X-Message-Number: 259
To: whscad1.att.com!kqb
Subject: Alcor Boston
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 90 06:54:10 PST
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X-Origin: The Portal System (TM)
X-Possible-Reply-Path: sun!portal!cup.portal.com!Eric_S_Klien

                       ALCOR BOSTON MINUTES
               Sunday December 9th 3:00 - 8:45 PM
Meeting Dates
Our next meetings will be on Feb 10, Mar 10, and April 14 at 3:00 PM.  
Location of the meetings will be at the home of Peter Hurst, 1850 
Commonwealth Ave, Brighton, MA 02135 until further notice.  We are 
skipping the January meeting date in order to spend some time 
advertising our group so the meetings get more people.
Member Recruitment
Our discussion group is not growing.  
Here is what was done in the past month:  1) I wrote to The Planetary 
Society, StarLog, the Foresight Institute, the Right to Die 
Foundation, Omni, and Longevity asking for Massachussetts mailing 
lists or for a mention in their magazine.  So far, the Foresight 
Institute has written back suggesting that I write to either 
Longevity magazine or Alcor.  (I just told them we were a cryonics 
discussion group.)  These letters were sent out only two weeks before 
this meeting, so I may be getting additional responses.  I will 
eventually write to the Hemlock society also.  2) Stephen McCusker 
passed out 18 flyers at a local space society group.  3) I posted 
these minutes and a copy of the latest flyer on the Usenet cryonics 
mailing list.  
Here is what will be done before the next meeting:  1) Walter Vannini 
is going to give my objectivist flyer to the head of an objectivist 
group who will then mass mail it to his 70 members.  Walter will also 
be speaking at that group in late January.  Walter will pay the 
objectivist group about $12.00 for the postage and xeroxing that the 
group will be doing for us.  2) Stephen McCusker is going to look 
into having a local space society group getting my space flyer mass 
mailed to them.  If we could get both mass mailings done before Feb 
10th, this could easily increase the size of our next meeting by 
100%.  3) I will post these minutes on the Usenet cryonics mailing 
If anyone reading this can promote our next meeting I would 
appreciate it.  I am especially looking for ways to do local mass 
mailings.  And of course, two of our subscribers publish their own 
zines and could mention the dates of my next meetings...  
Alcor Membership
Here we are growing.  
At our first meeting only one Alcor member showed up, now we have two 
Alcor members.  I predict that Stephen McCusker will become a member 
within six months, giving us three Alcor members.  Also, someone who 
attended our first meeting has not only joined Alcor but he has 
become an Alcor staff member.
Aging Research
We discussed two articles in the November issue of Science, 
"Gerontology Research Comes of Age" and "In Search of Methuselah: 
Estimating the Upper Limits to Human Longevity".
The second, more detailed article said that "Barring major advances 
in the development and use of life-extending technologies or the 
alteration of human aging at the molecular level, the period of rapid 
increases in life expectancy in developed nations has come to an 
end."  And later said "However, we strongly suspect that major 
advances in genetic engineering and life-extending technologies are 
forthcoming, and these will be followed by commensurate declines in 
mortality and extensions of longevity."  I found this quite 
optimistic compared to all the talk in the media recently about the 
85 year longevity barrier that we are about to hit.  
Freezing Research
We discussed the article in the December issue of Scientific American 
"Frozen and Alive".  Woolly bear caterpillars that spend 10 months of 
the year frozen solid at -50 degrees Celsius, Siberian salamanders 
that can survive being frozen solid at -35 degrees Celsius, Painted 
turtles that survive freezing and thawing repeatedly over the winter, 
and Gray Tree frogs surviving freezing at -8 degrees Celsius.  It was 
noted that animals try two methods of surviving:  1) Using ice-
nucleating proteins to start ice formation early so all crystals are 
small.  2) Supercooling by removing nucleators from the body fluids.  
It was pointed out that metabolism continues in the frozen frogs, who 
use their cryoprotectant (glucose) as fuel while they are frozen.  
Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition
Walter said this book was great.  I'll start looking for it.  It is 
about people working on things that are theoretically possible 
although quite unconventional.  Cryonics, private spacecraft, and 
tearing apart the sun are discussed in this book.  It was written by 
Ed Regis and published by Addison-Wesley.
I passed around the latest copy of this zine which covers a wide 
range of unusual ideas, from cryonics to the mental health industry.  
An article entitled "Memes, Meta-Memes, & Politics" by H.  Keith 
Henson was in this issue.  Keith treats "ideas" as viruses in this 
article.  He says "A meme survives in the world because people pass 
it on to other people, either vertically to the next generation, or 
horizontally to our fellows.  This process is analogous to the way 
willow genes cause willow trees to spread them, or perhaps closer to 
the way cold viruses make us sneeze and spread them."  He talks about 
the hula hoop meme and the Jim Jones meme among others.  
Also, the publisher of Singularity, Ron Evans, got married.  
Congratulations Ron!  Ron has indicated that he and his beautiful
wife may show up at our next meeting.
Ann Landers
On December 9th, Ann Landers published another letter advocating 
death so you don't have to give out lots of gifts.  It also 
criticized the research that allows middle aged women to have 
pregnancies.  I quote "The best break Mother Nature gives us is 
menopause and the freedom from pregnancy."  and  "When I read that, 
all I could think of was buying Christmas gifts for children, 
grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grand children, 
and great-great-great-grand children.  Have mercy."
I responded with the following:
Dear Ann Landers,
I completely disagree with the December 9th letter that claimed that 
being able to have healthy babies is a bad thing.  If people were 
able to have babies at a later age, then we wouldn't see women like 
Connie Chung panicking when their biological clock started to run 
out.  Of course, it would be better if the aging process itself was 
slowed down so that 50 year old mothers would not be too feeble to 
care for their children.  The researchers who think they have found a 
way to get people to their 170th birthday believe that they have 
found a way to actually slow down the aging process.  
While you have now published twice that it is good that people die at 
a young age of 75 years or .0000005% of the age of our universe so 
that they can avoid buying lots of Christmas gifts, I believe that 
commiting suicide by avoiding life extending techniques is not the 
solution to this gift problem.  Are you going to start suggesting 
that people eat high fat diets and stop exercising so they can die 
even quicker and therefore have to give out less gifts?  Perhaps you 
will tell them to avoid modern medicine entirely so they can go back 
to our "natural" life expectancy of 25 years?  
While some people may look forward to death, I enjoy life and 
consider no amount of healthy years too many.  As far as I am 
concerned, a cure for the disease of aging would be the biggest favor 
scientists could give me.  
                                             LIFE LOVER IN TAXACHUSSETTS
Signup Fee
75% of us were in favor of billing $25/month instead of the $300 sign 
up fee.  100% of us were in favor of billing $25/month instead of a 
$600 sign up fee.
Thomas Donaldson Case
If you wish to contribute to the Thomas Donaldson legal fight, send 
money to the Thomas Donaldson Legal Defense Fund (attention Arel 
Lucas), 1794 Cardel Way, San Jose, CA 95124.  Or call Arel Lucas at 
1-408-978-7616.  Thomas is fighting to be frozen before his brain 
becomes scientifically dead.  (Which would happen months before he 
became legally dead.)  Thomas has lost his first round in the courts 
and needs our help!  A recent fundraising effort raised more than 
$18,000 which was a big help.
A one hour tape from the Venturist group was shown.
Future events
I predict that Saddam will withdraw from all of Kuwait except for a 
few islands and one oil field on Jan 5th.  On Jan 13th he will do a 
complete withdrawal.  I wouldn't bet much money on these dates, but 
it will be interesting to see how close my prediction comes to the 
truth.  If we end up having a war, I predict it will be over within a 
If any e-mail people reading these minutes have questions that they 
would like answered in future meetings, send me the questions and 
they will be answered in the next minutes published.  
If Alcor would like to reprint this newsletter in full or in part in 
the next issue of Cryonics, they can feel free to do so.  (Without 
our names and addresses of course!)
If any of these minutes reflect mistaken information, let Eric Klien 

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