Archive for the ‘Biology’ Category

Corrupt Travel Industry Should be Forced To Use Hybrid, Hydrogen Planes

March 23, 2020

Civilizations decay when taken over by plutocracy, which makes their thinking heads decay into a corrupt mediocrity enabling greed and will to power, to devour deeper, more human values until the entire society sinks into idiocy.

Example? Big pharmaceutical companies spending more on advertising than on researching and developing new treatments: it should be completely unlawful. Doctors, pharmacists are the only individuals who should be appraised of treatments, and that should be done without bells, whistles, under the counter payments, and teams of pretty girls selling the products. (In some countries, such as France, pharmacists can prescribe).   

Another industry which got out of control was the travel industry, shuttling, at enormous ecological cost, people all around the world, for no good reason. When one is European, going for a week to South East Asia, just because it’s “cheap” is immoral, anti-ecological… and has turned outright homicidal.

Civilization should exact the exact price that air travel is costing the biosphere. (I can’t be accused to be anti-air travel, because I flew for the first time as a toddler; I have had a tricontinental life… Not my choice…)

The French engineer and inventor Clément Ader created the first planes (he had also created, among many other things, better telephony, the first wireless stereo, and V8 engines; as he was a formally educated engineer, Ader invented non-trivial things; he became wealthy in the process). Adler used new technology, steam engines which were the lightest ever made. He took off on 9 October, 1890. However, in the following decade, much more powerful gasoline engines were invented. After this, the pace of innovation in aviation was blistering. Between Ader’s first flight and the first jet engines, just half a century elapsed. Eighty years after Ader took off, humanity was landing on the Moon. Since then, we have pretty much stagnated.

A little dreamy vacation from the terrible Coronavirus… Flying Wing, big electric propellers in the back to supplement high bypass jet engines… Feasible now. [NASA picture.]

Hybrid propulsion for aircraft should be feasible with existing battery technology (or the one just around the corner, with twice the energy density; let alone solid state lithium, which is on the verge of industrial production; Ader invented the lightest engine: aviation should invent the lightest batteries). 

The point of aircraft hybrid propulsion is that much power is used during ascent or emergency (all engines on). Hybrid can recover much of this energy during descent (with appropriate large slow propellers working as air brakes in the back of the plane). Due to aviation needs batteries could be much improved (going to solid state, forgoing much of the present weight for cooling and isolation of the present flammable cells; in a car, battery mass is not that important).

One can easily sketch what should be done. But it would require vastly different airframes (large propellers in the back, etc.). 

Hydrogen planes are obviously feasible, as large hydrogen rockets routinely fly (as Ariane V). They just require a massive “green” hydrogen infrastructure, which is needed anyway (to store sustainable energy such as solar PV).  

Once again, different airframes would be needed. Airbus has been using the same airframe on the A320 for 40 years…. And Boeing for nearly 60 years on the 737… The whole airline industry has become corrupt, resting, fat and content, over huge subsidies, packing passengers like disease laden sardines, flying them all over the world for no good reason… 

Ader, who invented so many things, electric or not, also created the words “avion” and “aviation”… Coronavirus is showing us that flying people like sardines should be against the law. Airline subsidies should also be against the law, be they for not paying a fuel tax, for business jets, etc. High speed or not, AWE, pollution and energy cheaper electric trains should be subsidized instead.  

It goes without saying that the cruise ship industry should also be forced to go hybrid and sailing (omnidirectional sails exist)… And also slower. One large cruise ship (ironically made in France) was demonstrated to cause, anchored in Marseilles, France, as much pollution as two million cars. It should be all electric, and if that means nuclear engines, so be it. 

We know, from 99.99% sure paleontological record, and 100% from elementary geographical thermal logic that at 450 ppm CO2, oceans should be 30 meters (100 feet) higher. Now we are already at 500 ppm in CO2 equivalent. However, coronavirus is going to curb the human CO2 input this year (that may help us see how much CO2 augmentation is caused by human activity). Just as with viruses, humanity has been under the belief that this sort of thing happens to others. However, elementary logic and basic geography show we could have a breakup of the iceshileds within a few decades. 

So we need to shut down CO2 production. Air travel was expected to become a most major contributor, within a few years… Instead it’s momentarily shut down. It should not reopen was it used to be. In that respect, thanks, SARS-CoV2! 

Patrice Ayme


Important P/S: The question of why the effect of civilizational sinking into idiocy didn’t happen in Medieval Europe is of the utmost interest; yes, right, it was a close thing. And sinking into ever deeper idiocy is what happened to the Greco-Roman empire. Arguably, much more was thrown at Middle Age Europe, including ecological overload from large populations, the terrible plague of 1348, and the Little Ice Age (which started around 1300 CE, just when all over Europe, population were peaking. A country like France was reaching the relatively enormous population of nearly 20 millions, just when the climate brutally cooled).

So why didn’t “Europe”, the “Renovated” empire didn’t sink into idiocy? After all, it still spoke Latin! It spoke Latin longer than Rome! Well, differently from Rome, Europe’s fascist index was lower than that of Rome. Basically imperial fascist Rome had one potentate, the emperor… who also headed the state religion, starting with Diocletian, Constantine (300 CE). By contrast, after the Carolingian empire breaking into pieces, Europe was in pieces… Sixty of them in Western France (Francia Occidentalis). The ferocious competition between the potentates, especially Paris and London, brought a race to technological superiority. For example, field guns were invented by the southern French to fight the English. But lots of the competition was also in pacific technologies, like textiles…


P/S 2: Aircraft makers, except when working for the military, are part of the “travel industry”, of course… So are hotels, etc. Business jets get subsidies which should be cut right away.


Treatment For SARS 2/COVID 19?… & Don’t Take Ibuprofen/NSAID!

March 18, 2020

Crowned Creation against the Crown of Creation:

A drug used to treat influenza seems to be effective at treating the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to news reports from Japan and China. This are among the news today. Another news is my own reinterpretation of the data available, and it shows that younger people are much more hit than what has been said.

The antiviral drug, called Favipiravir or Avigan, showed positive outcomes in clinical trials involving 340 individuals in Wuhan and Shenzhen, said Zhang Xinmin, of China’s science and technology ministry, The Guardian reported.: “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang said Tuesday (March 17).

Developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, the antiviral drug is being manufactured by Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical for treating influenza viruses. It received approval as an experimental treatment for COVID-19 infections, Pharmaceutical Technology reported.

Patients in Shenzhen who had tested positive for COVID-19 and who were given the drug got a negative virus test back with a median time of four days later. That compares with a negative test about 11 days later, as a median, for patients not on the drug. In that same trial, lung conditions (as shown in X-rays) improved in about 91% of patients taking Favipiravir, compared with just 62% who weren’t taking the antiviral drug.

In the Wuhan trial, the drug also seemed to shorten the duration of a patient’s fever from an average of 4.2 days to 2.5 days, according to Pharmaceutical Technology. When it reproduces itself, influenza lacks the ability to errors, because it is an RNA virus. RNA, unlike DNA, lacks a self-correcting mechanism. Unlike double-stranded DNA, RNA is a singlestranded molecule in many of its biological roles and consists of much shorter chains of nucleotides. As a result, influenza, and other RNA viruses tend to not be genetically stable.

Favipiravir is specifically made to treat RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2; these are viruses whose main genetic material is RNA, not DNA. The drug stops some viruses from replicating by crippling the ubiquitous enzyme (a substance that gets chemical reactions going) called RNA polymerase, which builds RNA. Without that enzyme intact, the virus can’t duplicate its genetic material efficiently once inside a host cell, according to an article describing the drug that was published in 2017 in the journal Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Ser. B, Physical and Biological Sciences.

Naturally, the drug seems less effective in patients with severe symptoms. By then secondary infections and over-powerful immune reactions causing inflammation have set in. “We’ve given Avigan to 70 to 80 people, but it doesn’t seem to work that well when the virus has already multiplied,” a source from the Japanese Health Ministry told the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.

Doctors are using the same drug in Japan to treat coronavirus patients with mild to moderate symptoms. Results from these trials have not been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Public enemy number one: Crowned Creation against the Crown of Creation

A number of other drugs should, or may work: chloroquine was demonstrated to have strong in vitro and in vivo antiviral activities against coronaviruses (as it should). Chloroquine treated HCoV-OC43, a coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV, which infects mice (mice seem immune against SARS-Cov2). Moreover, treatment with daily doses of chloroquine has a long-lasting protective effect against lethal coronavirus OC43 infection in newborn mice. (Notice in passing that the research was financially supported by the European Union, a decade ago; private companies were not interested, of course, as quinine has been known to work for centuries…)

Remdesivir, made by Gilead Pharma, should also work, it specifically targets reproduction of such viruses. Lopinavir and ritonavir are also in WHO mandated trials.

To date, there is no officially approved or officially known drug to treat SARS-CoV-2. However, antiviral drugs developed to treat other illnesses are being tested for their use in treating the coronavirus. For instance, Remdesivir was developed to treat Ebola but it has shown promise in treating monkeys infected with another coronavirus, the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS); that drug is currently being tested in China and the U.S.. The company is rushing to build a factory to produce the drug industrially.

A problem with finding out what worked in China is that doctors there have given many drugs at the same time to save patients. Some patients were talking more than 30 pills a day (and lived!) They also used Tamiflu…

One important warning is this (aside from the fact the virus apparently can live for days on surfaces).

WHO, World Health Organization Now Officially Recommends to Avoid Taking Ibuprofen For COVID-19 Symptoms, 17 March 2020
The World Health Organization recommended Tuesday that people suffering COVID-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen, and other NSAID (Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory Drugs) after French officials warned that anti-inflammatory drugs could worsen effects of the virus. Basically, they lower immune defenses…

The warning by French Health Minister Olivier Véran (the doctor who presides over triage, see below) followed a recent study in The Lancet medical journal that hypothesised that an enzyme boosted by anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen could facilitate and worsen COVID-19 infections. WHO says: “In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That’s important,”

We need more research. Unlimited funds should be provided for companies and research institutions. According to the latest observations from France and Italy, young patients are also very affected. Moreover, the French health minister Olivier Véran admitted on TV, in a fast and garbled sentence, which he covered with his hand, that young patients were given maximum treatment (extra-corporal oxygenation) not given to older patients (from lack of machines, and, or personnel). Such TRIAGE strategy automatically will make it so that more young patients will survive. Even then many surviving young patients have scarred lungs (the bane of pneumonia). It’s not Nazism, but it’s certainly part of it: eugenism (eu-gene: provides creation to what’s better).

This should cause pause in several ways. Let’s put aside the ethical, eugenics, Nazi style considerations. Another is that this may explain the high death rate of the old, at least in part: if they are not treated, sure they will die. But then statistics will lie by showing the youth to be more resistant. In truth, they are simply treated better...

This is war, the whole economy has to be mobilized, as France and Britain did in 1939, and the USA in 1942. Patents, granted government monopolies, can be suspended to make medications or machines. That the morally upright has to be willing, able and even enthusiastic to make war, is one of the most fundamental principles of humanity:

I knew this truth to be eternal, I shuddered to ever see it come alive. But it did. This pandemic should create a better world for survivors, if we learn from it to not be so superficial anymore. It’s just a warning, even though millions may die.

Patrice Ayme


Coronavirus, Or When European Lack Of Democracy Kills From Sheer Idiocy

March 16, 2020

The way local democracy manages government better is illustrated by comparing the US response to the virus with the European response at face value. However, the US Federal Government also behaved better. Those smarts, per se, are actually a consequence of its constant competition, Armageddon in mind, of the central government with said local governments. The comparison of the US with the EU and Switzerland are illuminative. The more war like mentality of the USA, plus its stronger local democracy, should give a much better outcome to the coronavirus pandemic in the US than in Europe. Yes, I know, here resurfaces the Jihad/War like effort, so unpalatable to the sheep. But even Macron, French president, criticized below, just said it was war…

Anyway, let me explain how local democracy comes into play. Before I go into a fuller picture, let me point out that local governments have huge local powers in the USA: To battle the virus, 6 California Counties ORDERED everyone to stay home. On Monday, six counties around Silicon Valley announced residents should not go out for three weeks except to meet “essential needs.” Across California, as the coronavirus marches through communities, life as everyone understands it in the Golden State is changing dramatically, hour by hour, minute by minute.

The state has begun enacting extreme measures to halt the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, six counties around Silicon Valley, one of the hardest-hit areas in the nation, announced a shelter-at-home order that begins Monday March 16 at midnight. Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose said that was the strongest directive yet in the United States. Residents, including those living in San Francisco, were told not to go out for three weeks except to meet “essential needs.” Going to a park in a car is forbidden*.

[*That policy seems to have been rescinded after this essay was published, as “exercising” seems to have been redefined as “essential”… The Bay Area is surrounded and penetrated by massive parks, including a national park, all of them full of giant sequoias, coyotes, deer, elks, mountain lions, even condors…]

On January 22, 2020, the Chinese government, having realized that the COVID 19/SARS 2 epidemic was out of control, decided to crush the contagion with confinement of all of Hubei. On January 31, Trump blocked all incoming travel from China (except returning US Residents & relatives; effective February 2). What did the Europeans do? Nothing. Everybody welcome. The first Coronavirus death in France was a visiting Chinese tourist. What did the French government think about that? Nothing. 

You see people who are in power are not in power so that the best be done. They are in power because power, auctoritas as the Romans said, is all what matters to them. Assuming power is all about compromise. This is why Sanders didn’t press Biden much about the Iraq War: a deal was made (so that a war criminal can run for the presidency, as long as Sanders’ issues are given lip service). Power onto other people is intrinsically unfair, so those profiting from this unfair advantage are always compromising with each other. 

On the day of maximum death in China, February 12, 254 patients died from COVID 19. On March 15, 2020, Spain had more deaths than that, and the next day the death toll climbed to 309. A week prior, lunatics in the Spanish government had claimed they didn’t need to prevent crowds. Italy got 368 deaths on March 15, 349 the next day (is confinement finally working?) On March 16, Europe, by then the core of the pandemic, started to talk about blocking entry to the EU… That’s 6 weeks after Trump… Supposedly an idiot according to most pseudo-intellectuals and Europeans with intellectual pretense. If Trump is an idiot, what are European leaders?  

This virus is contagious even when victims are asymptomatic. And some asymptomatic individuals are extremely contagious. Moreover, it is known from Chinese studies that recovered patients can still shed viruses… for weeks. In a case in Singapore, a Diamond Princess patient, who had fully recovered in Japan, and who tested negative several times, flew back. After several days, he complained of chest pains, and was put in a cardiac unit, as he had cardiac problems. After several days of aggravated conditions, he was re-tested for COVID19… and came out positive! (Pandemonium in the hospital resulted as many were exposed, from healthcare professionals to other patients.) Here is the EXPONENTIAL AT WORK:

Exponentials galore: The speed of increase of the number of viruses vectors grows proportionally to the number of virus vectors, multiplied by 3 or 4…

Why European mishandling of COVID 19? Little kinglets, like Macron or Johnson, who never studied exponentials, the most important function in modern mathematics, seriously… decide the fate of entire nations. Who should decide instead? A healthy debate, no holds barred!The fact is those two clowns are just nothing: yes, they can get themselves elected, but somebody would have been elected anyway. Even idiots such as Hitler and Mussolini got elected. Johnson was a newspaper hack and Macron a finance inspector turned plutocratic enabler in bank Rothschild (famous for financing wars around 1800, among other similar activities… and crowing about it). Make no mistake: Johnson and Macron, like Obama are superficially intelligent, it’s all the art they learned to master (Trump made a point not to bother, so he looks authentic).

If there had been a debate about COVID19, a really harsh debate, the obvious conclusion would have been that one to do exactly what China did. In particular, China blocked travel out of Hubei… And Trump duplicated this. European monkeys in charge, didn’t. 

What is at work here is the “Democratic Index”, roughly the quotient of (Number of Independent Leaders)/(Population). In France, or Britain, one guy is in charge. In the USA, the president has limited powers, local governors, quite a bit. For example, the California governor ordered ski resorts closed (same day as France, much more affected by the virus, did).

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Sunday announcement effectively shutting down bars, nightclubs, wineries and breweries in the state and cutting restaurant occupancy by half, caught local businesses off-guard. The state’s restaurant industry normally serves about 10 million meals per day…  

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut governors, all “Democrats” forced the closure of restaurants, bars and cinemas… followed within minutes, belatedly, by Washington State (2% of US population, 20% of the cases, as the governor pointed out). 

US local democracy means local empowerment. For example, on March 13, Santa Clara County authorities ordered no more gathering of 35 people (except where absolutely necessary, like airports or hospitals). Yes, just a County. Right it’s two million people and also known as “Silicon Valley”. The decision was taken under advice of the medical authorities of the County. The USA has 3142 Counties (Charlemagne set-up 300 counties throughout Europe).  

All African countries, fully conscious of the fast exponential nature of the epidemic, are barricading themselves (the first cases there were imported from Europe… not China). It is a message of hope to see the Africans being smarter and more civilized than the ex-colonial masters…

Local Democracy at work in US cities and counties: compare with Europe, which had, and has, to wait until heads of central governments take the same decision… two weeks too late!

London Breed, 45th Mayor, San Francisco:

“Effective at midnight, San Francisco will require people to stay home except for essential needs. Necessary government functions & essential stores will remain open. These steps are based on the advice of public health experts to slow the spread of #COVID19.”

All this local democracy puts various potentates in competition with each other. Two years back, the mayor of Oakland (another woman) warned illegal immigrants (some of whom no doubt should be legal residents) of impending raids ordered by the Trump administration. That made Trump quite angry, and noises were made of taking legal action against the mayor… But nothing came of it. Hundreds of cities, so-called sanctuary cities, disobey the Federal government about immigration law. All this competition among US potentates, Federal against Local, States against Federal, or corporations, etc. force all the potentates to be smarter than they otherwise would be. 

Skeptics could point out to Switzerland, which has been doing poorly in the epidemic… Although Cantons took measures, they took them too slowly, and the Swiss Federal government was even slower. How come? First, the Cantons led: that’s the local democracy effect. Why so slow? Because it’s a war. Switzerland is not war-minded, the USA, just like China, is.  The lack of bellicose spirit also reflect the slow European defense in general. Just as Europe has been desperately slow waking up to Fundamental Islam, so it was under attack by SARS 2…

This local US governance also reflects the way the Roman empire was governed: the all-powerful Roman central (=federal) government, mostly commanded the army… Local governance by cities and their elected officials did the rest (it was not a perfect system, and it was too money dependent… hence the “Curiales” crisis of the Late Empire, when no one could afford to be a local official…)

Coronavirus will force a healthy readjustment of all values. No doubt, because of more intelligent leadership, the US will do better than Europe. 

Local democracy, and there is no other, is not just a higher, or wiser, way of life. It’s also the best way to survive better. 

Patrice Ayme



P/S: Practically, serious containment should work, as it did in China… Within three (3) weeks or so, depending how effective containment is made to be at starving the virus of new bodies, the curve of cases should reach a maximum… Two and a half weeks seems to be the average time from getting the virus (typically from an asymptomatic subject) to getting a confirmed diagnostic…. It seems that Hubei went into severe lockdown when it had around real 2,000 people carrying the virus.. And still the number of patients there went up to 70,000… More exactly, by January 23, lockdowns had started in 6 Hubei cities, including Wuhan. By then the total number of SARS 2 was no more than 500, worldwide. Still, by February 12, Hubei had around 70,000 cases…


P/S: I met an old foggy who was hysterical about what he called the Coronavirus hysteria and compared it to the Y2K hoax (when computers were supposed to stop in 2000 CE). Then he insisted the flu kills 80,000 in the USA. What the deluded gentleman didn’t understand is that SARS 2 is more contagious than the flu, and creates much more critical cases. In an overwhelmed healthcare systems, those cases will convert into deaths. Another point: of four other known Coronaviruses which cause colds in humans, the immunity doesn’t seem to work as well as with flu (see the case above in Singapore when a thoroughly cured patient relapsed… And cured patients keep on releasing viruses…)



February 28, 2020

Desires, values, practice, ways, ideas and feelings are all entangled. Considering the state of the biosphere… collapsing as it is, a reevaluation is all values is required.

To avoid future, otherwise ineluctable megadeath: please humanity, gain gravitas.

No, COVID19 will not cause ultimate megadeath: the coronavirus is just a warning (following SARS, MERS, and Ebola, all aslo coronaviruses), COVID19 may cause dozens of millions of dead (HIV killed 35 millions, so far…), but that’s not billions. A full collapse of the biosphere and attendant human civilization would kill billions. Now this can all be avoided by changing our present ways… and desires. 

We have long said that what is happening would happen… Much of the world GDP is consumed by useless consumption. Plastic all over, most travel useless. Why are business jets subsidized? They emit 1% of US CO2. What is the best way to learn about Florence? The Florentine Republic? Going there? How do you go back seven centuries? By reading intelligent essays about it? Or going there, stuffed like coughing sardines breathing onto each other.

Unrestricted travel was fashionable: people thought knowing of going to the other side of the world to go to a place one was supposed to feel great to have gone to. It could be a beach, a club, a hotel, a city, a wave, a climb, a marathon: there they went on cheap airfare, “private” yet subsidized by governments.

Big meetings, huge stadiums full of gawking, brainless “supporters”. They should support themselves, not multimillionaire players.

Universitarians, again subsidized by governments, going all around the world, sometimes for just one day, to meet and greet each other… Sometimes even in expensive business class (I was direct witness, more than once).

Alaskan Forest hemlock Sawfly damage: parasites occupy forests which are not genetically adapted to them. All these will burn, contributing to world CO2… NONLINEARLY.

All over, when we talk about the biosphere being in a state of collapse under the assault of humanity, reasonable people have been nodding… and changing nothing about their lives, and, more importantly, knowledge base. 

We have long said that what is happening would happen… Mutation of all sorts of microbes, viruses, bacteria, mushrooms, parasites going faster than humanity, let alone evolution, could react. But not just this. Sea level rise and ice melting predictions depend upon optimistic hypotheses scientists keen to preserve their careers are anxious not to make. If one goes as pessimistic as possible about sub ice shelf melting by warm currents, and if one predicts that methane hydrates will erupt, then one talks about sea level rise many times greater than the most pessimistic official predictions.

Right, healthcare is the basic human right.

But, in particular, this means that a non-collapsing biosphere is a basic human right too. Much of this collapse is caused by the fact that wealth has had too much power. Not just the wealth of highly visible plutocrats like Bezos, the Walmart family, Bloomberg, etc. The main problem is the less visible wealth of trusts, foundations and influences of heirs which induce universities such as Harvard, and countless “foundations”, and “institutes” to teach or preach an erroneous world picture, from the departments of humanities, english, philosophy, history, economics, etc.

The imposition and inducement of an erroneous world picture happens not just in the USA. Places such as Britain, France or the EU are also rotten through and through: consider the Brexit debate, or the very perplexing attitude of the French elite regarding so-called pedophilia (truly raping children, no love there). Of course the rest of the world tends to be even worse of, and it’s no accident the virus came from China… but the fish rots by the head.

And the erroneous world spirit is not just a question of individuals: replacing the so-called “leaders” would not be enough. Beyond incarnated “leaders”, there are leading feelings, moods and ideas. Most of the MENTAL INERTIA which drove Nazism, was fully in force, before Hitler’s grandmother was employed by a wealthy Jew.

COVID 19 is another little warning. It’s still a disaster we can do something about. If Antarctica collapses, or LOW fails[1], that will be another story… Then there will be little we can do… Aside from Armageddon like solutions [2].

Patrice Ayme



[1] Launch On Warning: automated first strike thermonuclear rocket forces… presently deployed. Please aske “Democrat’ speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi about it, she is a self-described “Catholic”, and she prays for the president everyday (she says).


[2] So, besides increasing military budgets of the permanent members of the UNSC (who keep the peace)… What can we do? We can, and should, redeploy the economy is a way which promotes the survival of civilization.  So we need more research in what reality was, and is. Thus revisiting history… and not just the face of well-known fascist regimes such as Lenin’s, Stalin’s, Hitler’s, Mussolini’s etc…. But also the real forces behind them. We should also push science and teaching as much as possible.



We Are Quantum Machines, Thus Smart In Nonlocal Ways

November 9, 2018

Biological organisms are Quantum machines. That makes them completely different from 100% determined automata. There is nothing automatic about a Quantum machine. Moreover, the Quantum is intrinsically nonlocal: that makes it intelligent. And thus so it is for evolution itself! Yes, evolution is intelligent: Quantum physics made that possible.

New (Applied Quantum) Physics needs to be developed to figure out biology.

In the chlorophyll molecule, photons are absorbed and transformed into energy to transport electrons with nearly 100% efficiency: nearly every photon is absorbed. This is an  indication of Quantum in action.

Now what is a Quantum machine? Not so simple, it can work in such mysterious ways, that physicists themselves are baffled:

Patrice Ayme

Ctenophora Rewriting 750 Million Years Of Neural Evolution

August 2, 2017

Ctenophora were long considered just a kind of jellyfish. Turns out that was a gross mistake. Indeed a Russian immigrant to the USA, Leonid Moroz, found that these animals were unrelated to jellyfish. In fact, ctenophora are so profoundly different from any other animal on Earth, that it has been discovered they are much older, and unrelated, to sponges (previously sponges were thought to be by far the oldest animals; now this is known to be wrong).

In 1995, Moroz tested the nerve cells of ctenophora for the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide, chemical messengers considered the universal instruments of the neural language of all and any animals. He didn’t find any of them.

Ctenophora were already known for having a serious nervous system, complete with neurons; but these first experiments by Moroz showed that ctenophora nerves are built from molecular building blocks – different from any other animal – using ‘a different chemical language’! says Moroz: he calls these animals ‘aliens of the sea’.

If vertebrates had not appeared, 200 million years after ctenophora, probably confining the latter into an ecological niche, civilization may have evolved from ctenophora.

An obscure force seems to compel the apparition of complex nervous systems to evolve. It is universal – not just on Earth, but also on inhabited exoplanets. And I will show roughly what it is, and where it comes from in a companion essay (to which this one is introductory).

Jellyfishes use muscles to flap their bodies and swim. Whereas ctenophora use thousands of cilia to swim. They can be very small, but the largest are 1.5 meter long (5 feet). Jellyfishes sting, ctenophora capture prey using two sticky tentacles that secrete glue. Ctenophora ambush their prey.  

Studies of ctenophora, starting 130 years ago, showed neuron masses, and, more recently, what looked like synapses. 

Ctenophore. It looks as if the ancestors of vertebrates MUSCLED out (serious pun intended!) the ctenophora. With sheer muscle power the cilia smarts ctenophora were thrown into a niche!

Moroz finally was able to make a “transcriptome” of the DNA of ctenophora in 2007.   5,000 or 6,000 gene sequences were actively turned on in the animal’s nerve cells. His team showed that Pleurobrachia lacked the genes and enzymes required to manufacture neurotransmitters seen in other animals. These missing neurotransmitters included the ones that Moroz found to be absent back in 1995 – serotonin, dopamine and nitric oxide – but also acetylcholine, octopamine, noradrenaline, etc. Ctenophora also lacked genes for receptors that to respond to conventional neurotransmitters.

As Moroz team put it in Nature:

“The origins of neural systems remain unresolved. In contrast to other basal metazoans, ctenophores (comb jellies) have both complex nervous and mesoderm-derived muscular systems. These holoplanktonic predators also have sophisticated ciliated locomotion, behaviour and distinct development. Here we present the draft genome of ten… ctenophore transcriptomes, and show that they are remarkably distinct from other animal genomes in their content of neurogenic, immune and developmental genes. Our integrative analyses place Ctenophora as the earliest lineage within Metazoa. This hypothesis is supported by comparative analysis of multiple gene families, including the apparent absence of HOX genes, canonical microRNA machinery, and reduced immune complement in ctenophores. Although two distinct nervous systems are well recognized in ctenophores, many bilaterian neuron-specific genes and genes of ‘classical’ neurotransmitter pathways either are absent or, if present, are not expressed in neurons. Our metabolomic and physiological data are consistent with the hypothesis that ctenophore neural systems, and possibly muscle specification, evolved independently from those in other animals.”

[Nature, June 2014. The ctenophore genome and the evolutionary origins of neural systems]

Further studies have confirmed that ctenophora have evolved earlier, and completely independently of other animals.

Ctenophora lack entire classes of genes that had been thought to be universal to all animals. These included so-called micro-RNA genes, which help to form specialised cell types in organs, and HOX genes, which divide bodies into separate parts, be it the segmented body of a worm or lobster, or the segmented spine and finger bones of a vertebrate.  Such genes are present in simple sponges and placozoa.

Ctenophora are the oldest type of animal known! (Moroz tried to publish a paper in 2009 which implicitly led to that conclusion; it was rejected. He then did more refined studies which led to the 2014 Nature paper.)

Moroz now counts up to 12 independent evolutionary origins of the nervous system. Including at least one in cnidaria (the group that includes jellyfish and anemones), three in echinoderms (the group that includes sea stars, sea lilies, urchins and sand dollars), one in arthropods (the group that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans), one in molluscs (the group that includes clams, snails, squid and octopuses), one in vertebrates – and now, at least one in ctenophora.

“There is more than one way to make a neuron, more than one way to make a brain,” says Moroz. In each of these evolutionary branches, different genes and proteins ensembles got elected through random gene mutations, to take part in building a nervous system. The details are completely different, yet, the big picture is the same!

And that’s no accident, as I will argue, there is an underlying Quantum force pushing towards intelligence… Thus Lamarck was right.

Moroz rejected much of what he was taught. Because his ‘initial hypothesis was exactly what was in the textbooks’, moving to the correct way of thinking about ctenophora took him 20 years.

Science is truth, but truth is not obvious. And searching for it is even more demanding.

Patrice Ayme’


July 24, 2017

Abstract: We can edit genetics now. Should we? Of course. It’s the moral thing to do. First, because it’s moral to try to know what we don’t know, even when, and especially when, it’s a great jump in the unknown (I will explain why in a follow-up essay). Second, because, by pushing the CRISPR technology, we can save billions of hours of quality of life for millions of human beings, very soon.


In 2012, a collaboration between  Jennifer Doudna (from Hawai’i; then a professor at UC Berkeley) and  Emmanuelle Charpentier (a French professor from Paris working all over Europe) brought a huge invention. The two collaborating professors harnessed CRISPR into a method to edit DNA at will. Doudna learned first from CRISPR thanks to another female professor at Berkeley.

(Doudna wrote an excellent book on this “A Crack In Creation”, which I highly recommend; the title itself has a triple meaning.)

CRISPR is the abbreviation of: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. They are segments of prokaryotic DNA containing short, repetitive base sequences. These play a key role in a bacterial defence system: bacteria get attacked by viruses, bacteriophages. RNA harboring the spacer sequence helps Cas proteins recognize and cut the enemy (exogenous DNA) in two. Other RNA-guided Cas proteins cut enemy RNA.

Several elements intervene in CRISPR: tracing with RNA attached to a pair of scissors, adding (or not!) what DNA piece one wants, & then automatic repair DNA…

Gene editing proceeds by attaching a DNA-breaking natural bacterial defense against virus to a particular region of the DNA, thanks to a recognizing RNA. Then whatever one wants to splice is brought in by another RNA. DNA. 

The potential is to create species at will. Or to remove diseases at will. Let’s hasten to say, that the process can, and has, happened spontaneously in the wild (so to speak). Some patients have had grave genetic diseases they were affected by, disappear, from the cutting effect appearing on its own in one stem cell’s DNA. (If that stem cell had enough descendants to compensate for the deleterious effects of others, wrong-DNA cells, a cure can be achieved!)

Some “bioethicists” are all alarmed by gene editing, and use big words, about the potential damage to life for frivolous pursuits.

Technically, CRISPR alarmists are panicking too early: first, and most importantly, the phenotype does not reduce to the genotype. Human beings’ inheritance is mostly phenotype, not genotype: this is why we can share 99% of our genotype with mice, and still be quite different  (except for those addicted to plutocracy, who may as well be mice).

Granted, one should not do whatever. Fluorescent mini-pigs should be amusing, but not if their fluorescence prevents them to sleep. Worse: a very promising, but hyper dangerous technique exists, the GENE DRIVE. In a gene drive, the CRISPR itself is made part of the genetic information which is added.

Promising? Experimentally, some mosquitoes species were then infected with 99.5% success with immunity to the malaria parasite. That would make malaria disappear faster than Bill Gates takes to visit five-star hotels on his way to do whatever in the name of malaria. So it’s an excellent thing. On the danger side, species could be eradicated. That technique could also obviously be weaponized.


We are the astonishing the species. Stupendous astonishment is what we do.

What is predictable is not astonishing, and what is truly astonishing, is not predictable.

Such philosophical musings are actually intensely practical. I am going to show how.


With CRISPR all genetic diseases become potentially curable: Considering Huntington’s and Duchenne muscular dystrophy leads Doudna to write in her book: “The stakes are simply too high to exclude the possibility of eventually using germline editing.”Strange formulation: the stakes are simply too high to exclude the possibility of eventually using life saving technology?

I shall be even clearer. Those not all out for using CRISPR to cure human diseases are on the same moral side as those who didn’t go all out to prevent Auschwitz, although they knew about it. Yeah, no, I’m not exaggerating, but it’s going to be a bit difficult to explain why. 

By editing DNA at will, we become the architect of creation.

When one can alleviate human pain and suffering, absent adverse consequences, one has to do so. It’s a moral imperative. Otherwise one joins the ranks of those who could have done something about Auschwitz, and didn’t. Actually, it’s worse: opposing those who operated Auschwitz clearly had adverse consequences!


Same basic story as above, rolled out again to explain better…

Jennifer Doudna: “The truth is, I don’t have answers.” Doudna would like to have the public participate in the debate. However, says Doudna: “There’s a disconnect between the scientific community and mainstream culture, a real degradation in trust by the public. Many scientists — I’m guilty of this too — find it much more fun to do the next experiment in the lab than to take the time to explain to non-specialists what we do or how the scientific process actually works.”

Doudna is still searching for red lines that CRISPR technology shouldn’t cross. “I struggle with the question of crossing boundaries of speciation that are naturally in place” — For example 28,000 people are grafted every year in the USA. The demand is five times that, at least. Raising pigs with human-compatible organs becomes possible with CRISPR.  “You might decide that it would be unethical not to do that,” says Doudna, unhelpfully.

I love Doudna. She and Charpentier should get the Nobel. However, she somewhat disingenuously pretends to believe that, given our limited knowledge about the human genome, there shouldn’t be clinical use of CRISPR in the human germ line at present. (She does not really believes this, because she is not an idiot, but she affects to play a fair, Politically Correct game…) But she also admits that the balance is delicate. The same technology that might cure genetic-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Duchenne, diabetes and cancer might someday be used frivolously. Strangely Doudna pretends that “I don’t think that’s going to happen any time very soon, just because we don’t have the knowledge,” Doudna says. “But is it coming in 50 or 100 years?” She pauses to reflect, then says: “Yeah.”

However this is all a fake debate: it has been done with mice. Thus, it can be done with people. Thanks to the People’s Republic of China, it’s going to happen all over human disease. Mr. Xi just inverted the one-child policy established 40 years ago, he can earn more brownie points by curing human diseases.

CRISPR is a wonderful tool, to gather knowledge, and THEN to pontificate upon the morality this knowledge will entail. THEN.

To try to pontificate about the consequences of CRISPR now, when we don’t know so much, is unscientific. It will feed the enemy of the scientific method, by having scientists pretending to think when they can’t. As Doudna herself said, she doesn’t know.  

Indeed, the chicken-egg can’t come before the evolution which led to them. So the science has to plough ahead, and inform We The People. Then we can moralize.

Experiment, then moralize.

A reader told me, about the preceding aphorism that “Historically, you have it wrong; even though you may be right”. Right. I was expressing a moral imperative, not a historical observation of how people behaved. Experiment then moralize: the way of the thinker. Moralize, then be careful not to experiment: the way of those on the wrong side of history. 

CRISPR is on the right side of history. Follow it, to learn not just how to get more power, but how to become more moral

Patrice Ayme’

We War, Or We Are Not: Chimpanzees On Patrol

June 29, 2017


Most advanced animals are territorial. (It’s also true at sea: that was discovered with Orcas, Killer Whales, recently: the high sea races don’t mix genetically and culturally with the land-hugging races!)

Where does this territoriality come from? Researchers have no guesses. I do: it’s as simple as supposing that animals are smart. I run through the woods all the time among dangerous animals, and I can see them thinking fast, across many species, and adjusting their attitude accordingly.

It’s easy to see why, economically speaking, territoriality should arise. Economy means: environmental management. At this point many feel like writing a few equations that would justify everything, and such equations have been written, and those who wrote them achieved fame.

Equations tie concepts together. Concepts which can be measured. However, one has to be careful. The case of gravitation is famous. The master equation, call it Einstein’s equation, says:

Curvature = Mass-Energy

As Einstein himself pointed out, the right hand-side is not well-defined. However, one can still draw non-trivial consequences from it. But do those “prove” the equation? No.

Posing With That Special Attitude Can Speak Louder Than Words!

Researchers used 20 years of data from Ngogo in Uganda to explore collective action in chimpanzees.

When male chimpanzees patrol the boundaries of their territories they walk silently in single file.

Normally chimps are noisy: it’s a deliberate tactic to scare everybody. But on patrol they’re like silent death. They sniff the ground and stop to listen for sounds. Their cortisol and testosterone levels are jacked 25 percent higher than normal. Chances of contacting conspecific enemies are high: 30 percent.

Ten percent of patrols result in violent fights where they hold victims down and bite, tear, hit, kick and stomp them to death. It has been observed that a chimpanzee tribe could completely annihilate one next door.

The result of these savage acts of war? A large, safe territory rich with food, longer lives, and new young females wandering into the group.

Territorial boundary patrolling by chimpanzees is one of the most dramatic forms of collective action in mammals. Patrolling, and killing, together benefits the group, whether individual chimps took part in the action, or not.

Some Chimps In The ASU Study, While On Patrol

A team — led by Arizona State University Assistant Professor Kevin Langergraber of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the Institute of Human Origins — examined 20 years of data on who participated in patrols in a 200-member-strong Ngogo community of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

Males joined 33 percent of patrols that occurred when they were in the group and young enough to take part. Young females have been observed to join patrols.

The behavior is evidence of what’s called group augmentation theory. What is good for the group is ultimately good for the individual. Some sacrifice from each member translates into a larger, safer group. By 2009, the Ngogo chimpanzees expanded their territory by 22 percent over the previous decade.

“Free riders may increase their short-term reproductive success by avoiding the costs of collective action,” Langergraber’s team wrote, “but they do so at the cost of decreasing the long-term survival of the group if it fails to grow or maintain its size; nonparticipants suffer this cost alongside the individuals they had cheated.”

“Cost” though, is a human concept tied to record keeping.

Chimpanzees are one of the few mammals in which inter-group warfare is a major source of mortality. Chimps in large groups have been reported to kill most or all of the males in smaller groups over periods of months or even many years, acquiring territory in the process. Territorial expansion can lead to the acquisition of females who bear multiple infants. It also increases the amount of food available to females in the winning group, increasing their fertility.

The researchers found no consequences for those chimpanzees that did not join patrols (but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist). Most studies have focused on short term benefits of cooperation, said lead researcher Kevin Langergraber, “but our study shows the benefit of long-term data collection, and also that we still have a lot to learn from these chimpanzees.”

Male chimpanzees remain in the group they were born in their entire lives (females wander to settle somewhere else). Because they can live for more than 50 years, patrolling when they’re young produces personal future benefits.

However, if they don’t patrol, there aren’t any consequences — no sidelong glances, snubs or being chased out of the group, claims anthropologist David Watts of Yale University, who worked with Langergraber on the study.

“We know from a lot of theoretical and empirical work in humans and in some other specialized, highly cooperative societies — like eusocial insects — that punishment by third parties can help cooperation evolve,” Watts said. “But it doesn’t seem to us that chimpanzees punish individuals who do not patrol. Sometimes individuals will be present when a patrol starts, and thus have the opportunity to join the patrol but fail to do so. As far as we can see, these individuals do not receive any sort of punishment when this occurs.”

Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent, but usually they aren’t considered to be capable of what’s called “collective intentionality,” which allows humans to have mutual understanding and agreement on social conventions and norms.

“They undoubtedly have expectations about how others will behave and, presumably, about how they should behave in particular circumstances, but these expectations presumably are on an individual basis,” Watts said. “They don’t have collectively established and agreed-on social norms.”

What Watts seems to want to say is that he didn’t see punishment. Thus, he says, there is no enforcement of norms. Thus there are no norms. Thus norms were not collectively established.

There are several problems with this reasoning. First all is not stick: there is also the carrot. A chimp may not be punished, but them he may lost opportunity. One opportunity lost? The pleasure of the hunt of the biggest game, fellow chimp, the pleasure of killing.

To expects animals establish norms as we do is, with all due respect, a bit silly. They do it, as we do when we don’t have language at our disposal.

“… this tendency of humans to cooperate in large groups and with unrelated individuals must have started somewhere,” Watts said. “The Ngogo group is very large (about 200 individuals), and the males in it are only slightly more related to one another than to the males in the groups with which they are competing. Perhaps the mechanisms that allow collective action in such circumstances among chimpanzees served as building blocks for the subsequent evolution of even more sophisticated mechanisms later in human evolution.”

Yes, sure. And what are these mechanisms? Can we imagine them?

We know how WE do it in civilization, and the million of years before that: we talk. We talk digitally, enabling us to communicate extremely precise information: this is the interest of equations.

What did we do before digital speech? Well we could whistle and do other sounds… which animals readily understand: a whining sound in humans of the sort my seven-year old daughter is expert at when she wants cake, is readily understood by a dog from 100 feet away. And by another 500 species besides.

There are other languages: action, gestures… They can vary. Most animals though, understand man is the top dog. I have been charged by bull elks, weighing 1,000 pounds, horns down, until they realized I was no mountain lion. Similarly, a bear or lion will immediately be reminded of human supremacy, from just the proper attitude. Then they instantaneously deduce they should moderate their rage, hunger, and other animals spirits inhabiting them.

The point is that they reason. They fear humans not “instinctively”, but because they were taught, by parents, or circumstances. Chimpanzees are also taught. From their first months on Earth. Then they deduce, in particular, friend from foe. Friends are in the tribe, foes are not in the tribe.

When I run in a National Park, all the dangerous animals out there, even the dangerous snakes, not just the bears, lions and various ungulates, know who I am, even before meeting me in person. They also know what a creature such as me is expected to do: left alone, I, and my ilk, will leave them alone.

So the missing link is that animals spent a lot of time thinking: their lives depend upon it.

“Collective Intentionality” results from all this collective thinking out of the same initial conditions. Chimps, from the earliest ager, learn that defending their traditional fruit trees enable them to survive, because they need to eat, to survive. And so on… It’s basic neurogenesis…

Patrice Ayme’

SUBCONSCIOUS (Theory Thereof!)

June 18, 2017


I suggest the following: thesubconscious“, “unconscious”, or “preconscious” (“Vorbewusste”, Freud)  is, partly, the set of all weak synaptic (“Hebbian”) activity (in other words, all weak neural networks; yet, not only!). Thus, I propose that much of the so-called “subconscious” does not differ in nature from normal neuronal activity. The subconscious is not that… subconscious. A difference between conscious and subconscious is in intensity, the facility, of the neuronal pathways, not their nature.

(If you ask where I got this inspiration from, my own brain is a full lab at night, and not just at night; for example hard mountain running causes divided consciousness, but it also shuts down part of the brain, while opening others: thinking about the Foundations of Quantum Physics or Economics, or History, while running, or indulging in another passionate activity, gives completely different insights, contexts, and moods than when cuddling with one’s computer, precisely because parts of the brain shut down, including inhibitory regions… Introspection stays the main engine of philosophy, after all these years; see De La Mettrie’s fever, and his “machine man“, below)

The conscious would be where neuronal connections are strong, well-known. The subconscious would be WHERE connections are weak, and known only occasionally, during sleep, say. Thus the subconscious would be made, in part, of neuronal circuitry which got activated from UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, thus sparsely, rarely, occasionally, and thus established WEAK connections.

In Its Simplest Form, A Subconscious Connection Is Just A Little Used Neuronal Connection. There are more tentative engrams, and some just potential.

Where Are Consciousness & Subconsciousness Located? Configuration Spaces, Just As Quantum Spaces! 

Amusingly, yet deeply, some may ask where is this “WHERE“, I am talking about where the subconscious would be, in my opinion, somehow, somewhat located. They may sneer: ‘isn’t it all in the brain anyway? how can the conscious be in the same 3 dimensional space as consciousness?

So where is this “WHERE“? This “WHERE” is a mathematical space! Hey, why did you think Riemann invented high dimensional geometry for? Interestingly, tellingly, and somewhat connected, the same exact objection has been made when the likes of yours truly have claimed that “Quantum Waves Are Real“: some physicists haughtily sneered back that Quantum Waves couldn’t possibly be real, because they would have to be not just objects in three-dimensional space, like the average tsunami, but in so-called “configuration space“. No, seriously, guys, with Quantum Fields in zillions of dimensions superposed on top of each other, and an omnipresent non-zero “Higgs” field interacting with all other quantum fields, to give them mass, and an all too real as far as the LHC in Geneva has it?… Well, as far as I am concerned, configuration space is space, just like three-dimensional space, is space, it’s real… I am not a mathematician for no good reason!


Why Sentient Animals Sleep: So That They Can Think Creatively!

This little theory of part of the subconscious as weak neuronal connections explains in part why animals sleep. Indeed, how were those weak connections which end up constituting most of the subconscious  activated? How come they are not activated in normal, conscious life? Sleep! A trick to do so is by shutting down parts of the brain, and thus forcing connectivity in other parts and pathways. How to shut down part of the brain? With sleep or heavy exercise, or passion, including abject fear and mad hunger, tourism, etc…Shutting down part of the brain, including inhibitory circuitry and organs, forces the Will to Connect to use unusual pathways. If those make sense, they get pre-established, and should some real world situations INPUT resemble what was encountered previously in the inner brain, those networks, that means those logics, those solutions, will get activated…

The usual advantages of sleep are considered to be housecleaning and reviewing, and reinforcing the neurological pathways experienced during the day. What I am saying here is that sleep forces unusual neuronal activity, thus the imagination. It’s an essential way of obtaining creative intelligence.


Homme Machine, the Machine Man With A Twist: 

Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751), a physician born in Saint Malo, France, made observations on himself, during a feverish illness, referring to the action of quickened blood circulation upon thought, which led him to the conclusion that mental processes were to be accounted for as the effects of organic changes in the brain and nervous system. De la Mettrie argued that the organization of humans was done to provide the best use of complex matter as possible (this may have influenced Lamarck, and is as modern as possible: Quantum Field Theory find local minima of Lagrangians which depict energy; in a way a form of generalized economics…)

Julien Offray de la Mettrie, l’ Homme Machine! Obviously a Modern Psychology Animated Julien, But He Lived Only 42 Years (Same as his contemporary, Émilie Du Châtelet, discoverer of energy, infrared, etc.)

Most reasonable  Austrian-British philosopher cum physicist Karl Popper discussed de la Mettrie’s claim that man is a machine in relation to evolution and quantum physics:

“Yet the doctrine that man is a machine was argued most forcefully in 1751, long before the theory of evolution became generally accepted, by de La Mettrie; and the theory of evolution gave the problem an even sharper edge, by suggesting there may be no clear distinction between living matter and dead matter. And, in spite of the victory of the new quantum theory, and the conversion of so many physicists to indeterminism de La Mettrie’s doctrine that man is a machine has perhaps more defenders than before among physicists, biologists and philosophers; especially in the form of the thesis that man is a computer.”

From my point of view, this is not surprising. Indeterminism does not contradict the machine man. Far from it: it makes it possible. Indeterminism, the fuzziness of waves, smooths out and enriches everything, including in the brain: mechanics now does not mean wheels with teeth activating each other, but nonlinear waves crashing and interfering, a greater wealth of logic.

So, in my view, there is programmation, to generate pre-established connections but it’s self-generated, and those connections become self evolved… That’s a situation quite similar to what happens in biological evolution of the phenotype itself… And it’s related; namely lots of “instincts” are just evolved neurocircuitry. Evolved during one’s lifetime, even in a bee’s brain…


The Subconscious Is Not Reduced to Alternative Neuronal Networks: Influential Geometries and Topologies Are Crucial Too:

Are potential Hebbian networks all there could be to the unconscious? No. Some of the unconscious is of an even weaker nature. In that case the full neuronal connections were not made yet, but pathways still potentially exist, from the physical proximity of elements of potential paths…

The unconscious is the domain of possibilities and potentialities. The unconscious is a theoretician of the possible, the imaginable… So neuronal, glial, logical, emotional neighborhoods topologically close can well lead to unexpected, never experienced before connections. Those potentialities are also part of the unconscious. So the unconscious is not just (mini or pre-) Hebbian, about weak electric connections, but also about more subtle topologies (in the mathematical sense!). In particular emotional topologies. Thus the subconscious goes from weak Hebbian connections (what dreams are greatly made of) to topological conspiracies.

Take an example: why plutocrats love art so much; they will tell you that they have a sense of beauty, and I will tell you they have a sense of tax evasion; the plutocrats’ subconscious about art is that it enables tax evasion, by creating an untaxable, untaxed currency and store of value; but of course nothing a plutocrat in good standing will want to have pointed out in the plutocratically owned media. Nor anything that a plutocrat who wants to think highly about himself, or herself, would like to see pointed out, anywhere.


Consciously Connecting With Socrates’ Daemon, Monism, and the like:

Historically, the subconscious was defined as the part of consciousness that is not currently in focal awareness. The mechanisms I evoked above explain how that work. “Consciousness” is, first of all, an efficient administrator, not forgetting that the brain consumes up to an astounding 43% of the energy that a human uses. Thus “focal awareness” will favor networks with strong synapses bringing action readily. You can’t hesitate when those saber tooth lions come around, lest you want to become dinner. Hesitation, inaction, will surely kill you. Errors may be survivable (and the source of instruction).

The word “subconscious” is an anglicized version of the French subconscient as coined by the psychologist Pierre Janet (1859-1947), who argued that underneath the layers of deliberative, and critical thought functions of the conscious mind lay a powerful awareness that he called the subconscious mind. In my vision that awareness which lays waiting is an enormous construction zone of potential logics. (Logics in the widest meaning of the term, not just mathematical, or neuronal logic, but also emotional logics and even what viciously spiteful “philosophers” tend to call “pseudologia fantastica“; once Professor John Searle qualified me that way, to give him an excuse to censor me; now Searle is the object of various prosecutions…)

That continual attempted construction of all sorts of new logics, that is, of new circuitry, and new geometry (dendrites!) and topology, of course, uses an enormous amount of energy, as construction sites tend to. This is what the brain does most of the time (and, as most of this activity is not spurred by “focal awareness”, most of the time, this explains why neuroscience does not know (yet) what the brain is spending so much energy doing, most of the time).

There is a big difference between the unobserved brain, trying to establish new logics, and the brain in a social, and in particular, in a war mode. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as enabled some progress in envisioning how complex the brain is. The brain evolved as a social interface, not just as an efficient advanced calculus mathematician in charge of trajectories. As Wired UK put it in “Why does the brain uses so much energy?“: “Scans showed the inferior parietal cortex (IPC), an area that helps us control the amount of energy we use, became deactivated when people felt they were being observed. The IPC works with the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) to form what researchers called the “action-observation network” (AON). This area of the brain helps people infer what others are thinking based on facial expressions, body language and gaze.

In any case we are now able to figure out what that “daimon (demon)” who advised Socrates was made of: logical potentialities writ into various material connections and entanglements.

In Plato’s Symposium, the philosophical priestess Diotima teaches Socrates that love is not a deity, but rather a “great daemon”. She explains that “everything daemonic is between divine and mortal” and describes daemons as “interpreting and transporting human things to the gods and divine things to men; entreaties and sacrifices from below, and ordinances and requitals from above…” In Plato’s Apology of Socrates, Socrates claimed to have a daimonion (literally, a “divine something”) that frequently warned him… The Platonic Socrates, however, never refers to the daimonion as a daimōn; it was always referred to as an impersonal “something” or “sign”. Thus Socrates seems to indicate that the true nature of the human soul is pertaining to self-consciousness.

Regarding the various charges brought against Socrates in 399 CE, Plato surmised that “Socrates does wrong because he does not believe in the gods in whom the city believes, but introduces other daemonic beings…” Well those daemonic beings were all potentialities in his head.

Notice that the preceding turns around the problem of the traditional opposition made in philosophy between “monism“(the mind is material) and dualism (body and soul dichotomy). This is true, even without evoking quantum physics, because, even without slipping the ephemeral and ubiquitous Hilbert Spaces of quantum physics in the debate, the argument above implies that the brain geometrodynamics, and topological dynamics are extremely high dimensional objects, always fluctuating (quite a bit in the mood of Quantum Field Theory, and probably, ultimately, for the same underlying reason…)

Also notice that the overall mood of the explanation above is that logical and emotional potentialities are embodied in the brain, and that the brain’s main activity is to further them ever more through imaginable twists and turns (in several manners, including, but not limited to weak Hebbian connections). This is very similar to the potentialities which arise in quantum physics experiments. I believe that’s not coincidence, and that it corresponds to even tighter identification deep down inside, namely that consciousness, which has a lot of characteristics in common with the quantum, originates there; the machine man is quantum mechanical. Or Sub Quantum Real (SQPR!) more exactly.

“Gnosis”, the knowledge of spiritual mysteries, was, for millennia, mostly in the eye of the beholder. Science is now excavating some, spearheaded by the philosophical method. For the longest time, the likes of Joan of Arc, Muhammad, Jesus, Socrates, claimed to have heard voices in their heads, or get otherwise in contact with entities not pertaining to their own consciousness. Maybe, but now we have explanation we can all understand. We also understand why we should take the subconscious seriously: it’s a sort of pre-explanation of whatever may unfold later. It’s both clairvoyance, and exploratory explanatory genius of whichever logics fit best the reality out there

Run-of-the-mill knowledge should also be considered on the ground of synaptic capability. Thus “gnosis”, knowledge, and beliefs, should be evaluate according to the strength of synaptic connections, integrating Hebb theory…. Thus I am saying that knowledge is more or less known, belief more or less held, on the ground of how neurology works… Electronic circuits, the way we have electronics now either work, or they don’t (electronics is not yet quantum, and, presently, more akin to make water circulate in canal networks). Neurological networks works more or less. So do knowledge and beliefs then. When those networks work very well, consciousness. When they are barely there, subconsciousness…

Patrice Ayme’

Artificial Consciousness?

March 14, 2017

Move over, Artificial Intelligence! Artificial Consciousness, while not exactly around the corner, is in sight, as a human creation. I have already advocated, on very general philosophical grounds, that “Consciousness Is Quantum“. Now an article in Aeon argues, reproducing rather murkily Heidegger-like Zeitgeist, that “The body is the missing link for truly intelligent machines“. I will argue a bit more precisely, and it is not the first time, that machines are embodied self-creating intelligent designs. When brains learn from the environment, they self-create accordingly. (The details will probably involve a better knowledge of Quantum Physics than what we presently enjoy.)

Well before his famous parrots (Husserl, Heidegger, etc.) the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was saying that we think with our gut. Expressions such as “take heart”, “from the heart”, “gut feeling”, and countless others show that the body was long thought to be the source of emotion.

Indeed, neurology extends over the body: there are neurons, dozens of thousands of them, in the heart, guts, spinal cord.

One may view the rise of animals as the rise of organized intelligence. It is likely that, even before DNA, the sort of teleological intelligence Quantum Physics deploys was hijacked by biology (teleo means: at a distance, this comes from the nonlocality of Quantum Physics; “intelligence”, because all and any Quantum Process proceeds as an intelligent choice between various possibilities, encompassing all, thanks to said nonlocality!)

Innards of an Eukaryotic Cell. We are made of trillions of them. Each has hundreds of organs, each functioning as a Quantum Computer. Such cells appeared 2.5 billion years ago. They are vastly more complex than bacteria, and remarkable by their mastery of Quantum Computing.

This natural selection of intelligent self-design, by the way, is the missing piece of evolutionary theory: consciousness, from bio-engineered intelligent design.

Inside the thinking organism, the same propensity towards higher intelligence should be at work (haphazard selection being bound to find, in the end, the best system). Sleep is mostly flight simulation, where plausible scenarios are self-run, memorized, and meditated upon. The “Meta” function is known to be plausibly activated by new dendrites, new synapses, new neurons, and neurons which control myelination along axons (making them more or less conductive, here or there).

This means that software activation in the brain brings hardware modifications, and even gigantic hardware creation. Through intelligent (self-)design. We were looking for Intelligent Design, in their silliness. And it was us, all along!

Throughout, Quantum Processes are run, more or less haphazardly thanks to whatever stimulation the cosmos brings.

Cosmic rays modify the behavior of smart phones and computers… although those do not, yet, operate Quantum Mechanically (aside from a few prototype Quantum computers), and are larger by orders of magnitude than the smallest biological scale.  Whereas it is known in the case of a few biological systems, that Quantum Physics is central and essential for their functioning (for example chlorophyll). One can guess it is the same all over the finest biology, even for the genetic code (the hydrogen bonds therein are fragile Quantum devices, very sensitive to the environment surrounding the DNA; they will change if said environment changes)

Thus brains are embodied Quantum computers, constantly running, constantly self-recreating, and body-building according to what they perceive out there 

The day we can have Quantum hardware endowed with the same nature, capable of the same feats, we will not just have created Artificial Intelligence. We will have created AC, Artificial Consciousness. The ethical and security consequences will be many.

Patrice Ayme’