Minutes of Cryonics Europe Meeting 14th & 15th August 2004
Meeting held at the home of John & Chrissie de Rivaz, Cornwall.
As this was convened as an opportunity for a group of cryonicists to spend time together, most of the discussion was on an informal level and covered a very wide range of topics. This report will be equally informal and in some cases, give only the conclusions to what amounted to several hours debate. Items reported are not necessarily in the order in which they were discussed.
Several people are currently making arrangements with insurance companies for their cryonic preservation and there seems to be confusion about the explicit meanings of the legal terms involved. Graham Hipkiss gave us explanations of the various terms and the implications of them. As there is a wider debate taking place between CI and in particular, Skandia, it was decided that we needed to await the outcome of this. Meantime, Graham was asked if he would write a simplified explanation of the various terms used in the policies. This will be put on the website for everyone to read. It is also hoped to clarify the role of trustees, beneficiaries and to ensure that we are getting the correct policies to achieve our intentions.
Other points raised were:
Are members of CI required to make an annual statement to the effect that their insurance is still up to date and being paid?
If payment is not made to a policy through illness, unemployment etc. how long is the policy valid? [Graham said it is 3 months]
UK Storage Facilities (and Bunkers)
For some time, there has been discussion about the possibility of obtaining a storage facility in the UK, for many reasons, not least the difficulties of transport. People reading the Cryonics Europe Yahoo Group will have seen the recent postings about finding suitable premises. Alan Sinclair has been looking for ‘bunkers’, of which there have been several for sale around the country. His suggestion were:
a bunker with 50 or 60 thousand square feet would cost little more than a conventional building of 2,000 ft2., and the surplus could be rented out in order to make the project self supporting.
if the group as a whole could raise enough money to pay him £120/week to replace the income he would lose by buying the bunker then he could buy the bunker and rent it to the group, who could then sub let it and eventually make a profit.
John suggested that it would only need to supplement this "rent" until tenants could be found for the additional space that would raise the £120/week, which would probably take 2 or 3 years. However the demands of tax, insurance and maintenance utilities could inflate the £120/week substantially. Also a site manager would be needed and there is no suitable group member living anywhere near the bunker currently for sale in Lancashire.
Alan then commented that at his age managing such a project himself would not be a good idea. [Is there anyone in the group really able and willing?]
Some conclusions were:
The cost of purchase of a building is beyond our current ability to finance.
Fitting out the building would cost an indeterminate amount, again, un-affordable at this time.
The only available buildings are geographically distant for most of us and would necessitate a manager to operate them.
Though the spare capacity of space could be let to provide an income, this would also require managing and none of the group is either willing or most of all, able to re-locate to carry out this task. (Possibly unpaid)
The conclusion was that we could not at this point afford such a facility, however desirable.
This led on to the need to have a facility to use for the process of vitrification, which is said to be a vastly superior process to current methods of freezing. There are greater problems of transport using this method. Alan has done considerable research into the viability of producing a method of transporting a patient at the vitrification temperature of -134 degrees Celsius. He has contacted a company who have put together proposals and offered to carry out a feasability study at the cost of £600. Although there has been much discussion between Alan and experts by telephone and email, it was felt that this may be too confused to be a sound basis for spending the group's limited funds on commissioning a commercial report, at this stage.
Though we do have money in our account, the general feeling was that we should avoid expenditure on feasability studies about equipment, until there were some published results about vitrification. This will enable us to be sure of exactly what the equipment is required to do. Though this may be necessary in future, it seemed to the majority that we would be jumping the gun at this stage.
It was felt that more information needs to be available on the vitrification process. It did not seem clear whether the advantages of vitrification are maintained if samples are stored at -196oC rather than -134oC.
Further debate ensued on the possible production of equipment using liquid nitrogen and another refrigerant in a two stage process to maintain -134oC without any electronic or mechanical equipment to go wrong. A member offered to obtain a CRC Handbook which gives physical constants of various chemicals which might possibly be used. The subject will doubtless be further debated at length!
We agreed that we should wait until we can be clear as to what professional study we actually want to commission. The money can only be spent once, and maybe the best use for it would be a professional report on suggestions made for equipment.
It was suggested that the group had previously decided not to replace a meds kit that is date expired. The members present did not agree that this decision had been made before. It was then decided that a meds kit could be purchased from the sum accumulated from the members' subscriptions already received and Alan agreed to investigate further the purchase of a kit. He did suggest however that as it was unsuitable for vitrification, it may not be a good idea. He also said that none were available at the present time. Its shelf life would have been 2 years. He does however, have the approval of the group to purchase a meds kit from C.E. funds, if he deems it necessary.
Concern was expressed once more about the length of time currently taken to process new memberships from UK. Chrissie agreed to write to CI and ask again what can be done to expedite this process in a reasonable time. One problem is that people, who believe themselves to be fully signed up members and several months after sending off paperwork, are asked some question which suggests their membership has not been completed.
Trustees for policies also needs clarification. This is also dependent on the insurance questions outstanding. We understand that CI directors can sign trust documents on behalf of CI where necessary. One member asked if it could be made possible for the Chair of Cryonics Europe (the position not the person, to avoid difficulties should the current Chair be replaced) to sign the documents. As there are currently two CE members who are also directors of CI, this may not be necessary.
Between debates, discussions and the occasional disagreement, a pleasant social time was enjoyed. The weather was kind to us and most of the meeting was held outside in warm sunshine, driven inside only when the wind demolished the sun shades. The barbeque on Saturday evening took place in pleasant conditions, overlooking the sea, when the wind had dropped again.
Our best wishes are sent to a member and his fiancee for their forthcoming marriage in Singapore, in December.
We hope to welcome everyone to Cornwall again, in the future.
The next meeting will be at a date to be arranged.