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Fifth Enlightenment Salon – Discussions on Longevity, Gene Therapy, Overcoming Disabilities, Animal Lifespans, Education, and Privacy

Fifth Enlightenment Salon – Discussions on Longevity, Gene Therapy, Overcoming Disabilities, Animal Lifespans, Education, and Privacy

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Gennady Stolyarov II
Bill Andrews
James Kohagen
Bobby Ridge
John Murrieta


On October 13, 2018, in the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment and its furtherance today, Gennady Stolyarov II, Bill Andrews, James Kohagen, Bobby Ridge, and John Murrieta met for the fifth interdisciplinary discussion – hosted by Mr. Stolyarov – on science, culture, education, advocacy, and policy. Subjects discussed included the following:

– The recent RAAD Fest 2018 in San Diego
– Developments in the field of gene therapy
– Advances in epidural stimulation for treating and overcoming spinal-cord injuries
– Long-lived organisms and their similarities and dissimilarities to humans
– How animal experiments can become more humane
– How contemporary science still has far to go to accumulate even fairly basic information about certain organisms
– How the study of lifespans can be included in educational curricula starting at early childhood
– Whether privacy will remain in a more technologically interconnected future.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside by filling out an application form that takes less than a minute.

Find out about Death is Wrong – the illustrated children’s book on indefinite life extension.

Andrés Grases Interviews U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II on Transhumanism and the Transition to the Next Technological Era

Andrés Grases Interviews U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II on Transhumanism and the Transition to the Next Technological Era

logo_bgGennady Stolyarov II
Andrés Grases


Andrés Grases, the publisher of the Transhuman Plus website (http://transhumanplus.com/) interviews U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II at RAAD Fest 2018 in San Diego, CA, on September 23, 2018. During the course of this conversation, both the contemporary state of transhumanist politics and future directions are covered – along with the challenges to reforming the educational system, the need to create open access to academic works, the manner in which the transition toward the next era of technologies will occur, the meaning of transhumanism and its applications in the proximate future – including promising advances that we can expect to see during the next several years.

Watch the video here.

Become a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside. Apply online here in less than a minute.

Why I Believe in Transhumanism – Article by Arin Vahanian

Why I Believe in Transhumanism – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


Someone asked me why I decided to join the Transhumanist Party, and indeed, why I support a movement, which, at first glance, appears to be a fringe movement with members who are out of touch with the needs of the general public.

The truth, however, is far different from what is reported in the media, in books, or even in scholarly articles. Because Transhumanism is the only movement that cares enough about improving the human condition and about building a better future to dedicate itself completely to these monumental tasks. Being human, the human condition is all that we have, and as such, we should cherish and treasure it. Further, the future will be built, but unless we build it in such a way that reflects our values and ethics, we may not be happy with the outcome. This is far too important an outcome to leave to chance, and that is why Transhumanists are so passionate about building a better future.

Going back to the topic of this article, the reason I joined the Transhumanist movement is simple: I love life, and I am dedicated to helping increase the quality of life for every human being on Earth. This is the single most important purpose for me to be working on right now.

Despite what you may have heard, Transhumanism isn’t about becoming a machine; it’s about becoming a better human being.

Since joining this movement, I have been struck by how optimistic, open-minded, and welcoming everyone has been to me. I’ve been accepted with open arms, and people have gone out of their way to help me. It’s a tight-knit community full of passionate, intelligent, and dedicated people who want to work on resolving problems that plague humanity. What could be a more noble purpose?

Despite the negative coverage our movement has received in the media and books, one characteristic that is so consistent across our movement is that our members absolutely adore the sanctity of life. When someone asks me why I am so obsessed with goals such as reversing aging, increasing the human lifespan, dramatically increasing investment in medicine and science, and expanding the human consciousness and intellect, I reply that I am completely and utterly in love with the human experience.

But why do we Transhumanists persevere with such goals?

Because it is cruel and dishonest to say to a person with Stage 4 cancer that soon they will no longer be able to hold their son or daughter in their arms, nor hear their sweet laughter, ever again.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell a quadriplegic that they will never walk.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell someone suffering from severe depression that they should accept a dark, brooding cloud of misery hanging over their head for the rest of their life.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell a child born with a birth defect that they will never live a normal life.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell a student with a learning disability that they should make do with what they have and call them a “special needs” student.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell someone they will never make love to their spouse again, nor hear their voice, nor feel their touch, due to a rare illness that will claim their life far too soon.

In short, I believe it is wrong to be so utterly pessimistic about life and about improving the human condition.

We believe in values such as pacifism, expanding the intellect through increased investment in education, improving the quality of life through science and technology, and improving health services and increasing the human lifespan. How on Earth is any of this fringe?

We must have the courage to proclaim our convictions in front of the rest of the world, because these goals are far too important to leave to chance, and because people all over the world genuinely do want to see progress in these areas.  

The fact is that Transhumanism is the movement that is most in touch with the needs of the general public, because most people, unless they are completely insane, would want to live healthier, be disease-free, increase their intelligence, and build a better future for their children. No, we are not a fringe movement. We are the human movement. After all, Transhumanism has the word “human” in it. And that to me means being a better human.

It is wrong to be defeatist and throw our hands up in resignation, because nothing of significance was ever accomplished by being pessimistic, capitulating, or quitting prematurely. Amazing inventions, advances in medicine, and improvements in quality of life came about precisely because we, as humans, did not give up, but rather, fought for what was right. And increasing the quality of life for all humans is right.

I am a Transhumanist because I am a human being, and because I love the human experience. And this is something I will never apologize for. In fact, this is something I will continue to fight for as long as I am alive. Which, hopefully, will be for a very long time.

Why am I a Transhumanist? Because simply put, I love life too damn much.

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

Proposal by C.H. Antony on a U.S. Transhumanist Party Working Group on Universal Basic Income (UBI) Implementation

Proposal by C.H. Antony on a U.S. Transhumanist Party Working Group on Universal Basic Income (UBI) Implementation

logo_bgC. H. Antony


The United States Transhumanist Party seeks any willing individuals to participate in the discussion of a proposal by Mr. C.H. Antony to craft detailed ideas for achieving the implementation of an unconditional Universal Basic Income (UBI) system. To indicate your interest and provide ideas in relation to Mr. Antony’s proposal, please post in the comments below.

Background: The United States Transhumanist Party supports a major streamlining of fiscal policy, combined with a streamlining of the manner in which financial support is provided by government to individuals. Sections XVI, XXXV, and XXXVI of the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform address, respectively, UBI, reduction of the U.S. national debt, and dramatic tax simplification. Our goal, therefore, is a government that has as little debt as possible, and whose revenues and transfer payments are as straightforward as possible.

Section XVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: Given the inevitability of technology eventually replacing the need for the labor of sentient entities, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that all sentient entities should be the beneficiaries of an unconditional universal basic income, whereby the same minimum amount of money or other resources is provided irrespective of a sentient entity’s life circumstances, occupations, or other income sources, so as to provide a means for the basic requirements of existence and liberty to be met.

Section XXXV [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]:  The United States Transhumanist Party considers it imperative to achieve reductions of the United States national debt in order to avoid calamitous scenarios of extreme inflation, default, and burdensome future tax increases on individuals. The United States Transhumanist Party supports the following measures to reduce the national debt:

  1. Elimination of wasteful federal spending on programs, goods, and services where equivalent positive results could be obtained through lower expenditures.
  2. Cessation of foreign military occupations and the return of American troops to be stationed exclusively on American territory. However, if a mutually appropriate defense treaty with another country requires the United States to station troops in that country, those troops would be allowed to remain there until the treaty obligations are fulfilled or reduced by mutual agreement with the affected country. If the United States continues to station troops in any country due to mutually appropriate defense treaties, the United States Transhumanist Party supports greater reciprocity in allowing military personnel from that country to be stationed in the United States for purposes of training and information exchange.
  3. Removal of barriers to technological innovation and technologically driven economic growth, in order that a surge in such growth could increase federal revenues so as to generate increasing surpluses, as long as federal spending does not materially rise from current levels.
  4. Elimination of the current cumbersome system of federal contracting, which favors politically connected incumbent firms whose advantage consists of navigating the system, rather than performing the best possible work. Instead, all federal agencies should be empowered to purchase supplies and equipment and to requisition projects from any entity capable of satisfying an immediate need at a reasonable cost. Exclusive and preferential contracts for particular entities should be prohibited, and all payments by federal agencies for work by non-employees should be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Digitization of as many federal services and functions as possible – to eliminate the waste and expense of paperwork, physical queues, and legacy information technology systems.

Section XXXVI [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the elimination of graduated taxation and income taxation more generally. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party advocates a flat percentage-of-sales tax applicable only to purchases from businesses whose combined nationwide revenues from all affiliates exceed a specified threshold. This tax should be built into the price of goods from such large businesses and should not impede transaction efficiency in any manner. Transactions pertaining to wages, salaries, gifts, donations, barter, employee benefits, and inheritances should remain completely untaxed, as should transactions involving solely individuals and/or small businesses, for whom the establishment of a tax-reporting infrastructure would be onerous. Furthermore, all taxes on land and property should be abolished.

The following proposal is not a final outline of solutions, nor is it, in its present form, a reflection of the positions of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. Rather, it is a set of ideas put forth by Mr. Antony in a desire to elicit the expertise of those who are willing to contribute to a policy paper that the U.S. Transhumanist Party may develop in order to put forward a viable plan for making a Universal Basic Income a reality, beginning from today’s conditions. The specific content of that paper is to be determined based on the contributions and deliberations of any future working group. 


Discussion by C.H. Antony: I have a stepped plan based on my own limited knowledge that I think is the ticket, but I need to combine the work of individuals with expertise in the following fields:

  • Economics with an understanding of federal spending.
  • Corporate law with an understanding of the Constitution’s position on corporations.
  • A tax professional who can weigh the benefits/detriments within the previously described fields.
  • Someone who can discuss sociological matters pertaining to a UBI and who can show statistical models of the argument.

The following is the essence of my model.

I. Calculate the minimum necessary expense of the GDP necessary to fund a functioning government with regard to the following conditions:

  1. Fully automated IRS that only employs a handful of programmers and analysts to maintain and upgrade the automated systems and address potential or reported errors. Apply this model elsewhere in government where possible.
  2. Cancel all social programs with the intent of replacement with UBI (i.e., SSDI, SSI, Food stamps, VA Income, Tax Credits, etc.).
  3. Consolidate redundant government agencies and eliminate certain specialized enforcement branches. Examples: we don’t need five intelligence agencies when a single well-organized agency could perform all the same functions, BATF can be disbanded, etc.
  4. A fully funded modern military where no soldier’s family barely makes it above the poverty line.
  5. No foreign payments without a tangible financial return to the US in the form of goods or services.
  6. No federal pensions of any kind for any level of service. [Constitutionally, this would only be possible for new hires going forward.]
  7. Save and invest 18% for our own economic growth and to outpace global inflation.
  8. Apply AI and automation as liberally as possible where it can replace functionaries at all levels.

II. Eliminate all federal income tax on private individuals and small businesses and also eliminate income taxes at local and state levels. Determine a fair and sustainable Flat Sales Tax paid on all non-essential purchases that is paid directly into the UBI fund. Sales-tax-exempt items would be the following:

  1. Food stuffs.
  2. Water
  3. Sewer and waste services.
  4. Electricity and other domestic use fuels.
  5. Medical and health-related items.
  6. Educational items and services.
  7. Home and land purchases that are the primary residence; no annual property taxes.

III. Further reduce the federal budget by saving on prosecuting victimless crimes (consensual prostitution, recreational narcotic use, etc.) and remove the state as an entity that may be called as a victim in a crime.

IV. Allow free air-time, equally disseminated, for any candidate running for political office. Social media and digital streaming are more than adequate in this era to give every candidate an equal voice for the people to hear and vote on. States should be directed to follow the same model.

V. Create a payment schedule whereby the national debt is paid in full as quickly as possible from the GDP alone.

VI. Restructure corporate taxes to be both competitive with the rest of the world and be useful to the UBI fund. Determine qualifications where a small business may incorporate that does not punish a successful small business, has clear advantages, and encourages growth within a new corporate structure.

VII. Create a fund whereby two years of field-specific education is available to every adult American citizen. Apply a nation-wide school voucher program to grades K-12, allowing schools to compete for students through quality and safety.

VIII. Create a fund that provides unlimited and free healthcare at a fair market value to all US citizens.

IX. Encourage a near-zero human labor manufacturing trend in the US with an eye on converting other nations into customers and partners for products of US companies.

X. Aim for an average of $52,000 per year for each adult American citizen (approximately 250,000,000 adult citizens).

I believe the above, when fleshed out and mathematically modeled, will serve as a succinct and presentable plan that we could, essentially, sell to voters causing representatives to take notice and have to discuss it publically.

This model in no way, I feel, reflects any form of socialism or communism, as it does not take a dime out of the pockets of any one higher-wage earner for the purpose of giving it to a lower-wage earner. It is self-scalable for inflation and deflation without affecting an individual’s quality of life. It in no way precludes anyone from seeking and obtaining opportunity and earning potentials beyond the UBI, thusly not endangering free market capitalism.

Also, I believe the easiest sell will be to corporations that are already having to maneuver the cost of human labor vs. automation. They can help push the reforms by leveraging lobbying power for us.

C. H. Antony is a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party. He may be contacted here

The Kyangende Community Secular Hub: Spreading Science, Education, and Health in Uganda – Post by Kiketta Tadeo

The Kyangende Community Secular Hub: Spreading Science, Education, and Health in Uganda – Post by Kiketta Tadeo

logo_bgKiketta Tadeo


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party features this guest post by Mr. Kiketta Tadeo of the Kyangende Community Secular Hub in order to bring attention to an effort from one of our allies in Uganda in spreading technology, education, and secular values. Core Ideal 2 of the U.S. Transhumanist Party “supports a cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason, science, and secular values.” Sometimes even basic technological and educational advances, which are ubiquitously available in more developed countries, can lead to dramatic improvements in the length and quality of life of humans in certain parts of the world. Ultimately, the aim of transhumanism is to make the technologies of abundance universally available to all who desire them – so we commend the work of the Kyangende Community Secular Hub in advancing this goal in a place where the need for technological progress is great.

                        ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, April 23, 2018


Kyangende Community Secular Hub is found in Kibalya Village, Mahango Subcounty in Kasese, Uganda, around 6 miles from the Kasese main town. This organisation was formed to help people in the rural community of Kasese to understand science and to enable people to understand their values as human beings in order to make a difference. The following are some of the objectives of this group:

  • Promoting health in the community. The area lacks hospitals to help get immediate service, especially to pregnant women who are delayed on the way, being carried on stretchers to hospitals in town, leading to the loss of many children.
  • Establishing health programs to fight malaria and provide first aid through the rural clinic.
  • Promoting education of girl children through supporting women and educating them on the importance of education.
  • Promoting talents through music, art, and culture among the women and youth.
  • Encouraging people to do good to their fellows as human beings.
  • Fighting bad beliefs by promoting science and technology.
  • Fighting domestic violence in families by forming groups and making songs that teach people good ways of keeping their families.
  • Promoting environmental conservation through tree planting.
  • Forming gardening projects to reduce famine and provide good nutrition.

Those are pictures of my community people fighting malaria using mosquito nets and holding meetings while planning other activities like goat keeping, piggery, and making songs.

 

For inquiries and ways to assist, contact Mr. Kiketta Tadeo:

E-mail: Kyangendec@gmail.com OR kikethaaa@gmail.com

Phone: +256701843124

U.S. Transhumanist Party Vote on the Question of Endorsing Candidate James D. Schultz for the New York State Assembly District 2

U.S. Transhumanist Party Vote on the Question of Endorsing Candidate James D. Schultz for the New York State Assembly District 2

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party will hold an electronic vote of the membership for a seven-day period ending on 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, on the question of whether to endorse James D. Schultz, who will be running for New York State Assembly District 2 in the 2018 general election. Registered U.S. Transhumanist Party members as of 12:01 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, would be able to cast their ballots on this question and will be sent their ballots via e-mail.

See the Facebook page for Mr. Schultz’s campaign: James Schultz for State Assembly 2018.

Mr. Schultz would officially be running as an independent candidate, but New York law allows independent candidates to use a “political party designation” next to their names. If endorsed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party membership (a majority of those casting their ballots, excluding abstentions), Mr. Schultz would be able to use “Transhumanist Party” as his political party designation.

James D. Schultz

Statement by James Schultz: 

The reason I want to run as a Transhumanist is to expand the party brand and knowledge of its existence. I one day want to run a local chapter of the party. I believe this is the best way to expand.

My current stage is fundraising, and I am waiting for the legal opportunity to get ballot signatures.

James Schultz’s 8-Point Platform and Parallels in the U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform

1. Legalization of Marijuana

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform [emphasis added]: 

Section XIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports an end to the costly drug war, which is often an infringement upon the lives and liberties of innocent citizens who do not use drugs but fall victim to militant enforcement of drug prohibitions. The United States Transhumanist Party supports legalization of mild recreational drugs such as marijuana.

2. Removal of Red-Light Cameras

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

[No specific mention of red-light cameras, but the U.S. Transhumanist Party does oppose mass surveillance, and there is the possibility of red-light cameras being overly sensitive in identifying “violations” which may have been immaterial or necessary for safety purposes.]

Section I [Adopted by a vote of the members during January 15-21, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party strongly supports individual privacy and liberty over how to apply technology to one’s personal life. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that each individual should remain completely sovereign in the choice to disclose or not disclose personal activities, preferences, and beliefs within the public sphere. As such, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes all forms of mass surveillance and any intrusion by governmental or private institutions upon non-coercive activities that an individual has chosen to retain within his, her, or its private sphere. However, the United States Transhumanist Party also recognizes that no individuals should be protected from peaceful criticism of any matters that those individuals have chosen to disclose within the sphere of public knowledge and discourse.

3. Government Funding of Student Laptops and Class Smart Boards

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

Section XII [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party holds that present and future societies should provide education systems accessible and available to all in pursuit of factual knowledge to increase intellectual acuity; promote critical thinking and logic; foster creativity; form an enlightened collective; attain health; secure the bounty of liberty for all sentient entities for our posterity; and forge new ideas, meanings, and values.

The United States Transhumanist Party supports efforts to reduce the cost of education while improving its access. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports freely available, open-source, methods of learning, teaching, credentialing, and cultural creation that integrate emerging technologies into every facet of the learning process. The United States Transhumanist Party primarily advocates private innovation to deliver such educational improvements, but also advocates the application of these improvements to all publicly funded educational institutions. The United States Transhumanist Party holds that every person should aspire toward intellectual, moral, and esthetic enlightenment and sophistication and should contribute toward bringing about a new Age of Reason, where the highest reaches of intellectual activity are attainable and eagerly pursued by the majority of the population.

The United States has upheld basic education since the American Revolution. The United States Transhumanist Party believes, in keeping with what basic education was in the 1700s, relative to the state of technology given the advancement in society at the time, that ‘basic’ education should be defined as college, and that a key part of our agenda is to help encourage a more successful generation by paying for a ‘basic’ education up to and including college degrees.

4. Term Limits

[No specific mention in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform.]

5. Environmental Protection

Parallels in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

[No generalized mention of environmental protection in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform, but there is mention of supporting alternative energy sources and protecting particular species of animals from killing and cruelty, as well as support of the environmentally friendly development of biologically identical meat products that do not involve the killing of animals.]

Section XXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports the promotion of animal welfare to the extent it does not conflict with human well-being. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes “animal liberation” movements that seek to return animals to the wilderness or espouse any attempts to separate domesticated animals from human influence. In particular, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the prohibition of cruelty to animals and a complete abolition of euthanasia of healthy animals by animal shelters. The United States Transhumanist Party supports a complete prohibition on the killing of non-contagious, non-aggressive dogs, cats, dolphins, whales, elephants, horses, tortoises, parrots, and primates. Furthermore, the United States Transhumanist Party supports the development and widespread consumption of artificially grown, biologically identical meat products that do not involve the killing of animals.

Section XXXVIII [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]The United States Transhumanist Party supports emerging alternative energy sources and their technological implementations. However, the United States Transhumanist Party opposes government subsidies for any energy source – including fossil fuels. Instead, the United States Transhumanist Party holds that superior, cleaner, and more efficient energy sources will also tend to become less costly and more broadly adopted under a system of unfettered market competition and innovation.

6. State Net Neutrality

Parallels in Positions Expressed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party:

Article XV of the U.S. Transhumanist Bill of Rights states,

“All sentient entities, with the exception only of those in legal detention, have the right to private internet access without such access being prohibited or circumvented by either private corporations or governmental bureaucracy.”

Read the statement by Martin van der Kroon, “The U.S. Transhumanist Party Supports Net Neutrality. Do You?

7. Mandatory Police Body Cameras

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

Section XXXIV [Adopted by a vote of the members during May 7-13, 2017]:  The United States Transhumanist Party holds that sousveillance laws should be enacted to ensure that all members of peaceful communities feel safe, to achieve governmental transparency, and to provide counter-balances to any surveillance state. For instance, law-enforcement officials, when interacting with the public, should be required to wear body cameras or similar devices continuously monitoring their activities.

The United States Transhumanist Party supports the use of technologies which increase monitoring of police action and policing activities, with expressed goals of increasing policing accountability.

The United States Transhumanist Party advocates for a requirement that data pertaining to recordings of police action be transmitted and recorded beyond police control, so as to be protected from falsification, deletion, and selective curation by police.

8. Reduced Ballot-Access Requirements

Parallel in U.S. Transhumanist Party Platform: 

Section XIX [Adopted by a vote of the members during March 26 – April 1, 2017]: The United States Transhumanist Party supports an end to the two-party political system in the United States and a substantially greater inclusion of “third parties” in the political process through mechanisms such as proportional representation and the elimination of stringent ballot-access requirements. The United States Transhumanist Party also seeks to limit the influence of lobbying by politically connected special interests, while increasing the influence of advocacy by intelligent laypersons.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Announces Alliance with the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS)

U.S. Transhumanist Party Announces Alliance with the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS)

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The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to announce its alliance with the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS). Visit the website of IFERS here. See the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s page of Allied Organizations.

Established in 2004, the Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships (IFERS) is an award-winning California-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity organization dedicated to improving society by providing resources to high-achieving students, scientific researchers, community nonprofit projects, and educational organizations. IFERS believes in changing the world for the better through education, research, and scholarships. Its ultimate goal is to create a better world with lasting peace, prosperity, and universal rights for all.

Newton Lee, the founding president of IFERS, is also the Education and Media Advisor for the U.S. Transhumanist Party and the Chairman of the California Transhumanist Party. Recently he was interviewed and featured by VoyageLA magazine in its article “Meet Newton Lee of Institute for Education, Research, and Scholarships”. Newton mentions the California Transhumanist Party in his response to a question regarding his work:

I am also the founding chairman of the California Transhumanist Party since 2017. We support (1) significant life extension and quality of life improvement achieved through the progress of science and technology, (2) an inclusive cultural, societal, and political atmosphere informed and animated by reason and science to foster peace, prosperity, and universal rights for all, and (3) efforts to use science, technology, and rational discourse to reduce and eliminate various existential risks to the human species.

We look forward to collaborations with IFERS on worthwhile projects that U.S. Transhumanist Party members will be able to participate in so as to advance scientific and technological education and research in order to accelerate the arrival of a brighter future for as many people as possible.

Alzheimer’s Drug Turns Back the Clock in Mitochondria – Article by Steve Hill

Alzheimer’s Drug Turns Back the Clock in Mitochondria – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Steve Hill discusses an experimental drug, J147, for treating Alzheimer’s disease and also how Alzheimer’s disease is closely linked to aging.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, January 26, 2018

J147 is an experimental drug that has been shown to treat Alzheimer’s disease, and it also appears to reverse some aspects of aging. It is also poised to enter human clinical trials in the near future, although how it works has been somewhat of a puzzle.

A new study  published in the journal Aging Cell has changed all that, and the results are quite intriguing [1]. Researchers at the Salk Institute have solved the mystery of how J147 works and why it makes old flies, mice, and cells more youthful.

Rejuvenating mitochondria

The drug apparently works because it binds to a protein found in mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells; this, in turn, causes cells to function in a more youthful manner. Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the hallmarks of aging and is thought to be a key reason why we age and develop age-related diseases [2]. This drug appears, at least partially, to address some of that dysfunction.

Finding the target of J147 was the key to revealing the link between Alzheimer’s disease and the aging process. It was the critical information the researchers needed and was holding the drug back from clinical trials.

Dave Schubert, head of Salk’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, and his team originally developed the J147 drug in 2011. The team screened numerous plant-sourced compounds with the potential to reverse the cellular and molecular signs of aging in the brain. The drug was developed as a modified version of a molecule found in the spice curcumin, a common ingredient in Asian foods such as curry.

Since then, the researchers have shown that J147 can reverse memory deficits, increases the production of brain cells, and slows the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice [3]. However, at that point, they did not understand how J147 worked.

Finding the target

During the new study lead by Dave Schubert and Salk Research Associate Josh Goldberg, the researchers used a number of approaches to find out how J147 worked. They eventually identified that the target of J147 was the mitochondrial protein known as ATP synthase, specifically ATP5A, a subunit of that protein. ATP synthase is involved in the mitochondrial generation of ATP, which cells use for energy.

The researchers demonstrated that by reducing the activity of ATP synthase, they were able to protect neuronal cells from a number of toxicities associated with the aging of the brain. One reason for this neuroprotective effect is thought to be the role of excitotoxicity in neuronal cell damage.

Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which neurons are damaged and killed by the overactivation of receptors for the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Think of it being a bit like a light switch being turned on and off so rapidly that it ends up causing the light bulb to blow.

Recently, the role of ATP synthase inhibition for neuroprotection against excitotoxic damage was demonstrated in a mouse study [4]. The second study showed that mouse models expressing the human form of mutant ATPase inhibitory factor 1 (hIF1), which causes a sustained inhibition of ATP synthase, were more resilient to neuronal death after excitotoxic damage. This data is consistent with this new J147 study, in which an increase in IF1 in the mice reduced the activity of ATP synthase (specifically ATP5A) and was neuroprotective.

ATP synthase is implicated in aging

ATP synthase has previously been shown to influence aging in C. elegans worms and flies. Given that aging is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease, it is no surprise that the target of the drug is also involved in the aging process.

The team also revealed that by modulating the activity of ATP synthase, they could influence the levels of ATP and other molecules and were able to encourage healthier, more stable mitochondria during aging. Mice given the compound showed profound changes, appearing to look younger at a cellular and molecular level.

The researchers believe that these results are not only encouraging for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, they suggest that J147 may also be useful in treating other age-related diseases.

“People have always thought that you need separate drugs for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke,” said Dave Schubert. “But it may be that by targeting aging we can treat or slow down many pathological conditions that are old-age-associated.”

With J147 having just completed the FDA required toxicology testing in animals, the next step is phase 1 human clinical trials, and the road to approval begins.

Conclusion

It is very heartening to hear important researchers suggesting that in order to treat age-related diseases, one needs to treat the aging processes themselves. This is the exactly what Dr. Aubrey de Grey and others have been saying for many years. It is good to hear more voices joining the call to tackle age-related diseases at their root: the hallmarks and damages where they all begin.

The process of age-related disease begins long before the familiar signs and diagnoses are made; by targeting the early processes that are not given specific disease names, we might yet defeat horrific diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, which rob us of who we are.

Literature

[1] Joshua Goldberg et al. The mitochondrial ATP synthase is a shared drug target for aging and dementia. Aging Cell, 2018 DOI: 10.1111/acel.12715
[2] López-Otín, C., Blasco, M. A., Partridge, L., Serrano, M., & Kroemer, G. (2013). The hallmarks of aging. Cell, 153(6), 1194-1217.
[3] Prior, M., Dargusch, R., Ehren, J. L., Chiruta, C., & Schubert, D. (2013). The neurotrophic compound J147 reverses cognitive impairment in aged Alzheimer’s disease mice. Alzheimer’s research & therapy, 5(3), 25.
[4] Formentini, L., Pereira, M. P., Sánchez‐Cenizo, L., Santacatterina, F., Lucas, J. J., Navarro, C., … & Cuezva, J. M. (2014). In vivo inhibition of the mitochondrial H+‐ATP synthase in neurons promotes metabolic preconditioning. The EMBO journal, 33(7), 762-778.

About Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity reporter, Psychology Today and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book “Aging Prevention for All” – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

A Review of Immunosenescence – Article by Steve Hill

A Review of Immunosenescence – Article by Steve Hill

Steve Hill


Editor’s Note: In this article, Steve Hill discusses some of the reasons for the decline of the immune system.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, January 9, 2018

Immunosenescence is the age-related decline of the immune system. The reason why our immune systems start to fail and weaken as we age is not fully understood, and, indeed, there are a variety of hypotheses as to why this happens.

Inflammaging

Inflammation certainly plays a role in this process, and it is well documented that inflammation has a considerable effect on immune cells such as macrophages, causing them to become dysfunctional and stop cleaning house. This is in line with the proposed concept of “inflammaging”, which describes an ever-increasing chronic background of inflammation from sources such as senescent cells, cell debris, and changes in the gut microbiota. This inflammaging then drives immune system dysfunction, which then creates more inflammation, continuing a downward spiral.

We recently learned that inflammation can cause problems with weight control by causing nerve-associated macrophages to stop signaling fat cells to release their stored energy[1]. We also know that macrophage dysfunction occurs in other tissues due to inflammation, and so it seems clear that inflammation plays at least a partial role in immune system decline.

Cellular Senescence

Some research suggests that the immune system declines due to its cells becoming senescent, just as other cell populations do. Over time, our cells reach their maximum number of divisions, or they are damaged and enter senescence and destroy themselves via apoptosis, a kind of programmed self-destruct sequence.

However, sometimes these cells resist apoptosis and cling on to life, but in doing so, they prevent fresh cells replacing them while generating inflammatory signals that cause nearby cells to become dysfunctional, too. It is proposed that the immune system experiences the same senescence as our other cells, leading to immune system failure.

Stem-cell depletion

Another player in immune system decline is stem-cell depletion; for example, the thymus begins to shrink from an early age and eventually stops producing new T cells to help defend us from invading pathogens. The production of T cells is facilitated by thymic stem cells, which are gradually depleted over our lifetime, and eventually, we have so few T cells that we cannot fight off diseases such as flu and pneumonia, which often kill the elderly. Some attempts are currently being made to rejuvenate the thymus and have enjoyed some success.

A review of immunosenescence

It is likely the case that immunosenescence is a combination of all of these proposed things and more, and each plays a role in the resulting decline of our immune systems as we age. When it comes to establishing the exact chain of events that leads to immunosenescence, it will take reversing each of those causes to see what happens.

Today, we wanted to bring your attention to an open-access paper that reviews the current knowledge of immunosenescence and provides a good introduction to the topic[2].

Conclusion

Developing the therapies that target the aging processes directly is likely the most expedient path to understanding immunosenescence, as these therapies will give us the tools with which to discover what drives the process. Approaches such as thymic rejuvenation or creating a replacement thymus, replacing lost stem-cell populations such as hematopoietic stem cells that create all immune cells, removing overspecialized immune cells, and removing senescent cells are all valid approaches towards discovering how immunosenescence works.

Our knowledge is growing rapidly by the passing month, and more and more is being understood about the aging processes and how we might directly target them to prevent or reverse age-related diseases. It is almost certain that medicine is going to change dramatically in the next decade or two as our understanding grows.

Literature

[1] Camell, C. D., Sander, J., Spadaro, O., Lee, A., Nguyen, K. Y., Wing, A., … & Rodeheffer, M. S. (2017). Inflammasome-driven catecholamine catabolism in macrophages blunts lipolysis during ageing. Nature, 550(7674), 119-123.

[2] Ventura, M. T., Casciaro, M., Gangemi, S., & Buquicchio, R. (2017). Immunosenescence in aging: between immune cells depletion and cytokines up-regulation. Clinical and Molecular Allergy, 15(1), 21.

About Steve Hill

As a scientific writer and a devoted advocate of healthy longevity technologies, Steve has provided the community with multiple educational articles, interviews, and podcasts, helping the general public to better understand aging and the means to modify its dynamics. His materials can be found at H+ Magazine, Longevity Reporter, Psychology Today, and Singularity Weblog. He is a co-author of the book Aging Prevention for All – a guide for the general public exploring evidence-based means to extend healthy life (in press).

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

Why Bringing Aging Under Medical Control Probably Will Not Create a Gerontocracy – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Why Bringing Aging Under Medical Control Probably Will Not Create a Gerontocracy – Article by Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà


Editor’s Note: In this article, Mr. Nicola Bagalà discusses Gerontocracy and how it is becoming less likely due to factors such as increasing wide availability of knowledge and equal opportunities.  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                      ~ Kenneth Alum, Director of  Publication, U.S. Transhumanist Party, December 05, 2017

 

As I discussed in another article, rejuvenation biotechnology would allow older adults to continue working and producing wealth for much longer than they can today, thus benefiting society in many ways.

However, some people are concerned that this might do more harm than good; imagine all those rejuvenated old farts holding onto their jobs forever, preventing the young from getting jobs themselves! Not to mention the risk of a gerontocratic world, where powerful older people get too attached to their chairs, never allowing younger people a chance!

New is not always better

If you’re more concerned that dictators could live for centuries, then you should have a look at this article; here, I’m going to deal with another scenario: old, rejuvenated people who hold on to positions of power—not necessarily as heads of countries—or their jobs for a really long time.

Quite frankly, what’s wrong with that?

Just because someone has been in charge of the same position for long, it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad thing. If you think otherwise, you might be making the assumption I rebutted here, namely that, rejuvenated or not, older people will always tend to do things in old ways, eventually making them a worse choice than younger people. On the contrary, their long experience might make them more fit than others, especially if we’re talking about chronologically older but open-minded people who keep up to date. Younger people aren’t necessarily the default better option. Think about all those times when a great person of our time died and you found yourself thinking that the world would have been better off if he or she had lived longer.

Personally, I think what matters is that people in certain positions, whether within government or a company, are the right people for the job. If they aren’t, old or young, they should be replaced by other people who are more fit, and, generally, there are more efficient and humane ways to do so than letting them get age-related diseases—for example, voting for someone else or hiring a different person. Granted, if the person to be kicked out is really powerful, this may well be easier said than done; however, when the holder of a position of such power dies of old age, his successor is rarely a nobody with no string-pulling abilities whatsoever. It’s not really a matter of longevity; rather, it’s that power attracts power, and I doubt that creating or not creating rejuvenation will make much of a difference in this respect.

Where does power come from?

It’s easy to hypothesize that a generation of rejuvenated 200-year-olds could end up becoming a gerontocratic elite that maintains power over younger people, but how would this be accomplished, exactly?

Maybe the older generation is rich and powerful, but unless we’re talking about a totalitarian world in which the masses are intentionally kept ignorant and poor, younger generations do have fair chances to make positions for themselves. Power and wealth come from knowledge, and, these days, knowledge is more freely and widely available than ever before.

Learning new professional skills and acquiring knowledge, in general, is possible for virtually everyone, thanks to the pervasiveness of educational media and the open availability of information on the Internet, including free (or reasonably affordable) online education projects, such as Coursera and Edx. The recent European initiative to ensure that all scientific papers are open access by 2020 represents another step towards a world that shares information rather than hides it.

Truth to be told, power and wealth don’t come only from knowledge; they also come from powerful and wealthy ancestors. If we didn’t develop rejuvenation, certainly all the Scrooge McDucks of the world would die sooner than they would otherwise, but their power and wealth would go to their heirs, and so on over the generations, which wouldn’t do much to prevent the creation of an elite. So, no, old age is not an easy way out of the problem of powerful elites ruling the world, and its absence wouldn’t make the problem any worse, really. The only possible way out is giving everyone equal access to knowledge and equal opportunities.

Inevitably, some will end up being more successful and thus more powerful than others anyway; however, if this allows them to become an oppressive force on the rest of us, I think this is a problem with our socio-economic system, not with the existence of lifesaving medical technology. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very keen on waiting until the “perfect” society or “perfect” economic system are built before we decide to cure the diseases of old age.

The fortune teller’s error

We shouldn’t make the mistake of predicting a negative outcome without considering the actual odds of it happening. I think fears of a society where rejuvenated elderly make younger people’s lives more difficult are misplaced in that they assume present-day scenarios will exist in the far future.

Take the concern about jobs, for example, rejuvenated old people would stick to their jobs forever and make it harder for young people to enter the workforce. It sounds bad, but there are a few assumptions behind it that we should question.

First, would rejuvenated old people actually stick to their jobs forever? Why? You hardly hear of a professional who was in the exact same job for forty years these days. More broadly, career change is a thing already. After all, after 40 years in the same line of work, it’s conceivable you might want to try something else, thus making room for others to take your place.

Will rejuvenated old people be allowed to stick to their jobs forever? Not everyone is a manager in charge of decisions, and your boss may well decide to lay you off, rejuvenated or not, and hire someone else.

Even if old rejuvenated people did stick to the same jobs forever, would they never take a break? Even if you’re in the prime of health, after a few decades, you may well wish to “retire” for a few years before going back to work, and your employer is probably not going to wait for you that long.

Will there be so many chronologically younger people in need of jobs in the future? The world population growth rate has been hopelessly corkscrew-diving for over 50 years now, and it is projected to keep going down as larger portions of the world transition from a developing to a developed economy. (In case you’re wondering, the population growth rate is going down not because more people die, but on the contrary, because fewer are born.)

Will people’s living depend on having a job in the future? We can’t expect indefinite life extension to happen very soon; before we can have 200-year-old people in the workforce, it’ll be at least a century. Is the economy going to be the same as today’s by then? Automation already seems on its way to cause the end of work as we know it.

I’d say it’s rather silly to oppose rejuvenation today for the reason that, in a century or two, it might cause an unemployment problem due to too many people being alive. It’s simply too long a time to make any even remotely accurate predictions on what the job market will be like or if there even will be any. In all honesty, I think it makes more sense to worry about a concrete problem that we already have today—the ill health of old age—than worry about a hypothetical one that might or might not happen in a hundred years’ time—massive unemployment. As time goes by, we’ll have a better picture of potential future problems lying ahead, and we’ll be in a better position than we are in today to do something about them.

Conclusion

I’ve said this many times over: the bottom line is always the same. Yes, life extension will most likely bring challenges along with benefits, but none of these challenges are certain, insurmountable, or not more than compensated for by the expected benefits. Let’s not deny ourselves and our descendants the chance for healthier, longer lives.

About Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà has been an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of rejuvenation science since 2011. Although his preferred approach to treating age related diseases is Aubrey de Grey’s suggested SENS platform, he is very interested in any other potential approach as well. In 2015, he launched the blog Rejuvenaction to advocate for rejuvenation and to answer common concerns that generally come with the prospect of vastly extended healthy lifespans. Originally a mathematician graduated from Helsinki University, his scientific interests range from cosmology to AI, from drawing and writing to music, and he always complains he doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to all of them which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension. He’s also a computer programmer and web developer. All the years spent learning about the science of rejuvenation have sparked his interest in biology, in which he’s planning to get a university degree.

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.