X-Message-Number: 15
From: Kevin Q. Brown
Subject: miscellaneous
Date: 1 Sep 1988

Here are some miscellaneous items of interest that I recently encountered.
                                       - Kevin Q. Brown

The August 1988 issue of The Immortalist mentioned yet another potential method
for preservation.   Berkeley researchers headed by George Poinar studied, under
an electron microscope, a 40 million year old fungus gnat preserved in amber.
They were able to still identify the cell's ribosomes, mitochondria, etc.
Although it is not clear how "amberstasis" could be useful for preserving a
human's memory, these "Extinct DNA Study Group" researchers suggest that if
some dinosaur blood were found in a tick stored in amber, they may someday be
able to clone that dinosaur from the DNA in the blood.

New Jersey State Medical Examiner Act
In a previous posting I mentioned that a Venturist may claim a religious
objection to being autopsied (rather than cryonically suspended).  I checked
the relevant section of New Jersey law and verified that, although it is
certainly not foolproof, this religious objection may be useful:

  NJSA 52:17B-88.2
  Dissection or autopsy: contrary to decedents' religious beliefs

  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no dissection
  or autopsy shall be performed, in the absence of a compelling public
  necessity, over the objection of a member of the deceased's immediate
  family or in the absence thereof, a friend of the deceased that the
  procedure is contrary to the religious belief of the decedent or if there
  is an obvious reason to believe that a dissection or autopsy is contrary
  to the decedent's religious beliefs.

Something like this is probably true for most, if not all, states.  (State laws
do not mess around with people's religious beliefs.)

Power Sources for Cell Repair Nanotechnology
The sci.nanotech newsgroup had several messages concerning power sources
for nanomachines.  Because of that, I noted with interest the section of the
article "Cell Repair Technology" by Brian Wowk (Cryonics, July 1988) concerning
methods of powering cell repair machines.  Of course, he suggested utilizing
glucose/oxygen and ATP where possible.  But not all tissues can easily provide
that for powering the cell repair machines.

  "Repair of non-functional tissue presents a problem.  Tissues with blocked
  circulation or failed metabolism could not naturally supply energy to fuel
  repair processes.  One possible solution would be an active transport system,
  similar to axoplasmic transport in nerve cells.  Fibrils originating at
  distant sites could penetrate inactive tissues and cytoplasm to power repair
  devices by moving nutrients in a conveyor system through hollow interiors.
  Raw materials for repairs and fibril growth could be similarly supplied.

  In fact, a network of trophic fibrils raises the possibility of powering
  cell repair devices by an entirely non-biological means: electricity.

  Part of the fibril structure could incorporate an insulated organic conductor,
    such as doped polyacetylene (which could serve communications needs as well).
  Electrochemical processes within the repair device could then continuously
  recycle a chemical energy currency, such as ATP, which would directly
  energize enzymatic repair functions.  Alternatively, nano-scale electrostatic
  actuators or enzymes with electric field-sensitive conformational states
  might be able to make direct use of electric power for performing repair

Wowk's article also cited "Biological and Nanomechanical Systems: Contrasts in
Evolutionary Capacity" by K. Eric Drexler, in "Artificial Life", edited by
Christopher Langton, Addison-Wesley, 1988.  If any of you have read it, I would
like to hear your comments on it.

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