SL4 Joiner. Blues.

From: Tim Kyger (
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 15:55:32 MST

I’ve been linked to the SL4 list now for about two months, and I’m only now
taking the time to do a joiner. It’s been busy…sorry.

My name is Tim Kyger. I’m 46, fat, and increasingly dyspeptic. One
stepdaughter, a dwarf, who has just started college. One daughter, 5, with
ADHD, who has begun kindergarten. One son, 2, who is busy tearing the house
down. Myself, I have a rare genetic liver disease (Wilson’s) -- my claim to
some sort of uniqueness (one of only 1800 identified in the U.S., FWIW…)
Easily treated in my case, luckily; I am asymptomatic and always have been.

I’ve been a space freak, for want of a better term, all my life; my earliest
memory is Sputnik. I was born at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, NV; someone has to
be. <grin> One of my earliest memories is of watching Echo 1 transit
overhead, laying on chaise lounges with my Dad and our-then next door
neighbor Mike Collins.

My Dad had to tell me in early 1960 that the TV show “Men Into Space” was
*fiction,* and that we didn’t have any Moonbase. I’ve been mad as hell
about it ever since.

I did the usual stuff as a kid of that time and place did – I was a early
reader, reading books on space which lead to reading science fiction. Made
the typical f/8 6in. Newtonian reflector as a kid while involved with the
Miami Valley Astronomical Society (we were now at Wright-Patterson AFB,
Dayton, OH). Played with a PDP-11 in 1970 (paper tape!). Got involved with
S.F. fandom in ’71 or so. I left home when I turned 18 (escaping a very
weird family life), and moved to Phoenix, AZ; went to ASU, studying
aeronautical engineering. Ended up being the Chair of the 36th World
Science Fiction Convention, Phoenix, 1978 – I was 22. But I’d already by
that time figured out that I needed to grow up, and that I needed to leave
fandom behind. I had found that I was interested in politics in the real
world and fandom, alas, is not the real world. (I would maintain that it is
instead a very largish sheaf of simulators…)

Moved to San Francisco and during the ‘80s worked in Silicon Valley as a
telecom engineer (I worked for Southern Pacific Communications before it
became Sprint, FWIW), or as a tech writer or editor, depending upon the
company involved, all the while also being very involved with the L5
Society, which I had joined in 1977. Ran the 3rd L5 Society annual
convention (now the NSS’ “ISDC” – love those ETLAs…). Worked for Phil Salin
and Gayle Pergamit for a few months ( long story); also ran into Chris
Peterson and Eric Drexler circa 1979 or so, and thus have been aware of
nanotech/mnt (whatever we’re going to be told to call it this month) from
almost the very beginning.

I moved to Washington, D.C. April 1989 to work for Congressman Dana
Rohrabacher as his space staffer; I worked for Dana for six years. My job
highlight there was to keep the DC-X program funded and going. I then went
to the Senate to work as a space staffer/expert for the Senate Commerce
Committee’s Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space (that’s a small
subject area, eh?). I worked there two years – right up until the new
Chair, John McCain, fired us all. (Senator Pressler had lost his election,
and we had worked for Pressler.) Pete Conrad hired me, and that’s the
company I work for now, Universal Space Network. We’re a commercial TT&C
provider. You got a spacecraft that needs to talk to the ground, we’re the
phone company; you can buy our services by the “call” or by some other
agreed upon time period. We do LEOPs, too (launch and early orbit

I’ve been aware of the subject matter of mnt/nanotech/cryonics/etc. for
quite a while, since the mid ‘80s for most of it, but I’m not sure that I
got the full load of SL3/SL4 stuff until about 1998 or 1999-ish. Where?
How? I don’t really know. I do know that when I read Greg Egan’s “The
Planck Dive”in (I think) 1999 that my reaction was, “Yow! That all makes
*sense!* (And yes, I don’t take Greg Egan’s work as gospel; he’s just a
writer trying to sell copy to put food on his table. It was the general
trajectory of what he was talking about that I responded well to.)

It wasn’t until recently that I finally read anything by Vinge, even though
the concept of the Singularity was something I have been familiar with since
the early ‘90s. Memes get around.

Anyway, here I am. If I have something to say that will actually contribute
to the discussion I will. Otherwise, I’ll read and ponder what you all have
to say.

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