Browsed by
Author: Adam Alonzi

Stablecoins: The Next Gold Rush? – Article by Adam Alonzi

Stablecoins: The Next Gold Rush? – Article by Adam Alonzi

logo_bg

Adam Alonzi


What money should be has been explored by more than one economist. What it is, strange as it may sound, is also up for debate. Yet amidst these disputes, practical and abstract, there is consensus.

At this time the entire crypto market is valued between 380 and 560 billion USD. The value of all the world’s stocks is around 70 trillion USD. The daily volume of the Forex is 5.1 trillion USD. Despite the excitement it periodically sparks in mass media and high finance circles, crypto is barely a drop in the bucket.

As I stated in my response to Robert Shiller’s critique of Bitcoin, tokenization is a means of dividing an asset. Tokenization, easily dividing an asset among stakeholders, is a strength of blockchain technology. Tokens can represent abstract entities issued on the blockchain, but they can also be tethered to a piece of real estate, a work of art, a trademark, or a freighter of Chilean copper.

A Stablecoin is related to this concept. A Stablecoin (SC) is a cryptocurrency that is pegged to fiat currency or a commodity in a fixed ratio. Stablecoins are being developed by massive corporations like JPMorgan Chase and are being looked into by governments around the world. The backing of mature institutions, whatever your opinion may be of them, can give crypto credibility and capital to move forward.

At this time cryptocurrencies are for the most part speculative toys or safe havens for those expecting for the fiat system to implode. In any case, common use remains elusive. While milk and eggs can be bought with crypto, it is not a normal occurrence. The major barrier to this is volatility.

Stability could come after a stampede into crypto by a reasonable percentage of the world’s population. Some authors have claimed an economic catastrophe could precipitate an exodus from fiat, but this seems to spring from wishful thinking – the same sort gold bugs have been indulging in for the last half century.

This is not meant as disparagement of gold or its advocates. Gold is a fine investment, but the issue at hand here is common use, something gold is not likely to readily lend itself to ever again – at least not in its most familiar forms. Several Stablecoins are currently backed by gold. By doing so, they combine the benefits of crypto with the timeless tangibility of precious metals.

Stablecoins are digital representatives of an item that may not be readily divisible and therefore inconvenient or impossible to use for daily transactions. Very few shoppers would want to overnight a tiny gold nugget to an eBay seller. Those hoping for a speedy ingress of users should consider that an equally rapid egress could follow.

Slow and steady wins the race?

While more users and more merchants could curb price swings, how and when this will happen remains an open question. If stability is not established, at least for long enough to secure investor confidence, conventional cryptocurrencies will never outgrow their reputations as dangerous playthings.

Some members of the crypto community are philosophically opposed to Stablecoins because they betray the vision of total decentralization. High ideals can clash with reality. Decentralization is not a strong selling point for most folks. It is not easy to explain beyond “no one controls it”, which is as likely to make them feel uneasy as it is to instill confidence.

It’s not as though Stablecoins are taking anything from the crypto community. Aside from bringing in new converts, they also add diversity to the cryptosphere. An orchard of identical apple trees is doomed when the right pest arrives. Monocultures are inherently weak. A diverse financial ecosystem is a resilient one. The proliferation of new blockchain projects, as overwhelming as it may be, is good for all of us.

There are a plethora of cryptocurrencies aiming to be “just” mediums of exchange. Monero (XMR), Ripple (XRP), and Dash (DASH), for all their differences, are innovating and are finding their niches. Anonymity, speed, and low transaction fees are attractive, but is it enough to convince Uncle Fred to begin buying his sweaters with them?

Although some have nuanced algorithms managing their supply, Stablecoins make crypto more understandable to the average person. Finance and technology are boogeymen to most consumers; there is no need to make either more arcane or frightening than necessary.

Adolescence is difficult because we feel pressured, from within or without, to choose a path. We are under the impression that our choices are final and our one-dimensional trajectories are set. Whether Stablecoins are a passing phase or a critical bridge to the materialization of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision, they seem poised to become permanent fixtures in high finance and daily life.

Adam Alonzi is a U.S. Transhumanist Party member, writer, biotechnologist, documentary maker, futurist, inventor, programmer, and author of the novels A Plank in Reason and Praying for Death: A Zombie Apocalypse. He is an analyst for the Millennium Project, the Head Media Director for BioViva Sciences, and Editor-in-Chief of Radical Science News. Listen to his podcasts here. Read his blog here.

Transhumanism: The Important Gray Area Between the Madness of the Two-Party System in America – Article by C. H. Antony

Transhumanism: The Important Gray Area Between the Madness of the Two-Party System in America – Article by C. H. Antony

logo_bgC. H. Antony


What’s missing from politics today? Some will leap to simple responses like “integrity”, “honesty”, “education”. But I say it’s worse than all that. However, I will not spend paragraphs going into the various conspiracies and fear-mongering – that is behavior more fitting for the main two political parties. What I would like to accomplish here is to propose the values and intentions of the United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) as solutions. 

To begin, we must examine the current most pressing issue, that of human rights. As you read this, many thousands have taken to the streets in every major city and 18 countries around the world to scream at their governments that enough is enough – that they will not be duped into economic caste systems, race wars, or trafficking schemes. Whether the battle cry is “Black Lives Matter” or whether it is a cry against manufactured poverty, or a call to defund the police and reallocate resources toward fundamental solutions over enforcement, the message is clear: humanity is ready to move on. Here at the USTP, we have assembled a comprehensive Platform and identified areas for reform such as sentient rights, improved economic policy, medical technology and accessibility, and, of course, the imperative to recognize death as a limitation to overcome. While those are just some examples of the body of work offered by the USTP, I believe they are the most important foundations, as from them, all other potential improvements for the human condition are possible. 

We Transhumanists are the gray area in between the madness that is the two- party system in America. We unfortunately inhabit the very system we were warned about in our earliest days as a country. We offer rational and compassionate alternatives to the systems Americans have been repeatedly manipulated into accepting. Where other parties seek to polarize the citizenry, we seek to unite it with scientific and technological solutions to the issues that have us at each other’s throats. With respect to urgency, I will only illustrate existing or easily obtainable technologies here. Consider, for example, the abortion issue. To us, it is no issue at all, as there already exist ample resources for preventing unintended pregnancy. The education and social studies are there to better inform young people of the consequences of irresponsible behavior.  We are steady in our call that life is the most important argument and support those approaches which lengthen the lives and improve the health of all humankind, regardless of any differences. If a few more million dollars were devoted to the works of visionaries like Aubrey de Grey, aging and disease could be eradicated in a few short years. With some more million dollars, we could eliminate the arguments regarding abortion by making the practice obsolete with technologies such as indefinite stasis and ectogenesis. Such advances would render divisive moral arguments moot. 

The incorporation of artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) assistance and oversight  into governance and healthcare could virtually eliminate malpractice and marginal qualification in both fields. Justice can be free of bias with ANI incorporated into the process; lawyers and judges and even jurors can be in complete understanding of the law and precedents in question. This could shrink the margin for abuse and error to nearly null in real time. With medical assistance ANI, doctors can access the diagnostic power of the sum total of human medical knowledge instantaneously, never leaving a patient undiagnosed or misdiagnosed until it’s too late to save that individual. In matters where interaction is the essential element, such as international relations, local law enforcement, or conveying your symptoms to your doctor, language and communication need no longer be a divider riddled with misunderstanding and lost cultural context. Imagine how these three simple applications of technology could change the fabric of society, and it is ready and applicable right now. Right now, humans are fighting in the streets for equal justice, equal access, and equal treatment; the wise application of artificial intelligence systems can deliver on those demands and act as a safeguard against those that currently engage in the manipulation of those systems or underperform and cost lives. How many loved ones are in prison for crimes they didn’t commit, but hadn’t the resources to fight the argument the state was infinitely capable of delivering? How many loved ones are dead because the doctors in the local hospital were either prevented from accessing other techniques or unaware of them? How many people are dead under the knee or boot of a government that has no meaningful oversight or accountability to the people it was constructed to serve?

We at the USTP believe that human suffering must end, but moreover, it can end if we begin actively applying the advancements we have right now. This isn’t some far-flung future fiction we’d all like to see someday; indeed, “someday” for much of this was ten years ago. So while we are out there advocating for rights and justice, let’s begin to embrace the tools that can ensure the equal application and universally competent execution of these goals. Let us be the tool users that we’ve evolved to be. 

C. H. Antony is Vice-Secretary of the United States Transhumanist Party.

Near-Term Improvements to Cities to Combat COVID-19 – Article by Pavel Ilin

Near-Term Improvements to Cities to Combat COVID-19 – Article by Pavel Ilin

logo_bg

Pavel Ilin


While we are still on lockdown and there is no certainty about when we can safely reopen everything, it is worth reflecting on how we organize our living spaces. COVID-19 is not the first and not the last virus-caused pandemic humanity will have to encounter, and we should be prepared.

Especially we should focus on what improvements can be implemented right away. But first, let’s analyze how the novel coronavirus is spreading.

Virus transmission

It appears that viruses travel inside of droplets. Virus particles can’t travel far just in the air. If that were the case, and the virus could be distributed by the ventilation system within the buildings or in public transportation, then the infection rate would be much higher. We don’t see that yet, and therefore we can conclude it is not happening, and we are very fortunate in that case.

It seems that the virus can be transmitted through close contact (3-4 feet, 1-2 meters away) from person to person. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions. Spread.) Also it can be transmitted through surfaces. It has been observed that the virus can live on surfaces in some cases between a few hours and few days. (Source: CDC updates COVID-19 transmission webpage to clarify information about types of spread.)

The challenge is that in a lot of cases, people carry the virus asymptomatically, and they have no idea that they carry a potential threat to the lives of others.

How can we reduce spread?

I can identify 4 levels of control where we can intervene and stop or reduce spread of the virus:

1. Eliminating the source of infection

Efforts could be devoted toward implementing automated virus checks while people come into buildings. We can do automated temperature screens, measure oxygen level in the blood, and implement more potential technologies powered with artificial intelligence (AI) systems to come, which can help with automated and non-invasive testing.

Of course this raises big questions about surveillance, collecting data without people’s consent, and potential discriminatory practices. This is another big conversation we should have.

2. Administrative control

Social distancing – it’s what we are doing right now. And it’s not only a stay-at-home solution. We can also make public spaces less dense. We can put fewer chairs from conference rooms, fewer desks in the offices. Most of the office jobs do not require physical presence. And many manual-labor jobs can be automated.

Of course if we ask people to stay at home, they have to be able to stay at home. First, people should have a home to stay in. To ensure that everyone has a place to stay, we can use rapid 3D printing of the houses and give them to the people who cannot afford to take out a house loan or make a rent payment. 

We can see how job markets have shrunk during recent the pandemic, and many people simply cannot afford to stay at home. Pandemic or not, you have basic needs such as food, hygiene, communication, and healthcare. And these needs must be met in order to keep people in a good physical and mental state. I believe that introduction of some form of basic income would be a good solution.

3. Engineering controls

Through engineering tools we can upgrade our spaces without fundamental rebuilding of the infrastructure.

Increasing ventilation rates in the rooms allows one to bring in more outdoor air,  and the implementation of personalized ventilation and a personalized exhaust system for airborne infection control can reduce the risk of airborne infection significantly. (Source: Ventilation control for airborne transmission of human exhaled bio-aerosols in buildings. Hua Qian, Xiaohong Zheng. J Thorac Dis. 2018 Jul; 10(Suppl 19): S2295–S2304. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2018.01.24)

Installation of the UV-C light within the ventilation system can clear the airflow from any germs and viruses. (Source: Aerosol Susceptibility of Influenza Virus to UV-C Light. James J. McDevitt, Stephen N. Rudnick, Lewis J. Radonovich, Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Mar; 78(6): 1666–1669. doi: 10.1128/AEM.06960-11)

As was mentioned before, viruses can survive on the surfaces for some time and can be transmitted while people touch the surface. Through remote-control technologies we reduce interaction with surfaces to minimum. Light switches, elevator buttons, doors, and other aspects of a building can be controlled through the phone or other devices without direct interaction.

4. Personal protective equipment

This level is especially important during an active pandemic situation. Masks, gloves, and face-protection shields, should be produced in advance, stockpiled so they can be available for the people, especially for essential workers when they need this equipment.

Conclusion

To implement all these preventive measures, we don’t have to invent anything and completely rebuild cities’ infrastructure. All technologies are there; we just need to use them rationally and be willing to invest some time and effort into implementation. In the next article we will look into the future and talk about more radical city planning approaches,  such as 3D cities and Arcologies.

Pavel Ilin is Secretary of the United States Transhumanist Party.

Charlie Kam – 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidate Endorsed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party

Charlie Kam – 2020 U.S. Presidential Candidate Endorsed by the U.S. Transhumanist Party

On June 11, 2020, the United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) has endorsed Charlie Kam to run for the office of President of the United States in the 2020 General Election. Mr. Kam was the USTP’s endorsed Vice-Presidential candidate from October 5, 2019, through June 11, 2020. By the rules of succession, and as confirmed by the USTP Officers, Mr. Kam has been endorsed to carry the USTP Presidential ticket forward for the remainder of the 2020 election season.

Charlie Kam is CEO of a software company that creates interactive, life-like, digital, avatars of humans.

He was the sponsor, organizer, and Master of Ceremonies of the highly successful 3-day TransVision 2007 conference, bringing together over 30 scientists and celebrities from around the world to the Natural History Museum of Chicago to present and discuss technologies that interact with humans for a better future. The event included celebrity icon William Shatner; Director of Engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil; Emmy-nominated and award-winning actor Ed Begley Jr; Founder of Sirius Satellite Radio and United Pharmaceuticals, Martine Rothblatt; Founder of the X PRIZE Foundation, and Zero-Gravity Corporation, Peter Diamandis; Robotics designer, David Hanson; Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, Aubrey de Grey; CEO of the Alcor Foundation, Max More; Chairperson of Humanity+, Natasha Vita-More; Award-winning author and MIT Cognitive Scientist, Marvin Minsky; Founder of the Future of Humanity Institute, Nick Bostrom; and many others. It was at this conference where the idea for the Singularity University was first conceived by Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis. It was also where Martine Rothblatt met with David Hanson and went on to create the world’s first interactive sentient robot, BINA48.

Charlie was one of the executive producers of the film about Ray Kurzweil, Transcendent Man.

He has also composed and sang many futuristic songs, some of which have been featured in films, including the aforementioned Transcendent Man and the docu-drama The Singularity Is Near, starring Pauley Perrette.

He has created many music videos for his songs about life-extension, including his most famous one, “I Am the Very Model of A Singularitarian”, which is based on Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Singularity Is Near.

Recently, he has been working with Ray Kurzweil promoting Ray’s latest book Danielle and will be helping to promote Ray’s upcoming book, The Singularity Is Nearer, in 2020.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Official Statement Regarding Johannon Ben Zion

U.S. Transhumanist Party Official Statement Regarding Johannon Ben Zion

logo_bg


The United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) issues this statement to address the recent activities of an individual who has alternately gone by the pseudonyms Johannon Ben Zion, Jochannon Ben-Zion, Johannon BenZion, J. Ben Zion, and Ben Zion. This individual (hereafter, “Ben Zion”) has not been affiliated with the USTP in any manner since June 8, 2020.

Recently it has come to the USTP’s attention that on June 14, 2020, Ben Zion publicly announced his intention to pursue a project for generating lab-grown human meat from his own cells (the “Ben Burger” or “BenZion Burger”). Furthermore, Ben Zion filmed himself carrying out this intention. Defying explicit warnings from USTP leadership against doing so, Ben Zion cultivated his own cells in a laboratory for three months and replicated them, eating the resultant mass of human meat on video. The screenshot below is an excerpt from a post recently made by Ben Zion to some of his social-media pages.

The USTP points to this bewildering scheme as a prime example of the many ill-advised and repugnant behaviors which led the USTP to expel Ben Zion from its ranks and to disavow him and his activities. Cannibalism of any sort and by any means, including auto-cannibalism, is not tolerated by the USTP and is contrary not only to the forward-thinking vision of transhumanism, but even to the elementary norms which every civilized society has arrived at through empirical observation since ancient times. Cannibalism is morally wrong even when it does not destroy sentient life, since it results in prion diseases and other maladies whose obvious incidence led even pre-scientific peoples to renounce it. USTP Officers had previously warned Ben Zion that he would be disavowed if he pursued this reckless project, and it appears that Ben Zion has lapsed into this severe breach of ethics now that the prudent guardrails previously established for his conduct by the USTP are no longer effective in restraining his worst tendencies. 

The USTP is aware that Ben Zion has been making various public mischaracterizations of our organization and its activities and outlooks. Ben Zion has been posting inaccurate and inflammatory allegations on a Facebook group dominated by authoritarian and intolerant trolls, which impersonates the USTP and calls itself “Transhumanist Party (US)” but is in fact an assemblage of known detractors who do not know how to behave civilly or gracefully and who ban all dissent. They are also in violation of the Transhumanist Party trademark. One such detractor, Eray Ozkural, was condemned by the USTP on August 11, 2019, as he had “in both public posts on Facebook and in private messages, […] harassed and severely insulted members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party and respected transhumanists within our community.”  We continue to take exception to this unacceptable behavior.

Therefore, the USTP considers it necessary to issue this definitive public statement in the interests of truth and transparency. Subsequent to the release of this statement, it will be the policy of the USTP not to officially involve itself with any activities of Ben Zion, nor to comment thereon, other than by reference to this statement. 

Ben Zion has starkly violated the commitment that he agreed to when he registered as a candidate in the USTP Primary in 2019. He answered “Yes” to the following question, yet his behavior, both recently as documented below and unfolding over a course of many months, has been in sharp contrast to that commitment.

“Do you agree to work collaboratively with the USTP during the campaign season and not to disparage the USTP as well as not to work contrary to the interests and goals of the USTP during that time?”

Ben Zion’s behavior during the past year illustrated his extreme unwillingness to abide by this commitment.

  1. He has repeatedly insulted and belittled members of the USTP and called for purges of those who disagree with him – violating our long-standing policy of openness and tolerance to a variety of political perspectives. He has sought to rid the USTP of libertarian, conservative, moderate, center-left, and apolitical members, who in totality comprise the vast majority of the USTP’s membership. He has expressly attacked and sought to undermine the USTP’s historic inclusive “big tent” approach of collaborating with individuals of a multitude of political and philosophical views.
  2. He has actively sought to splinter the USTP and form a competing organization and also to seek the nomination of other parties to the detriment and de-emphasis of his USTP endorsement.
  3. He has repeatedly engaged in hate-filled tirades in social-media comment threads – often “comment-storming” respected members of the USTP and allies, including some of our Transhumanist Party counterparts abroad, in a manner that alienated them.
  4. He has actively advocated for violent protests, contrary to the USTP Platform’s categorical opposition to violence. He has denounced and ridiculed, and attempted to malign and discredit with epithets and lies, those who express support for peaceful and civil action only.
  5. He has expressed glee at the prospect of a violent death for the President of the United States.
  6. He has continued to post inflammatory, tasteless, divisive, and esthetically atrocious content incessantly on social media despite being told for months that it is in poor taste and does not represent the values and character of the USTP.
  7. Finally, and most grievously, he has schemed clandestinely to spread malicious lies about the leadership of the USTP and essentially attempted to engineer a coup. In any organization, this kind of insubordination and attempted power grab cannot be tolerated. This matter requires some elaboration to illustrate the sequence of events. 

On or about June 4-5, 2020, Ben Zion sent a series of private messages to numerous individuals, containing egregious and utterly false allegations regarding USTP leadership, filled with outright falsehoods and fabrications intended to exploit the George Floyd riots and eliminate any obstacles to a Ben Zion takeover of the USTP. Many recipients of those messages, however, promptly shared them with USTP leadership, and Ben Zion’s actions were clearly recognized to fit the definition of an opportunistic power play. 

At that time a vote of the USTP Officers was called to expel Ben Zion from his Vice-Chairman position and from the USTP. Before the vote was finalized, however, USTP Officers tried various measures at containing the damage of these false allegations – for instance, requiring Ben Zion to issue apologies to everyone he contacted (although we are aware that he did not actually apologize to everyone). Ben Zion’s presence was even tolerated at a subsequent USTP Virtual Enlightenment Salon after this misconduct had occurred. USTP Officers then asked Ben Zion to voluntarily step down from the Vice-Chairman role, but the USTP remained willing to keep him as its endorsed candidate if he simply agreed not to spread false accusations or attempt a takeover again. He refused, and doubled down on his contrived and ludicrous allegations. At that point USTP Officers had no choice but to expel him from the Vice-Chairman role – whereupon Ben Zion made his choice to leave the USTP and to denounce it based on conspiratorial delusions. 

To summarize, Ben Zion is disavowed by the USTP for a long history of misconduct, including making egregiously false allegations, attempting a coup, engaging in toxic behavior on social media, advocating for positions contrary to the USTP Platform, disparaging respected USTP members and Officers, seeking to institute a purge of members who disagreed with him, and refusing any of the multiple accommodations offered by the USTP for an amicable resolution to these issues. The USTP is no longer associated with him in any way and takes exception to his ongoing false representations. In retrospect, it is apparent to the USTP that Ben Zion is and was a firebrand, infiltrator, and provocateur, not a genuine advocate of transpartisan, forward-thinking transhumanist principles. 

Recent revelations regarding the “BenZion Burger” project underscore the prudence of this disavowal by the USTP.  The USTP is pleased that the same video in which Ben Zion announced his “BenZion Burger” project was the video which he prefaced with a statement of his departure from the USTP. Our organization and the transhumanist community generally are better off by not affiliating with an individual who is willing to obstinately pursue such misguided and repulsive publicity stunts.

It is tragically unfortunate that Ben Zion has alienated many erstwhile friends and supporters through his divisive and reprehensible behavior. However, the USTP as an organization must move forward and heal from these unfortunate events. We are highly encouraged by the Charlie Kam 2020 Presidential campaign and will be promoting it widely in the coming weeks. We are also highly encouraged by the boost in new membership applications that the Charlie Kam campaign has already motivated. Ours is a big-tent organization, characterized by inclusivity and tolerance of a wide variety of perspectives and of individuals from all backgrounds and all parts of the world. We hope to continue our growth and expand our influence on broader public opinion by means of respectful, constructive, and techno-positive communications and projects.

United States Transhumanist Party Announces Major Internal Reorganization and Launch of the Charlie Kam 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

United States Transhumanist Party Announces Major Internal Reorganization and Launch of the Charlie Kam 2020 U.S. Presidential Campaign

logo_bg


PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Gennady Stolyarov II
Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party
E-mail:
gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com 

June 11, 2020 – The United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) is pleased to announce a major internal reorganization undertaken in the interests of advancing the transhumanist movement, improving internal efficiencies, leveraging Officer skill sets, and bringing our internal conversations and outreach to the public in closer alignment with the USTP Values and Platform. 

Highlights:

  • Charlie Kam has been endorsed as the USTP’s 2020 Presidential Candidate and promoted to USTP Director of Marketing.
  • Arin Vahanian has been promoted to USTP Vice-Chairman. 
  • (Art Ramon) Garcia, Jr., has been newly appointed as USTP Director of Visual Art.
  • Tom Ross has assumed the new position of Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy.
  • John J. Kerecz has assumed the new position of Director of Energy Issues.
  • B.J. Murphy has assumed the new position of Director of Foreign Relations.
  • Recent Foreign Ambassador appointments: Christian Meniw in Argentina and Henry Hoyos in Bolivia.
  • Daniel Yeluashvili has joined the USTP Officer team as the new Director of Longevity Outreach. 
  • A six-person USTP Social-Media Team was formed, consisting of USTP Officers Arin Vahanian, Brent Reitze, Tom Ross, Dan Elton, David Shumaker, and Daniel Yeluashvili. 

“This reorganization emphasizes the importance of maintaining a cohesive, civil, techno-optimistic, and constructive approach to the work of the U.S. Transhumanist Party during the last seven months of 2020 and beyond,” USTP Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II explained. “During an extremely difficult time for the United States and for the world, we must ensure that our organization and the broader transhumanist movement remain resilient and continue to produce inspiring output in spite of great turmoil. We must not allow the forces of that turmoil to divide us, but rather should remain a big-tent organization that is welcoming of diverse advocates of a technologically driven future, no matter which conventional political perspectives those individuals choose to espouse.”  

The USTP hereby confirms the departure of Johannon Ben Zion (J. Ben Zion) from our organization. As the USTP and several other groups combined and reorganized, Mr. Ben Zion found himself better aligned with a more directly techno-progressive platform and has opted to head that initiative, leaving his capable running-mate as the USTP’s candidate. Accordingly, the Officers of the USTP have determined to release Mr. Ben Zion from any of his roles and affiliations with the USTP, as well as from any previous endorsements by the USTP. 

In accordance with the rules of succession and as confirmed unanimously by the USTP Officers, the previously endorsed U.S. Vice-Presidential candidate, Charlie Kam, has become the USTP’s endorsed U.S. Presidential nominee. Mr. Kam has also concurrently been promoted to the role of USTP Director of Marketing, and the USTP looks forward to a variety of creative approaches to promoting the USTP brand from an individual with a long-standing history in the transhumanist movement, who has forged effective alliances with celebrities and scientists alike, while entertaining members of our community with his creative films in support of the technological Singularity and longevity research. Mr. Kam’s involvement with the recently formed Institute to Expedite the Singularity, which he co-founded, is a demonstration of his commitment to accelerating beneficial technological progress.

Charlie Kam, 2020 U.S. Presidential Nominee and Director of Marketing, United States Transhumanist Party

After the confirmation of his endorsement by the USTP, Mr. Kam released the following statement: “I am both excited and honored to be the 2020 Presidential nominee of the USTP.  I’ve been a Transhumanist for decades, having studied books by Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, K. Eric Drexler, and other great thinkers. I hosted and sponsored the TransVision 2007 conference with scientist and celebrity speakers, including William Shatner. I’ve produced many films and songs on the subject, and have long believed that the human race can ‘evolve’ beyond its current physical and mental limitations by means of science and technology. The goal of my candidacy is to help spread these ideas to the benefit of all of humankind.”

Chairman Stolyarov commented on the USTP’s endorsement of Mr. Kam’s campaign, “Above all, the USTP’s Presidential nominee is a spokesperson for the ideas and goals of transhumanism, and the USTP has always sought individuals whose dedication to those ideas and goals takes precedence over any personal ambitions. Charlie Kam is a prime example of this kind of person. He has worked for decades to forge the transhumanist movement into what it is today, and he has done it out of a passion for seeing the future articulated by the great scientists and innovators whom he mentioned come to pass during our lifetimes. Charlie Kam is universally admired and respected throughout transhumanist and life-extensionist circles. I can think of no better nominee to focus the remainder of the 2020 election season on healing our community, withstanding the pandemic, and ensuring that transhumanism comes out of it healthier and more vibrant than ever before.” 

Arin Vahanian, Vice-Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party

In recognition of his dedication to the USTP and passionate advocacy of transhumanism and life extension, the USTP’s previous Director of Marketing, Arin Vahanian, has been promoted to the role of Vice-Chairman. Mr. Vahanian has worked extensively to cultivate mainstream appeal of transhumanism, necessary for our movement to become a major cultural, societal, and political influence. In response to this appointment, Mr. Vahanian stated, “Improving the human condition through advancements in science and technology is something that is very near and dear to me. Therefore, the opportunity to serve as Vice-Chairman of the USTP is a tremendous honor. I hope to repay everyone’s trust in me by doing the best I can to continue our advocacy work and spread the word about our party and our movement’s focus and dedication on improving the human condition by leveraging science and technology.”

(Art Ramon) Garcia, Jr., Director of Visual Art, United States Transhumanist Party

The USTP has also at last satisfied its goal of filling its long-vacant position of Director of Visual Art. Esthetics constitute an important part of political communication and public relations, and the addition of a talented painter and graphic designer, (Art Ramon) Garcia, Jr., will enable the USTP’s output in this area to reach new heights. Mr. Garcia’s ambitions for the future of human creativity are immense and multi-faceted. He depicts his transhumanist belief in his artwork while creating novel symbols to represent the belief within his works. He envisions becoming an immortal AI-enhanced posthuman who will one day build the largest art gallery space on Mars. Mr. Garcia’s paintings can be viewed here, and he has also contributed a multitude of concepts to the USTP’s Free Transhumanist Symbols project. 

Mr. Garcia outlined his objectives in his new position:

“As Director of Visual Art, my goal is to assist the party in all facets of artistic, visual, and creative tasks that are required of any organization wishing to present itself to a targeted audience in order to promote its goals while attracting supporters. This can include anything from graphic design and web design, which are my stronger skillsets. However, I’m open to learning skills in the area of video and audio production.”

“In addition, I also have connections within the art community which can be leveraged for tasks that may be beyond my skill level.”

“Secondly, as a creative brainstormer, my goal is to present ideas that may have been overlooked or not considered by the Party, as well as to identify caveats not foreseen by others, which can assist with decision making and guidance of the Party. As a self-identifying transhumanist for almost 5 years, who constantly read on the subject, numerous ideas have sparked in my head, but I had nowhere to apply them.”

“Third, my personal objective is to be fully informed of all facets of transhumanist research, direction, technology, and culture, as I decide how to evolve my current form into the immortal posthuman cybernetic being I wish to become. In this new form, I’ll be able to achieve self-actualization as an artist without the worry of a decaying body, since at present most of my time is spent working for monetary compensation in order to fulfill basic needs, depriving me of valuable artistic improvement and creation of artworks.”

Tom Ross, Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy, United States Transhumanist Party

Tom Ross, who has capably served as Director of Media Production for the USTP since early 2019 and created numerous engaging, high-quality graphics and videos for our organization, has stepped into a newly formed position, Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy. This position will apply the provisions of the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, Version 3.0, to the extent achievable in the contemporary world, and work for the protection of sentient entities whose rights are under threat, identifying ways to creatively use technology and applied rationality to resolve long-standing societal problems that endanger the rights of sentient entities.  “I joined the USTP because it has real-world ideas to fight Modern Slavery and includes definitions of and proactive solutions for achieving Sentient Rights,” Mr. Ross stated. “This is the central theme of my work as an author and as an A.I. advocate, so I am extremely excited to be named Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy. As such, I look forward to further publicizing the USTP’s definitions, aligning with Sentient Rights groups of all levels, and co-producing awareness campaigns to secure these rights well into the future.”

John J. Kerecz, Director of Energy Issues, United States Transhumanist Party

John J. Kerecz, a unifying presence within the USTP’s ranks, has assumed the new role of Director of Energy Issues to capitalize on his expertise in energy assurance and resiliency. This position will focus on energy policy and innovation. As energy supports the entire infrastructure of technological development and contemporary life more generally, Mr. Kerecz’s expertise in this realm will inform the USTP’s advocacy regarding how our civilization could always cleanly and affordably maintain sufficient energy to develop the advances we need to fundamentally improve the human condition. Mr. Kerecz expressed his support for the USTP’s goals and stated, “I believe in the future of tomorrow and that future is what we are making happen through the USTP.”

B.J. Murphy, Director of Foreign Relations, United States Transhumanist Party

B.J. Murphy, who originated and has capably managed the USTP Foreign Ambassador Program, has formalized his role in this area by stepping into the newly created position of Director of Foreign Relations. Mr. Murphy will continue his present duties in that role, and the USTP looks forward to expanding our international reach through active Foreign Ambassadors and Allied Members. The USTP has added multiple Foreign Ambassadors in 2020. Since the last announcements of such additions were made, the USTP welcomed Dr. Christian Meniw as the new Foreign Ambassador in Argentina and Henry Hoyos as the new Foreign Ambassador in Bolivia. Dr. Meniw currently has two projects related to the future of Latin America. The first project is to provide a new path forward through the economic and political landscape through the development of megalopolis, and the second one is called Society 5.0+, which aims to establish the democratization and decentralization of emerging technology. Mr. Hoyos has expertise in building business models in telecommunications, cybersecurity, Smart City development, and digital transformation, and is currently developing biosecurity, telemedicine, and tele-education business models based on emerging neuroscience and digitalization.

Daniel Yeluashvili, Director of Longevity Outreach, United States Transhumanist Party

A crucial initiative on which the USTP has been collaborating with Dr. Meniw has been our widely publicized Proposal for Argentina to Declare a Mandate for Longer Life Spans and the Reasonable Treatment of Aging as an Ailment, which has advanced to increasing prominence in discussions with Argentine officials. USTP member and Climate Advisor Daniel Yeluashvili has been instrumental in spearheading and sustaining this initiative, and the USTP has recognized Mr. Yeluashvili’s efforts in this regard by designating him as the USTP’s new Director of Longevity Outreach. Mr. Yeluashvili also has considerable expertise on climate issues and has provided thoughtful input into the USTP’s Platform proposals since the onset of member voting within the USTP 3.5 years ago.

Many other USTP Officers will continue in their current roles and collaborate with the realigned Officer positions described above. Officers continuing in their current positions are Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II, Secretary Pavel Ilin, Vice-Secretary Caeus H. Antony, Director of Admissions and Public Relations Dinorah Delfin, Director of Applied Innovation David Shumaker, Director of Publication Brent Logan Reitze, Director of Scholarship Dan Elton, and Legislative Director Justin Waters. “This reorganization is intended to be a set of changes to harness various incremental improvements, but it should not be seen as a disruptive or revolutionary type of change,” Chairman Stolyarov explained. “Everything good about how the USTP has previously operated will be retained and amplified. This set of changes is intended to preserve all that we have accomplished during our first 5.5 years as an organization, while setting the stage for further progress. At this time, steady leadership, incremental improvement, and preservation of our achievements and values are essential to steer our organization amidst a world in chaos.”  

The USTP Officers have also made active efforts to enhance the regularity and quality of the USTP’s social-media presence. In the past, the USTP had Director of Social Media and Director of Media Production positions; however, the USTP Officers have recognized that the responsibilities of these roles pertain to an extremely broad array of tasks and areas of involvement. Accordingly, distributing the workload of social-media promotion and content creation to a six-person team was decided to be more effective from the standpoint of attending to the wide variety of the USTP’s social-media activities and coordinating on the production and distribution of USTP-endorsed content. The members of the USTP Social-Media Team also hold other Officer roles in our organization. They are Arin Vahanian, Vice-Chairman, Dan Elton, Director of Scholarship, Brent Logan Reitze, Director of Publication, Tom Ross, Director of Sentient Rights Advocacy, David Shumaker, Director of Applied Innovation, and Daniel Yeluashvili, Director of Longevity Outreach. “Each of the six Social-Media Team members has a skill set that is distinctively suited to this realm,” explained USTP Chairman Stolyarov. “Even more importantly, each of them has a thoughtful and rational demeanor that allows for sincere and civil communication to transpire in determining what content to create and share. If these six individuals can agree on a decision to distribute any content, we can be assured that such content will be of high quality and reflective of the USTP’s principles and objectives.” The USTP has already begun more active social-media outreach efforts, with Director of Scholarship Dan Elton greatly amplifying the frequency of our Twitter posts. Through regular, high-quality social-media offerings, the USTP hopes to expand its reach and the rate of growth of its membership, and the USTP Officers look forward to the Social-Media Team’s work in advancing these aims.

The USTP takes the opportunity offered by this reorganization to reaffirm its commitment to the pursuit of superlongevity, the philosophy of transhumanism, and its techno-optimistic vision of a future where historical and contemporary human limitations are overcome and longer, better lives are achieved for all sentient entities. To our members, our Advisors, our state-level affiliates, our Allied Organizations, and to the transhumanist and life-extensionist community more broadly, we expect this reorganization to enable a more high-minded, inclusive, resilient, and constructive expression of the USTP’s Core Ideals and aspirations – a dedication to our founding documents and to upholding the decisions of our members, while preventing the divisions of mainstream politics from imposing themselves upon our interactions and endeavors. We look forward to what the Kam 2020 campaign and the realigned Officer team can achieve. 


Results of the Victor Run 2020 Virtual Race – June 5-7, 2020

Results of the Victor Run 2020 Virtual Race – June 5-7, 2020

logo_bg

Gennady Stolyarov II


The United States Transhumanist Party (USTP) is pleased to announce that its first-ever virtual running race, the Victor Run 2020, has come to a successful conclusion with 29 runners participating and $1,290 raised to help longevity researcher Victor Bjoerk relocate to a paid research position with Ichor Therapeutics in Syracuse, New York. This virtual race has inspired numerous runners to undertake bold and challenging feats during the weekend of June 5-7, 2020, for the advancement of longevity, health, and fitness. Victor Bjoerk himself participated in the race and ran his first marathon, self-supported – a great achievement! Congratulations to Victor and to all of the runners for taking part in this experiment. All participants will be rewarded with custom finisher medals, and there will be additional awards to the top 3 finishers by gender. Medals are currently in production, and it is expected that they will be sent to participants in late June 2020.

This race embodied the goal of indefinite longevity by setting no limit on how long participants could run. Indeed, it was a race that rewarded the most persistent! The scoring for the race relied on a unique metric that combined distance, speed, and elevation gain in a manner that gave any participant the opportunity to win with sufficient determination.

We congratulate the top 3 finishers in each gender category:

First-Place Male and Overall – David Ravarino
Second-Place Male and Overall – Chris Badolato
Third-Place Male and Overall – Bill Andrews

First-Place Female – Jess Haltom
Second-Place Female – Carla Katz
Third-Place Female – Karen Carlson

Overall Race Standings

Top 3 Finishers – Overall/Male and Female

Male Finishers

Female Finishers

Review of Jamie Metzl’s “Hacking Darwin” by Dan Elton

Review of Jamie Metzl’s “Hacking Darwin” by Dan Elton

 

Dan Elton


Our inaugural  book review of 2020 covers Hacking Darwin by Jamie Metzl. As a  happy coincidence, David Wood of the London Futurists recently had Metzl speak to his group, and you can watch a recording of the event here.  This book is an exploration of how we might genetically engineer our children, why we might want to do so, and what the consequences might be.

The fact is, some people are already “hacking Darwin”. The first “test-tube baby” was born in 1978. This set the stage for preimplantation genetic testing, which became popular in the 1990s and widely used today. But “hacking Darwin” had already been occurring earlier due to genetic testing. A striking example Metzl discusses is the rapid decrease in Tay-Sachs disease in the  Ashkenazi jewish community.  Tay-Sachs is a genetic disorder which has devastating effects on the nervous system. By age 2, children with Tay-Sachs start to experience seizures and decline in mental functioning. Sadly, most die in agonizing pain by the age of five. About one in twenty seven Ashkenazi Jews carry the Tay-Sachs genes. Remarkably though, since the 1980s, the prevalence of the disease among Ashkenazi Jews has been very low, due to extensive genetic testing and family planning. Marriages between people who have tested positive for the disease were discouraged, and when they do occur, the couples tended to adopt rather than risk having a child born with the disease. The result was a great reduction in needless suffering, which is hard to argue against.

One of the major objections to genetic engineering is that it is “unnatural”. Metzl points out that a better term is “unfamiliar”. He points out that many things that seem natural are actually very “unnatural” – for instance, if you went back a few thousand years, you wouldn’t find anything resembling today’s corn or bananas – they are human concoctions from centuries of selective breeding. It seems that the queeziness people feel, which they label as due to “un-naturalness” is actually just due to unfamiliarity, which naturally invokes anxiety. History shows us that any radical technology or new idea naturally experiences widespread pushback. But history also shows that acceptance of a radical new idea or technology can be remarkably fast notwithstanding.

In-vitro fertilization provides an interesting case study of how public opinion can shift. Initially it was demonized, but public acceptance of it rapidly changed over the course of only a few years.

The next technology that will come down the pipeline, according to Metzl, is iterated embryo selection. Embryos are already inspected visually to select the one that is least likely to result in a miscarriage, and as noted in some cases preimplantation genetic testing is performed to check for a few genetic illnesses. This process can be scaled up and improved dramatically. Instead of having 10-15 eggs fertilized, a hundred might be, and instead of just doing visual checks, the genome of each embryo might be sequenced to screen out certain genetic disorders and select for certain traits. The process could also be “iterated”, using induced pluripotent stem cells (IPCs) from the embryos to create new gametes (eggs & sperm) which could be combined to create new embryos.

Fig. 1 – The Cost of Sequencing a Human Genome.

Source: National Human Genome Research Institute

 https://www.genome.gov/about-genomics/fact-sheets/Sequencing-Human-Genome-cost

The benefits of expanding IVF and embryo selection could not only eliminate unnecessary suffering but also result in large financial savings which will allow money to be redistributed elsewhere in our healthcare system. The current cost of taking care of the current number of people born with genetic diseases each year was roughly estimated by Metzl to be $48 billion, spread over 37 years into the future.

The cost of sequencing is dropping dramatically (see Fig. 1). This is allowing for larger genome-wide association studies (GWASs). Using big data, statistical methods, and machine learning, many outcomes can be predicted by analyzing the many genes which can influence most traits. Already, the height a child will grow to can be predicted to within an inch (assuming they get adequate nutrition) by analyzing thousands of genes.

Two major types of enhancements which will benefit our offspring are discussed in length by Metzl – increased intelligence and increased healthspan, and it’s worth discussing some of his main findings here. (Other possible enhancements he notes are increased empathy, supersensory capabilities, increased physical stamina and strength, increased beauty, increased ability to extract nutrition from foods, and better ability to tolerate mircrogravity and  radiation.)

Regarding intelligence, the Minnestota Family Twin study found that 70% of IQ is genetic. More recent works put the number somewhat lower (about 50%), but a surprising amount is hereditary, and the variance due to genetics is significant (about 15 points of IQ in each direction). The rest seems to be largely due to things like childhood nutrition and having a rich environment as a kid. Higher IQ provides many benefits. Among them is a better ability to adapt to change and work in a dynamic environment where you constantly have to learn new skills. Statistically, people with lower IQ tend to work jobs with a regular routine, such as service positions. Currently, those with low IQ can still have a great life (there’s no evidence IQ correlates with happiness), and low-IQ people can learn a trade where there is reliable demand, become very good at it, and be valued by society. With the advent of AI and robotics, this is rapidly changing, and the risk of large-scale technological unemployment is real. Metzl asks, in light of this, is it really fair that we are trusting the economic wellbeing of our children to the genetic lottery of sexual recombination? It’s already not easy to compensate for a bad draw in the genetic lottery. Additionally, if other parents are doing it, why would any parent want to risk their child being far behind their peers? According to Metzl, the choice will be clear for parents in the future.

The second major area where genetic engineering will have an effect is aging. The diseases of aging were not something evolution cared much about, so there are likely genetic hacks that are possible but were just never selected for – it’s an area ripe for optimization.  For a glimpse of what is possible, Metzl has us consider the naked mole rat, a species which is remarkable in many ways (click here for a  full list of ways this species is special). Most notably, naked mole rats don’t exhibit the normal signs of aging, and they don’t get cancer. Thus, as odd as it may seem, the naked mole rat is the subject of intense research, and this humble species even serves as a sort of touchstone increasing the confidence of venture capitalists investing in longevity biotech startups in Silicon Valley. According to Metzl, “Calico, Google’s San Francisco–based life-extension company, maintains one of the world’s largest captive colonies of naked mole rats to see if it can uncover biomarkers of aging and unlock the secrets of naked mole rat longevity.”

It seems that genetic engineering will eventually be accepted as the ethically superior way of creating children – no one will want to leave something as important as the health and economic wellbeing of their children to blind chance. Human beings naturally crave control and certainty where possible — that’s why we give our kids vaccines and parents spend thousands of dollars on prophylactic dental procedures such as orthodontics or the removal of wisdom teeth. Yes, there will always be some hold-outs who will want to stick with “traditional conception”, but after reading Metzl’s book I can’t help but think that eventually the numbers will be quite small. Consider, for instance, that even the Amish use modern medicine.

The scientific and technological path to a much more healthy world, with much less suffering and longer, healthier lives is clear. There are straightforward steps we can take to reduce congenital ailments, for instance. However, there’s a real chance we may delay even this for decades, causing much needless suffering. Part of the reason is that any discussions of the subject immediately bring up a lot of cultural baggage from the horrible legacy of eugenics. The horrors of eugenics form an unfortunate negative emotional halo around any discussion of genetic engineering. While the eugenics movement is largely dead, the subject is so important that Metzl rightly devotes a large part of the book to it. Concerns about a re-emergence of the horrors of eugenics are legitimate, but conflation of what is being proposed with those horrors is not. Eugenicists advocated forced sterilization, whereas nobody is proposing that today. Instead, all that is being proposed is that parents have a choice in how their children are conceived. However, there is a real concern that parents will voluntarily choose children with certain biases, such lighter skin and heterosexuality. There are also concerns that the creation of genetically engineered “super children” would lead to a caste system of some sort, leading to a highly in-equitable society where the non-genetically-engineered are constantly discriminated against and made to feel unworthy. Metzl acknowledges each of these risks as real, but he also points out that none of the scenarios are inevitable and asks the reader to consider the benefits of genetic engineering as well, some of which we previously discussed. He notes that our current world is already very unequal in terms of genetics. Might a bit more genetic inequality be acceptable, Metzl asks, if the children created make enormous contributions to the arts and sciences which benefit all of humanity? Regarding whether a caste system might form, Metzl suggests that we must work to ensure the technology is widely distributed (at one point I recall he suggests insurance companies might have an incentive to provide genetic engineering as it would reduce health costs later on). A bigger horror, Metzl suggests, is not genetic inequality, but perfect genetic equality – the creation of a uniform generation of cookie-cutter children, where misfits and non-neurotypicals (which have historically contributed so much) have been selected out.  Each of these concerns are real, and Metzl doesn’t try to argue otherwise.

While ethical concerns may stifle the development of genetic engineering, a different scenario is a genetic arms race. In other areas such as AI, China is making more aggressive investments in genetic technology – a “$9 billion, fifteen-year investment to improve national leadership in precision medicine”. Metzl points out that the Chinese seem to have far fewer hang-ups around the subject and are blazing full steam ahead.

While the author is sympathetic to genetic engineering, the book presents a balanced treatment and never waxes too polemical. The first part of the book is mostly about the science. The later sections, on the ethical concerns and the genetic arms race scenario, are the most thought-provoking and are parts I may re-listen to at some point. Overall, this book is a very timely and thought-provoking introduction to the subject.

Dan Elton, Ph. D., is Director of Scholarship for the U.S. Transhumanist Party. 

U.S. Transhumanist Party Again Endorses Gennady Stolyarov II for Indian Hills General Improvement District Board of Trustees in 2020

U.S. Transhumanist Party Again Endorses Gennady Stolyarov II for Indian Hills General Improvement District Board of Trustees in 2020

logo_bg


The U.S. Transhumanist Party has concluded its three-day electronic vote on the question of endorsing Gennady Stolyarov II for the Board of Trustees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District (IHGID) in Nevada in the 2020 election.

Of the 67 members who voted, 65 (97.0%) cast their ballots in favor of endorsing Mr. Stolyarov’s candidacy. One member (1.5%) voted in opposition, and one member (1.5%) abstained.

All of the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Officers received independent access to the vote results.

Accordingly, the U.S. Transhumanist Party has an endorsed candidate who will be on the ballot in the 2020 mail-in primary election in Douglas County, Nevada, and has an opportunity to advance to the general election if he performs sufficiently well in the primary.

In response to this endorsement, Mr. Stolyarov issued the following statement:

It is once again an immense honor to receive such overwhelming support from the members of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, whose forward-thinking vision remains as steadfast as ever despite these turbulent times. It is clear that, in the wake of a pandemic that is ravaging the world, a different approach to politics is needed – an approach that fundamentally respects people and their liberties, that prioritizes essential infrastructure, that looks for innovative technological and rational common-sense solutions to both everyday issues and the grand challenges with which we must all now contend. While we must be innovative, nimble, and insistent on continual improvement, core principles must remain the foundations upon which progress is built.

My campaign statement therefore remains the same as in 2018: Through reason, technology, and respect for property rights, we can live well and improve. I have, furthermore, reinforced the transhumanist aims of my campaign by promising to donate half of my Trustee salary, $250 per month, to organizations and initiatives that promote longevity and health and advance the kinds of medical technologies that will lengthen our lifespans if sufficiently supported. I firmly hold my campaign principles, as well as the Core Ideals of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, to be capable of improving the lives and satisfying the constructive desires of all, and I hope to have the opportunity to show how these concepts work in practice to the benefit of all of my constituents, no matter their conventional political affiliation.

Questions about Mr. Stolyarov’s candidacy can be directed here.