Volume 3 no 31. First published February 1992. ISSN 0964-5659.
Seeking the Fountain of Youth Douglas Skrecky
My Arrangements for Cryonic Suspension Steve Whitrow
About BHT and Similar Products Yvan Bozzonetti
Letters my boy-jail school, the human heritage of suffering and death, At my school, Perfumes and Allergens
America Needs More Hostile Attitudes Bob Brakeman
Organ Transplantation Douglas Skrecky
A Monthly Meeting of Alcor UK Ltd Brian Blair-Giles
Seeking The Fountain of Youth
by Douglas Skrecky
With increasing age one will tend to become increasingly susceptible to a wide variety of diseases until succumbing to one of them becomes inevitable. While the direct cause of death may be due to cancer or cardiovascular disease, the real culprit is aging. The number of years we have left to look forward to decreases relentlessly with advancing age. A centenarian living even the healthiest lifestyle can not expect to outlive young adults even if they smoke, drink and eat lots of big macs. At that age and with only a few years left, one might as well live it up. Even if we could suppress the development of fatal disease enough to double the remaining life expectancy of a centenarian this would add only about another 2 years of life. The process of aging will eventually overwhelm any and all attempts at healthy living. Even if cures for both cardiovascular disease and cancer are developed it has been estimated that the average life expectancy is unlikely to exceed 85 years.1
Testing methods for retarding the rate of aging on human subjects is impractical. Improving the mean life expectancy alone is not sufficient to demonstrate that a given treatment can slow aging. In order to demonstrate this, at least a few of the treated subjects would have to survive long enough to outlive ALL of the untreated ones. In the case of humans this would require at least some treated subjects living significantly beyond 120 years of age. If such a treatment was tested on 30 year old humans, one would have to wait at least 90 years before the experiment could be concluded successfully.
An alternate and more practical approach would be to test short lived animal species. If experiments with a wide variety of short lived species repeatedly showed that a given treatment succeeded in prolonging the lifespan of the oldest surviving animal, or maximum lifespan, beyond that obtained with untreated animals, then one might have at least some grounds for supposing that the same treatment might work with humans.
Please note that in the scientific literature longevity statistics for laboratory animals are measured variously in days, weeks or months. To help make comparisons easier all results are quoted in days. Some of the results that had to be converted may thus be slightly inaccurate.
While it may seem unlikely that a treatment for slowing the rate of aging will become available in the foreseeable future there is a great deal of evidence to indicate that this goal has in fact already been achieved. Calorie restriction slows aging and increases maximum lifespan in a wide variety of short lived animals. Here is the evidence:
Calorie restriction increases maximum lifespan in the rotifer micro-organism from 7 to 8.5 days and in spiders from 99 to 139 days.2,3
Lifelong calorie restriction increases maximum lifespan in Fisher rats from 969 to 1299 days and in Wistar rats from 1186 to 1401 days.4,5
Calorie restriction begun in adulthood at 1 year of age increases the maximum lifespan in C57BL/6J mice from 960 to 1200 days and in B10C3F1 mice from 1290 to 1400 days.6
The benefits of calorie restriction are not an all or none affair. Even a small reduction in calorie intake increases the maximum lifespan in C3B10RF1 mice from 1065 to 1269 days, while greater reductions in calorie intake further increase maximum lifespan up to 1638 days.7
Protein malnutrition blocks the anti-aging effect of calorie restriction in both Wistar rats and C57BL/6J mice. *8 *9 This may explain why humans subsisting on meagre diets in 3rd world countries do not apparently live abnormally long lives. However Japanese living on the islands of Okinawa do consume healthy diets containing fewer calories than mainland Japanese and have about 40 times the incidence of centenarians.10
At first glance it might seem to be highly unlikely that something as simple as consuming a diet with fewer calories but with adequate protein could slow the aging process in humans. Nonetheless this possibility has to be taken seriously as all of the available experimental research does in fact support this claim.
On any sort of diet it is probably wise to take a one-a-day multivitamin/multimineral supplement to help ensure against possible nutrient deficiencies. For instance even in the absence of dieting average intakes of calcium and magnesium tend to be below recommended levels.11 However even with appropriate supplementation anyone severely restricting their intake of calories over a prolonged period is taking a chance. If it paid off you might eventually outlive all of your contemporaries and end up with your name entered in the Guinness book of World Records under the heading of oldest centenarian. Most of us would likely settle for the extra 5 to 10 healthy years that a more modest reduction in calories might yield and still enjoy an occasional helping of black forest cake on the side. It is hard to find fault with a moderate degree of calorie restriction provided care is taken to avoid malnutrition.
1 In Search of Methuselah: Estimating the Upper Limits to Human Longevity 634-640 Vol.250 1990 Science
2 Association Between Lipid Peroxidation and Life-Modifying Factors in Rotifers 451-455 Vol.42 No.4 1987 Journal of Gerontology
3 Life Extension by Dietary Restriction in the Bowl and Doily Spider, Frontinella Pyramitela 83-92 Vol.24 1989 Experimental Gerontology
4 Nutritional Influences on Aging of Fisher 344 Rats: I Physical, Metabolic, and Longevity Characteristics 657-670 Vol 40 No. 6 1985 Journal of Gerontology
5 Effect of Age of Initiation of Feed Restriction on Growth, Body Composition, and Longevity of Rats 13-19 Vol 41 No.1 1986
6 Dietary Restriction in Mice Beginning at 1 Year of Age: Effect on Life-Span and Spontaneous Cancer Incidence 1415-1418 March 1982 Science
7 The Retardation of Aging in Mice by Dietary Restriction: Longevity, Cancer, Immunity and Lifetime Energy Intake 641-654 Vol.116 1986 Journal of Nutrition
8 Differential Effects of Dietary Caloric and Protein Restriction in the Aging Rat 427-435 Vol.18 1983 Experiment Gerontology
9 Survival and Disease Patterns in C57BL/6J Mice Subjected to Undernutrition 237-258 Vol.15 1980 Experimental Gerontology
10 Impact of Westernization on the Nutrition of Japanese: Changes in Physique, Cancer, Longevity and Centenarians 205-217 1978 Preventative Medicine
11 Magnesium and Calcium Dietary Intakes of the U.S. Population 195-206 Vol.4 1985 Journal of the American College of Nutrition
My Arrangements for Cryonic Suspension
by Steve Whitrow
There must be many people who feel that death is something best avoided, but have not yet got around to signing up for cryonic suspension. Maybe they believe that the possibility of thousands, or millions, of years of happy, healthy life in a state of youthful vigour is something that only the rich can afford. Perhaps the prospect of having to spend a lot of time and money consulting solicitors in order to make complex legal arrangements is a deterrent. It could be that they are waiting to see how things develop.
Now that my own suspension arrangements have been completed, I would like to show how the whole thing is only costing me £8 per week. And although my total legal costs were £40, with the latest simplification of the sign-up process, one could now avoid most, if not all, of that.
The concept of placing humans in a state of suspended animation had featured in science fiction, but I had not been aware that the procedure was already being implemented. It was through Longevity Report that I first learned of the services of American cryonics organizations, and of the activities of Mizar (now known as Alcor UK Ltd.). For some time, I read immortalist / cryonics periodicals and studied books relating to the subject.
In 1988 I contacted some insurance companies to obtain quotes. I was considering taking out a 25-year term policy so that I could make cryonics arrangements, and would try to have sufficient assets at the end of the term to cover the suspension. From independent investment magazines, it was easy to see which companies offered the most competitive rates.
In early 1989 I began to attend the regular meetings of British cryonicists. It was at this time that a well-known personality in the American movement crossed the Atlantic. He had come over to investigate the state of European cryonics, and the UK meetings suddenly rocketed from an attendance of three up to thirteen.
I soon decided that I was going to be a signed-up Suspension Member, and would not be dissuaded by those who supported death, disease and ageing. If others wanted to be "recycled back to Nature" and have birds or even invertebrates feast on them, then good luck to them. It was not for me. The three USA cryonics groups each had something to offer. But Alcor had been the choice of those UK people who had already completed suspension arrangements. Alcor apparently offered the most sophisticated, highly technical approach to performing a suspension, and yet they also offered the neuro (head only) option.
Early in 1989 Alcor's published minimum for a neurosuspension was $35,000 (a Whole Body was $100,000). Mizar were recommending £35,000 which allowed for some currency fluctuations and extra for overseas transport. Later, Alcor officially listed the overseas surcharge at $10,000. (At the start of 1991 Alcor raised their prices by up to 20%, but those who were already signed up or in the sign-up process were accepted at the previous rates.) I did find that, for the minimum premiums, the amount of insurance cover offered would generally pay for a Whole Body freezing, so the exact recommended minimum for a neurosuspension was not that critical.
I had seen Alcor's manual explaining the sign-up process. This was called Signing up Made Simple (SUMS) but it made it appear the opposite. The amount of paperwork involved was colossal, although some of it was optional.
So I had decided on the Alcor neuro option. Recently Alcor had begun to charge $300 for the sign-up package, which included their new 'computer generated documents'. (I found that this compared favourably with the other companies who tended to have a high initial joining charge or increased dues for the first year.) The first step was to send off the $300. Within two or three weeks I had the latest "SUMS" manual, together with a 14-page questionnaire / worksheet.
I knew that a cryonics company had to be sure that the funds were forthcoming before accepting any new members, otherwise they could end up having to thaw someone out or do a freebie suspension. Either risking terrible publicity, or allowing someone to sponge off the other members. An insurance policy written in trust was a good mode of funding, as it ensured that the payout would not pass through probate and could not be contested by the patient's relatives. The money would go straight where it was intended. But there was an additional complication.
I had found that the insurance firms did not seem to want to make a company the beneficiary of a policy, and other people had reported this too. These firms were quite happy to pay out to several named people, but this was no good. The whole setup would have to be altered every time an Alcor Director was replaced. It appeared that the thing to do would be to name the partners of a firm of solicitors as the trustees of the life policy. Upon payout, the partners would then pass on the money to Alcor.
I chose a company whose phone book advert stated that they had been "solicitors and land agents for over 300 years", and went to explain about cryonics and show them the worksheet. I then completed the worksheet and took it back to them. By this point I had provisionally chosen the insurance company, and had the details on the worksheet. Both the insurance company and the solicitors agreed to the proposed arrangement. However Alcor's approval would be needed and they had obviously never heard of the solicitors. I sent the completed worksheet off to Alcor, and got all the documents through shortly afterwards. In fact, the actual sign-up was being handled by one of the Alcor sign-up coordinators, who lives in Tucson.
My relatives were not in favour of cryonics, and considered it to be at best, a waste of money, and at worst, a con. They could not really see why anyone would "want to come back". I was going to try to get them to sign the Relatives' Affidavits. However, these documents are optional, and I decided to wait until they had been exposed to the cryonics concept for a few years. When I mentioned cryonics to other people, some were a bit interested. Others tried to poke fun at it. No one suggested that a cryonicist was so wicked it made Stalin look like Mother Teresa. However, people did not yet seem ready to sign up themselves.
I had written to and telephoned Alcor about the proposed arrangements, and by December 1989 they confirmed that it would be acceptable. In 1990 I contacted the solicitors to see if they could give some idea of their charges, and the estimate was £250 to £500. This seemed a rather inefficient method of proceeding. Early 1990 had been a difficult time for me financially, and things did not improve until the second half of the year. In July however I decided I would contact some other insurance companies and attempt to find a better plan.
The previous companies had seemed a bit indifferent over taking a cryonics case. But I suddenly found things had changed. Maybe it was that cryonics had become a buzzword in the insurance trade. Perhaps I just happened to pick the right companies this time or possibly the salesmen were better. But they certainly seemed to want to get on board. One salesman arranged to come to see me the next day, another a few days later. (In 1989 the companies either didn't have anyone to send, or I had to go to them.)
I selected the first company, which was Providence Capitol, as the salesman seemed to immediately grasp what was required and proposed a suitable arrangement. The company provided its own Declaration of Flexible Trust at no extra charge. Two British Alcor Suspension Members were named as the trustees, and Alcor (of California) was named as the beneficiary. Of course, as far as Alcor was concerned, this was a better method than the previous proposal. After I wrote to them with the details, they soon confirmed their acceptance. The legal profession lost out as their role in this particular transaction was now unnecessary. [Good - that'll show them where money grubbing gets them. -ed]
But there was also the advantages of the actual policy. I had always felt a reasonable target would be to keep the running costs of being a neuro Suspension Member under £10 per week. With a term insurance policy, you would have to count the premiums, plus the Alcor Emergency Responsibility (E.R.) dues, and allow an amount for a savings plan to build up enough assets for after the expiry of the 25 year term.
My policy, however, was a whole-life policy - and all for similar rates to many term policies. I was almost 33 but got the rate for 32-year-olds. The premium was the minimum accepted, at £20 per month. I also paid £1 monthly for "waiver of premium benefit" so that the premiums would still be paid in the event of unemployment, sickness or disability. A non-smoker discount applied, and the Sum Assured was £99,500. There was enough for a Whole Body if I wanted, but for a neuro this was a substantial surplus, and allowed for a great deal of inflation and currency fluctuations. If I ever wanted to increase the Sum Assured in line with inflation, then I could do this by raising the premiums pro rata.
So the total cost of being signed-up is £21 per month or £252 p.a. plus the Alcor annual dues at $252. (Alcor also offer discounts on this rate for additional family members, or full-time students.) At current exchange rates this works out at under £8 weekly. To a large extent, inflation will be counterbalanced by the reduction in costs brought about by exponential growth in membership. I think it is fair to say at these sort of rates that almost anyone up to middle-aged should be able to afford cryonics.
In fact, in the industrialised nations, it would take about 4-7% of GNP to pay for cryonics for everyone without even accounting for quantity cost reduction. If 1% of those people for whom life insurance is too expensive opted for cryonics, this would cost under 0.05% of GNP. If a pressure group was formed, it should not be beyond the wit of the politicians to finance this from the peace dividend.
Providence Capitol would therefore be my first choice recommendation for UK cryonicists; however an alternative company which seemed suitable is Confederation Life. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation also suggest several American life companies which they have found acceptable.
I had sorted out the funding for my suspension, and it was now just a case of completing the paperwork. In the late autumn of 1990 I had started a new job, and did not get around to taking time off to get the papers processed for a few months. Alcor said that even a minor error could result in over half the paperwork having to be redone. I had to make several alterations to the details, such as employer, insurance company and sister's address.
In November 1990 I heard that there was good news regarding the sign-up procedure. It had been greatly simplified following a court case which Alcor had won against the California Department of Health Services. The result was that there was no longer any need to deal with wills. Also the other documents could be simplified, although the ones I had were of course still valid. But there were now only four required documents which had to be signed and witnessed in triplicate. The others were all optional.
In May 1991 I went to the solicitors for the documents to be signed and witnessed. I had decided to just complete the required documents at this time plus the Executor's Affidavits which had already been signed at no charge by the Executors and an independent witness. The Executors were UK Alcor Suspension Members who were already named as the trustees for the life policy.
The charge for having the four documents signed and witnessed was £10. In fact it would probably have been alright to just get two independent witnesses and not use solicitors at all. [This should be perfectly adequate - why give some yuppie parasite £10 just for their social standing -ed.] I had also been charged £30 previously for advice and for "considering the completed worksheet". This was when it looked like the whole arrangement would be much more complex.
I had been expecting that some of the paperwork might need redoing. On the 3rd of July, 1991, my Medic-Alert bracelet arrived together with my copies of the completed documents. I was now officially an Alcor Suspension Member.
The bracelet gives a number to ring together with some instructions to medical personnel, and indicates that there will be a "reward". Alcor UK has its own stabilisation / perfusion facility with medical equipment and ambulance. Sufficient capital was raised recently to ensure that the building will remain the property of the cryonics movement.
For anyone starting the sign-up procedure now with a setup like mine, it should not take more than a few months provided you select the right insurance company. Just to recap, go to a cryonics meeting, read some of the company's newsletters and decide whether they are scoundrels. If satisfied with them, send off the $300 for the worksheet and contact a suitable insurance company. When the worksheet arrives you complete it and send to Alcor together with the trust papers supplied by the insurance company. Alcor should approve the funding method, and send the computer generated documents. After you have the basic documents signed and witnessed, send them back to Alcor. If the paperwork is in order, that should be all that needs to be done to become a Suspension Member. Other documents can be processed at a later date as required.
I am not committed to any long term binding contract, and if I ever suddenly have a burning desire to be cremated or an appetite to become maggots' meal, I can just inform Alcor, cancel the insurance payments and destroy the documents.
and similar products
by Yvan Bozzonetti
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) and similar anti oxidant products reduce oxygen content in water, and so, in body fluids. This effect goes against its anti oxidant effect, because low oxygen content promote free radical production.
Clearly, if we take this effect into account, we can get more benefits from anti oxidant supplementation. I suggest to use simultaneously with BHT, BHA ... a product such trimethylglycine (TMG-15) giving in the organism dimethylglycine, a stimulator of oxygen metabolism.
Ethoxyquin, a powerful anti oxidant, seems to be much in need for this association from the information I have on it.
All of that stems from logical considerations, I know of no work on rat longevity with such associations, if you have some of them in hand, please let me know!
On the practical ground, Life Plus Ltd sells TMG-15, so you have not to wait to perfect your anti oxidant protection.
More About Vitamin E
What is vitamin E? In the medical world, it is simply the molecule alpha-tocopherol, with its two isomers D and L. This is the product we buy under that name.
On the other side, if I look at "vitamin E" in the table of contents of my favourite biochemistry book, I am directed to a somewhat different story:
The real nature of vitamin E is not fully known, we fill under this name many products, all derived from tocopherol molecule. They are anti-oxidant agents produced by plants to protect seeds from denaturation by oxygen. In the body too, vitamin E is not limited to one molecular kind.
Is it safe to ingest large quantities of alpha-tocopherol without the other species? I do not know. However, even if this is safe, it may not be very efficient, as nothing is done for biochemical pathways exploiting other related molecules.
So, I suggest adding at least Gamma-tocopherol and Delta-tocopherol in the current mix of D and L alpha-tocopherol. The Eastman Chemical Company (Kodak) sells them under the trade names: TENOX GT-1 ( 50% tocopherol) and TENOX GT-2 ( 70% tocopherol). Address: Eastman Chemical UK ltd, P.O.Box 66, Kodak House, Station Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP1 1JU.
Calls for Mummification Research
Dr Thomas Donaldson in the December issue of his science newsletter Periastron mentioned the interest in improving embalming techniques for use for immortalist purposes. He said he has seen interest amongst cryonicists and at least one non-cryonicist in this subject. He calls for serious and prolonged experiments in this field.
The issue also contains a number of articles detailing the current status of memory research with particular emphasis synapses, vision, astrocytes, neurons, and learning. An update on RU-486, the abortion drug also implicated with life extending properties and a use of nanotechnology in genome sequencing follow.
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!
From Mr Yvan Bozzonetti
I see you have a problem with your Victorian British Past... I recall, when I was young, my boy-jail school, with walls ten metres high. There was only a gate through which one could look outside, to see a girl-jail with similar brick walls. To speak to a girl was severely punished. I recall the reason for my first punishment: it was for not writing down the subtraction in 8 divided by 2. Here I discovered a fundamental fact: I was in the school-jail to learn stupidity. All society is like that. You are socially punished if you know more than you are allowed to.
8 2 8 2
-8 x4 (good) 0 4 (bad)
This is the crazy teaching of mathematics to 6 year old school-victims in France.
This arose out of correspondence, and is reprinted with permission. I include it to re-enforce the point that I have raised in this newsletter before. That is that in a world where death is optional, there will be far fewer children. But those that are born will be really wanted, and they will receive a lot of their basic education from their own parents, who will have been especially trained to do it before they conceive. Children will no longer be concentrated together and given education in bulk.
From Dr John Walford
I enjoyed your comments in Longevity Report 30, (most sensible and appropriate).
As you say on page 6 the real heroes are the ones who have not aggregated the human heritage of suffering and death. Its the pointless death that is deplored (as stated on pages 7-8 by Bob Brakeman) isn't it?
No one (whether paid up cryonicist, whole body, head only, by whatever method, or interested, or uncertain) wants to be the suffering victim of pointless death, difficulty, disadvantage, disease, do they?
I liked your reply to Libertarian Mr Thame on page 5. What I've read of the opinions of Brian Michlethwait et al seemed to carry a tinge of "I'm all right Jack"-ism as you suggest about smoking, a ploy which is not entire for every body but must be restricted to certain individuals.
As you say on page 4 an infinite number of dimensions must be available as an abstract concept - Its like your separate time bubble - How could you or I tell we were travelling in a separate time bubble unless we can communicate with the main time stream (the present real universe.)
I have borrowed the idea of writing a caption to an old cartoon from copies of features from Punch printed with medical advertisements to catch the attention of prescribing G.P.s. Doctors were invited to send topical captions to reprint cartoons from Punch of pre and post war days. Those junk mail magazines mush have been paid for by advertisers.
The original caption was Last Minute Programme. My suggestion is It's User Friendly and my comment - Not for the reindeer it isn't, and who's being friendly anyway? You or the programme?
The message in Bob Brakeman's articles is that ALL death is pointless, and indeed I have held the view for many years that life is pointless if finite. This has seemed to me to be self evident long before I heard of cryonic suspension or life extension. I recall hearing an old man, who had been sentenced to death by the medical profession due to bowel cancer, recalling his past life. He described how he was injured as a child and someone saved his life. The thought went through my mind "What a shame, he will lose it anyway." Of course I then rationalised "well it was saved for him for 60 or 70 years", but the first, uncensored, thought indicates the true problem of death - its involuntary nature.
Of course, some people use death to escape from suffering - a practise that is frowned upon by religionists. Recently in Cornwall an elderly couple jointly took their lives when one was diagnosed with cancer.
Cryonic suspension offers a way out: A suspension performed on a live but fatally diseased person avoids suffering yet does not commit the "sin" of suicide. A lawsuit between Dr Thomas Donaldson and the US government is taking place at this moment on this theme. Dr Donaldson has a brain tumour, and he wants to be placed into cryonic suspension before the tumour destroys his brain. He seeks a ruling to prevent the suspension technicians being charged with assisting a suicide or even murder, and to prevent government authorities from autopsying his body, thus preventing suspension. U.S. government lawyers are spending taxpayers' money fighting tooth and nail to prevent him from doing this. They want to see that he dies with all the indignity and suffering that this disease is designed to provide. No doubt they think it good for his soul, (and their pay checks).
From Mr Mike Zehse
My comments towards Christmas remain the same as last year: "Fiddlesticks to Xmas" was the plangent phrase I used - if memory serves.
Mr Haines' fervent fantasy of itinerant kidney kidnappers: I have read various versions of this tale in several publications, needless to say never with any corroborating evidence. I suggest it's a modern day myth.
At my school I can not remember one occasion when any boy ever addressed any other boy in a civil, kind or decent manner. Just endless stupidity, bullying, teasing, and cold cruelty buttressed by indifferent at best, sadistically perverted at worst, teaching staff. The tradition of boys being addressed by surnames is one I find particularly repellant and demeaning.
It is peculiar that one of my fantasies at school was to ascend to the tower of the chapel on parents' visiting day and exterminate the members of my "community" en masse with a sten gun.
I was therefore surprised to see an exact replication of my fantasy enacted in the Lindsay Anderson film IF! Unfortunately there was no CCF at my school and no access to firearms.
Perfumes and Allergens
An article in The Independant of 3 December (not Mike Zehse, sent in by Mrs Chrissie Loveday) discusses a problem similar to that caused by lung smokers.
Many people are allergic to substances used in perfumes, after shaves, masking deodorants etc. Ms Susan Molloy, founder of the California based Environmental Health Network, claims that she and many of her colleagues suffer symptoms ranging from asthma to seizures when exposed to perfumes.
"The fragrance hits me like a physical blow," she says, "I get pains all over my body and my speech starts to slur." She has to take breathing apparatus with her in public places.
Her group is pressing for special areas for people wearing fragrance in public, and for perfume to be removed from air conditioning and public lavatories. Her organisation also bans people with clothing contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals or lung smoke from entering their premises.
The authorities appear interested in this growing movement, but express concern as to how the new proposals are implemented. It is easy to spot a lung smoker because of the pall of smoke over his head. But how can one detect a perfume pusher? Public sniffers? No, more likely some chemical device like a breath tester for drunken drivers.
My comment would be that properly used fragrances should not be noticeable as fragrances at all, they should be subliminal in operation. However most people think that if a little is good, then a lot is better. Maybe they would like to try that the next time they put pepper or mustard on their food!
America Needs More
by Bob Brakeman
Editorial warning: this article deals with the subject of Rap Music, which contains strong language and expressions of racism. If you are offended by either of these, then you are advised not to read it. Briefly, it details a survey done by Mr Brakeman on the attitudes of rap fans to immortalism, and concludes that their anti-authoritarian stance also makes them good immortalist prospects. However their natural suspicion and reluctance to give others use or control of their money makes them unlikely to donate funds to cryonic or life extension projects.
Do these names of rock groups sound very friendly?
Public Enemy Niggers With Attitude1
The Furious Five2 The Beasty Boys
Are these song titles likely to be included in hymnals any time soon?
Rebel Without a Pause Burn Hollywood Burn
Wrath of my Madness Fuck the Police
Welcome to the Terrordome Fight the Power
Pass the Ammo
Are these rock lyrics likely to be hummed by Pollyanna on her day off:?
"We crash through walls, bomb through floors,
Bust through ceiling and knock down doors ......
Don't try to be my friend,
If you do you'll get yours in the end ......
We're two rough cats, it's like that,
That's the way it is, so stay the hell back ......"
Just as the world of theoretical physics contains both matter and antimatter, so the world of pop music contains both a Disneyland and an antiDisneyland wing. The Disneyland wing is inhabited by softrock/wimprock. The antiDisneyland wing houses:
The group-names and song-titles and song lyrics3 listed above are all from the world of rap music. Although it's always difficult (impossible) to describe, in words, the sound of any musical form, several explanatory things can be said about rap, for the benefit of those godless/heathen readers who don't listen to it:
(A) Rap is 99% beat and 1% melody; those critics who say that rap music "has no melody" are wrong, but they're pointed in the right direction - rap's booming beat is what sells it and the only thing rap consumers care about.
(B) Rap lyrics are spoken, not sung.
(C) Because much of rap reaches the hostility-level suggested by the song-names and group-names and song lyrics listed at the beginning of this article it's accurate to say that rap lyrics are usually not merely just spoken - they're shouted and screamed.
(D) Rap is nearly a cappella music - the only "instrument" is the oddest of all rock instruments - a turntable playing two-second bursts of songs either forwards or backwards or both, a process which creates the odd beat which powers rap.
(E) (This is the only capital letter the music industry cares about): Rap has sold, worldwide, a quarter of a billion records or tapes since it first exploded onto the scene in the late 1970s.
But none of that matters.
What matters about rap, for the purposes of this analysis is its ideology. Rap is militant,4 and anti-authoritarian, and quasi anarchic, and profoundly anti-establishment. Because rappers are almost all black, there's some tendency for them to concentrate on racial issues, but that's a minor tendency; what all of the hostile rappers5 have in common is deep a mistrust of the government power structure, with special (hostile) attention paid to the part of the power structure that has guns: the miliary and the police. Groups like NY's Public Enemy and LA's Niggers with Attitude are consistent within their own ideology: If it's reasonable to oppose the establishment's authority structure because it's corrupt and dangerous, then by definition it's even more reasonable to oppose the section of that authority structure which provides the only reason (guns) that anyone pays attention to it - and that section is the police/ military complex.
Those kinds of attitudes have made the rappers unpopular in the predictable places, but it's just that collection of attitudes which makes them interesting to us in this analysis. Why? Because we're looking for people who live and breathe resistance to authority.
When the present writer's article Who Needs Tahiti? was published in 1989, it led to a good deal of mail on possible follow-up articles. Who Needs Tahiti? reported the results of a carefully done but not strictly scientific study of tourists who visited one of the most beautiful isles in the Society Islands (home of Tahiti and Bora Bora), Moorea.
The results suggested that people who care about scenic beauty and the natural world tend to be better than average in terms of their openness to immortalist ideas; and the article went on to list some reasons for feeling that it was logical and predictable that that kind of correlation should have been found to exist.
Among the mail suggestions for follow-up studies and articles was one which had intrigued me, on-again/off-again, ever since I'd made a mental commitment to the immortalist movement in the 1960s. The intriguing question was: what kind of people are more likely to be open and receptive to immortalist ideology:
(A) Anti-authoritarian/rebellious types; or
(B) "Do what those in charge say" types?
Because rappers and rap fans are amongst the purest examples of the first group, they were chosen as the focus of a mini-study.
At rock venues in Los Angeles (The Forum in Inglewood and the Roxy on the Sunset Strip and the Sports Arena in central LA not far from Watts) and New York (The Nassau Coliseum in the Long Island suburbs and Madison Square Gardens, and the Brendan Byrne Arena in the New Jersey suburbs), people attending rap concerts were asked questions pertaining to life extension subjects. For a control group, we used people in the 15 to 25 age bracket who came from the neighbourhoods which also produced the rap concertgoers - Bedford Stuyvesant (Brooklyn) & Harlem (Manhattan) and the South Bronx ln New York, and Watts and Baldwin Hills and Compton in Los Angeles. Finding the rap fans was the easy part, requiring only hanging around outside the right venues on the right nights. Finding the nonrappers was a little trickier (you can't hang out at an arena advertising "No rap concert tonight!" and see who shows up). We solved the problem by hiring some college students in both cities to find black friends of theirs who hated rap, and ask them the same questions the rap concertgoers were asked.
ln each case, those questions were asked only after both the concertgoers and the non concert people were given written materials on life extension subjects to examine. Because we wanted to give each group plenty of time to look over the material, this system was used:
(A) ln the case of the stay-at-home nonrappers, our college student surveyors first contacted them to give them some material, and then got back to them about a week later for their reactions.
(B) ln the case of the rappers, things were once again a little trickier (that seems only fair; rap is a troublesome musical genre, so it seems appropriate that its fans might lean in the same direction). Because we had to give the people at the concerts the same week to read the stuff that we'd given the non-concertgoers, we had to get their addresses or 'phone numbers; and if you think the average fan of hostile rappers readily gives that information to strange white people on the street, you're not paying attention to this article. We expected that resistance, so we were ready with the obvious cure - cash; they were given a preliminary payment with the promise of a subsequent one when we contacted them again (the second payment was crucial, for it ensured that we got correct addresses and 'phone numbers - only about 2% of those initially contacted gave us number/address info which proved to be faked).
After they'd had time to read the material, each group was asked:
(A) Were you favourably or unfavourably impressed with the life extension material you read?
(B) Would you consider reading a full length book on the subject if we provided it?
(C) Would you consider joining a life extension group?
(D) Do you consider the current 70 years or so life span "enough"?
(E) Would you consider donating money to a group which would do one or both of two things - perform longevity research and cryonically suspend people?
On all those questions, results showed a clear differentiation between the rappers and the non rappers. 69% of the rappers liked the life extension material; only 43% of those who didn't like rap. 64% of the rappers said they would read a book on beating death; only 39% of the non-rappers. 58% of the rappers said they could see themselves joining a life extension group; only 31% of the non-rappers could. Only 26% of the rappers thought 70 years was a-helluva-great-lifespan, but 57% of the non-rappers did. And then the oddity: on the question of whether they would donate money to a life extension group, the results were virtually identical: only 19% of the nonrappers said they would and only 21% of the rappers. While that still keeps the general relationship between the hostile-rappers and their opponents intact (the rappers are still more pro life extension), the large gaps shown on the other question have evolved into a small gap here. Although we can't prove it, there's an obvious explanation for the rappers dropping off in their enthusiasm once kicking-in-money is mentioned: Because rappers tend to take a "world is out to get them" stance, they're very big on not being ripped off, especially financially. Assuming as they do that most institutions are out to rip them off, especially financially, it's not unreasonable for them to
(A) react favourably to the general idea of life extension but then
(B) draw back a bit when someone says "hand over the cash".
The logic of the whole idea seemed to appeal to the rappers intellectually ("Why die?" seemed a better question to them than to the nonrappers), but asking for cash raised the S-word ("Scam") in their minds.
That oddity aside, the results overall are really quite striking. By very large margins, the hostile-rappers were much more favourably disposed towards life extension concepts than were the non-rappers. That statistical evidence is complimented by and probably explained by the sheer logic of the situation: Shouldn't people who are used to questioning major institutions and ideologies be expected to also question as big an institution as "natural death"? Shouldn't people who go through life saying "Who says!?" each time they're told to do something and told to think something - shouldn't those kinds of people also be expected to say "Who says!?" when told that "you're meant to die and it's a very wonderful thing to rot and oh so natural?" Because the rappers are anti-establishment and used to thinking "most of what they're told is lies," they're people used to saying "we're not going to stand for this", even when "this" is a sentence of death; the nonhostile nonrappers were much more accepting of things as they come (even if one of the things is annihilation).
So maybe immortalists should steer clear of criticizing the hostile rappers, partly because anti-establishment and pro "questioning the revealed wisdom" attitudes are just what we need, and partly because if you criticise them they just might write a song about you.
1. Niggers With Attitude's spoilsport record company put "NWA" on the record labels.
2. The Furious Five have recorded both under that logo and under an even more arresting one: Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
3. From King of Rock, by Run-DMC, the rappers who pioneered the use of threatening tone of voice. (Not surprisingly, for a group which specializes in telling people to stay the hell back, a key album is called Back From Hell).
4. Consider Public Enemy: Key staffers have titles like Director of Enemy Relations and Minister of Enemy Information; they have their own paramilitary group called Security of the First World, and they appear on stage in military camouflage uniforms. (Just a thought: the record selling success of anti-government rappers like Public Enemy and Niggers With Attitude may be related to their level of rage: The records are so hostile that people may be afraid not to buy them.)
5. The phrase "hostile rappers" is important, because there's an entirely separate wing of fandom - the happy-rappers. Acts like DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince perform cheerful and satirical songs like I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson and Parents Just Don't Understand and have little in common with the rappers profiled in this analysis. All references to "rappers" herein allude to the hostile wing of the genre only.
Our general methodology was explained throughout the body of the article. Numerically 217 rap concertgoers were surveyed, and 211 stay-at-home anti-rappers.
Because the hostile-rappers receive almost no radio airplay (the power of the music is such that they sell tens of millions of albums without radio help), it seems useful to provide some additional information on the general tone of hostile rap, so that the reader can visualize what we're talking about:
(A) One of the most famous lyrics in rap rhymes "rage" with "12 gauge" (as in shotgun),
(h) Some Niggers With Attitude song titles are so intense that they can't even be listed on the album cover,
(C) A representative name of a big rap album (as opposed to individual song name) is As Nasty as They Wanna Be.
(D) A key record company specializing in rap calls itself Ruthless Records.
(E) The top-selling album of any kind; (not just rap) in 1990 was a record by MC Hammer with the not entirely nonviolent title Please Hammer don't Hurt 'Em.
(F) These are the lyrics to the key song from a megaplatinum album by Niggers with Attitude (the greatest of all anti-establishment songs, it's called Fuck the Police):
Fuck that stuff, cuz I ain't the one,
For a punk motherfucker with a badge and gun,
To be beatin' on and throwin' in jail,
We can go toe to toe in the middle of the cell.
Fuckin' with me cuz I'm a teenager,
With a little bit of gold and a pager,
Searchin' my car, lookin' for the product,
Thinkin' every nigger is selling narcotics.
These lyrics, in addition to their value in clarifying the intensity-level of hostile-rap, have another, tangential use:
Libertarians and conservatives, both of whom are well represented in the immortalist movement, agree on many issues, because they agree on economics (they are anti-regulation and anti-welfare state) and laws on economic issues make up 90%+ of all laws. That frequent agreement sometimes blurs the lines between libertarians and conservatives; but these black kids from the LA suburb of Compton (Niggers With Attitude) have now unblurred it. The lyrics to Fuck the Police provide an always accurate litmus test for figuring out who's a libertarian and who's a conservative:
Because conservatives see the police as providing their defence against street crime, they are appalled by these lyrics. (A nonsensical position, of course, for the police
(A) Mathematically are prohibitively unlikely to happen to be present at the moment you need defending.
(B) Are precisely the reason why you are unable to defend yourself, through their terrorist enforcement of the weapons law, which make it impossible for anyone but politically connected thugs to get permits to carry weapons.)
Because libertarians see the police as the terror arm of the state, as the hired thugs who provide the only reason anyone has for paying attention to anything a politician or a bureaucrat says (you pay your taxes because people with "a badge and a gun" will assault and kidnap you if you don't, not because of any of the reasons given you in the government's indoctrination-factories, which are apparently called "schools"), they applaud such lyrics as clarifying the situation and helping people see things accurately. (Those libertarians - the present author included - who report their income accurately and pay their taxes accurately differ from non-libertarian accurate-payers in that we don't lie to ourselves about why we're doing it: Guns).
This swell public-service of helping you figure out who's a libertarian and who's a conservative is provided at no extra charge by N.W.A. when you buy their hydrogen bomb masquerading as a record, Straight Outta Compton (available at your nearest arsenal, armoury, or gun shop.)
The Great Government-Retaliation Addendum:
Because (government) criminals don't like to be called (government) criminals, the US and UK and other governments have struck back at the hostile rappers whenever possible, through both court action and street-terrorism. In mid-1991 the UK government
(A) announced how opposed it was to censorship and
(B) simultaneously committed the grossest act of censorship of this century:
Police seized 5000 copies of the famous Niggers With Attitude album Niggaz4life at a warehouse outside London. Island Records, the British distributor for NWA, had been previously warned that such government retaliation would be forthcoming if the album was sold in the UK, but the company, to its credit, ignored the regime's threats and said "We're are not in the business of censoring our artists".
The Great Impossible-To-Stop-It Addendum:
In spite of the kind of government terrorism alluded to in the previous addendum, NWA's Niggaz4life achieved a nearly unique status in 1991: usually a record album claws its way up through the top ten slowly, going from 10 to 8 to 6 and so on. But the NWA album entered the top ten at number one. Elvis and the Beatles had done that a few times, but their records were meaningless socially; the slum kids from Los Angeles rocketed to number one while saying things that mattered.
The Great Title Addendum:
Because Niggaz4life has become the dominant hostile-rap album of all time, the title of the album deserves some attention, in two contexts. The first point to be made is that it says "Niggaz" instead of "Niggers" for the same reason the record covers says "NWA" instead of "Niggers with Attitude" - many stores wouldn't sell the records unless that kind of change was made. Second: The title "Niggers For Life" (using the unabridged title now) has two separate meanings - one a meaning directed against government terrorists and the other a meaning aimed at bigotry. The former refers to the fact that NWA recognises that all governments are engines of mass murder; governments are for death, and NWA and the other anti-government rappers are for life. The latter meaning alludes to this recognition on the part of the members of NWA: That no matter how famous or successful or rich they become, to the great white middle class they'll always still be nothing but niggers - that they're "niggers for life", niggers for the rest of their lives no matter what they do.
The Great Even-More-Hypocritical-Than-Usual Addendum:
One of course expects professional criminals (members of the government) to be hypocrites, for minor vices like hypocracy are often included with and encompassed by major vices like criminality. But both the US and UK regimes outdid themselves in early 1990s attacks on hostile rap albums: The hardcore language on the albums allowed the two government to pretend that their attacks upon them and seizures of the were directed against the corruption of youth - but every single album of the anti- government rappers contains a voluntary sticker saving the album is not to be sold to minors. The government isn't worried about corrupting youth (something its own indoctrination factories - "schools" - specialise in) it's worried that adults may be helped by the hostile rappers in figuring out the nature of the state.
The Great "I Told You So" Addendum:
A full two years before that famous terrorist group, the Los Angeles Police Department, was video- taped mangling Rodney King, Niggers with Attitude were criticized for their song Fuck the Police. The L.A.-based rap group drew good reviews, among rock critics, for the music of the song, but it's anti-government/anti-police lyrics were attacked as being somewhere between slightly exaggerated and totally false. But now, after repeated showings of the scene of a dozen government terrorists attempting to murder Rodney King, those critics are beginning to write reviews of apology - reviews saying that the thoughts expressed in Fuck the Police are somewhere between totally accurate and somewhat understated.
The Great "Are These Guys Serious?" Addendum:
Because the anti-government views of rap groups like Public Enemy and Niggers with Attitude are somewhat shocking to the mainstream audience, some within that audience may wonder if those kinds of rap lyrics aren't just all-for-show; isn't it possible that all this stuff in the songs is just put on like a garment, for live shows and recording sessions, and then discarded when the guys go home to their mansions? Although that's a very reasonable question or suspicion (the Mick Jaggers of the world, with their anti-authority lyrics and jet-set real lives, put all hardcore lyrics under suspicion), the answer isn't one that'll comfort anyone who hopes that it's all just theatrics:
While we could cite dozens of examples of offstage and private views and actions confirming that the hostile rappers are the same onstage and off, for reasons of space limitations let's just choose one. Since leaving Niggers With Attitude, the Hollywood rapper now known as Ice Cube has been spending much of his private time publicizing the private views of the anti-government rap community. Asked about his views on war: "War for me is the war against this madness called the government". Asked about government (police) terrorisation of non-white communities around the US: "Every time I wake up in the morning, I've won a small battle. The fact that I've lived past 18 is a milestone. If I die of natural causes I feel like I've won the war." Asked whether such slum problem as "drive-by shootings" didn't partially excuse police terrorism in response, Ice Cube pointed out that a drive by shooting may kill one or two people, while government murder in the form of non-defensive wars kills hundreds of thousands, and then added that Hussain and Bush had recently committed "the ultimate drive-by".
The Great "Are These Guys Perfect?" Addendum:
(A) They're closer than whatever Government thugs you see on the CBS Evening Propaganda tonight; and
(B) Their principal imperfection is noticing that the government/criminal machine is largely white and therefore sometimes drifting into thinking white-folks (as opposed to government-folks) are the problem (but the marginal and occasional racism of the rappers is one per cent of that of the great white middle class - and, of course, that class is where NWA and Public Enemy went to Racism School. Their bigotry-teachers were enthusiastic, but [another educational failure] the hostile rappers allowed only a little of that virus to affect them, while their enemies gloried in a complete immunological breakdown.)
by Douglas Skrecky
Most organs that are donated for transplant purposes are never used because they deteriorate too rapidly during storage. If a method for long term storage of donated organs could be devised we would cease to have patients dying for the lack of an available organ. Successfully inducing anhydrobiosis in transplant organs would be one way to eliminate this bottleneck.
How long could such organs last? What happened when some anhydrobiotic rotifers and tardigrades stored in dry air for 120 years were accidentally moistened? They revived, staggered around a bit and then died -too bad about the oxygen they were exposed to.1
Anhydrobiotic organisms have survived brief exposures to temperatures as high as 300 degrees F and as low as -330 degrees, as well as exposure to vacuum and radiation levels over 1000 times the lethal dose for humans. How long anhydrobiotic transplant organs could maintain viability if stored under anaerobic conditions is a matter for conjecture, but it would surely be long enough.
Could organs be placed in anhydrobiosis now? Can organ viability be maintained long enough for desiccation to be completed? At least to the later question we can answer in the affirmative. For instance a maltose based hypertonic citrate solution can maintain the viability of lungs for at least 3 days.2 For desiccation to be successful we would need to substitute sucrose for maltose. Fortunately tests have found the choice of sugar has no significant effect on transplant organ viability.3 The optimal temperature for organ viability has been found to be 45 to 50 degrees as apparently lower temperatures tend to destabilize cellular membranes.4 Higher temperatures above 70 degrees are needed for sugars to stabilize membranes well in the dried state.5 The solution to this technical difficulty might be to borrow a technique used in the food industry. Start desiccation at a low temperature and then gradually increase the temperature as the organ becomes progressively drier and thus more inert.
Are there any other problems? Tissue deterioration is largely controlled by the action of calcium activated neutral proteases. Calcium channel blockers have been used with some flush solutions to extend their usefulness. However in the case of a citrate based flushing solution no benefit is obtained with their use as citrate itself removes calcium ions by forming stable chelates with them. Unexpectedly the addition of the iron chelator desferrioxamine actually harms citrate preserved lungs.6 However adding zinc to the solution might be beneficial since zinc exerts both potent membrane and DNA stabilizing effects.7,8 Adding vitamin C might be wise as it helps to suppress the protein browning malliard reactions. Stabilization of tissue in the dried state can only occur if the sucrose in the flushing solution penetrates inside cells. This appears to take 1-2 days so desiccation would not commence until this time has elapsed. Cells will tend to swell after absorbing enough sugar so inclusion of a small amount of gelling agent such as pectin to maintain an osmotic gradient would appear to be desirable.
For those at the end of their days who have no wish to take a chance on a hypothetical hereafter a whole body anhydrobiosis treatment is an intriguing alternative to cryonics. However the brain does need some special treatment in this case as the blood brain barrier tends to slow penetration of citrate as well as sucrose. Although the blood brain barrier can be made quite leaky by the chronic administration of ethinyl oestradiol there is a simpler way around this problem.9 This would be to replace the cerebrospinal fluid with the flushing solution and thereby bypass the blood brain barrier. The entire body could be placed in a vat of sucrose saturated flushing solution for several days while this fluid is slowly pumped through both the cardiovascular system as well as the cerebrospinal system. As about half of the tissue water would be displaced by sucrose during this perfusion subsequent tissue shrinkage due to evaporation of the remaining water would thus be minimized. The desiccated body might even be sufficiently presentable for display at the funeral service.
1 Death-Defying Dehydration 107-110 February 13,1988 Science News
2 72-HR Canine Kidney Preservation Without Continuous Perfusion 498-501 Vol.21 No.4 1976 Transplantation
3 Effect of Sugars in the Preservation Solution on Liver Storage in Rats 428-435 Vol.28 1991 Cryobiology
4 Optimal Temperature in Short-Term Hypothermic Preservation of Rat Pancreas 977-981 Vol.51 No.5 1991 Transplantation
5 Dependence of Trehalose Protective Action on the Initial Phase State of Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine Bilayers 256-263 Vol.25 1988 Cryobiology
6 Function of Single Rat Lung Isografts After 48-Hour Cold Storage 743-749 Vol.51 No.4 1991 Transplantation
7 Protection Against Membrane Damage: A H-NMR Investigation of the Effect of Zn2+ and Ca2+ on the Permeability of Phospholipid Vesicles 217-225 Vol.40 1990 Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry
8 Ionophore-Induced Apoptosis: Role of DNA Fragmentation and Calcium Fluxes 43-49 Vol.197 1991 Experimental Cell Research
9 Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability: Regional Alterations After Acute and Chronic Administration of Ethinyl Oestradiol 181-184 Vol.118 1990 Neuroscience Letters
A Monthly Meeting of Alcor U.K. Ltd.
by Brian Blair-Giles
This meeting was held at Alcor UK Ltd., 18, Potts Marsh Industrial Estate, Westham, E. Sussex. (Tel 0323 460257)
Special guests included Dr Ralph Merkle of Xerox Parc, California, who was over here to address the BBC and Royal Medical Society audiences on nanotechnology. He introduced a new book by Dr K. Eric Drexler Nanosystems (Wiley 1992). He informed us that Mike Darwin had left his official post at Alcor US, but remained a member; that Alcor US had received 286 new members in 15 years with a 30% growth rate whilst the UK rate was 10 new members in 10 years.
He praised The Economist for saying that our future technologies seem feasible, and noted that most cryonicists seemed to be liberal minded clinical technicians.
We were interviewed by a reporter from the Guardian newspaper and several Alcor members were televised in the operation room, for a BBC TV series on ways of thinking about death by Gerald Scarfe, the cartoonist of Yes Minister fame, to be screened in the summer.
Russell Whitaker of Tech. Mind Ltd. announced that he would be visiting Germany and Los Angeles and that he was now resident in the UK. He suggested that a UK video presentation for banquet members to view in an Alcor US meeting would be useful, and announced that he would publish British Cryonics News soon. He said that insurance agents in the USA introduced many new members to Alcor US, Inc.
Dr Merkle, Russell Whitaker, Michael Price, Garret Smyth were the main contributors to discussions about Gene Roddenberry's TV series Star Trek, and the Blake's Seven series. Also under discussion was Dr Thomas Donaldson's lawsuit appealing against a Washington State decision regarding his desire to be cryonically suspended before his brain tumour killed him, so that the would stand a better chance of survival when medical scientific research made this possible.
Hospitality was excellent as is usual with prawns, chicken breasts, hunks of beef, white wine, coffee, tea and Christmas cake, and was very much appreciated.
On the return journey, from Pevensey and Westham station to Victoria station the train was stopped at Hampden Park because a young man had lost his head and limbs on the track. They said there was no way of saving him. Passengers spent an hour in the dark before being taken by bus through the rolling downs to Lewis.
My warm thanks to Alan Sinclair for his invitation and his team's entertainment and endeavour.
Click arrow to get back to main contents page.