Volume 3 no 29. First published October 1991. ISSN applied for.
Which are the Higher Primates - Scientists or Baboons? Bob Brakeman
Some Meditations on Lyophilisation Douglas Skrecky
Letters Discussion re Bob Brakeman, Mandelbrot Set, Growth Hormone, Euthanasia and more
Ozzie and Harriett meet Dr Frankenstein Bob Brakeman
Periastron - A Broader Definition of Nanotechnology
Life Extension Remarks Yvan Bozzonetti
Which Are the Higher Primates: Scientists Or Baboons?
by Bob Brakeman
When anthropologist Shirley Strum challenged the conventional wisdom about how baboons behave, she knew in advance that she'd take some heat, but she expected a hot day at Malibu and got instead the temperature at the core of the sun.
For the first 2/3 of the twentieth century, this was the standard version of the behaviour of baboons, who are, if not the brothers/sisters of humans genetically, at least our first cousins:1
(A) Males controlled the group.
(B) Males were dominated by aggressive impulses.
(C) Analytical intelligence seemed to play little role in how baboons behaved; instead sheer impulse seemed to rule.
(D) Cooperation within the group was much less important than aggression and competition.
After Shirley Strum (who is a professor at the University of California at San Diego) spent 5 years studying baboons in the wild in Kenya, she announced that:
(A) Females controlled the group:
(B) Aggression by males was much less frequent than had been thought.
(C) Intelligence and analysis played a major role in baboon behaviour.
(D) Cooperation was more important than competition.
The hailstorm or firestorm of opposition that Strum's research provoked included every conceivable intellectual charge against her:
She was accused of faking her data.
She was accused of having misinterpreted those data she did not fake.
She was said to have misunderstood certain actions of the primates she was studying.
Those anthropologists who did not openly attack Strum militantly ignored her research, even though it was presented in all the right forums - anthropological conferences and in the scholarly journals. Strum's reaction to that reception showed good analysis:
"I was naive. I had imagined that one did research, gathered the information, and then analyzed, interpreted, and presented it to the scientific world. Then the work would be evaluated and incorporated, if accepted, into the basic knowledge of the field. But there are cliques in science as in every other facet of human endeavour. If you are part of the "in" group, even minor findings are discussed and integrated, eventually becoming part of the working knowledge of the field. If you are not part of the clique, you stand a good chance of being ignored".
Based upon Strum's own analysis and my analysis of her published
writings and those of her critics, these seem to have been the principal motives of those attacking her (the real motives, not the announced ones):
(A) She was somewhat of an outsider in baboon research - not part of the Ruling Oligarchy which dominated the field.
(B) Her research in effect attacked the paradigm which the ruling oligarchy had spent years building; to accept her work would have been to reject their own careers.
(C) There was money at stake: Money stolen from those who worked for it (This kind of money is apparently called "taxes") tends to go to those thought by the Federal Flunkies to be on the right track in their research; to the extent that Strum's paradigm replaced the old one, Heavy Coin would tend to stop flowing in the direction of the older anthropologists and start flowing the other way, toward people like Strum.2
It's important to realize that immortalist advances of the next few decades/centuries will face the same kind of intellectual battle that Shirley Strum's researches faced - important to realize that the scientific reaction to new advances is not always the rationalistic response we would like to see. Most of the charges made against Strum are likely to be repeated against life-extension researchers sooner or later; and the true motives for the attacks are likely to be similar to the motives of Strum's attackers. Taking the charges first:
(A) The first time a human is actually reanimated, it is a certainty that those in the scientific community who've spent a lifetime saying that could not be done will claim that somehow the event was faked.
(B) Just as Shirley Strum was accused of "misinterpreting" some of her data, so it is likely that gerontological advances which show that mammals similar to humans can have their aging processes stopped or reversed will be accused of misinterpreting their data or their test animals.
(C) And just as Strum was accused of not understanding some things she was seeing, so life-extensionists performing animal experiments will be accused of misunderstanding what they're seeing; when they stop the aging process of an animal at some future time, they'll be told that the animal was just an unusually healthy one who'd chosen that moment to get even healthier.
There are also Strum-analogies in connection with motives:
(A) Cryonics researchers are just as clearly an "out" group with respect to the Society for Cryobiology as Strum was with respect to the Anthropological establishment, and they can expect the same kind of reactive reception.
(B) In terms of the research itself, as opposed to the researchers: Research results showing larger and larger animals ( and eventually humans) being reanimated will be greeted violently by those cryobiologists who've spent their lives writing "scholarly"/bigoted articles "showing" that freezing damage is too irreversible" to allow that to happen.
(C) Those cryobiologists getting fat off federal grants to relatively unimportant projects are not going to react with equanimity when they see the prospect of those grants shifting over to cryonics researchers busy on the only cryobiological project that really matters---the reanimation of humans.
None of this of course should induce pessimism in us: the point of this analysis is simply to say that we should not be what Shirley Strum admits she was: Naive. The "scientific" response to new breakthroughs in the life-extension technologies is inevitably going to feature old and outdated scientists behaving in irrational ways. I'm tempted to say that it'll feature some scientists behaving in animal-like ways, behaving like baboons - but based on Shirley Strum's research, that's an insult to the baboons
1. My account of this case is based upon stories in The Los Angeles Times and The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, but the most accessible account is now Strum's own book, Almost Human (Random House.)
2. Years later, that did start to happen, as Strum's work gradually gained the kind of acceptance denied it in the first hurricane of irrational opposition.
How close are baboons to humans?
This close: The most intelligent animals are the mammals: the dolphins and porpoises in the ocean and the primates on land. The land primates are divided into four major groups: humans, apes, monkeys, and lemurs. (The apes in turn divide into 4 groups: gorillas, chimps, orangs, and gibbons). Baboons are a type of monkey, and thus are one of the most intelligent of the land animals, although not as intelligent and quasi-human as the apes: Chimps are 98% genetically identical to humans; gorillas a little less so, orangs somewhat less so, and so on. Because the monkeys (including baboons) are a little farther removed from us, they may be only 90%+ similar to us, but "only" is a silly word, because in just about every arena of life, something that is 90+% similar to something else is considered very similar: To return to the "cousin" analogy used in the body of this article: On a gigantic scale which would place all the tens of millions of species on Earth on a long/long continuum, chimps are so close to us that they can be thought of as our identical twins, gorillas/orangs as our fraternal twins, and the baboons and other monkeys are our first cousins (no times removed): In other words, don't write them into your will, but would a Christmas card be too much to ask?
Bob Brakeman, the author of more than 2000 articles on Immortalism and Public Affairs, resides in Malibu, California.
Some Meditations on Lyophilisation
by Douglas Skrecky
It was with great interest that I read Yvan Bozzonetti's recent article examining freeze drying as a possible affordable alternative to cryonics. I too have been thinking along similar lines for some time and I would like to share some of my thoughts on this topic.
The reason cryonics companies use liquid nitrogen is because of the requirement that devitrification be avoided. This process occurs whenever temperatures rise above about -86 degrees celsius since ice crystals can then begin to grow and mechanically destroy tissue structure. Even chemically preserved tissue would be destroyed by this process. Other problems that the low temperature of liquid nitrogen suspension addresses are preventing frozen tissue from suffering from other water and oxygen dependant deteriorative processes such as hydrolysis and oxidation. A key insight is that by eliminating both the water and oxygen from tissue you thereby eliminate the need for temperature reduction!
However cryonicists might still wish to argue against freeze drying on the grounds that it is too destructive of tissue structure for reanimation of preserved remains ever to be practical. Freeze dried food for instance tends to suffer from a "woody" texture which is due to ice crystal growth during the process of freeze drying. Such food also fails to hydrate completely when it is used due to the extensive denaturation of tissue proteins which occurs during the drying process. To make matters even worse such foods tend to deteriorate after a few years because freeze drying still leaves about 2% moisture. There also may be structural deterioration stemming from the fact that freeze dried food is porous due to the presence of voids left by the ice crystals.
However all of these technical problems can be solved. Common table sugar both inhibits ice crystal growth in frozen foods as well as prevents denaturation of proteins when they are dried. It is the presence of sugars that enables both seeds as well as certain animal organisms such as brine shrimp and nematodes to survive complete desiccation - a phenomena which is called anhydrobiosis. Most of the moisture remaining in freeze dried tissue can be removed by heating the tissue while it remains under a vacuum. The tissue is then stored in a oxygen and water proof container which is packed with ample quantities of a desiccant such as calcium oxide. The structural weakness associated with porosity can be reduced by treating the tissue with sugar as well as chemical fixatives such as formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde just before freezing. The voids could even be filled with a low temperature thermosetting polymer such as glycol methacrylate. However even after admitting that the technical problems can be overcome cryonicists can still point to the one great remaining weakness of freeze drying.
It is still expensive. The porous nature of the tissue which is desiccated by this method acts as a vapour barrier which makes treatment of large animals such as humans much more expensive than for small pets. Preliminary estimates for the price tag associated with freeze drying a human are around 20 thousand U.S. dollars. While cryonic companies may wish to expand their product lines with a freeze drying option at some point in the future this development will be of little benefit to the would be immortalist of modest means who has no wish to impoverish his/her widow/widower.
However a person even in this financial category still has some alternatives to extinction. If bodily tissues are treated with sugars as well as high dosages of chemical fixatives shortly after death the "patient" could be air dried to produce a high quality mummy at very little expense. An intermediate cost alternative would be to replace the chemical fixatives with calcium chelators and antioxidants to halt autolysis as well oxidation while the body is mummified under a vacuum at close to freezing temperatures. By perfusing with an antifreeze based solution such mummification could even be carried out at the same low temperatures traditionally used in freeze drying.
The least expensive storage medium is a stainless steel casket buried in a cemetery. Less expensive materials such as aluminum suffer from pitting and crevice corrosion from ground water which is either acidic, alkaline or containing dissolved metal ions. Stainless steel may still corrode if the ground water contains high levels of dissolved chlorides so even with this material one has to pick a cemetery located on high ground, well away from the sea shore. The most corrosion resistant grades of stainless steel contain at least 25% chromium and 3% molybdenum. If the budget allows a titanium casket might be considered which if buried in the arctic permafrost should keep a stored mummy safe for tens of thousands of years.
From Mr Mark Sankey
I hope that you are well and recovering from the departure of your partner; perhaps even rediscovering the delights of being a one man band!
Bob Brakeman's article in Longevity Report 25 stimulated me to read the book he quoted: After Many a Summer by Aldous Huxley. I cannot agree that Huxley writes in favour of life extension, as Mr Brakeman suggests. Certainly he is not anti-immortality, but there is nothing to suggest he does not think you have to die before you can attain it.
The "Ticket to Athens" section, quoted by Mr Brakeman, is immediately preceded by dialogue between the same character and a young life extension scientist. In this dialogue, the suggestion is raised that if life is extended beyond natural old age, the animal reverts to its evolutionary origins. In the case of humans, they become apes.
This is the central theme, around which the whole story revolves. The only character in the book who succeeds in prolonging his life starts to regress into the condition of an ape.
I should like to hear from Mr Brakeman if the evolutionary scenario described is actually likely. If it is, would that suggest that there is no point in going in for life extension - unless you want to become a monkey. Mr Brakeman would not doubt say that the problem does not exist of you opt for cryonics, but could one be sure of that? In any case, the hope offered by cryonics is more in the nature of a last ditch than a dead cert! Before reading Huxley's book I would have said that even the most dedicated cryonicist would do well to try to hand on to this life as long as possible, but now I don't know ...
I recall seeing this as a play on television years ago in black and white. I can see the old man now, kept in a dungeon beneath the house, ape-like and covered in hair. Like any drama, it makes points both ways around a central theme. I would certainly agree with Mr Sankey that the theme was that immortality is bad. If you meddle with nature you turn into gorillas or some such like.
I suggest that Mr Huxley may have had this idea as he noted how boys have no body hair and then get hairier as they turn into men. He merely extrapolated this further and turned old men into monkeys.
However this is just a plot in a story. There is no scientific basis for this idea, and life extensionists need not worry that they will turn into monkeys. I don't think even the most rabid of deathists have put this forward as an argument against extending healthy lifespan.
From Mr Mike Zehse
At last - a reconciliation: I tend to agree partly with Mr Haines! Bob Brakeman can be (sometimes) insufferably tedious. And he misquotes Robert Louis Stevenson's epitaph. It should be:
Home is the sailor, home from sea.
No second intercalculated "the". (I am not 100% positive on this: I will commit suicide if I am wrong!)
Are both verses inscribed on RLS's monument? I've a feeling it might be only the last famous three lines - but I'm not sure.
Actually I've no strong feelings on BB either way. Some of his observations are quite interesting.
Mr Brakeman's articles have to be OCR scanned and his typewriter is a hard test of the OCR software! I try to get them proof read, and more recent ones have been sent back to him for checking before publication, but nevertheless errors do creep in. It is a pity that he can't provide them on computer disk, because he says his drafts are checked many times by several different people before they are sent out. This industry is wasted if they are then re-typed into the newsletters to which they are sent.
Another from Mr Mike Zehse:
The distinguished British cryonicist Michael Price has told me that he'd written to Arthur C. Clarke some time ago via-à-vis cryonics and had gotten a lacklustre reply.
Dr Price inferred that the great SF author didn't understand and wasn't sympathetic to cryonic procedures.
However in Arthur C. Clarke's latest novel, The Ghost From the Grand Banks (Victor Gollancz, 1990, £12.95 ISBN 0-575-04906-5) he devotes a chapter (37) to "resurrection" in which a female protagonist vows to use cryonics to revive a "sleeping beauty" - ie a young girl who had been immured within the wreck of the Titanic and who had recently been raised from the depths. Ralph C. Merkle's "truly mind-boggling paper Molecular Repair of the Brain" is cited in the story and the October 1989 issue of Cryonics is mentioned in Sources and Acknowledgements together with Alcor's address. You might acquire this book as the Mandelbrot Set forms a significant motif.
In fact the would be cryonicist is first embroiled in a techno-scene and after her daughter's death goes mad staring into a computer screen all day, hoping to discover her daughter's face with fractal patterns.
As well as a "Mandelmemeo" afterward (Art recommends various videos and magazines) there's a reprint of his lecture The colours of Infinity : Exploring the Fractal Universe delivered to "the largest gathering of astronauts and cosmonauts ever assembled in one place" Riyadh, 1989.
Mr Zehse's letter concluded with a defence of Mr Brakeman against Mr Haines' letter concerning his articles. The wording of this defence had no relevance to the issues involved, was in execrable taste and was unsuitable for publication.
I had been told that the paperback version of Ghost From the Grand Banks was due to be published last December, and ordered a copy from Booklink. Despite a reminder, they have been unable to provide a copy by the time this issue went to press. This is a pity as I had been recommending them to people requesting copies of books which we do not stock. They claim to be able to get any book in print on behalf of clients. (PO Box 164, Virginia Water, Surrey, GU25 4RQ).
Hopefully maybe one day someone will make it into a film. Lew Grade's Raise the Titanic was slated by the critics, but I enjoyed it and the concept of recovering old wrecks I suppose has a hint of immortalism! In reality, the Titanic is broken in two pieces on the sea bed and is not thought by salvage experts to be recoverable.
From Mr E.P. Suter
There is a Swiss Society called EXIT which is legal (I have studied law with its president) and only the churches are contra. Members have a document certified by the local government which says that
1. In the case that members are hopelessly ill one has to give unlimited painkillers even if they will cause death.
2. All means to extend life have to be stopped.
3. At a collapse reanimation therapy has to be stopped.
4. In the case of senility only liquids without nutritional value have to be given.
These documents are in the hand of family members and their doctor. In cases of death to be absolutely sure two persons from EXIT come and give you pills and stay until you have died with musical accompaniment.
Your comment on "Health Now Freeze Later":
How do you know that cryonics patients will be revived fit and active people and will remain that way for all eternity?
Ginko Biloba Trees:
In one of Europe's most beautiful gardens The Villa Taranto at Pallanza on Lago Maggiore in Northern Italy there are three dozen of these trees. This marvellous estate belonged to Neil McEacharn, who left it to the Italian State as the Botanical Garden of the University of Rome. The garden is in steady communication with Kew Gardens and Tokyo Botanical Garden.
"Half the population who do not visit dentists have more teeth in old age than those who do":Longevity Report 28 p 17). I can give you one example. Our friend Bob Hunter, chartered accountant of a major food company, has never in his life cleaned his teeth nor seen a dentist but had all his teeth when he died a few years ago in Ireland. We were with him three days before he died.
The Fibiger-Institute in Copenhagen has found out that all kinds of cabbage were helping to hinder the development of active substances causing cancer in human bodies. This was known by Dr Bircher-Benner in Zürich (Müsli) whom I knew when I was 10 years old, ie 70 years ago!
Mr Suter also said that he felt Bob Brakeman's articles were too long winded, but he liked the poem Dirty Old Man.
From Mr Yvan Bozzonetti
A comment on...The Editorial Comment about my text: Cheap Growth Hormone.
Pearson and Shaw write about natural stimulation of GH production in the brain. This way was the only known at the book publication date. For them that was the best solution until biotechnology production becomes a reality. On the palatable side, I see no problem with freeze-dried insect powder, chick peas and citrus juice. I may be wrong, so I plan to try that solution next year. Now, I start to raise some insects for my personal use.
Further Editorial Comment:
I would advise readers to await further news of Mr Bozzonetti's experiments before trying this themselves. I have no idea what other chemicals may be present in the mixture he proposes!
Another From Mr Yvan Bozzonetti
I refer to the papers by Douglas Skrecky Premortem Biostasis and Death Insurance reprinted in Longevity Report 28. It looks very interesting and promising for large scale use of cryonic-like bioconservation. I can use a low pressure chamber for freeze-drying of not too large objects (50 cm).
I think people with the good ideas need to put them to work to turn them to good reality!
I thank Professor Ettinger for his comments about my modest text in Longevity Report 28. He says: "...nitrogen gas in the atmosphere is not noticeably corrosive (...) and the cool liquid should be less so." This is true on a per molecule basis. Nevertheless, if you assume a 90% activity reduction at low temperature, with a density 1000 times larger in the liquid phase, global chemical activity expands by a factor around 100. ( All of that is simply order of magnitude ).
- Ten years is a maximum for industrial cryogenic hardware. Even if cryonics systems are simpler and more long lived, ten years seem a good value if we look at Dr. J. Bedford case (Cryonics, July 1991). Here was two cryostats consumed in 25 years.
- On the brain recovery, I am a forced "uploader", because I see how to produce the technology and I can work to get it. (I am recruiting picture processing specialists for an astronomical project, with a perspective on NMR high definition systems).1
- On the cost side, freeze-drying is a "bury and forget technology". The object (or subject) is put in a low temperature bath, then dried in a low pressure chamber. There is no thermal insulation. Water sublimation (ice evaporation) maintains a low temperature. At the end, there is no more water and so, no "cold source". Storage is at ambient temperature in a mylar air tight bag filled with a neutral gas such as argon. The bag, in a metal coffin can be buried with no more technical or legal problems.
- For me, this is not "The Best" solution, only the simplest and cheapest. I plan to experiment it next year on small samples (50 cm maximum) : this is a limit put by the low pressure chamber I can use.
Do not count me as a cryonics foe, freeze dry solution or chemical mummification are last chance technologies. I think they need to be exploited by cryonics societies as a last insurance against any forced demise and thawing, for example if some day law forbids cryonics. On another side, low cost may be the best way to gain new buyers. Many of them may then turn to cryonics later if they want to invest more. Why not use that opportunity to start a first implementation of cryonics on the old continent? Alcor's troubles in U.K. demonstrate how hard it is to start from the top technology.
I hope we can some day go beyond paper works on such subjects.
About my telescope activity: we plan to sell these instruments in multi-property (do you mean "time share? -ed). One week each year will cost £1,800. Another use implies mobile units: they will be put on good sites, some months in each, all over the world. That may prove interesting for some of your readers... Next year.
Metal working starts only now, so this is a somewhat early time to speak about final results.
I see three links between astronomy and longevity: picture processing is a common technology (useful for NMR brain uploading), both exploit low pressure chambers (for mirror coating and freeze dry objects respectively), finally, astronomical sales may fund longevity works.
There may be another tenuous link indeed: As I start to define the travel programme for the first telescope, I need to find out complementary activities. One of them may be the study and sampling of unknown vegetable species (the estimates run in the 30000 for cental America alone). I think it is a good start to think about other living things - even simple plants - if we want to have someday someone ready to think about us (may be a venturist-like idea?).
The paragraph marked 1 needs a lot of expansion before it can be seen as a serious contender as means of reaching the future. One would need a logical basis for assuming that future technology could reassemble the brain program and data from the images obtained by scanning. The logical basis for assuming that future technology can revive cryonics people is on a far sounder basis than anything I have read about recovery from brain scannings.
From Mr Douglas Skrecky
After reading Prof. R.C.W. Ettinger's June 12,1991 letter in Longevity Report 28 I felt I had to add a few comments myself about freeze drying. I would like to stimulate further discussion/research on desiccation as a possible adjunct to cryonics by sharing some of the information I have accumulated from a preliminary search of the scientific literature.
My understanding of the lack of interest in the freeze drying option by those involved in the cryonics movement is the well substantiated fact that freeze drying, which is conducted at temperatures ranging from -30oC to -80oC is more damaging to tissues than conventional cryonic procedures which occur at much colder liquid nitrogen temperatures. This is not surprising as freeze drying entails substantial drying damage, in addition to increased freezing damage due to the relatively high temperatures involved. However upon investigating the matter further I found that not only could drying damage be greatly reduced but that freezing damage can be avoided altogether - by first perfusing tissue with a sucrose saturated antifreeze solution. (A 58% ethylene glycol solution for instance freezes at -48oC.) For an excellent review of the beneficial effects of sugar on dry biological systems I would like to refer you to pages 367-384 of Vol.947 1988 Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. If Professor Ettinger wishes to commence a literature search yourself for information I would be more than happy to be of assistance.
The cost of desiccation can be greatly reduced by further perfusing with an antifreeze solvent which is much more volatile than ethylene glycol, which boils at 197 C. One intriguing possibility for a second stage perfusion would be with liquid propane which freezes at -187oC and boils at -42oC. By using a volatile solvent such as propane complete desiccation under vacuum at dry ice temperatures (-80oC) might take just a few days. I have heard of U.S. estimates for freeze drying a corpse in the $20,000 range. Even allowing for a very generous profit margin I suspect that utilization of propane could reduce the cost of desiccation to under $5,000.
Readers may be interested to know that the recent contributions from Mr Skrecky and Mr Bozzonetti on the subject of lower cost alternatives to cryonics received an accolade in Fact Sheet Five no 44 page 34. Fact Sheet Five is a listings and comment journal for small publications throughout the world. It is available on subscription or exchange basis to small publishers with their own journal(s). A lot of the items listed appear to be political extremist or sex publications, but although these are the largest group, other publications are in the majority, and the life extension/cryonics movement is well represented. A sample issue costs $7 air or $4 surface or $3.50 to US addresses. Send to Mike Gunderloy, Fact Sheet Five, 6, Arizona Avenue, Rensselaer, NY12144-4502, U. S. A.
Personally I am exited by the quality of work that is appearing in Longevity Report and the possibility of getting some real dialogue going though its pages that will advance the cause of the immortalist movement.
It must not be forgotten that the primary aim is to make ageing and death optional. Cryonics is a valuable tool for this, but it is not an end in itself.
No cryonicist has it as his final ambition to be frozen. It is merely a step on the path to the goal of indefinite lifespan. If a solution to ageing can be found before cryonics becomes necessary, the cryonicists will be the first to welcome it. And also I am sure that if a convincing better alternative tool for conveying people beyond present medical care to future medical cure then cryonicists would take it.
From Dr John Walford:
Thanks for Longevity Report 28, with some interesting ideas.
I was delighted to find several contributions - implied if not direct - to the "Cryonics and the problem of time" debate. The word "time" is used on pages 3,5,11,12, while the themes of "better relation to time were considered on pages 1,4,7,9,12,13, and 15.
This problem is essence is one of understanding the relations of humanity with time's vast awesome great main stream of flow, isn't it?
I would like to endorse your suggestions (note 2 page 3) of an engineering solution whereby the perception of relation to time may be communicated; (note 1 page 12) that some solution may appear one day whereby cryonicists and others will agree that combinations of ideas may merge into a viable process; (note 4 page 15) that the complexity of time relation is misleading.
"Better than Man's Past Heroes" - and what was it that man's past heroes were doing anyway?
I am not convinced that Dr Walford has interpreted my own ideas in exactly the way I meant them, but nevertheless transmission and modification of ideas is what Longevity Report is all about. But I love the last paragraph!
Ozzie And Harriet
Meet Dr. Frankenstein
by Bob Brakeman
Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, along with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, created the television situation comedy.1 Whether that creation constitutes a blessing or a curse is too deep a cosmic question to deal with here, so instead let's deal with the one time Ozzie and Harriet created something of interest to immortalists.
The Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet finally went off the air in 1966, after a 14-year network television run which gave it a record it still holds: It's the longest running sitcom ever. The Nelsons by that time had more money than a corrupt politician who's also a counterfeiter and an investor in Clint Eastwood movies, so they only rarely appeared on television after 1966. Because they didn't need the cash or the work, they only came out of retirement when they could do a friend a favour. One of those friends was Glen Larson - who by the early 70s was a TV producer. The Nelsons had known him for years and they'd had two professional connections to him in his pre-producer days: Larson had been a member of the Pop/rock group The Four Preps, and they'd toured with Ozzie and Harriet's son Rick Nelson,2 like the Preps one of the first generation rockers. Also Larson and the Preps had appeared as themselves on several episodes of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, singing their hits (26 Miles, Big Man, Down by the Station, Got a Girl, etc.).
So when, in 1970, Glen Larson asked the Nelsons to appear in an episode of his NBC show Night Gallery, they readily agreed. Night Gallery was the creation of a television writer and host who was legendary-beyond-legendary. Rod Serling's greatest fame had come as the creator of the original Twilight Zone series in the late 1950s, but he'd also written serious dramas during TV's golden age of live television. When he and Larson created Night Gallery, they specialized in offbeat casting. Since the show was a programme of horror they liked to do things like casting America's friendliest couple, Ozzie & Harriet, in a tale of terror.3 And liking it, they did it.
Ozzie played a scientist and inventor who was interested ln creating physical immortality: Harriet played (of course) his wife, who was famous for her tardiness in particular, and for overall space-cadet-ness in general. Because Ozzie is positive that a reanimation potion he has produced will work, he has Harriet agree to be poisoned, fatally, so that he can bring her back to life and thereby prove that his reanimation system works. When it does not work and Harriet remains deader than dead, the cops of course become deeply interested in what has been going on, and equally interested in discussing with the scientist a first degree murder charge: Ozzie is so grief dominated that he cares nothing about his legal future; in fact he cares nothing about his future at all, and so he takes his own life, because he feels it is meaningless without his wife whom he has accidentally killed.
The conclusion of the drama features a scene which occurs just after the scientist has committed suicide:
His no-longer dead wife slowly walks upstairs and announces: "Here I am, dear, late as usual".
Night Gallery episodes are shown constantly on cable, and shortly they will be available on cassette, and the entertainment values are high enough that the shows are worth viewing, including and especially the Ozzie and Harriet episode. But for immortalists that episode has more than mere entertainment value. It's a prolife kind of show, for several reasons.
First, the scientist's reanimation theory works, and any program which features the successful reanimation of someone once labelled "dead" is a program that's socially useful.
Second, the scientist produces physical immortality, not the metaphysical kind; it isn't Harriet's spirit that shows up just a little too late to do Ozzie any good - it's her actual, physical self.
Third, the characters of both the scientist and his wife are portrayed in such an appealing way that it shines a light of approval on what they're up to - the search for physical immortality. People this appealing could obviously only be doing things we should all want to do.
While the creation of the sitcom may or may not have been a socially useful achievement (depending of course upon whether one is thinking about Cheers or the Flying Nun), there's no doubt that Ozzie & Harriet Nelson did something worth doing not long after Harriet got a phone call and announced to her husband: "Dear, it's Glen and he wants us to do a Night Gallery".
1. I Love Lucy went on the air in the fall of 1951 and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet a few months later in 1952. Together they defined what a sitcom was and how to produce one: The Nelson show far outlived I Love Lucy in its network run - 1966 Versus 1959.
2 Rick Nelson sold more records during the Original Rock Era than anyone but the Memphis Kid himself. His career began accidentally on his parents TV show: Because Elvis was so hot at the time (1956) Ricky did a little rock and roll on the show; the response was so massive that he was signed to Imperial Records in Hollywood and over the next seven years sold 71 million records, including number one-hits like Travelin' Man, Hello Mary Lou, and Poor Little Fool.
3 Another example of Night Gallery's casting against the grain has been discussed in detail by the present author in an article in The Immortalist. The Dead Man was the name of both the article and the episode it described. The show featured another scientist who successfully achieved physical immortality and reanimation, and it starred another sitcom veteran: Carl Betz, who throughout the late 50s and early 60s played the husband on The Donna Reed Show: ( A memo from the Coincidences Are Everywhere Department: The number one show and number two show on ABC in the late fifties were the Nelson show and Betz/Reed show; and the Reed Show produced two teenage Original Rockers who often toured with Ricky Nelson and/or Glen Larson's Four Preps: Paul Petersen, the son on the show, who had million sellers like My Dad and She Can't Find Her Keys and Conscience, and Shelley Fabares, the daughter, who had a five million selling number one hit in Johnny Angel in 1962).
What prompted me to watch the Ozzie and Harriet episode of Night Gallery in reruns (I had missed it in its first network run) was a letter to me from Harriet Nelson which happened to mention it: (She had been corresponding with me, a year or two after Ozzie's death in 1975, in connection with two published magazine articles of mine - one a tribute to Ozzie and one about life on the most famous "lover's lane" in the US, Mulholland Drive, which winds through the Hollywood Hills). *Copies of two non confidential letters to me from Harriet Nelson have been provided to the editor of Longevity Report. Readers who would like copies of two non confidential letters to me from Harriet Nelson are invited to write to me with SAE for copies of them. They will find, upon reading them, that (the cliche coming up is such a big one that in penance I may have to either commit suicide or become a government employee) she's just as nice in real life as she is on the screen.
*Copies of those two articles are available as reprints at no cost from the following address: Bob Brakeman Inc. 2444 Crooks Road Suite 49 Troy MI 48084 USA. Ask for Ozzie Nelson and Lenny Bruce and Adventures on Mulholland Drive: Also available is the article alluded to in footnote 3 above: The Dead Man.
EXTRA ADDED ATTRACTION! TODAY ONLY!
THE GREAT NELSON WALL CHART & GENEALOGICAL HISTORY!
A good way to find celebrities in the last ½ of the 20th century was to hang around Ozzie and Harriet: Ozzie himself was a prominent bandleader during the Big Band era; Harriet Hilliard was a leading girl singer of that era (that's how she met Ozzie) as well as a well known Hollywood starlet of the late 30s (her biggest film was the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers vehicle Follow the Fleet in 1936.) Then we have:
(3) Their son Rick was one of the Original Rockers.
(4) Their son Dave is a well-known producer director in Hollywood.
(5) Rick married Kris Harmon, currently a painter with several shows to her credit.
(6) Kris's sister is Kelly Harmon, who was once married to John DeLorean.
(7) John DeLorean was a whiz-kid auto exec and later a consistent target of the Federal Flunkies (always acquitted on all charges).
(8) The brother of Kris & Kelly Harmon is Mark Harmon, former UCLA quarterback, current actor, and the reluctant recipient of People's "Sexiest Man" award.
(9) The father of Kris, Kelly, and Mark is Tom Harmon, who's often voted the best college football player of the last half century.
10) The mother of Kris, Kelly, and Mark is Elyse Knox Harmon, who was a Hollywood starlet in the same era as Harriet Hilliard Nelson.
(11) Elyse Knox's father was Frank Knox, who was US Secretary of the Navy in the 40s.
(12) Ozzie's secretary, Connie Harper, who later married his brother and co-writer Don Nelson, was the granddaughter of one of the best known writers of the early 1900s, Hamlin Garland (A Son Of The Middle Border, etc.)
(13) The daughter of Rick and Kris Nelson is Tracy Nelson, who starred in two TV series (the cult-favourite high-school comedy Square Pegs in the early 80s and the suspense show The Father Dowling Mysteries in the late 80s) and in hit films, most famously Down and Out in Beverley Hills
(14) The sons of Kris and Rick Nelson are Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, who in 1990 came out of nowhere to form a rock band ("Nelson") which immediately racked up a number one album & single (Love and Affection).
(l5) After Kelly Harmon (daughter of Tom Harmon, sister of Mark Harmon, etc,) divorced John DeLorean (see 7 above), DeLorean went on to marry supermodel/ultramodel Cristina Ferrare; when Cristina was a teenage Brunette Bikinied Bombshell, she starred in a film (The Impossible Years) which also starred Ozzie Nelson - and that's where we came in.
Bob Brakeman, the author of more than 2000 articles on Immortalism and Public Affairs, resides in Malibu, California.
A Broader Definition of Nanotechnology
Writing in the July edition of Periastron, Dr Thomas Donaldson suggests that the term nanotechnology should include any manipulation of matter at an atomic level whereas to some cryonicists it relates to the mechanical placement of atoms only.
The issue goes on to focus on protein engineering which comes within this wider definition. Also discussed are spinal regeneration, with a look at the history of the subject, the discovery of a gas that is used as a neurotransmitter, buckminsterfullerenes, and articles on brain development and low level decoding of nerve messages.
I noticed that there seemed to be few articles by outside authors, so if anyone wants to send in a scientific article, then I am sure that there is scope. A leaflet on contribution format etc is available.
Periastron PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, California 94087. Subscriptions cost $2.50 per issue. If you pay for many issues in advance, you avoid any possible price rises. If the newsletter does not continue for any reason, unused subscriptions will be refunded with interest!
Life Extension Remarks
(Life Extension, a Practical Scientific Approach; Durk PEARSON & Sandy SHAW).
by Yvan Bozzonetti
* P.247 "Sodium ascorbate (non acidic vitamin C) is best unless you are on a low sodium diet".
- Modern studies rule out usefulness of low sodium diets. Only sodium with chloride is harmful (common salt).
- Not a word on excess common salt eating hazard in the book.
- Not a word on sufficient water drinking (2 L. per day).
Editorial Comment: If you take two parts magnesium ascorbate to one part calcium ascorbate, then the metal ions do you positive good. Even if the sodium ions are neutral in the effects, it is better to take the magnesium and calcium that are positive in effect.
* EDTA : P. & S. define it as a chelating agent and a prescription drug. It is also a wetting product well known from amateur photographs and a compound in detergent formula to get more froth.
As a wetting agent, it breaks down fat drops into small units and so turns Low Density Lipoproteins into High Density ones. (Fatty droplets are covered with high density proteins, smaller drops have a larger surface/volume ratio: So, hazardous LDL are large and good HDL are small.
- Not mentioned in P. & S., Citric acid is a powerful detergent and breaks down LDL and Very LDL in smaller units.
* About Krebs' cycle ( P.79 and 227 ).
There is no need to get malic acid, citric acid, fumaric, succinic acid and so on, as each converts in the next in the Krebs' cycle. To boost that energetic cycle in mitochondria, we need only one product. Citric acid from citrus is the cheapest and simplest to get. Krebs' cycle stands as a fundamental part of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP) production. That molecule forms the energy currency of nearly all chemical reactions in cells. I do not understand why P. and S. do not include citric acid in any nutrient list.
* About Growth Hormone (GH):
P. and S. look at stimulators of natural GH production in the brain. This was the only way at the publication date. Now, biotechnologies produce that protein, even if it remains costly and unpractical in its use. I have suggested my own solution: a powder made from freeze-dried insects, citric acid and chick-peas.
On one side, P. and S. claim a GH production with stimulators until at least an age near 60, on the other they write about inefficient "fake" version of the hormone in old rats (P. 73). This suggest to me two possibilities:
- For young peoples, there is a choice: Take GH stimulators or GH itself.
- For elderly peoples, much in need for GH, there is only one way: take GH ! ( as a food - my proposal - or injections - the medical way - ).
* No human activity for bovine GH ( P. 509 )
This looks as a very doubtful statement: It may be less efficient, on the other side no activity seems impossible: All mammal cells are similar. Bovine or pig insulins for example work well in human cells.
* P. 297 Hyaluronic acid:
Hyaluronic acid is not a small molecule in synovial fluid, it is the main element of cartilages, it takes also a large place in conjunctive tissues, with proteins such elastin and at least three kind of collagens. Hyaluronic acid is the largest molecule in the body, with length near one micron, we can see it in optical microscopes. It works as a sponge and soaks fluids to feed nearby cells. (If nourished with blood, such cells turn cartilages into bones ). Ageing cells produce smaller hyaluronic acid molecules holding liquid and so get few nutrients to live and produce new hyaluronic acid molecules. Some cells die, some turn to blood supply and produce bones. Anyway, cartilages shrink and disappear. GH is the natural stimulator of hyaluronic acid synthesis.
* ( P. 390 ): A comment about loss of water soluble vitamins:
Injected forms are not lost so fast. Citric acid may be a way to get the same effect more conveniently.
* ( P. 372 ): Hazardous insulin
Too much is bad, that is true. On another side, most diabetic "fall out" are credited today on the glucose account: That sugar sticks onto proteins, distorts them and allows harmful cross-links. That effect is universal in everybody; a similar process may be implied in neuron degenerative process.
Protein "retrofit" starts with some unfolding agent, such as aminoguanidine (a product difficult to handle) and then proceeds with antioxidants. That recipe was not known at P. and S. writing epoch, a striking case of book ageing. The last new on the subject may be the use of heat shock proteins as "refolding agent".
Although the P. and S. book remains very interesting today, new progress on the subject may ask for a new similar book or a large updating on many subjects.
Most of biological elements in that text comes from L. STRYERS' Biochemistry, W.H. Freeman ed.
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