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|Convergence to Health||Robert Ettinger|
|Organic Food - Truth in Labelling||Michael Lorrey|
|Updates on Fly Longevity Experiments||Douglas Skrecky|
|Man is Not Conscious, Only Capable of It.||George Smith|
|As Others See Us||Polly Bird|
|book review: "The Immortalist Manifesto"||Rudi Hoffman|
|Effective dreamers versus SF fans||Mark Plus|
|Science Fiction Writers' Attitude to Cryonics||Robert Ettinger|
|CI Policy on Publishing Details of Cryopreservations||Robert Ettinger|
|The End of All Disease?||Mike Darwin|
|Why There is No "In House Life Insurance"||Rudi Hoffman CFP|
|Note on Investment and Accountancy Collapse||Stephen Bogner|
|Attitudes to Death and Cryonics||George Smith|
|The Feel Good Factor in Cryonics||Steven Lacher|
Contents are provided for information only, under the right to free speech. Opinions are the authors' own. No professional advice is intended. If you wish others to be legally responsible for your health, life or finances, then please consult a professional regulated according to the laws of your country.
Volume 15 no 90. First published July 2002. ISSN 0964-5659.
Convergence to Health
by Robert Ettinger < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Recently I said that, if civilization endures, we will probably see the end of all ordinary disease, including senescence and genetic abnormalities and results of trauma such as radiation damage or poisoning, so there should be no more "natural" death.
First, I reiterate this. It's really pretty simple. A physician can sew up a cut, and he doesn't have to know if it was caused by a knife or a razor or a scalpel or a sheet of paper or a sharp fingernail. A mechanic can replace a malfunctioning or non-functioning carburetor, and he doesn't have to know if it was a factory defect or sand in the works or what. Moderately intelligent nanobots could spot abnormal organisms or substances or structures, or the lack of normal ones, and make suitable corrections at an early stage, without knowing anything about how or why they got there or failed to appear. The problem could also be noted and the information sent to the people upstairs for further study.
As to diseases of the psyche, or personality disorders, I explicitly said that these are in a different category, and that vicious memes could be as dangerous as parasitic microorganisms. But I think these possibilities are also overplayed. After all, certain generalities and tendencies look very strong.
One generality unlikely to change is that more and bigger = stronger, not always or inevitably but usually. Many people are stronger than a few, and societies - even libertarian societies - are stronger than individuals. Societies and majorities are likely to continue to realize, or in some cases come to realize, that maniacs are dangerous and must be guarded against, if not cured or eliminated.
Another generality, not yet generally recognized or accepted, is that "girls just want to have fun." Everybody's basic motivation is personal satisfaction over time, which detractors call the "pleasure principle." The brain is so complex that sometimes derivative values have more effective power than basic ones, and even mere habits can overcome such basics as the survival instinct. That makes the past crazy and the present dangerous, but the future is more promising.
"Diversification" is a delusion, except in superficialities. Some people in the next century may choose snow-white skin, some coal-black, and some sky-blue or grass-green--that's trivial. Some may choose wings and others fins, and that's trivial too. Essentially no one will choose stupidity or ignorance or disease over intelligence and knowledge and health, any more than they will choose death over life.
Even if some people grow gills and live in the sea, and others distribute parts of themselves over continents or star systems, that is unlikely to change anything really basic.
My guess therefore is that, in the important things, the future will bring convergence, not divergence.
Many seemingly plausible objections could be made--for example, that we can't understand the motivation of an ant and that future varieties of transhuman may not be able to understand each other's motivations, or empathize with them. I leave the answer as an exercise for the student.
Certainly it's a long way from here to there, with many a misstep possible. Calamities can happen, and the universe itself could turn out to be user-unfriendly. In one of Heinlein's stories, a time traveler made brief contact with an advanced race, and remembered only their overpowering aura of grief or despair. As I have said before, maybe that is the answer to the Fermi paradox--that intelligence is ultimately and inherently fatal, because it leads to the realization of the fundamental darkness or emptiness.
But gloomy speculations should never be allowed to get the upper hand. A good future seems a probability, and we can improve the odds by our actions and attitudes.
Organic Food - Truth in Labelling
by Michael Lorrey < email@example.com >
Recipients are encouraged to forward this message in its entirety
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/30/2002 Center for Transhuman Development
132 Prospect Street Extension Lebanon,
Contact: Michael Lorrey, firstname.lastname@example.org
The inaugural event of the founding of the Center for Transhuman Development will be a Truth in Labelling campaign to focus on the so-called 'Organic' food industry. In our research at local markets, we have determined that outside of seafood, seaweed, and forest grown mushrooms and herbs, virtually every other food product, "organic" or otherwise, exists as a result of thousands of years of genetic engineering techniques using simple hybridization technologies. Given this widespread use of hybridization technology in food products, CTHD activists will be entering their local markets across the country to affix labels to so-called "organic" or "natural" food products clarifying this fact.
If you see a food product with the label "This Product is Genetically Engineered by Hybridization Techniques" or "This product contains Genetically Engineered Ingredients via Hybridization Techniques", you will know that this product is now properly labeled to enhance the value of the product by fulfilling the consumer's right-to-know what is in the food they buy.
Proprietors of alleged "organic" foods who may complain that the value of their product is being damaged by such labelling should be reminded that they would have to be able to prove in court with scientific expert testimony that "organic" food is quantitatively better than foods produces with the help of pesticides, fertilizers, or gene splicing technologies, AND that hybridization is not a technology for altering the genomes of wild animal and plant species, in order to establish that damage was done
Prospective activists who are interested in engaging in this labelling campaign can download the following graphics and produce their own labels:
Labelling will begin by May 5th
It is recommended that labelling be performed while one is conducting their regular shopping. Enterprising individuals may want to dress up as stock clerks, but we do not encourage it.
If you are interested in membership in the Center for Transhuman Development, please email email@example.com
58th, 59th, 60th, 61st, & 62nd Updates on
Fly Longevity Experiments
by Douglas Skrecky
This is the 58th update of my fly longevity experiments. Maximum longevity was increased from 75 days for Run #57 to 103 days for this run. However average temperature was 25.6 C for Run #57 but only 22.9 C for Run #58. Since fly longevity is known to increase at lower temperatures this increase was not unexpected.
Although high dose soy protein increased mortality, I doubt that soy itself was toxic. Instead I attribute this to a desiccating effect, from my not adding enough extra water to the dry protein. Unfortunately I continued this practice "in the future" for quite a few more runs. Soy lecithin reduced average lifespan, but had no adverse effect on maximum longevity. Although the lecithin was "de-oiled", it was still 50% fat. Flies have consistently shown increased mortality when fed any source of fat in published experiments. Unlike humans, flies have no requirement for essential fatty acids. I provisionally attribute the positive results with soy isoflavones, to antiviral activity. This is mildly interesting, because there appears to be a very low threshold for maximum effect.
Percent Survival on Day
|soy protein 2 tsp||87||80||67||53||47||27||13||13||13||13||0||-||-||-||-|
|soy lecithin 1/4 tsp||86||57||57||50||50||43||43||43||43||14||7||0||-||-||-|
|soy lecithin ½ tsp||60||60||60||53||53||40||33||33||27||27||27||7||7||7||0|
|soy isoflavones 50 mg||85||85||85||85||85||77||69||69||69||69||46||23||0||-||-|
|soy isoflavones 100 mg||83||75||75||75||75||67||75||42||33||25||8||0||-||-||-|
|soy isoflavones 200 mg||83||75||75||75||75||75||67||67||50||42||33||25||8||8||0|
This is the 59th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.9 C during this run. Here I retest soy protein, both by itself, and with other supplements added. Soy protein itself exerted no benefit at 1 tsp in this run. However the source of the flies was from a breeding bottle that held an extra 1 tsp soy protein in it to help fight viruses. It is possible that soy resistant viruses may have developed. Although the combination supplements looked promising initially, ultimately the controls lasted the longest. I believe this peculiar result to be a side effect of an experimental mistake. Fly food itself tends to dry out with time, and since I did not add extra water to the dry supplements, this desiccating effect may have been limiting to fly longevity after two months.
Percent Survival on Day
|soy protein 1 tsp||69||63||56||56||56||44||44||25||6||0||-||-||-|
|+ rice protein 1 tsp||100||100||92||85||85||54||54||46||38||9||0||-||-|
|+ honey 1 tsp||100||100||100||92||92||92||58||58||33||8||8||0||-|
|+ pepper, cayenne 1/8 tsp||100||100||81||81||81||69||63||31||13||0||-||-||-|
|soy protein 2 tsp||94||89||83||72||51||44||39||33||33||0||-||-||-|
This is the 60th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.6 C during this run. Here I test some novel supplements.
I was greatly surprised to see some white mould develop in the wild rice bottle (* in table) , despite the addition of citric acid to the fly food, to assist the commercial mould inhibitor. Since the mould did not liquify the food, the flies did not drown in it. This may be responsible the good maximal longevity in this bottle.
Both walnut, and black rice look interesting, but replication of these results would be required, before I could begin to take them seriously. The control bottle had an unexpectedly poor survival.
Percent Survival on Day
|lotus starch 1 tsp||67||57||48||52||48||38||33||10||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|peanut/potato 1 tsp||88||81||69||63||56||44||19||6||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|rice, black 1 tsp||80||80||80||80||70||60||30||20||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|rice, wild 1 tsp||39||39||39||39||39*||39||33||33||17||6||0||-||-||-|
|sesame/potato 1 tsp||55||55||45||45||45||45||45||27||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|walnut/potato 1 tsp||88||88||88||88||75||75||56||50||44||31||19||13||6||0|
This is the 61st update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.0 C during this run. Here I test some more novel supplements.
The most interesting feature of this run is the poor performance of the control#2 versus the control#1 bottle. This poor reproducibility underscores the need for replication before any positive results with supplements can be granted much weight. Using control#2 as a yardstick for this run, implies a large number of positive results with supplements. Using control#1 as a yardstick, only bergamot leaf and possibly periwinkle yielded any interesting results. An average longevity of 67 days+ for the bergamot population, that probably included some older flies to start, exceeds the average longevity determined by virtually all published experiments. However the reduced temperature, and the uncertain nature of statistics (only 10 flies), does not preclude the possibility of a null result in future replication studies (Run#72 - in progress).
Percent Survival on Day
|alkanet root 1/4 tsp||100||100||100||100||100||80||20||0||-||-||-||-|
|bergamot leaf 1/4 tsp||80||80||80||80||80||60||50||30||20||0||-||-|
|bladderwrack 1/4 tsp||78||78||78||67||67||22||11||0||-||-||-||-|
|boneset herb 1/4 tsp||92||83||67||67||50||25||17||8||8||0||-||-|
|broom tops 1/4 tsp||76||65||65||53||41||24||12||12||6||0||-||-|
|buckthorn bark 1/16 tsp||92||85||85||85||54||46||23||15||0||-||-||-|
|catnip 1/4 tsp||60||53||47||47||40||20||13||0||-||-||-||-|
|celandine herb 1/4 tsp||87||87||67||80||47||27||7||7||7||7||7||0|
|colombo root 1/8 tsp||86||71||71||64||43||36||14||14||0||-||-||-|
|coltsfoot 1/4 tsp||53||47||33||33||33||33||13||13||0||-||-||-|
|eucalyptus leaf 1/4 tsp||33||33||33||33||27||7||0||-||-||-||-||-|
|huckleberry leaf 1/8 tsp||69||69||56||38||13||0||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|madder root 1/4 tsp||63||54||54||33||17||13||4||0||-||-||-||-|
|periwinkle 1/4 tsp||58||47||58||53||53||42||26||21||6||5||5||0|
This is the 62nd update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.2 C during this run. Citric acid is a standard additive to all runs, since it helps to inhibit mould, prevents colour changes in the fly food (keeping it 'fresh'), and increases fly longevity. In this run I look at the interaction between citric acid and supplements with antiviral activity.
The mould inhibiting effect of citric acid proved its worth again. Although standard 4-24 fly food contains a mould inhibitor, I have found this not to be fully effective. Mould appeared in the citric-acid-free soy/rice protein bottle, and increased mortality possibly by "drowning" some of the flies.
Freeze concentrated Knudsen Elderberry juice increased survival compared to the acid free control bottle, but not significantly in comparison to citric acid by itself. I suspect, possibly due to the relatively low ambient temperature, that virus infections might not have increased mortality very much in this run.
Once again adding 2 teaspoons of dry protein without additional water decreased maximum longevity, probably by dehydration stress.
Percent Survival on Day
|soy/rice protein 2 tsp||100*||89||50||33||22||22||11||6||6||6||0||-||-|
|elderberry FC & soy/rice||93||93||93||93||93||80||80||67||40||13||13||0||-|
|citric acid 1/4 tsp||100||100||86||86||86||86||71||71||50||14||7||0||-|
|+ elderberry FC||93||93||93||87||87||87||87||67||47||27||13||0||-|
|+ soy/rice 2 tsp||93||93||93||93||93||87||67||27||7||0||-||-||-|
|+elderberry & soy/rice||91||91||82||82||82||82||64||55||36||0||-||-||-|
*Mold appeared in the citric acid free soy/rice bottle.
Man is Not Conscious, Only Capable of It.
by George Smith < firstname.lastname@example.org >
Huxley's original quote which I paraphrased is (as I recall), "Man is not rational, only capable of it."
Any serious study of human psychology, especially in regard to memory and the manipulation of unconsicous processes (neo-Ericksonian hypnosis, for example) reveals that consciousness is sporatic at best whereas most "thinking" and other behaviors are largely unconscious. Most methods of behavior change, including all successful "sales" persuasion methods rely upon manipulating these unconscious mental processes. (The strictly rational salesman is commonly the failed salesman).
People walk around in an almost continuous dream state, "narrating" the story of their lives to themselves (in pictures as well as words). I like to suggest that it is not dissimilar from cartoon characters who will have a "bubble" drawn above their heads to show what they are thinking. People live almost entirely "in" that bubble environment, looking at themselves as if they were a character in a movie (perhaps aptly entitled, "My Life").
For example, when people drive cars their driving behavior is almost entirely unconscious while their mental state is usually one of dissassociation. Drivers are daydreaming while listening to the radio, talking about politics, or just "spacing out". When actions of other drivers are "negative" (getting cut off by a passing car) the reactions are unconscious and entirely predictable. Depending upon the immediate condition of the body (sleep, blood sugar levels, etc.) the response will normally range from frustration to raging anger and is as predictable as the actions of a wind up toy.
Sudden shocks, severe pain or strong emotion can cause the individual to "wake up" and become conscious momentarily and operate from a position "in" their body rather than from a daydream state. After such events, the individual commonly returns to the daydreaming, dissociated condition.
There are degrees of consciousness spanning a spectrum from deep sleep to vital awareness. The curious fact of the matter is, though, that people are convinced that they are always conscious (when they are not sleeping). This arises because basically when asked, "Are you wide awake right now?" the person will need to BECOME more conscious, make an internal and external reality check in order to answer that question. That done, they promptly go back to their more normal daydreaming condition but now carrying the memory of "Every time I check to see if I am awake, I am. Therefore I am always awake."
This condition has been compared to a man in a dark room with a flashlight strapped to the top of his head. Everywhere he looks he thinks he sees a fully lit up room because the flashlight beam is always in front of him lighting up that portion of the room he can see.
I do not mean to take this answer into the realm of mysticism nor hyper-sentience, but simply to explain that people have the illusion of being conscious all of the time (when not sleeping) whereas the fact of the matter is simply that they seldom are conscious at all. I am suggesting that almost all human behavior, to include creative thinking, problem solving, emotional responses and everyday behavior, does not require consciousness whatsoever.
When we cryonicists stand in mute shock at the seeming blindness of otherwise highly intelligent individuals who reject cryonics for no sane reasons we can fathom, it is perhaps useful to understand that the culture programs almost all of what we consider to be "choices" and that preprogrammed robots cannot make choices unavailable to them.
And there are two upsides to this issue, if my assessment of the human condition is accurate:
(1) Unconscious people can be relied upon to act and think along certain "pathways".
(2) Those "pathways" can actually assist them in choosing life over death, cryonics over crematoriums.
Just my opinion,
CI member and Immortalist
As Others See us
New Hope International Review - http ://www.nhi.clara.net/online.htm
NHI Review, 20 Werneth Avenue, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 5NL
Longevity Report #88: This is the Newsletter of Longevity Books and does exactly what it says on the cover, that is it explores the possibility of extended life albeit through cryonics or freezing at death. This journal is undoubtedly for a specialist audience but the contents might be of some interest to the general reader who wants to get into the minds of people who won't accept that death is irreversible.
Such a reader might find some fascination in the several wide-ranging articles. The first tackles the problems of choosing a 'provider' who will deal with and preserve the frozen bodies at a suitable location. There are two scientific papers ù the first about a Russian study to see whether ascorbic acid extends the life of the nematode C. elegans (it doesn't); the second an update on fly longevity experiments. Another author explains that the problems of authority when preserving human life often brings comparisons to the Nazis and, as a child under the National Socialist regime, attempts an explanation of the German perspective of the time (with a disclaimer from the editor that there is no intention to mitigate National Socialist crimes).
More interesting perhaps is the final page with How Others See Us. This seems rather odd: few self-confident organisations are worried enough about their image to lengthily dissect comment public. I note that the page is given over to a review of a previous issue for New Hope International Review. This shows that NHIR is to be taken seriously! The editorial that follows comments on the reviewer's remarks that it could be arrogant to assume a right to prolong life by cryonics. I was mildly interested, although not convinced, by the attempt to relate Jesus raising people from the dead to cryonics' enthusiasts' desire to prolong life by attempting the same. All in all, unless you are cryonics believer or can't think of any other way to pass the time give this one a miss.
Comment: As Others See Us is intended to make readers aware of the world outside of those interested in longevity and how some of them react to these original ideas.
After all, innovations such as anaesthesia and antisepsis met with similar incredulity at one time, and radio and powered flight were once regarded as eccentric to say the least. In fact, everything we take for granted today was once the domain of a few lone individuals.
Yes NHIR serves an excellent purpose in preventing little groups of people becoming totally inward looking. Longevity particularly does require the approval if not the support of other people to make it happen, unlike other fields such as powered flight, radio, computers and so on. A recent article in New Scientist suggests that the human population may go into serious decline in the next half century. It seems that it isn't only stock market quotations which can go down as well as up. If this is correct, then people in the future may be glad of the present movement to extend individual lifespans. [New Scientist 10 July 2002 page 38]
by Rudi Hoffman < RUDIHOFFMA@aol.com >
I am a long term member of the Life Extension Foundation, arguably among the most important groups around because of the research that Bill Faloon and Saul Kent do. And, as most readers will know, Bill and Saul are high profile and high dollar supporters of cryonics.
(BTW, it is only $75 per year to be a member of LEF, and you 12 wonderful magazines with the latest abstracts and research on life extension/enhancement, along with promotions for their vitamins/supplements. Members are offered a significant discount on some of the highest quality supplements available. More relevant to this list, these guys are among the few people on the planet, along with Ettinger and Pichugan, who are supporting and conducting cryonic and cryogenic research.)
So when The Immortalist Manifesto--Stay Young and Save the World was positively reviewed by Life Extension Magazine, I was inclined to pay 13 bucks or so and add it to my LEF order.
Lovers of liberty, limited government, free enterprise, and capitalism will find much to hate in this book. I found myself so annoyed by the author's self-aggrandisement, arrogance, naivete', socialist ideology, and politics of envy, that I almost missed the point of the whole book. As I am reading it, I am continually shocked that the libertarian leaning LEF and Faloon are promoting this book. And then it hit me squarely between the eyes, a paradigm shift that confirms what may be true for most human beings, including me - "We don't have new ideas, we rearrange our prejudices."
This annoying, arrogant, naive, would-be cult leader has a basic premise that is profoundly and movingly right!
Death and aging are the universal themes of every life. And because this is the way "it has always been," all culture, religion, philosophy, literature, and even science has assumed that it is "only natural" that we age and die.
And "Elixxir" is powerful, original, and profound in his indictment of the cultural norms that say that we can't fix this "natural" state.
Aging and Death are the elephant in our living room we are all trying to ignore, to pretend these are not inexorable realities.
"Elixxir" (the author ... goes by one name, evidently) has issued a clarion call that we are all dying, and the only way to fight the aging and death facing all of us is to pressure government to create a "war on aging". He envisions this as a parallel to the "race to the moon" of the 1960s, where Kennedy galvanized a nation to do "the impossible" and in 1969 actually put a man on the moon.
The tone of the book is that of a manifesto. Parts of this book reminded me of the screed penned by the Unabomber in its didacticism and criticism of current capitalism. Other sections bring to mind The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx, because of the author's astonishing socialism and insistence that capitalism and greed are against life extension.
In summary, I am glad I read this book. Partly because it is good to challenge one's basic paradigms occasionally.
And because I happen to agree with the author in one basic issue. Stopping aging and death is the problem universal to all humans, and every other problem is secondary.
Click here for more reviews and an opportunity to buy
UK readers click here for more reviews and an opportunity to buy
Effective dreamers versus SF fans
by Mark Plus < email@example.com >
A few years ago on the A&E cable channel I saw a documentary profiling people who had chosen to undergo "Human Transformations," as the show was titled.
One of them was an American woman named Cindy Jackson, http://www.cindyjackson.com/
Cindy had grown up in a small farming town in Ohio, and as a child she decided after receiving her first Barbie doll that some day she would live the sort of life she imagined Barbie would have if she were real, -- a sort of life which was apparently not available in Ohio.
When Cindy came of age, she left Ohio and moved to London, where she thought a real-life Barbie would live. For a few years Cindy scraped by on various jobs, including working as a rock musician. In her late 20's she inherited some money from her father (I gathered she and her bucolic parents were somewhat estranged), and she decided to spend it on the first of a series of cosmetic operations to make her look more like Barbie. I would describe her as plain-looking before her transformation, but certainly not unattractive.
Eventually Cindy was able to turn her experiences into a profitable cosmetic-surgery consultancy business, and has since then had the money to indulge in various aspects of her instantiated-Barbie fantasy, including being able to move in elite British social circles and attract glamorous boyfriends. I'm not sure whether she's succeeded in finding her real-life Ken doll yet, however.
Another person profiled on the show was a guy who was thoroughly obsessed with "Star Trek." You know: the sort of loser who has all the episodes and movies on videotape and a house full of Trek collectibles, dresses up in Trek costumes to attend conventions, and so forth. The show presented his "lifestyle" as an attempt to live out the humanistic ideals of Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future, or something to that effect.
Now, after reflecting on both examples of human transformation, I concluded that both of these people had some serious emotional problems. But I found myself respecting Cindy Jackson a lot more than the Trekker geek. Cindy could have stayed in Ohio, married a blue-collar guy, let her weight balloon and spent her free time reading romance novels while imagining she was the Barbie-like heroine. Instead, she has exerted herself against considerable odds to live out her personal dream, even if it seems a bit twisted to me, and to a certain extent she has succeeded. I don't know if she considers herself "happy," of course, but she does have some tangible results to show for her efforts, including apparently wealth.
The Trekker guy, by contrast, couldn't possibly instantiate his dream in real life, given the way he defined it. There's no "Starfleet Academy" to apply to. If the majority of SF fans are like this guy, then it's not surprising that they aren't interested in cryonics. They would rather live in their fantasy worlds than try to do something both unusual and extraordinarily hard in the real world. People who have a personality more like Cindy Jackson's might be better candidates for cryonics marketing, if there were a way to identify them demographically.
Science Fiction Writers' Attitude to Cryonics
Robert Ettinger < Ettinger@aol.com >
Asimov played a role in publication of my first book. Doubleday sent it to him to vet it for scientific correctness, and he stamped it kosher.
His public reasons for rejecting cryonics included: (1) Life extension is bad because old codgers would be in power forever and progress would stop. (2) Individual life doesn't matter, or even the life of the species--only the progress of life and intelligence in the abstract is important. These ostensible reasons are so stupefyingly stupid that they cannot have been his real reasons.
Asimov was very successful in his chosen field, and reveled in being an eminence gris and in writing and selling a great many books and in hobnobbing with celebrities. Once, when asked what he would do if told he had only a short time to live, he replied, "Type faster."
I had a bit of contact with Clarke a couple of years ago. He is just about my age, and up to his keester in new projects. He also revels in his success, and loves being called "Sir Arthur" and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. To some it will seem strange that a person like that, likely to kick the bucket any time, still finds it important to sell another book or get another screen-play produced. Of course, one could opine that all life is just basket-weaving anyway, entertaining yourself while waiting to die.
I met Pohl (also almost my age) a couple of times, and he wrote a cryonics novel (The Age of the Pussyfoot), and in his autobiographical book (The Way the Future Was) he gave a fair amount of favorable space to me and cryonics. My impression is that his rejection of cryonics has two main bases. (1) I don't think he ever had much money, and he couldn't see cryonics for himself unless he could buy tickets for his whole family. (2) He is also successful in his field, and has a strong sense of place and milieu, and wouldn't like being a displaced person. I don't have hard data, but my impression is that many in cryonics are already "strangers in a strange land" and are not satisfied with their achievements or with the world--or perhaps I should say more dissatisfied than most. One might even say we tend to be misfits. Sam, you made the pants too short.
Finally, a sobering thought (for those previously inebriated). Most of us older people are orphans. No Mama, no Papa (no animate parent, anyway); we're on our own. News flash--everybody has always been on his own.
CI Policy on Publishing Details of Cryopreservations.
by Robert Ettinger < firstname.lastname@example.org >
First and foremost, in my estimation, on balance, it is probably a mistake to publish details about individual suspensions. The potential upside vs. the potential downside is not impressive and very possibly negative, and we can't waste our time or efforts.
After all, we already know the risks and the ways to reduce them. True, if members read about bad cases they may be motivated to review their own arrangements and try to improve them. On the other hand, if potential members read about a substantial number of unfortunate cases, there is a very good chance they will be discouraged from doing anything - we know this because we know of such people, and also because our numbers are so small overall.
As far as reporting details of procedure goes, one can cite possible positives and negatives. On the positive side, if we were to publish a lot of techno-medical-sounding jargon, that might encourage a few potential members to think we are hot stuff, but we are not in the business of selling hype. On the negative side, it will inevitably motivate a lot of kibitzers to flood us with questions and suggestions, what we shoulda woulda coulda oughta mighta done, wasting our time intolerably - this has happened repeatedly and must be avoided.
Our policy is to publish on our web site, and in The Immortalist, any and all information that we believe is useful and appropriate. Beyond that - at least while I have something to say about it, which will not be for much longer - we should draw the line. We can get all the input and feedback we need from our own people and others with whom we are in contact by choice. Anyone who wants special information or special attention should earn it.
Specifically, on the matter of post mortem delay, how can it possibly help to know which patients or families were on the ball and which were not, or which had luck and which did not? What counts is the actual potential risk and ways to avoid or minimize it, which everybody knows and which we do our best to convey to our members. If the next ten patients all die alone and are not found for a week, how will it help members or potential members to know that?
In the case of our last patient, our third Australian, as it happens he was packed in ice at the hospital within a half hour of death, and cooled down in dry ice after washout and perfusion at a local mortuary that we had previously supplied.
In general, whether abroad or in the U.S., the most nearly ideal practical arrangement usually is to have the patient die at home under hospice care, with trained people standing by with their supplies and equipment. The next best thing is to have a local mortician, trained and equipped, ready to go to the hospital promptly when called, or to stand by at the hospital if that is feasible.
Incidentally, it is somewhat interesting that death-bed sign-ups do not necessarily result in worse suspensions. If the problem of executing a contract and making payment quickly enough can be handled - and sometimes it can - then the other hazards may actually be reduced, since everyone is aware of the emergency and no one is taken by surprise.
The End of All Disease?
by Mike Darwin < Mgdarwin@cs.com >
There are three broad classes of disease:
1) Injury (disruption) from application of exogenous force in excess of the engineering tolerances of the system (organism).
2) Endogenous failures due to design limitations, oversights in engineering, unanticipated design flaws, and so on.
3) Exogenous failures due to invasion of the system with alien information in the form of simple programs such as viruses, (both computer and human versions are good examples) or complex program-operated structures like bacteria and other invasive parasites.
All three of the above failure modes are hard to imagine eliminating in the foreseeable future. To do so implies both omniscience and omnipotence.
Without complete knowledge of the Universe it is not possible for any structure and information dependent organism (regardless of the substrate) to anticipate all possible situations where tremendous disruptive external forces might be brought to bear. We may be very tough, redundant and resilient creatures in the future, but there is always the unknown and always the possibility that we will encounter by chance or by design forces large enough to destroy us. Accidents happen, and so do homicides. The sling may have been augmented by the 9 mm Glock and the hydrogen bomb, but the principle remains the same.
The problem of viruses or other invasive information-driven instrumentalities is perhaps even more odious. As long as there are multiple, survival-driven intelligences with limited resources, and limited insight, there will be conflicts over those resources. If every man on earth had the energy and resources of the entire solar system as a personal asset there would still be trouble. Even with our current tiny intelligences it is not difficult to imagine scenarios where having all those resources might be deemed essential to a given individual's or group of individuals' survival. Our desires always overreach our available resources. Only by gaining complete control over the Universe can survival be assured. Since that doesn't seem to be in the cards now, there will always be competition. As I was taught in Business Law in High School, the basis of economics is that human desire is infinite and available resources finite. Satisfy any list of wishes and more will arise. Conflict and competition as well as cooperation and conciliation are core elements of information beings.
Finally, as human beings transform themselves and begin taking a direct, design oriented approach to their evolution they will be confronted with many possible strategies and be driven by many preexisting desires and inclinations. Intense social interaction is fundamental to the identity of some humans, and intense isolation and independence is fundamental to the identity of others. Radically different structural and cognitive paths to survival and choices of lifestyle will be likely when the option becomes available. Indeed, this divergence is already magnified in wealthy societies (both now and in the past) and becomes more extreme as resources and technology allow. Look around you at the variety of values and lifestyles already in existence and note how much more differentiated they have become even since 1950! These divergences reflect deep evolutionary principles: individual organisms within a species must have differences in order to protect the species. And yes, this even applies to so called unicellular organisms which are incorrectly labelled as genetically and phenotypically identical.
Some people will make bad choices. Some will make very bad choices. In fact, it is possible to imagine that their choices will be so bad that they may not only cause the deanimation of the individual, or the group to which they belong, but they may be extremely dangerous to others trying to "resuscitate" them (Jonestown is a crude example). Think of such bad choices as extremely malignant and complex masses of code (programming) which may ensnare would be rescuers. Anyone who knows much about how clever malignant ideologies or computer viruses can be should get the picture.
In such a situation it may be that the only thing to do is to place the "patient" in isolated stasis until the problem can be sorted out. In other cases it may simply be that a problem of enormous complexity has been created (perhaps by accident) which requires time to sort out, or even time for technology to advance to the point where sorting it out becomes possible. How to separate the individual from a destructive or function-terminating implementation of self without destroying the individual in the process may be a very difficult and complicated problem.
So, I believe Thomas Donaldson is correct and that the need for "cryonics" as a core principle in medicine is not likely to be obviated in any foreseeable future. As our capability for progress, growth and increased flexibility grows, so too will the chances for fatal errors. While it may be possible to minimize the chances of adverse events as a result of technological advance, it will not be possible by any means I know of to reduce them to zero. The same is true for acts of malice. Malice here can be both a neutral term and one attributed to sadistic intent. It is possible for reasonable beings (using the scientific method) to arrive at very different and equally plausible theories about how to solve life or death problems. Some of those theories may be in conflict and may be resolved only by the use of force or fraud which result in lethal injury. We currently label these kinds of conflicts crimes or wars. Some crimes become acts of heroism and some wars are labelled just. It is sometimes hard to know which is which at the time because available information is insufficient, and yet action on that information is imperative in order to survive.
As the computer on in Isaac Asimov's story The Last Question used to say: "Insufficient data for a meaningful answer."
As it is, so shall it be in the foreseeable future. We are not immortal, imperishable, omniscient, or omnipotent. And nowhere do I see evidence that we now living are likely to become so soon.
So, we do the best we can. Sometimes we screw up. This is what the idea of Original Sin is all about: the realization that the Universe imposes moral handicaps which seem (and perhaps are) inescapable. Still, we try for perfection, and the deep idea of cryonics is part of our progress towards that end.
Why There is No "In House Life Insurance"
by Rudi Hoffman CFP < RUDIHOFFMA@aol.com >
The following question is often asked by those new to cryonics: "Why don't cryonics organizations have "in-house" insurance people?"
I by no means have every cryonics policy written, but my number crunching indicates I have a fairly large percentage. I have earlier stated my goal of "100 cryonics policies" in 2002. We are halfway through the year, and my agency is at about 25! I wish to heck it was higher, and if the "red file" prospects on my desk, perhaps including some people reading this, would get off their butts we would have double this number.
This is with me working my tail off, constantly on the phone long distance or emailing asking people to follow through on their commitment, fill out the paperwork I have overnighted them 6 months ago, schedule their blood and urine test, get qualified for the best rates possible, etc. To put it shortly and succinctly in the vernacular, it is damn labour intensive. It is a frustrating, time consuming pain in the butt. From thinking about it to following through, many people take YEARS. They (and we all) have "issues" that come up.
But I love this business of cryonics life insurance! Partly because I get to deal with some of smartest, most forward thinking, and creative people on the planet, many of whom have become dear friends. And, if you are reading this, we will assume that you are one of the exceptions, that you made a decision, followed through in a businesslike and timely manner, and are a joy to do business with.
Fortunately, most of my actual income is derived from investments, allowing me to pursue my passion of showing people why and how cryonics is affordable.
Note on Investment and Accountancy Collapse
by Stephen Bogner < Stephen.Bogner@drdc-rddc.gc.ca >
Cryonics arrangements are dependant on the stock markets, either directly or via life insurance companies. The declines in the summer of 2002 was largely due to accountancy issues, and this article reflects on these. Readers are warned to take professional advice appropriate to their circumstances and own expertise before buying stocks.
I would like to offer the following from my own experience managing financial issues for several companies.
I spent a lot of money on Accountants in the past on the assumption that as full fledged professionals they would have knowledge and expertise that I could not duplicate economically on my own. I further assumed that using these professionals was good business because they would more than pay for themselves by finding tax saving opportunities for me and by keeping me in compliance with all the appropriate rules and regulations. I could not have been more wrong.
The first thing that I learned was that most "accountants" are simple overpaid data entry clerks. The more advanced accountancy functions are performed by more sophisticated data entry clerks using more sophisticated software. All of the logistics and mechanics of accountancy are readily executed in software. The software is very good, and very inexpensive. Anyone with a high school education can easily learn to use it - and should. If you are running a business you will be collecting and entering all of the necessary data on a more or less continuous basis. (If the SEC wanted to, it could require all public companies to post real time current financial information on a website in real time so that is was available to all investors at a time that was useful. Unlike now, where they only have to report quarterly results a quarter after they are current.) The difference between accounting for a small business and a big business is simply quantitative, and not qualitative. If you understand how it works for a small business then you understand how it works for a big business. In my experience, most accountants are drones that can be replaced by a couple hundred dollars worth of software and a week or two with a good textbook.
The second thing that I learned was that you need to keep 3 sets of books. The first set of books is the one where you track the value and performance of your company the way it really is. In this set of books you track assets and liabilities at their actual current market value, and you track income and expenses on a cash basis. The second set of books is the one where you track using GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) - which believe it or not vary depending upon which country you live in. In this set of books you track assets and liabilities at cost (regardless of real market value) with depreciation based upon what GAAP allows you to claim - regardless of whether or not it is "real" - and you track income and expenses on an accrual basis. The only purpose for this set of books is to show bankers or investors in an acceptable format that they are comfortable with - even though that comfort might be misplaced. The reason they are comfortable with this set of books is because it is very conservative, which is favourable to lenders in particular - and not so favourable for the business owners trying to negotiate with them. The third set of books is the one where you track using taxation rules - which are an even more artificial construct than GAAP. In this set of books you classify and track assets and liabilities according to what is currently required or allowed by the tax policy of the day - which can change arbitrarily at any given government budget and is unlikely in any event to be closely coupled to marketplace or financial reality in any event, and you classify and track income and expenses on either a cash basis or an accrual basis or a bastard version of both depending upon the history of your company and the vicissitudes of government policy.
The third thing that I learned was that the only place where accountants can occasionally exercise discretion is in deciding how and when to tie income or expenses to assets or liabilities. GAAP tries to dictate this process to make it predictable (and conservative). This is where the mischief gets done, by the few accountants who are not drones. These creative accountants try to get around GAAP so that the "GAAP approved" set of books that the company has to show investors (set of books #2) more accurately reflects the way the accountant or CFO thinks that the company should really look (set of books #1). The way they do this is simple, and in my view says more about problems with GAAP than problems with the accountants ethics. The critical objective is to try to reflect the true current market value of the assets owned by the company, when GAAP tries to say the most they can be worth is what was paid for them originally. The problem is that many or all of the activities that the company undertakes to increase the value of the asset (in the case of WorldCom this asset was apparently its fiber network) are viewed by GAAP as "current expenses" which need to be written off in the year in which they are incurred and do not add any value to the balance sheet, when the reality is that they are actually "capital expenses" that add value to the market value of the asset but that added value cannot be shown on the balance sheet until the asset is actually sold and the value is realized as a capital gain. As a result, the expenses for these improvements to the underlying asset show up as operating expenses, rather than investment expenses, and the investor sees high expenses and low profits, without any improvement in the net worth of the company (as reflected on the Balance Sheet) to justify or tell him where the money went. The result is that a good company that is maintaining or improving productive assets that it already has on its books is penalized relative to another company that buys new assets, at perhaps an inflated and unjustified price, perhaps by taking over another company. The acid test, at least for me, is does the expense increase the true market value of the capital asset? If the answer is yes, then it should be considered to be a capital expense rather than a current expense, and that increase in value should be reflected in the balance sheet and that expense should not be considered to be a normal operating expense. Apparently, the CFO of WorldCom also took this viewpoint. GAAP does not. It would rather show a book value that is much lower than the true current market value, and an operating deficit that is higher than what is really happening in the company.
The flip side of this, and where I have most of my experience, is where a company would like to reclassify a capital expense to a current expense so that it can write off the expense in the current year to reduce profits (and hence taxes). This is usually only seen in profitable private companies, and is aggressively discouraged by tax regulations.
It is a little tough to tie this thread back to cryonics. But lets try this: Sometimes, things are not a bad as they seem, if you understand the technical basis of game that is being played out. If you understand and have confidence in the technical fundamentals then you can sometimes avoid being misled by the reactive psychology that plays out around an issue like this. A second point, is that the accepted dogma (i.e.. GAAP), can have glaring and blatant holes that are highly prejudicial to the interests of a major party that is affected by it, and still be the dominant and governing meme for everyone involved, with or without their consent.
That said, I would not invest in WorldCom at this point because I think that it is fatally wounded in the marketplace - which is clearly being driven by psychology and not fundamentals at this point in time. But I would consider investing in the company that is going to pick up the very real and tangible assets of WorldCom because these assets will likely be severely discounted, even perhaps to a point below their already misleadingly low book value (or perhaps not so misleadingly low if you use the numbers before restatement).
Attitudes to Death and Cryonics
by George Smith < email@example.com >
I offer the following ongoing, immediate feedback survey on the average person's attitude to death anyone reading this can perform quickly and easily on a daily basis.
Just go driving on any major freeway in any country in the world.
Offhand I do not remember if the primary cause of death in the USA is car accidents or heart disease. I think the highways reap more than any disease but I may be wrong. In either case, the incredibly amazing thing is that the auto deaths are almost entirely unnecessary and primarily caused by human stupidity and dominance psychology. Mechanical failure is seldom responsible for highway deaths.
Here in the USA and Canada you will continuously see crazy drivers of all ages demonstrating a completely uncaring attitude toward their safety and the safety of others by speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and generally allowing the desire for dominance to control their decisions. Just drive AT the speed limit (good luck!) and watch them stream by you. Make a head count. Try to change lanes anytime by first using a turn signal and COUNT the number of times the cars will close the gap to PREVENT you from changing lanes - for no discernable reason. Seriously. Count.
These nuts ARE the majority by far. Notice how very rarely you find someone who drives with care, allowing for the errors of others like YOU do. You will find that you suddenly are shocked because they ARE driving with caution and consideration. I'd be willing to bet offhand that the percentages approximate the percentages of people not opposed to cryonics in any other sample you choose.
Go to a crowded parking lot and watch cars back up at high speed, whipping out of their stalls, often without even looking to see if one of their brethren is moving at high speed toward THEM. The lemming driving patterns operate at ALL speeds but the high speed ones are simply the most obvious in terms of the defiance of survival. In a parking lot you only hurt the car. At high speeds you are playing Russian roulette.
Go to Mexico and you will only see the behaviour worsen by about ten fold with crazy drivers en masse driving at high speeds virtually attached to the bumper of the car in front of theirs. It seems that the Mexican drivers have yet to learn anything about inertia. I guess so few survive the accidents that there are none to "tell the tale" to others to warn them. (Just kidding! Everyone knows that passing on a blind curve with a no passing sign is "muy macho").
Europeans will have no problem verifying the insanity either. Try Rome, Munich, or London. I got to assist on many European autopsies from these death defiant idiots in the seventies in NATO. Then, after work, I got to dodge them on the autobahns. There is no such thing as "defensive driving." If you want to survive you must engage in EVASIVE driving!
So the next time you are influenced by the masses rejecting the arguments for cryonics, take a drive. These are the same people who think WE are nuts!
They WILL die. We MIGHT live ... if they don't kill us first!
The Feel Good Factor in Cryonics
By Steven Lacher < firstname.lastname@example.org >
About a month or so after I got my cryonics alert bracelet, I was driving to work and was struck by this overwhelming revelation, almost an epiphany. (I know, another religious term from an atheist!)
Here's what the revelation was: So many things crappy little bad things happen to you in the space of a given day - you get stuck in traffic, you stub your toe in the dark looking for your shoes, your boss says something callous to you, etc. etc. etc. And you could get annoyed, depressed, troubled by these things.
But there's this one fact, this one overwhelming thing, which mitigates just about anything which is negative in your life. The fact is: LIFE is GOOD. Being alive, able to feel sunlight on your face, smell honeysuckle on a warm breeze, hear babies laughing, or birds singing - all these things are beautifully magnificent, beyond measure.
The sheer pleasure of being a living thing cancels out any petty grievances which can bog you down.
I find this especially true as a cryonicist. I have no faith in anything, but I don't need to seek comfort or explanations for the bad things that happen to me or anyone else in this world. To me, the ability to just BE, and to experience sensation is joyous. Being alive feels good! I don't need any outside agency or entity to affirm that.
I'll admit, sometimes it's an idea and an ideal I forget. I let my job concerns or other little life troubles sometimes weigh me down. But then I'll just suddenly remember how great it is just to exist, and all those feelings just vanish.
Now lots of people have asked me, "What happens when you get revived after your suspension, and..... ... all your friends/family are dead? ... the world's totally different from what you know? .... you have to start over from scratch, financially, in your career, etc.?"
My answer to all these things is that it doesn't matter - I'll be ALIVE! Given the choice between alive and not, it's an easy binary. I can make new friends, love new people, and everything else is just marginal. And hey, I'll know all of you folks, right?
Thanks for reading, and long life!
--Steven Lacher, Alcor member A-1865
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