Montag, 13. Juni 2011

Wie man unendlich langes menschliches Leben erreichen könnte

Meine These: Das Gehirn ist das wichtigste Organ des Menschen. Es ist der Sitz der Persönlichkeit und des Denkens. Alle anderen Körperteile sind nur Anhänge, die das Leben erleichtern sollen, aber nicht das Leben an sich ausmachen. Es genügt also, das Gehirn eines Menschen zu erhalten, um den Menschen selbst am Leben zu erhalten.

Das Gehirn benötigt Sauerstoff und Nährstoffe, um zu überleben. Sobald das Gehirn aus irgendeinem Grund nicht mehr ausreichend versorgt ist (und nur sobald dieser Zustand eintritt), stirbt der Mensch. Will man unendlich lange leben, ist also diese (und nur diese) Situation zu vermeiden.

Der Sauerstoff und die Nährstoffe werden im Prinzip einzig benötigt, um den Metabolismus aufrecht zu erhalten. Durch Verbrennung von Glukose und die Weiterverarbeitung der Stoffwechselprodukte im Citratzyklus und in der Atmungskette wird mit Hilfe von Sauerstoff Adenosintriphosphat gebildet, das dann durch Spaltung zur Gewinnung von Energie verwendet werden kann, die für die Finanzierung der verschiedenen Stoffwechselvorgänge benötigt werden.

Zu erforschen ist das komplette Metabolom des Gehirns, damit man weiß, welche Prozesse in diesem ablaufen und mit welchen möglichst einfachen Maßnahmen man eine künstliche Aufrechterhaltung des Lebens sicherstellen kann.

Donnerstag, 2. Juni 2011

Personality - Final Evaluation

I've read the type descriptions at Personalitypage.com again. Now I can say that the description of INTP is definitely most accurate for me. My father is ENTJ (the page on relationships describes his attitude towards other people very well), and my mother is probably ESTJ, similar as my girlfriend. The fact that I often get J instead of P in these tests can be attributed to my upbringing, both of my parents are strongly J after all. But in reality I'm P.

Donnerstag, 26. Mai 2011

ÖH-Wahl 2011

Mit den Ergebnissen der Hochschülerschaftswahlen bin ich sehr zufrieden - an der MedUni Wien, wo ich Spitzenkandidat war, haben wir (Junge Liberale) 5,09% bekommen, und an der TU Wien, wo ich ebenfalls Kandidat war, haben wir mit 5,38% sogar den Einzug in die Universitätsvertretung geschafft! Cool!

Yet Another Personality Test

"The typical INTP is a logical, abstract thinker whose intellect is ideally suited to understanding pure mathematics and other pursuits unsuited to making a real living.

He is really only suited to two careers: college professor and game show contestant. Of these choices only one offers financial rewards allowing him to support himself; for that reason INTPs often take the other path, and become tenured academics."

Take the test at: http://www.nerdtests.com/ft_personality.php

Mittwoch, 25. Mai 2011

A New Idea Concerning Democracy

As Popper says, democracy is all about enabling the people to replace their leaders if they do not match the people's expectations. Now there is a problem to that: Imagine the people want social welfare policies, and the party in power - let's say a social democratic one - does not manage to achieve what it promised. What should people do? Vote for another party in the next elections and hope that that party will do it better.

Okay. The problem with that is that parties have ideological foundations. We usually do not have several social democratic parties to choose among, but one social democratic party, one conservative party, one liberal party etc. Now people might vote for the conservative party as a reaction to the social democratic party's failure to keep up a welfare state. But social welfare does not belong to conservativism. So why do they do that? Simple: because they have no reasonable other choices. And the conservative party may be populist, not clinging strictly to their ideology, but more flexible, ready to mimick social democratic policy. The danger to that is that in the long run, all parties will more or less adapt their programmes to what they perceive to be the will of the people. But how should in such case, for example, liberal policy be implemented when the people have changed their minds and decided to prefer liberalism to social democracy, if all parties including the liberal one have adapted to the social democratic mainstream?

For this reason, I'd propose the following: Ask the voters two questions. The first question: What kind of policy do you want? (Social democratic, liberal, conservative,...) The second: Who should implement this policy? So there should be various social democratic parties, various liberal parties etc. to choose among. Every party would have to declare its political direction beforehand. In this way parties could remain true to their ideologies, and the people would have the possibility to choose between real alternatives.

What do you think about that?

Dienstag, 10. Mai 2011

PhD-Studium der MedUni Wien

In der neuen ÖMZ stellen sich die Kandidaten für die Studienrichtungsvertretung PhD vor; man kann einige Probleme daraus herauslesen, mit denen PhD-Studenten konfrontiert sind. Nicht nur wir N201er haben Probleme, diese Leute haben ebenfalls welche. Das System ist nicht perfekt. Ganz allgemein aber eine persönliche Anmerkung: Ich habe ursprünglich mit dem Medizinstudium angefangen, weil ich in die Forschung wollte; denn ich glaubte, diese würde mir die Glückseligkeit bringen. Damals verfügte ich noch über so gut wie kein Fachwissen. Inzwischen denke ich anders. Die meiste medizinische Forschung, die hier in Wien betrieben wird, befasst sich mit Detailfragen. Mag sein, dass das eine oder andere Ergebnis in der klinisch-praktischen Medizin eines Tages umgesetzt werden wird; spannend ist das aber nicht. Wirklich große Fragestellungen werden höchstens noch am Hirnforschungszentrum untersucht. Wenn man sich nun das "Career model" für junge Wissenschaftler an der MedUni Wien ansieht, dann denke ich mir, dass man eher außerhalb der Forschung glücklich sein wird. Sollen halt andere Leute die Nobelpreise abstauben, wenn überhaupt; denn für Detailfragestellungen wird man ja wohl kaum einen Nobelpreis bekommen.

Books I'm reading in May 2011

  • Karl Marx, Das Kapital: In order to learn more about the political ideology of our opponents, I started reading this book, and already in chapter 1, I have to disagree with Marx. IMO the value of an article is not only determined by the worktime required to produce it. I told my girlfriend that I had no problems understanding Marx's first chapter, but that I did not agree with it, and she said: "For a Marxist, the fact that you don't agree means that you did not understand it." Oh well. Ludwig von Mises' approach to economics seems to be more reasonable to me.
  • Genie & Arschloch: An entertaining book about the dark side of famous historical persons.
  • Duden, Testen Sie Ihr Wissen: A general education quiz. Just to see how much I know and learn new (useless) things.
  • Daniel Goleman, Emotionale Intelligenz: A book on bad behaviour and how to improve it. What many people haven't realized: Emotional intelligence is not about showing your emotions, it's rather about suppressing them.
  • Aljoscha Neubauer & Elsbeth Stern, Lernen macht intelligent: A book on intelligence research. What's interesting: According to this book not a single intelligence gene has been identified yet. I remember reading something different, but maybe it is a dispute among scholars whether a gene that is significantly more common among highly intelligent people may be considered an "intelligence gene".
  • John Rawls, Geschichte der politischen Philosophie: Still reading, read a bit about Locke recently. His opinions greatly diverge from Hobbes', and this shows that philosophy is a subjective thing. There is no absolute right or wrong like in mathematics. Locke seems to be a founding father of liberalism.
  • Lisa Sanders, Detektive in Weiß: A book about medicine, how doctors make investigations to find the right diagnosis.
  • Molekulare Medizin: This pretty much sums up the parts of medicine I consider most interesting.
  • Ernst A. Swietly, Große Finanzkrisen: Still haven't read much of this. But it is probably an interesting book.

Samstag, 23. April 2011

IQ ranges and real-life functioning

Quoting from http://www.paulcooijmans.com/intelligence/iq_ranges.html:
120-129 - Borderline gifted
Capable of gathering and inferring own information. Master degrees. Attorney, chemist, executive. About 93 % of high-range candidates score I.Q. 120 or higher. 
130-139 - "Gifted"
May just be able to write a legible piece of text like an article or modest novel. Minor literary figures. Ph.D. in the "soft" sciences. In this range lies the mode of scores on high-range tests, and almost 80 % of high-range candidates score I.Q. 130 or higher. Regular psychology's I.Q. tests should not be trusted beyond this range as their validity breaks down here, if such scores are given at all. 
140-149 - Intelligent
Capable of rational communication and scientific work. From this range on, only specific high-range tests should be considered. Important scientific discoveries and advancement are possible from the upper part of this range on.
We do not know if intelligence from about this range on is simply the extreme end of a normal distribution centered at 100 and largely formed by heredity, or if high intelligence in some cases has other causes (non-inherited or non-genetic) which make it deviate from the normal curve centered at 100 and form a "bump" in the far right tail, similar to the bump in the retarded range (which has non-inherited and non-genetic causes). And since we possess no physical, absolute scale of intelligence, these questions are hitherto meaningless altogether.
About one in two high-range test candidates score I.Q. 140 or higher.
This article was discussed in a forum. A reader speculated that this was not supposed to be serious. The author answered that it should be obvious whether it is serious. I believe it IS supposed to be serious, although it is perhaps not grounded on a scientific basis.

Still, let's think what this implies concerning my own potential:

I took two serious "culture-fair" intelligence tests at a psychologist's. In one test I scored around 135 and in another test I scored around 145 (both scales SD 16). The difference may be due to the norming of the test: The former test was normed around 2000 while the latter test was normed in the 1970s. There has been the so-called "Flynn effect", which means that the average IQ has increased by 3 points per decade. This Flynn effect explains the difference of 10 IQ points quite well (assuming that the increase of IQ per decade has been global, and not just the average IQ or the IQ within a particular range have been affected).

The question that remains open, therefore, is whether the ranges Cooijmans present are related to the IQ tests of the 1970s or to the IQ tests of today. From a logical point of view, somebody who would have been capable of becoming a scientist in the 1970s should actually be capable of becoming a scientist in the 2000s as well. At least I do not believe that the intellectual challenges of being a scientist have increased - or have they?

As long as this question remains open, it is not possible to determine whether I have the potential to become a person "capable of rational communication and scientific work".

But I definitely should be able to match the qualifications of IQ 130-139, the "gifted" range. "May just be able to write a legible piece of text like an article or modest novel. Minor literary figures. Ph.D. in the 'soft' sciences." As a matter of fact, I am a writer, and I have written more than 400 articles so far. I have also tried to write a novel, but the reason why I did not finish it is mainly due to the fact that it definitely IS a lot of work which requires time, patience, good ideas and so on. But in theory, I could definitely write a novel. It is not on top of my priority list, however.

So I could have become a Ph.D. in the "soft" sciences. Great - but I did not study soft sciences.

The Flynn effect has supposedly stopped in the 1990s. Therefore, I am certainly still at least in the "gifted" range. But taking a look at the description of the "borderline gifted", I see what I could, in theory, achieve in addition, as having a higher IQ than necessary of course allows you to achieve the goals for the intellectually less gifted, too. "Capable of gathering and inferring own information. Master degrees. Attorney, chemist, executive." So a master degree should be possible to achieve. Well, that is not much of a surprise.

One question that remains open is whether all novelists actually have an IQ >= 130, and whether all researchers actually have an IQ >= 140, or whether Cooijmans' estimations are rubbish. Cooijmans himself writes that "the exact cut-offs for the ranges are arbitrary", so maybe borderline cases are not too rare.