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FranFin comments on Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011) - Less Wrong

42 Post author: orthonormal 12 August 2010 01:08AM

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Comment author: FranFin 22 August 2010 08:02:11PM 10 points [-]

I accidentally posted the following comment earlier today in the May 2009 Introduction page. Hal suggested I re-post it here, where it belongs:

Those of you who were at the 2010 SIngularity Summit in San Francisco last weekend might have seen me. I was hovering around "the guy in the motorized wheelchair." I am Hal Finney's spouse and life partner. Although I am new to Less Wrong, and very ignorant when it come to HTML and computers, I have been a Rationalist ever since I was a child, to the dismay of my mother, teachers, and legions of other people I interacted with. I met Hal while an undergraduate at Caltech. And as they say, the rest is history.

This past year, Hal and I have had to completely alter projections of our future together. Hal was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known in the US as "Lou Gehrigs Disease"). Since his diagnosis in August of 2009, Hal has physically changed in very obvious ways. His speech has become slow, quiet, and labored. His typing has gone from rapid-fire 120 WPM to a sluggish finger peck. His weekly running (50-60 miles per week in February 2009) stopped being possible in November of 2009, and now Hal gets around in a motorized wheelchair. Eating, always a pleasure before, is now a challenge - much concentration is involved to avoid choking. The most recent and worrisome manifestation of the weakening in Hal's voluntary muscles is his breathing. However - all of these changes have been to Hal's body. The machine that Hal's brain controls through efferent output to interact with the environment. Inside, he is the same brilliant guy I have known for well over half of my life.

I was very impressed with the people I met at the Singularity Summit. What a relief to be around creative individuals who think rather than just act. Who problem solve, rather than just react. Who can understand Hal's and my intention to keep his magnificent brain alive and give him a way to communicate, even if he loses all movement.

I am happy that a community of rational people exists. And I'm looking forward to interacting with this community, along with Hal, for many more years.