The never-ending quest for cost reductions continues. A review of Alcor’s utility bills and an examination of the roof space made it clear that thousands of dollars per year have been avoidably incurred in the form of unnecessarily high air conditioning bills. We have asked for bids from three companies and will choose one in the coming week to improve insulation and install radiant barriers. Judging by the remarkable escalation in billing during the hotter months (in some units of the building more than others), the annual savings should make this investment pay off in a pleasingly short time.We are still working on reducing liquid nitrogen bill, to the benefit of the Patient Care Trust. Despite overcharging us for years, our vendor is trying to hold us to the contract, which would mean being locked in until 2013. We are looking into either legal advice or minimizing purchases while pricing alternatives. 

We have also reduced the size of the staff by one. This is again in pursuit of maintaining a balanced budget. We wish former equipment fabricator Randal Fry well, and thank him for his years of work and attention to detail.

One of my concerns has been to improve Alcor’s security. It was clear that the existing (and quite antiquated) security camera system was ineffective. Not only is its coverage severely limited, its output was rarely observed. I put Steve Graber in charge of looking into a new system. Happily, prices have dropped dramatically since the existing system was purchased. The new system will provide vastly better coverage, including tilt and zoom viewing, constant recording, and output viewable (and cameras controllable) from the desktop.

The project to greatly improve Alcor’s ability to respond to members in England and other parts of Europe (and, later, in Australia and other parts of the world) and to ensure high quality standby, stabilization, and transport capabilities, including vitrification, is proceeding. I have been talking by Skype and email with a number of active cryonicists in Europe who are helping to gather information about existing capabilities and possible cooperative arrangements. At the same time, we are figuring out what equipment and supplies we would need to provide, who would house them, and who would use them (if Alcor were unable to send a team across the Atlantic in time).

On the communications front, Barry Aarons is helping us deploy the Alcor Speakers’ Bureau to give talks to organizations in the area. A few weeks ago, we started this effort modestly with me giving a talk to the Midtown Lion’s Club. The goal is to build a reputation and have a voice in the influential local business groups.

Finally, I’d like to note that we need to find a way to encourage our members to actually read both Cryonics magazine and the Alcor News emails and blog posts. We have already discussed the evidence that a substantial number of members are not reading the magazine. I have seen further evidence in the number of emails I am still receiving from members addressed to Jennifer Chapman.

— Max More