Group Picture From the Methuselah Foundation Core Volunteers Meeting

As you may recall, the core volunteers meeting for the Methuselah Foundation was held in Boston earlier this month. Here is a group picture from the photos and multimedia assembed by Mark Patterson:

Linking numbers to names and titles:

1 – Thor Christensen
2 – Aubrey de Grey, Chairman and Chief Science Officer
3 – Kevin Perrott, Executive Director of the MPrize
4 – Nic Graenway
5 – David Chambers, Chief Operating Officer
6 – Dave Fischer
7 – Elliot Bergman, MPrize Competition Coordinator
8 – David Gobel, Chief Executive Officer
9 – April Smith
10 – Michael Rae
11 – John Schloendorn
12 – Jeff Hall, Executive Director of SENS
13 – Damien Crough, Chief Financial Officer
14 – Mark Patterson

If all the folk who have helped and donated over the past few years were at the meeting, there wouldn’t have been room on the pier – a great many people indeed have helped to make the Methuselah Foundation grow and succeed. Thank you all!

University of Cambridge doctoral researcher Mark Hamalainen starts work on mitochondrial DNA damage mitigation, funded by the Methuselah Foundation

Cambridge, England – The Methuselah Foundation has awarded biochemist Mark Hamalainen an annual grant of $70,000 to conduct “MitoSENS” anti-aging research as a Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge. Under the auspices of the British Government’s Medical Research Council, at its Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, Hamalainen will investigate methods for obviating damage suffered by mitochondrial DNA, a major source of many of the debilities of aging.

Mitochondria are the components of cells that perform cellular respiration. They react oxygen with nutrients to generate water, carbon dioxide and usable energy (in the form of ATP). An unavoidable side effect of this energetic process is the production of reactive chemical byproducts, which damage nearby components of the cell. Mitochondria are unique in that they possess their own DNA (mtDNA), distinct and separate from the nucleus. Given its location, the mtDNA is highly exposed to the reactive byproducts of cellular respiration. Exacerbating the situation, mitochondria possess a severely limited capacity to repair DNA damage, when compared to the sophisticated repair systems of the nucleus.

Mutations to the mtDNA inevitably accumulate, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction, thus contributing to aging of the organism. The goal of MitoSENS is to obviate mtDNA mutations by expressing mtDNA genes from the nucleus, concluding a process long since initiated by evolution. The mitochondrial genome originally comprised thousands of genes, but evolution has reduced this number to a mere 13 (protein encoding) genes in humans. By studying how nature transferred expression of other genes from the mitochondria to the nucleus, Hamalainen will attempt to identify the necessary steps to transfer the remaining 13 genes.

Ian Holt, Ph.D., head of Mitochondrial Diseases research at the Dunn Human Nutrition Unit, commented, “For over 30 years mutations in mitochondrial DNA have been suspected to be important contributors to aging. If we can incorporate working copies of that mtDNA into our nuclear DNA, the mtDNA will be rendered superfluous and any mutations it suffers will be inconsequential. Researchers have tried to do this for many years, with only limited success. The work that Mark will perform in my lab is the most systematic attempt yet to get this technology to work.”

Methuselah Foundation Chairman Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., who devised the “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence” (SENS) methodology for combating the mechanisms of aging, said, “We are delighted to be working with the Medical Research Council on this groundbreaking project – a further demonstration that goal-directed approaches to defeating the debilities caused by aging are rapidly moving into the scientific mainstream.”

About SENS

SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) is a detailed plan for alleviating the debilitation caused by human aging. SENS is an engineering project, reflecting the fact that aging is a medical condition and that medicine is an engineering discipline. Aging is a set of progressive changes in body composition, at the molecular and cellular level, which are side effects of essential metabolic processes; each of these changes has the potential to be mitigated and eventually reversed. Further details of SENS can be found at: www.sens.org

About the Methuselah Foundation

The Methuselah Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to accelerating the development of foreseeable, science-based therapies to combat aging. Its main activities are the funding of SENS research, and the Methuselah Mouse Prize, which is being offered to the scientific research teams that significantly extend the lifespan of middle-aged laboratory mice. Further details of the Methuselah Foundation can be found at: www.methuselahfoundation.org

About the Dunn Human Nutrition Unit

The DHNU, a unit of the British Government-funded Medical Research Council, studies the fundamental processes of human nutrition, especially in energy metabolism, the involvement of these processes in human disease and ageing, and the impact of diet on human health and longevity. Further details of the DHNU can be found at: www.mrc-dunn.cam.ac.uk

Michael Yamashita’s Blog Scan

Herein lies the latest installment of Michael’s view of the blogosphere:

http://www.boingboing.net/2006/11/13/life_extension_resea.html
… Mark Frauenfelder: Attila Csordas says: “Aubrey de Grey is the man, who first made serious, scientifically conceptualized life extension speech acceptable within scholarly circles. Here are his answers to 6 life extension questions concerning moderate and maximum life extension technologies and blogs.” …
Technorati scores
General links to blog: 125836
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 4

http://www.blog.speculist.com/archives/001055.html
… Fight Aging! links and passes on some important questions to ponder about life extension. Here are the questions plus my quick answers: What is the story of your life extension commitment? I’ve been blogging on the subject for three years. I actively support organizations that are working on life extension (MPrize) as well as those that support …
Profile page: http://www.blog.speculist.com/
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General links to blog: 639
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 1

http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/michael/blog/?p=252
… Most of the respondents only discussed advances they hope will happen in their own scientific field. But wait, you can’t talk about the future, because it hasn’t happened yet, right? Looking any further than five years into the future must mean you are childish, and have your head in the clouds. Well, the point of this section in New Scientist …
Profile page: http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/michael/
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General links to blog: 493
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 1

http://sentientdevelopments.blogspot.com/2006/11/transvision-2007-announced.html
… The World Transhumanist Association’s annual TransVision conference will be held in Chicago next summer. The dates have been announced as July 26 to July 28. Ray Kurzweil and Aubrey de Grey will be the keynote speakers. I will be there and I hope you will be too. Last year’s TransVision was held in Helsinki, Finland, and the year before in …
Profile page: http://www.blogger.com/profile/1239148
Technorati scores
General links to blog: 438
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 2

http://gondwanaland.com/mlog/2006/10/30/cr-nyt/
… Calorie restriction and me October 30th, 2006 A few months ago reporter Michael Mason contacted me for a story about calorie restriction via my writeup of the first day of CR IV (I still have notes from the other two days and will write them up in the fullness of time). The story appears in tomorrow’s New York Times, now online, as One for the …
Profile page: http://gondwanaland.com/ml/
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General links to blog: 193
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http://www.camlawblog.com/-558-antiaging-medicine-and-advice-from-antiaging-medicine-man.html
… Anti-aging medicine researcher Aubrey de Grey discusses radical life extension therapies in a blog about becoming immortal. “SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, my own anti-aging plan) is a huge plan incorporating many different therapies to be applied simultaneously to people, thereby rejuvenating all organs at the cellular …
Profile page: http://www.camlawblog.com/cat-about-michael.html
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General links to blog: 142
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http://www.onetribe.me.uk/wordpress/?p=67
… Dirk records a talk by Aubrey de Grey, leader of the SENS Project (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) which is aimed at preventing age-related physical and cognitive decline. Doctor De Grey is also co-founder of the Methusalah Mouse Prize, a prize designed to accelerate research into effective life extension interventions by …
Profile page: http://www.onetribe.me.uk/
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General links to blog: 133
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 0

http://pimm.wordpress.com/2006/11/09/blogterview-with-aubrey-de-grey-life-extension-stories/
… Aubrey de Grey is the man, who first made serious, scientifically conceptualized life extension speech acceptable within scholarly circles through good timing, well-done strategy and with a little bit of luck. The rest is … (I’ve slightly modified the original question 4 and separated questions concerning the probable technologies of moderate and …
Profile page: http://pimm.wordpress.com/about/
Technorati scores
General links to blog: 103
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 9

http://pimm.wordpress.com/2006/11/15/kevin-dewalts-answers-technology-professional-lifestyle-life-extensionist/
… Kevin Dewalt is an American technology professional, presently working at a VC. Kevin is a strong life extension supporter. We’ve met online at Baris Karadogan’s blog. I specially liked his “happy argument” for maximum life extension on the psychological level, see answer 3. 1. What is the story of your life extension commitment? When I was 23 …
Profile page: http://pimm.wordpress.com/about/
Technorati scores
General links to blog: 103
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 0

http://pimm.wordpress.com/2006/11/16/pimm-got-boingboinged/
… [ aubreyboinged]Pimmblog, or more exactly the Aubrey de Grey blogterview got BoingBoinged this Monday. Despite the rumors, there was not any traffic overload, no tens of thousands visitors, no server dying, not any problems of sudden popularity. It was good, but now it’s over, back to the niche audience. In the meantime I am preparing for the …
Profile page: http://pimm.wordpress.com/about/
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General links to blog: 103
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http://anti-ageing.us/2006/11/mitosens.html
… The goal of MitoSENS is to obviate mtDNA mutations by expressing the mtDNA genes from the nucleus Mitochondria are a component of cells that perform cellular respiration. That is to say, they react oxygen with nutrients from our food to produce water, carbon dioxide, and useable energy (in the form of ATP). A side effect of this process is the …
Profile page: http://anti-ageing.us/
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General links to blog: 18
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 0

http://anti-ageing.us/2006/10/biodesign-institute-at-arizona-state.html
… The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has awarded biochemist John Schloendorn a $30,000 scholarship that will enable him to pursue anti-aging research as a Ph.D. student in the School of Life Sciences. Schloendorn is part of the institute’s inaugural doctoral graduate assistantship class of 2006. Schloendorn’s pioneering work …
Profile page: http://anti-ageing.us/
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General links to blog: 18
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http://djsunkid.livejournal.com/57608.html
…Aubrey de Grey comes across as a totally crazy guy, but simply the fact that he’s been invited to speak at TED makes me wonder. His main point is that we’ll probably be able to retard aging enough that the youth of today will likely be able to live to 1000 years or longer. Great talk by a total wackjob looking guy who I suspect is actually totally brilliant…
Profile page: http://djsunkid.livejournal.com/
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General links to blog: 15
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http://prog.livejournal.com/661225.html
… I need a life-extension icon. I’ll use Shatner for now because he’s a rather spritely 75-year-old, isn’t he. (Yes, he’s only 50 in this picture, but do you deny that he’s still got it?) From BoingBoing, some Aubrey de Grey stuff: a brief text interview, where he interestingly pooh-poohs the effectiveness of CR in humans, and the full video of a …
Profile page: http://prog.livejournal.com/profile
Technorati scores
General links to blog: 10
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http://www.alexreid.ca/2006/10-25/live-for-a-thousand-years/
… Live for a thousand years? October 25th, 2006 The interview above is between CBC news correspondent Portia Clark and British scientist Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D. who is with the department of Genetics at Cambridge University, after a lecture at the University of Alberta …
Profile page: http://www.alexreid.ca/about/
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General links to blog: 9
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http://matts-cr.blogspot.com/2006/10/hello.html
… My name is Matthew, and I will be sharing my experience with CR and err stuff… I won’t always be posting things about my CR, but will talk about other things which interest me too! First of all I should introduce myself! I live in the united kingdom in a country called Wales. I live like right by the capital city, so away from the poor areas …
Profile page: http://www.blogger.com/profile/15194550
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General links to blog: 3
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http://sustainingfuture.blogspot.com/2006/11/is-defeating-aging-only-dream.html
… Last year, Technology Review announced a $20,000 prize for any molecular biologist who could demonstrate that biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey’s “Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence1″ (SENS) [snip] was “so wrong that it was unworthy of learned debate.” The purpose of the challenge was to determine whether de Grey’s proposals were …
Profile page: http://www.blogger.com/profile/4107865
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General links to blog: 3
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http://bayblab.blogspot.com/2006/11/aubrey-de-grey.html
… Wise like Gandalf the Grey is Aubrey de Grey. Maybe not. Make up your own mind as you check out his talk at TEDtalks. I haven’t checked it out yet, lemme know if he’s under the influence of Sauron. Found on www.boingboing.net. …
Profile page: http://www.blogger.com/profile/11134614
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General links to blog: 2
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http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=4704704&blogID=193225636
… Development Officer Wanted –> title –> The Methuselah Foundation ( www.mprize.org ) seeks a singularly outstanding Development Officer to secure major donations from the entrepreneurial, technology and venture capital communities in the Bay Area. The mission of the Foundation is to devise new approaches to combating and eventually reversing …
Profile page: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=4704704
Technorati scores
General links to blog: 1
Trackbacks/Links to specific article: 0

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=28723615&blogID=191069810
… SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) Dr. Aubrey de Grey proposed seven strategies for the “seven deadly things”: 1. Cell Loss:Some of the cells in our bodies cannot be replaced, or can only be replaced very slowly. Cell loss can be repaired (reversed) just by suitable exercise in the case of muscle. For other …
Profile page: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=28723615
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General links to blog: 0
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http://lewythink.blogspot.com/2006/11/this-blog-article-posted-on-somewhere.html
… This blog article posted on somewhere brought my attention again to Aubrey de Grey’s: SENS (anti-aging push: methuselah mouse project and generally trying to make public oppinion more optimistic about living more!) …
Profile page: http://www.blogger.com/profile/10255633322319663191
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A disclaimer: Please note that the blogs linked to here do not represent any official position or opinions of the Methuselah Foundation, and are presented here for your reading. The blogs we present represent only the opinions of their owners and commentators.

110 Members of The Three Hundred

A warm welcome to Konstantin Kefalas, the 110th philanthropist of The Three Hundred, who has donated a full $25,000 in support of the goals of the Methuselah Foundation all at one go. We’re glad to see patience in such short supply when it comes to making an impact in the fight to cure aging!

It wasn’t all that long ago – back in July, in fact – that the 1/3 mark was met by the 100th member of The Three Hundred. Now there are only 190 places left; if you want to mark your name as one who helped invigorate science to defeat age-related frailty and suffering, now is the time to join.

A Short Interview With Aubrey de Grey

A short interview by Attila Csordas with Methuselah Foundation cofounder Aubrey de Grey was featured at Boing Boing recently – it’s always good to see the ideas spreading, and with them the boundaries of the healthy life extension community.

What is the most probable technological draft of maximum life extension, which technology or discipline has the biggest chance to reach it earliest? When?

SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, my own anti-aging plan) is a huge plan incorporating many different therapies to be applied simultaneously to people, thereby rejuvenating all organs at the cellular and molecular level. SENS is divided into seven main categories. It will need very good stem cell therapy and gene therapy technology, as well as probably big advances in tissue engineering. It will also need some very radical new technologies like finding bacterial enzymes that can degrade unusual compounds. Therefore, I think it will definitely not be available for humans for 20 years at least, and probably 25-30 years – and if we’re unlucky and discover new problems, it could be 100 years. But I think a good chance of doing it in 20-30 years is worth trying for! Moreover, we will be able to improve the SENS therapies thereafter, so that they give the same people (beneficiaries of the 30 extra years) another 30, and another, indefinitely – that’s what I call “longevity escape velocity”. I don’t think any other approach that has been suggested so far has any chance at all of doing that. CR mimetics, for example, rely absolutely on the genetic machinery that we already have – they just make the body try its hardest against aging – so they can’t be made better and better, there is an inherent best possible. But I’m all in favour of developing them, because they’ll be here much sooner than SENS and will help some people live long enough for SENS even if they only delay aging by a year.

Please Welcome the Newest Members of The Three Hundred

Romana Reynolds and Keith and Rona Hoyes are the newest everyday philanthropists to join the The Three Hundred and give financial support to Methuselah Foundation projects. They have chosen to step forward and help invigorate the development of medical science that will one day prevent and repair aging – welcome aboard, and we thank you for your contributions to the Foundation’s goals! From Keith and Rona Hoyes:

Society has given so much to us all. The incredible standard of living we enjoy today. This is our way of giving a little back.

The beauty of this fund is that it is not exclusive. Everybody on earth will receive the benefits of longevity research.

And it is everybody on Earth we would like to give thanks.

And not only our thanks – but to show our gratitude to you all in a very real and material way, by helping us all to live and to enjoy life just that little bit longer.

If everyone one of us choses to lend a hand to progress, then a better future will arrive that much more rapidly.

Development Officer Wanted

The Methuselah Foundation ( www.mprize.org ) seeks a singularly outstanding Development Officer to secure major donations from the entrepreneurial, technology and venture capital communities in the Bay Area. The mission of the Foundation is to devise new approaches to combating and eventually reversing the diseases and debilities caused by aging. Following two recent substantial financial contributions, the Foundation is poised for significant acceleration in 2007, both in realizing its slate of research projects and in continuing to develop its prize-driven model, the Mprize. Working with the senior management of the Foundation, you will plan, launch and manage a new fund raising program designed to strategically and systematically develop the major gift pipeline. You will have responsibility for increasing annual and periodic, unrestricted or directed support for the Mprize fund and SENS research program ( www.sens.org ) through the solicitation of donations, typically in the range $5,000 – $100,000. The Foundation is a geographically dispersed virtual organization, and so the successful candidate will enjoy considerable operational autonomy, while maintaining effective communication with the Foundation’s management team. The successful incumbent will enlarge his/her donor development team as success and growth merit.

Tasks include:

  • Assemble and maintain all information relating to current donors and prospects in the Bay Area

  • Build and maintain constituent relationships with potential and existing donors
  • Develop strategies for the cultivation and solicitation of individual major donors and donor prospects
  • Mount and manage donor meetings, events and promotions
  • Develop and manage fundraiser volunteers
  • Acknowledge donations and develop appropriate follow-up and compliance strategy
  • Identify and manage events to attract prospective donors
  • Develop strategy and annual plan for major planned giving development
  • Co-ordinate activities with Foundation management
  • Liaise with, support and leverage Foundation senior staff members on their periodic visits to the Bay Area
  • Develop local/regional media contacts

Candidate Requirements:

  • Five – ten years demonstrated successful experience and effectiveness in solicitation of major fundraising

  • Experience in organizing planned giving systems and campaigns
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills
  • Excellent research skills
  • Superior written and oral persuasive communication skills
  • Strong initiative and self-motivation
  • Excellent pre-existing network of likely donors and volunteers
  • Understands, values and exemplifies “start-up entrepreneurial” mindset
  • Team player who understands importance of efficient internal communications
  • Well connected, and of excellent reputation and character
  • The successful candidate will be offered a paid consultancy contract of six months duration.

Candidates should respond with a covering letter, resume, and 500 word outline describing their perspective on this role to recruitment@mprize.org.

Congratulations Due: New Volunteer Appointments

The all-volunteer administration of the Foundation has expanded; congratulations to the newly titled folk. From the chairman, Aubrey de Grey:

Given our recent progress in terms of large donations, David Gobel and I have decided that it’s time to appoint a few more of the most active volunteers to positions with specific named responsibilities. The new appointments are as follows:

Damien Crough is Chief Financial Officer of the Methuselah Foundation. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Australia over 15 years ago while he was working as an auditor with the leading international accounting firm. After qualifying, Damien spent time as the State Finance Manager of a very large Australian government department, and then later as the regional financial controller of an SEC listed company. Recently Damien has been providing very large companies and banks across Europe, and in India, Japan and the United States with advice on international accounting and financial risk management, as well as the associated procedures and controls. He has been a volunteer with the Methuselah Foundation since 2005.

David Chambers is Chief Operating Officer of The Methuselah Foundation. He has a long-held interest in leading edge science and technology. With first and Masters degrees in Natural Sciences and Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge, UK, he has accumulated extensive commercial experience working in technology and industrial companies, both established and start-up, in the UK and the west coast of the USA. He holds an MBA from London Business School and an MSc in Intellectual Property Law from the University of London. He is a founder/director of a UK distributed database applications start-up and a director of a Singapore-based Asian small cap equity fund. He has been a volunteer with the Methuselah Foundation since 2005.

Jeffrey Hall is Executive Director of SENS. He is an experienced Electrical Engineer and a student of biology. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he has headed Muse Technologies Inc. for 14 years. Muse Technologies is a research and development engineering firm that specializes in the development of hardware and software systems used in a variety of research labs and industrial settings. His most recent project is an NIH funded research project with the University of Michigan’s Human Genetics department. This project’s long-term aims are to develop a real-time lab animal monitoring and management system. In 2004, he contacted Aubrey de Grey who encouraged him to delve further into his biology studies. Jeff has been a volunteer with the Methuselah Foundation since 2005 where he also coordinates the Foundation’s graphic artists volunteers.

We’re delighted to announce that all three of them have enthusiastically accepted these roles.

The Foundation volunteer crew of course includes many other individuals who are doing excellent work in advancing the cause of longevity research and making the Foundation into a real, ongoing success story. We couldn’t have come this far without all your efforts!

Last Call For SENS Book Graphics Volunteers

The first publisher deadline for Aubrey de Grey’s popular science book on SENS looms close; much editing has been underway in the past month by volunteers and supporters of the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) initiative. The latest from de Grey’s research assistant Michael Rae:

As some of you know, and as mentioned a little while ago Aubrey and I have been working for some time on a popular book on SENS science. We are coming up on a publisher deadline this Sunday night (tomorrow), or early Monday at the absolute latest, and while our last request “grossed” a lot of volunteers, the “net” (in terms of folks actually in a position to help in the required time frame) was lower, and we now really need a few more hands on board urgently.

We really need some folks with the ability to put in some time on at least 1 (and of course preferably more) illustrations for the book in the next 36 h. Projects range from line drawings and graphs to actual illustrations.

Please email main@mprize.org if you can make such a volunteer contribution; it would be greatly appreciated, and acknowledged in the book.

Thanks!

Very late notice, I realize, but if you can pitch in to help, please let us know.

Methuselah Foundation Core Volunteers Meeting

This weekend, the growing group of core volunteer who have managed the operations of the Methuselah Foundation for the past few years will be flying to meet one another in Boston – many for the first time. It is a chance to celebrate the success of the past year, but more importantly to gather and plan the future growth of Foundation initiatives.

This year, the Foundation – and all the supporters out there – have been given a $6 million challenge by philanthropist Peter Thiel; rising to meet that challenge will be central to next year’s progress. As I’m sure you all know, progress doesn’t just fall from the sky; in any venture, getting ahead requires hard work and clever ideas. It requires organization, learning from those who have walked this path before, leadership and endeavor. We’re all looking forward to it!