ImmInst.Org  ٭  Newsletter 
July 2010

Message from the Chairman:

In last month's newsletter, I explained that there weren't any big news then but that major changes were being worked on behind the scenes.
Well, this month some of those changes are now immediately obvious to visitors to the forums. The re-design of this part of the website is only a first step in a process of re-invention and re-configuration. To be fair, the technical changes may be the most obvious, but they are the least important. Important at ImmInst is to empower our Members to better pursue our common mission. Hopefully, the new forum features will help, but we also need to make sure that there are the right people in place. And as far as members are concerned - have you checked your membership is in order? And have you considered joining the ranks of our wonderful volunteers? If you have a little bit more time to spare, we are urgently looking for responsible Lead Officers to spearhead some ImmInst work, especially now that one Director has stepped down.
Getting the right people and better tools allows us to move forward with the mission. For example by funding scientific research into aging and life extension. Those are the projects that, enabled by the better tools and carried by determined dreamers will change, not just ImmInst but the eventually world.   
And, in another reference to the last newsletter - yes, as you can see, we are sticking with the '8th day' for now. Some things don't change that quickly.



Forum Re-Design 

We hope you like the new design of the ImmInst Forums. After just a few days of downtime, the main changes were successfully implemented. However, the initiative is not finished. Please bear with us over the next few weeks while new features are being trialled and minor and major tweaks to the layout are underway. Given this ongoing construction, it is a bit difficult to keep track of all the new features, but here are a few:    
  • A sidebar with up-to date forum information
  • Mobile phone interface
  • You can now log in to ImmInst with your facebook username,
  • Integrate forum with social network alerts
  • Improved search
  • A better system for identifying unread posts
  • Private user-to-user conversations, now with groups.
  • A chatbox 
  • An option to view only posts that weren't considered 'low quality' by others
  • Full member profiles, including commenting, status & friends
  • Multi-quote and topic preview
  • Users can "watch" (subscribe to) interesting content  with more options
  • An interactive 'library for links'
  • A Members map


Call for Lead Officers

The Immortality Institute is a grass roots, member-based organisation. Whereas a large volunteer taskforce is key, we have come to realise that we cannot rely entirely on unpaid activists. People have to eat, some commitments need to be formalised and compensated.
But trying to pay people for their good work has its particular difficulties:
Firstly, money is tight, especially at a tiny organization such as ImmInst. If there are never enough funds to pay for the scientific research that we know is crucial, or for vital policy and public information work, how can we justify redirecting sparse funds into salaries?
Moreover, working for life extension and getting paid for it is truly a ‘dream job’ for all of us – what happens to social dynamics if some volunteers are getting paid while others are still expected to work ‘for free’? Who decides what level of compensation is adequate and whether or not anyone’s performance is and remains up to scratch? -- Those issues are challenging, but they cannot be intractable if we want to move forward.
We have identified the following lead officer roles, where the workload is such that a small monetary compensation for time invested is appropriate:
  • Membership Secretary
  • Lead Engineer
  • Team and Project Coordinator
  • Lead Editor
  • Lead Moderator


David Styles changes roles

David Styles has decided to step down from his position as ImmInst Director to be able to focus more on organising the 2010 ImmInst conference and on other objectives. We thank David for his services as a Director and look forward to the conference to be held on the weekend of the 9th and 10th of October at the International Auditorium, in Brussels, Belgium. A number of first-class speakers have already confirmed attendance - watch out for an invite quite soon.   


Have you checked you membership?

Part of the reason why we needed to focus on changing the forums software was that the old system was... well broken. People who joined as Members since February may not have seen their registration status upgrade as expected. Some other Members do not currently have their membership supported by a members donation and therefore should have been expelled but were not. We are currently trying to sort these records out. If you think anything is remiss with your status, please let us know ASAP!         


Science Funding

In response to the ImmInst Science call 5 expressions of interest were received, 2 were shortlisted and reviewed. Perhaps surprisingly, there were no completely unsubstantial submissions. The 3 projects that didn't make it further were not a great fit for this scheme, or not developed enough. We hope to be contacting the proposers soon and explore ways in which these ideas could still come to fruition.

Of the two shortlisted projects, one is smaller, more basic-research oriented using nematodes.
The second is larger, more therapy-oriented using mice.

Our current plan is to be bold and try to fund both!

We plan to start with the former project very soon and if all goes well, begin fund-raising for the second project in early Autum. As these will be matched fundraisers, we will be seeking the Membership endorsement for this course of action - this unfortunately means a slight delay at the moment, as we are still working to re-establish accurate membership records after the software failure earlier this year.



The June  2010 volunteer prize winners are

Maxwatt -- Came to ImmInst at the end of 2006 and was elected Moderator in September 2008. Next to his work as a Moderator, he is particularly interested in scientific discussions resveratrol  Maxwatt has won the Volunteer prize before, in September 09 and donated it to the SENS foundation. He lives in New York.

AgeVivo-- only recently re-joined as a Member. He wins the Volunteer prize for his work on the Longevity Communities Network and this month joined ImmInst leadership as a Moderator with special focus is the Projects and Genetics Sections. He lives in France.

The $25 prize is randomly drawn each month. For a trial period starting last month, the board has agreed to widen the volunteer prize to 2 winners of each month. See this topic for all past volunteer prize winners. 

Chapters: Would you like to meet people interested in life extension in your city? Why not register your interest on our regional forums? You could join, or even help organise a local chapter in your area. Check out:

Teams: Sadly, the automated 'teams' function is no longer available. If you want to join a team contact the interim team coordinator brokenportal.

If you have other ideas or suggestions regarding new initiatives, please visit the ACTION forum to share your thoughts. -Advocacy and Research for Unlimited Lifespans