[Cyborg] Fwd: [Body Hacking] "Transcending the Human, DIY Style"

Eric Boyd mrericboyd at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 2 20:47:24 UTC 2011

Response (see forwarded conversation below) to Lepht's Wired article on 
the body hacking list.  This was also cross-posted to like half of the 
transhumanist world.  Thought you guys might want to see it.

Despite comments below, my understanding is that Lepht has never 
actually implanted the North Paw (or anything approaching it).  She's 
talked about it, and I think she did once implanted a motor, but she 
discovered (unsurprisingly) that transdermal implants are very difficult 
to take care of.  She has plans to make a super-small version using 
neuroelectrodes and induction power transfer, but she lacks the 
electrical engineering skills to push that project forward on her own. 
So either she gets help, or it's going to be a slow project as she 
learns those skills...

If I was Lepht, it'd focus first on making a wearable version of the 
electrode-based North Paw.  Once she's got it wearable and the code all 
nice and cleaned up, and wireless reprogramming working, only then it is 
even remotely thinkable to implant it.  I'd probably also prototype a 
little first: maybe a single implanted neuroelectrode/induction pad, 
using a PWM signal for North.  If that holds up for a bit, then go for 
the 8-electrode version... frankly I'm glad I'm not not Lepht, because 
pain and blood scare the shit out of me.

I am of course a strong advocate of "DIY transhumanism" myself.  My 
personal angle of approach is wearable electronics.  I think it's a very 
approachable path to transhumanism, and totally reachable from a 
hobbyist level right now.  I think there is enough risk in the wearables 
stuff: our understanding of brain plasticity is pretty weak.  One of the 
reasons that I did the North Paw project is that I wanted to know if 
e.g. the withdrawal symptoms from wearing such a device would be 
significant.  They are not, but I didn't know that before I began, and 
that's what risk means...


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[Body Hacking] "Transcending the Human, DIY Style"
Date: 	Sun, 2 Jan 2011 13:27:33 -0600
From: 	Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com>
Reply-To: 	bodyhacking at lists.caughq.org
To: 	diybio at googlegroups.com, wta-talk at transhumanism.org,
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org, bodyhacking at lists.caughq.org
CC: 	Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com>, Natasha Vita-More
<natasha at natasha.cc>, Joseph Jackson <joseph.jackson at gmail.com>, Todd
Huffman <oddboy at gmail.com>, Quinn Norton <quinn at quinnnorton.com>

DIY transhumanism is super important to me, so hopefully I'd like to
help put the Wired article (with the pseudonymed person @lepht_anonym)
into perspective and share with the DIYbio community.

DIY transhumanists are not in it for the shock value. Maybe we'll get
Todd or Quinn to send a short blurb about their neodymium implant
surgeries-- nobody in DIY transhumanism (or DIYbio) is advocating
unnecessary pain or body shock. We're in it for human enhancement,
synthetic biologies, longevity, nootropics, software, prosthetics, tech
development, yes even implants. Transhumanism itself refers to a whole
philosophy of self-transformation and human enhancement.

Genspace wasn't established in a month and BSL1 rating didn't fall from
the sky. Biocurious, under the direction of Joseph Jackson (who is by no
coincidence also a transhumanist), is on its way for sure.

OK, so neodymium implants, ooh body shock. Not a huge deal, I agree--
didn't appreciate the pairing of "neodymium and pain"-- sane and
reasonable people have done that before, again not a huge deal... it's
like a less bioartsy Stelarc or something.

The other thing that caught my eye was when @lepht_anonym did a
battery-powered Northpaw implant, which was not featured in the Wired
article. As it would inevitably happen, the batteries died, and
@lepht_anonym had to cut virself open again. A little foresight,
planning, device design would have prevented this. It wasn't a shining
example of an implant project, IMHO.

Other issues have caught my eye a few times that lead me to believe that
@lepht_anonym is all around a liability to our communities:
... "i have been known to slice my arms open for shits'n'giggles, sure,
and do a fair amount of damage in the process (none of this emo
cat-scratch bullshit, i've split my arm to the tendons like the little
psychopath i sort of am), but this is not something i do when properly
medicated. i need a better way of communicating that."

Here's more 'body shock' or 'internet shock': Screaming-in-pain video
"homebrew neodymium node insertion by Lepht Anonym"
.. which she has taken down according to YouTube.

Consensus says... liability. I suspect Biocurious will prove to be a
strong player in DIY transhumanism in the near future. Along with
Humanity+ there is growing support for transhumanists but at this point
in time I think DIY transhumanist project participants need to take
their work more seriously than @lepht_anonym has demonstrated for her own.

Anyone interested in my overview talk of DIY transhumanism can watch my
talk from H+ Summit 2010 @ Harvard:
part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4ex52LYDe8
part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzUVd0skbc8

Humanity+ <http://humanityplus.org/> takes DIY transhumanism seriously
and wants it to succeed in the best possible ways. You can become a
supporting member by joining <http://humanityplus.org/join/join-hplus/>,
which includes certain privileges like voting for DIY transhumanists on
board elections. Another good way to get involved and put right in the
middle of the action is the mailing list, which you can subscribe to
over here:
(There's also archives going back to 2003; the diybio
<http://groups.google.com/group/diybio> group is better for getting in
on the ground floor though :-).)

This list is for all members of the Humanity+ (H+) to discuss topics
relevant to transhumanism, and the activities of H+. Transhumanism is an
interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the
possibilities for overcoming biological limitations through
technological progress. Transhumanists seek to expand technological
opportunities to live longer and healthier lives and to enhance their
intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities.

Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association) is a nonprofit
membership organization which works to promote discussion and
development of the possibilities for radical improvement of human
capacities using genetic, cybernetic and nano technologies. H+ is now
growing faster than ever, and we invite you to join us in this important
work. In addition to wta-talk, you may also enroll in one of our
discussion lists and join one of our local H+ chapters, which can be
found in countries and languages all over the world.


Humanity+ has published a few of @lepht_anonym's articles in H+
Magazine, if anyone wants to read that.
.. or the magazine in general: http://hplusmagazine.com/

lepht anonym blog

things i do for biohacking, part 1

things i do for biohacking, part 2

I think it would be helpful if Todd Huffman or Quinn Norton would pipe
up with their experiences and how their implant procedures differed.

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507

Assoc. Director of R&D, Humanity+

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: *Natasha Vita-More* <natasha at natasha.cc>
Date: Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 11:05 AM
Subject: RE: [ExtroBritannia] Transcending the Human, DIY Style
To: extrobritannia at yahoogroups.com <mailto:extrobritannia at yahoogroups.com>
Cc: Bryan Bishop <kanzure at gmail.com <mailto:kanzure at gmail.com>>

All of me is unhappy that there is someone pushing bad use of DIY for
his/her/its own recognition under the name of transhumanism.  This person is
not using DIY bio effectively or smartly.  She may possibly be a "cutter"
and lacking in any medical knowledge of batteries and the fact that the
battery will have to be removed, and she can easily have issues with
rejection.  (Stelarc has a major problem with his implant, and that implant
was his own tissue!).  I have had implants as a biological artist (bioartist
doing biology) and believe me, they are not fun or easy and are very painful
and my own body rejected the implant and I had months of pain and multiple
antibiotics to deal with my immune system and allergic reaction to the

Anyone working in DIY bio needs to have a little medical background.  Anyone
working in DIY transhumanism bio needs to know what transhumanism  means and
they DIY bio, if transhumanist in scope, is based on more than just putting
things in our bodies.


Natasha Vita-More

-----Original Message-----
From: extrobritannia at yahoogroups.com
<mailto:extrobritannia at yahoogroups.com>
[mailto:extrobritannia at yahoogroups.com
<mailto:extrobritannia at yahoogroups.com>]
On Behalf Of estropico
Sent: Saturday, January 01, 2011 3:21 PM
To: extrobritannia
Subject: [ExtroBritannia] Transcending the Human, DIY Style

Transcending the Human, DIY Style

Well... part of me is happy that there's somebody out there pushing the
envelope. Then again I can't help wondering whether this isn't just another
form of fetishism that just happens to overlap with our desire to be more
than human. More worryingly, this type of biohacking seems to have an
obvious downside that makes me simply shudder, as a
life-extensionist: "The medical consequences can be both severe and likely
to elicit hostility from doctors. She's put herself in the hospital several
times. She nearly lost a fingertip the first time she tried to implant a
neodymium disc herself. Various experiments with bioproofing have failed,
with implants rusting under her skin, or her own self-surgeries turning
septic." All this to know where North is of feel magnetic fields (see
article)!? Thanks but no thanks....


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