I assert that...
- This information is totally free of charge. I am not asking for any money and I'm not selling anything.
- If you act upon this information, you will increase the length and quality of human life. Guaranteed!
- This is not a cult, joke, or scam, but the effort will cost you a tiny bit. ($6.00 per month in utility costs.)
- The amount of life extension you receive will depend on how much of your life remains (younger people will receive more; older people less). Provided you are currently healthy and will die naturally, acting upon this information will increase your remaining life by a Life Extension Factor greater than one but less than two.YADDL = YREM x LEF
(Years Additional = Years Remaining x Life Extension Factor)
where: 2.0 > LEF > 1.0
- Not only will acting upon this information improve your life as well as the life of your family members, it will help improve my life as well as the life of my family members.
- I'm already doing this and if you help me, your efforts will be added to mine.
- If you convince your friends, relatives, and co-workers to act upon this information, then we will all benefit.
(Note: I realize this is "collective thinking" but a similar argument could be made about American tax payers sending twelve Apollo astronauts to the Moon between 1969 and 1972; It just wasn't possible any other way)
(although one very rich person could fund the creation of a single highway, maintenance of the whole highway system can only continue because of the smaller contributions by all members of society)
It is no secret that the personal computer you are sitting at right now is doing nothing at all 90% of the time. With typical processor (CPU) clock speeds of 4 Gigahertz, you computer could be working on something else while you read an email or web page. Believe it or not, your computer could be working on something else during the time it waits between your keystrokes as you type on the keyboard!
Note: One Gigahertz is "one billion" cycles per second; that's the number "one" followed by "nine" zeroes
Many diseases like...
CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease)
...may be related to mis-folded proteins in your body. Misfolded protein may sometimes be caused by accumulated genetic damage (caused by: viruses, radiation exposure, ingesting heavy metals, etc.), inheriting defective genes, or ingesting toxic proteins like BSE (mad-cow) infected meat.
If researchers knew more about misfolded proteins, the knowledge would enable them to develop medicines which could slow, or stop, many disease processes. I don't want to get your hopes too high so I now need to point out that it may never be possible to reverse damage already done.
(Note: if it were possible to stop Alzheimer's Disease, other medicines would be still be required to stimulate the replaced damaged brain tissue; this is currently a very controversial subject and the only biotech solution I'm aware of involves bioengineering based upon fetal stem-cell research.)
Alternatively, it might be possible to produce drugs which will enable your genes to "kill tumors" or "enhancing your immune system". (segments of DNA are coiled up and therefore the associated genes are disabled; certain proteins, known as enzymes, can uncoil DNA and then switch-on disabled self-defense genes).
(Note: It must also be mentioned that large tumors release hormones (protein messages) which causes neighboring tumors to suppress their own growth (this is one reason why removing a large tumor can sometimes make things worse). So imagine a future cancer treatment which involves either "stimulating your own body's defenses to suppress all tumor growth" or "just injecting an artificial tumor growth suppression hormone")
Remembering that no human has ever directly observed any kind of molecule (not only protein but the simple H2O water molecule) with any kind of microscope, researchers currently must use computers to analyze how protein molecules might physically fold (or misfold) in 3-d space over time.
Believe it or not, protein analysis is one of the most difficult computational problems in academia today. In fact, astronomical simulations involving "planetary motion" or "galaxy collisions" are much easier.
More surprising is the fact that commercially manufactured supercomputers are woefully inadequate for protein analysis. However, researchers at Stanford University (folding-at-home)and Berkley (BOINC) have developed software which will turn our mostly do-nothing personal computers into a resultant system that exceeds the computational power of any commercially available product by many multiples. Their software only runs when your computer is not doing anything so you'll never know when it is active.
All you need to do is download, install, then run Stanford's folding@home software (or Berkley's BOINC software then downloading one or more biology clients like: Rosetta-at-home, POEM-at-home, or Docking-at-home)
Should I leave my computer turned on when I'm not using it?
- Yes, if at all possible. But remember that there are always small risks whenever a consumer appliance runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Desktop computers are probably OK but laptops may be more prone to overheating. Check your manufacturer's manual. If you can't find it then check the manufacturer's web site.
- On the flip side, the useful lifetime of a personal computer is only about 1,000 days (3 years) so I want to get the most use from mine while I own it. If I experience any hardware failures I'll either get the computer repaired or purchase a replacement (for some reason newer desktop computer keep getting more powerful while the price drops; Why didn't Gordon Moore notice this?)
Won't this drive up my utility payments?
- According to this document: Folding@home - Executive summary
Folding-at-Home will only add $6.00 per month per computer to your utility payments.
- But there's an upside, I live in Canada and so heat my house with natural gas between Fall and Spring. A small amount of heat coming from my computer means my fossil-fuel-burning furnace will run a little less often. Obviously this argument isn't valid during the summer months when air-conditioning requires energy to pump the heat outside. But a small expenditure of energy from an old Pentium-4 helps to reduce moisture (and therefore, mildew) in my basement.
(Caveat: unlike light bulbs for this purpose, never operate a PC in an enclosed space like a closet)
Comment: 46% of my electricity comes from fossil fuels so I am never 100% carbon free. But if I lived in a rural environment I would erect a small wind-powered generator. Why? There are places around Ontario's Great Lakes where the wind never stops. The same is also true for the Pacific coast of America off Washington State as well as the Atlantic coast off Maine.
- Everyone has heard the expression "knowledge is power" but this is one example where the reverse is true; "power is knowledge". You invest a little electrical power by running the folding-at-home, or BOINC, client software which results in an increase of knowledge to solve certain problems in molecular biology.
What else can I do?
- Convince you friends and relatives to also do this. Every PC that runs the folding client gets us closer to possible cures that much sooner. People with available financial resources should also install an ATI Radeon (or NVIDEA) graphics card since the "GPU client" produces much more science than the "CPU client". Ten to one hundred times more!
- Many homes already contain a Sony Playstation3 (PS3) connected to the internet. Just click on the Life With Playstation then enable the FOLDING Screen Saver. My PS3 has been running 24/7 since 2007.
- Many small businesses already have some computers permanently powered-on to serve up web pages, receive faxes, run small telephone switches (VOIP/Answering machines), etc. Since these systems are never shut down, you might as well give them something to do while they're waiting for human contact.
- If you work for a large company where computers are normally left switched-on for technical reasons, then you might want to contact upper management to see if this is something your whole company may wish to engage in. (I've done this where I work and the client software can be configured to work through a security firewall)
- Disable superfluous Windows features so your platform can divert more resources to protein folding.
- Right-click on "My Computer"
Click "Performance Settings"
Click "Visual Effects"
Click "Adjust for best performance"
- Click on "Start"
Click on "Settings"
Click on "Control Panel"
Click on "Add or Remove Programs"
Click on "Add/Remove Windows Components"
Unclick "Indexing Service"
Additional advice for computer geeks
- Don't allow any of your friends or family to throw away old computers which may have (at the very minimum) a Pentium-4 CPU. Load them up with Linux, BSD UNIX, or Windows then set up a little computer room in your basement. Use inexpensive network equipment (Ethernet hubs, wireless cards, broadband routers, wireless routers, etc.) to connect them to the internet. Mount them on metal racks but don't take a chance with undersized cheap power bars. Individual monitors and keyboards for each PC are not necessary. Just buy a cheap KVM (keyboard video mouse) switch which will allow you to control all of them from a single station. If you really want to crunch protein, make sure each computer has either an ATI Radeon graphics card or an NVIDEA graphics card.
How will I know if my life has been extended?
- You won't know. Developments in molecular biology, medicine and pharmacology would eventually occur without our help. With our help they will occur sooner.
Won't these discoveries be made anyway without our help?
- Yes. But we want these discoveries made in our lifetimes rather than some time in a Star Trek fictional future after we've passed on. Stanford University claims that the most powerful computer might require 1 million days (2739 years) to simulate the folding of just one protein for 500mS of real time. Using the internet and 100,000 PCs could drop the requirement down to 10 days.
Will these discoveries immediately translate into medical treatments?
- Not at first. Remember that Galileo's toy telescope kicked off many other fields of scientific endeavor including astronomy, mathematics, and cosmology to only name three of many. A natural feedback mechanism then allowed people to build better telescopes which allowed scientists to confirm (or refute) new theories and fine-tune new astronomical models.
Likewise, data from these PCs will be used to guide biological researchers in the lab. Information collected there will be used to fine-tune scientific cores (experiments) in this computer network. The only difference between Galileo's day and now is that 90% of the scientists that ever lived are still alive AND we've given them access to our idle computers. This field of science will advance much more quickly with our help.
Won't our computer contributions be "just a drop in the bucket"?
- Not at all. Although 8 million computers have been involved in folding-at-home at one time or another, the current (2012-04-30) number of active computers is only 376,000. Like almost everything else in the human world, this project seems to be following the 90/10 rule where 90% of the people ever interested in this have already drifted away. Remember the 80's advert which stated "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste"? I think "A Computer is a Terrible Thing to Waste"
What would God think of this?
I believe that God would expect and approve of us doing this for the following reasons:
- Natural human Life Expectancy (life in-the-wild without modern tools or technology) averages 40 years.
- Improvements in many areas including...
...have contributed to extending human life to an average value of 80 years
- agriculture and nutrition
- refrigeration of food, public sanitation, personal hygiene
- pharmacology, especially vaccines and antibiotics
- medicine and surgery
- replacing theocracy with democracy (Individually, we are idiots but collectively we are much smarter)
- Maximum Lifespan is currently observed to be 115 years.
- It seems to me that God has given us intelligence and language in order to collaborate on problems like this. He has made us social creatures and has always wanted us to join together peacefully in order to solve problems collectively (this has certainly worked in the case of the internet). Perhaps an extra 40 years is a bonus to humanity for following his wishes.
(now if we could only convince the other idiots of our race to put and end to dumb things like war, religious intolerance, and suicide bombings)
- Unlike other Life Extension schemes, folding@home appears to be more than wishful thing or science fiction. It is here and it is now. All we need to do is get onboard.
- It's in the bible. Remember only one of the two trees was forbidden.
8 ~ And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 ~ And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
But if God really want to shorten your life he could trigger an aneurism by flicking away a few cells in your brain.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding@home @ wikipedia
- http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/2001/Mar/hour2_031601.html Episode: Proteomics
- http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/1998/Oct/hour2_102398.html Episode: Protein Folding
- http://md.chem.rug.nl/education/mdcourse/ Introduction to Molecular Dynamics (tutorial)