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Steps to Biological Immortality

December 4th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
I'm not going to hide it.  I want to live forever.  I don't think there's anything wrong with that or that it's "unnatural" or "unethical."  People often act offended on this topic.  "Why are you so greedy? Why so selfish?" But to them, I ask, why is it so bad to want to live? To who do I owe such a huge debt to that I am obligated to die?

One of my personal beliefs is that it is within our lifespans that we will figure out how to prolong our lives indefinitely - aka biological immortality.  Note this is different from actual immortality where you can't die at all; here we are just referring to dying of age.

At the same time, I don't believe there's such thing as a "natural death."  It is not necessary to die, and not all things do, even in nature.  Jellyfish...[More]
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Talking with an Ivy Leaguer on Wall Street

December 4th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another memoirs of sorts, this time reflecting the Ivy League alumni I've been meeting in NYC, both in the startup community and on Wall Street.  I've been spending more time in NYC instead of SF for a change of location (and people), but ironically, I'm running into sort of the opposite situation to that I had in my short story, Talking with an Engineer in Silicon Valley.  Whereas many I met in Silicon Valley lacked empathy, considerateness, and other traits but at least wanted them (even if superficially), the circles I'm getting into in NYC seem to simply accept that these traits don't genuinely exist and are always superficial.  Maybe it's just my luck that I'm just somehow always meeting the most 1-dimensional people, but the frustrating part is they always start off seeming normal in the beginning.  As with my other short story, the co...[More]
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Face without Sentience

July 9th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
An idea I've had for a while as a horror film:

Someone you know closely, seemingly all your life, one day turns around to face you and then just starts screaming in absolute fear, screaming non-stop forever at the top of their lungs, hour after hour, day after day, eyes wide and face frozen, with no change in expression, no reaction to anything, as if no longer alive, no longer conscious, no longer sentient.
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Virtual Reality via 3D Projection Mapping

January 24th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Rather than wear VR/AR headsets, it's more interesting to me to try to bring VR literally into the real world using 3D projection mapping.  No one has to wear any fancy goggles; anyone walking by can see exactly what you see and step into the same world you're in.  Imagine walking by your favorite supermarket one day to find that it's been transformed into massive crater in the ground.  Forget the supermarket.  Imagine if the giant castle before you started to collapse as a monster emerged from within.  Best of all, everyone around you can see it and hear it with you.  Contrast this with VR or AR currently where everyone else around you only sees you running around with a headset, playing more or less with an imaginary friend world.

No, 3D projection mapping is not just a big movie screen.  Below is an example of 3D projection done literally on a castle to make it appear like it is moving, crumbling, transforming... Yes, the exa...[More]
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A Way to Know If We're in a Simulation

January 6th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
This is inspired by a dream I had that was mildly unsettling.  In the dream, you were in a house with a few old-school moving pictures on the wall - the kind that required a handcrank to animate except the owner found a way to keep the pictures moving on their own for a long time, to the point the owner had long passed away and the pictures were still moving.  Over time, the mechanical devices keeping the pictures moving start to wear out, and the pictures start to slow down.  What becomes odd is that if you look closely enough, you start to notice that every so often, a frame goes missing or blacks out, as if the universe flickered and the camera captured a moment of nothingness.

Of course, that dream could have been a lot of other things, such as mechanical issues with the camera that shot the footage, but what it got me wondering was, if the universe was a simulation with a frame rate, whether we could capture the flickers in between the frames to prove it.  Thi...[More]
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The Blue Light is Harmless

December 19th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
The blue light is harmless.
So they say.

Because it is the softest,
the most comfortable,
most calmi...[More]
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Three Tiers of Mind

November 11th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
This is a long piece but one I've been thinking through for a long time.  I've come gradually to see people as being in one of three Tiers when it comes to their motivations, mindset, and ability to make things happen.  Before I begin, I want to make clear that this is not the case of one group of people being better than another.  There's nothing wrong with being in one Tier vs another.  You're not a better or worse person for it.  It is also not a relative scale or spectrum; the conditions for each group are explicit, discrete, and absolute, based solely on whether the person has or does not have the ability to direct not only his own fate but that of others.  There is no in between.  You either can or can't, truly think one way or don't.  Lastly, it is important to understand that these are mindsets, not people.  It is no different than discussing beliefs rather than the believers themselves, the substance of...[More]
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Unlimited Clean Energy From Solar Winds

October 29th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
It turns out there's enough energy right at the edge of our atmosphere to power the entire planet for free.  The energy comes in the form of charged particles from the sun called the solar wind, which is much more energy rich than what makes it past the Earth's magnetic field to our ground-based solar panels and is responsible for phenomena like the northern lights (aurora borealis).  It is pretty much unlimited pure energy, free for the taking, that you could collect through a sail, kite, or even just a regular conductor (at the ionosphere just before space, it's pretty close to actual electricity) with no worries of pollution or detriment to the environment, and it's rather surprising there hasn't been more interest to reach it as it seems like such a land grab.

The main problem I read about is the practicality of transporting the energy back to Earth, as much of it can be lost if you t...[More]
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Apricus

October 13th, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
I looked at the sun and was blinded.
I flew to the sun and was burned.
I listened to the sun and could hear only silence.
I sat back in peace and felt the warmth of its rays.
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