An Autonomous Agent

exploring the noosphere

Endocannabinoid System

Posted here are three great lectures on cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System in the human body. The first lecture, by Dr. Robert Melamede is my favorite. Melamede frequently references Ilya Prigogine’s work and provides an understanding of the Endocannabinoid system based on a “far from equilibrium” perspective. For the more physics and math inclined readers, this is a wonderful connection.

Dr. Robert Melamede – Endocannabinoid System

 
The Endocannabinoid System in Health and Disease – Dr. Ethan Russo

Quick summary:

  • Endocannabinoid System composed of three components: 1) endocannabinoids, 2) CB1, CB2 and TRPV1 receptors, and 3) regulatory enzymes
  • CB1 is the most abundant G-protein-coupled receptor in the brain
  • Cannabinoids modulate how fast things move through the gut!
  • CB1 is the “psychoactive receptor” and CB2 is the immunomodulatory receptor
  • CBs 10-fold more potent than morphine in WDR neurons mediating pain
  • All humans have a baseline Endocannabinoid System, influenced by genetics or some life event; in some people the system becomes deficient – disease and other issues arise in the body
  • Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED)
  • THC notoriously increases appetite, why aren’t users more often obese? THC alters the microfloral balance in gut, prevents weight gain
  • Cannabis very effective in Fibromyalgia
  • Migraine info at 41 min
  • Migraine related to CED

Cannabis and Cannabinoids – Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather

Quick summary:

  • Compared to the flower: oils, edibles and other extracts lose many of the cannabinoids and terpenes
  • Cannabis is an adaptogen – can give you whatever your body needs to regain its homeostasis
  • CBDs with THC works optimally, together it gives a greater than additive effect, i.e. better than consuming each individually; plant flower and all it contains is overall better than the extracts
  • At 1 hour and 2 min in the lecture, entire list of cancers which exhibit cannabinoid sensitivity and in many cases the tumor goes away with cannabinoid treatment

PiKHAL: A Chemical Love Story and TiHKAL: The Continuation – Alexander and Ann Shulgin

Let me provide a context so that you may understand my amazement with the chemical explorations of Alexander Shulgin. Did you know that the two principal neurotransmitters in the human body are dopamine and serotonin? Did you know that they belong to the phenethylamine and tryptamine chemical families, respectively? I find this simple observation to be of fundamental importance in understanding the human mind/body relationship. And now consider that Ann and Alex Shulgins’ books: PiKHAL (Phenethylamines I have known and loved) and TiKHAL (Tryptamines I have known and loved) explore both these chemical families and their effects on the human mind and body. Quick summary of well-known psychedelic chemicals:

Phenethylamines Tryptamines
Dopamine Serotonin
Mescaline DMT
MDA Psilocybin
MDMA Psilocin
2C Family Ibogaine
LSD? LSD

LSD is complex and has both chemical structures, but most people emphasize that the effects of LSD are related primarily to its tryptamine backbone and interaction with human serotonin receptors.

Ann and Alexander Shulgin’s books are a groundbreaking revelation for their accounts of psychedelic exploration, therapy, and spiritual development. They are a mix of essays and stories. You will not regret reading the books and learning about the chemicals referenced in the second half of the books.

An interesting note: In PiKHAL, the fictional character Adam Fisher is based on Leo Zeff, a talented psychotherapist who worked with MDMA; you can read all about his therapy work in The Secret Chief Revealed by Myron J. Stolaroff.

WordPress Application as Static Site Generator

While there are currently nice tools which exist to generate static websites, such as Hugo or Jekyll, there is also WordPress combined with a static site generating plug-in. Thus, WordPress can be used just like Hugo and Jekyll to create a set of static files to be hosted on the web via a service like IPFS or Github pages.

I was forced to investigate this topic thanks to Openshift 3, Redhat’s new upgrade for their web application hosting platform. For the past three years this site and two others have been running on Openshift’s version 2 for basically free (around $2.00 per month for total).

But Redhat decided to discontinue Openshift 2 and in the process switch their target customers away from the little guys. Normal people just wanting to blog cannot afford the $50 per month they want for their paid platform hosting account. And just to download their development kit requires filling out private information like phone number, address, and clicking a promise check-box that you agree you are using their CDK for development only. They are now as frustrating as Oracle, where you can’t download an old Java version without filling out the same identifying information.

Well, I then started to look around for WordPress hosting, expecting that I could get-by paying a small fee each month – around $5 for all sites. Nope — nothing, everywhere that I looked they wanted an exorbitant amount just to host a WordPress application. Namecheap was the best I found, 10 for the first year for three sites and then 50 per year after that. So it then seemed like a no-brainer to create a static site and put it on either IPFS or Github, which would be free. Github does have some restrictions like 1GB storage and I think they even have a monthly bandwidth limit. Since Github is free and since this site is not that popular, it was perfect. IPFS would also be nice, but I have a slow Internet connection and I already host one IPFS site and an Openbazaar storefront. And in any-case, with a static site it is rather simple to transfer or simultaneously host on other services.

I had been thinking for some time about switching to static websites, and now I was being forced to actually make the switch. Sacrificing the comment and search functionality in WordPress for a static site was something I didn’t mind, but for some people this might not be an option. Although, on second thought, you could use Disqus or Discourse and a third party search engine. I then spent about a day installing WordPress on my local desktop and transferring all data from my existing sites to the local install. This was near pain-free, although it may be headache for some who are unfamiliar with the internal structure of WordPress or terminal commands. You just have to follow the instructions listed below with the knowledge that online instructions are not always 100% correct due to differences in operating system versions, previously installed programs, etc…

And if you are copying existing WordPress data, be sure to export only the necessary tables correctly and remember to transfer all your previous uploads. Once you have the code on your Github repository, you just need to set the CNAME properties on Github and your domain name provider correctly and you are up and running.

Directions:

How to install WordPress on Ubuntu 14.04

How to install WordPress 4.7 on Ubuntu 16.10/16.04 Using LAMP Stack

Set Up SSL on Github Pages With Custom Domains for Free

Github repositories:

An Autonomous Agent

Solar Anamnesis

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government – David Talbot

I ordered The Devil’s Chessboard, by David Talbot, and let it collect dust for many months. What a mistake! It must be one of the most eye-opening books about covert power structures in America. Thanks to the writing style and organization, it was hard to put the book down. It should be a must read for any serious student of the time period 1950-1970. In some ways it nicely interweaves with the final chapters of Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope which was published in 1964 without knowledge of the many facts publicly released and discovered since Quigley’s publication. Indeed, consider this: in 1927 Allen Dulles became the 2nd director of the Council on Foreign Relations and from 1933 to 1944 he was the Council’s secretary. The are too many astounding observations to write them all here. Do yourself a favor and read the book.
Many reviewers claim that JFK and the Unspeakable is a slightly better book regarding the JFK assassination; however, it seems the overall consensus is that The Devil’s Chessboard is the best book on Allen Welsh Dulles, John Foster Dulles, James Jesus Angleton and the early history of the CIA.

Debt: The First 5,000 Years – David Graeber

Debt: The First 5,000 Years, by David Graeber, is a fascinating and astounding look at the ubiquity of debt in human affairs. It replaces many “accepted” theories on the origins of money and debt and disproves the Myth of Barter by studying the anthropological record. From my own experience, economic theories and models are almost never based on actual historical observations, only upon assumptions about human behavior and interaction that I personally find naive. Just look at the Efficient Market Hypothesis or the idea that humans are rational decision makers — these ideas or their assumptions quickly fall apart with a simple analysis. For instance, as Chomsky points out, the advertising industry exists to create irrational decisions. People can lie and manipulate; they can be greedy or ascetic. It is nice to finally have a down-to-Earth study of actual historical accounts of human interactions without forcing the current paradigm on the past. Graeber’s book provides a wake-up call for people to see a more realistic view of the interactions of humans, debt, markets, government and money.

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