X-Message-Number: 285
Subject: Meeting Minutes
Date: Sun,  3 Mar 91 11:37:36 PST
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X-Origin: The Portal System (TM)

                       ALCOR BOSTON MINUTES
               Sunday February 24th 3:00 - 8:00 PM

5 Attendees.

12 Additional people on mailing list.

Meeting Dates
Our next meetings will be on April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, and
Aug 11 at 3:00 PM.  Location of the meetings will be at the home of
Eric Klien, 1 Sinai Circle B10, Chelmsford, MA 01824 until further
notice.  (508) 663-5480 Work, (508) 250-0820 Home,

To get to my house take 128 to 3 north, then take the route 110 exit
towards Chelmsford (making a right off the exit), then travel 1.5
miles and turn left in front of the CVS onto Wilson street.  After
entering Wilson street, make a right into my apartment complex.  If
you miss Wilson street and find yourself in the big 129 and 110
intersection, make a left onto 129 and then a left onto Wilson street
and then a left into my apartment complex.

Please bring folding chairs.  We were almost forced to sit on the
floor at our last meeting.

All our meetings since June have been at the home of Peter Hurst.
When we tried to meet at his house two weeks ago he wasn't home.
Later calls to his home number showed that "it was under repairs".
Peter had been having financial problems and had not even begun his
paper work.  To make a long story short, he has been dropped from our
mailing list and his home will not be the site of any future
meetings.  We decided to try again at my home two weeks later.

Member Recruitment
This meeting showed some potential.  Despite the fact that 5 people
who I had noted as probables for this meeting didn't show up, we
still had 5 people show up.  (Our record attendance at a meeting so
far has been 6.)  Note that 3 of these probables had tried to attend
the meeting two weeks ago, so I wasn't just being hopeful.  In fact,
one of these probables called me on Tuesday to say he had simply
forgot about the meeting.  Of the 5 that attended this meeting, 2 had
only attended one meeting before while 1 was brand new.  I liked this
amount of fresh faces.

Our mailing list has grown by 4 people despite the fact that I
removed 4 people from the list.  The main reason that I removed these
people was that the list was starting to get out of hand, so inactive
members were removed.  Of course, I notified 5 people that they were
in danger of being removed before I used the axe and 2 of them
actually showed up at today's meeting.  Every year or so, I will send
out notices to the removed people to see if their interest in
cryonics has been rekindled.

Here is what was done in the past month:  1) I spent $40.00 on a full
page ad in the local Libertarian newsletter.  I think I got one
person added to my mailing list from this.  2) I believe Walter had a
seminar at an objectivist meeting where he passed out some flyers.
Walter also had the flyers mass mailed to the complete objectivist
mailing list.  I believe I got two or three people from these
efforts.  Perhaps Walter could check my current mailing list and tell
me how many names he recognizes.  3) I asked the Hemlock Society if
they would mention our group.  They would only sell their mailing
list in minimum lots of 5000 names at a minimum charge of $350.  This
sum and this amount of names is too much for our little group to
handle and so this idea will be terminated.  They only had about 1000
local names anyway, so it would have been a bad price per name.

Here is what will be done in the next month:  1) Bruce Mackenzie gave
me the address of the editor of the NSS Boston Newsletter, a space
society group.  They will advertise our meetings for free.  2) I will
post these minutes on the Usenet cryonics mailing list.

Note that nearly 100% of our members are MIT Nanotech group members.
While it is nice to think that our people are from such a prestigious
university, a little diversity would be nice.

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...

New People
Bruce Mackenzie was our new person at today's meeting.  He was one of
the original founders of the MIT Nanotechnology Study Group and knows
Eric Drexler personally.  More importantly, he mentioned a free place
to advertise our meetings which will help us a lot in membership growth.

The following amounts were contributed to cover Alcor Boston mailing
costs:  Dave Linberg - 3, Dave Greenstein - 2, Bruce Mackenzie - 3,
Stephen McCusker - 5.  I will match the $13.00 with a $13.00
contribution to Alcor's Endowment Fund.  That should bring the fund
up to at least $400,013.  I will match all future postage donations.
This is the first money our group has raised which is another
positive sign.

SETI Research
The question of intelligent life outside of our solar system was
discussed.  While some SETI funding was considered useful, the fact
that we don't see large artificial structures in space seems to show
that there is no intelligent life in the visible universe.  Note that
if a civilization started up a billion years ago in a part of the
universe that is two billion light-years away from us, that
civilization would not be part of our visible universe.  Most people
in our group figure that stars waste a lot of energy and would either
be dismantled or surrounded in Dyson spheres by intelligent

CSICOP 15th Anniversary Conference
The May 3-5th conference in Berkeley/Oakland Hills California was
mentioned.  Someone who attended the first conference noted that
witches and other people who had claims of paranormal powers showed
up because CSICOP stands for Committee for the Scientific
Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.  They didn't realize that
CSICOP had debunked every claim so far.

SDC 10th Annual International Conference
The May 22-27th conference in San Antonio, Texas was mentioned.  This
International Space Development conference will include things such
as a nanotechnology workshop, future technology and missions, law and
politics, off-planet colonies, business and economics, and media and

MIT Nanotechnology Study Group
On March 5, at MIT NE43-773 at 7:30 pm the following will be

Professor Rebek, and origin-of-life researcher, became famous this
summer for designing the first artificial system of self-replicating
molecules.  He is currently extending this work, concentrating on the
problem of carrying information in the self-replicating system.

The talk will review past work, current research, and prospects for
the future.  Following the talk there will be an extended question
and answer session.  Come hear about this exciting breakthrough!

There is a good chance that I will attend this meeting.

Skeptical Inquirers of New England
The next dinner/discussion of the Skeptical Inquirers of New England
will be held on March 20, 1991 at 7:00 PM at:  China Pearl
Restaurant, 9 Tyler Street, Chinatown, Boston, MA 02111.  The speaker
will be Mr. Gene Emery of the Providence Journal and his subject will
be "Investigating Psychic Sleuths".  Mr. Emery has a wealth of first
hand information about the claims and deeds of Psychic Sleuths at
large in the New England area.

Recent Suspension
The 17th Alcor patient was taken on Dec 31st.  This was a New Zealand
woman who had moved near Alcor when she became ill.  She had been in
and out of a Norwalk hospital in the weeks before being frozen.

First Suspension
James H. Bedford, the first man to be suspended, will soon be
transferred from his one person dewar to the four person "bigfoot"
dewar that Alcor is now starting to use.  (Actually the dewars are
able to hold four whole body and six neuropatients.)  When Alcor
transfers him they will be able to do the first visual inspection of
him in a long time.  Note that no tissue samples will be taken.  This
inspection will enable them to make sure that he has spent all of his
last 24 years at liquid nitrogen temperatures.  We discussed how
Alcor would be able to tell if he had temporarily been thawed during
that time, and I pointed out that if for instance he had been thawed
out for a month, it would be very obvious.  Our group was unsure if
there would be obvious changes if he had been thawed out for only a
day or so.  By the way, James is now 97 chronological years old.

The books the "Worthing Saga" by Orson Scott Card, "Heads" by Greg
Bear, and "The Ghost of the Grand Banks" by Arthur C. Clarke mention
cryonics.  Arthur's books mentions Alcor and Ralph Merkle by name.

Two movies with cryonics themes are "The Rest of Daniel" with Mel
Gibson, and "Late For Dinner", which is due to be released very soon.

Alcor Legal Issues
It was mentioned that although Alcor has won its first cryonics
legality case against the California Health Dept, the Health Dept has
appealed the matter.  For the past three years, the Health Dept has
refused to give death certificates to Alcor members because there was
no box on the certificates for cryonic suspension.  (Alcor had been
using the scientific research box in the past.)  In theory, this
could cause Alcor a lot of problems because without a death
certificate, a person is not legally dead and might not get his life
insurance policy benefits.  Luckily, insurance companies have ignored
this problem and Alcor expects to eventually win its case against the
California Health Dept.

Massachussetts Legal Issues
Medical Surrogates recently became legal in Massachussetts.  All
Alcor members have one main medical surrogate and two back up

Right-To-Die Initiative
The Initiative 119 in the state of Washington will allow terminal
patients to get doctor's assistance with suicide.  A patient deemed
mentally competent would need only to obtain two doctors' opinions
that he will die within the next six months in order to secure help
to hasten the process -- possibly in the form of a lethal dose of
barbituates.  The supporters of this initiative needed 150,001
signatures and got 223,000.  If the legislature dodges a decision,
the state's voters will have to go to a special election in November.
Polls show that 60% of Washington's residents support the initiative.

Hospitals Must Accept Living Wills
In Congress, the Patient Self-Determination Act quietly became
federal law.  The law, which does not become effective until December
1991, will require that health care providers develop written
policies and procedures relating to the withdrawal or withholding of
life-sustaining treatement, or lose Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

The Act requires hospitals, HMOs and other health care providers to
inform patients of their rights to refuse medical care and appoint an
agent to make health care decisions if they become unable to do so
and to inquire whether a patient has an advance directive (Living
Will or Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) and document the
patient's treatment wishes.

Insurers Need Not Pay for Lying Smokers
Smokers who lie about their habit on life insurance applications may
end up with no coverage at all.

That's the ruling of a federal appeals court in Philadelphia, which
is allowing New York Life Insurance Co. to avoid paying a claim in
such a case -- even though the policy holder died of a non smoking
related cause.

Without such a rule, the appeals court wrote, "the applicant has
everything to gain and nothing to lose by lying.  The victims will be
the honest applicants who tell the truth and whose premiums will rise
over the long run" because of other's misrepresentations.

We decided that such a ruling was a good idea.  Alcor members should
keep this in mind if they are considering lying about their smoking
habits or other medical history when they apply for insurance.

Marketing Schemes
We voted on whether a $25/month charge while signing up was a better
idea than a fixed $300 amount.  We also voted on whether giving
people money for referring people to Alcor was a good idea.  (The
money being in the form of suspension discounts.)  Both ideas were
voted down as they made Alcor look like some unethical organization
that cons people out of their money.  We did think it would be O.K.
to give free trips to cryonic seminars to people who referred people
to Alcor.  Medals or other symbolic awards were also considered O.K.
Note that a vote at an earlier meeting did approve the $25/month
charge idea, I think adding the money for referring people idea
exposed a trend that made people reject all unusual cryonic financing
schemes.  It was determined that keeping things simple with a flat
fee and a flat charge was best.  (With the exception of the extra
charge for quick freezing of non Alcor members.)  Spreading out the
flat fee for people with financial problems was considered O.K.

Big Hopes for Tiny Machines
We discussed this article from the January 6, 1991 Los Angeles Times.
It mentioned that the Ministry of International Trade and Industry in
Japan plans to plow $200 million into a 10-year project to build
first-generation prototypes of bug-size machines.  MITI's prototypes
will probably be far clumsier than mosquitoes, more like tiny tools
than sophisticated robots.  Under consideration for development is a
catheter tipped with optical sensors and microprocessors to guide it
through the human digestive tract.  Also possible are drills to cut
away plaque in plugged arteries.

Japan's cooperative effort is causing concern among U.S. scientists
who fear that yet another technology pioneered in the United States
is about to be overtaken by Japanese industry.  The United States
still has the lead, but researchers estimate that U.S. spending in
micromachines is not much more than $5 million a year, with most of
the money coming from the National Science Foundation.

The article mentioned that beginning in 1988, a research group using
photolithography and other techniques developed for semiconductor
manufacturing as part of a process called "micromachining" etched
into silicon the gears of a primitive motor 0.0001 of an inch in

The fortunate coincidence of the motor's being made from silicon
means that dozens of them could be carved out of a single silicon
chip and combined with semiconductor circuits and sensors.

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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