Mar 22 • 1HR 43M

The Word Kupu #20 - Thomas Edward (Ted) Howard QSM: The sagacity of genius (Part I)

Enter the weird and wonderful world of one New Zealand's most distinguished thinkers. Meet Ted, a kiwi conservationist who wants to help positively shape humanity's narrative, one hitchhiker at a time

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The prime minister photo bombing Ted’s selfie

It’s not often you get to hold a conversation with a bonafide member of Mensa who holds an IQ above 160 - yet it is important that if you do find yourself in this situation, that you listen attentively and have a google browser open at all times. Ted Howard is an amazing individual and I was lucky that he agreed to hold space for me to talk about his life, ideas about life extension and the underlying human cultural and political structures that need to be attained before our species can move on to the next phase of its evolution; namely the extension of the human life span. Which is coming, according to Ted in the next 10-15 years.

Ted and Ailsa banding a banded dotterel

Ted was diagnosed with ‘incurable’ melanoma over a decade ago, the health professionals gave him weeks to live. Instead of “getting his affairs in order” as the oncologist had suggested, Ted spent the next weeks reading 10s of thousands of articles and abstracts regarding cancer and life extension. He made many changes in his life, for one he became a raw vegan for several months and started a high dose vitamin C regimen which he continues to this day. Recently, he celebrated the 10th anniversary of having his last tumour excised and has been working tirelessly with his wife Ailsa, protecting the local bird life in Kaikoura and surrounds in the South Island of New Zealand. Conservation work which resulted in both of them being presented with a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) this year, a momentous achievement to say the least.

Ted with very young shearwater chick

You may need to listen to this podcast a few times to wrap your head around some of the finer details of what Ted and I discuss. Everything from his conservation work, to his autism and how it has helped him see and understand the world with less filters than others, to Yamanaka factors, telomere shortening and what changes humanity needed to embrace in order to finally work coherently with a framework of surviving that transcends traditional spans of biological existence.

Ted talks candidly about how it all started, his humble beginnings coercing finance companies to help him buy his first outboard motor and hull, to start his first fishing business after his biochemistry degree. How he tried to understand Einsteinian mathematics but realised that he had to work his way back through the pyramid of mathematical treatise to gain full appreciation of what Albert was actually saying. Douglas Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach : An Eternal Golden Braid helped him here, as well as a barrage of other dissertations and books. 

Checking shearwater chicks at Te Rae O Atiu colony

This is an incredible conversation and I had to pick my jaw up off the floor several times as Ted discussed the intricacies of the origin of life, quantum mechanics, Wolfram’s cellular automata and much more. Instead of being a dry enigmatic academic, Ted is often humorous and had me laughing at more than one occasion. It is a must listen, I had to cut the interview short, but there will be another segment posted next week for those who want to continue listening to our discussion. Many of Ted’s more nuanced thoughts are captured on his blog, so go over and give him a read, he is not only a great orator but also a gifted and entertaining scribe.

Besties for life

A couple of months back, Ted shared my antivax article which spurred on a fantastic series of events for me and for this I am eternally grateful. 

This lead to this..

Ahem, humility reads thanks and praises Ted and William

Tune in next week for part II. 


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