McTaggart
                                                                         calls the series of times ordered by these properties “the A
                                                                         series.” But he says that positions in time can also be ordered by
Synchrotemporal Virus
                                                                         two-place relations like two days earlier than, one day earlier
Elsewhere are detailed evaluations of viruses that affect temporal       than, simultaneous with, etc. (These relations are now often
centres in our brains; if not time itself 2! You may be dead today       called “B relations.”) McTaggart calls the series of times ordered
but you were alive yesterday. In fact, today is the tomorrow you         by         these        relations         “the        B      series.”
were worried about yesterday.                                            In any case, McTaggart argues that the B series alone does not
                                                                         constitute a proper time series. I.e., McTaggart says that the A
Consider the alien race creation of Kurt Vonnegut in his seminal         series is essential to time. His reason for this is that change (he
work, Slaughterhouse Five. Here the Tralfamadorians have the             says) is essential to time, and the B series without the A series
ability to experience reality in four dimensions; they perceive any      does not involve genuine change (since B series positions are
point in time at will. They believe that when a being dies, it           forever “fixed,” whereas A series positions are constantly
continues to live in other times and places - their response to          changing).
death is, "So it goes." The protagonist learns that death is a not       McTaggart also argues that the A series is inherently
such a bad thing at all. In fact, “when a person dies he only            contradictory. For (he says) the different A properties are
appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very   incompatible with one another. (No time can be both future and
silly for people to cry at his funeral.” Provided you are gifted with    past, for example.) Nevertheless, he insists, each time in the A
time-travel or have been infected by a synchrotemporal virus.            series must possess all of the different A properties. (Since a time
The Tralfamadorians were more fortunate than the cyclops, which          that is future will be present and past, and so on.)
in some mythological accounts traded an eye for the ability to see       Since, according to McTaggart, the supposition that there is an A
the future. They were tricked, and all they could see was the            series leads to contradiction, and since (he says) there can be no
moment of their own demise.                                              time without an A series, McTaggart concludes that time itself,
Let that be a lesson to us all.                                          including both the A series and the B series, is unreal.
                                                                         In a more literary vein, "A New Refutation of Time" is an essay by
                                                                         Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. He argues that the
Data construct                                                           refutations of idealism also apply to time. Just as Berkeley denies
                                                                         that there is an object existing independently of our perception of
"Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and
                                                                         it, and Hume denies that there is a subject apart from a
fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He
                                                                         recollection of sensations, Borges tries to demonstrate that there
didn't know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he
                                                                         is no time. He proceeds on the assumption that if "man" is
was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn't know if he
                                                                         reduced, as according to Hume, to a collection of sensations,
was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly
                                                                         then a single repeated perception—either in one man's life or in
dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly
                                                                         the experience of two different men—suffices to prove that time is
there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation
                                                                         a fallacy, since this repetition will destroy its linear sequence.
of Things."
                                                                         Paradoxically, Borges closes the essay by refuting his refutation:
Are we living in a computer simulation? In his controversial 1994        "The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges."
book The Physics of Immortality, Professor Frank J. Tipler claims
                                                                         And unfortunately there's never enough time.
to provide a mechanism for immortality and the resurrection of the
dead. Starting with the known laws of physics he hypothesises
computers which use the entire universe to compute on and
which diverge to a state of infinite computational resources that
Tipler terms the Omega Point - and which he identifies with God.
Tipler predicts that this process will culminate with an all-powerful
intelligence whose computing speed and information storage will          1Be warned: they do not always sit well with the establishment. The notable political
                                                                         economist and philosopher, Francis Fukuyama, offers a stubborn, if squirmish, rebuke
grow exponentially at a rate exceeding the collapse of the               of "Transhumanism". He claims that equality in society would suffer, as some humans
universe, thus providing infinite "experiential time". This will be      became superior to others.“Underlying this idea of the equality of rights is the belief that
used to run computer simulations of all intelligent life that has        we all possess a human essence that dwarfs manifest differences in skin color, beauty,
                                                                         and even intelligence. This essence, and the view that individuals therefore have
ever lived in the history of our universe.                               inherent value, is at the heart of political liberalism. But modifying that essence is the
                                                                         core of the transhumanist project.”
                                                                         He voices a valid, if trite concern:
Time                                                                     "Nobody knows what technological possibilities will emerge for human self-modification.
                                                                         But we can already see the stirrings of Promethean desires in how we prescribe drugs
Fundamental to these ideas of immortality is the mastery of time.        to alter the behavior and personalities of our children. The environmental movement has
                                                                         taught us humility and respect for the integrity of nonhuman nature. We need a similar
The theory of relativity allows for the well described phenomenon        humility concerning our human nature. If we do not develop it soon, we may unwittingly
                                                                         invite the transhumanists to deface humanity with their genetic bulldozers and
of time dilation. This could make an individual immortal, or at least    psychotropic shopping malls."
very long lived, relative to observers. This would require him or        2See future Extrapolations.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                                   2010;17:192

The Turing Test Plus
If the Messiah returns – we will kill him again
Jakob Wolfenberger
Virginian Parochial Theological College

Imitation game                                                        have a set of instructions (in English) for manipulating strings of
                                                                      Chinese characters. He follows the instructions and slides the
Alan Turing was one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century         results back under the door. To those outside it may appear that
and saviour of the free world. The test that takes his name is well   our hero understands Chinese... when he does not.
known, and forms the basis of our work.
It was originally described in a 1950 paper "Computing Machinery      Turing Test Plus
and Intelligence” as a way of considering whether machines can
think. The problem with this question is the think part, so Turing    Brushing aside such counter-arguments and flaws, we have
attempted to substitute a more tangible surrogate: can a machine      developed a new Turing test. Here, A and B are again played by a
pass the “imitation game”?                                            human and a computer. The role of the interrogator, C, is fulfilled
                                                                      by a from the Church Of England Deliverance Ministry. Their role
“It is played with three people, a man (A), a woman (B), and an       is to determine presence of a soul.
interrogator (C) who may be of either sex. The interrogator stays
in a room apart from the other two. The object of the game for the    They draw lines of inquiry from experience and references such
interrogator is to determine which of the other two is the man and    as “De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam” 3 and
which is the woman. He knows them by labels X and Y, and at the       “Deliverance: Psychic Disturbances and Occult Involvement”4.
end of the game he says either 'X is A and Y is B' or 'X is B and Y
                                                                      Currently we are undertaking preliminary trials to hone the
is A.' The interrogator is allowed to put questions to A and B. “
                                                                      questions. Work is only slightly inhibited by the lack of definite
Subsequently either A or B is substituted with a machine. Now the     soul-less subjects, and the multitude of international law
interrogator, C, must determine which is the human1.                  prohibiting their overt existence. Nonetheless we hope that the
                                                                      test will prove fruitful, and may extend examining other subjects;
                                                                      animals, plants and inanimate objects. The Turing Test Plus might
Variations                                                            be a tool for identifying Philosophical Zombies.
In some circumstances it may be desirable to reverse the roles.
Here a computer attempts to distinguish a human from another
computer. This technology is useful in computer security to
prevent attacks by bots and other selfless machines, an example
of which is Carnegie Mellon University's “Completely Automated
                                                                      1 It seems crass to point out the sad irony of Turing's example, the choice
Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”                between male and female.
(CAPTCHA)2. This software relies on the fact that current             2 In 1999, an online poll from http://www.slashdot.org asked which was the
computer programs cannot read stylistically distorted text – but      best graduate school in computer science. IP addresses of voters were
                                                                      recorded in order to prevent single users from voting more than once.
humans can.                                                           However, students at Carnegie Mellon found a way to bypass this using
                                                                      programs that voted for CMU thousands of times. The next day, students at
Compare this with John Searle's “Chinese Room”, a thought             MIT wrote their own program and the poll became a contest between voting
experiment which argues against artificial intelligence. Consider     "bots." MIT finished with 21,156 votes, Carnegie Mellon with 21,032 and
the typical native English speaker, overweight and ignorant, he       every other school with less than 1,000
sits in a room into which are placed notes written Chinese. Of        3 An 84 page document of the Roman Catholic church describing the rite of
                                                                      exorcism. Revised following the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965.
course, our hero can only understand English and the messages         Published by the Holy See, ISBN 8820948222
which are slid under the door are meaningless. However, he does
                                                                      4 Edited by Michael Perry, Published by SPCK, ISBN 9780281049417
XVIIEX                                                                                                                          2010;17:193

Stating The Obvious
The New Proof
Bailey Rees
Our Own Correspondent

Herein we report on the development of a new organisation which           Supercomputer”. To this end they have infiltrated major European
concerns itself with fundamental knowledge. The X-Hume Society            teachers unions and recruited over fourteen hundred schools.
(XHS) boldly “seeks to underpin the subsidence of society”.               This gives access to around 700,000 pupils.
This is achieved by a number of unusual approaches.                       For example, a child throws a ball in the air (indoors, via suitably
                                                                          standardised launching device to ensure constant variables)
Papers proving incredibly obvious things                                  twenty times a day. If they are only able to recruit even half the
                                                                          children they will easily accumulate enough data to see if the ball
                                                                          comes down every time.
The incredibly obvious may not be correct.
Further research is necessary because there is a profound deficit         Positive Influences
in the evidence base. So many things are taken for granted and
simply accepted to be true. Everyday existence is based is                The XHS are quick to refute claims of triviality and child abuse.
experiential data at a level of individuals. This is really little more   They point out that these experiments giving innocent young
than gross assumption... after all, to assume is to make an ass of        children noble meaning to their shallow and needy lives.
u and me.                                                                 They claim that early exposure to science and maths, plus the
The plural of anecdote is not data.                                       exercise, can only benefit the children and humankind.

Observational Data                                                        We shall endeavour to bring you results in future iterations of
The XHS aims to overwhelm this individual hearsay mentality by
amassing huge collection of rigorous observational data. Their
secret weapon is children. Specifically the “Schoolchildren
XVIIEX                                                                                                                        2010;17:194

The Highway Ballet
The Same, But Faster
Fatima Rahman
University of Texas at Arms

Our group reports on a new driving technique which results in         users.
dramatically improved efficiency. Journey times are cut by up to
15% and gasoline consumption is reduced by 17%. Useful                A desire to arrive instils a strong sense of purpose and focus in
corollaries include less engine wear, and improved road safety.       the driver. Visualisation of arrival at the destination in a safe and
                                                                      timely fashion is crucial to success in Zhao Huoy Zung; a few
This research was carried out in conjunction with colleagues at       minutes spent meditating upon this before departure translates
the Taoist University of Physical Science in Seoul, North Korea.      into real-world gains.
It was in part driven by political will. Firstly, in answer to the    Enjoyment of driving lies at the heart of the technique. This comes
increasing environmental lobby. And secondly the desire to lessen     from employing all the principles of Zhao Huoy Zung into a fluid
the dependence on foreign oil.                                        movement on the road. Less stop-start! Smoother gear changes!
                                                                      Constant speed and graceful steering! Negative acceleration
In spite of this, it's origins are altogether less secular.           instead of intermittent braking! Anticipation and above all:
For many years the student monks at the Taoist University had         courtesy.
witnessed ever increasing urban traffic, with all its attendant
noise, pollution, and violence. They began a ritualised study of      Highway Ballet Crash
traffic patterns and developed a counter pattern which they call
“Zhao Huoy Zung”. This only approximately translates as “the          A journey as a passenger of a Zhao Huoy Zung master is a
Highway Ballet”.                                                      breathtaking, exhilarating experience. Without breaking the speed
                                                                      limit, or local regulations, without even a harsh engine note, the
The role of the Texan group was to document and analyse Zhao          driver cuts through the traffic quickly and decisively. A hot knife
Huoy Zung, and translate into a Western environment.                  through milk-butter. Junctions never need undue stoppage. It is
                                                                      as if the lights are never red. Aerial footage of Seoul confirms this,
Here follows a brief précis of the technique.
                                                                      dramatically revealing Zhao Huoy Zung drivers moving
                                                                      purposefully whilst others idle.
Zhao Huoy Zung
                                                                      This is all well and good for a solitary driver amongst an army of
Zhao Huoy Zung uniquely incorporates many principles from             cars driven with boredom and inattention. But what happens if
disciplines which normally only apply to movement of the human        Zhao Huoy Zung becomes widespread?
body. This includes some Korean religious dances, which are
broadly similar to Tai-Chi. These are coupled with Taoist             Studies on closed roads are conflicting.
philosophy and Daewoo technology.                                     If all drivers employ the technique then they rapidly find
Fundamental to this are:                                              themselves “without room to manoeuvre”. It seems that a large
                                                                      part of Zhao Huoy Zung is dependent on available space created
     •     Environmental awareness                                    by other individuals errors. Zhao Huoy Zung seems to fail.

     •     A desire to arrive                                         However, the traffic continues to move with a uniform grace. This
                                                                      preserves fuel economy and safety gains. Journey times would
     •     Enjoyment of driving                                       still be lower, but not as low as those achieved by an isolated
                                                                      Zhao Huoy Zung driver.
Environmental, or spatial, awareness is key to Zhao Huoy Zung,
and certainly the most difficult to master.                           Unfortunately it appears likely that a default position of Zhao Huoy
                                                                      Zung would soon become monotonous. Drivers become lax and
It can be divided into self and non-self.
                                                                      their discipline fails. The traffic environment decays to its former
Aspects of self would include a detailed knowledge of the vehicle,    chaotic energy state.
such as it's dimensions and performance characteristics. Non-self
awareness includes locations of other road users and inanimate        The Future
                                                                      We are working on an artifical intelligence construct of Zhao Huoy
Experience of local conditions, (e.g. road layout, weather, culture   Zung that can be deployed in the next generation of remote
and customs) is indispensable. Identifying patterns in these          controlled vehicles, which remove the fallible human from the
conditions, allows the prediction of the behaviour of other road      bitter equation.
XVIIEX                                                                                                                            2010;17:195

Nootropia Rising
A sighing heart never breaks
Albert S. Patin
Pater Noster University College, Ontario

Where am I? In the village. What do you want? Information.              So - there are some big problems with information.
Whose side are you on? That would be telling.... We want                Indeed there are many psychosomatic manifestations of this low
information...information...INFORMATION!                                ratio of signal to noise. "Too much change in too short a period of
                                                                        time", leading to information overload and Futureshock and
Many have written about our post-industrial society, an                 resultant stress, disorientation and social problems. Or the
information revolution based on information technology and a            overwhelming delirium of the Stendhal Syndrome - an affliction
booming knowledge economy.                                              which causes a person to become overwhelmed, delusional, and
In this world with ever increasing information we are facing all out    unstable      when       in      the    presence     of     true     art.
global Unclear War. Oh, information! A collection of data, a            Frequently these arise when individuals lack of a method for
message. Socioeconomic and technological changes over the               comparing and processing different kinds of information. This
last few hundred years have lead to increasing information in a         miasma of information requires increasing ability to understand,
world with an increasing population with an increasing life             retain, interpret and critically appraise. The information gatherer
expectancy, increasing intercommunication, increasing travel and        need                 exert                some               selectivity!
increasing freedoms.                                                    All this is occurring at the same time as the population ages, and
                                                                        its              cognitive                function             declines.
This began with the printing press, then public libraries, formal       Consequently there is an increasing requirement to improve our
education leading to democracy, intercontinental travel, electricity    cognitive abilities, to facilitate the process of thought. And he said
and telecommunications and then the interweb.                           unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician,
                                                                        heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do
Every individual has the potential to access vast quantities of         also here in thy country.
information. Through talking to other people, reading books,
magazines, adverts, the writing on the side of cereal packets,          There are numerous approaches that may be taken to enhance
watching television, listening to the radio and countless new           cognition. Most involve pharmaceuticals. Essentially we must
forms of timewasting.                                                   improve the supply and demand. The key components of the loop
Each individual also has the potential to be creator of information;
school reports, mobile telephone calls, bank statements, keeping        1. "Input". The senses
a diary, a blog or just shouting at the heavens.
                                                                        2. "Interpretation". The brain
Sadly, the information is often of dubious quality. Contradictory
and confusing - opinion contrasted with fact. Gut feeling, emotion.     (Although there is quite a bit of overlap, e.g vision. Eyes are little
Popular instead of expert. Slowly degrading of the real world into      more than "brain stalks".)
false positives. The pieces of information are unrelated or do not      These modest goals can be achieved by improving oxygen
have any overall structure to reveal their relationships.               delivery. Further improvements come from bettering the end
These changes in information have resulted in many concomitant          organs' ability to utilise oxygen and perform basic metabolism.
social changes and the increasing power of individual. But there        Sense data can be improved by simple means, e.g. spectacles,
are too many of us. We have access to too many, too much                laser refractive surgery, or a hearing aid. This and other means
money... too much equipment... and little by little we risk insanity.   could be extended to olfaction, audition, gustation,
                                                                        mechanoreception,      propioception,    nociception,   vestibular,
                                                                        thermoception and so on.
And so: let us consider some definitions. All concepts should be
defined. Patterns in the data may be collected as information.          Stimulants to modulate attention, or affect the duration of memory
Information can be used to enhance knowledge. There is a                forming. Memory aids which improve retention or improve the
continuous search for knowledge amidst ever increasing                  access to previous memories or even improve the formation of
information. Information and concepts must be referenced as             new memories. Drugs which retard the degradation of function,
much as possible to maintain transparency of thought; allowing          anti-aging. Not to mention psychological and behavioural
both regression and extrapolation. This is right and proper.            techniques

However, this requires thought; the process of thinking. A mind at
work, problem solving, decision making. Meditating, reasoning
and deliberating. Imagining, conceptualising... a mental                All this is only so good. When apathy is the dominant mindset in
manipulation of information.                                            society it is psychology which is limiting our cognitive function, not
                                                                        our physiology. Basically people can't be bothered.
But what is this idea? A notion in the mind, conception of vague
belief? Construction of a plan or aim... constructed of data! A         If we assume a Gaussian distribution of intelligence, then there
series of observations, measurements, facts, experiences -              must be a few super-super-intelligent people in society. (There
information. A collection or pattern of data is knowledge acquired      definitely are several from the other end of the curve.) Typically
through experience or study; knowledge of specific and timely           these individuals are ostracised and humiliated by others. They
events or situations. The state of a system, sensory input.             are little understood and receive no encouragement from peers or
                                                                        elders. They are usually described as having limited social skills,
How does one have knowledge and what is knowing? What one
                                                                        or lacking in “emotional intelligence”. Intelligence, brain power,
knows, is aware of, is acquainted with... what he or she
                                                                        call it what you will. Quantifying the ability to process thoughts
possesses information about. This process occurs within the
                                                                        and information is a singular entity. Describing some whimsical
                                                                        notion of empathy to make us simpletons feel better does not
Mind! Thinking faculties as distinguished from the body: memory,        change that.
attention, opinion, sanity, awareness, perception and reaction.
                                                                        These people certainly don't fit in and they struggle to get their
Do you understand? Do you realise? Do you know and                      thoughts heard. We risk becoming hated by them when instead
comprehend the nature and significance of anything?                     we need to capitalise on their potential. Society has many
                                                                        complex problems and needs to harness and encourage the best
2010;17:196                                                                                                       Nootropia Rising XVIIEX

minds to find solutions.                                                  entropy tends to increase with time. Entropy can be thought of as
                                                                          a measure of microscopic disorder; thus the Second Law implies
                                                                          that time is asymmetrical with respect to the amount of order in an
Wake Up
                                                                          isolated system. As time increases, a system will statistically
Sceptics about nootropics are unwitting victims of the so-called          become more disordered. In information theory, entropy is a
Panglossian paradigm of evolution! (From the Greek: nous, or              measure of the uncertainty associated with a random variable.
"mind," and trepein meaning "to bend/turn".)                              According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy tends
                                                                          to increase with time.
At the microscopic level physical processes are time symmetric
and statements that describe them remain true if the direction of         It can be seen that the net result is an ever increasing amount of
time is reversed. Think of an atom bouncing off another atom.             information.           Disorder           and          information.
However, when we describe things at the macroscopic level                 Unless we accept and embrace Nootropia then we rush headlong
things are different... think of a china plate hitting the floor. There   into uncertainty, confusion, decay, disorder.
is an obvious direction or flow of time. An arrow of time! According
                                                                          And death.
to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy tends to increase
with time. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics,

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