Volume 6 no 46. First published August 1994. ISSN 0964-5659.
Living for Old Age Brian Haines
The Lincoln Kid Bob Brakeman
Letters Conifers, astronomy, Terra Libra, Periastron,
Cryonics Recovery Yvan Bozzonetti
Project Mind Foundation David Devor
Beta Carotene Douglas Skrecky
Freeze (Partial) Drying Yvan Bozzonetti
Ginkgo Biloba Douglas Skrecky
Avoiding Blindness Douglas Skrecky
Saving Communism Yvan Bozzonetti
Project for Permafrost Burials In Russian Lapland Dr Michael Soloviev
It's Media Time Again, Folks! Chrissie Loveday
CD Review: Immortal Music
Living for old age
by Brian W. Haines
If you believe life finishes at sixty, then fine. That is your personal choice, there is nothing left to be done except wind up your affairs and make your way to the Cremy.
There is a sad organisation devoted to the old. The old are those who believe themselves to have finished all active life and devote themselves to memories of past glories. You find them in all walks of life, ex-bankers, ex-soldiers, ex-labourers, widows and widowers alike, all concerned with nostalgia and the twilight world of grief, pensions and funeral parlours.
It is perhaps all to easy for people who have been regulated all their lives by the time honoured systems of structured employment to accept the designation of old when their utility has ceased to be of value. A life-time of conditioned thinking leads to the decay of the critical faculties which in other circumstances may have questioned the presumption of a decline into death.
The pressure upon the labour force to retire from active participation in life is great. There are newspapers dedicated to the old, there are clubs dedicated to the old, there are programmes on radio and television dedicated to the old, there are actual organisations dedicated to the old. They all share a common purpose, that purpose is to enforce the message life is an inevitable decline into doddering ineptitude.
Do you really believe your life is over simply because you once had children and they have themselves had children? Do you really believe you should not find each new dawn a challenge simply because you have been made redundant, or retired from some active employment? Are you absolutely set upon a life concerned only with the evils of the young and the goodness of a previous generation? Do you look forward to a life swapping stories of hospital beds and the perils of walking out alone at night? If these are your parameters for living then there can be no purpose in envisaging another ten, twenty or one hundred years of longevity in which to torture yourself with mental anguish.
Today you can, with the aid of one of the age organisations, start saving for your own funeral. So much a month will give you peace of mind that you have a decent burial. Is this not the resignation of life par excellence. This is like standing on the gallows without protest, accepting the executioner has a right to hang you. You are dead meat before your time.
Just suppose for a moment you believed there was more to life than a nine to five job five days a week for 50 years or so. And suppose you believed your life was your own and you were immortal. Wouldn't it make sense to ask one of these premature funeral organisations to give you the option to have your body preserved the way you wanted when you wanted it? Better still why not make provision now for an on-going life programme which preserves your life forces while you are still here, now you can enjoy them.
Bin the wretched propaganda from these sad barren age organisations which are springing up like mushrooms overnight. Refuse the onslaught of intimidating threats lurking in an uncertain future. Welcome the prospect of disaster and the challenge of striking out in new directions.
Why wait for the millennium? Age shall not weary, nor time condemn. Start that youth programme now.
The Lincoln Kid
by Bob Brakeman
Since his name and that of his parents and friends would only complicate this story, we'll just call him The Lincoln Kid. He lived in Springfield Illinois, and he's the answer to a trivia question: What was the death-decade for the last surviving person to have seen Abraham Lincoln? The answer is the 1970s, which seems either impossible or extremely unlikely, since Lincoln died in 1865, and a person old enough to have seen and remembered him would have had to have been born in the 1850s, which in turn would mean that in the 1970s they would have been 120+ years old. With cryonics that'll gradually become a commonplace, but it ain't one yet; it doesn't have to be, because even though the last surviving person to have seen and remembered Lincoln died in the 1970s, he wasn't born in the 1850s or anywhere near that time --- he was born at the turn of this century.
So how did he happen to have been on a quasi-first-name basis with Lincoln? Easy: Lincoln wasn't exactly alive when the two became acquainted.
Because of grave-robbing attempts1, and because Lincoln's tomb in Springfield wasn't thought grand enough for someone of his stature,2 prominent residents of the town decided early in this century to construct a much more impressive new tomb. When it was ready, there was the little matter of moving-the-lad (this lad is A.L., not the Lincoln Kid). To avoid gawkers, it was decided that it would be done in the middle of the night. It occurred to one of the prominent locals running the project that this was something of an historic moment, so he made sure his young son was awakened to come and view the transfer; that little boy would become the last surviving person to see Abraham Lincoln.
Oh, no, he didn't just see the coffin --- he saw Lincoln. When the transfer was in progress, all those present succumbed to a temptation, one which was either intellectual or ghoulish or both: There was a little face panel on the coffin, one which when opened would allow the face of the deceased to be seen (consult the mortician of your choice for the technical term for that useful little gizmo). Those doing the Lincoln-moving took a why-not attitude, and so the little face-door was opened, and the assembled movers looked into the face of Abraham Lincoln, four decades after his death.
What they saw was both undramatic and dramatic --- undramatic because there were no real changes in the face (you go burying people & then unburying them later & you take your chances on what the new and improved edition is gonna look like ....) beyond a certain ultra-whiteness; and dramatic because they were, after all, looking into the face of the most famous world figure of the century --- and they were almost certainly the last people who would ever see it. After a long and solemn viewing period, the gizmo-door was closed, and Lincoln moved into his new condo, one with enough poured cement to ruin the day of every grave robber who ever lived.
Now, the story of the Lincoln Kid and his midnight adventure is interesting on its own terms, but it also has something to say to cryonicists, and particularly to those who worry about whether future generations will be very much interested in reviving/rehabilitating us. In addition to the often-stated excellent reasons why they will be (they'll be legally and contractually bound to do so, they'll be dealing with the physical persons of their own friends/relatives/ancestors, they'll be paid to do so, etc.), there's also a reason which was well demonstrated in the Lincoln case: All those present at the Midnight Moving thought (and many of them said, to each other and to other people later) the same thing: Wouldn't it be great to be able to talk to this no-longer-moving lad? Because they were living in the first decade of the l9OOs and Lincoln had been born in the first decade of the l8OOs, they figured out that they were looking at someone who could have spoken to them about life in the Kentucky Wilderness in 1818; about Life On The Mississippi in 1828; about the "population explosion" in Illinois in 1838, as it was settled from the south-up; and so on through the decades --- decades that Lincoln had seen and they had not. They all understood that if the man before them could talk, he could speak to them about the coming of the railroad and the Indian wars and the Mexican War and the early steamboats and the California gold rush --- all events that those looking into Lincoln's face were too young to have remembered. They understood, in short, how much fun it would be to talk to people from previous eras, quite apart from how educational it'd be. The Midnight Movers decided that they'd had a satisfying night, but all were conscious of how much more satisfying it would have been if the man whose remains they were protecting-by-moving could have served as a time-machine for them, by speaking to them of past decades and a past century.
Cryonics' eventual success will provide that kind of time-machine, and the fact that it will provide it is one of the reasons cryonics will be a success in the first place: Future generations, in addition to all their other motives for reviving those now suspended, are likely to decide that talking to people from hundred years before is irresistible; and so they won't resist.
1 The most serious of the Lincoln grave robbing attempts actually almost succeeded. A slightly fictionalized account of it is told in an excellent overlooked little George MacReady film from 1957: The Abductors.
2 A comment on Lincoln's "stature" is contained in the Ideological Addendum which follows this article. (Of course, with quotations marks around "stature" you should be able to figure out in advance that there will be a terrible shortage of idolatry in that Ideological Addendum).
As someone who has spent a lot of time, with reasonable success, convincing cryonicists to become libertarians and libertarians to become cryonicistsA I would not want the subject matter of this article to suggest that I or other libertariansB have the exalted/establishment view of Lincoln's worth. Although he was not completely hopeless, his crimes against human liberty were very consistent, and they were so numerous that there's plenty in the Lincoln-record to appall both leftists and rightists of today:
The left should be depressed that Lincoln invented (for America) that essential element of military terrorism the draft. It is a truism that for legitimate wars, meaning ones in which people are being asked to defend themselves and their families from an actual attack, you don't need a draft --- people generally will always be available to repel an actual invasion of their home-area, as in the English invasion of the US during the war of 1812, but they must be enslaved (drafted) and kidnapped (drafted) to get them to fight in insane far-away bloodbaths, as in the case of the invasion of the south in the Civil War and US participation in The First European Civil War and the Second European Civil WarC in this century. The public generally had no interest to invading the South in 1861, and Lincoln enthusiastically sent out thousands of federal kidnappers ("US Marshals", to use the government code term) to make sure hundreds of thousands of soldiers would show up to do things in which they had no interest.
The left has also figured out that Lincoln was a standard-bigot. The usual response to that comment is that he was a "product of his time", meaning that since bigotry was the norm in the l850s, that excuses Lincoln for holding those views --- but that is nonsense: Those who combine rationalism and morality are always right, in all times and places, and that included the 1850s: The abolitionists and quasi-abolitionists often went beyond that narrow goal and developed a theory of what can only be called racial equalitarianism -- but with a couple of exceptions (Thaddeus StevensE comes to mind, and maybe Ben WadeF) those kinds of people were not elected to public office; the racists were, and A.L. was proud to be one of them.
Conversely/similarly, the right should hate Lincoln, for he almost single handedly created the modern super state: From the issuance of unbacked funny paper money to a national/government banking system to a monstrous government pensions program to exploding tax rates to the first ever imposition of the most invasive of all taxes (the income tax) --- Lincoln simply invented the modern regulatory terrorist theft state.
Finally, there is a non-left/non-right objection to Lincoln which suggests that you should enthusiastically ignore February 12th every year:
He was a lawyer.
In sum, if a necessary precondition for the existence of this article had been the wonderfulness of Abraham Lincoln, you would now be reading something else (possibly Lolita for the 237th time, or the Federal Bureau of Prisons' Listing Of Members Of Congress Scheduled For Parole This Month).
Notes To Ideological Addendum:
A The stories of those libertarian-to-cryonicist and cryonicist-to-libertarian conversions are gradually being told in various publications of both types in the US and abroad.
B Because it is possible that many readers of this analysis were forced to attend government indoctrination factories (which are apparently called "schools"), it is equally possible that some of those readers have been exposed only to socialist criminality and conservative criminality (the left and the right) as potential political/moral worldviews; therefore the ideological worldview which rejects both leftist crimes (mainly against property) and rightist crimes (mainly against control of one's own person) should perhaps be defined here: Libertarianism simply asserts the obvious --- that there are only two crimes, theft and assault (with subvariants of each), and that all other "laws" are just government-words-on- paper. Out of general prudence you may wish to pay some attention to such "laws", in the same way that, and for the same reason that, you may wish to avoid non-governmental muggers ---- violent things may happen to you if you do not. But following illegitimate laws because the feds will terrorize you if you do not implies no concession of legitimacy as to what the left and the right are up to. Saying a plague on both your houses is a beginning, but it's too moderate; what needs to happen is that both those houses need to cease to exist. A plague-ridden house might recover someday.
C See my Why The World Wars Weren't for more on that point. In one sentence, the point of that article is simply that what the controlled/establishment propaganda media call the "World Wars" were simply the latest two rounds in the endless series of European Civil Wars going back more than a millennium; but for the US public to be indoctrinated into accepting US entry into those pointless European bloodbaths they of course had to be renamed World Wars, so that a 1917 battle over a meaningless ditch in Eastern France could be made to seem like something a resident of the Truk Islands should care about.
D Which is not to say anything good about the Slave South. As my comments herein about Lincoln on racial issues should make clear, there is nothing good to be said about the S.S.
E My article America's Most Touching Epitaph has a short introduction to the life of the least offensive member of the US Congress, Thaddeus Stevens.
F Anti-slavery Senator Ben Wade is profiled in my article If They Could Contrive To Slay 1/2 Their Oppressors ..." The magazine articles alluded to herein have been published in many libertarian magazines abroad over the past decade, & are now available as no cost reprints from: BOB BRAKEMAN INC. 2444 Crooks Road Suite 49 Troy Michigan 48084 USA
Bob Brakeman, the author of more than 2000 articles on Immortalism and Public Affairs, resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
From Mr Yvan Bozzonetti
Tropical conifers culture from cuttings was unsuccessful, a new trial using root growth promoting hormones will start in the next weeks. The objective is to get the cell culture source for agar gel multiplication of useful plants. Cutting propagation may allow the gain of many years compared to seeding. Some of these trees produce sap derivatives known collectively as copal. Copal was used by ancient Chinese as a mummy conservation agent. In the long run it polymerizes to form amber with protective capabilities going to tens of millions of years. Sixty years ago, copal was collected by tens of thousands of tons to produce paint.
Culture from seeds put in open air in southern France have undergone too a 50% destruction from frost. The site, near the sea, suffers from heavy dew deposit and frosting in winter. Dew protected plants are not damaged. The final choice for extensive field culture must be somewhat farther away from the sea or use very large greenhouses.
There was an intensive investment in computers, including 3 new PC 386DX40 and 486DX33 with 5 supplementary hard disks. Five supplementary screens and high speed modems have been ordered from Taiwanese producers. When completed this system must allow me to tap into scientific data banks filled with genetic information. This is the first step in the common cold vaccine project and some similar undertakings. Two sites will have the same 386 based computer system, one in Paris and another in southern France.
The 486 system will be dedicated to software creation and heavy statistical computing on a set of astronomical experiments on quantum effects. In physics, astronomy is often the poor's laboratory. A better understanding of some issues in quantum physics and its connection to macroscopic domain, may be a key component in a better mastering of cryonics or freeze drying induced damages. Two more 486 computer motherboards were ordered as element of a coming larger project in this domain.
A light quantum detector with its software and specialized electronics interface card to a computer was purchased, a $4,000 expense. A special platform for using it with an array of telescopes is on order, this is a further $2,000 investment. A request for collaborative works on these subjects was launched towards two large international amateur-professional scientific organizations. The first objective is to test the quantum-Euclidean interface as it holds the key for all nonlinear systems able to work on chaos border systems as life. (See Also Mr Bozzonetti's articles in Fractal Report - ed.)
Some contacts were made to establish a French based cryonics-freeze drying centre. The objective is to include man, animals from endangered species, and rare plants together with experimental devices to test large time uncertainty in long waves and plasmon physics at a later stage.
A specialist in high temperature superconductors, able to build the required key components, was eventually found.
From Mr Brian W. Haines
I found the last issue of Longevity Report fascinating. I was so engrossed in reading it I missed a television documentary I wanted to watch.
It was not that it featured so many articles of mine, (which I never read as it embarrasses me to see my own work in print), but somehow there was a diversity that goes to make up a good issue.
If I may make one more comment upon this Terra Libra movement. I do seem to have heard of some-one called Bernie Cornfeld who asked, "Do you sincerely want to be rich?" and an organisation called Investors Overseas brought a lot of money to a lot of people. It managed to avoid the financial laws of a lot of countries and I am told at one time threatened the economy of some lesser developed Nations. In the event a lot of people lost a lot of money, and it was always the "small people" not the big fish who lost out. And it started in the United States where so many of these schemes originate.
As I mentioned in my article, the question of how you enforce your right to repayment when faced with a defaulter is avoided. Please tell me, if all my money is in some off shore trust and some-one nicks it, what do I do?
If you invest in a UK based financial trust, such as a unit trust or some insurance based scheme, theoretically you have the law courts to turn to if anything goes wrong. In practise you can only do this if you are poor enough to apply for legal aid, or rich enough to afford a solicitor and barrister. If you had money to invest the former probably wouldn't apply.
However fear of litigation would make many UK trust managers behave themselves. If something goes wrong and you make enough fuss, then usually they will pay you back. In addition, there are various industry compensation funds to which you can turn if the trust goes bust for any illegitimate reason. Of course, you can lose money because the trust does badly, ie invests in unprofitable shares - what we are talking about is if you lose money because the managers used your funds to spend on themselves rather than invest for your benefit.
As well as court action, UK residents have the opportunity to go to the mass media if something goes wrong. Often this threat will make managers pay up.
But in all cases, if something goes wrong you have to work and you have to worry before you get your money back.
The difference with an overseas institution is merely one of more cost, more work and more worry. You can litigate in the country of domicile, but this is definitely going to be more expensive, particularly so if the country is the United States. The British news media are less likely to be interested on your behalf if you invest overseas. However there is nothing to stop you contacting a journalist in the country concerned. They may be flattered that you invested in their country and concerned that a citizen thereof has treated you badly thereby giving their country a bad name. At one time you could complain to the ambassador of the country at the London embassy and get redress for similar reasons, but this is less likely now.
So is there any safeguard? There is, sort of. It is, in fact, an old proverb "don't put all your eggs in one basket."
If you are going to invest in institutions of dubious merit, possibly because of ambitious returns or because the investment is of a form suitable for cryonics, then put a small amount in many different places. It is unlikely, (but not impossible) that all will fail.
Terra Libra institutions offer a greater return that conventional ventures for a reason - they are indeed less secure. If they are thought out carefully, the risk to reward ratio should be exactly the same as any other investment! A particular example gives about 36% annual return. Obviously the chances of losing your money in three years is higher than an investment that gives only 5% return.
No one knows at present whether Terra Libra will survive. Organisations outside national boundaries have survived over centuries, the Freemasons being a good example. More recently, organisations such as the Scientologists have survived despite a great deal of friction with the authorities in various countries. If Terra Libra does survive, then those that have invested with its institutions will do well, but as they become more well known, their interest rates will fall to more normal levels.
If you invest on the stock market, you will find that different stocks have different rates of return. These reflect in part the stability of the stocks, although they also reflect their future potential as well.
If you buy professionally managed investments, different rates of projected return are quoted depending on the risk you are prepared to take with your money.
So you pay your money and take your choice!
Periastron Gives Cryonicists Advantage Over Cryobiologists
In the May issue of Periastron Dr Thomas Donaldson said that "A true understanding of memory would give cryonicists an advantage over most cryobiologists".
A person is only dead when there is no longer sufficient information available to restore the program and data in the brain. Therefore freezing brains is different to freezing kidneys, for example. In the latter case you are doing it in order to get that specific kidney working again. In the former case you have suceeded as long as the program and data can be extracted from the frozen brain.
Apart from the usual brain articles, there are also items on nanotechnology in the form of molecular switches nad conducting rods and genetic engineering.
Periastron PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, California 94087, USA. (email email@example.com) Subscriptions cost $3.00 per issue. Articles are welcome on computer media. 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!
by Yvan Bozzonetti
For most people, technological difficulties remain the main problem in cryonics recovery. This is true today, even if the question seems to be solved for plants (see: New Scientist, 27 February 1993, p.16: A frozen future for endangered plants?). On the basic biological ground, we are not so different from common vegetables (Looking at general passivity, there may be too a psychological link). Given the will, that is the money, and a sufficient time lapse, any technological problems may be overcome. At least, the plant success tells us there is no fundamental impossibility, all other opinion must be discarded in the face of facts.
Most cryonicists hope there will be a solution in one or two centuries. They may be right or not, a strong programme may produce a result in a far shorter period or political, economic, social and religious difficulties may postpone the issue for centuries. Freeze drying and copal allow a wait for millennia if needed, without liquid nitrogen refilling costs. Given a sufficient time, outside a complete collapse of the technological world, there will be someday be a technological recovery solution. If storage and recovery are no problem, investing in a new life looks perfectly sane.
Most cryonicists worry about the recovery cost. Can we pay for it in advance, that is, must we save on a "cryonics account" today? If you think so, you can try it but don't forget the fractal-like curves of stock market: given a sufficient time, any value will soar (not a problem) and plummet to near zero (THE problem). If we bet on a recovery in a given time lapse, then a sufficient fund may be devised so that its collapse probability will remains negligible. If we look at half a century, no problem with a good deal of money, beyond that problems come to light. Think of the world sixty years ago. Germany was a world problem, but apart from political taste, putting your money in Hitler's care was not unreasonable: Why not accept the idea than the Reich will last one thousand years?
Skip now from 1933 to 1963. Cuba crisis was just over and cold war dominated all minds. Who thinks then it will be no more a problem 30 years later?
What in 30 more years? Nuclearization of third world countries and terrorist organizations seems inescapable. Any developed country economy could crumble overnight with some dirty bombs carried by old trucks or boats. Communist China with a economical growth rate near 15% per year may outperform the sum of all other countries. Will USA, with its poor technical teaching records, be able to survive without USSR-like breakdown? Who want to invest today in the Shanghai stock exchange or buy a flat in Shenzen? Don't forget China is today the country with the largest experimental biotechnological programme. If AIDS can't be solved with its micobacterial corollaries, Africa, South America, India and some other territories may be devastated. Cocaine may disrupt Europe and North America in the same period of time. (Vodka has done more towards ending the USSR than Communism!).
This is "inertial forecast", a linear extension of what we see today. Here will be more in tomorrow reality. Don't think day to day management of money will solve automatically all questions. Economical systems are stiff and remain nearly unchanged until they break down in day or minutes, with the computer helping to accelerate the collapse.
To go beyond, at the sixty years mark is purely crystal ball guessing and without any practical value. Unfortunately, that remains a short period for cryonics recovery. On a personal basis, I see no way to pay for distant period works. I wait for a counter proof. The only possibility seems to carry with oneself its value. If you are a good software engineer, you will have a value till there will be a computer market.
Well, we can't known what will be the world in some centuries, the only unchanged things will be the physical laws of the world. Technology may lag up to a century behind theoretical physics, so this domain may be our only glimpse on tomorrow world. Its massive use of mathematical models is a good training for the mind, both an useful exercise to retrain in a new world and keep a well oxygenated brain.
Project Mind Foundation Announcement
David S. Devor
The Project Mind Foundation is based on the book of the same name by T.Kun and has founding members in Canada, France, India, Israel and the U.S.A. Our preliminary statement of purpose is:
"to free the human spirit from the crushing illusion of materialism by using the transformative genius, latent in all humans, to eliminate real and addictive lack."
Our foundation is in the process of forming a "higher creativity think tank" to realize this purpose. The essence-theory behind Project Mind is a creativity breakthrough and makes possible the first hard proposal for reconciling outer and inner paradigms (science and spirit) in a balanced, high-energy synthesis that preserves the essentials of both.
Earth stewardship and population control are urgent problems, yet current thinking fails to address root causes or grasp the inevitability of the relentless expansion of science and technology. While knowledge cannot be contained, science can become more vision-driven and holistic. Progress can be fueled and channeled by esoteric principles of creativity that truly empower and validate science and industry rather than emasculate them, which
environmentalism is often perceived as trying to do.
We were each created for a purpose. Working toward that purpose is a privilege and a delight. Otherwise, work, in spite of occasional ego-fulfillment, tends to drudgery and wage-slavery. True purpose, ultimately, implies compassionately creative world transformation. Project Mind seeks the cooperation of those who understand.
Interested parties may contact:
David S. Devor, Exec. Director
Project Mind Foundation
8 Mevo Hamaavak
French Hill tel: 972/2/814941
Jerusalem 97877 fax: 972/2/823276
Israel email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or they may order the book, PROJECT MIND - The Conscious Conquest of Mind & Matter Through Accelerated Thought - by T.Kun, softcover, 304 pages including appendix, glossary, index and references, $17.45, postpaid, foreign $19.45, from Unimedia Publishing, Box 247, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 34635. Available through most bookstores.
Does Beta Carotene Increase
Lung Cancer Risk?
by Douglas Skrecky
A recent randomized double blind placebo controlled trial found that daily 20 mg supplements of beta carotene increased the incidence of lung cancer slightly in a group of middle aged male smokers. This result was completely unexpected and even the researchers involved in this trial doubted the validity of their own results1. What has been obscured by the media reportage of this possibly spurious negative result is that all of the scientific literature (at least all which I have examined) relating beta carotene to cancer risk indicates that small 20 mg daily supplements of beta carotene should NOT be able reduce cancer risk! The trial had no justification. The reason is simple. Are human diets favouring lots of fruits and vegetables associated with reduced cancer risk? Yes they are. Are these diets also higher in beta carotene content? Yes they are. However they are also higher in other non-vitamin related substances which tests have indicated are far more likely to be effective in lowering cancer risks. For example scientists have determined that beta carotene does not significantly protect bacteria from the mutagenic effects of tobacco snuff and diesel emission particles. What did work? A chlorophyll derivative called chlorophyllin protected the bacteria very effectively2. Conclusion: There might be some justification for testing a chlorophyll or chlorophyllin supplement to see if they could lower lung cancer risks for smokers. However there is no case that could be made for testing beta carotene.
Surely scientists would not have the taxpayer fund an expensive human trial on beta carotene without some evidence that it might work? Does beta carotene inhibit cancer in experimental animals? Yes it does. Does this mean that the trial was justified? No, it doesn't. Only very large supplements of beta carotene have been found to have a modest inhibitory effect on cancer. The trial used only a very small supplement and small supplements have been found not to inhibit cancer growth in experimental animals3.
The moral of this story is that scientists are human. They make mistakes. We all make mistakes. However the next time some clique of scientists decides to spend a lot of taxpayer's money on some foolish project it would be nice if they asked the taxpayer first.
Why did beta carotene supplementation increase the incidence of lung cancer? Here is a possible explanation. The mild yellowing of the skin experienced by those receiving beta carotene supplements may have prompted them to avoid extra beta carotene in their diet. The resulting reduced intake of fruits and vegetables would then account for the increased cancer risk.
1 The Effect of Vitamin E and Beta Carotene on the Incidence of Lung Cancer and Other Cancers in Male Smokers Vol.330 1029-1035 1994 The New England Journal of Medicine
2 Comparative Antimutagenicity of 5 Compounds Against 5 Mutagenic Complex Mixtures in Salmonella Typhimurium Strain TA98 Vol.222 19-25 1989 The New England Journal of Medicine
3 The Effect of Different Levels of Dietary B-Carotene on DMBA Induced Salivary Gland Tumours Vol.9 93-101 1987 Nutrition Cancer
Also see Life Extension Report May 1994
Freeze (Partial) Drying.
by Yvan Bozzonetti
Cryonics with liquid nitrogen may be the best technical solution up to now. Unfortunately, it suffers from a fundamental weakness: the need to refill the ever evaporating liquid nitrogen stock. Here, in France, a strike by truck workers in the '92 summer has blocked nearly every move during more than three weeks. To go to a nearby city twenty kilometres away was a wild expedition for me. A cryonics centre can't undergo such events without damage for its users. This is a small social disturbance compared to what happens in former Soviet Union. Who has predicted such events ten years ago? so, I think cryonics is largely today a faith or a religious belief, not because it can't technically work, but because it remains too frail when facing social disruption.
Freeze drying is the second bad solution after the worst one: classical burial. It must be developed as a back-up solution put in use if something forbids continuous cryonics processes. Unfortunately, to be efficient, freeze drying needs very long desiccation time, up to six months in a low pressure chamber. After that, any moisture can corrupt all the process. As a final drawback, corpses fully dried becomes very brittle and can't tolerate any shock or mechanical stress. If cryonics can't be sustained, all frozen bodies must be dried at the same time, that put a very strong constraint on the system capacity.
Looking at all of that, partial drying and chemical conservation seems the best answer. This solves at the same time the drying duration problem and its associated cost, the brittleness and moist sensibility and finally emergency difficulty. If the drying phase takes only two or three days, many "batches" may be worked out in the same dryer.
From the example of insects or small lizards protected in amber for millions of years and Chinese mummies, a copal bath from Agathis Australis trees seems the best solution. This is the nearly perfect "store and forget" technology with no recurrent costs and preservation insurance for millennia at most. Even if recovery technology is late to come, that doesn't imply an larger exposure to social risks or political/economic collapses.
by Yvan Bozzonetti
Many copies of the gene coding for the protein superoxide dismutase (SOD) have been found in the mitochondria of long living selected C. Elegans worms. The first kind of ageing may be simply the result of cell starving, produced by the energy generating mitochondria demise. That failure seems find its origin in the DNA low quality repair system found here. Reducing DNA damages by better free radical scavenging, prolong then the energy production period of mitochondria, and so, the life expectancy of the cell.
SOD gene is on the selling list of many laboratories and corporations such Invitrogen market a full set of "vectors" to implant new genes in nearly any kind of cells. (Nature, vol. 362, p.479, 1st April. information sent on request on ref. Reader Service N105, Nature Macmillan Magazines Ltd, 4 Little Essex Street, London WC2R 3BR). When the cells are part of a large living organism, such as a Longevity Report contributor, the technology is called gene therapy.
I plan to use the process for myself in the years to come. I hope nobody will take notice of that classified information. After all, I think I must be the only benefactor of that technology. All other potential users will be denied access by a powerful law I have patented: general passivity.
by Douglas Skrecky
Ginkgo Biloba extracts contain a number of interesting substances including terpenoids such as bilobalide and various antioxidants including flavonoid glycosides as well as proanthocyanadins. Bilobalide itself helps to regenerate damaged nerve cells, while the antioxidants suppress the generation of toxic hydrogen peroxide in brain cells1,2. Ginkgo extracts also offer a fair degree of protection from UV radiation and partially reverse age associated changes in noradrenergic function in the brain3,4. Ginkgo Biloba has been found to be as effective as co-dergocrine (Hydergine) in ameliorating cerebral insufficiency in the aged. Ginkgo is also effective in improving tinnitus5,6. Extracts used contain 24% flavonoid glycosides and 6% terpenoids. Therapeutic doses vary from 120 to 160 milligrams per day. The proanthocyanadin content may be of great importance. This is believed to account for an increase in the uptake of 5-hydroxytryptamine in cerebral cortex7. In the fourth International Symposium on Orthomolecular Medicine one interesting paper was presented which found that while Ginkgo Biloba extracts decrease the generation of hydroxyl radicals in vivo, that the flavonoid quercetin by itself had no effect. Presumably this means that the ginkgo flavonoids (mostly quercetin glycosides) have little or nothing to do with the antioxidant activities of ginkgo. Perhaps this is not too surprising in view of the fact that most flavonoids readily auto-oxidize to generate free radicals themselves. The active antioxidant ingredients are presumably proanthocyanadins.
1 Regeneration of Motor Nerves in Bilobalide Treated Rats 302-307 Vol.59 1993 Planta Medica
2 Flow Cytometric Estimation of the Effect of Ginkgo Biloba Extract on the Content of Hydrogen Peroxide in Dissociated Mammalian Brain Neurons 385-388 Vol.60 1992 Japan Journal of Pharmacol.
3 UV-C Irradiation Induced Peroxidative Degradation of Microsomal Fatty Acids and Proteins: Protection by an Extract of Ginkgo Biloba (EGb 761) 197-203 Vol.13 1992 Free Radical Biology & Medicine
4 Alpha2-Adrenoceptor Changes During Cerebral: The Effect of Ginkgo Biloba Extract 24-27 Vol.44 1992 Journal of Pharm. Pharmacol.
5 Ginkgo Biloba for Cerebral Insufficiency 352-358 Vol.34 British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
6 The author has a mild case of tinnitus himself, so he tried Ginkgo Biloba to see if it could reduce this. It did.
7 The Ginkgo Biloba Extract EGb761 Increases Synaptosomal Uptake of 5-Hydroxytrptamine: In-vitro and in-vivo Studies 943-945 Vol.44 1992 Journal of Pharm. Pharmacol.
by Douglas Skrecky
Cataract and macular degeneration are the most common causes of blindness in the elderly. Dietary vitamin C and vitamin E have been found to have no correlations with these diseases in some studies, while others do find an inverse relationship. The effect of supplement use is poorly documented, though vitamin C supplements do seem to be associated with a reduction in cataract risk. The most consistent dietary effect was an inverse relationship between carotenoid intake and risk, which was supported by most studies. One large study of nurses found that spinach and other greens but not carrots reduced cataract risk. This is not surprising as the yellow pigment in the retina has been found to consist of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, but not beta carotene. Lutein and zeaxanthin are notably absent from carrots, but are plentiful in spinach.1
No study has examined the effect of supplemental use of lutein and zeaxanthin, but the evidence is suggestive enough to warrant preferring carotenoid supplements which include these substances in addition to beta carotene. Until more definitive studies are completed the best recommendation would seem to take a cue from Popeye. Enjoy your spinach as well as other greens.
1 Nutrition and the Epidemiology of Cataract and Age-related Maculopathy Vol.48:108 1994 European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
humour by Yvan Bozzonetti
Communism seems not to be in good health these days. Thanks Marx, Cuba and North Korea. Save the immortal spirit of bureaucratic communism. At the start, communist ideas was simple: To produce a collective action and then divide benefits between all workers. If you buy some shares from an industrial enterprise, you put your money power, that is, your work, in a collective undertaking. That capitalist activity stands not far from original communism. Well, what I want to save is not that theoretical pristine communism. What today needs some help is bureaucratic communism of the good old Brezhnev time.
It rests on one basic law: you must want everything from the state, or at least some powerful organization beyond your reach and control. You want some money? Ask for an allocation. You can't find a drug? Ask for an authorization. You want anything, ask the authorities, your hierarchical superior. If you can't get whatsoever, complain, don't do anything yourself. Never do anything for your own benefit, Wait!
You need not to agree with that philosophy to be a good Communist, you need only to act along its principles. You are allowed to say you hate Communism, you fight Communism, and so on. Nevertheless, you will be a good supporter of bureaucratic Communism if you behave in the right way. You maybe are a good communist without knowing it.
As a welcome gift, I give you a trial, lifelong, subscription at the World Communist Club. Do nothing to be registered, simply ask and complain about anything to anybody and we will see at least Communism overcomes everything in the world. Well, as a good Communist, I can do nothing for it, I can only ask to you to complain. So I hope you will display enduring Communist behaviour and take no action, at least outside collective pressure. I know you will save Communism in everyday life, if not in its official name. I count on you.
Stalin and Mao will save us.
by Michael Soloviov
1. What is permafrost burial
Permafrost burial is a kind of cryostasis -- frozen storage of the clinically dead to await future rescue by advanced technology. Permafrost burial differs from usual cryonic procedures: it needs (besides perfusion with cryoprotective solution) additional dehydration, chemical fixation, and air isolation. Its technology is rather experimental now, although 3 people were buried in the Canadian permafrost.
Originally permafrost burial was suggested by Evan Cooper in his book Immortality: Physically, Scientifically, Now in 1962. The most comprehensive book on this subject is Permafrost Papers by Ben Best (Cryonics Society of Canada). For further information on cryonics and permafrost burials please contact John de Rivaz, Longevity Books, West Towan House, Porthtowan, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 8AX.
2. Location of Russian Lapland
Russian Lapland (or the Kolsky peninsula, part of Scandinavia) is the area in the northwest of Russia (1000 km north of St.Petersburg).
3. Conditions in the heart of Russian Lapland
There are several towns with average population about 100,000 in each (total population of Russian Lapland is over 1,000,000). The main industry is mining. There is also a large research centre of the Russian Academy of Science and a centre of ski sport.
The transport conditions are very good: highway and railroad to St.Petersburg (about 1300 km), airport (several flights a day to/from St.Petersburg, flights to Finland and Norway are planned).
4. Permafrost there
As the plain permafrost there is rather weak and discontinuous the best location for permafrost burials in the mountain permafrost. There are wholly abandoned mines as well as abandoned shafts in the working mines. I have information that ice in the air-isolated parts of shafts does not melt even in summer and grows constantly. I hope to investigate the possibility to store the time capsules in such shafts during my visit there this summer or autumn.
5. Burial outline
As we plan that our future cryonics company will operate mainly in St.Petersburg (population over 5,000,000) this outline is made for this region:
(1) The death of our patient is pronounced.
(2) Our company (or an associated funeral director) prepares the patient for permafrost burial (perfuses the patient with cryoprotective/dehydroprotective/fixative solution, freezes, dehydrates, and puts in the stainless steel box/cylinder -- time capsule).
(3) Our company transports the patient into Russian Lapland by car.
(4) Our company puts the patient in the burial place (permafrost cemetery or bought/rented abandoned mine shaft).
(5) Our company inspects the burial place to check the safety of the patient in order to move him/her into another burial place in emergency.
As the cryonics teams also exist in Britain and there are regular flights to St.Petersburg this outline can be easily adapted for the British conditions.
6. Expenditures and price: preliminary estimation
|Initial Expenditures||$||Expenditure for 1 burial||$|
|Freeze drying machine||2,500||Time Capsule||100|
As it is possible to conclude from these tables the price for 1 burial should be $2000 to return investments at the first 10 burials. The real price will be about $3000 (my estimation).
The average price for the usual burial is $300-$500 now in Russia. The average monthly salary is about $100 (and it grows constantly). Thus our price will be affordable for the most people in Russia.
7. About the author of the project
I am a biophysicist from St.Petersburg University worked for a long time in life extension. Last year my colleagues and I organized an initiative group to promote cryonics in Russia. In autumn we intend to establish our cryonics foundation legally. Our next step will be attraction of investments and donations to create a cryonics company in Russia. To contact us please write or send e-mail to: Michael Soloviov, 9 Kaznacheyskaya St., Apt. 24, St. Petersburg, 190031 Russia, e-mail: email@example.com.
My Way To Cryonics
Ben Best (Cryonics Society of Canada) asked me: How did you learn of the idea of cryonics? This is a copy of my answer (I also sent it to Mike Perry (Society for Venturism) and later gave him the permission to publish it in The Venturist Monthly News):
I learned of cryonics in my early teens. I don't remember the source -- I think it was some popular scientific magazine. The first source I can remember is: J.Kurtzman & P.Gordon, No More Dying, 1976.
Since my school years I am interested in life extension. However cryonics implies the gap between the present life and the future one (after reanimation) and there is some uncertainty in "jumping" this gap. Therefore I decided to investigate other (more smooth) possibilities.
For this purpose I studied and worked in the following fields:
(1) gene engineering (2 years) -- to fight against ageing at the molecular level;
(2) synaptic transmission (0.5 year) and neurophysiology of vision (1.5 year) -- to transfer human personality into computer directly (by analysis of neural activity) or to create a cyborg (man+machine) brain;
(3) artificial intelligence, neural computing, and psychology (3 years) -- to transfer human personality into computer indirectly (by computer simulation based on data got by psychological methods);
(4) computer hardware design (4 years) -- to create computer hardware to provide (2) and (3) and to create microrobots (or nanorobots) for molecular medicine to provide (1).
Finally I estimated that my life may be too short to realize these smooth possibilities and I decided to work in cryonics as it gives the only existed possibility for life extension.
Permafrost Remains: Prisoner Burials
James Yount (American Cryonics Society) asked me about tissue samples from any specimen of animals discovered in a still-frozen state. This is a copy of my answer (I also sent it to Ben Best (Cryonics Society of Canada):
I know a man worked in the Taimyr peninsula (deep permafrost area) as a building manager. He told me that during some building work his workers found a large permafrost burial of prisoners -- there were many prisoner camps (GULAG) in Stalin time (and they were in other permafrost areas too). I think that tens thousands people were buried in permafrost in that time. Moreover it is highly probably that they were frozen immediately after the death (without cryoprotectants however).
If it would appear that the ethical problems what could arise are not insoluble -- I think it is possible to organize (with your possible financial (to speed up) and/or physical participation) an expedition in Taimyr (or in another place) to find such burials.
We will investigate Norlisk, Taimyr as another place for permafrost burials.
It's Media Time Again, Folks!
by Chrissie Loveday
It amazes me sometimes, how people react to the words Cryonic Suspension. I suppose I vaguely knew what it meant, before my own involvement, but I am certain I did not display the shock ... horror reactions that many people do. A number of my friends and colleagues, who see me as a fairly normal, rational human being, express great interest and only the tiniest bit of the UGH! factor. When it comes to the mass media ... well ... the reaction is quite different.
"Let's get a group of them and a few folks who disagree. The audience participation will do the rest."
It's ready made entertainment, isn't it? What would they have done if TV had been around when that first few said they were going to fly? To make a machine that would do calculations for you? Or one that would print things for you? What would Frankenstein have made of spare parts surgery?
Apart from my small contributions to John's publications, I have been doing some freelance writing recently. I have achieved my name in print in various places and my success encouraged me to write to some magazines with suggestions for articles, one of which was cryonic suspension. Bella, the second best selling woman's magazine in the UK, got very excited and rushed a photographer, a journalist (we only use our own team of journalists) and an exclusive contract, to visit me. Publication is in August and I dread the full colour picture of me plastering the pages. At least I persuaded the photographer that pictures of me in my freezer were about as relevant as a gas cooker is to cremation. He contented himself with lots of dry ice and smoke. The machine to produce the smoke was appropriately called a Pea-souper. Nice name! I needed no encouragement to smile ... I was giggling helplessly! I guess it will be my first and last photo call with a professional photographer ... even he couldn't take a picture I would actually like!
The journalist was very enthusiastic and interested in the whole business. He made dozens of notes which have to be condensed into a suitable length and the style suited to the readers of the magazine. I don't expect to see the technical depths appealing to them, so it may be a light-weight article.
About the same time, TV and radio were doing the trawl round the less usual topics and some researcher discovered Cryonics. They should have known better than to ask John to "Phone, urgently". He sent them information and a letter. The ensuing programme was good, featuring the Michaels family. One thing leads to the next ... more interviews sought, more TV and so on. It is quite astounding, the publicity that is given to the subject, compared to the number of people actually involved. Perhaps, secretly, more people are sympathetic to the idea than they are prepared to admit.
Getting past the "How do you know it will work?" brigade, the "How will you fit into the future world" lobby, it will perhaps one day, become as acceptable to everyone, as cremation. That was the shock... horror reaction of the Victorians and look what happened to that!
Must find out what the best selling women's magazine is. Perhaps they would like an article on something or other.
The following was received from WPI Records:
While it cannot be defined in the traditional sense as "soul music," Karen Hart's début release, Put Me In A Box, is indeed music for the soul. On the singer/songwriter/guitarist's newly released CD for W.P.I. Records, the talented songstress -- who has garnered critical acclaim from Entertainment Tonight, The Los Angeles Times, Variety, The New York Daily News and other noted media -- displays a depth and maturity which comes from her many years of polishing her craft in front of audiences on three continents. While busily promoting her new album, Hart is also penning a song for Grammy winner K.D. Lang to perform in the upcoming feature, Ski Vacation.
Enhanced by the superb musicianship of recording artist Vinx (Pangea/IRS Records), as well as Dave Garibaldi (Tower of Power) and Danny Jacobs (Sheena Easton), Karen's songs cut to the very heart of issues ranging from the media's exploitation of violence, to the loss of youthful innocence, and an unbeliever's plea for faith.
As listeners venture into the first few tracks of this album, they'll soon discover two definitive sides to this versatile artist: The first, light-hearted and mischievously witty; the second, reflecting a more introspective intelligence. Hart is both raucous and playful on the lead-off single/title track, Put Me In A Box, a slightly bluesy, marvellously cynical tune about cryogenics (sic) (written, incidentally, well before box office hits Demolition Man and Forever Young made freezing human bodies a hot topic.) The tune spotlights Hart's "Melissa Ethridge-esque" vocal edge and her skewed sense of humour, as well as some wicked harmonica by noted session player David McKelvey. In fact, this song harkens back to the satirical style of Hart's much lauded trio of tunes in the 1985 cult classic, Lust In The Dust, starring the late Divine.
Yet, following the irreverent Put Me In A Box and the exuberant cockiness of the second track, Take Me Out of My Suitcase, the mood of the CD changes dramatically. In the highly topical, In It For The Money, Hart's plaintive, insightful side takes centre stage. She seeks to "aim a revolver" at the words of gangsta rap artists, screenwriters and the news media who do the "easy sell" of violence without considering the consequences it has on society:
Balance my hope by my shame on a line,
Hang it by every single victim of a TV crime;
Thank you for the idea, motivation, alibi.
Continuing in this more reflective vein, Sara, a haunting ballad, describes the poignant moment when a battered wife decides she's had enough, while the jangling guitars of the hook-laden Freedom Fall illuminate Hart's personal struggles in the music business. The potential pop radio hit, If You Wanna Have Love, and the emotionally vulnerable, Slip Away, are the CD's only two tributes to the trials and tribulations of romance. Only Time Will Tell and You're Takin' It Hard round out the project, along with an unplugged version of Put Me In A Box and the stark, exposed, acoustic Back To My Heart.
Admitting her artistic debt to the early influences of pioneering acoustic rockers Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt, Hart began to branch out to develop a trademark style of her own. While playing to packed crowds in Southern California, her witty songs caught the attention of actor/producer Tab Hunter, who then asked Hart to write all of the songs for the aforementioned Lust In The Dust. Critics were unanimous in praising these "clever songs." In fact, the only thing that critics couldn't agree on was which of Hart's songs were the highlight of the movie. Leonard Maltin (Entertainment Tonight) said that Divine's rendition of Hart's These Lips Were Made for Kissin was the "highlight of the movie." Sheila Benson of the L.A. Times wrote, "the funniest thing in the movie is the song under the credits, by Karen Hart." California Magazine reported that Lanie Kazan "brings down the house with her singing of South of My Border (just north of my garter)".
Following that success, Hart was commissioned to do numerous other projects, including writing a song for Tina Turner in a feature which, unfortunately, was never released. Despite this disappointment, Hart continued to forge ahead with a string of prestigious live engagements and recording sessions. She performed regularly with Michael Feinstein, and later, toured Australia as a back-up singer with Martha Davis (formerly of The Motels). Hart has also performed in a 1984 Olympics ceremonies concert, on television in various markets, and has appeared at many star-studded functions attended by Hollywood's elite. She signed with L.A.-based indie W.P.I. Records in mid 1993.
When asked about her personal artistic process, Hart claims to use the "Ticonderoga method," slyly referring to her trusty number 2 pencil. "Writing is like therapy for me. Something turns over and over in my mind until it has to come out. After that it's like a release, and, strangely, I don't need to listen to the song over and over again."
The same can't be said, however, for Karen Hart's growing number of fans, who hopefully, will be enjoying the songs on Put Me In A Box played many times a day on radio stations throughout the country!
Put Me In A Box is available on Compact Disc through special order at all record stores.
It is available directly via mail order from WPI Records. Please send check or money order for $15.00 to WPI Records P.O. Box 66833 Los Angeles, CA 90066 U.S.A. (I suggest UK people add $5 postage.)
John de Rivaz writes:
Generally I like female vocals, but I found this particular style some getting used to. A friend of mine who admits to not liking female vocals that much anyway didn't like it at all. One of the problems is that Laura Brannigan's Forever Young sets very stiff competition for immortalist music.
Music is a personal thing, and what one person raves about another can't stand. This is about cryonics, so I would urge Longevity Report readers to buy a copy and also to request it on radio stations. The record company's commentary, reproduced above, suggests that If You Wanna Have Love is a potential hit so maybe the best way to get the CD played is to request this track. If it becomes popular, then ask for Put Me In a Box. Karen Hart has supported cryonics. (Her interest appears to extend beyond merely singing about it.) We should support her in any way we can.
Who knows, some of you may rave about this CD. I certainly found it very listenable, and will no doubt play it many times.
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