Volume 4 no 32. First published April 1992. ISSN 0964-5659.
A Squeezed Way to a New Life Yvan Bozzonetti
An Article That Will Lift You Out of the Doldrums Bob Brakeman
Letters science, Open University course on Death and Dying, Rappers or Rapers, vitamins might be taken off the market, Are we really responsible for good health or is it nothing more than good luck, finite life is pointless
Periastron and Dr Donaldson's Court Report
Choices for the Metabolically Disadvantaged Steve Whitrow
A Rising Threat to Our Right to Buy Vitamins
Green Longevity Yvan Bozzonetti
Cryonics - a Mother's Initial Thoughts Chrissie Loveday
A Squeezed Way to a New Life.
The largest cryonics problem is recovery: how to get back to life ? Many think of living beings as technological, mechanical systems, so they promote nanotechnology to retrofit deteriorated bodies with tiny molecular robot reparators. Heat shock protein complexes do that in living systems, so we can see with them the limit of that process.
In what follows, I take another approach: The physical one. I define successively: disorder, entropy, nonconformal relativistic effects and squeezed field.
Atoms and molecules may assume many possible relative positions and energy states. We call one of them "order" and all other disorder. As a system has no planned evolution, it evolves toward any configuration, most probably one particular disorder. For us, here, life defines the particular state of order. When the energy cannot carry away disorder, life ceases and disorder builds up. Cryonics cooling merely slows that build-up. We can see every potential state of matter as a way starting from the actual state. Only one way is order or life, all others are disorder.
Our objective is: How to get all the ways converging in the same sought for direction. Geometrically, we want to put the ways in a positively curved space, so diverging lines at a pole converge at the other.
In geometry, a point has no dimension, however in physical systems we have no infinitely powerful microscopes and a "point" is, in fact, a tiny cell. In a fluid, that cell will contains many molecules. To differentiate them in the same point-cell, we look at their momentum: The product of mass by velocity. A molecule moves then in a space of six coordinates: three for ordinary space and three for momentum. This is the simplest form of a phase space. Momentum cannot be evaluated with infinite precision, so we have a new space made up of cells (tiny six-dimensional cubes here). Many cells are empty, some may contain one or a small number of molecules.
Quantum laws define the smallest cell we can see for a given energy range. Assume we have one thousand such cells per molecule, then we have one thousand possible states for that molecule. Entropy is defined as the log of that number of states. It gives a quantitative value at the idea of disorder. This is all basic thermodynamics principles.
Now, another subject: Anybody know about the length reducing effect of relativistic speed. If you look at a 100m space ship propelled at 99% of the velocity of light, then you see it only 14m long. Clearly, its subtends a smaller angle than the same space ship at rest seen at the same distance. Angles are not conserved, this is a nonconformal effect.
What if you are in the space ship? All the objects and distances between them in the universe we see at rest will be reduced. As your spaceship get nearer of the light velocity, stars in the sky starts to move toward your direction of movement. The remaining part of the sky looks black and empty. Sixty years ago, the physicist H. Wey1 was the first to point out that this effect extends to phase space and in particular to the one of entropy. All the ways of disorder seem to converge toward one particular path for a relativistic object. Chance is "directed along the track followed in space".
Now, we can conceive a disturbing thought-experiment: Assume, after many trials and errors, we know the local direction corresponding to the state of life. If we put a dead person in a space ship launched at nearly the velocity of light in that particular direction, the body will "decay back" to life. At such velocities, time slows down, so the effect is slow to take place for an Earth based observer. That "slow-time" effect is of no concern for us here. Many physicists where doing that reasoning as H. Weyl published his works. A flurry of controversies bloomed, that effect was seen as a logical impossibility. More than half a century has elapsed now and nobody know of a logical objection. All we know demonstrates the reality of the effect.
Even empty space is disordered. Potentials associated with fields such as electromagnetism contain some energy and quantum laws allow it to materialize into particles for a short time. Such virtual particles interact with ordinary matter and disturb its constituent particles. They form a kind of gas at some temperature giving off disorder to everything. Even gravitation is associated with such a gas of virtual particles. Its thermal effect in the surface Earth field stands at about 10-22 degree Kelvin only.
Other fields give off more energy. That energy is associated with the wave function of the particles generated by the field. Even simple wave such the electromagnetic photon have more than one component: For example right and left handed circular polarizations. In what is known as squeezed states, one part of the wave may be cooled if another get hotter. This is the quantum thermodynamic equivalent of time slowing in relativistic space ships.
Even for simple electromagnetics, a good analysis allows us to define three kinds of squeezing, so we have a three dimensional squeezing space. Each "direction" in that space, in fact a particular mixing of the three squeezing, will concentrate all the "ways of chance" near a particular one: Entropy evolves then toward a particular, defined order, whatever the starting disorder. Do not forget: A part of the wave becomes hotter, this is the sink of the original disordered state. Nothing here violates established physical laws.
Electromagnetics potential is ruled by the U(1) symmetry group and allows only three dimensional squeezing space. On the other hand, molecular disorder takes place in a six dimensional phase space, so we cannot control it with electromagnetic squeezing. A field with SU(2) symmetry produces twelve dimensions of squeezed space, if we control half of them, it suffices to get a "life direction". Unfortunately, the only known SU(2) field comes from electro-weak theory and works only at microscopic scale.
In another paper I have suggested a kind of fractal and broken nuclear force with macroscopic extension. Technological applications may be not very far away and there is tens of squeezing parameters in it. Another important feature: its strength allows it to overcome all other disturbing fields, for example electromagnetism.
What to conclude? More studies will be needed to be sure! On the other side, if we bet on that technology, we need to store bodies without adding or removing anything to them. Freeze, that is all, any thermodynamic disorder will be corrected by squeezing some part of the recovering potential.
1 Richard C. TOLMAN, Relativity Thermodynamics and Cosmology, Dover Publications Inc;1987.
This subject is also covered in Fractal Report no 20, April 1992.
by Bob Brakeman
The "equatorial belt of calms" is their proper name, but that has such a pedantic and pretentious ring to it that both the public and the meteorologists simply call them the doldrums. As the lengthier of their two names suggests, the doldrums are a place where the wind is nearly nonexistent - except when it's too existent and comes in the form of squalls and thunderstorms. The doldrums run all the way around the earth, slightly north of the equator in most spots.1 The D-belt features ultra hot air which tends to rise when it moves at all, low barometric pressure, extreme humidity, and, of course a wonderfully blazing equatorial sun.
No form of the word "wonderful" ever occurs to a sailor stuck in the doldrums. ln a sailing ship, the worst of fates is to be trapped deep in the doldrums when they're at their worst and providing the perfect/imperfect combination of no wind and hyper humidity and power sun. The most vivid images in Coleridge's The Ancient Mariner came in the portrayal of a seaman caught in just that trap.
The doldrums may have contributed nothing to the comfort of sailors over the centuries, but their story does have something to contribute to the intellectual case for a purely natural understanding of the physical world and, more specifically, to the intellectual case for immortalism. That contribution comes in two forms.
First there is the little matter of little (& big) albatrosses and pelicans. When it was noticed, a couple of hundred years ago that certain species of those birds are found in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, but not both, religious irrationalists pointed to that phenomenon as being just part of God's Great Plan; he had placed such creatures in one hemisphere only, and that's where they necessarily had to stay. That explanation was, not surprisingly, not sufficient for naturalists and other scientists, and they eventually came up with a better (more accurate) one: A southern hemisphere albatross and its descendants stayed in the southern hemisphere forever simply because they could not cross the doldrums. Birds have the same problem there as sailing ships do: when the wind dies (and it spends 99% of it's time dying, in the doldrums), those dependent upon it became immobile. ln the case of a sailing ship that just meant several weeks of hell, until the wind returned. In the case of birds, that meant death, due to the inability to cruise for long distances on thermals and other air currents. An albatross used to spending 25% of its time flapping its wings and 75% hitching a free ride on the winds will tend not to survive a trip through a region in which there are almost no winds available for assistance. Because crossing the doldrums meant a nearly windless journey across hundreds of miles of open ocean, the sea birds attempting it never made it - and so, many bird species remained unique to one of the two hemispheres. God didn't do it, the doldrums did.
Secondly, there is the question of the origin of the doldrums themselves. Those "analysts" who could see a divine hand in the keeping separate of the northern and southern hemisphere bird populations could of course be counted up to see the same kind of causative force at work in the creation of the doldrums in the first place. Their theory was that God decided, for unknown reasons,2 to create a windless zone in the world - and so it came to be.
Except that that wasn't it.
The doldrums, it is now fairly clear, are what they are because of where they are. Recall that their full, proper name is the "equatorial belt of calms". The key word is "equatorial". The doldrums are located in an area between the two massive belts of trade winds - the Northeast Trades and the Southeast Trades.3 The trades blow toward the equator, and they're caused by the movement of the air from the areas of high barometric pressure (called the Horse Latitudes) toward the region of low pressure - our old friend The Doldrums. That general wind motion is then influenced by the rotation of the Earth, and the result is the constantly-blowing trade winds. But then there's one further result. Trade winds blowing from the northeast and trade winds blowing from the southeast, when combined with the spinning of the globe, have a natural tendency to create a kind of buffer zone between them - a B-zone we have chosen to name the doldrums. The doldrums are there because the trade winds are nearby. The equatorial belt of calms is, in a general sense, what one inevitably gets when one combines winds blowing from the northeast with winds blowing from the southeast. They seem to desire a buffer; and so desiring, they create one.
Key parts of the doldrums saga have relevance in the immortalist wars that have begun now and may continue throughout the 21st century, as rationalist forces gradually
A.convert the undecided, and
B.annihilate the irrationalists.
The mistaken/loony (ML) view of the reason for the division of the bird populations has its parallel in the ML view of the reason "natural death" occurs: The mystics/religionists of course say - because it's God's will. Rationalists of course say that no such supernatural explanation is required that some purely physical cause is at work, and that once that cause is isolated, it will be conquered and reversed, and the ageing/death process will be a historical relic. In making that latter pronouncement, we'll be following in the historical footsteps of those sceptics who, when told that "the little birdies stayed in their proper hemispheres because God told them to," said that a purely natural explanation was obviously going to turn out to be the truth. They were right in saying that, and we modern immortalists are right in saying that molecular/atomic developments of some type explain "natural" death, and that any phenomenon which has a physical cause has a physical cure. Relatedly, we are also on sound intellectual ground in asserting that the obvious explanation is a natural one even though we cannot currently explain what it is, due to what Darwin liked to call "the felt imperfection of our knowledge"; the human species is probably in the first 1% of its existence (if one takes as a suggestive criterion the species-lifespan of other successful species, from dinosaurs to the crocodilians), and so our medicine is at the same percentage-point: It is incredibly primitive, knows almost nothing, and throws up its hands at difficulties which will someday seem childishly tame - so it is not surprising that it has not yet solved the molecular problem of death. But that current non-solved status takes nothing away from the validity of our position; for in the case of the bird-species and hundreds of other disputes between the national and irrational camps, the rationalists first said "there has to be a physical explanation for this," and only much later discovered what that explanation was. There was a long time-gap between the day a rationalist first said there must be a natural explanation for the separation of the bird populations and the day another rationalist showed that the explanation was the inability to cross the doldrums. Our own time gap may be quite long too, but we're just as certain to prevail. There's also something to be learned from the "early days"4 of the doldrums. When early sailors (the 1500s Europeans and before them the Polynesians/Melanesians/Micronesians of the Pacific), first reported being almost terminally becalmed, the reaction of landlubbers was to the effect that the sailor doing the reporting had simply had a bad day, or a bad voyage, or general bad luck - that what he'd run into was just an isolated pocket of no wind, not a system of windless territory. When first reports of the doldrums permeated the consciousness of the general public, the very nature of the doldrums was denied. The public could seem to accept the concept of "no wind in point A", but they could not, for a long time, accept the concept of a continuous belt of windless territory extending all the way around the Earth.
The phenomenon at work was of course neophobia, fear of the new. The average uninformed intellect is always going to be extremely reluctant to deal with and accept that which is novel. The concept of a globe-circling belt of continuous calms was such a novelty, and the same will be true when the first reports come in of successful reanimations using immortalist technologies of the (not very distant) future: They are certain to be disbelieved at first, by the masses. In a situation which will be analogous to the case of the early days of the doldrums, it will be accepted that something is going on, but its true nature will not be recognised: It will be accepted that someone thought to have been dead doesn't seem to be dead any more, but 17,458 "logical explanations" for that revival will be suggested: It will be attributed to misunderstanding (the person actually hadn't been dead at all), or fraud (the whole thing was a trick of some kind), or luck (medical advances occasionally produce a "fluke of good luck", and this was one). What will be resisted will be the idea that something systematically new is going on - that what happened wasn't luck or fraud or misunderstanding, but rather a new scientific revelation. But those who said "the doldrums represent a system of calm air", not a one-spot fluke were proven right - and so will those who insist that each immortalist advance is part of the inexorable conquering of physical death, not a one-day fluke (and if that prediction pleases you, this article will have proven true to its title).
1 The belt's location varies slightly from place to place, depending upon the local mixture and distribution of water and land).
2A slight misnomer: The reasons, of course, were known, but only to Him.
3 In each case, the adjective describes the direction from which the winds come, not the direction toward which they blow.
4 The quotation marks are there because we're talking about the period when the doldrums were first discovered by people who kept records, not the period (millions of years earlier) when the doldrums came onto existence.
From Mr John E. Smith
Well done Longevity Report!
I have been reading this publication for a number of years now, with mixed feelings of annoyance, frustration and hope. At last you have printed an article which moved me, which expressed passion for life and an open, cultured and intelligent approach to "physical immortality".
My gratitude to David Nicholas (Immortality, Liberty's Final Frontier: Longevity Report 30) whose piece put forward with respect the thoughts of history's passionate exponents of "death's absurdity": Shaw, Camus and the existensionalists.
Mr Nicholas also refers to the importance of diet, exercise and the "avoidance of some obviously damaging lifestyle practices", the "mental influence on health" and our acceptance of the inevitability of sickness, ageing and death. As a rejuvenation consultant, working with a variety of holistic approaches to health, I have seen many of the multifarious ways that people chose to kill themselves.
The only ingredient which Mr Nicholas has not made much of in his article is the preciousness of human life, the recognition of others divinity (I mean this in strictly physical terms - I do not give any credence to a god who wants me dead. I recognise that I alone am the god who created me, and in my own image). To me all death is suicide. It is only in the recognition of each other as our very selves (again I am not using spiritual concepts - I see the self as being extremely "fleshly") that we can find death "immoral".
I found the misquote of Harrington's book title interesting, it is actually called The Immortalist - not The Immoralist. (The Immoralist was written by André Gide). Many religious people, I am sure, consider immortality to be immoral, as it is against the common (but not necessarily the correct) interpretation of the scriptures.
Thank you David Nicholas for not totally buying into the confines of the new religion of science. In giving credence to literary "ragers against death" you show a flexibility rare in the annals of Longevity Report. Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, Alain Robbe-Grillet and other passionate writers, have done as much, if not more, to question our acceptance of death's inevitability, as out critical, often passionless scientists.
I am disturbed, however, that in your enlightened piece you give the last word to science: for I see the cryonicists and others who seek the salvation of science, as being little different to the tramps of Samuel Beckett who wait hopelessly for Godot who never comes.
We must, as you say, "engineer our own freedom from death", but hope in science is little different to faith in gods. We become the gods we have created by taking personal responsibility for our own lives now!
May you live forever as warm, unfrozen flesh.
Mr Smith seems to have problems with science. I wonder whether he appreciates that science is not an establishment, it is a method of thinking. Yes, there are establishments in science. If I went through his letter with the "search and replace" function and replaced the word "science" with "rational thought" how would his letter read then?
Cryonicists and others seek salvation from death through reasoned thought, experiment and the application of results of experiment. The things they believe are things that they can prove from simple self evident facts. Anyone who doesn't use science has beliefs that originate from where they live, or for what their friends or parents believe. These beliefs are sincerely held, but that doesn't make them true, and people holding these beliefs will perish just as sure as night follows day.
From Mr Mike Zehse:
Professor Malcom Johnson is the coordinator for a new Open University course on Death and Dying, which has been funded to half a million pounds. There was quite an interesting discussion on Behind the Headlines on BBC2 television on 29 January with Prof Johnson, Ms Barbara Smoker (National Secular Society), and the author of The British Way of Death - Julian somebody - I missed his name, and Mr Leverton, a funeral director. Julian somebody outlined elaborate plans for his funeral: hymns, church service, being sealed into a lead lined sarcophagus and being "allowed to biodegrade in my own time."
I tend to agree with the scepticism of Ms Smoker who wondered what was the point of this vanity.
Julian S. opined that he expected to be "gathered into heaven" when he died (evidently an optimist).
The Open University course appears designed mainly to assist professionals (nurses, social workers, police etc.) to deal with death - tho' no doubt it will be open to input-mediated change in a cryonic direction?
re Rappers or Rapers: from the safety of his Malibu mansion Bob Braleman presents an emotional tribute to Rap.
A pity he didn't print a wider selection of racist, sexist, homophobic lyrics so readers could make up their own mind.
Obviously Bob gets a honky thrill from identifying the vicious violent world of the black underclass.
Does his admiration extend to the obscene misogyny exemplified in much rap? I refer to the many "songs" outlining and promoting assault, battery, mutilation, and rape: men subjugating women. One notorious lyric celebrates the twang of a woman's backbone as the "singer" snaps her spine. How delightful. No doubt these activities are socially sanctioned in the crack-infested ghettoes.
If Bob gets such a kick from raw aggression perhaps he should move his domicile into a lumpen-proletariat locale.
I'm sure that he would get a hearty welcome.
From Mrs Marie McNulty
I am a bit aghast that vitamins might be taken off the market. In fact, I have found that when you are poor, and can't afford good food, that vitamins, no matter if in minute doses, can help you recover from flu etc. Doctors that work in poverty areas say they wish they could prescribe vitamins free. It would have helped, but the government stopped the doctors from giving them free on prescription. So many patients are suffering from malnutrition. "Prevention is better than cure".
From Ms S.R. Stebbing
Are we really responsible for good health or is it nothing more than good luck? I've been taking good care of my health, doing all the right things - no smoking or drinking, eating a balanced diet - vegetarian long term, using organic food and vegetables, sprouted seeds with right combinations ie not mixing proteins with bread etc. to treat the immune system. I take regular doses of Life Extension Mix.
Yet despite all this, I'm sicker than ever this year with two 'flu like colds since early December affecting the stomach, bowels, bladder, head and chest. I'm lethargic, constantly coughing, losing memory despite ginko biloba, and my eyesight is in a bad way despite vitamin A.
I have a sister who is also in very poor health with respiratory trouble and weakness and responds to nothing whatsoever. She takes garlic regularly. She suffered extremely badly with menopausal symptoms - hot flushes so debilitating and long lasting beyond normal - yet despite Evening Primrose Oil, boron and other natural hormone balancers.
We both get viruses far worse than people who take no vitamins and live on junk food - or just as bad.
Do you know of any remedies that are really genuine in killing off viruses which are the real cause of ill health?
For colds I take 10-20 grams of vitamin C, zinc gluconate, and vitamin A with Life Extension Mix. The cold was not affected. As days went by symptoms got worse despite continuing with the vitamin supplements.
Your comments would be welcome.
Longevity Report has a policy of publishing material for and against its topics, and this must surely be a good anecdote of vitamins not helping. The dose suggested for colds appears to be adequate according to the literature on vitamin C. However cold viruses are all different, and it is not surprising the vitamin C resistant ones are evolving. The best way to avoid colds is to stay away from people who have them. Even Linus Pauling says that!
The medical profession will soon have the ability to prescribe a really effective cold cure - a virus killer known as Ribavarin. However this is expensive and the authorities are trying to keep its very existence secret from the public. In America, it is only licensed for treating "severe respiratory disease in children". The company that makes it, ICN Pharmaceuticals Inc, has been ordered not to advertise any other use.
The general ill health of Ms Stebbing and her sister are a matter for concern. I can only recommend that they try and find a doctor who is familiar with vitamin supplementation to take a lot of time and really go through their lifestyle and diet etc with them and try and tailor it to their individual conditions. "Find a doctor" easy to say, but not easy to do. It is obvious that the information contained in books is not adequate to help these particular people - some professional individual attention is required.
If any reader has any further comment, then this would be appreciated.
From Dr John Walford
As you say in your comments on page 8 of Longevity Report 31, cryonic suspension offers a way out. Isn't that to be expected if it pledges us in the words of R. Ettinger "to aim in all respects to be better than man's past heroes".
If finite life is pointless, and death is both finite1 and pointless ... there must be some point in non-finite, other than finite life. Cryonic suspension offers a way out by the application of tech-knowledge to the point of pointlessness.
The wanting to be better is the point of cryonic suspension and later revitalisation; and who wants now to be re-vitalised into some bronze age type hero's view of a better future? That's the pointlessness.
I know I asked for it, but I don't ask to live in some bronze age hero's idea of a better future.
The illustration was adapted from an old Punch cartoon captioned "I don't care what it seems, this is going to be hell."
It was provoked by a meeting addressed by a local bishop where your comments helped me to see that both he and the audience were confronted by the same time related problems as the people of cryonic suspensions.
How to resolve the point of pointlessness, looking for the way out answer -
Even if there is a wonderfully better post mortem lifestyle, the thought and the reality of getting there is a time related problem isn't it?
I sometimes find it difficult to see what Dr Walford is getting at. Maybe he thinks cryonic suspension is a load of emotional balderdash, I don't know. Perhaps he is too polite to say so but tries to evoke that response by guarded comments.
The bit that I tagged 1 is surely incorrect - death is infinite - once you're dead that's it!
He is right in sensing the evil nature of time - it is the mire in which humanity struggles, like treacle poured over ants by a sadistic brat. The constriction of otherwise free beings by time is the ultimate evil of the universe, not money, sin or anything else. I am not referring here to the effects of a limited lifespan, but the fact that the world is rushing by and the individual is unable to keep up, whoever he is.
The only way some individuals can fight time is by stealing it from other people, using simple low technology devices such as the waiting room. However maybe physics will one day provide a solution, by giving each individual an individual time-frame, and communication with others will be down the common time-stream. But by the time that is possible, immortality will be commonplace.
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 first 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.
Dr Donaldson Fails to Win Right to Cancer Treatment by Cryonics
The American legal system decided on appeal that Dr Donaldson does not have the freedom under the American constitution to have himself placed in cryonic suspension before a brain tumour destroys his mind.
The main reason given for this conclusion was that the legal profession would find it more inconvenient to judge murder cases if this appeal was allowed. It would also inconvenience the pathologists' profession if a court forbade an autopsy in advance.
However the judge expressed his sympathy with Dr Donaldson when reaching this verdict, and ordered each side to pay its own costs.
The cryonics community is not surprised by the result. They could appeal further, but do not have the ability to raise the extortionate fees that would be required, and they seem to think that the effort would not be cost effective. However if they received targeted donations they would proceed.
By Steve Whitrow
I recently completed arrangements to be placed in cryonic suspension, in the event of my "legal death". Here are some of my views on the various choices that I was faced with for suspensions. First we must consider whether everyone who is "legally dead" is really just dead meat with no hope at all.
There is a great deal of distinction between a human being whose heart has stopped beating a few minutes ago, and one who has unfortunately been buried in a grave, say, for ten years. It would appear quite reasonable to describe the grave dweller as "dead". The condition would be irreversible, since the orderly structures in the brain which encode identity, memory and personality would have become too decayed, corrupted and jumbled to be repaired or rebuilt by any technology, however advanced. But is the other person dead, and what is the best thing to do with him or her?
Incidentally, it never ceases to amaze me that some people believe that humans do not exist for their own benefit, but solely to serve some unseen "higher power." (In other words, to be controlled by chemicals, dictated to by DNA, exploited by Nature and generally used as a genes' doormat.) It seems to me self-evident that humans are the most important things in this sector of the Galaxy, and the smartest policy is for them to do that which is good for them.
To get back to the patient with no heartbeat, there have been plenty of cases of successful revival from a state of "clinical death". Some people have "drowned" and recovered after many minutes of no heartbeat and respiration. Other cases included a stabbing where the victim was left for dead in snow, and was clinically dead but later revived. It makes more sense to define death as a totally irreversible condition, and to think of these clinically dead people as simply being very sick. They could be described as being "metabolically disadvantaged" or in "ischemic coma".
Some metabolically disadvantaged people can be revived by present day medicine, others cannot. It is clear that a more advanced medicine of the future, utilising nanotechnology, will be able to cure many, if not virtually all, of the disadvantaged group. But traditionally anyone who is clinically dead and cannot be revived here and now is declared legally dead, and is put on the scrapheap to rot or be burnt.
The ischemic condition is not likely to be irreversible in itself, but at normal ambient temperatures damage will be accumulating at a rather high rate. If the condition is not stabilised, then it may be a matter of days, but sufficient damage will ensue to make the condition truly irreversible by any technology. This is true death or what we term "information death". Another way to become truly dead is to be cremated.
Apart from cremation, conventional burial and scattering my bones to be pecked by vultures, there were fortunately several alternatives. Although for some of them, there was either no company yet providing the service and I would be completely on my own, or the company's links with the UK were not very strong, and local support was lacking. There was permafrost burial, a relatively cheap Whole Body cryonic suspension service, a slightly dearer neurosuspension and a more expensive Whole Body suspension. Another company offered expensive Whole Body cryonics, but was not really associated with the UK.
Life insurance rates for thirtysomethings being quite low, it didn't appear to make sense to opt for a simpler perfusion procedure just to save tens of pence a week. What I wanted to preserve was my mind - my identity, memories, beliefs, ideals, characteristic thought processes, personality etc. - and I wanted this done as well as possible.
I view humans as essentially machines - accepting an input of data through the senses, processing this via the brain, sometimes merely filing data away in memory, and sometimes producing an output (taking voluntary action). Each person is defined by their "information", although in order for a person to exist you need both the information and the machine. Or rather, a machine. If you have the information then there is a good potential for that person to exist. If the information has been destroyed or too severely corrupted then the only way that person could ever exist again would be following a random reconstruction which just happened, by chance, to recreate the correct data in a machine.
We are all a unique collection of atoms, and the structure of the matter determines our very identity. Sophisticated nanocomputers could scan the structure and store the resulting data. But this data could be divided up into various components - the personal, part personal and part collective, and collective. It would be absolutely crucial to store the personal data - memories, beliefs etc. - and to do this so accurately that a genuine continuity of identity would result. For a cryonicist to come back with his/her memories completely wiped would be totally useless, akin to cremation. On the other hand, it would not be necessary to come back with the same body as at the time of death (e.g. an eighty year old.) Better to come back with the body of a twenty-three year old.
By the time technology has advanced sufficiently to repair the damage done by the freezing process and revive frozen brains, it should be a relatively simple affair to clone and grow a body for the individual involved. This could be done utilising cells taken from the patient's head. The genetic information to assemble the particular body is what I would classify as partly personal, partly collective. If you had this information, without the full personal mind- data, it would only be possible to construct a clone whose body was rather similar at the time of birth. It would not be possible for the clone to have been born at exactly the same time and place as the original person, and have gone through exactly the same experiences; thus it would be a totally different individual.
One view is that some memories may actually be stored somewhere in the body other than the brain. I would suspect that this is very unlikely, and that if some memory was stored in the spinal cord for instance, it would be a very collective type of memory. Like fear of a sabre-tooth tiger, or motor skills such as walking and cycling. However, it is the brain/mind where personal identity truly resides. If you have managed to preserve this with an acceptable damage level and have DNA from the head, all necessary information exists for reviving or resurrecting the individual. And there are then several options regarding a machine for the execution of this information processing.
Even if cloning a protoplasm body proved more difficult than reviving a frozen brain, there would be the option of living on in a computer. And if you got fed up with this, you could arrange to be shut down until such time as diamond fibre bodies were available. These would be crashproof, crushproof and fireproof. If your car/landcraft got blocked in, you would simply lift it up and carry it out. (And maybe throw the offending vehicle into a river.) But there are several disadvantages to the whole-body freezing option.
Firstly the question of finance. Although the cost of performing the suspension is virtually the same, the extra long term costs of storing a whole body as opposed to a head only means that the minimum charge for a Whole Body suspension has to be placed at about three times greater than that for the neuro option. Alcor currently charge $41,000 for a neurosuspension and $120,000 for a Whole Body suspension, but these rates were increased only at the beginning of 1991. There is also a $10,000 surcharge to cover the additional transport and standby costs for suspensions outside the U.S.A.
I will just mention that these "minimum funding" rates quoted by Alcor appear to have a very high safety factor. After the expenditure on transport, perfusion, etc., the remaining funds are invested and the income used to finance long term storage. But they assume a real annual rate of return, after inflation, of only 2%; thus relatively safe, steady investment vehicles can be used. Investments in world stock markets should achieve a higher real return in the long term. But the cryonics company will need a regular income for supplies of liquid nitrogen, rather than a larger return some years and a loss during others. It would be rather risky to have to assume that capital reserves would hold out sufficiently in every bear market - it might be that patients would have to be thawed out regularly at each economic cycle!
Secondly, there is a logistical advantage in storing the patient in the much smaller, lighter dewars used in neurosuspensions. They can be transported much more easily in the case of civil unrest, interference by meddling state bureaucrats, or "act of God". If Dora Kent had been a Whole Body patient, it is unlikely she would have escaped the clutches of the Coroner.
Thirdly, there is the fact that when the head only is being preserved, the procedure can be optimised for the brain. In order to minimise ischemic and freezing damage during a suspension, there are several parameters which have to be kept within certain limits. You have to try to combine the correct medication levels, cooling rates, arterial pressure and flow rate, pH balance, blood gas levels, addition rate of glycerol, etc.. It seems to me getting all these things right for the head and various other parts of the body would be more of a compromise in a Whole Body suspension. Also for the Whole Body, perfusion and cooling time is greater, along with osmotic stress. So damage to the all-important brain would likely be greater.
The other two organizations, Cryonics Institute and American Cryonics Society / Trans Time did not offer neurosuspensions, and did not seem to have the links with the U.K. that Alcor did. Several U.K. residents were signed-up Suspension Members of Alcor. However, if the other groups can establish themselves over here it will provide a wider choice and help us defeat the mortalists.
For instance, the Cryonics Institute offer Whole Body suspensions at $28,000. You would need a separate contract with funeral directors to have yourself shipped across the Atlantic. And I believe that the lower price is only partly due to cheaper preparation and storage costs - it is also partly due to assuming that a higher real return can be attained from the storage funds.
It appears that CI members need to be more optimistic regarding both investment performance and the abilities of future technology. However, there will be older people who cannot afford the dearer suspensions because of higher life insurance premiums, and / or some people may be quite attached to their bodies and could not countenance the thought of having themselves decapitated. Some may be unable to choose a head only option as their relatives would not approve.
You could argue that the grave is a better choice than the crematorium, because there is just a slim chance that some benefactor would take pity on the newly deceased and arrange a clandestine exhumation and freezing. Or cell repair nanomachines would be invented the next day, and all who had expressed a desire to live longer would be dug up and revived. An exceedingly slim chance! But there is the possibility of permafrost internment.
It has been estimated that a permafrost burial could cost well under $5,000. For those of us in the UK, with shipping costs you could say about £3,000.
Chemopreservation could also feature in this. The method has the advantages of independence from any maintenance (and possibility of the company being shut down or going bust) and less chance of a direct hit by a nuclear warhead.
One theory is that long term memories are encoded by changes to specific genes (e.g. c-fos) in the nuclei of neurons. The c-fos switches developmental controls on and off, in the same way that a stomach cell remains distinct from a bone cell. If this is so then these changes would be very long-lasting, and might even survive peat bog burials. In another ten years we may know much more on how memory is stored. The c-fos theory may not be correct, and at temperatures around -10 to -50 degrees C it appears a significant proportion of the water remains unfrozen as the salt concentration becomes very high. Thus appreciable chemical reactions occur. For the present, non-cryonic moderate freeze storage would appear to require a very optimistic view on the durability of memory and identity.
These were the options I had in 1989, and I decided that an Alcor neurosuspension was the most suitable for my needs. The cost of being a signed- up Suspension Member worked out at under £8 per week, and the full details and sign-up procedure are covered in another article.
The Society for the Promotion of
Editorial note: This article was included as an insert in European issues of the last Longevity Report, because it came too late to have it printed. However in order to ensure archiving and for the benefit of our other readers, we are binding it in here.
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 MPs, MEPs, 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.
Protect Your Rights: Join SPNT's Campaign
To find your MP's name ring 071-219-3000 and ask for general enquiries. Write to him at The House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. To find out your MEP's name and address ring 071-222-0411 and ask for general enquiries. Write to 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!
SPNT would be very grateful if you would write to let us know who you have written to so that we can chase them all up. When writing to us, please always enclose an SAE if you need a reply, since we have very limited funds.
If you would like to help with SPNT's petition, please send a large SAE to The Secretary SPNT 2, Hampden Lodge Hailsham Road Heathfield East Sussex TN21 8AE, stating how many petition sheets you think that you can get filled. Take them to your local health shops and natural health clinics.
Antioxidants act at a very basic biochemical level. They are useful for nearly every living being, plants or animals.
In the precambrian times, more than 700 millions years ago, life was constrained in the ocean by hard ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. When the oxygen content of the atmosphere became sufficient for a sustained ozone layer, life went ashore.
The first plants was small, no more than four or five centimetres high. From here, evolution took a particular path:
The tallest plants receiving more light, were more able to produce seeds. In fifty million years, that selective pressure produced 30 metre high trees. Such trees cannot expand swiftly at that level. So, longevity became very important. The longest living trees were able to get more light and produced more seeds. Animals was small and limited in wet domains near the ground. High trees, with lower predator problems, was not selected for swift growth.
A good deal of the available energy flowed in antiageing biochemical pathways. That time has gone many millions of years ago with the advent of large grazing animals and insects. Most of the tree species of that age have disappeared today. We have only some living fossils, most of them are primitive coniferous trees from New Zealand, New Caledonia or Tasmania.
Ginkgo biloba seems the most well known of the old coniferous trees. In California, the new gold mine is the bark of a native living fossil: it contains a drug named taxol with antioxidant and anticancer properties.
I have said before how to get the maximum benefit from such chemicals: Chicken peas forbid destructive digesting process in the stomach and biliary salts or citric acid allow them to cross the blood-intestine boundary. That recipe allows us to use unpurified products without problems.
Some time ago, I was watching a movie from the Cousteau's society about Tasmania. A part of it was devoted to logging of rare species. One of them, the Huon pine (Dacrydium Franklini) expands up to 30 meters high and lives for 4000 to 5000 years. Its purely biochemical longevity may be twice as long. Its growth rate stands at only two centimetres per year. It represent the most extreme case of longevity energetic investment.
We have many things to learn from the biochemical study of that species. If someday we can include in our genetic stock the tricks of that vegetal we can hope to live some millennia!
Before that, and with a lower knowledge level, chemical extracts or even dried parts of the tree may be useful.
The Southern Pacific domain harbours near twenty Dacydium species, all of them potentially interesting. New Zealand has seven, including Rimu (D. Cupressinum Soland) and Silver Pine (D. Colensoi Hook). Malaysia owns many small species outside D. Elatum Wall, a big tree. Here, destructive logging may wipe out some unknown species with large potential applications before long. The Chilean border is endowed with only one small species: Ciprès enano (D. Fonckii Benth).
If you plan to travel to the southern Pacific, please look at them and take some seeds away with you!
It is an offence to import seeds or cuttings into the United Kingdom without permission from the authorities. Any such material found will be confiscated by the authorities and will be cremated. Similar laws may exist in other countries.
However a wide range of exotic seeds may be bought from Chiltern Seeds, Botree Stile, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 7PB. A packet of Ginkgo Biloba seeds costs 95 pence.
by Chrissie Loveday
The deep-freezing of a fertilised human egg, and thawing it for implantation? Futuristic? For science fiction? No. It is fact. So why not freeze larger objects and restore them at some time in the future?
The concept of cryonic suspension was first introduced to me recently. My initial reaction was to smile and remember Star Trek. I was provided with some information which included photographs of capsules with some strange looking dark shapes inside that may or may not have been human. I felt disturbed and perhaps even slightly sickened by the whole idea. It was rather like a horror movie. I dismissed the article and thought the sender was obviously some nutty crank. A couple of days later, I found the pictures again ... under the bed. With a second glance, as I picked it up, I could see that the human inside his time capsule did not look threatening at all. It actually looked a darned sight better than most interred bodies look even days after burial, if the late-night movies are to be believed.
"I'm supposed to have an open mind," I reminded myself.
I requested more information and was presented with a book to read. I understood that this book was some years old but nevertheless, something of a bible to cryonicists. I thought again about the recent strides in freezing embryos and sperm and suddenly it didn't sound quite so cranky. I requested still more information. More articles followed, some of which raised many of the points I had been struggling with. Suppose after all that effort and expense, the body was reanimated and there was cell damage to the brain? Surely there are enough damaged people around in the world, without some weirdo adding to it. Of course there are no real answers to this type of question. It hasn't been done yet, because science hasn't yet made this type of progress.
I began to think long and hard about the prospect. My next series of reactions was the basically maternal one. How on earth would I feel if I had been revived 50 years after my sons had expired? They are currently young men in the prime of life and the thought of them being in the past seemed somewhat abhorrent to me. This led on to a new train of thoughts. Whatever changes have taken place in the last fifty years will surely be made to look insignificant by the next batch. It would be like landing on an alien planet.
I perhaps reached a turning point, when I read yet another article, telling the story of Arlene Fried. The loving care and attention that was put into her preservation made the whole idea so much more humane and acceptable. The professional approach made by her medical specialists seemed to be continuing treatment even after the cause had become apparently hopeless.
Where am I now in my thought process? I still have many doubts about the possible success of the concept, but can I afford to dismiss it and possibly miss out on a second chance of living?
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