Comments From Cornwall
by John de Rivaz
This file contains the text of a monthly column that appeared in The Immortalist, a magazine published by The Immortalist Society <email@example.com>
Wherever possible source information has been given, and no additional information is usually available if you write in.
Our Cornish Scene this month was Pengersick Castle, Praa Sands. This was once open to visitors for a genuine experience of sleeping in a medieval castle bedroom with Tudor four poster bed. However this service has been withdrawn because visitors seemed reluctant to use the "medieval" plumbing arrangements, and accept the damp rough conditions.
These conditions, once considered to be the lap of luxury by the upper classes, are now considered too spartan for ordinary travellers. This illustrates the viewpoint held by immortalists that conditions of the average man will improve in the future. Even if you are reanimated at the lowest level of financial circumstances, with little earning ability, your conditions of living will be in excess of those experienced by top people today.
Perfumes and Allergens
An article in The Independent of 3 December (sent in by Longevity Report reader Mrs Chrissie Loveday) discusses a problem similar to that caused by lung smokers.
Many people are allergic to substances used in perfumes, after shaves, masking deodorants etc. Ms Susan Molloy, founder of the California based Environmental Health Network, claims that she and many of her colleagues suffer symptoms ranging from asthma to seizures when exposed to perfumes.
"The fragrance hits me like a physical blow," she says, "I get pains all over my body and my speech starts to slur." She has to take breathing apparatus with her in public places.
Her group is pressing for special areas for people wearing fragrance in public, and for perfume to be removed from air conditioning and public lavatories. Her organisation also bans people with clothing contaminated with dry cleaning chemicals or lung smoke from entering their premises.
The authorities appear interested in this growing movement, but express concern as to how the new proposals are implemented. It is easy to spot a lung smoker because of the pall of smoke over his head. But how can one detect a perfume pusher? Public sniffers? No, more likely some chemical device like a breath tester for drunken drivers.
My comment would be that properly used fragrances should not be noticeable as fragrances at all, they should be subliminal in operation. However most people think that if a little is good, then a lot is better. Maybe they would like to try that the next time they put pepper or mustard on their food!
Dawkins Appears on British Television
Professor Richard Dawkins has appeared on British television over Christmas in the prestigious Royal Institution lectures to young people. He is noted for his Selfish Gene concept, which was the subject of his famous book.
The lectures covered the topic of this book, and whilst he did not promote cryonic suspension, Prof. Dawkins' concepts promoting science and ridiculing blind faith will certainly create a fertile ground for cryonics.
Early in the first lecture he used a ruler and a spot of light to illustrate how small the human lifespan is in geological time. He also exhibited specimens of fossils and compared their age to that of historical artifacts or even stone age implements. Another graphic illustration was that if the age of the ancient bronze mask, believed to come form the time of Troy, about 4000 BC, is represented by two paces, (ie about 2 yards) then the oldest fossil must be represented by four hundred miles.
In the first lecture, he gave several examples and demonstrations that illustrated the futility of supernatural beliefs. A particularly amusing demonstration was where he "found" a boy with the "ability" to influence the toss of a coin by tossing one several times. To start with, the whole audience was told to guess "heads or tails". Then those that guessed wrong were eliminated, and the same thing repeated until there was one person left.
Professor Dawkins pointed out that a similar experiment was performed daily by the sensationalist press. Out of the millions of people who read popular papers, there will always be one or two who can relate some "supernatural" coincidence, such as a precognitive dream or a reincarnation etc.
The second lecture was spent discussing the difference between complex mechanisms that have been designed, and complex mechanisms that have evolved. Computer simulation was used to illustrate the points, together with examples from animal species whose evolution has been influenced by humans.
He also raised the argument that if the universe had a designer, the designer must have been designed and so on ad nauseam.
The third lecture concentrated on the claims by theists that purport to debunk the theory of evolution. The noted and eccentric British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle is an avid religionist, and he has suggested that evolution is as rational as suggesting that a gale could blow through a scrap metal yard and blow the metal around so as to form a Boeing 747 airliner.
Professor Dawkins illustrated the stupidity of this idea by a computer program. The object was to print letters at random to produce one given sentence. There were two windows: one just printed letters at random, called Hoyle, and the other called Darwin printed one sentence at random then produced 50 copies each with a slight random variation. Of each of the 50 copies, the one that was most similar to the target was selected and used to produce 50 more copies and so on.
The professor then produced a bowler hat, and said that he would eat it if the Hoyle program produced the sentence first. When the studio laughter had subsided he then produced what appeared to be a signed and sealed legal document stating that he would give all his possessions to the Royal Institution if the Hoyle program won.
Needless to say, the Darwin program produced the result in quite a short time, whereas the Hoyle program had got nowhere.
Creationists have argued that it is impossible for evolution to have evolved the eye. Professor Dawkins then spent some time, using demonstration models, showing how the eye could evolve within a short span of geological time. He also mentioned that all evolutionary paths are "up", and because some peaks are higher than others, different forms of eye have evolved in different species. If evolution has reached a pinnacle, there is no way for it to cross a coll to get to a higher pinnacle.
He did not add that with the advances in nanotechnology and planned evolution it would be quite possible, for example, to have a human with the visual acuity of an eagle.
These notes are being written each day as the lectures are broadcast. Usually in these Christmas lectures, aimed at young people, some startling pronouncement is made at the end. Professor Dawkins has already mentioned the use of evolutionary theory by engineers to write computer programs to optimise designs, Maybe his pronouncement will be the "Man into Superman" idea. Read on and you will find out.
The next lecture was on the subject of genes. The one sentence that would precis this lecture is that all living things are machines to make other similar living things. However the lecture covered wider issues, including even nanotechnology with a quote from Eric Drexler about the inadequacy of modern surgery as a means of repair of humans, which are molecular machines better repaired by other molecular machines. A drawing was shown of a nanomachine exterminating a virus. Unfortunately no mention was made of the longevist application of nanomachines, although this may be a subject for the fifth and final lecture which asks "Why is the human brain so large?" (If longevity isn't mentioned, one may speculate as to whether Professor Dawkins' brain is large enough! As he has obviously read Engines of Creation he must be aware of cryonics.)
The final lecture was a disappointment. There was no revelation of new work or ideas, only a conclusion to the foregoing by emphasising his arguments that all animals are survival mechanisms for genes. He regards evolution at the ultimate arms race, and one poignant example was a shot of an eagle diving down on a duck and exterminating it in mid-air.
Cremation Jibes in the Telegraph
Recently I have been visiting my parents every Sunday, and I usually see their copy of The Sunday Telegraph. On 5 January it carried an article concerning the British obsession with cremation. Its ending I think is so good that I copied it down word for word:
I can't see how cremation can have a fetishistic fascination, but then I can't work up any enthusiasm for Sacher von Masoch's ideal of being beheaded as the object of his desires either. [No doubt he would be a proponent of neuropreservation if he lived today!] But I do seem to recall that there is a magazine in circulation in Canada about cremation, not for funeral directors, but for members of the public that are excited by this methods of disposal. [And they think cryonics is a macabre thing to be interested in!]
Prevention vs Surgery Horizon on Breast Cancer
BBC 2 television broadcast an interesting science program on breast cancer on 6 January. The program first described the incidence of the disease in history, and the disgraceful history of the operation known as "radical mastectomy."
It has now been shown that cancerous cells in people with breast cancer have spread to the rest of the body before the cancer is visible, although further tumours often don't develop for 20 years or so. Hacking away large amounts of flesh and muscle make no difference to the outcome of these metastases. However these cells are vulnerable to chemotherapy. Tamoxifen pills have proved substantially more effective than drip feeds of other substances in this respect.
The current treatment of fashion is to administer anti-cancer drugs before the operation and shrink the tumour, and continue with these in conjunction with radiotherapy afterwards.
After detailing modern methods of treatment, the program went on to discuss the future. The first point raised was one that I had raised myself in these pages many years ago - that the drug Tamoxifen may act as a preventative. Breast cancer seems to be a programmed part of female development in some instances, and Tamoxifen regulates oestrogen. Although medical authorities are not sure of the mechanism, they seem to be agreed that it is effective. It also has a side effect of reducing heart attack risks by regulating cholesterol ratios.
A British double-blind trial is proposed where large numbers of selected women will be examined to ensure that they are free of cancer, and then they will be given a prevention dose of tamoxifen or a placebo.
The programme then went on to say that the study had been delayed for "ethical reasons". Good, I thought. They were going to discuss the fate of the women on placebo dying or facing surgery, even though it was only what was once scorned as "lumpectomies". No, not a bit of it. They were worried about the ethical implications of giving large groups of healthy people a drug.
They call people with a 1:12 chance of getting breast cancer healthy! One woman dies of breast cancer in the United Kingdom every 30 minutes. That means two perished during the screening of the programme.
PICS - Charter Volunteers Sought
Perpetual Immortalist Contact Sheet is a new project of mine. The aim is to set up in reality an idea previously proposed in the ACS pages of The Immortalist, advertising for women for the predominantly male membership of the cryonics societies. As with my conventional lonely hearts club, PCS, based in and restricted to Cornwall, a single fee will pay for a listing in the sheet for men and women seeking people of the opposite sex for friendship or marriage.
The problem with the project is going to be how to pay for the high advertising costs in mainstream periodicals. This has hit the local conventional sheet. Initially charges per member were estimated at $18, but it is anticipated that they will have to rise to $36 meet advertising expenses.
The difficulty with advertising is that there is no established raw material or basic method of establishing the cost. The rates of charge are actually set by what the most affluent of advertisers can afford. In the case of local newspapers, it is the car vendors and real estate agents that set the pace. Garages sell products around the $20,000 mark, (automobiles are an order of magnitude more expensive in the UK) and estate agents a service that costs typically $4,000 a time (for not very much input cost except advertising). Therefore it is difficult for people offering a service that they want to sell at $20 a time to compete with them for advertising space.
Obviously if the newspapers reduced their charges to accommodate the small businessman, then they would get far less profits from the big turnover businesses. After all, newspapers are there to make a profit - they are not charities.
The same problem occurs in a bigger way in national and global publications. Here the small business is competing with huge multinational companies. Although the unit costs of a company such as Coca-Cola are small, their turnover is astronomical, therefore they can outbid something like PICS.
Looking in Omni, one of the few periodicals that still accept advertisements for lung tobacco, cigarette commercials have appeared in full colour covering one or two pages. The cost must be commensurate with house purchase, yet the unit costs of the product is small. Such is the magnitude of the profits from another arm of the death industry!
PICS should work on the basis that as it builds its lists it should attract more people - its members will actually be its assets that are being sold to potential members, therefore new potential members should be providing the income for continued advertising as they join.
By advertising it as "Immortalist" rather than "Cryonicist" the project should also introduce people to the cryonics concept.
A ten word advertisement in Omni Longevity each month would come to over $500 per year: In fact as the address would take 6 words, it would be difficult to get the message across in only 4. So just advertising in Longevity alone could mean a cost of $1,000 or so.
This makes it look as though the fee for joining PICS ought to be of the order of $100, which personally I consider to be an order of magnitude too high. Admittedly all the cryonics magazines should give it free support - after all it could increase the membership of all cryonics societies by 40% or so if all their single male members paired off with a woman who became a suspension member. But from my recollection that there has only ever been one lonely hearts letter in The Immortalist since I have been taking it, for about 10 years. There have been several in Cryonics but without counting them I think that there are probably fewer than 10. This doesn't mean that there isn't the interest, its just that most cryonics people are only too well aware that there are very few single women in the movement.
Anyway, at this stage I would like all readers of The Immortalist who are interested in this project to write in with their views. Please do not send money at the moment. Write to:
The address is as it will appear in advertisements. To save wordage, the house name has been merged, "Cornwall" left out, and "England" substituted for United Kingdom, although strictly speaking Cornwall thinks of itself as a Duchy therefore not part of England but part of the UK. But experiments have shown that the "advertising efficient" address works, although the details have to be correct, particularly the post code: removing redundancy means that mistakes can lead to fatal errors.
[PICS only ever achieved 1 female and 4 male members]
Our Cornish Scene this month was an old Cornish farmhouse near where the ex-Prime Minister Mrs Margaret Thatcher spends her summer holidays. When planning regulations were introduced throughout Europe in the 1930s, this quaint style of building was not to be seen again. The first European politician to introduce a modern form of planning was failed architect Adolf Hitler, later to become Fuhrer of the Third Reich.
Hungarians Get Freedom to Use Ribavarin for AIDS
In a press release dated 19 November 1991, ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc announced that Virazole, its trade name for Ribavarin, has been licensed for use in Hungary to treat AIDS.
Hungary is the second country to offer such freedom to its AIDS sufferers. Ireland was the first. ICN is negotiating with the authorities in other countries to allow the use of the product for this purpose.
The Hungarians reached their decision after reviewing work done by Dr F. Varnai, M.D., Professor of Infections and Tropical Diseases at the Laslo Hospital in Budapest. The drug will be a Prescription Only Medicine, and its use will be monitored in special clinical units and further data as to its efficacy will be collected.
U.S. citizens allowed to use Ribavarin are limited to young children (!) hospitalised with severe lower respiratory tract infection caused by a specific virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
Ribavarin is also authorised in 20 other countries, including eight European ones, for RSV and in 40 countries outside the USA for the treatment of other viral infections.
Immortalists who read Mike Darwin's account of his travels across Europe a few years ago will recall his vivid anecdote of how he fell to virtually every European disease going until he took Ribavarin. I have heard in private correspondence how someone with flu took the drug and was clear of the disease within a day and a half, and did not get the usual hacking cough that persists for weeks afterwards.
Unless it is the sort of drug that viruses are able to evolve against, once the legal red tape has been finished with, Ribavarin could prove to be the much wanted "cure for the common cold."
Comment on Vitamins and Life Extending Pharmaceuticals and the Authorities.
Ribavarin is already available on the "free market" international mail order market, where some countries allow their citizens the freedom to import POMs for their own personal use. However its cost is high - you don't get much change from $50 for a course.
In the USA, the FDA appears confused as to whether US citizens have this freedom or not. It is likely that this confusion will be clarified, but it is expected that the authoritarians may win and make it clear that this freedom is denied the American people.
The item on the next page details a campaign being waged against health authoritarians in the UK.
I would comment that if in future it is proved beyond all doubt that supplementation of food by vitamins and pharmaceutical does extend lifespan, and I have very confidence it will, then those who oppose it will go down in history as bigger mass murderers than the Nazis. The population of the world today is very much bigger than that of the 1930s and 1940s, and depriving old people of the nutritional requirements to live longer and healthier lives is tantamount to exterminating them.
What is more disgraceful is that the mass motivation, conscious or unconscious, of some of these authoritarians is to preserve the monopolies of their professions to make money.
This can be deduced from the fact that they will not reveal their evidence or "proof" that vitamins and other nutrients don't work. They are obviously worried that their evidence will not stand up to scientific scrutiny.
They must know that there is no fun in taking pills and spending hundreds of dollar a year doing it. They must know that the customers of life extending products are intelligent people who would stop doing it if they were faced with clear unequivocable evidence that it is a worthless activity.
If the authorities are honourable people, then all they need to is to issue publications along the lines of Life Extension Report making scientific arguments that these products do not work, and let the public decide. It is no good them saying that Life Extension Report authors are too persuasive. If persuasion is the order of the game, then surely the FDA can afford the world's best persuaders.
The reason they don't take this path is pretty obvious: They know that the best persuaders on earth can't do the job because their evidence is far too shaky, if any exists at all.
The Pope - Such a Nice Old Man
A reader (not a Roman Catholic) expressed disapproval of the item in Zehse's Cuttings about the Pope in the December issue of The Immortalist. The story was about Catholic doctrine re abortion, and I commented that it would be better to look after the people we have rather than clamour to make more and leave those we've got to burn or rot when they get old.
As Immortalists we are opposed to the status quo, the birth-suffering-death cycle. The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, are established to defend the status quo as stated in The Bible. This is a collection of ideas handed down by word of mouth for many generations, and then in writing by hand copying with mistakes - bits missing and bits repeated.
The Pope is not a politician. A politician is supposed to be there to do his best to organise society to the best overall benefit of its citizens. The Pope has to organise society according to the word of God, which he has conveniently to hand in The Bible.
Fortunately The Bible is a poorly written muddled work much mutilated by translations, copyings and "handings down by word of mouth" and is capable of many interpretations. The Roman Catholic Church does change because different interpretations can be placed on The Bible to suit the political need of the times.
This point was made rather well in an episode of the original Star Trek when a space colony had somehow reverted to barbarism and then recovered civilisation, but based it on a "revered book" about Chicago gangsters in the 1930s.
Writing some years ago Dr Thomas Donaldson actually made a very good case from reading The Bible that Jesus was an Immortalist and had he been alive today would have endorsed cryonic suspension.
As I have said before, if you start with a definition of God as a hypothetical all powerful creator of the universe, and then examine the universe and work back to produce the character of God, then you are more likely to get the barbaric dictator portrayed in The Old Testament rather than the all loving god proposed by The New Testament.
If therefore you believed that you had to organise society to suit the Old Testament god, then it makes sense to have people overpopulating the world in order to increase conflict and suffering. It makes sense to deny the use of science and technology to extend lifespan. To control population within the means of the planet (or extended space colonies etc.) or to work towards preventing suffering and decay of the individual goes against the way of the universe hence against the way of the barbaric dictator god.
Where the Catholics get in a mess is that they tend to take the New Testament belief in a benevolent god despite any evidence that makes this belief difficult. They then have difficulty when their pronouncements are obviously not benevolent, such as their population policy.
After a while, they'll probably get round the problem in some way, but the cost will be a delay in progress.
The Pope is fine - he is only doing his job(!) The trouble is, that his job is misguided.
Freeze Drying Pets
A cutting sent in by Mr John Horbury, editor of Funeral Service Journal, concerned the activities of a Florida businessman who had set up a pet freeze drying business. The cutting was from an unspecified magazine, but it is believed from its appearance to be a colour insert sent with a daily or weekly newspaper.
Jeff Weber, a 35 year old Florida entrepreneur is owner of Clearwater Preservation Specialist, of Clearwater, Florida. For legal reasons, he runs it from the embalming offices of funeral parlour, owned by Fred Rickhardt, 45. Mr Richhardt says both he and Mr Weber are anxious to avoid any connection with what they term cryogenics.
"Cryogenics is a sort of racket in which people are frozen to be restored to life some day when medical science advances", says Rickhardt. "There is no connection with freeze drying. We'll leave the dead looking alive but they will still be dead and will stay that way."
However they do hope to freeze dry humans one day. Mr Weber believes that freeze drying a human will cost about £25,000 and take a year. But he thinks that microwaves could cut this time in half. [How?, I wonder]
Mr Weber believes that an abundance of perpetual viewing chapels will sprint up. The service will be particularly popular with the rich and famous, he thinks. He speculates that the singer Michael Jackson would be excited by the idea.
A freeze dried pet is claimed to last indefinitely, provided it is not handled too much and is kept dry. The skin becomes tight but the fur remains healthy and lifelike and can be brushed and petted. The eyes, however, are largely water and disappear during the process, and are replaced by glass ones made by a professional taxidermist.
Mr Weber charges $300 for a cat and $400 for a small dog. He carries a sample freeze dried cat in his car. Bereaved pet owners are instructed to freeze the animals in dry ice and despatch to him immediately upon death.
Upon arrival it is thawed and given a three step chemical process that insect proofs it and cleans the hide. The taxidermist, usually working from a photograph selects the eyes and positions the animal. It is then frozen solid for 48 hours and then placed in a vacuum chamber know as "The Eternity Machine".
Although the temperature is -20oC, because of the vacuum, the moisture is boiled out of the animal. (Boiling points of liquids fall with reduced pressure.) The vacuum pump sucks the moisture content of the animal out of the chamber and vents it into the Florida air.
This sketch, from another Cornish artist, shows a pedigree breed of cat the Devon Rex, well known for its character. Owners of expensive pedigree cats may well opt for the freeze drying process.
Funeral Service Journal usually contains one or two items on cryonics or similar topics each month. It was once published from 121, London Road - Knebworth - Herts SG3 6EX - United Kingdom, and reaches 60% of the UK funeral directors' profession and also has an overseas circulation. The cost is £19 per year overseas, or £12 UK. Cheques on a UK bank payable to Funeral Service Journal. The journal has nearly 100 pages/issue and is printed on glossy paper with many illustrations. Some pages are in full colour.
A Rising Threat to Our Right to Buy Vitamins
written by The Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy
The British Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is planning new legislation restricting freedom on dietary supplements, to be enforced not by a democratic parliamentary procedure, but by a Council Directive from Europe. The contents of these plans is being kept secret from British interested parties until the outline has been sent to the European Commission in Brussels. This was scheduled for just before the new year.
This outline is likely to be based on the government's Denner report, published in March 1991. This suggested that supplements on public sale should contain less than the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins and minerals - in other worlds less than can be obtained from food itself. According to our sources, the proposals may also suggest that supplements above a certain dosage should be classified as medicines. This has already been made law in Belgium, where anything over 1½ times the RDA is now a medicine.
A meeting between the European Commission and Community members states is to take place in March 1992 to discuss proposals for a Council Directive on supplements. The discussion paper is being prepared in Brussels right now. Everything is moving very fast, and a massive public campaign must be launched immediately if we want the real views of the British People to be made known to Westminster and Brussels.
The Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy aims to collect a quarter of a million signatures for its petition which will be presented to the House of Commons. It has set in motion a flood of letters to Members of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament, and local and national newspapers, demanding that the law should not be changed.
Please believe that campaigns like this work. The public's right to buy supplements was threatened in Australia some years ago. As a result of a huge campaign which led to a public outcry, the proposed law had to be abandoned.
Write to legislators demand the right to continue buying what you choose. Letters like this are very effective. Please also write letters to local and national newspapers. They may not be printed, but they will be read!
If you would like to contact SPNT, please write to The Secretary - SPNT - 2, Hampden Lodge - Hailsham Road - Heathfield - East Sussex - TN21 8AE, UK. If you want a reply, IRCs are requested.
This is a campaign being waged in the UK by people interested in good health and individual freedom. They oppose the power of authoritarians, bureaucrats and professionals intent on preserving their power and money making systems.
Dr Thomas Donaldson's science and technology magazine Periastron has reached its tenth issue. This one discusses nanotechnology advances, various items on brain function and one on how some species can regenerate brain and nervous tissue. There is also an article on neural network integrated circuits, and their relevance in studying how the brain works.
Again there appear to be no articles by outside writers, so if you fancy your chances as a science writer, here is your chance to get into print.
Periastron PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, California 94087. Subscriptions cost $2.50 per issue. If you pay for many issues in advance, you avoid any possible price rises. If the newsletter does not continue for any reason, unused subscriptions will be refunded with interest!
A short item in this issue mentioned the attitude of Science magazine to cryonics and life extension. It says how the magazine reviewed The Prospect of Immortality and accused it of distorting the facts of then current science. Science has also been deprecatory of other attempts to extend lifespan, accusing Dr Linus Pauling of senility when he became a public advocate of high doses of vitamin C.
However more recently, reports Periastron, Science has been showing an increased interest in ageing. Nevertheless, they seem to be taking the authoritarian standpoint that it is OK to live in fine health until you are say 90, but you are exceeding the age limit if you dare to be alive at 91. Science even referees its letters: Dr Donaldson speculates that somewhere another Galileo today sits in his cell.
From the film Big Bang:
"The way you keep people in line is to scare the shit out of them. The only way they can escape this fear is by believing in something that you know all about."
"My idea of the big bang is the orgasmic explosion of god spreading out endlessly in time and space isn't any crazier than anybody else's idea of creation. I mean the five billion people on earth all began as by orgasmic explosions."
"The Nazis came in, Jewish businesses were closed, everything was taken away - it started with money1, with gold then trade goods and bicycles. The next thing was they took the Jews and put them in the ghettos." [1 this origin is worth thinking about as some parties call for higher taxation in elections in the US and UK.]
"I knew from the age of 10 that I would leave and never go back. I came from a family that was extremely religious - Southern Baptist, fundamental Christians, hit you in the head in the morning and make you pray at night. It was a lot o' fun. Go to church three times a week, get on your knees on a concrete floor, thank God for the fact that he didn't kill you that day. It made you feel good about life! It made it real clear that we were all evil nasty dirty people, and then if we hung on long enough in this life God would give it all back to us in the next one. I knew they were full of shit and I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could."
"Death, if its going to visit me, I hope it comes in the night and just strikes me down." [The fact that cryonics emphasises that 80% of deaths are forewarned and the mechanics of cryonics makes such a drama out of it is probably the biggest single factor that puts people off cryonics. Of course it is not rational to think that making cryonics arrangements will make a lot of difference to the mode of dying, but the gut reaction is certainly that way.]
"My son is my future. Without him there wouldn't be any point in talking with a future tense."
"It [the universe] will end around the end of the century, with my demise."
In a change from Cornish scenes, this month I a included a picture of the R.M.S. Titanic, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the great liner. I have always felt that films about its raising had an immortalist tinge even if not intended by the film makers, and of course now there is Arthur C. Clarke's novel The Ghost from the Grand Banks which includes mention of cryonics (and Alcor in the appendix).
There is no bad connection with the Titanic and cryonics: we do not claim that cryonics is "unsinkable". Although technically the arguments are strong, social and legal moves could very easily sink it without trace.
Following the coverage in The Immortalist there has only been one reply to my call for people to write in. This is disappointing. However my announcement also appeared in Cryonics and it is hoped that this will bring more response.
If you think PICS to be a good idea you have nothing to lose by making yourself known now, don't leave it until later. By giving me your views now, you may influence the running of the organisation. You have the courage to change your destiny by joining a cryonics organisation. Joining a dating agency is only another way of controlling your destiny rather than leave it to blind chance or an indifferent or even sadistic god!
Financial Times Blasts Life Insurance
In the issue dated 22 February, The Financial Times highlighted data provided by Britain's Department of Trade and Industry on the costs to the consumer of life insurance "products".
The data was obtained by the DTI from the life insurance industry, and it showed that the costs to customers of policies ranged from 24% of the first year's premiums (Equitable Life) to a massive 251% (Provident Life).
Current legislation does not require the company to disclose its costs or charging structure. However many charge the full costs up front during the first year or more. Therefore someone closing the policy after two or three years gets virtually nothing back.
Ms Jean Eaglesham, of the Consumers' Association, is quoted as saying "It allows companies to do what they like and hide behind an industry-wide figure which is not in cash terms and which consumers do not understand anyway.
"It is shocking that they are so secretive. I think the high expenses and the secretiveness of the service are absolutely linked."
Recent articles in The Weekend Financial Times have shown that other forms of savings, such as Unit Trust plans (similar to mutual funds in the USA) and Personal Equity Plans (professionally managed blocks of shares that attract no tax penalties) have out performed insurance endowment "products" in the long term.
An actuary on the Lautro committee (who regulate life insurance in the UK) admits that many clients have no idea of what they are buying when they buy insurance "products".
A study by the Securities and Investments Board revealed that a staggering quarter to a third of all policies were cancelled after only two or three years - at a substantial loss to the client. People were just not aware of the charging structure.
I would also comment that the first payments made into a saving scheme are the most potent. By taking out their fees in one go in the first years of a policy, the companies are creaming off the best profits that their clients could make. Consider a ten year plan, at $1000 a year. If a genuine 10% compound is paid, the first year's premium rises to $1000 x 1.110=2590. The second year's £1000 x 1.19=2358, and the third year's $2143. By taking the premiums from this end, the companies are hacking out the real power of the compound growth. The last premium only rises to $1100. If the company took its cut from the last premium instead of the first, then the client would be over $1,000 better off. A fairer method for both parties would be to deduct a percentage each year.
My advice is to avoid life insurance if you possibly can, if not use a term policy and invest the difference directly in stocks or in a unit trust (mutual fund.)
In the same newspaper, and article by Dominic Lawson, the editor of The Spectator, queries the avidity of trusting experts. A 'phone call to suitable offices revealed that no one could really state what the population of the Earth is, or indeed just that of China. If no one knows what the population is, how can they say that a given percentage have AIDS, for example?
He went on to say that in times gone by the average motorist knew enough about how his car worked to be able to put it right if it went wrong. However, today's "humming beasts" contain sophisticated electronic management systems that even garages don't understand: they have to be returned to the manufacturers if they go wrong. The manufacturers say this is OK, because equipment is orders of magnitude more reliable. However, does this make the average human a cog in a machine beyond his comprehension?
Our Cornish Scene this month was the Tolvan Stone, which is at a cottage near Tolvan Cross. People used to believe that such stones had healing power, and used to pass sick people through the hole. Maybe in the future people will view modern hospital procedures with as much amusement when a spoonful of nano machines will be all that is needed to cure most ills.
The United Kingdom Remains a Free Country
The dead hand of Socialism was pushed aside as Britain chose another five years of Conservative government at the April 9 election. Nevertheless the Labour Party increased its number of seats in Parliament, and there is always the risk that it could return at the next election. [and it did!]
Although the UK stock market rose nearly 150 points on the news that economic freedom would be maintained, tax planning consultants may have groaned. According to The Financial Times they always do well under a Socialist government as more people seek their expensive advice on how to legally avoid the much higher levels of taxation.
Governmental control isn't the only threat to cryonics. The Socialists concept of controlling money by a policy of high taxation and high handouts isn't the only risk to UK cryonicists' funds. The other problem is the vested interest of institutions and professions and their ever increasing fees, supported by laws enacted by their colleagues in the legislature. There is no effective counter to probate apart from additional legal work, and nothing is perfectly safe from legal attack when the stakes are high. Of course the lower costs of the Cryonics Institute make each suspension a less exciting legal adventure, but the risks are still there.
The vested interests of pathologists and related professions makes a change in the UK autopsy laws unlikely, although it is believed that if a bereaved family can approach the pathologist as an individual something can usually be worked out on a person to person basis.
The Truth About Authority
In an article in The Financial Times of 14 March, Christian Tyler discussed the rise of neo-National Socialism in the German town of Passau. The article described how, despite the horrors of the last war, Germans in this town seemed to be susceptible to the allure of kneeling to an extremist authoritarian philosophy.
Ms Anja Rosmus lived in the town and met with threats when she attempted to expose National Socialism there. She said that because Passau was isolated and because of its Catholic reverence for authority it was vulnerable to Nazi xenophobia and was ambivalent about Hitler's defeat.
Linus Pauling Institute Short of Funds
In common with all donor supported organisations, the voice of the Linus Pauling Institute is getting more and more strident in its demands for support in this time of recession. Their recent drive for $1,000,000 to continue their research fell short by $650,000.
Unfortunately this has come at a time of scientific advance in their quest to gain hard evidence of the benefits of vitamin C in disease prevention. Dr Pauling himself takes no less that 18 grams per day, and their latest press release suggests that this dose is beneficial against cholesterol build up and atherosclerotic plaques. Guinea pigs, one of the few animals that don't make their own vitamin C, develop atherosclerosis when they are fed on a low ascorbate diet. Also, animals that make their own vitamin C dose themselves with a weight equivalent level of a human taking 18 grams/day of the vitamin. This is 300 times the upper limit that the FDA's lawyers are trying to enforce on the American people.
Legal Requirements Slash Warner Lambert's Income by a Factor of Ten
A new accounting standard required Warner Lambert to suffer a once only charge on its annual balance of $524 million. This included new arrangements for retirement health care benefits.
However its sales have risen from £4,689.6 million to $5,059 million. The fact that its income per common share fell from $3.61 to $0.26 was not reflected in the dividend, which rose from $1.52 to $1.76. This was because the fall in nett income was due to one off legal factors rather than any genuine deterioration in sales or performance.
The company reported on a massive research programme in its annual report for 1991. There is a theory that its cardiovascular blood pressure medicine Accupril may also retard the progression of atherosclerosis. A major study has been instigated to obtain evidence on this idea.
The year also marked the company's obtaining permission to market Nipent, which is useful in hairy cell leukaemia patients who don't respond to standard treatments. Nipent was said to have helped 50% of patients who failed to respond to interferon.
Cryonics Stunt on Television
TV prankster Jeremy Beadle films unsuspecting members of the public in strange situations unbeknown to them, and if they sign a release form after all is explained, he shows the films on television.
On April 5, he set up a fake cryonics facility and hired people to look after the capsules, supposedly containing the bodies of volunteers frozen in an experiment.
However when one of the victims was faced with a body rising from the capsule, he broke the window with a brick in a frenzied attempt to escape. Another took it more calmly, simply ordering the reanimated person a pizza.
The stunt was branded a sick joke by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Frightening someone half to death with such a horrific subject could have lead to a heart attack, said spokeswoman Janice Cave, according to a report in The Sunday Mirror of April 12.
The man who broke the window received a cut to his hand and had grazed knuckles. He did agree for the film to be shown, but tv bosses barred the footage. The reactions of the other victims will be shown later this year. (Thanks to Karen Griffin who provided the cutting.)
Our Cornish Scene this month was Wheal Fortune, near Bissoe. Some people don't want to live in the future because they think it will be terrible. One might believe them making a fuss if we were suggesting they live in the past. For example at Wheal Fortune where stories such as the following were commonplace.
In June 1883 two miners were walking along the 120 fathom level when falling water put out both their candles. One set off for the 90 fathom level to fetch a light, but after 2hr he had still not returned. Eventually the other miner managed to improvise a light, and found his companion lying terribly mutilated on a landing between ladders at the 140 fathom level. He had fallen down the shaft in the dark.
Today one cannot really imagine such darkness, and fighting it only with the aid of candles. What tools do we use today to fight off dangers of the environment that future people will laugh at as primitive?
Riots May Herald Change in Legal System
The riots following an unpopular verdict re the video of police beating up an alleged offender may indicate that the hold the legal profession has over the American people may be abating.
Legal professionals often state that they are there to do what the public (in general) want, and events such as these show that there is a large gap looming between the parties to this agreement.
Several people have suggested that my comments about certain professions are a "one man campaign" against them. I do not really regard it as such at all. I am indicating trends that already exist, not making new ones. Even if every single reader of The Immortalist took every word I wrote so seriously that it changed their entire viewpoint to coincide with mine, that number of people would not change the world. However change is coming, and it is the nature of the change and its velocity that I attempt to predict and write about.
Vitamin K Scare
A scare is brewing in the UK starting early May about the use of the coagulant known as vitamin K in young babies. It seems that it is now given as a routine injection to babies to reduce the chances of them bleeding. However studies by Professor John Golding of the Institute of Child Health, Bristol, suggests the injections may double the chances of the child developing leukaemia.
He said that further work is required to produce a causal link. He also said that parents of children who had already had the injection should not worry as the chances of a particular child developing the often fatal disease are very slight.
Interestingly the studies revealed that the alleged link was only apparent in cases where the baby had been injected. Where the coagulant had been given by mouth, there was no problem. Therefore a change to oral application is being suggested.
I would comment that it may not be the coagulant at all - perhaps it is an infection, such as a virus, that is getting in either during the injection process or via the manufacturing process of the substance. Maybe the virus can't enter the body through the digestive system.
Although hospitals are supposed to be clean places, the concentration of so many people must make it easy for viruses to spread. That is to say from the viruses point of view the hygiene is a disadvantage balanced out by the large numbers of possible hosts present.
Another comment to people who may link the use of the word "vitamin" with the products they take in order to reduce the risk of getting a fatal disease early in the later years of their lives. So called "vitamin" K is something quite different.
It is a substance known as phytomenmadione which is essential for the clotting of blood. It is produced by intestinal bacteria, and there is a risk of deficiency in babies before their bowel flora have had time to develop, hence the injections or pills. I suppose that injections were favoured because of the practical difficulties with giving an extremely young baby a pill. (Sources, Guardian 8 May, MIMS (a physicians' directory of medicines))
Drug Company Results
The rise in the share prices of drug companies seems to have been halted for the time being by professional sentiments on Wall Street. Stock Market movements are often self fulfilling prophesies, and slow movements in prices are often more due to predictions made by professional commentators and analysts than the underlying facts. That is why prices rise before good news and often fall or stabilise when it is officially announced. Extremely rapid movements do occur, when unexpected breakthroughs appear, especially in science based industries.
At the present time, the main customer of the drugs companies is the government, as they regulate supply and demand. Although the "vast profits" complained about are often recycled into research, public demand is that these should be curtailed. Therefore price restriction by edict is likely to affect drug companies around the world in the near future. However they have a vast quantity of products in various stages of development, and there is always the hope that the American public will demand that the FDAs remit will be substantially modified.
If the FDA is modified to the advantage of patients it will also be to the advantage of the drug companies, and this will lead to another hike in share prices in the near term.
However the best outlook is in the long term, and here the professionals won't have included the vision of the immortalist movement in their assessments of the value of these stocks. Thus whatever the short term price, these stocks are substantially undervalued if the immortalist promise come to fruition. If this statement is incorrect, then none of us will be alive to witness it, so it is fair to say that it is with absolute certainty that those investing long term in drug companies will be revived from cryonic suspension to see substantial rises in these stocks.
I know that some people are interested in the new start up biotechnology stocks, but only a few of these should be part of an immortalist portfolio. Indeed they are only included from the point of view of a bit of fun for the investor rather than for a particularly serious point of view. As stated in April's Immortalist in Professor Ettinger's article on investment, there are so many of these stocks that the chances on picking a winner are not that good. The companies I recommend are the more established drug companies, who will obviously be in a good position to take advantage of biotechnology and nanotechnology as it becomes available. They could well buy up complete biotechnology companies, and indeed those investing in companies that are taken over will make good profits.
But many of these small companies will fail, often because of the legal and other expenses involved with business rather than any unsoundness of their projet. In this case the larger drug companies will buy from the liquidators, often at knock down prices, valuable concepts and patents. All the liquidators will be worried about is getting their fees, which even though they are high are often far less than the buying company would pay for the research from the start.
Deprenyl Animal Health Debut Report
The first annual report of Deprenyl Animal Health, appeared dated 11 May 1991. As this was the first report since its public offering, the company described some of the history behind its business plan.
L-Deprenyl was discovered by the Hungarian chemist Dr Joseph Knoll in the 1960s. In 1981 the product was first licensed in Great britain for use in treating Parkinson's Disease. Dr Martin Schulman, chairman of Deprenyl Animal Health Inc (DAHI) played a central role in bringing Eldepryl (L-Deprenyl for human use) to the North American health market. He founded, and is currently chairman of, Deprenyl Research Ltd (DRL) of Tronto, Canada. DRL distributes Eldepryl in Canada.1
As is well known to readers of The Immortalist data was published by Dr Knoll on statistical increase in maximum lifespan in rats treated with L- Deprenyl.2 In 1988, DRL replicated the study, producing a significant effect, although not as marked as Dr Knoll3. Interestingly, the results of Drs Milgram and Ivy including potentially significant data on retarding the normal decline of bodily function with time.
It was on this basis that DAHI was established to evaluate the utility of L- L-Deprenyl in extending the healthy lifespan of companion animals, starting with dogs. A name Anipryl was registered as a trade mark for vetinary L- Deprenyl.
A number of studies are in progress at Toronto university, and a methodology has been established as to how the decline of ageing damage can be measured in dogs. Also, an independent research report has appeared that supports the thesis.6 There are also studies that are investigating the specific uses of Anipryl in cases of vetinary disorder.
A novel "joint review" process has been initiated with the authorities for the product to be granted permission to be sold as a vetinary medicine in both Canada and the United States.
However the company expects to spend four to five years of investment and effort to obtain the regulatory approval to market Anipryl for canine use. Within this time they also plan to introduce other vetinary products to provide on ongoing source of income. Additionally, they have reached an arrangement concerning the manufacture of a drug Alzene for compassionate use in Alzheimers' patients. "Compassionate use" approval was obtained in Canada in February.
I assume that Alzene contains L- Deprenyl - no mention of its composition is made in the report. If this company is a success and people really see their dogs living longer, then there will be an overwhelming pressure on governments to allow humans to take life extension doses of L-Deprenyl. The bad news is that dogs live about 15 years anyway, and the sale of the product won't start for five years. Therefore twenty years will have passed before this result is achieved. How old will you be in 20 years time?
These references were given in the original report. I have kept to the same numbers to avoid mistakes:
1 The Deprenyl Story A. Dow. Stoddart, 1990
2 Striatal Dopamine, sexual activity and lifespan. Longevity of rats treated with L-Deprenyl. J. Knoll, et al, Life Sciences 45.6, 1989, pp 525-531
3 Maintenance on L-Deprenyl Prolongs Life in Aged Male Rats N.W. Milgram et al, Life Sciences, 47,5 1990 pp 415-420
6 Improvement in Cognitive Function by MAO-B Inhibitor L-Deprenyl in Aged Rats R. Brandis et al, Pharmacology Biochemistry and behaviour 39, pp 297-304, 2 Nov 1990
In its 1991 report to shareholders, Upjohn made the following statement:
The pharmaceutical industry is in one of the most exciting and challenging eras in history. The explosion of scientific knowledge is giving companies the capability to produce innovative and useful therapies to help meet the world's medical needs. In the year 2000, sales in the developed pharmaceutical markets of the world are expected to grow from $180 billion to $400 billion annually.
The section on central nervous system research mentioned compounds designed to reduce ischemic injury - an area of obvious interest to cryonicists.
Marion Merrel Dow - "Extraordinary results" for 1991
Marion Merrel Dow enthuse about the results for 1991 with their core products, as discussed on these columns before.
Interestingly, they plan to market Aminoguanidine, of life extension fame, for the treatment of diabetic complications. They expect to see it on the prescription only medicine (POM) market in 2-3 years time. In the same period they expect to move Sledane, their world famous antihistamine for hay fever sufferers, from the restricted POM on the OTC market in the USA. It is already available OTC in most other countries right now.
Schering Plough Highlight Cost Effectiveness of Pharmaceuticals
In their annual report, Schering Plough emphasise that far from being overpriced, pharmaceuticals represent only 7% of the US health market. They can replace more expensive alternative measures, such as hospitalisation and surgery. And I would add it is much nicer to take a pill than submitting to surgery. Surgical procedures, by their very nature, cannot be subject to the stringent and some say overdone safety testing of pharmaceutical products.
The company deprecates political moves to curb pharmaceutical profits, pointing out that if research is stifled the alternative health processes of surgery will actually cost the nation more. Without today's new drugs, health care cost would be escalating far more than the are. To deny the future its new drugs, then costs will rise even faster.
As reported previously, Schering Plough is committed to a program of allowing people more control over their own health care, and is working to deregulate its products from POM to OTC status. Gyne-Lotrim, a vaginal yeast treatment, saw sales rise four time after liberalisation this way. Altogether the company market over 30 OTC medicines.
Alpha One Biomedicals Report Increased Institutional Stock Holdings
The annual report of Alpha One biomedicals, the company whose first public offering was detailed in Anti Ageing News (now Life Extension Report), contained nothing that hasn't been reported here before. However an increased institutional holding of its stock was mentioned, and this obviously gives credence to the company, as institutions don't invest without thorough research into the viability of a company.
A Quantum Comment on Medicine
Quantum mechanics states that an event hasn't happened unless a conscious mind has observed it. (Schrodinger's Cat) This has interesting implications for medical screening, doesn't it? Especially when one adds in the fact that some conditions observed by screening may self limit if not treated, whereas if fashion dictates treatment, then treatment is what follows willy-nilly.
Another note on Pharmaceuticals
Despite the "miracles" of modern surgery, the body is still far better at curing itself in many instances. Ideally surgery should pick up on those where it fails, but this doesn't make surgery better. Pharmacology, ie treatment by drugs, is nearer the way the body cures itself, and therefore should be the treatment of choice. Why then does only 7% of health care costs go on that method? (Probably because surgery is 1:1 whereas pharmacology is 1:millions. Nevertheless, the authorities will be making a wrong move from an overall economic point of view if they plan to reduce the funding available to the drug companies.
Our Cornish Scene this month was a computer image taken from a video recording of a view of the headland immediately below my grazing fields, taken from the opposite side of the valley.
A problem we have faced this year is an infestation of ragwort. By law this has to be removed, because it is a poisonous plant. This is an example of what naturalists know of as "overprotection". If a species protects itself against attack so much that it is a positive menace to other species, then they will attack it in self defence. Probably the best known example is the wasp, which is usually exterminated on contact by humans, because of its propensity to sting.
Cryonicists have to be wary of this phenomena when trying to ensure their suspensions. Although it is advantageous to the movement if people make arrangements so that life is made uncomfortable for officials and family members who try to thwart suspensions, if this is overdone then the cryonics movement could be considered a threat and it would be more actively attacked.
A balance is no doubt difficult to achieve, but nevertheless "they" should not be allowed to get away with it!
Another lesson to be learned from ragwort is that natural is not always best. Ragwort has developed its poisonous nature in order to deter animals from eating it. Although vitamins can be found in vegetation, there are many other compounds there as well, and not all of them may be good for you. When you buy a pill from a reputable source, you know exactly what is in it.
Panic in Belgrade
Mr Milan Panic, president of ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc, the manufacturers of the anti viral Ribavarin, has taken the presidency of the Serbian dominated rump of the Yugoslav federal republic, according to The Evening Standard of 3 July.
In The Financial Times, of 11 July, Mr Panic was reported to have addressed a conference at Helsinki with his plan to remove all heavy weapons from Bosnia and give them to the United Nations, and to sell other weapons in order to raise money for the reconstruction of Serbia.
An article in Omni's Longevity described Mr Panic's interest in life extension. It said that when he was a child he always asked the question "Why die?". He studied biochemistry at Belgrade University and received a degree there. He landed in New York in 1956 with his wife and with $20 and two suitcases between them. He learned English from a dictionary and obtained a post as research assistant in the chemistry department of the University of Southern California.
Four years later he founded the International Chemical and Nuclear Corporation (ICN) with $200 capital. He has backed his own personal quest for longevity with an enormous amount of work and money. His track record in developing new pharmaceuticals has coaxed millions of dollars out of other companies who want to get in on the ground floor of his anti-aging development.
Mr Panic envisions a drug to be taken in middle age which boosts the immune system and assists DNA repair. He does not recommend younger people taking anti-aging products because "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Mr Panic has emblazoned the following motto over his company's headquarters: "He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything."
It would seem a shame if Mr Panic meets a violent end through his new appointment. However there is also hope here, in that as a man who hates death he will presumably do all he can to prevent inter-racial warring. In the long term he may use his position to induce life extension ethics into his country. In particular I would like to see
Citizens having the freedom to take vitamins in any dose and also to take experimental anti- aging drugs, provided that they are people capable of understanding the risks and that the risks have been spelt out to them.
A legal framework in place that allows cryonic suspension as a right without the risks associated with the legal system of other countries.
As to inter-racial warring, I recommend that the following may be a solution in areas where races are mixed but cannot live together peacefully. The government in charge buys up all property of one of the races, thus giving the people the funds to move elsewhere. It can then sell the property to people from the other race who can move in with their fellows. Indeed, if two such areas are designated, then people can move from one to the other. I know this means a lot of government expenditure, but it is not permanent, and anyway it is substantially cheaper than all the collateral damage of war and, of course, no one is killed or injured!
Alternative to Skin Cancer Surgery
It has been reported in The Immortalist before that Deprenyl USA Inc does not in fact work with deprenyl, despite the name and the connection with Deprenyl Research Inc. However I have received a leaflet from them with details a new process they are promoting to remove skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions. They claim that the process, called ALA Photodynamic Therapy, may be suitable for other cancers that can be exposed to light, eg of the womb.
The affected areas are treated with a drug they call ALA. After being absorbed by the abnormal cells it sensitises them by transforming into a light sensitive molecule protoporphyrin IX. The lesions are then exposed to non-laser light. The leaflet showed several photographs, and points out the treatment is non-surgical and involves no scars. In trials conducted by Dr James Kennedy of Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, the treatment cured 78% of 200 cases.
This treatment may lead to substantial advance in effective treatment of skin cancers, and also, the company believes, conditions such as Psoriasis and warts.
For further information and/or copies of the leaflet, write to Deprenyl USA Inc, 3799 Route 46 Suite 301, Parsippany, NJ07054.Karen's Clippings
These cuttings were obtained by my ex-companion, Karen Griffin, from the daily papers she buys:
More Death Bungles
The Sunday Times of 28 June reported that a Chinese teenager passed out after drinking some alcoholic beverages. His family secretly buried him at his village at Hubei, near Peking. (In China, burial is forbidden in favour of burning.) Three days later officials discovered the burial and ordered the body to be exhumed and cremated. When the coffin was opened, it was found that the boy had only been unconscious when buried, but he died trying to claw his way out of the coffin.
San Francisco Experiment Appears to Show Value of Prayer
The first of two clippings from She of June 1991 tells of an "experiment" performed at a San Francisco hospital by members of local churches. They selected a group of 400 patients, which were split into to groups. One group received prayer by the churchmen, and the other only the best of modern medicine. Only three of the prayed for patients received further heart attacks as opposed to 14 in the other group.
I wonder then, why the British Royal Family don't live to an enormous age, considering the words of the British national anthem, sung so many times each year by believers and non- believers alike?
This story also says something about the way drugs are tested too!
Grapefruit Juice helps the Pills go Down
The second item is more useful. It says that if you want to get the most from a tablet-type drug then take it with grapefruit juice.
Doctors in a heart drug trial found that some people had three times as much of the active drug in their systems as others, and discovered that these people had taken their tablets with grapefruit juice. Other fruit juices did not have the same effect.
More Strangeness Amongst the Deathists
In The News of the World of 26 July the bizarre habits of a user of Manchester Airport caused the bomb alarm to go off. Security men found him carrying a tin of ashes. "I carry her everywhere" said the man. The ashes were the cremated remains of his wife.
Cremation Prices Flare Upwards
An article in Funeral Service Journal of July 1992 reports that the costs of cremation have risen three times that of inflation over the past year. Many crematoria have added surcharges to fund the installation of equipment to meet new environmental requirements for their business. However there are extreme regional variations.
Periastron Looks at Alcor's Research Expenditure
The lead article of the July 1992 issue of Periastron is part three of a series on Cryonics and Scientific Research. Its main topic was the fact that Alcor has spent little on scientific research in the past. Dr Donaldson says that Alcor's real aim is the suspension and revival of its patients. This may or may not involve research. He feels that if Alcor members feel strongly about Alcor's lack of research then they should set up their own research facility and pursue their research separately. He recalls the truism that it is much easier to do something oneself than get someone else to do it. Politicking within Alcor is wasting its time and probably its money.
The other articles concern, things like brain repair, memory, neurotransmitters, and cortisone and ischemia. As usual all appear to be by Dr Donaldson himself - he seems unable to attract other authors. So if you have something to say about science and cryonics, then here is your platform.
Periastron PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, California 94087. Subscriptions cost $2.50 per issue. If you pay for many issues in advance, you avoid any possible price rises. If the newsletter does not continue for any reason, unused subscriptions will be refunded with interest!
New Scientist of 11 August reported on the work of Reginald Penner and Wenje Li of the University of California. They have made the world's smallest call. A battery of such cells could one day provide electricity to operate nano machines. The cell generates a potential difference of 20 millivolts, and held it for 45 minutes. The article did not state what current was available. It was a copper/silver cell using copper sulphate as electrolyte. The cells comprised 500,000 toms, and the potential was generated by moving 80,000 of them from the copper terminal to the silver one, where they coated it in layers two atoms thick.
The cell was made with a scanning tunnelling microscope, and after the cell was discharged the microscope revealed that the terminals were of the same size. Initially the silver one was half the size of the copper one.
The researchers said that this cell is too weak to drive even the smallest of nanomotors, but they are investigating other materials.
Matter of Fact Mention in The Daily Telegraph
An article in a regular science column in The Daily Telegraph by science correspondent Roger Highfield discussed substantial changes made in the political approach to science in the UK over the past year. He said "So transformed is the mood in the laboratory that a scientist waking up after a year in cryonic suspension would be amazed."
Of course he is in error inasmuch as this presupposes revivals are possible by present rather than future science, but nevertheless this casual mention of cryonics continued to make the reading public accept it as a service that is available in this world just like any other. This is in contrast to a diminishing flow of articles describing it as "weird", "obscene" etc.
[Thanks to my father for providing this clipping, despite the fact he has yet to be convinced as to the value of the cryonics concept.]
Delay of Freedom for US Citizens to buy Seldane OTC
Marion Merrel Dow have announced a hold in their plans to make the anti-allergy drugs in the Seldane family available without prescription. They are freely available for the asking in most European countries.
The reason for the hold is that a very small number of patients have experienced problems with terfenadine, the main constituent. In the meantime, the labelling for the prescription products have been altered to tell patients with the following circumstances not to take the pharmaceutical:
Patients with serious liver disease
Patients taking ketoconazole (A POM antifungal) and/or erythromycin (A POM antifungal).
"While Seldane has had widespread use in over 200 million patients since its introduction in 1981, we are concerned about the possibility that any patient could be at risk, no matter how rare the incidence", said Fred W. Lyons, Jr, president and chief executive officer of Marion Merrel Dow. Second quarter sales of the product grew by 33% to $296 million. US sales were up by the same percentage. The US sales of seldane-D, the version containing a decongestant as well, which was introduced in 1991, were $59 million in the second quarter.
Constructive Quarter at Deprenyl Animal Health
In their second quarter report, dated 30 June 1992, Deprenyl Animal health Inc (DAHI) announced a "particularly constructive" period. Progress was made in the scientific and clinical use of Anipryl for dogs, a strategic relationship was established with a manufacturer of animal pharmaceuticals, and progress was also made in the long process of patenting the new uses of Anipryl.
DAHI has provided initial evidence that Anipryl is therapeutically effective in treating canine Cushing's disease. The performance with age survey of guide dogs has been completed and results are being analysed. A pilot study for the improvement of efficiency of assistance dogs will now be developed. Also, the first pilot trial at the University of Toronto to evaluate the therapeutic benefits of Anipryl in ageing dogs is nearing completion. Statistical review and publication of results is expected this year.
Another long term study of Anipryl in ageing dogs in Albuquerque, lasting five years, is continuing.
Dr Knoll's original study showing increase maximum lifespan in laboratory rodents has been repeated in Japan.
Patent applications have been made resulting from discoveries by Drs William Tatton and Carol Greenwood at Toronto University that deprenyl therapy results in what they term "rescue" of injured or dying neurons. Thus deprenyl may be therapeutically beneficial in nerve damage situations such as trauma or slipped discs.
Ribavirin Used to Treat Glandular Virus
In two cases recently Ribavirin was used to treat a glandular virus that caused swelling of neck glands and a resulting stiff neck. Twenty 100 mg capsules were taken in doses of two, four times a day. Symptoms declined after half a day.
Conventional medical opinion offered no cure and advised that the condition would self limit after fourteen days or so.
This is, of course, an isolated incident, but clearly this product has a much wider usage than presently conceded by the authorities. It could eventually be to viruses as penicillin is to bacteria, but of course viruses are designed to mutate and with the passage of time resistant strains are likely to appear. Also, when millions of people start using it, a few rare cases of toxic effects may emerge in particular individuals.
Chaos Theory Used in Novel Fusion Reactor Design
A Dutch company, Convectron NV, has been researching the possibility that the natural phenomenum of ball lightening contains small nuclear fusion reactions. It claims that this effect can be exploited to produce a nuclear fusion energy system that will solve many of the world's energy shortages. This is nothing to do with the "cold fusion" idea that captured the world's imagination some years back.
Dr Ir D.C. Dijkhuis has been working on the concept for many years, and a few years ago raised some money from stockholders for a series of experiments to prove his theories. In a report to stockholders dated January 1991 he says that Convectron NV has been able to create ball lightening and record nuclear reactions therein.
However they are now short of money to carry out further experiments, having used valuable resources patenting their work so far. They took the peculiar step of asking shareholders for "donations" for further research, but have backed this up with a more conventional share offer, details of which are available from Postbox 382 5680 AJ Best Holland. The issue price is 50 guilders per share.
The company claims that the process is controllable and the raw material and waste products are free of radiation. The project can be now considered as leading to a short term result compared to large scale nuclear fission equipment. If the money can be found, they hope to have a working system available on the market in four years. The first two years will be spent doing experiment to verify that the concept is really viable, and this will require 5 million guilders.
Copies of translated version of the full report are available upon request.
Acknowledgements to Ellen van der Mey for translating into English for Fractal Report and The Immortalist.
British Association for the Advancement of Science Debate ME
The Financial Times of 29 August carried a report that the British Association for the Advancement of Science held a meeting on ME, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, or post viral fatigue.
The meeting heard that the condition has real physiological causes, and is not just a psychological illness. However the causes remain uncertain.
Dt Stuart Butler, of the Burden Neurological Institute, Bristol, said that brain scans of sufferers showed a prominent feature called post- imperative variation (PINV). This effect is observed in a number of different disorders, so we do not have a specific test that reveals ME. However there is a disturbance in the cerebral cortex that has something in common with neurological and mental illnesses which have an organic cause.
Ms Clare Francis is a leading campaigner for the medical profession to recognise that ME is a genuine disease and not an excuse for people to scrounge. She says that there are 120,000 to 150,000 sufferers in the UK at any one time.
Lilly announce 7% increase
Eli Lilly and Company, the pharmaceutical firm famous for the introduction of insulin products, announced a 7% increase in sales and profits for the second quarter of 1992.
However within the report there is a very good illustration of how good products (unlike services) become cheaper in real terms with the passage of time.
In terms of today's dollars, the price of one day's supply of insulin was $5.79 in 1923. In 1992 it is only 69 cents. Despite this fall in price the company has done very well over the intervening years.
Compare this with surgery, which is a one-on-one service. The techniques and availability of different operations have increased, but the charges have increased substantially in real terms. Lilly gave no figures, but it is apparent that the pharmaceutical industry is helping more people per dollar spent than ever before.
Crematorium Pollution Worries
Cryonics organisations aren't the only people who need worry about public pollution fears. Film critic Barry Norman and 60s pop star Marty Wilde joined campaigners protesting against a proposed crematorium in Stevenage, Herts. An article in Funeral Service Journal said that they were worried the smoke would pollute the air. However Birmingham city council are increasing the charge for burial sites in order to encourage the burning of "remains" in their area.
Also in Funeral Service Journal is an account of a funeral director in Hereford who promised a free coffin to the first person killed at a dangerous cross roads near his home.
Coffins Used to Sample 1690s Atmosphere
An article on page 7 of New Scientist of 29 August addressed the question of how much human activity is changing the content of the Earth's atmosphere. Ground penetrating radar discovered some lead coffins used to inter the remains of Governor Philip Calvert's family in Maryland.
Only two others have been found in the USA, and these were opened in the 1700s, according to the article. One was still hermetically sealed (the lead was soldered up) and contained a perfectly preserved body.
The recent finds will not be so molested. The air will be extracted without damaging the integrity of the wood lined lead boxes or risking damage to the bodies. The project will cost half a million dollars! As air samples are withdrawn, the air will be replaced with argon, a heavy inert gas that will not react with the organic content of the coffins. Without this precaution, says the article, the bodies will turn to dust within a few hours. The interior of the coffins will be examined with a fibre optic borescope.
The air samples will be examined at the Langley Research Centre and should reveal significant differences with today's atmosphere.
Presumably the bodies will be allowed to rest in peace. The article did not speculate whether there is sufficient data remaining therein to allow future archaeologists to resurrect the individuals concerned.
Increased sales by Bristol Myers Squibb
In their second quarter report, Bristol Myers Squibb announced a 5% increase in sales. Also included in the report was an article on "unrestricted funding" for research. The company has been using this method to fund research for 15 years. Normally, people are only allowed to perform research funded by a company or other public body if they have had some previous research experience. Unrestricted funding means that topics being proposed for research are considered on their merits, not the past history of the researcher.
Amongst the new products introduced was a kit that enables surgeons to treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a painful wrist disease, with the minimum amount of invasion. Previously "open surgery" was used.
Dentists on Panorama
The BBC recently showed a documentary in their Panorama series concerning the profession of dental surgeon - dentists for short.
When the National Health Service was introduced, the plan was for everyone to have free medical, dental and eye treatment.
Unfortunately the economic realities of the situation have whittled this down, to a situation now where most people pay 75% of the cost when they submit to dental surgery. However the cost is as laid down by government, and dental surgeons are claiming that this is inadequate. They are opting out of the NHS service to give only private treatment (ie fully funded by the patient at no set cost).
The television programme opened with a statement to the effect that for many people a visit to the dentist is a cause of fear. Now it is also a cause of financial worry. Some members of the public were interviewed and said that they could not afford dental treatment at all.
The dental profession are paid by the government on piece work, ie so much per item of treatment. Examples are:
A filling £5 $8.50
Extraction £22 $37.40
Crown £49 $83.30
The government try to base what they pay dentists on what they consider their average annual fee income should be. They say it should be £33,317 ($57k), but in reality it is £37,000. Therefore they are cutting payments by 5%.
Dental surgeons interviewed by Panorama said that they work an average 8½ hour day and sees 35 patients. One surgeon said he earned £75,000 ($130,000) but worked very hard for it. Another said that for economic reasons he needs to do a filling every 6 minutes, including seeing the patient in and out and scrubbing up.
A scene in Guy's Hospital Dental School included interviews that suggested that the high standards demanded of students there could not be met under time and cost restraints of the NHS.
They are two types of partial dentures. One fits only on the gums of remaining teeth, but is cheaper to make. They are, however, known as "gum strippers" as they are hard to keep clean and result in gum disease causing further loss of teeth.
An interview at crown makers Broughton Tyrell PLC with Managing Director Mr Broughton suggested that much work done under the NHS has to be sent back as it cannot be used to make accurate crowns. Borderline work could result in ill fitting crowns that cause decay to work its way under the crown causing loss of the tooth and/or gum disease. Mr Broughton described it as a ludicrous situation where patients were actually damaged by the treatment, and he said that his firm was increasing its charges by 30% with a view to deliberately pricing itself out of the NHS market.
Dentist Ms Diane Planning was also interviewed and she echoed something that has long been in circulation amongst people that are watching the profession. She said that people who go to the dentist regularly end up with more fillings, without complementary evidence that they started out with more disease.
This ties in with a reference whose source I have sadly lost. It stated that old people who have not sought regular dental treatment throughout their lives have more teeth than those who did.
She concluded that the piecework system resulted in over treatment. The more fillings a dentist does, the more he gets paid.
Professor Richard Elderton (Bristol University) was interviewed and he said that the overenthusiastic use of the probe is counterproductive to good dental health. By probing tissue such as is found in the illustration dental disease is spread not cured. Such lesions seldom grow and indeed could remain that size throughout the life of the patient. If probed, then they will grown, and money earning surgery will be needed. If not probed, the tooth remains healthy.
Patients presenting such lesions can be treated by oral hygiene not fillings.
An alternative scheme of payment has been running for two years, but it is restricted to children only. This is the capitation scheme, whereby the dentists are paid per patient on their books. This should prevent over treatment, but it too has its problems.
If treatment is needed, dentists have to pay for it out of their capitation allowance. Therefore they may leave their patients in a state known as supervised neglect. Dentists say the capitation fee of £2.25 ($3.83) is far too low, and doesn't allow for preventative treatments.
39% of the dental profession approved of a complete switch to capitation, provided it was properly funded. They say that it would provide a level of service that patients would find very agreeable.
A lot of this seems in complete agreement with the Oramedics system, which I have featured in these columns before. As Oramedics is in Michigan, I am repeating its address:
PO Box 426,
1110 8th Street,
Its principal, Dr R.O. Nara, DDS, shares the views of many of the people in the broadcast who were critical of the existing methods of the dental profession.
In his book Money by the Mouthful he wrote of the dental probe:
This instrument is a torture device, of stainless steel and chrome, with a sharp point. It is a heavy duty ice pick, if you need a descriptive analogy.
With it, the dentist pokes and pries at your teeth, trying to locate "bad spots" in your enamel. It will leave your gums bleeding. It will cause you exquisite pain if the dentist manages to poke it into an active cavity.
If you jump, involuntarily, and let out a yip, the dentist will invariably ram it right back into the same hole ... more or less to verify that, yes, indeed, you got a reaction that time, doc!
As he merrily moves from place to place in your mouth with this archaic device, scratching and gouging, he is carrying live, active dental disease from infected areas to healthy areas. ... You may be sure that you will have another cavity when you return in six months, because the dentist infected a healthy area in your mouth. ...
The dentist can do nothing with the probe he cannot do as least as well, and probably better with a warm air syringe and mirror. There is not one legitimate reason to touch the teeth with a sharp instrument for the sake of examination. Not one.
Money by the Mouthful is available for $5.95 from Oramedics or booksellers. [Longevity Books in UK]
Whilst on the subject of teeth, I recall reading somewhere that if you clean your teeth before meals (as well as after) you reduce the bacteria count in your mouth whilst you are eating. This has the effect of reducing the damage they can do.
Doctor Kessler Interviewed on CNN
Cable Network news have been broadcasting and re-broadcasting a carefully choreographed interview with Dr Kessler, leader of the FDA. Dr Kessler said that food products were marketed with claims so outrageous that it got to the point that people did not know what to believe. He therefore started his reign with action on that front. For example, fruit juice products were banned because they were falsely labelled as fresh.
Designer-stubbled Kessler said that the issue of "fresh" has become a sort of litmus test as to whether the FDA was willing and able to enforce the law. He said that he would have preferred to solve the problem with dialogue with the companies concerned, as opposed to sending in marshals with rifles to seize goods. However events "proved" that he had to take action - that's his job. He claimed that it is his job to stand up for the average American consumer. His battery of "consumer cops" do their jobs on what they say is a "shoestring budget" - $726 million in 1992.
Dr Kessler said that the jurisdiction of his agency is vast. He says that his 800 employees are "enormously dedicated" to their work. He said he was proud of the slogan at their Baltimore district offices: "The watchdog is back, and it has teeth". He is trained as both doctor and lawyer, and was asked which occupation is closest to his heart "I'm a doctor" he replied. When asked why he was chosen as the youngest leader of the FDA, he said that they wanted a real doctor who could understand the medical point of view. He said that he had a reputation of being a man who can get things done.
He grew up in an environment where public service was viewed as something very important. He grew up in the 1960s (shown on screen a picture of him as a baby!!!) when President Kennedy made public service such a good cause. He claimed not to have lost his youthful "urgency of ideals". He also said that as a child he never knew that he would be where he is today. He grew up as any other child.
All his life Kessler has fought against obesity. In view of his important position, he felt it was necessary not to be fat, which he achieved by simply not eating fat.
When asked about AIDS drugs, he said that the FDA will have to learn a new way, and they have introduced a "whole new fast track approval system".
"Our job is to assess whether manufacturers have demonstrated that a product is safe and effective" he said when asked about breast implants.
The interview also contained shots of him with his family. He said this job was the first time he had no ambition to move on to anything else.
It seems to strange to link this man with the other image of the FDA that comes from the newspapers - Gestapo style raids on health food shops etc. One English paper, The Daily Mail said on 19 August that the FDA had started to raid vitamin suppliers so that it could play with its hardware with little chance of being shot back. (Suppliers of addictive and harmful drugs usually use fire arms to fight back when raided.) But then the CNN brodcast is what propaganda is all about.
Periastron on Regeneration
The September issue of Periastron, Dr Thomas Donaldson's newsletter of fact, hypothesis and speculation concerning immortalism, focuses on regeneration. Although nanotechnology seems to be the main route now proposed for revivals, alternatives should not be disregarded. If embryos survive freezing, why not whole bodies? an investigation into biological systems that do regenerate may help to provide the answers. Here, such topics as adults newts regrowing an eye that has been surgically removed are considered.
Various other topics were also covered, including a report on whether medical services should be withheld from the elderly in proportion to their age. There was coverage of nerve transplants, freezing and the proteins involved.
A fascinating piece described experiments where thoughts could be visualised as patterns when electrodes are connected to brains. As yet, there is no clear interpretation of the patterns, but they are thought to have great potential for brain surgery.
Periastron PO Box 2365, Sunnyvale, California 94087. Subscriptions cost $2.50 per issue. If you pay for many issues in advance, you avoid any possible price rises. If the newsletter does not continue for any reason, unused subscriptions will be refunded with interest!
These cuttings were obtained by my ex-companion, Karen Griffin, from the daily papers she buys:
Preserving Animal Species
An article in The Sunday Mirror of 27 September discussed the work of Professor Stephen Segar, director of the fertility research programme at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington.
Professor Segar is interested in the preservation of animal species, and has pioneered the collection of sperm from gorillas, pandas, snow leopards and Canadian timber wolves. His techniques include freezing the sperm, and he has more than 100 species stored this way. He is responsible for the United States Animal Models of Human Disease Semen Bank - the first of its kind in the world. He is also interested in using a species different to that of the implanted embryos as a method of giving birth.
More Preventative Surgery
The practise of removing healthy breasts through fear of cancer received another airing in The Sunday Mirror of 27 September. It reveals in an exclusive story how three sisters in their 40s decided to have their breasts removed following a family history of cancer death. The three sisters took part in a television debate and received the backing of Professor James Drife, an expert in onstretrics and gynaecology at Leeds University. He shocked the studio audience by claiming that he would consider having his testicles removed as a precaution against cancer.
"Breasts are not essential to life" he said on the programme. "The way to eradicate breast cancer is to remove them before the cancer develops." He also stated that he did not perform this operation, so he was not touting for business.
In an accompanying article, The Sunday Mirror said that the UK had the worst record in the world for deaths from breast cancer. One woman per hundred carries a hereditary factor, and one in 12 dies from it. (I am not sure whether it means 1 in 12 of the population, or 1 in 12 of women who have the disease.)
Doctors usually recommend frequent screening, and modern surgical practise is to remove tumours only, not the whole organ. It was only relatively recently that surgeons regarded "lumpectomies" as a substandard "copout". However now this treatment is in fashion, and studies have shown it to be equally if not more effective.
Mel Gibson Movie to Feature Cryonics.
The Sunday Mirror on 20 September reported that Mel Gibson is to take the starring role in a cryonics movie where he is frozen as an experiment in 1942 and revived in 1992. The film examines the "you won't know anyone when you wake up" objection to cryonics, and he pines for the love of his earlier life, played by Isobel Glasser. He is consoled in 1992 by Jamie Lee Curtis. The film is due for release next year.
Mel Gibson agreed to do the film for the sake of his own family. Included in the contract is a three months/year holiday for him to spend time with his family. He will earn £22 million in the next three years from this film and three others to be made in the next three years. He wants to break away from his all action Lethal Weapon image.
French AIDS Prison Sentences Set Serious Precedent for FDA
An item in New Scientist of 31 October relates how three former French health officials were convicted in the last week of October by a Paris court on a charge of fraud for neglecting scientific evidence and allowing HIV-contaminated blood products to be given to haemophiliacs in 1985. They delayed the introduction of heat treatment to blood to kill HIV.
By delaying the introduction of treatment to destroy the virus in donated blood, they caused 1,500 haemophiliacs to be contaminated with the disease. 256 have since died of AIDS.
Mr Michael Garretta, was given the maximum sentence of four years imprisonment and a fine of £60,000. Of even greater interest is that Garretta is in the USA, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Presumably this means that the offence with which he has been found guilty in Paris is also a valid offence in the USA.
This appears to me to mean that if scientific evidence is available at a particular moment in history and officials ignore it and disallow it to be used in practical treatments, then they can be liable for death and injury caused, even if the case is brought years in the future. It doesn't seem to be a defence that these scientific arguments are often much clearer with hindsight.
Also, it is not merely a nameless government department that is held to blame, but the people working in it. Individually, they can be fined and sent to prison. This surely must be music to the ears of the Life Extension Foundation, for example, who are in conflict with the US FDA over very similar issues.
Needless to say, the French officials say that their consciences both professional and moral are clear, and they plan to appeal. It is interesting to me that they make a distinction between "professional" and "moral".
How You Could Take it With You
After a certain amount of difficulty, I have at last obtained a copy of the brochure of the Reanimation Foundation. This is an organisation based in the European republic of Liechtenstein, which is closely allied with Switzerland. Liechtenstein relies on Switzerland for its currency, postal service, foreign ministry and army. However otherwise it offers considerable financial freedom, including that to have trusts in perpetuity.
The legal profession in Britain in the Middle Ages developed the system of wills and probate now used in most countries, as a means of extracting wealth from the rich merchants of the time. The idea of leaving assets to someone far down the line of generations was developed as a counter to this, and as a means of maintaining family wealth. Not to be outdone, the lawyers then introduced laws that subsist to this day, limiting the individual's freedom to control his own wealth after his death much beyond nominating someone then alive to whom it may be bequeathed. This was achieved by making all trusts of limited duration.
This affects any cryonicist wanting to set up a fund to grow in value until he is reanimated and then revert to him. For example, if it takes 300 years for reanimation, and funds can be invested to produce a real rate of return of 3%, then $10,000 will grow to $(10,000 x 1.03300) = $71 million. But lawyers have made it impossible to hold such a fund - except in Switzerland, or Liechtenstein.
Another method of extracting funds from individuals (apart from taxation and a self serving legal system) is inflation. Many times in recent history the after tax return from savings has been negative. Switzerland (and therefore also Liechtenste in) has a record of a very stable currency. Therefore relatively volatile currencies like the dollar and pound will fall against the Swiss Franc with time. But if you put your funds in Swiss Francs and withdraw them after a period of time, you will get more dollars or pounds to compensate for inflation.
The Reanimation Foundation has seven members on its board of directors, including three lawyers from Liechtenstein, three cryonicists from the USA and one officer of a major Swiss bank.
Anyone who can spare $10,000 can donate money to the foundation's General Reanimation Fund. If you have $100,000 or more, you can have your own Personal Reanimation Account. In either case, withdrawals can be made at any time prior to cryonic suspension. In the case of the General Reanimation Fund as soon as the individual is suspended the assets are released to the general fund.
There are some issues about which the leaflet is not clear.
1. If withdrawals are made before suspension, does interest still accrue?
2. If a person goes into suspension with assets in the General Reanimation Fund, does he still get his funds back plus interest when he is reanimated?
3. The leaflet mentions assets such as real estate. Could an individual use the Foundation to manage his home as a residential letting business until his return?
Nevertheless, this looks to be an interesting idea. If the $10,000 account pays back with interest it is highly likely that this will be all that is necessary to re-establish a very good standard of living without the compulsion to work. (However most immortalists are not the sort of people to do nothing - such would rapidly become boring for all eternity. However the ability to choose is an important freedom which money can buy.)
Of course there are other variables. Optimistic estimates suggest that someone suspended may only remain so for 60 years, when $10,000 will "only" grow in real terms to $59,000. To get tens of millions out over a 60 year period, you would need to put millions in. However it is more likely that people suspended now will be in suspension longer compared to people who are middle aged now and are suspended later. Therefore an old person now will have a tidy fortune for reanimation if he invests $10,000 or thereabouts.
Although the mechanical (ie nanotechnological) costs of reanimation are likely to be low, there may be expensive requirements for re-education and psychological treatment. As these could be labour intensive, they may consume a
substantial part of one's reanimation account if they are not covered by the payment to the cryonics organisation. Anything that involves individual use of human beings has risen far higher than the general rate of inflation. Particular examples are law and surgery, whereas drugs are cheaper in real terms. (Although the costs of the diagnosis of disease and prescription, ie choice of medicine, are higher.)
Another difficulty might be that people with no reanimation account are funded for reanimation by the cryonics society, but those with one are made to draw on it.
However as reanimation accounts of various kinds come into existence the problems will no doubt be addressed and dealt with, and competing products in the marketplace will eventually produce the ideal solution.
The rules of compound real interest suggest that the average person using a low cost cryonics organisation such as the Cryonics Institute should have ample means to provide both for his suspension, reanimation and any conventional bequests.
Anyone with an interest in The Reanimation Foundation is invited to write to
16280, Whispering Spur
U. S. A.
This company provides public relations for the Reanimation Foundation.
Two Wives in Heaven
When people disbelieving in an afterlife wanted to ridicule Jesus, they asked him what would happen if a man marries, his wife dies, and then he marries another. Who will be his wife in heaven? Knowing that no one could argue, Jesus replied that there is no marriage in heaven. (And probably lawyers won't like it there!) Cryonicists are in a rather different position, and the issue was discussed in Cryonet Digest no 1. (The hard copy of electronic conversations about cryonics.)
Keith Henson suggested running off a second copy of the spouse, but later considered some difficulties of this approach. Kevin Q. Brown suggested that the deceased mate be considered as divorced. Other people discussed whether pair bonding could ever survive the trauma of suspension and reanimation.
Another topic of conversation was nanotechnology, and cooling and heating patients. Edgar Swank produced the interesting suggestion of replacing the liquid circulation with gas circulation.
This is but a small portion of the topics considered, and I can recommend this low cost periodical for those who prefer not to spend their money on running a modem.
Cryonet Digest was a collection of printed material taken from discussions on an electronic bulletin board on the subject of cryonic suspension.It appeared monthly and is available from Charles Platt 9, Patchin Place New York NY10011 at $7 per four issues or $12 for eight issues. Mr Platt likes people to send cash or make cheques payable to Charles Platt.
Panic in Action
In view of the political problems in Yugoslavia, there was a half hour current affairs programme World in Action on the subject of Mr Milan Panic, president of ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc and recently prime minister of that country.
The programme opened describing him as the world's most unlikely prime minister. Lord Dr David Owen, a former Socialist and then Liberal Democrat in the British Parliament, said "In my experience, I have never met anything like it. It is a most extraordinary phenomenum." Michael Murphy, an American financial professional, said "My God! How can anything like this happen! Doesn't anyone ever check references?"
The focus was then on the tragedy of Yugoslavia, looking to one man for help. The international community has damned Serbia as the main aggressor in a two year civil war that has destroyed lives and whole cities. In desperation, the hard men behind the terror have resorted to an unusual figure to restore their image abroad. The Prime Minister of what remains of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is the epitome of the self made man, who left his home 30 years ago to make his fortune in America.
Milan Panic is the world's richest Serb. But he is also a man plagued with controversy. His history in business makes him a curious choice as a Prime Minister, the programme says. Mr Panic was interviewed and asked about frauds. he replied that he had never been proved guilty, and commented that people were supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.
Mr Michael Murphy, a financial professional, said that Mr Panic has been sued repeatedly for various irregularities, and the he was not just on the fringe, but over the fringe. Mr Leonard Simon, described as shareholders' lawyer, characterised him as a sort of buccaneer, who pushed the regulations and wished he lived in a country that didn't have any regulations.
Mr Panic was then asked how a person with such a controversial background was made Prime Minister. He replied "Show me a successful man in America and I will show you a controversy. I come to Yugoslavia because of patriotism. I learned morality in America and patriotism in Yugoslavia. The combination brought me back to help the people which needed help."
The people of Belgrade didn't know much about their Prime Minister's chequered past. He was brought in by Serbian hard liners who had confidence in his abilities. Mr Mihailo Markovic, of the Socialist Party of Serbia, said they needed someone with international and business contacts to restore the economy.
The Serbs are deemed responsible for the civil war in which hundreds of thousands of Muslims have been killed or made refugees. Mr Panic said that there are people who don't want peace - criminals, mercenaries etc.
The programme then discussed ICN Pharmaceuticals, starting with a dissertation by Deba Levy, a public relations officer. She explained how Mr Panic started it with $200, and this year they have $500,000,000 worth of sales. However Michael Murphy said that Mr Panic built his business by dubious methods. "Basically you get something, hype it up, trade the stock for cash, assets, or whatever you can and pick up all the marbles you can and run through the fence. That's the strategy, that's what he's doing."
Ms Levy showed an award that Mr Panic had received for an outstanding achievement as an immigrant in America.
It was the AIDS crisis in the 1980s that ultimately tarnished his reputation in America, according to the programme. ICN said it has a drug that might work against AIDS. Mr Murphy again appeared and said that "the stocks of the companies that Mr Panic controlled absolutely shot up from the time he started focusing on AIDS and the word started to get around that it might be useful for AIDS, the stocks of these companies went up anywhere from 250% to about 700%. He sold a lot more stock and brought a lot more money into the companies. So he made a lot of money from the AIDS crisis before we had any real information on whether the drug was useful."
The row over AIDS lead to attacks by the FDA, the Justice Department, a Congressional Committee, and a Grand Jury. At one stage, Mr Panic's companies paid $600,000 to have some of the charges dropped. The programme also alleges that he has left a train of disgruntled shareholders. Mr Leonard Simons said "He made positive statements, and had the company make positive statements publicly, he then sold his stock for $8,000,000 and he then watched his public shareholders lose millions upon millions of dollars as the stock dropped from nearly $30 to about $14 per share."
Panic's drug (not mentioned by name, but presumably Ribavirin) has still not been approved by the FDA for AIDS. In Belgrade, little is known of their Prime Minister's track record. There the hope is that the dynamic entrepreneur can bring both peace and prosperity.
It was business not politics that first brought Mr Panic back to Yugoslavia. He managed to "get his hands on" as the programme put it, Gallenika, the country's biggest pharmaceutical company. By Western standards, Gallenika came cheap. The deal was warmly endorsed by the ruling Socialist party, headed by Slobodan Milosevic. The programme then accused the "men in grey suits" who ruled the country of importing Mr Panic so that his flamboyance would take world attention away from their dark deeds. But the gamble didn't pay off. The hard liner and his one time business collaborator are now bitter political enemies. Mr Panic is now the champion of peace in the eyes of the west, and is the blue eyed boy in the eyes of the people in the streets of Belgrade.
Mr Panic has travelled the world on his peace campaign. In his first 100 days, he has had meetings with more than 100 world leaders. His unusual style has certainly made a favourable impression on the peace negotiators.
Lord Owen commented: "He has come to this position in ways that I still don't quite understand. Ross Perot tried to do it in America and failed. This man is a business man with a completely apolitical background as far as I know. I don't know whether he had any political links - I don't think so. He comes into this most fraught situation and starts to tell people home truths in way that is pretty unusual to hear from anyone let alone politicians."
Mr Panic starts his 18 hour day as he ends it - scanning the papers for any stories about himself. He has a bewildering schedule of meetings, and always has a press advisor present with a ready quote for the newspapers. A number of his staff in Belgrade have actually followed him from the company into government and politics.
When asked what makes Mr Panic want this job, one of these staff said "He cares about his people. It is very simple, very straightforward."
However Mr Mihalo Markovic, advisor to Mr Milosovic, said that Mr Panic spent too much time travelling about ever to achieve anything. "He has not succeeded so far, and if he goes on like that he will fade out as an important figure here." said Mr Markovic.
While the sanctions and the violence continue, Prime Minister Panic is confident that he has really made a difference. "The hope is there, the people can see that the sanctions will be lifted and democracy will work. This is a rich country of good people and they see that the fighting is wrong. The most important thing when I came here was that every day you read in the press fighting war everywhere you go. Now you see less. As a matter of fact today in the press there is very little of war." said Mr Panic.
But the commentator said that on the day he said this, another Muslin city was seized by Serbian nationalists. A building owned by Mr Panic was seized by Mr Milosevic's police for a while. Serbian state television, controlled by Mr Milosevic, ran a programme denouncing him as a U.S. spy. He narrowly survived a vote of no confidence. Elections are due in December, but without the support of the ordinary voter, Mr Panic has nothing. He is said to be coy about whether he will stand in the next election. However, although bemused by his style, the West is still prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, for want of alternatives in Belgrade.
Lord Owen says "He is more realistic about what has to be done by Yugoslavia to have sanctions lifted than almost anyone else. That comes from the fact that he lives in Los Angeles most of the time, he has been outside of the political system and he can see that the world is not going to lift sanctions unless Yugoslavia takes a number of steps that most people hitherto have shirked from taking."
Mr Murphy, meanwhile, says that his progress is quite predictable: "He's in there hyping now as far as I can tell. He's just playing the same game he always has, kind of hyping and saying things are great and hoping that somehow things work out."
"My popularity in Yugoslavia is enormous. I am one of the most popular men in 100 days. I think that speaks for itself." said Mr Panic.
"Do you think you will be here in another hundred days?" asked the interviewer.
"I think I may stay here for ever." replied Mr Panic, as the programme ended.
If one had read his interview in Omni's Longevity magazine, this remark is more profound than it appears. In this article, Mr Panic is reported to have been even in childhood opposed to the idea of death, and that he founded ICN with a view to defeating death. In the last decade, it was ICN that linked with Kodak in an unprecedented deal to produce anti aging compounds. It was a report of this deal in Cryonics that first brought ICN to my attention. Unfortunately nothing came of it, but the resources and drive are still there. When the violence has ended, maybe that entire nation will then be lead on a war against aging and death. Recall the earlier comment about one of Mr Panic's detractors; Mr Leonard Simon, described as shareholders' lawyer, characterised him as a sort of buccaneer, who pushed the regulations and wished he lived in a country that didn't have any regulations.
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