Biohacking Medical

Day 1084 and Tension

For the last week or two I’ve been getting tensions headaches. While I have migraines that manifest mostly around hormonal cycles, I can’t say I’ve had a tension headache before.

Migraines make me sensitive to light, sound, and smells but this new headache type was more like a pressure inside my cranium. Typical migraine medicine like Imitrax didn’t do much but neither did Advil or Tylenol. I tried caffeine to minimal effect. Exercise seemed to exacerbate the issue, especially if I was getting my heart rate up.

After discussing it with my physician I’ve got a suspicion that I’ve done something compensatory that has caused tension in my upper spine.

I have ankylosing spondylitis in my thoracic spine so it’s a decent hypothesis that to protect myself from the chronic pain there I’ve added additional pressure further up my spine. A inflammatory issue causing a complete different mechanical issue is a logical differential diagnosis.

I’ve got a couple of approaches to fixing the problem. I can get some body work done to relieve some of the pressure in my neck and shoulders with a massage, physical therapy or craniosacral therapy. I can take more magnesium as it is nature’s muscle relaxer. I also can take muscle relaxers.

I think this development is coming now as I’ve been really upping my intensity professionally this fall. I’ve traveled a lot, attended a number of conferences and meetups, and generally applied acceleration to everything in my world. It’s a good thing that Christmas is almost upon us as it seems like it could use some time away from the world. I will be turning within.

Emotional Work

Day 1083 and Uncertainty

I feel as if I spend a lot of time reassuring people that nobody has a clue about what happens next and that’s fine.

Even the brightest humans are still basically dim witted simians barely managing our fragile wetware as our environment provides constant destabilization. That we even survive that set of circumstances seems a pleasant surprise. Humans are adaptable.

I have typical fears about muddling through life but my existential angst remains in check. If I’m in a simulated environment running a set of programs given to me by God or a random super intelligence what does it matter to me?

I’m here and I like it enough to continue being alive. Sure I’d love to find out the mystery of consciousness and the nature of reality but if don’t I am happy with my lot in life. Whoever programmed me did a fine job. Thanks Mom and the wider memetic cultural movements that made me.

Community Internet Culture

Day 1082 and Local Maxima

It’s not an original sentiment but one aspect of Internet culture that has been most challenging is seeing how much less special you are when compared to the entirety of the species. Rather than choosing to find this humbling or inspiring some find it threatening and destabilizing.

There has been a video going around of a teenage boy, who seems to be a fine young man with a variety of interests with above average marks and test results, who didn’t get into Cornell. The internet has theories which I hope the young man doesn’t read.

Now looking at it with somewhat objective perspective I’d say his scores wouldn’t have got him into a top decile university twenty years ago let alone a top ten one. It’s even more competitive now as we send so many more students to university now. Arguably more than we can afford as a nation but we still do it.

So being rejected from a very selective school isn’t that unlikely with those metrics. Being above average is good. It doesn’t make you the best though. Being above average means you go to an above average university. Traditionally this has meant your local state land grant university. Perhaps you’d study something socially useful like civil engineering. These are good things that we should celebrate.

If you are a bit better than your local geographic average congratulations your life will be better access to a wider world. It will also teach you quickly that you are not all that special. That’s fine too.

This teenager will do fine. He shouldn’t be wrapped in social anxiety. He is at a successful local maxima but is not yet prepared for even softest of global minima. He’s going to have to get better for that. No one should be ashamed of this outcome. It’s actually quite hard to be in the global ten percent of anything. This young man might have a shot at it if he continues to improve. I’m rooting for him.

Emotional Work

Day 1081 and Sleep It Off

Trying to balance everything coming at you at the end of the year isn’t easy. Joy at accomplishments and time together are the goal for family time.

But the experience is overlaid with wrapping the year and planning for what is sure to be an intense year to come. It can feel somewhat paralyzing when I consider it.

I felt like I had to sleep off a lot this weekend . I crashed most of Saturday. I seriously slept 11 and a half hours. And I did feel better.

I’m looking at an intense year and I am afraid. We can’t lose some of the battles. They are winnable ones but it’s going to take a coordinated effort from many of us. In the spirit of the Christmas season, I pray for miracles.

Emotional Work

Day 1080 and Hard Feedback

Ego protection is innate. Humans have quite the capacity for engaging in defense mechanisms. As I do my end of year reviews to see what I have accomplished and where I have failed I see my ego everywhere.

The types of ego protection that plague me tend to be with those all too human relationships that are closest to me.

I had to admit to myself that I’d been engaging in entirely unproductive approaches in a close partnership. I wanted more from my partner and I’d express it again and again, but I didn’t seem capable of demanding the outcomes I needed. This was unproductive obviously.

Hard feedback was given to my partner. I had to look into my own motivations for enabling a cycle of letting outcomes that didn’t match our goals occur. My own part in it mattered. We had enforced errors, self doubt, fear and all the other typical buggaboos you might expect in a hard situation.

It can be hard to simply address the hard things head on.

Emotional reactivity is part of our autonomic nervous system. It’s not always right. It’s only sometimes right. And learning to tune it is part of the fun. You want to improve your heuristics over time. You will get more clarity on the world and your place in it. If you wish to persist in feeling anxious and uncertain being passive will have that effect. It literally hurts you. You have agency in deciding to address how you feel head on.

Day 1072 Head-on

Emotional Work

Day 1079 and Flowing

I try to direct my attention to where I have natural advantages. I’m sure you’ve seen variations on the theory that if you are gifted with a talent then honing those talents with hard work is the rational path.

If you are a 5/10 perhaps you can’t reach beyond 7 of 10 with effort, but if you are a 7 you can probably put in the effort to be an 8 or 9 and achieve great things.

I don’t mean this as an argument for not putting in the hard work to improve where you lack talent, but rather that hard work can compound for even greater rewards when applied to your talents.

No one ever enjoys being bad at anything, but it’s worth remembering that aptitude can and ought to be honed. I don’t always love seeing the areas of my life where I suck. I was in the past very inclined to beat myself up over it. That is the path to not improving anywhere in your life.


Day 1078 and Centering Ourselves

You’re telling me the church that tortured Galileo for the dismantling of geocentrism is against the erosion of the anthropocentrism of intellig

Beff Jezos

Venkatesh Rao wrote earlier this year on Ribbonfarm that he thought artificial intelligence was a Copernican moment for what constitutes personhood. I found his argument particularly compelling. Now as we approach Christmas, Pope Francis has weighed in.

Pope Francis has called for a legally binding international treaty to regulate artificial intelligence, saying algorithms must not be allowed to replace human values and warning of a “technological dictatorship” threatening human existence.


I have to say this is setting off all kinds of alarm bells in the pattern recognition hypophenia section of my mind. Who might be working to use artificial intelligence for institutional control? Why would the most powerful religious institution on earth have this position? Might this be a good time to reflect on how this institution responded to the advent of the printing press? Is the Catholic Church merely seeking the same power over science as it always has?

Who might benefit from this type of institutional pressure? Certainly at the national state level we have players like America, Europe and China. At the multinational corporate level we have Microsoft. Gatekeeping technological dominance through regulatory suppression is practically Microsoft’s metier.

Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of heretical books which were deemed immoral to Catholics. I bring this up because Johannes Kepler‘s Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae was one of them.

The heliocentric heresy era of the Inquisition is worth reviewing as we as a species must grapple with the possibility that science may continue to reveal our humble place in the cosmos.


Day 1077 and Disaster Porn

I loved the movie Independence Day when I was a kid. I still watch it every 4th of July Aliens invade and Americans unite a rag tag group of nerds for our species survival? I stand by my affection for it.

My mother had a very different take. She didn’t like that they showed the White House being blown up. She thought this was in fact a horrible image to have in one’s mind.

“Never imagine a future you wouldn’t want to happen“

My mom

As a kid I thought this was a little silly. Imagining things is good right? If we imagine bad things we can present them from happening right? I’ve given some thought to how we portray disaster aesthetically. The hope is always that by imagining bad future that we can take action to work for better ones but what if we don’t?

Hyperstition has been a hot topic as of late and it has me wondering if my mother may have had wisdom I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. The artistry of imaging dystopian outcomes vividly can turn a searing critique into a cult hit which eventually becomes genuine admiration. Think of how American Psycho’s perception changed over the years.

Let us hope we only hit rock bottom in our imagination and use it simply to fuel our ambitions for a better tomorrow.


Day 1076 and The Encryption Wars

I’ve been exploring historical American attempts at regulation of computing as part of my #FreedomToCompute effort. We have an excellent example from the Clinton era which are colloquially called the Encryption Wars.

This campaign might be instructive as we decide what kind of regulatory climate might best foster machine learning and artificial intelligence innovation globally as well as what might to the best defense protections for individuals and groups who wish to work productively with approaches like inference databases and large language models.

This overview of the pressure campaign against encryption and the ultimate triumph of strong encryption rights in Slate illustrates how we very nearly made privacy much harder to preserve in America. Note that Slate is a very liberal publication but wrote the piece in 2015. A very different era of liberal policy making.

That’s why the key takeaway from the conflict is that weakening or undermining encryption is bad for the U.S. economy, Internet security, and civil liberties—and we’d be far better off if we remembered why the Crypto Wars turned out they way they did, rather than repeating the mistakes of the past


This piece included a number of negative consequences from reducing encryption in exported products which eventually undermined our own national security interests in protecting citizen’s own privacy. A lesson we continued to learn the hard way in the middle aughts Patriot Act “war on terror” era.

It’s worth skimming a review of the era from ChatGPT.

Silicon Valley played a crucial role in lobbying for encryption during the late 1990s. Tech companies and privacy advocates, realizing the importance of secure communication, actively opposed government attempts to restrict encryption. They argued that strong encryption was essential for protecting user privacy, fostering e-commerce, and ensuring the security of digital communications.

In response to this pressure, the Clinton administration began to reevaluate its stance on encryption. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Executive Order 13026, which relaxed export restrictions on encryption products. This marked a shift towards recognizing the importance of strong encryption for both national security and the technology industry.

ChatGPT synopsis

Chronicle Media

Day 1075 and Behind The Scenes

I am a firm believer in doing as much journaling in public as I can as it’s a forcing function for myself as a thinker but also because it allows others to locate me in the vast expanse of an increasingly fractured virtual landscape.

But sometimes I have to do work that I can’t make immediately public. A lot of what I do never gets put public and I have to find ways to remind myself what I was doing without being glaringly obvious about it when I must keep someone’s trust.

Also because most people are mostly concerned with themselves vague poasting can do a lot of the work. Everyone will assume it’s about them. Cue Carly Simon “you’re so vain!” But most people won’t bother to ask.

A fair number of people rightfully don’t feel like they are public figures even as increasingly we all live some version of our lives in public. So a lot of social cues go into protecting trust.

Internet native people like myself have come to accept that there is no privacy. The divide between generations is probably less clear than you’d expect. But if you grew up online you know you can’t always control where your content and identity goes. Controlling it is like controlling the weather. Only conspiracy theories believe it can be done and they probably agree on who does it. Sorry there’s a joke about how the internet is filled with Nazis.

Security online has mostly come by through obscurity. But that’s not an absolute defense as anyone with a little bit of forum skills can absolutely fuck your life. This will only get worse as artificial intelligence helps us sort through things.

The Zoomers are particularly good at this and they grew up with things like swarming, catfishing and other hostile virtual low trust behaviors in anonymous environments. Honestly internet hygiene is for shit but basic common sense can do most of the work. So stay safe out there and remember some people live on attention. Be careful how much you give them.