(Robert) Alan Mole was born in Baltimore in 1943. He earned a BS in Civil Engineering at the University of Denver and an MS (Structural Stress Analysis) at the University of Colorado in 1971.
After a career as an aerospace stress analyst, an engineer who determines whether rockets and satellites will break, he is now retired.
His background in Biology consists of a high school class, plus reading Stryer's Biochemistry and books by Darnel et al and Alberts et al, on molecular cellular biology, to learn of later advances. And reading Scientific American etc., so as to be conversant with current work.
His retirement is not idle, and he has wide interests. He has written about how to terraform Mars, one idea good enough to be quoted by Buzz Aldrin in Encounter with Tiber (page 539.) He has considered ways to get to the stars, and noted that it is prohibitively expensive and impractical to f eed people on a forty-year trip, so cold sleep will be a critical technology. This was the origin of his interest in cryonics.
Another interest is linguistics, and he wrote translator program for notebook computers, to allow you to converse with people if you go, say, to Hungary but don't speak Hungarian. Ambiguous words destroy understanding if they are translated wrong, so the program asks you for the meaning every time you use one. ("Charge" as in which meaning? 1. Charge my card. 2. Charge the battery 3. Charge him with murder.) You know what you mean so you type in the correct number and the translation comes out right. This means you have to be there to answer such questions, so it can't translate Web pages letters where the authors are not present. The program works well, but unfortunately people want to translate Web pages and don't want to converse, so it is not a financial success.
Alan Mole is also president of a small society for the reform of English spelling. (Our spelling is a corrupt bane that doubles our illiteracy rate and requires us to spend years learning to read and write, while others spend just two weeks.) The American Literacy Council has about twenty active members, though most of them are very old, and a fair sized endowment. As president for two years he has thought a lot on how to get the most out of this small organization, and how to revive this once-popular cause. This is good preparation for working with Cryonics Institute, another small organization with similar problems in promoting a cause that is not well known.
Alan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org