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still alive

Posted by nootrope , 07 June 2012 · 2,825 views

Hey, I'm still alive! All I have to do is keep doing this, forever, and I'll be immortal!

Before I review my supplement, exercise, and nutrition experiments I thought I'd review a movie I saw last night whose central themes are relevant to this site: Darren Aranofsky's "The Fountain."

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As you can see from the image above, it is visually sumptuous. Three levels of plot: one, the story of a Spanish conquistador searching for the fabled Tree of Life (Fountain of Youth), another, the story of a medical researcher trying to find a cure for cancer while his wife is dying of it, and the final plot level, illustrated above, the conquistador/medical researcher (both played by Hugh Jackman--either the researcher is the reincarnation of the conquistador or the conquistador is from the novel his wife is writing) floats in the Mayan afterlife towards a dying star (actually in the film, the Orion Nebula).

So it is a little confusing, but I enjoyed it. I felt strange that during breaks from watching this film all about the issue of immortality, I was skimming Longecity.org, and when Hugh Jackman finally got to drink from The Fountain that gives everlasting life, I was taking a sip of green tea.

Of course, as most fiction about the quest for immortality, in the end it cops out and suggests that we're better off just focusing on the here and now and achieving some kind of higher plane metaphorical immortality by becoming fertilizer for flowers. (Heck, I can produce natural fertilizer while I live--why would I have to die to do that?)

I've also been reading this fascinating book about the Americas, pre-Columbus:

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The common tie is that The Fountain deals extensively with the legend of a Fountain of Youth in the Americas, and also the fascination with the Mayas and their view of the afterlife. Some New Agers even now are freaked out about the Mayan calendar supposedly ending at the year 2012. Still, the early inhabitants of the Americas were really fascinating. Among other things, they bred corn (maize), which is unique among grains for its high yield and also for the dramatic difference between the modern form and whatever wild forms it must have been bred from. (The husk prevents modern maize from spreading on its own.)

For a week or two I was consciously watching the food I ate that came from the Americas: corn, quinoa, some chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, beans, squash, peppers, purple potatoes, avacadoes, chocolate. I disagree with the paleo advocates who say these foods are not healthy because they were not eaten while our species evolved over 100,000 years in Africa. (Neither do I have any native American ancestry--new evidence suggests that the Americas may have been inhabited for as long as 30,000 years.)

Why? For one, not only have we evolved to eat certain foods, but we have also, on shorter time scales, performed artificial selection on our foods to make them parts of a nutritious diet. We were not "meant" to eat corn? Well, we meant to make corn something we could eat. Another argument is that many foods all over the world are distantly related, and produce similar phytochemicals and macronutrients. If grapes are good for us, why not the native muscadine grapes? Still another argument: in many cases humans have discovered that plants were edible by watching animals eat them. Certainly what's good for one animal may be bad or poisonous or indigestible to another (we don't have the stomachs cows have!) but for example, fruit, which spread by animals it benefits, may also be of benefit to other animals.

Americas aside, even in Europe and Asia, prior to the arrival of modern humans, Neandertals and Denisovians were shaping the landscape, spreading fruits and grains they ate. And how does one account for what "we" have evolved to eat when many of us have some Neandertal or Denisovan ancestry?


Though in my experiment with a "diet from the Americas" I may have had too much corn -- genetically modified corn may be a bad thing! http://ergo-log.com/...ricans-fat.html

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Life and medical issues... Thanks to reading the forums here, I think I solved my indigestion / GERD problem. I started out with some triphala and then got a large supply of limonene, which I think really did the trick.


As far as the sleep apnea -- I got myself tested and I DO have SEVERE sleep apnea! I have a BPAP machine (CPAP is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure; BPAP or bi-CPAP has different air pressure during inhalation and exhalation). I wonder if sleep apnea was the underlying cause of my bipolar disorder? Both can run in families. Perhaps epidemiologically some fraction of bipolar disorders are really sleep apneas? (One therapist told me I was "The calmest bipolar person off meds" she had ever seen.)


My apnea - hyponea index is around 60. Perhaps poor sleep is one reason why I have gained about 10-15 pounds in the past year.

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