Volume 11 no 66. First published July 1998.
Click here if you want to buy a limited edition print
I Love the U.S.A! Chrissie Loveday
The Inexpensive Brain Freezing Initiative Fred Chamberlain
Vitamin B12, B6, and Folate Deficiencies Associated with Alzheimer's Disease May Not Be Correctable by Simple Dietary Supplementation Dr Andrew McCaddon, M.D.
Commentary on Revivication William L. Dye
21st Update on My Fly Longevity Experiments Douglas Skrecky
Non-Profit versus For-Profit Cryonics Art Quaife, with reply by Robert Ettinger
The Dangers of Iron Tom Matthews
Who needs money? Yvan Bozzonetti
Teleportation As Applied to Reanimation. Peter Kirby
Volume 11 no 66. First published July 1998. ISSN 0964-5659.
I Love the U.S.A!
by Chrissie Loveday
For much of May, I was lucky to be travelling round the world. Today's transport systems make this relatively painless, though my husband wouldn't agree. He sees the ideal way to travel is to send me and a camera. I fulfilled several ambitions on this trip ... to make my first visit to the USA, (not counting a dreadful half day once spent at Los Angeles Airport!) to visit two cryonics facilities and several people connected with them. The rest of my trip was spent visiting friends in New Zealand and re-acquainting myself with Singapore.
As a first introduction to the USA, I would not recommend travelling during the Friday evening's rush to get home for the weekend. Departing passengers use the same gate as arrivals and anyone meeting a passenger is totally submerged in the rush. The parties are kept separate in UK airports. However, I finally met up with Joe Kowalski and John Besancon, who then proceeded to entertain me as if I were visiting royalty!
The next two days were a positive whirl of sightseeing. I still feel guilty that my wonderful hosts must have been totally exhausted! But, if there is only a weekend, you have to pack it all in. John took me round Detroit and my camcorder whirring, I saw the old town in varying degrees of dilapidation with restoration projects similar to those in UK. The 'people carrier', an unmanned monorail, made it informative and painless and provided excellent views. The new heart of Detroit is exactly what one expects of an American city ... sky-scrapers and loads of glass. The highest building is the prestigious Renaissance Centre (The Ren-Cen). It very shiny and new, filled with all the trappings of a city ... shops, hotels, restaurants and the escalator 'view from the top' ... except that mist rolled in the from the river and hid both the top and the view with a London style pea-souper.
Lunch in Canada and back for further exploration of Detroit. I was most interested to see the huge range of housing from the massive lakeside mansions, to apartment boxes. The huge, modern shopping malls were less of a surprise to me as they have been copied all over the UK nowadays. The day ended well into Sunday morning, with a night tour with Joe and Jennifer, his girl-friend. One can put the world rights best of all, after midnight!
My visit to the Cryonic Institute was in the company of Joe, Andy Zawacki and Dave Gray, a visitor from Australia, who is considering membership. Although relatively small, the building has everything necessary and it was interesting to see for myself, rooms that have previously been only TV pictures. Andy showed us round in such a professional way and seemed to answer everything thrown at him. I felt guilty that it took up his Sunday but he merely shrugged and said he's use the time to work afterwards. We are lucky to have someone so generous with time in the facility. I came away with a feeling of confidence in my own future there, though I hope to visit a few more times before my final trip!
After another splendid day of sight seeing (and a great deal of fun and laughter) I left Detroit with a warm impression of people who cared immensely about others. The expansive friendliness of everyone I met ... strangers at first ... makes me want to visit again, before too long.
I enjoyed a magnificent flight across mountains and huge open plains, to Phoenix. Bob and Mae Ettinger met me at the airport, at the start of another few days of tremendous hospitality. I felt honoured to meet people, who have long been admired by John (my husband) since my own introduction to the cryonic movement. We spent much of the time chatting (chewing the fat!) and I shall always remember my early morning dog walks with Bob and the two mutts. We saw the sights, ate wonderful food and I for one, felt totally rested and refreshed. I particularly enjoyed an evening spent with David and Trudy Pizer, at the Hyatt Hotel, in Scottsdale. What a place! My latest book happened to be published at the same time as my visit, so I was able to meet yet more open, friendly Americans at a book signing. I took along some pictures of Cornwall and this provoked great interest, especially to people who lived in the hot, dry conditions of Phoenix. My hand was shaken so many times ... I really did think I was a proper writer at last!
I managed a visit to Alcor my final morning. Again, I was impressed by the caring professionalism of the staff and would especially thank Brian Shock for the time he spent showing me the facility. The visit was actually postponed from earlier in the week, as Bob became involved in a 'death bed' suspension which needed extensive organisation. One of my question at the start of my visit, was whether he felt left out of things, after moving so far away. The next few days proved just how great is his input. He was prepared to work day or night to facilitate matters and gave his expertise to all decisions necessary. The suspension was finally completed shortly after I left.
Anyone who has spent time talking to Bob, must feel so confident in following his ideas and ideals. It is the certainty of his quiet words that make one believe he is right ... cryonic suspension really should work. Yes, there are many problems to be overcome and many people put forward arguments that refute the premise ... but I am convinced. I have been reading some of the arguments (going on while I was with Bob and Mae) in the recent edition of the Immortalist. Research is always essential and talking to people about cryonics is also necessary but not with the fanatical ardour of an evangelist.
Until someone is prepared to acknowledge that death can come at any time, they will probably not want to give thought to what happens next. Whatever one's ultimate beliefs may be, seeing oneself as a corpse is something few people like to think about. For me, the caring professionalism I saw both at Alcor and C.I. makes me fully confident that my own choice to be suspended is a good one ... FOR ME. I am always happy to talk to anyone about my involvement but I'm afraid I cannot crusade. I shall never want anyone to think I am seeking publicity and that this is some bandwagon to climb aboard. Thus, when I have mentioned cryonics to strangers, I have tried to be matter of fact about it. Their reaction is often: OK, it's your choice but it's not for me. Maybe, sometime in the future, they will think more about it. I have been told that I seem pretty normal and sensible, so maybe it wasn't quite so strange after all. This, I believe, is the best way to convert people.
Maybe some of Bob Ettinger's quiet calm and conviction rubbed off on me after all.
It was an excellent trip and one I shall remember with great pleasure. I have enough video to bore my friends for months to come! Again, my thanks to everyone who helped make my stay such a happy one.
by Fred Chamberlain, President/CEO (email@example.com) Alcor Life Extension Foundation CryoNet Posting#9700 Date: May 12, 1998 From: "Chamberlain, Fred" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Re: Jim Halperin's Proposal (in the context of Jim replying to Joe Strout.)
I have been watching, carefully, the progression of Jim's idea from an initial proposal of "inexpensive brain freezing" to one which now lays the emphasis on tissue samples, with cautions and perhaps more budgetary flexibility on brain freezings.
Some of Jim's revisions to his proposal have come about from comments on CryoNet, and others from private communications, but there is no doubt that they have in some part resulted from various counter proposals and objections ranging from the purely intuitive to the scientific, from considerations of PR to issues related to actual liabilities from the donors and their relatives.
Below, in replying to Joe Strout, Jim applies some fine-tuning to his proposal. Based on that, I think it is time I said what I have to say, although I can't promise to become part of any ongoing dialogues or multilogues. There just isn't time in my schedule. I have already communicated (internally, in Alcor circles) that (for example) BioTransport cannot make any immediate offer to take on responsibilities for brain freezing. Its priorities to advance service levels for those who are already signed up have to take priority.
Apparently I could have done a better job explaining my offer. I never meant to suggest that we indiscriminately harvest brains from every organ donor that dies having signed up, or even that we harvest any brains at all -- unless and until current organ donation procedures change drastically. The program would start out as one that collects tissue samples only, then expand to brains-only if ever there's value in doing so. I believe this was stated accurately in my original posting, but perhaps not as clearly as it should have been.
Tissue samples have their own problems. The good news is that they are technically simpler. It is easier to demonstrate that DNA is preserved, even DNA potentially adequate for cloning. On the other hand, there are deep issues to be disclosed if any kind of "life extension" motivations are sought.
Cloning As Related to True "Life Extension"
(a) The idea of cloning as a valid aspect of life extension (other than "repair" of a true suspendee) requires a vision of what future society might be like.
*** Mike Darwin (perhaps a decade ago) wrote an article about an Egyptian princess whose DNA might be used to "bring her back" (she would not know who she was from a standpoint of internal memory and experience, but she would know who she was from objective evidence and history; there would be a strong and powerful psychological "connectivity" with the past which would amount to a synthesis of identity, if not a true reconstruction of it.)
*** Thomas Donaldson (also, perhaps a decade ago) wrote a beautiful short story about a person in a space colony whose only memory was of his father bringing a speared animal into a primitive campsite. The story developed the image of people whose only heritage was fragmentary knowledge of the past civilizations from which they arose. They were clonal regenerations.
*** Jim Halperin, in "The First Immortal" (TFI), weaves such scenarios realistically into stories of life in the United States only a few decades downstream from now. Readers of TFI come away with a profoundly expanded grasp of the potential of life extension, in which anti-aging therapies, cryonics, cloning and many other facets of a believable world are practically within our grasp.
Tissue Samples As A Route to Expansion of Scientific Understanding
(b) Those who have not entertained far reaching ideas may find the notion of preserving "tissue samples" alone an enigmatic matter. They might grasp the idea that their personal histories might correlate with specific genomic patterns, and thus expand the knowledge of how our minds reflect our genomes. They might find it plausible that some unique talents were largely the consequence of genomic influences, and might see the value of scientific study of these. Whether or not such ideas would add to their incentives to sign up as organ donors is unknown, but they would perhaps be more likely to relate to such thoughts than to the more fanciful ideas in (a) above. In any case, the shift from brain preservation to tissue samples is not without its own complexities.
Back to Brain Freezing
A great deal would depend on how the program were presented to the public, both in the media attention it received, and through the organ donation programs where a card might be actually filled out. In the latter case, one would expect an information sheet to be provided which would describe the possible uses of the brain and options the donor might want to consider, for example:
(Then the info sheet accompanying the donor card might say)
"Brains donated to Alcor, unless otherwise arranged for, would be used to study the degree of damage done by the prolonged periods of deterioration at room temperature necessary to verify "brain death". So far as any conventional medical authority of today might admit, those structural losses might be so severe as to have wiped out all personal identity and memory.
"Even admitting that this could be the case, Alcor is doing research to determine what, if any, residual structural traces remain, after the very worst damage that any brain will normally sustain (excepting for traumatic head injuries.) The research will involve examination of brain structure by light microscopy, electron microscopy, and what (in the future) might be called 'molecular microscopy'.
"Donors (at no expense to them) may contact Alcor and express a desire to have their brains preserved intact for long periods of time, for non-invasive study by future technologies. They may elect to provide a release and consent form for the outside chance that rudimentary traces of their identities might remain, which future scientists might consider sufficient for attempts to restore consciousness and (therefore) life.
"To repeat, such a possibility cannot be currently substantiated or supported, so no service charges are made to organ donors who consent to retention of their brains for such study. No monetary donations are required or even requested. Contact Alcor at (800)367-2228 for further information."
What Would Alcor's True Obligations And Liabilities Be, Under These Circumstances?
So long as no funds were accepted from these anatomical donors, Alcor's obligations would be limited to carrying out whatever procedures were agreed with Jim Halperin, in connection with "directed donations" to support this activity. That could range from rudimentary study of such brains to higher level preservation and evaluation.
Any who contacted Alcor could be provided with a set of paperwork which clearly required an acknowledgment that the donor was *not* becoming an Alcor Member, but simply furnishing additional information to support the study of their anatomical donations.
In those cases where consent was given for restoration of consciousness, it would be clearly spelled out that Alcor had no obligation to make such an attempt, or even to pursue research toward such an end. Such a paper would serve as a release for Alcor to use its own discretion and judgement about what was done, circumventing associated liabilities.
Such a donor *might* inquire further about Alcor and (then) become a member, canceling the anatomical donation for organ transplantation. In that case, we would have acquired a new member, at the expense of the loss of such a donor from the organ donation pool.
I think it highly unlikely that the number of those who would ever reach such a point would even approach 25% of those who initially signed donor cards and put them in their wallets.
Even in such a drastic case, of the total who originally signed up as organ donors, 75% would still have been added to the group willing for their organs to be used for transplantation, given the right conditions.
What Does "Brain Preservation Under the Worst Conditions Mean, in Terms of Identity"?
It means that the resolution of neural interconnections and their termination points would be diminished, perhaps even to the point of loss of the positions and shape of entire neurons. The elaborate weave of interconnections could diminish until the "rebuilding process" required "guesswork" as to the location, size and characteristics of entire nuclei and functional structures. How much, if any, "identity" would be left, under these conditions? While we may not know we should at least think a little about this.
How Much Do We Have, to Lose?
(a) At one level, we might lose all of those dazzling flashes of, "Gee whiz, I had forgotten entirely about that trip, but now it comes back to me perfectly!" Every now and then, we get such flashes. They might be greatly diminished, or gone. How much resolution of structural loss is involved in such diminishment? Perhaps the neurological literature can help us assess this, perhaps not. In any case, this is one level of loss. Nine tenths of our memory content might be tied up in such "mostly hidden" memories. Would our lives be of no value to us, if these were to disappear? Probably not. There would be a sense of loss, but probably not so much of a sense of loss as if we were to lose our senses of hearing and/or sight. Life would go on, for us.
(b) At a deeper level, we might find that there were fleeting flashes of even what one would consider to be normal memories. People we knew only a few years ago might be difficult to remember. Their names might come with more difficulty, or not at all. We might find that going through an old address book allowed us to recapture a little sense of who these people were, but they would not seem as highly focused in our memories as before. We might find that streets of a city we once lived in were only dimly recalled. There might be a sense of confusion, in some of these more plausible, well-reinforced memories. If we were to lose such memory connectivity, suppose that measurements by future psychologists indicated 99% of the content of those memories were vanished? Yet, even with 1% retention, those closest to us would still be well remembered. In that case, would we trade our eyesight or hearing for a clearer set of memories? Probably not. Those who are blind and/or deaf do not treat life as having no value. Those who experience total amnesia usually do not reject the challenge of continuing to live. Should we expect less of life extensionists?
(c) Suppose there were only the capacity to recognize familiar photographs or objects, a kind of "purely intuitive recognition" which bordered on what ESP researchers seek? An uncanny familiarity with some parts of the past might be all that remained of former, razor sharp memories and professional capacities. Would we rather have those capacities back, in perfect order, than our eyesight or hearing? Would we be willing to surrender being able to walk and run, so as to have these tantalizing remnants of the past back? Would we be willing to come back old, debilitated and helplessly disabled, if we could at the same time have all of the "good old days" in perfect clarity to muse over? I doubt it. The perfected physical capacities we would enjoy, even if lacking an immediate sense of personal history, might be better than no continuity of existence whatever. Some will differ with this point of view. It is necessary, for a moment, to anticipate their objections.
What Kind of People Are Going to "Fit In", in the Future?
This brings us to a challenging question. Who are going to be the people who will pass through the time tunnel in the best shape, and then go on to open new doors and expand their identities? Will it be those who cling to the past, fearful to lose even a shred of their identities (which seem to fade anyway with time?) Will it be those who can't decide to sign up or not, for a list of reasons so long that we find ourselves shuffling them to find "why cryonics has failed?" Or, will the future be mainly populated by those who relish new adventures, so satisfied with crystal clear minds and restored/upgraded physical platforms upon reanimation that the loss of memories, even many of them, will seem a trivial penalty?
Many are those who object to cryonics on the basis of how costly it is, or that it is not technically proven, or that there is too much disharmony on CryoNet, or that they fear the rejection of their neighbors, or that lost rapport with their present families would be too great a price. No one, least of all I, will argue that these objections are invalid. They are perfectly acceptable.
On the other hand, one can also argue that such positions are those of people who are not happy with what they have now; that they are hoping against all odds that a "trouble free trip to the future" will "solve their problems for them". In far too many cases, perhaps those in cryonics are seeking a panacea, or an ego trip, or a "free ride to a guaranteed nirvana." In such cases, no answers will suffice. Just as there are no "free lunches", there are no "cheap immortalities!"
The future, let's face it, will be challenging. Waking up each morning (if we have to sleep at all) is likely to be like climbing on a mach 10 sled track, and there may be so many outlets for those with a sense of adventure that others who (today) suffer from feelings of inferiority could find it a living hell.
On the other hand, those with an unrestrained thirst for exploration will find their horizons expanded beyond anything we can imagine. Even with serious losses of memory, the current difficulties of cryonics and dealing with potential pitfalls may appear to have been a trivial cost.
Selling cryonics to the masses might be compared with selling them equipment to climb Mt. Everest, or do cave diving. Only a few people may have the inclination to do these things anyway, and that may be a serious limitation. But do I really think this is the case? Do I believe that only a tiny fragment of humanity "has what it takes" to be interested in the future and the determination to be part of it?
No, I do not, and I apologize for any confusion the above discussion might have caused.
Actually, I think we are just about to encounter the right group of people for cryonics. They will be, I think, those who see the future as portrayed in "The First Immortal" and will hunger for it. They will *not*, for the most part, be the unrealistic, fear ridden types who may have been inclined to see cryonics as a form of "salvation". Neither will they be macho "ego-trippers" who want to be "the first on their block" to wear a cryonics bracelet.
They will be a huge group of pioneers, of the kind who "settled the West" about a hundred years ago, and who now will set out to "settle the Future!" They will come past those of us who thought you could only get here with a mule or on horseback, first in covered wagons, then in stage coaches, and before you know it they will be building railroads across the mountains to life extension and putting in airfields.
At great risk of being proven dead wrong by future history, I think most of them will gravitate to cryonics as a result of reading "The First Immortal". I think this is *the* book which is going to bring them in. There will be others, but this one will stand like the Pyramids or The Great Wall of China. My main basis for thinking this is that I have been reading about life extension ever since I was twelve years old, in the late 1940's, and this is the first work I think makes life extension seem as "easy and natural as breathing and taking a walk down by the river."
Those who hang back, now and later, worried that "it might not work" will, I think, be like those who stayed in St. Louis until the rails reached all the way to San Francisco. That's all right.
The later day settlers will not (to follow the "Old West" analogy) be set upon by hostile Indians, be taken advantage of by small town gunslingers and gamblers, get involved in the political feuds of small mining towns, or even have to work hard to homestead patches of land which don't turn out to be fertile.
When aging remedies are worked out, they will get them from their local doctors; when cerebral resuscitation therapies are available in every "911" ambulance, they will be safer; if they need suspended animation, it will be covered by their medical insurance. When it is a conventional thing to back up your "identity module" before taking a long or dangerous trip, they will do it as naturally as they can buy passenger insurance in an air terminal today.
Meanwhile, others of us are impatient, or do not think we have sufficient lifespan to sit and wait. We will open the roads and lay the rails. From our point of view, we don't have a choice. We see a way across the mountains and we're going to go up and over, or "know the reason why!"
The meek shall inherit the Earth. The rest of us (mostly) will go to the stars!
Fred Chamberlain, President/CEO (email@example.com) Alcor Life Extension Foundation Non-profit; Cryonic Suspension Memberships since 1972. 400+ Members, 35 in suspension as of April, 1998 7895 E. Acoma Dr., Suite 110, Scottsdale AZ 85260-6916 Phone (602) 922-9013 (800) 367-2228 FAX (602) 922-9027 firstname.lastname@example.org for general requests http://www.alcor.org
From Mr Jason C. Shroff
I am offering a limited edition full colour print of the picture on the front cover. The series will total 100 prints signed and numbered by the artist. It will make a great talking point for your living room, and will be an excellent way to bring the conversation around to cryonics when you want to interest friends and relations. The first release from the 100 is of 75 copies which will cost $US25 each sent anywhere. If you would like to obtain this signed, limited edition print, please mail <730 S. 31st ST, South Bend, IN 46615> or email ZOE1@prodigy.net>. Please include name, full address, and number of prints desired. The first 75 replies will receive a response card with confirmation and payment information.
Find more art at <http://www.geocities.com/soho/museum/4725/>
Vitamin B12, B6, and Folate Deficiencies Associated with Alzheimer's Disease May Not Be Correctable by Simple Dietary Supplementation
A Press Release by Dr Andrew McCaddon, M.D. <email@example.com>
The Oxford based OPTIMA projects preliminary findings presented on the UK Channel 4's Assault on the Mind documentary, and reported in The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph newspapers of the 26th of April confirmed the Wrexham Maelor Hospital teams earlier findings published in April's edition of International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, a full two weeks ahead of the Oxford announcement.
Although the Oxford University based OPTIMA project has been the focus of news stories, the Welsh team, led by Dr Andrew McCaddon, a General Practitioner in the North Wales village of Rhosllanerchrugog, are committed to continuing with their research. Both teams report a relationship between homocysteine and Alzheimer's disease described as a "major breakthrough".
Dr McCaddon performed the work over the previous five years at evenings and weekends in his spare time. He was funded by a grant from the Welsh Office. His research similarly describes a highly significant elevation of serum homocysteine in Alzheimer patients compared to healthy elderly control subjects.
Homocysteine is an amino-acid produced by the body, indicating cobalamin (vitamin B12), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), or folate deficiency. There are also genetic factors related to its metabolism.
Dr McCaddon's team stress that they have only reported an association between Alzheimer's disease and homocysteine. Their study also shows a relationship between dementia severity and homocysteine levels, but whether raised homocysteine is a cause or an effect of the disease requires further investigation.
Homocysteine levels can be reduced by folic acid, found in fresh vegetables, but Dr McCaddon's group do not claim that this is a "cure" for Alzheimer's disease. Furthermore a healthy diet may not necessarily protect against the disease; the underlying nature of the relationship is probably far more complicated. The GP's results suggest that the problem may lie in the way the body handles the delivery of these vitamins to the brain. The team plan to perform further studies to look at this aspect of the disease in particular.
Their research represents a major new advance in understanding the nature of the Alzheimer disease process. Future research will determine the exact relationship between raised homocysteine and the dementing process, and the predictive and preventative values of its measurement prior to dementia onset.
Reference: McCaddon A, Davies G, Hudson P, Tandy S, Cattell H. Total Serum Homocysteine in Senile Dementia of Alzheimer Type: International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (1998); Vol. 13(4) 235 - 239.
Dr. Andrew McCaddon, Gardden Road Surgery, Rhosllanerchrugog, Wrexham, North Wales, LL14 2EN United Kingdom. Tel: 01978 840034 Fax: 01978 845782 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.mccaddon.demon.co.uk/cobalz (where more information is available on this study)
Commentary on Revivication
by William L. Dye <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Raydream picture on the front cover is nice. The quality of the production is very professional. I especially liked the coffee cup & office environment cues like the company logo. The "just another day at the office" images, mixed in with futuristic stuff, is a good mix. It adds probable realism, and it provides a way for the audience to keep a link with familiar things. As the artist learns more about what revival will probably be like, no doubt he'll come up with better ideas about what the patient/equipment visuals will probably look like.
For what it's worth, I've taken a different attitude about how I think the future will "look". I think that straight lines and angles tend to add tension in an image. Simple-geometry curves, like circles & parabolas, help quite a bit, but even then they don't match what I see as the most soothing and inviting types of shapes: natural, especially botanical. Stuff like forests, mountains, seascapes, and maybe even lines that are borrowed from (but not overly suggestive of) animal forms. In other words, stuff that looks like the result of a slow growth or erosion, rather than a 20th-century manufacturing process.
IMO, these growth/erosion lines are more aesthetic -- most people are more relaxed in a serene countryside than in a building. We resort to straight lines and simple geometries for reasons such as: 1. It's easier to draw out the plans. 2. It's MUCH easier to manufacture. 3. It used to be impressive back when things were done by hand and manufacturing straight lines and regular patterns was difficult.
In an age of machine intelligence and nanorobot manufacturing, I believe that the above reasons will be of far less importance. Perhaps (as long as we keep the standard-model brain), we'll move back towards the imagery that we're quite used to as a species. Thus, when I envision a futuristic scene, I think of it as one which seems very historical visually, meaning that it looks like something that would be immediately comfortable to most of the humans throughout history: trees, plants, rocks, horizon, etc. Mixed in with the natural stuff, however, would be some additions from the modern world: planned meeting/work/play areas, moulded places to sit or rest (such as a crook in a tree that very slowly morphs into a comfortable, custom-shaped bed when you rest in it), true 3-D computer displays (unless we choose to put all the displays inside each person's retina), pleasing scents that are carefully planned as the "signature" of an area, fine foods that are literally plucked off a nearby tree, ubiquitous "foliage" that (among other things) gently takes away garbage when you toss it over your shoulder, etc. Of course, there would be still be quite a few omissions from true nature, such as frequent sub-optimal lighting, tornadic weather, bad smells, inconvenient pathways, bugs, and the occasional human-hungry predator. But in this scenario, all these conveniences would not be extended to the point where they start to dominate the general look and feel of the environment. The future would look pretty much like the distant past. Of course, the future will be quite different from what anyone today can imagine, but I think that scenario planning can still be useful now and then. Science fiction can sometimes serve that function, so I take it fairly seriously when it starts to address things like cryonics and nanotech. To those who are starting to suffer from a bit of "future shock" from all the potential changes, it may be comforting to think of a plausible option where the look and feel of the environment would be comfortable and familiar even to the vast majority of humans in history. We can hardly say that about a city today.
I would certainly avoid any of the "futuristic" visuals that I think will be laughable down the road because there will be no good reason to use it when the future arrives. Things like computers that speak in halting short phrases, CRT's, and ugly "computer" fonts like the ones that were designed with tabs here and there to make them easily machine readable. Such things remind me of laboratories with useless electric arcs floating by, or everyone dressed in silver spandex leotards with little hoops around the wrist.
by Douglas Skrecky
This is the 21'st update on my fly longevity experiments. Since flies used in run #8 had been pre-aged in holding bottles containing taurine larvicide for 29 days prior to use, the remaining life spans are shorter than those from the previous run. The results were very disappointing with acetyl-carnosine, and I have no explanation for why the flies given this died so quickly. However the poor result with almond powder was anticipated. This was the first time I have tested something that I was fairly confident would reduce life span. Unlike mammals, the dietary "essential" fatty acid requirement for flies is zero, and all tests with various added fats have yielded reduced life spans. However monosaturated fats had never been tested before, so I decided to try this with the almond powder. It looks like aged garlic powder, and the lower dosage of chili have a mild pro-longevity effect. Both the lower doses of cardamon, and corriander might also be slightly beneficial before tissue levels accumulate to a toxic level. I will have to check out extra low concentrations of these some time. For the ninth run I am testing a very high dosage (8X) of hawthorn, since the Hawthorn 4X did so well in the seventh run. Otherwise I am continuing to test the spice cabinet in this latest run. Flies were pre-aged for only 17 days, since about 75% of them had died by this time. This shorter holding period may be due to the current higher temperatures accelerating age associated mortality in drosophilia. These insects now show great reluctance in attempting flight, which is typical of aged flies.
Horseradish: 1/16 tsp
Horseradish 4X: 1/4 tsp
Hawthorn 4X: 500 mg
Hawthorn 8X: 1000 mg
Myrrh: 1/16 tsp
Myrrh 4X: 1/4 tsp
Orange peel: 1/16 tsp
Orange peel 4X: 1/4 tsp
Orris root: 1/16 tsp
Orris root 4X: 1/4 tsp
Pepper (white): 1/16 tsp
Pepper (white) 4X: 1/4 tsp
Peppermint leaves: 1/16 tsp
Peppermint leaves 4X: 1/4 tsp
Saffron: 1/16 tsp
Saffron 4X: 1/4 tsp
Sasparilla: 1/16 tsp
Sasparilla 4X: 1/4 tsp
Savory: 1/16 tsp
Savory 4X: 1/4 tsp
Senna: 1/16 tsp
Senna 4X: 1/4 tsp
Eighth Run #NUMBER PERCENTAGE SURVIVAL ON DAY Supplement OF FLIES 3 8 11 14 19 22 26 29 34 39 ___________________________________________________________ cntl 1 11 64 36 27 18 9 9 9 9 0 - cntl 2 9 67 44 33 33 22 22 11 0 - - acetyl-carnosine 7 14 14 0 - - - - - - - acetyl-carnosine 4X 8 75 13 13 0 - - - - - - aged garlic 14 86 50 43 43 21 7 7 7 7 0 aged garlic 4X 10 90 50 50 40 30 10 10 0 - - almond 7 43 14 0 - - - - - - - cardamon 9 78 56 44 44 44 33 22 22 0 - cardamon 4X 10 80 40 20 10 0 - - - - - chili 9 67 56 33 44 22 11 11 11 11 0 chili 4X 7 86 57 43 29 29 14 0 - - - coriander 9 100 78 67 33 33 22 11 0 - - coriander 4X 6 67 50 50 17 0 - - - - - echinacea 9 78 11 11 0 - - - - - - echinacea 4X 13 85 31 31 23 15 0 - - - - tomato 10 50 10 10 10 10 10 0 - - - tomato 4X 14 93 29 21 21 7 0 - - - - water reduced 9 67 33 33 33 33 0 - - - -
Non-Profit versus For-Profit Cryonics
by Art Quaife, with reply by Robert Ettinger
At present the leading cryonics organization, in terms of membership and number of patients in suspension, is Alcor. Alcor is a very fine organization which is non-profit. Nonetheless, I continue to believe that the future of cryonics lies with the for-profit organizations. Suppose you are a cryonicist who wants to improve the quality of services that will be delivered to you upon your deanimation. Suppose your cryonics organization says it needs money to buy a useful Gizmo (a new heart-lung machine, an ambulance, etc.), or to conduct research to improve the Service (suspension procedures). In a simplified comparison, suppose:
A. You have suspension arrangements with a non-profit organization. Then you can heed their continued rattling of the tin can and cough up $1,000 donation toward purchase of the Gizmo or support of the research. Your rewards:
i. Your organization has a Gizmo or Service that you share with all of its members.
ii. You get a charitable tax deduction; your $1,000 of donation is now worth about $300.
B. You have suspension arrangements with a for-profit cryonics organization. Your investment of $1,000 will yield the rewards: i. Your organization has a Gizmo or Service that will be used by all of its clients. ii. If this is a useful Gizmo or salable Service, it will increase the value of the organization through increased sales and/or lower costs. Your $1,000 stock investment may be worth $1,100 or more a year from now. All else being equal, the choice is quite clear.
Robert Ettinger replies:
Art Quaife's comparison of for-profit vs. non-profit cryonics was much too narrow.
Let's look first at the constituencies of a for-profit corporation, which in general are five: shareholders, management, customers, labor, and society at large.
Shareholders in theory are to be the prime beneficiaries, with enhancement of shareholder value a primary consideration in the policies of the corporation. Management, in practice, usually gets to skim the cream, sometimes by shafting everyone else. Good management, of course, will balance all the interests, while keeping those of shareholders paramount.
Customers in theory are the ultimate arbiters, since the company prospers only as long as the customers keep buying; and in theory customers can switch whenever they are dissatisfied. In practice, however, in many situations the customers have little real choice and far from full information. For example, banks/thrifts have failed on a large scale, or would have failed except for massive taxpayer bailouts. There will not be any taxpayer bailouts for failed cryonics companies, at least not in the foreseeable future. Labor unions at times were a severe drag on the economy, and almost killed the U.S. auto industry. Currently the labor issues seem minimal, but a cryonics organization needs conscientious employes (as well as volunteers, if it is non-profit), and reliable employes are not cheap.
Society exerts its influence through legislation, regulation, taxation, and public relations. Jim Halperin thinks we should try to influence cryonics legislation/regulation; I think we are far better off, for the foreseeable future, if we are self-regulated and ignored by the legislatures. One benefit of the slow growth of cryonics to date is that early predictions of massive swindles and violent opposition have not come to pass. Continued moderate growth and prudent policies may allow this climate to continue. The important point is that these five constituencies of a for-profit corporation have DIFFERENT PRIORITIES. For example, Trans Time (TT) is currently a nominal cryonics organization, but, as Art has said, is in reality at the moment primarily an investment holding company. If it goes public, the majority of investors may (depending on prospectus etc) be interested in profit (or enhancement of shareholder value) first (and maybe second and third). The interests of patients may be subordinate. What prudent person would want to be a prospective patient?
The usual response is that enhancement of shareholder value depends upon looking after patients, and the priorities are not in conflict. This is totally disingenuous. Look at banks as an example. Depositors have often been shafted and even ruined--even though, in theory, the depositors must be satisfied in order for the bank to thrive.
NEXT, look at the record at TT. It has lost almost all of its customers, mainly (as far as I can see) because its prices keep going up. Originally, if I remember correctly, TT recommended a minimum trust fund of $50,000 to cover all costs including maintenance; I think the currently recommended minimum is $150,000. This implies that a prospective customer must rely on the managers of his trust fund to GROW that fund at a rate at least equal to the rate of growth of TT annual storage charges. But most customers want a high degree of safety in their investments (protection of capital), which translates into a low yield and low rate of growth of the fund, especially after management fees. This seems to be an irreconcilable conflict.
John de Rivaz keeps reminding us that technology investments are nearly certain to do well in the long term, but relatively few people have the nerve and the capital to act on this advice.
Art has done brilliantly in helping to manage TT investments. However, he notes that his investment model (for a certain group of stocks), while forecasting a mean return of 105%/year, had a standard deviation of 97%. This means that there was roughly a 5% chance of losing your ENTIRE INVESTMENT in one year (two standard deviations from the mean). With average luck, you would be wiped out every 20 years or so. Hardly advisable.
One of the main risks, from the point of view of a prospective customer of a for-profit cryonics firm, is just that the firm may fold. If it loses too much money for too long, presumably the shareholders will demand liquidation, patients or no patients. (They knew the risks, didn't they?) Or, in the case of TT, they might demand an end to cryonics services and a pure focus on investments.
At the moment there is (as far as I know) no clear indication that CryoSpan (CS) is viable, or that BioTransport (BT) will be. CryoCare (CC), the non- profit organization subcontracting storage to for-profit CS (and presumably soon to subcontract preparation services to for-profit BT) will have a problem if CS or BT folds or exits the field or is forced to raise prices significantly. Does each trust for a CC member have enough reserve to move a patient to a different storage facility, if one can be found? Long distance transport in liquid nitrogen is expensive. Does it have enough to cover the probable hikes in charges by BT or possible hikes in rates by CS? Certainly non-profit organizations face some of the same problems, especially that of rising costs for more complex suspension procedures. But they do not face the same potential conflicts of interest. The "shareholders" and the "management" and the "customers," and to some extent even the labor, are more or less the same people, members who are prospective patients. This means (and this is not just theory, but experience) that donations and bequests and free labor and free recruitment help will come to non-profit organizations to help build their strength, but much less to for-profit firms.
Quite a few people in cryonics tend to be capitalist ideologues who detest any taint of "altruism." I tend myself to sympathize with that view. But reality is reality, and remaining "pure" could cost you your carcass. Robert Ettinger Cryonics Institute Immortalist Society http://www.cryonics.org
The Dangers of Iron
by Tom Matthews <email@example.com>
The American Journal of Epidemiology (1998;147:161-166) confirms the cardiovascular danger of iron. This study showed that women over age 60 were 1.4 times more likely to have heart disease for each 50mg increase in iron intake per month. Men over age 60 were 3.5 times more likely to have heart disease for each 50mg of iron intake per month. The study involved 329 patients with heart disease who were compared with 570 people the same age who were admitted to the hospital for minor diseases or conditions unrelated to diet.
Most multi-vitamin/mineral supplements on the market today contain at least 9mg of iron per daily dose. That means that people who use these supplements are adding 270mg of iron to their body every month. Based on the results of this new study, women over age 60 taking such supplements may be increasing their risk of heart disease more than 7-fold, and men over age 60 more than 18-fold.
In 1983, the Life Extension Foundation first warned its members to avoid supplements containing iron. There was already significant evidence to indicate that excess iron in the body would act as a catalyst for free radical generation that would increase the incidences of heart attack, cancer, and other age-related diseases. This evidence has grown greatly over the years, yet most supplement companies have still not gotten the message. That's one of the many reasons why membership in the Life Extension Foundation could save your life.
For the full abstract text of the study see the LEF web site below.
The LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION - http://www.lef.org
- 800-841-5433 A non-profit membership organization dedicated to the extension of the healthy human lifespan through ground breaking research, innovative ideas and practical methods.
LIFE EXTENSION MAGAZINE - The ultimate source for new health and medical findings from around the world.
Who needs money?
By Yvan Bozzonetti
In 1977 the Prometheus Project (PP) sought money for implementing its research into cryopreservation. They sought $ 1 million every year for 10 years so that they could demonstrate that a brain cryopreservation could be reversible. Unfortunately, they did not get enough pledgers to reach their target. The objective was then reduced to a Pilot PP, itself a partial failure on money grounds. We are left with a 50% share in a university research, PPP turning into INC : The Institute for Neural Cryobiology - <http://neurocryo.org>. Money is hard to come when there are some risks and donations don't look a good way to finance research.
Market oriented activities seem better and 21th Century Medicine (21CM) has chosen that way. Selling shares looks good at first, but there is a risk too: If too much money is called for, the founders may lost the majority and the society may then fall in hands not particularly interested in long term objectives. A way to go round that drawback is to create founder shares with, for example, two or four vote rights each. With the four vote scheme, 4 shares may be sold to anyone for each founder one. Each "inside" dollar may then control four "outside" ones.
There is a way to control even more money, using multi-level subsidiaries. A first level subsidiary may be created by the mother corporation, the capital being at start under the form of founder shares with 4 votes power. There too, one dollar from the mother enterprise controls 4 exterior ones drawn from the market.
Now, we have that: One founder dollar in the mother corporation matches 4 exterior ones and if half that capital goes to the founder shares of a subsidiary, $ 2.5 here will control $10. With one dollar at start, 2.5 may be spent in the mother corporation and 12.5 in the subsidiary. Well, the subsidiary itself may control a second level subsidiary with even more money administered. The Italian state trust ENI was built in that way after WWII.
So far, so good, but is there the money out there? I don't know the particular situation in every country. Being in France, I can speak only for what I see here. The French stock exchange has a special market for high tech corporations and start ups: The so-called "Nouveau Marche" (New Market) more or less a copy of the US NASDAQ. Today, only 3% of investors ordering shares in newly introduced start ups are satisfied on the NM. There are 30 times more orders than shares for sale. Starting August 1998, the law on life insurances will require each fund to invest at least 5% on the NM. That will create a boom with so much money that anything could be sold at any price.
Subsidiaries could study particular topics in the cryopreservation or life extension technologies. There are some ideas:
Cells undergoing heat shock before freezing do better at thawing, that is understood as an effect of heat shock protein production in the hot environment. At high temperature, proteins are denatured and don't work anymore. The cell react in producing "casting" proteins, the HSP, to fold back denatured molecules in the right shape. In the freezing process, cells are dehydrated and that too, as high temperature, unfolds proteins. Some trees, in the Agathis family survive up to 3,000 years by tight control on protein folding. They have some "super HSP" or chaperone as they are often called.
One corporation could produce and extract chaperones from Agathis, another could sequence its genetic make-up and a third could graft these molecules on trans-membrane proteins so that they can be delivered inside the cell. Many toxins such ricin and diphtheritic ones are a two components protein: one component is toxic but can't enter the cell, the other has no toxicity and its task is simply to bring the first part through the cell wall. Some corporations are interested in producing the trans membrane component, grafting the chaperone on them is not a long shot.
Beyond cell survival in cryonics, the same technology has a big potential for curing prion diseases, there a protein wrongly folded generates a catastrophic chain of events. When stressed, Agathis produce a liquid, the copal whose polymerized form is more known under the name of amber. Copal (and amber) are good biochemical protectors, even if the film Jurassic Park has adventured a bit too far in this way. Copal is known to kill bacteria (it is an antibiotic) and fungus. Sequencing the Agathis genome goes farther than chaperone technology, even if this is here the first step of a nanotech repair robot.
Clay minerals are a very good stabilizer for biological membranes. Grafting sugar molecules on them would be the best way to anchor such particulates on cell membranes. This is useful at low temperature and when cells are poisoned by toxic products such those found in burned tissues.
Archeobacteria membrane don't break or leak at low temperature. Making vesicles with cell receptors could fuse them with eucaryotic cells and protect cell wall.
Cryoprotectant or other products may be toxic in the general circulation, storing them in vesicles would allows direct delivery at cells without contact with structural components of the body. Some high viscosity product could be delivered to cell by that way. Micron sized vesicles would travel anywhere as well as red blood cells.
There are more than 200 cell kinds in a mammal organism, it is very doubtful that all of them react in the same way to low temperature. We can determine the best chemical "soup" for each cell type in a cell culture experiment and then load some vesicles with that recipe. A tissue specific marker on the vesicle will deliver the cargo to the intended cell type. Even a single organ contains in most case many cell kinds, targeting each cell population independently is the only road towards the best possible result. That kind of work is well advanced, it has indeed many applications in the cancer war. Published results need only to be adapted to cryoprotection requests.
What is possible and what is not rest too often on what the instrumentation is able to perform. Many times, biological problems are solved by new detectors or handling systems at cell or molecular level. This is the forgotten side of biology, it works with electronics, computers and physics. There are some hints about possibilities in that field:
Nuclear magnetic resonance is well known in imaging and chemical analysis. It combines a polarizing magnetic field with pulses of radio waves The magnetic field orientation spins in atoms along a line, there the spin may be up or down. A radio wave flips spins from a state to another. When the radio energy is turned down, atoms slowly flip back and radiate the energy they have absorbed in the first step. That energy and so the frequency radiated rests on the power of the magnetic field. That field is the sum of the applied field and the local one, produced by nearby atoms. Each atomic environment produces its own signature, recognizing it allows to identify the molecule where the atom stays. This is the NMR chemical analysis, without sampling nor destruction. If the applied field vary smoothly from place to place, the radiated frequency will be shifted from one place to another, it is then possible to build back a picture. This is the well known NMR imaging (MRI in the public domain, nuclear is a bad word in marketing).
On large samples, MRI has a resolution near 0.1 mm and get the submicron mark on single cell. A largely held belief assume that high resolution is impossible because of a lack of radio photons, in fact the main problem comes from frequency discrimination. Astronomers working on SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligences) have produced very narrow band filters, if they was exploited in MRI, the definition would be at least one order better. (Finding strange things in unlikely places is the key to technological progress). Such a MRI system could map an organ at the cell level.
Ultrasounds in the 10 MHz range have a wavelength near 0.1 mm, that is to say, they induce a maximum displacement every 0.05 mm and there is a rest domain between. The Doppler shift can be measured on domain no larger than 0.000025 mm or 25 nanometres, the scale of a large molecule. A ultrasound-MRI system would so resolve molecular structures and be able to look at molecular destructions ( using the analysis capability of NMR).
For cryonics this is very interesting because all of that is done without destruction or sampling of matter. If the atoms producing the signal are helium 3, allowed to diffuse in the body after laser polarization (a far more efficient process than magnetic orientation of hydrogen in ordinary MRI), there is no need to thaw the organ, it may remains frozen, something not possible if the emitting atoms are part of a solid matrix.
So we need helium 3 MRI, ultrasound Doppler shift and narrow band scanning with SETI gigachannel receptors.
A similar study could be done for X-ray non-demolition scanner. There we would need free electron lasers, large graphite lenses, bubble air lenses correctors, multicoating mirrors and microchannel lenses made from carbon nanotubes. Each component has many applications in instrumentation for microelectronics, astronomy or biology.
To summarize, I suggest to exploit the subsidiary multi-level system to mount a full scale research project intended to both, reversible cryopreservation and information recovery in present day frozen patients. The only requirement at start is a corporation going on the market and working as the holding of a chain of subsidiaries. Beyond 21 CM, there are some public or would be public cryonics oriented corporations: Trans Time, Cryomedical Sciences, Bio Time, Bio Transport... Only one has to choose the big research way outlined here to bring large rewards.
.by Peter Kirby <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I see two alternatives:
Are 'you' to be identified with the particular cells that constitute the body? If so, then 'you' did not exist as a child. Your body is taller and looks much older. In fact, most of the cells now in your body were not there when you were a child. But in spite of the growth and change, you are the same person. How, if the self isn't identified with an aggregate of cells, and yet there is nothing above and beyond the body?
"...while consciousness appears to be continuous, in fact it is gappy. A self could be just as gappy, lapsing into nothingness as easily as a candle flame is snuffed, only to be rekindled at some later time, under more auspicious circumstances. Are you the very person whose kindergarten adventures you sketchily recall (sometimes vividly, sometimes dimly)? Are the adventures of that child, whose trajectory through space and time has apparently been continuous with the trajectory of your body, your very own adventures? That child with your name, a child whose scrawled signature on a crayon drawing reminds you of the way *you* used to sign your name - is (was) that child you? The philosopher Derek Parfit (1984) has compared a person to a club, a rather different sort of human construction, which might go out of existence one year, and come to be reconstituted by some of its (former?) members some years later. Would it be the same club? It might be, if, for instance, the club has a written constitution that provides explicitly for just such lapses of existence. But there might be no telling. We might know all the facts that would conceivably bear on the situation and be able to see that they were inconclusive about the *identity* of the (new?) club. On the view of selves - or persons - emerging here, this is the right analogy; selves are not independently existing soul-pearls, but artifacts of the social processes that create us, and, like other such artifacts, subject to sudden shifts in status. The only 'momentum' that accrues to the trajectory of a self, or a club, is the stability imparted to it by the web of beliefs that constitute it, and when those beliefs lapse, it lapses, either permanently or temporarily." (Dennett, Consciousness Explained, p. 423)
Another way to look at this is to affirm the ancient Buddhist doctrine that there is no self, that everything is in a constant state of flux. What makes you the same person as the 'you' several years ago are social and psychological identifications - you have the same name, the same memories, etc. - but you are undoubtedly different. You are only a 'continuation' of the old you. The material used to construct your body is of no importance, as that has been recycled many times over. You are the organization of information that has structured your body's control system (or in the usual more provocative form, you are the program that runs on your brain's computer).
So, as in the teleportation thought experiment, there is no reason to assume that either of the two identical copies would be the 'real you' (unless, of course, you assume some transcendent soul). These two people have separate existence and will soon gather different experiences that make them distinct - like twins - but neither has a stronger claim to be the 'original', except in the unimportant sense that one has some of the original cells. (If you want to deal in thought experiments, how about splitting the original material between the two clones - now where is the 'real you'?)
Indeed, there is no reason to deal with elaborate thought experiments. What about some split-brain patients and multiple personality disorders? We have already 'split the self', so to speak, and it didn't cause any nuclear explosions. We would identify one of the personalities with the original if it shared many of the old beliefs and memories (e.g., in the left brain, or the personality that 'hid' while the other was being abused in childhood). But this shows that there is nothing magical and immutable about the self.
If this sounds cold, then I can understand the attraction of a dualistic spirit at this point. But if it's immortality that you're hankering for, the alternatives (except perhaps cryonics) are simply indefensible.
Peter Kirby <email@example.com>
XTIANITY list owner, alt.atheism atheist #16
Home page: http://home.earthlink.net/~kirby/ (updated 5/23/98)
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