dw2

8 November 2016

Agile organisations for agile politics

Filed under: Agile, H+Pedia, politics, Transpolitica, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — David Wood @ 6:23 pm

The pace of change in politics over the last twelve months has been breathtaking. It’s possible the change will accelerate further over the next twelve months:

  • Huge dissatisfaction exists with present-day political parties, candidates, and processes
  • Ideas can spread extremely rapidly, due to extensive usage of social media
  • Although many people feel alienated from mainstream politics, they have a hunger for political change.

Growing awareness of forthcoming technological disruptions heightens the general feeling of angst:

  • Technological unemployment (automation) threatens to eliminate whole swathes of jobs, or to reduce the salaries available to people who continue in their current roles
  • Genetic editing and artificial intelligence have the potential for people living “better than well” and even “more than human”, but it’s unclear how widely these benefits will be shared among all sectors of society
  • Technologies such as blockchain and 3D printing raise the possibility of decentralised coordination – coordination with less need for powerful states or corporations
  • Virtual Reality, along with new types of drug, could lead to large-scale disengagement of citizens from mainstream society – with people “tuning in and dropping out” as never before
  • Breakthroughs in fields of energy, nanotech, the Internet of Things, synthetic biology, and self-learning artificial intelligence could result, intentionally or unintentionally, in extremely chaotic outcomes – with recourse to new types of “weapons of mass destruction” (including cyber-terrorism, nano-terrorism, gene-terrorism, and AI-terrorism)
  • Technologies of surveillance could put more power than ever before in the hands of all-seeing, all-manipulating governments and/or corporations
  • Misguided attempts to “geo-engineer” planetary solutions to potential runaway climate change could have devastating unintended consequences for the environment.

In the light of such uncertainty, two skills are becoming more important than ever:

  • The skill of foresight – the anticipation and evaluation of new scenarios, arising from the convergence of multiple developing trends
  • The skill of agility – the capability to change plans rapidly, as unexpected developments take on a life of their own.

An update on the Transhumanist Party of the UK

This context is the background for a significant change in a political party that was formed nearly two years ago – the Transhumanist Party of the UK (TPUK).

As a reminder, here’s a 90 second promotional video for TPUK from April last year:

.

The messages in that video remain as relevant and important today as when the Party was founded:

The Transhumanist Party – Transcending human limitations

Harnessing accelerating technology:

  • Enabling positive social change and personal freedom,
  • With no-one abandoned,
  • So technology benefits all – not just vested interests.

Sustainable, bright green policies – good for humanity and good for the environment

  • Policies informed by science and evidence,
  • Ideology and divisiveness replaced by rationality and compassion ,
  • Risks managed proactively, enabling innovation to flourish.

Regenerative solutions – for body, mind, education, society, and politics

  • Smart automation and artificial intelligence addressing age-old human burdens,
  • Huge personal and financial benefits from preventive medicine and healthy longevity,
  • Politics transcending past biases and weaknesses.

However, despite this vision, and despite an initial flurry of positive publicity (including the parliamentary candidacy of Alex Karran), the Party has made little progress over the last 6-9 months. And in the last couple of weeks, two key members of the Party’s NEC (National Executive Committee) have resigned from the Party:

These resignations arise from the recognition that there are many drawbacks to creating and developing a new political party in the United Kingdom:

  • The “first past the post” electoral system makes it especially difficult for minority parties to win seats in parliament
  • Political parties need to establish a set of policies on a wide range of issues – issues away from the areas of core agreement among members, and where dissension can easily arise
  • The timescales spoken about for full electoral success – potentially up to 25 years – are far too far into the future, given all the other changes expected in the meantime.

Party executives will each be following their own decisions about the best way to progress the underlying goals of transhumanist politics. Many of us will be redoubling our efforts behind Transpolitica – the think tank which was established at the same time as the Transhumanist Party. The relationship between Transpolitica and TPUK is covered in this FAQ from the Transpolitica website:

Q: What is the relation between Transpolitica and the various Transhumanist Parties?

Transpolitica aims to provide material and services that will be found useful by transhumanist politicians worldwide, including:

  • Transhumanist supporters who form or join parties with the name “Transhumanist Party” in various countries
  • Transhumanist supporters who form other new parties, without using the word “transhumanist” in their party name
  • Transhumanist supporters inside other existing political parties, including mainstream and long-established parties
  • Transhumanist supporters who prefer not to associate closely with any one political party, but who have an interest in political action.

Transpolitica 2016

Transpolitica is hosting a major conference later this year – on 3rd December. It’s a conference with a very practical ambition – to gather and review proposals for “Real world policy changes for a radically better future”. There will be 15 speakers, covering topics in three broad sections:

  • Regulations, health, and transformation
  • Politics, tools, and transformation
  • Society, data, and transformation

Click here for more details, and to register to attend (while tickets are still available).

I’ll be kicking off the proceedings, with a talk entitled “What prospects for better politics?”.

dw-speaker-transpolitica-2016

Watch out for more news about the topics being covered by the other speakers.

Note that a focus on devising practical policies for a radically better future – policies which could become the focus of subsequent cross-party campaigns for legislative changes – resonates with an important evolution taking place within the IEET (the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies). As James Hughes (the IEET Executive Director) writes:

I am proposing that the IEET re-focus in a major way, on our website, with our blog, with our community, and in our work, on the explicit project of building a global technoprogressive ideological tendency to intervene in debates within futurism, academe and public policy. While we will remain a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, and will not be endorsing specific candidates, parties or pieces of legislation, we can focus on the broad parameters of the technoprogressive regulatory and legislative agenda to be pursued globally.

Regarding a first concrete project in this new direction, I have in mind our editing a Technoprogressive Policy Briefing Book, comparable to the briefing books of think tanks like the Brookings Institution, AEI, or Heritage Foundation. This project can collect and collaborate with the excellent work done by Transpolitica and other technoprogressive groups and friends. Each policy briefing would state a general issue in a couple of paragraphs, outline the key technoprogressive policy ideas to address the issue, and then list key publications and links to organizations pursuing those policies.

Next steps with the TPUK

As the official Treasurer of the TPUK, and following (as mentioned above) the resignation of both the leader and deputy leader of the Party, it legally falls to me to manage the evolution of the Party in a way that serves the vision of the remaining members. I’m in discussion with the other remaining representatives on the National Executive Committee, and we’ll be consulting members via the Party’s email conferencing systems. The basic principles I’ll be proposing are as follows:

  1. Times of rapid change demand organisational agility, rather than any heavyweight structures
  2. We will retain our radical purpose – the social changes ahead could (and should) be momentous over the next 5-25 years
  3. We will retain our progressive vision, in which technology benefits all – not just vested interests
  4. We will provide support across the spectrum of existing political parties to sympathisers of transhumanist and technoprogressive changes
  5. We will be ready to play a key positive enabling role as the existing political spectrum undergoes its own changes ahead – including the fragmentation of current parties and the creation of new alliances and new initiatives
  6. We will continue to champion the vision of (a.) Harnessing accelerating technology to enable positive social change and personal freedom; (b.) Sustainable, bright green policies – good for humanity and good for the environment; (c.) Regenerative solutions – for body, mind, education, society, and politics
  7. We will aim to provide actionable, practical analyses – of the sort being presented at Transpolitica 2016 – rather than (just) statements of principle
  8. Rather than maintain an expensive infrastructure of our own, we should feed our work into existing systems – such as H+Pedia, Transpolitica, the IEET, and the Transhuman National Committee of the United States
  9. As far as possible, we will remain collaborative rather than divisive
  10. We will hold onto our domain names
  11. We will retain the option to field our own candidates in future elections, in case that turns out to be the most sensible course of action at that time (this means the Party will remain officially registered with the Electoral Commission – at modest cost)
  12. We will offer our donors and members a refund of the payments they have provided the Party within the last six months, in case they feel they no longer support our vision.

 

30 September 2016

A declaration for radical healthspan extension

Filed under: aging, healthcare, medicine, rejuveneering, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — David Wood @ 5:26 pm

I’m writing during a short break in the proceedings of the 2016 Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing, which is being held in central Brussels.

The organisers have in mind that attendees could issue a declaration at the end of the event, tomorrow, Saturday 1st October – a date which happens to be Longevity Day.

Please find some draft text for this declaration. Lots of other text has been proposed too, but this is a fairly minimal version.

Before the text of the declaration is finalised, I’m interested to hear comments:

  • What should be added – or omitted?
  • What’s unclear?
  • What do people particularly like about it?
  • What improvements might be made to the language?
  • What changes (if any) would convince you to add your signature to it?
  • What’s a good way to conclude the declaration?

Please let us know!

Note: Many thanks are due to various members and supporters of Heales for suggesting text – especially Didier Coeurnelle.

(Update 6pm Brussels time 1st October – the draft text has evolved. The latest version is below.)

declaration-v3

The Brussels Declaration for Radical Healthspan Extension

The defeat of aging lies within our collective grasp. It’s time to seize this remarkable opportunity.

This 1st of October 2016, during International Longevity Day, the Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing (EHA) meeting in Brussels proclaims the possibility and the imperative of a moonshot project to overcome all age-related diseases within 25 years by tackling aging as their root cause.

The result will be a world:

  • Where healthcare is far less expensive
  • Where human well-being can be radically extended
  • Where people place greater value on the environment and on peace, in view of their expectation of much longer lives
  • Where the right to life is more precious than ever, because life is longer.

Key steps in this initiative will include:

  • A paradigm shift stressing the need for research on aging itself, rather than only on individual diseases of old age
  • The removal of regulatory and other barriers which prevent or disincentivize companies from developing treatments for aging itself
  • An accelerated program to test anti-aging interventions on a much larger scale than anything that exists at the moment, leading to multiple human clinical trials of genuine rejuvenation biotechnologies by 2021.

These programs will require a coordinated effort at national and international level, integrating diverse existing and novel research approaches. They need to be financed by both public and private organizations, and create inclusive, affordable solutions available on equal terms to everybody.

26 June 2016

#BRITE – a new start for Britain in Europe

Filed under: politics, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — David Wood @ 11:12 am

The people have spoken. The status quo is unacceptable. The United Kingdom cannot continue unchanged, muddling through, somehow hanging on to the politics of the past, with minimal changes in its relationship with Europe and the wider world. That option is a non-starter. It would violate the clear result of the national referendum of 23rd June. The people have called for a bold new start.

Nevertheless, as I write these words, nearly three million people have signed the online petition that, in effect, calls for a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU.

Referendum picture

That figure of nearly three million signatories (which keeps rising higher every time I look at the website) dwarfs the number of signatories of all the other petitions (more than 10,000 in total) on the UK government website. The second most popular petition received 823,000 signatures.

List of petitions

In short, although the people have spoken – by a majority of 52% to 48% – huge swathes of the British population are deeply dissatisfied by the outcome. To be clear, I count myself among them. The dissatisfaction includes:

  • Wide recognition that the claims of the Leave campaign were full of exaggerations and (to use an unparliamentary word) lies
  • Observation that leaders of the Leave campaign are already vigorously, shamefully, evasively, back-pedalling on the promises they made before the vote – promises such as ring-fencing additional funding for the NHS and on dramatically reducing immigration
  • Realisation that the vote is likely to trigger Scottish independence – the breakup of the United Kingdom.

Even lots of people who voted Leave are now experiencing voter’s regret. For example, see the compilation in the Evening Standard, “‘I really regret my vote now’: The Brexit voters who wish they’d backed remain”.

This dissatisfaction is eloquently, passionately expressed in a remarkable piece of writing by Laurie Penny in the New Statesman, “I want my country back”. If you haven’t read it, you should stop and view it now. I’ll be waiting here when you return.

Also worth pondering is this fine note “The three tragedies” from the Financial Times comments section.

In this context, and with the benefit of some sleep to clear my mind, I offer a proposal. This is not yet a manifesto, but it’s the draft of a potential manifesto.

Tentatively, I label this proposal BRITE – for BRitain In a Transformed Eu. Here goes. There are three parts to it.

1. A different form of second referendum

In the wake of the first referendum, negotiations must proceed on how Britain could leave the EU. These negotiations will flesh out lots of details that have so far been very vague – details where different members of the Leave campaign expressed starkly different opinions. Once the deal is reached, it will make clear features such as:

  • Our new relationship (if any) with the European Economic Area
  • The resulting requirements for payments and for open migration of workers
  • New trading agreements with countries elsewhere in the world
  • What will replace all the EU laws and regulations that currently are taken for granted as parts of British law
  • Impacts on Britain’s financial well-being, house prices, pension funds, etc – impacts on both the rich and the poor throughout the country
  • The likely future of the UK farming industry, fishing industry, the City of London, and so on.

In parallel, it will become clear how the United Kingdom itself would change:

  • Whether Northern Island would leave the United Kingdom and join a United Ireland
  • Whether Scotland would leave the United Kingdom
  • Borders that would need to be put in place.

But before that deal is actioned, with all its momentous consequences, the UK people should be asked whether they agree with it – or whether, instead, they prefer the UK to remain in what might be a seriously transformed EU.

That would be the second referendum.

2. A transformed EU

As I said, the people have spoken. The current status of the EU is unacceptable.

Quite likely, if there were referendums in other European countries, people in several other countries would, at this time, likewise reject ongoing EU membership. So wide is the distrust of existing government systems.

To my mind, the clearest analysis of the drawbacks of the way the EU is functioning is by former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. See for example his analysis of the potential impending disintegration of the EU. Over the last few weeks, I’ve listened to the entirety of his recent new book “And the weak suffer what they must”. It was gripping listening. The book is full of important back stories to the current EU situation.

Varoufakis has raised a roadmap of proposals for reforming the EU from a democratic perspective. The initial steps are small but significant. Here’s an EU petition for “Transparency in Europe now!”

As Citizens of the European Union we demand, effective immediately,

  • the live-streaming of the entire European Council, Eurogroup, ESM Board of Governors and Ecofin meetings, and the subsequent publication of official transcripts for all such meetings
  • a full set of minutes for each ECB Governing Council meeting to be published three weeks after the conclusion of each regular meeting, and complete transcripts of these meetings to be published within two years
  • an exhaustive list of all Brussels lobbyists and a register of every one of their meetings with elected or unelected EU officials
  • electronic publication of all TTIP negotiating documents and full transparency at every stage of the TTIP negotiations.

So here’s my proposal. In parallel with the Leave negotiations, supporters of EU reform should be doubling down, hard and skillfully, to accelerate groundswell support for democratic transformation of the EU.

Some skeptics say such a transformation can never take place. I believe they’re unduly skeptical. They are under-rating the reforms that have already taken place, over the history of the EU, and they are under-rating the potential for future change.

But we will see. The UK electorate would have the chance to decide, in, say, 18-24 months’ time, which of two parallel processes have heralded the best future for the UK:

  • Brexit – Britain exiting the EU – under the more detailed proposals that have been hammered out by that time (see point 1. above)
  • Brite – Britain in a transformed EU – under any progress that has taken place with EU reforms by that time.

3. An inclusive Britain

The third part of what needs to happen is, perhaps, the most important of all. It is to comprehensively address the growing sense of alienation that is widespread in many parts of Britain – parts that are disadvantaged from an economic or inclusive point of view. With justification, these parts feel that Westminster politicians pay them scant attention.

As a futurist, I have been writing for several years (e.g. here) about the growing inequality arising from rapid technological progress. We’re living in an increasing “winner takes all” environment. Some people do very well. Many others are in jobs with slow-growing salaries, with little prospect for improvement. In some parts of the world, life expectancy is actually declining among whole strata of people, due to growing despair as much as to anything else. (Despair leads to alcoholism and drug addiction.) See for example the article “Middle-Aged Americans are Dying of Despair”:

Even as longevity increases across the rich world, uneducated white Americans are living sicker and dying earlier…

This despair is driving populist, ugly, dangerous politics all around the world. It’s a fast-growing trend. Unless politicians address it, quickly and wisely, all bets are all for the future.

This may well require a new coalition in the UK, of progressive politicians who understand the threat, and who are willing to take the courageous, imaginative steps to address it.

change-948024_1920

16 August 2009

A quick WordPress question

Filed under: Uncategorized, WordPress — David Wood @ 8:39 pm

The comment box that is presented at the end of postings in this blog is only 36 characters wide.

That doesn’t make for easy entry of meaty comments.  I’d like to make the box wider.

I’ve had a quick look at the WordPress settings, but I don’t see anything that controls this.  Am I missing something?

I’ll be grateful for any suggestions from people who have travelled further than me down the road of learning about WordPress.

By the way, my selection process for the theme to use for this blog – “Silver is the New Black” – was conducted fairly quickly.  I liked its “flexible width” attribute, and my initial experiments with it were encouraging.  But I’m by no means wedded to it, and I’ll happily switch to another one that turns out to be more user-friendly.

PS Since I’m far from being an expert in CSS, I’d prefer (for the moment) to fix this issue without needing to overwrite the CSS from the theme designer.

14 August 2009

Deadly serious changes

Filed under: cryonics, death, medicine, Uncategorized — David Wood @ 12:26 am

Who could fail to be moved by the story that emerged in Asuncion, Paraguay last weekend, of the baby boy Angel Salvador born 16 week premature?  Doctors declared the boy to be dead shortly after birth.  But four hours later, when family member Liliana Alvarenga removed the baby’s body from a cardboard box to dress it ahead of burial, the baby started crying.  The baby was not dead after all.

The baby’s grandfather, Guarani Caceres, was certainly moved.  He said of the doctors at the hospital, “they are criminals”.

Knowing when someone is “dead beyond all chance of recovery” can be a tough problem. History contains many horrific accounts of premature burials.  A short list includes:

  • The grammarian and metaphysician, Johannes Duns Scotus died in Cologne in 1308.  When the vault his corpse resided in was opened later he was found lying outside the coffin.
  • Thomas A Kempis died in 1471 and was denied canonization because splinters were found embedded under his nails. Anyone aspiring to be a saint would not fight death if he found himself buried alive!
  • Ann Green was hanged by the neck until dead – or so they thought – in 1650 at Oxford  She was found to be alive after being placed in a coffin for burial.  One kindly gentleman attempted to assist her back to the land of the dead by raising his foot and stamping her chest and stomach with such severe force that he only succeeded in completely reviving her.  She lived a long life and bore several children.
  • Virginia Macdonald was buried in a Brooklyn cemetery in 1850.  Her mother was so persistent that she had been buried alive that authorities finally relented and raised her coffin.  The lid was opened to find that her delicate hands had been badly bitten and she was lying on her side.
  • When the Les Innocents cemetery in Paris, France was moved from the center of the city to the suburbs the number of skeletons found face down convinced the lay people and several doctors that premature burial was very common.

(One source for many of these points is the book “Death: A History of Man’s Obsessions and Fears” by Robert Wilkins.)

Changes in technology are on the point of throwing a big new twist on this age-old problem. We have to bear in mind, not only the power of present-day medicine to revive someone from near-deadly diseases and traumas, but also the significantly greater power of future medicine.  The practice of cryonics is focused on preserving the body of someone who has many of the signs of death, in a state so that there is at least a chance that, at some time in the future, the body can be revived and cured of whatever disease or trauma was inflicting it.  Of course, it’s a controversial topic.

And there are at least two big legal and ethical issues that are bound to be discussed more and more often, in connection with cryonics.  These issues potentially apply to anyone who believes in cryonics and who makes provision for the preservation of their body at around the time of death.

The first issue is when medical professionals or other officials demand the right to autopsy the person following death. To quote from the website “Autopsy choice“:

Autopsy is a process of cutting open the body and removing all organs for examination. The organs are [later] placed together to the chest cavity and the wounds are sown up and the body made presentable for the funeral profession…

Advantages are that the medical profession has information for research and quality control, and the legal profession has information for research which it may be able to use in cases of crime or professional misconduct…

Nevertheless, some individuals because of religious or moral belief, would prefer not to be autopsied.

Indeed, anyone signed up for cryonics needs to give careful consideration to avoiding the risk of being autopsied in any way that significantly reduce the chances of subsequent revivification.  An autopsy that destroys the brain is particularly to be feared.  The Cryonics Insitute has a useful webpage “Avoiding Autopsy for Cryonics” on this topic.  Evidently, there’s a potential “clash of rights”:

  • The right of the state, to conduct an autopsy in order to advance knowledge beneficial to society as a whole;
  • The right of any individual, who is alive or potentially revivable, not to be treated in a way that destroys the potential for life.

Depending on the degree of credence that society is prepared to give to the possibility that future technology could revive someone who has recently died, this balance of rights is bound to change.

The second issue is if an individual wishes to start the body preservation process even before the medical profession is ready to declare them as dead. For example, someone whose brain is deteriorating under dementia may feel that their chances for eventual full mental recovery will be better if they are cryogenically vitrified sooner rather than later.

This seems close to the case of someone seeking the right to “assisted suicide“.  That’s already a hot potato!  But many of the same arguments apply for what we might term “early cryonic suspension”.

I’m expecting both these issues to receive increasing public debate.  My hope is that the debate avoids being hijacked by any claims that “death is natural and inevitable”.  If society is prepared to grant certain respect and concessions to people with a variety of religious beliefs, it should also be prepared to grant certain respect and concessions to people who sincerely believe that cyronics might be a pathway to life beyond death.

At some not-too-distant future date, if post-cryonic revival is successfully demonstrated in a laboratory, there may be many more people venting the same kind of anger expressed by Guarani Caceres, denouncing as “criminals” the people who interfered with access to cryonics procedures for their dead relatives.

Footnote: The story of baby Angel Salvador did not have a happy ending.  Shortly after his apparently miraculous recovery, he lost the fight to live.  Medical staff explained that he had now died as his vital organs were not strong enough to survive.  It’s not clear if the four hours the baby spent in the cardboard box (instead of a hospital incubator) contributed to these organ failures.

12 August 2009

No magic dry rice

Filed under: death, E71, Nokia, twitter, Uncategorized — David Wood @ 10:28 pm

Rice potHere’s a tale of my personal naivety.  Hopefully others can learn from my errors.

Last Thursday, at about 6pm, I bent forward.  When I’m not looking at it, my Nokia E71 smartphone usually resides in my shirt pocket.  But because I was bending forwards, it slid out, and started crashing towards the floor.

I was disconcerted, but not too much.  The same thing had happened several times before.  I had learned that the E71 has incredible engineering, and it usually survives falling onto the floor, without even a dent or scratch to show for the experience.  It’s a solid piece of work.

But this time was different.

I was in a toilet, and the E71 landed straight in the water closet.

Things were bad, but they could have been worse.

Thankfully, I had flushed the toilet a few minutes earlier, so the bowl was clean.  (Well, as clean as toilets get.)

Without any conscious thought that I can remember, my hand shot into the water after the E71, and pulled it out.  Immediately.

I shook some water off the phone, and looked at the screen.  Everything seemed fine.  The phone was still switched on, the home screen was still live, and when I pressed up or down, the highlight moved up and down the display.  “What a great device”, I thought to myself.

There was still some water dripping off the device, so I thought I’d better dry it out.  I took off the back, removed the battery, and dabbed every visible area with paper towels.  A few seconds later, I put everything back together again, and pressed the On key.

In retrospect, that was my first big mistake.

The E71 seemed to boot up as normal.  The screen lit up, and the apps started.

Then I saw that there was no signal.  No problem, I thought, there’s poor signal strength in this hotel.  (I was in The Bingham, in Richmond upon Thames, for a work leadership team offsite meeting.  It’s a fine hotel, but we had been remarking all day that the cellular signal strength was poor in the rooms we were using.)

I rejoined my colleagues, and for a while forgot about my phone’s big escapade.  After all, there were plenty of other things to discuss.  (And I felt too embarrassed to mention that I had just thrust my hand into a water closet.)

That was probably my second mistake.

About 15 minutes later, I pulled out the phone again, curious to see if the signal had returned.  This time I noticed some fading at the bottom of the screen.  The two pieces of text for the soft buttons were illegible.  Water vapour had clearly got in behind the screen.  Woops.  So I separated all the parts of the phone again.

When I finally got home, I tried drying everything again, putting everything back together, and switching on.  This time things looked much worse.  The phone still gave the little vibrate immediately after the On button was pushed, and the screen and keyboard lit up.  But nothing else happened.  After around 30 seconds, the screen and keyboard switched off again.

I tried a different battery, and I tried plugging in a mains lead.  The result remained the same.

Then I thought of something different to try.  Twitter.  At 1.22 in the morning I tweeted:

dw2 wonders how long it will take his Nokia E71 to start working again, after dropping it in a basin of (clean) water yesterday

Twitter produced results.  Lots of them.

The first was at 1.23 in the morning:

kevinmcintyre09 @dw2 Would suggest leaving it in the airing cupboard for a few days to dry out

The next came at 1.27:

croozeus @dw2 It took my Nokia N95 a week before it dried out completely! Still it doesn’t charge but works properly…

Then at 1.28:

jomtwi Heh 🙂 RT @OscarB: Everytime I write “Symbian Foundation” I think of @dw2 as Hari Seldon

Then at 1.42:

dan_mcneil @dw2 http://bit.ly/83A1 may have some clues…

Then at 1.54:

jebbrilliant @dw2 Have you tried putting the E71 in a bag of DRY white rice?

And so the stream of tweets continued…

[I confess: one of the above tweets is irrelevant to this particular tale – but it’s so funny I left it in.]

Whoever said “the Internet never sleeps” has a point.  However, I was tired.  I put the E71 in the airing cupboard and retired to bed.

The next morning, I started reading some of the links, and a dawning realisation set in.

The above bit.ly link resolves to “How to Save a Wet Cell Phone” which contains the elementary advice (which I had failed to consider):

  1. Get it out of the water as soon as possible. The plastic covers on cell phones are fairly tight, but water can enter the phone in a short period of time, perhaps only 20 seconds or less. So grab your phone quickly! If you can’t get to it in time, your best bet is to remove the battery while it is still under water. Water helps dissipate heat from shorts that can damage the phone, so most damage occurs when the inside of the phone is merely wet and there is a power source. This can go both ways. Being under water is more likely to short the battery to even more sensitive contacts, so be careful.
  2. Don’t panic. Your phone will probably not be too damaged if you right away take it out of the water. While it’s in the water, immediately take it out.
  3. Remove the battery. This is one of the most important steps. Don’t take time to think about it; electricity and water do not mix. Cutting power to your phone is a crucial first step in saving it. Many circuits inside the phone will survive immersion in water provided they are not attached to a power source when wet.

To repeat: “most damage occurs when the inside of the phone is merely wet and there is a power source … electricity and water do not mix … Cutting power to your phone is a crucial first step in saving it”.

There’s not much more to say, except that I left the E71 in the airing cupboard for several days, with no luck, then I put it in a bowl of dry white rice for several more days, with no luck either.  There are certain kinds of damage that no amount of embalming will fix.

To be philosophical, there are points I could make about the need for prompt and skillful action following an accident to ensure good chances of survival, but I’ll save that for my next blog post.

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