Profile

Cover photo
linda colman
Works at The Booklist Lady
Attended Stanford University
Lives in Berkeley, CA
191,549 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideosReviews

Stream

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
wordpixelsblog: Life Everlasting

What will it be – your head on ice, or Whole Brain Emulation?
It's like, the worst surprise party ever.

GIVE ME TRANSMIGRATION OR GIVE ME DEATH!

Plant a watermelon
On the bottom o’ my grave
And let the juice –
Slurp! Slurp! run through.
Plant a watermelon
On the bottom o’ my grave
That’s all I ask of you.
 Now Mom makes chicken
And she makes it mighty fine,
But nothin’ can compare
With the watermelon vine.
So plant a watermelon
On the bottom o’ my grave
And let the juice –
Slurp! Slurp! Run through.

I recently had a conversation with UC Berkeley biologist Steven A. Garand about his systems approach to studying life extension, or what was once more modestly termed longevity, and about  his little business on the side – cryopreservation of humans. I was polite. On the inside I may have been howling with laughter when I asked, did he expect any serious competition for business from the Whole Brain Emulation folks? But I posed the question with a straight face. Before meeting with Professor Garand, my most recent update on cryogenic suspension – that is, on preserving dead humans at sub-zero temperatures, would have made excellent material for a stand-up comedian. For not only was benighted Homo sapiens sapiens spending megabucks in the quixotic hope that science would soon figure out how to “wake people up,” people who couldn’t afford the whole gruesome package were still spending megabucks at a discounted rate for the privilege of having their heads kept indefinitely on ice, giving new meaning to the term Deadheads.

Where was Mark Twain when you really needed him?

So you thought selling aluminum siding was the worst job in the world, did you? Try being head (so to speak) of the sales team whose job it is to close on the deal with the guy who can only afford to get his head frozen.

You want to know the answer to my question? The answer was that the technology for bringing the cryonically-preserved back to life is a mere ten years away, whereas the technology for up–  (or is it down– ?) loading people’s brains lies a good fifty years hence. So no competition. No competition at all. The cryonic preservers will be earliest to market – earlier than the WBE folks by forty-odd years.

I never wanted to have my brain uploaded anyway. What would be the point? I’m not Einstein. Nor am I Steven Hawking. I have a good, unexceptional brain. Most humans do have good brains – thanks to evolution we have good BIG brains inside our craniums, and they keep on growing and developing postpartum for something like twenty-five years. And these good BIG brains are supplied to our species free of charge, with every new generation.

How about waking up as-is though, body and all, after, say, an interval of about fifty years? Let me say this about that. RIP is there for a reason. Do we say, “Rest in jollity”? Do we say, “Rest in hilarity”? or “Rest in audacity”? Do we say, “Rest in party-mode”? No. No we do not. Someone dies, we don’t say: “Party on.” We say: “Rest in Peace.”  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And what happens with the dead stays with the dead.  Not to put too fine a point on it, the beneficence of phrases like “Stay lucky” pales in comparison to the good wishes we may bestow in future when we tell friends and colleagues to “Stay dead.”

Oh you thought RIP was an acronym for Rip Van Winkle did you? Well, why not? Van Winkle’s tale might serve as a weak analogy for the fifty-year resurrection.

Rip had some issues, his creator tells us. Fortunately for Rip, he fell asleep and woke up in a backwater: in a rustic society where people didn’t bathe all that much to begin with. So what if he slept in his clothes, perspired in his clothes, etc. in his clothes? Everybody smelled bad in those days. So what if he hadn’t flossed or finger-combed his beard? Neither had the rest of the ornery recluses and neurotic misanthropes who lived thereabouts. The colonial American backwoods were full of benign eccentrics and sly curmudgeons. If he had any social problems therefore, such problems were related to disorientation, not hygiene.

Now the example of Rip was just an analogy, and a weak one at that. So what would it actually be like to die unto cryonic preservation and wake unto life fifty years hence? That is assuming some controlled intervention that has not disrupted the organism. It would be perforce an intervention less stunning, less passionate than the kiss that brought Sleeping Beauty around, less romantic and more targeted to arouse consciousness itself than merely to bring the endocrine system back online.

What state indeed would your awakening resemble? Would you experience new life as enlightenment, as being suffused with tranquil illumination, amidst a shaking off of the ether whilst a kindly medic warmly held your chilly hand?

     I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and as the morning mists had risen long ago when I left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw the shadow of no parting from her.
 –– Great Expectations


Or perhaps not so much resurrection as rebirth –  the experience of rebirth where birth had been  but a cacophony:


The baby assailed by eyes, ears, nose, skin and entrails all at once, feels it as one great blooming, buzzing confusion. . .
– Principles of Psychology

So said William James of the baby’s experience of the world following birth.

Enlightenment? Cacophony? I think not. For you would not be regaining consciousness among the Angels. Neither Seraphim nor Cherubim would attend you; rather  they would send you back from whence you came. Look Homeward, Angel, if angel you may be; look earthward, not with a mind that’s tabula rasa, nor like a convict with a clean slate; or even like a kid with an Etch-a-Sketch. You bring the rudiments at least of the mind you left with; if there is any backsliding, it should take one no further backwards in time than very adolescence.

Ever had a surprise party? That’s what it would feel like. You haven’t brushed your teeth or had a bath. You weren’t expecting this party, no, and you’ve had no time to find a suitable outfit. You’re not at your best, not having a good day, and to be honest, you don’t just not look good, you look like shit. Because the thing is, you’ve been dead. Not just kind of dead or out-of-body dead, or in a coma dead, but really, really dead. Dead as a doornail kind of thing. Dead as a doornail on ice, sure, but still and all, long-time dead. That doornail’s been on ice for fifty years, see. And who really knows how much suspension takes place in fifty years, how much devolution, dementia, decay? And there they all are, those party-goers of the future, jazzed because you’re awake, because they woke you. And they’re screaming, “Happy birthday!” and “Party on!”  And you look like shit and you feel like Frankenstein’s monster. You never meant for it to happen this way. It’s the worst, the very worst surprise party ever.

Remember the time your friend was in a coma? That was in another life. Lying in bed for over a week, not using his muscles, he developed foot-flop, thought he might never get back his muscle tone; took half a year with PT to recover.

And they’ve de-iced you, sure enough. It’s your début. What are those hellishly bright lights scathing your tender eyeballs? You’re here, what’s left of you. What hasn’t atrophied. Or been infected. Or inflamed. But you haven’t exactly been getting regular exercise, a healthy diet, and fresh air.

You thought you’d be burning with curiosity to see what life was like in the future, but you’re sodden with something that feels like a hangover, jetlag, and  “I overslept by forty years” all rolled into one: you’re a morning lark at midnight, a night owl at high noon.

So this is 2075? But no. There was a war. They didn’t have the resources, the technology to wake you in 2075. Your contract, you say? They howl with laughter. May have been binding in the old US of A. But this is 3030, you're in Pan-Solaria. . .

OK. I got carried away. But I do so love Sci-fi. And you get the point.

Humans have searched for immortality probably since they understood that they die. They always overstepped. Then they created warnings, stories, myths. Calendars and clocks. The Phoenix. Shangri-la. Aphrodite and Tithonous.

For those who were not fools, there was transmigration, meditation, reincarnation. For the fools there was the Fountain of Youth, immortal fame, and cryonic preservation.

For the wise, there was knowledge never contained in the words by which they remembered it.


And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.
–– Revelation

It takes a while to value time
I'll take a break
Arrive too late
If I fall behind it is you I'll find
In a lovely house
In a lovely town 
–– Good Occasions

The moment you stop thought, Time too stops dead.
 –– Shakespeare
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Discussion  - 
 
wordpixelsblog: wordpixelsblog: Life Everlasting

Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to Pinterest
Life Everlasting
 
 GIVE ME TRANSMIGRATION OR GIVE ME DEATH!

Plant a watermelon
On the bottom o’ my grave
And let the juice –
Slurp! Slurp! run through.
Plant a watermelon
On the bottom o’ my grave
That’s all I ask of you.
 Now Mom makes chicken
And she makes it mighty fine,
But nothin’ can compare
With the watermelon vine.
So plant a watermelon
On the bottom o’ my grave
And let the juice –
Slurp! Slurp! Run through.

I recently had a conversation with UC Berkeley biologist Steven A. Garand about his systems approach to studying life extension, or what was once more modestly termed longevity, and about  his little business on the side – cryopreservation of humans. I was polite. On the inside I may have been howling with laughter when I asked, did he expect any serious competition for business from the Whole Brain Emulation folks? But I posed the question with a straight face. Before meeting with Professor Garand, my most recent update on cryogenic suspension – that is, on preserving dead humans at sub-zero temperatures, would have made excellent material for a stand-up comedian. For not only was benighted Homo sapiens sapiens spending megabucks in the quixotic hope that science would soon figure out how to “wake people up,” people who couldn’t afford the whole gruesome package were still spending megabucks at a discounted rate for the privilege of having their heads kept indefinitely on ice, giving new meaning to the term Deadheads.

Where was Mark Twain when you really needed him?

So you thought selling aluminum siding was the worst job in the world, did you? Try being head (so to speak) of the sales team whose job it is to close on the deal with the guy who can only afford to get his head frozen.

You want to know the answer to my question? The answer was that the technology for bringing the cryonically-preserved back to life is a mere ten years away, whereas the technology for up–  (or is it down– ?) loading people’s brains lies a good fifty years hence. So no competition. No competition at all. The cryonic preservers will be earliest to market – earlier than the WBE folks by forty-odd years.

I never wanted to have my brain uploaded anyway. What would be the point? I’m not Einstein. Nor am I Steven Hawking. I have a good, unexceptional brain. Most humans do have good brains – thanks to evolution we have good BIG brains inside our craniums, and they keep on growing and developing postpartum for something like twenty-five years. And these good BIG brains are supplied to our species free of charge, with every new generation.

How about waking up as-is though, body and all, after, say, an interval of about fifty years? Let me say this about that. RIP is there for a reason. Do we say, “Rest in jollity”? Do we say, “Rest in hilarity”? or “Rest in audacity”? Do we say, “Rest in party-mode”? No. No we do not. Someone dies, we don’t say: “Party on.” We say: “Rest in Peace.”  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And what happens with the dead stays with the dead.  Not to put too fine a point on it, the beneficence of phrases like “Stay lucky” pales in comparison to the good wishes we may bestow in future when we tell friends and colleagues to “Stay dead.”

Oh you thought RIP was an acronym for Rip Van Winkle did you? Well, why not? Van Winkle’s tale might serve as a weak analogy for the fifty-year resurrection.

Rip had some issues, his creator tells us. Fortunately for Rip, he fell asleep and woke up in a backwater: in a rustic society where people didn’t bathe all that much to begin with. So what if he slept in his clothes, perspired in his clothes, etc. in his clothes? Everybody smelled bad in those days. So what if he hadn’t flossed or finger-combed his beard? Neither had the rest of the ornery recluses and neurotic misanthropes who lived thereabouts. The colonial American backwoods were full of benign eccentrics and sly curmudgeons. If he had any social problems therefore, such problems were related to disorientation, not hygiene.

Now the example of Rip was just an analogy, and a weak one at that. So what would it actually be like to die unto cryonic preservation and wake unto life fifty years hence? That is assuming some controlled intervention that has not disrupted the organism. It would be perforce an intervention less stunning, less passionate than the kiss that brought Sleeping Beauty around, less romantic and more targeted to arouse consciousness itself than merely to bring the endocrine system back online.

What state indeed would your awakening resemble? Would you experience new life as enlightenment, as being suffused with tranquil illumination, amidst a shaking off of the ether whilst a kindly medic warmly held your chilly hand?

     I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and as the morning mists had risen long ago when I left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw the shadow of no parting from her.
 –– Great Expectations


Or perhaps not so much resurrection as rebirth –  the experience of rebirth where birth had been  but a cacophony:


The baby assailed by eyes, ears, nose, skin and entrails all at once, feels it as one great blooming, buzzing confusion. . .
– Principles of Psychology

So said William James of the baby’s experience of the world following birth.

Enlightenment? Cacophony? I think not. For you would not be regaining consciousness among the Angels. Neither Seraphim nor Cherubim would attend you; rather  they would send you back from whence you came. Look Homeward, Angel, if angel you may be; look earthward, not with a mind that’s tabula rasa, nor like a convict with a clean slate; or even like a kid with an Etch-a-Sketch. You bring the rudiments at least of the mind you left with; if there is any backsliding, it should take one no further backwards in time than very adolescence.

Ever had a surprise party? That’s what it would feel like. You haven’t brushed your teeth or had a bath. You weren’t expecting this party, no, and you’ve had no time to find a suitable outfit. You’re not at your best, not having a good day, and to be honest, you don’t just not look good, you look like shit. Because the thing is, you’ve been dead. Not just kind of dead or out-of-body dead, or in a coma dead, but really, really dead. Dead as a doornail kind of thing. Dead as a doornail on ice, sure, but still and all, long-time dead. That doornail’s been on ice for fifty years, see. And who really knows how much suspension takes place in fifty years, how much devolution, dementia, decay? And there they all are, those party-goers of the future, jazzed because you’re awake, because they woke you. And they’re screaming, “Happy birthday!” and “Party on!”  And you look like shit and you feel like Frankenstein’s monster. You never meant for it to happen this way. It’s the worst, the very worst surprise party ever.

Remember the time your friend was in a coma? That was in another life. Lying in bed for over a week, not using his muscles, he developed foot-flop, thought he might never get back his muscle tone; took half a year with PT to recover.

And they’ve de-iced you, sure enough. It’s your début. What are those hellishly bright lights scathing your tender eyeballs? You’re here, what’s left of you. What hasn’t atrophied. Or been infected. Or inflamed. But you haven’t exactly been getting regular exercise, a healthy diet, and fresh air.

You thought you’d be burning with curiosity to see what life was like in the future, but you’re sodden with something that feels like a hangover, jetlag, and  “I overslept by forty years” all rolled into one: you’re a morning lark at midnight, a night owl at high noon.

So this is 2075? But no. There was a war. They didn’t have the resources, the technology to wake you in 2075. Your contract, you say? They howl with laughter. May have been binding in the old US of A. But this is 3030, you're in Pan-Solaria. . .

OK. I got carried away. But I do so love Sci-fi. And you get the point.

Humans have searched for immortality probably since they understood that they die. They always overstepped. Then they created warnings, stories, myths. Calendars and clocks. The Phoenix. Shangri-la. Aphrodite and Tithonous.

For those who were not fools, there was transmigration, meditation, reincarnation. For the fools there was the Fountain of Youth, immortal fame, and cryonic preservation.

For the wise, there was knowledge never contained in the words by which they remembered it.


And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.
–– Revelation

It takes a while to value time
I'll take a break
Arrive too late
If I fall behind it is you I'll find
In a lovely house
In a lovely town 
–– Good Occasions

The moment you stop thought, Time too stops dead.
 –– Shakespeare
3
linda colman's profile photoDarin L. Hammond's profile photo
3 comments
 
Linda,

Happy to. I traveled to your blog and was most impressed, and I will share.

Darin
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
PORTMANTEAU  REDUX
This portmanteau’s magic, immortal––Don’t chortle
Like a bicurious cyborg hungry for a Cheeseburg.




Politic prose begets a pose:

Prosody poseurs
Mimicking moderators;
First-time offenders
Parroting mentors;
Orators spouting
Declamatory figures;
Officers routing
Defamatory clotures;
Miscreants making
Fake disclosures.

Everybody knows:
Lovelorn sighers,
Late town-criers,
Wave good-byers,
Seat-of-pants flyers,
Hot bread-bringers,
Cold bell-ringers,
Harpy harbingers,
Sycophantic singers:

Everybody knows
It’s a pose.
Everybody knows
How it goes.
There she blows:
Ship of State,
Running late;
Ship of Fools
Skirting rules;
Everybody knows
What summer will show:
Banner of the Lily,
Emblem of the Rose.

Pay your token
Nothing broken
English spoke
West of Hoboken

Nothing sacred,
Just forsaken:
Patriots’ patois
Easily mistaken
For glossolalia
Manchurian:
Epicureans’
Conversions
During duck and cover
Diversions.
Bodacious banter,
Manic canter.
Arms race:
Say the grace.

Disco nights and
Détente days
Never cease to amaze.
Read that rag?
What’s your bag?
Take down the flag
After the Fourth:
Fold it of course.
Stars and stripes,
Disco nights,
Flapping for real,
Glory’s pinwheel.

Rainbow flag glorious,
Synecdoche victorious:
Save it for display
On Pride Day.
Take it on a trip,
Take it on board ship;
Unfurl it in the wind,
Hoist it, Wave it,
Reel it in,
Then take it down below
&
Wrap with a bow:
Le drapeau

Bantams’ anthems
Roosters’ boosters
Bugle musters
General Custers

Addle-pating
Battle-baiting
Slogan-shouting
Cudgel-clouting

*     *    *

 Cosmic conference:
Stars to reference
Moon’s circumference,
Planets to measure
Sun’s diameter;
Planetary happenstance
To preface by chance
Andromeda’s comeuppance.

Pack, unpack
Your traveling case:
Flag,
Notepad,
Clothes.

Man of Time,
Man of Space
Pack, unpack your
Suitcase:
Stars,
Planets,
Space race

Man of the Universe
Man of Quantum Bits
Pack, unpack
Your valise:
Quarks,
Strange,
Galaxies.

Pack, unpack your valise:
La Verité,
La Valse,
Virtualities.

Man of purpose,
Engagé
Traveling to the city
On a summer’s day:
Speedtrain,
iPad,
Peet’s.

Bringing succor,
Forging trust
Briefcase clutched,
Do what you must;
Man of purpose,
Flesh and bone,
Pack, unpack
Your Gladstone:
Polity,
Policy,
Legacy Anglophone.

Artist mercurial,
On the go,
Landscape manorial,
Country sloe,
Prescient Revolution
Becoming Evolution

Pack, unpack
Your portmanteau
Disclose your cache:

Pack, unpack:
What do we see?
Liberty,
Equality,
Fraternity.


*     *    *

Mrs. Scrabble,
Major Babel,
Let the rabble
Think cliché.
Magnify letters
Comprising words,
Remember speeches
You have heard,
Note the words
Comprising stories,
Know the Classics’
Amber glory,

Recite Shakespeare
Word for word.

You discover words
Wingèd, feathered, plumed,
Rare epideictic birds
By love consumed:

Verbs that strut, compete, prance,
To enhance survival’s dance;
Species of nouns and their adjectival adjuncts:
Small singing leaves of lexicons
Crisp with adverbs and pronouns:
Self-replicating multiplexes:
Multilingual reflexes,
Gene pools reflected
In words elected by the tribes,
Collected, corrected by the scribes.



Pack, unpack
Your portmanteau
Now from the recess indigo
Tell us
By all that’s fun and true,
What’s inside?
Give us a clue!

But Babel began to babble,
And Scrabble shook her head
As pack, unpack they did,
Till finally Scrabble said:

This portmanteau’s magic,
Immortal––
Don’t chortle
Like a bicurious cyborg
Hungry for a Cheeseburg.

Skip breakfast & lunch,
Fill up on brunch.

Avoid mist and drizzle:
Stay in when it mizzles.

Our words too flowing to melt,
Too elastic to weld,
We let their sub-parts join and meld.

Estimate,
Don’t guesstimate,
The vagaries of my
Simulcast state:
Reprobate datacasting
Bombastic podcasting,
Sitcom replete with
Emo + icons and snide + remarks:
(Emoticons and snark).

Pack, unpack
Your bag, your tote,
Pack, unpack
The wag, the rote,
The nag, the joke,
And Allegory’s
Bright-hued garden.
Pack, unpack
The anecdote,
The palinode,
And every syllable
Of jargon.

But when they tell you to unpack
A metaphor like a knapsack,
So ‘Trailing clouds of glory’
Becomes the start of Everyman’s story,
And ‘In the middle of our life’s journey’
Becomes a medieval tele-tourney,
And ‘They flee from me,/ Who sometime did me seek’
Becomes the story of a geek––

Beware! Beware!
For Jabberwocky’s better
Than a dead letter
Unsealed too late
To learn its fate.

So listen to the rhythm of the falling words,
Dream their shimmering meaning;
Catch their drift, lift them from the stream,
But don’t stop dreaming.


And if someone tells you to unpack
A Starry Night,
Expedite your exit––say good-bye:
Pack your bag:
Clothes,
Notepad,
Flag,
Adding a piece of starry sky.

Say good-bye, hurry, go:
Pack up:
Drapeau,
Portmanteau.

And from the living word stream
Take words that colorfast your dream.

       *      

For Alex and Devon
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
Songs of  self-improvement: how common are these anyway?
How compatible is music with the to-do list? The reality check?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PivWY9wn5ps
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
Songs about reparation: how many are there? What percentage of love songs are about making reparation? Like this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3C0GKv0h74
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
When I first wrote about the African origins of common English words on September 8, 2010, I promised that I would expand the list and update my conclusions when I had the chance to read the five books that have been written on the subject, which I hadn't read at the time I wrote the article.
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
Rainbow flag glorious, / Synecdoche victorious:
Save it for display / On Pride Day
http://wordpixelsblog.blogspot.com/2013/03/portmanteau-on-go.html
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
Learn about publishing in Africa, and the need for change.
Nollywood may be, for Wole Soyinka, an “unprepossessing monstrosity” or a sordid “thrill of the grotesque,” but for Binyavanga Wainaina it represents a powerful revolutionary impulse much needed in...
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
"And all should cry, Beware! beware! his flashing eyes, his floating hair!"  Nick Bostrom on optimization processes and  goals:

http://www.ted.com/talks/nick_bostrom_what_happens_when_our_computers_get_smarter_than_we_are?language=en
Artificial intelligence is getting smarter by leaps and bounds — within this century, research suggests, a computer AI could be as "smart" as a human being. And then, says Nick Bostrom, it will overtake us: "Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make." A philosopher and technologist, Bostrom asks us to think hard about the world we're building right now, driven by thinking machines. Will our smart machines hel...
1
Add a comment...

linda colman

Shared publicly  - 
 
Binyavanga Wainaina rells you how to write a book about Africa:
http://granta.com/how-to-write-about-africa/
1
Add a comment...
Work
Occupation
Book List Writer
Employment
  • The Booklist Lady
    Editor/Writer, present
  • IRD
    Curriculum Developer, 2002 - 2011
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Berkeley, CA
Previously
San Francisco - London, England - Chicago - Palo Alto, CA - Madison, WI - Des Moines, IA
Links
Other profiles
Contributor to
Story
Tagline
Read any good books lately?
Education
  • Stanford University
    Literature, 1971
  • University of California, Berkeley
    Literature, 1973
Basic Information
Gender
Female
An excellent physician but difficult to reach in an urgent situation. The on-call and messaging systems have several layers, and do not necessarily result in a timely response.
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
1 review
Map
Map
Map