ISSN 0964-5659

LONGEVITY REPORT 97

The Newsletter of Longevity Books, West Towan House, Porthtowan, Truro, Cornwall TR4 8AX

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Local Help Robert Ettinger
Libertarianism, Cryonics, Religion Mike Perry
Survival Instinct - Extinct Robert Ettinger
Ideas That Don't Work Charles Platt
Fly Longevity Experiments 111 to 128 Douglas Skrecky
Comparing Vanilla Sky and Abre Los Ojos Mike O'Neal
Millionaires Charles Platt
As Others See us John Ballam and Hayley Riches
A Cure for Everything? Robert Ettinger
A World Transformed Beyond Recognition Kurt Kimo

Volume 17 no 97. First published March 2004. ISSN 0964-5659.

Local Help

by Robert Ettinger Ettinger@aol.com

Here is a bit about The Cryonics Institute (CI) and local help for members at a distance, where at least some people seem to have persistent misunderstandings.

First, there is no simple, quick, convenient, turn-key, one-size-fits-all system for your arrangements. The basic CI contract says that our responsibility begins when the patient is delivered to us, and this is the understanding for the minimum suspension fee of $28,000. Naturally, members at a distance will also need local help and transportation, and this must be arranged and funded. There are various options, depending on location and circumstances, and somebody has to figure it out and put it in place. In particular, the duties of the local mortician and any possible local volunteers must be spelled out and preparations made, including training and equipment as indicated.

It is more convenient for the member if the local and transport costs can be included in the suspension fee guaranteed to CI, typically through life insurance, so we offer a Local Help Rider along with the Cryonic Suspension Agreement for those who want it. CI then pays the local mortician when the patient has been shipped, according to the terms of the Rider.

The duties assumed by the local mortician, and the price, will vary and require negotiation, perhaps among several parties--the member, CI, perhaps other members in the vicinity, perhaps local volunteers, possibly other cryonics organizations, and the mortician. Finding a willing mortician close enough is usually not difficult, but may take some time.

The whole process will take time and demand attention from our staff, which costs money. Therefore we cannot--as many prospective members would like--get everything neatly lined up to the prospective member's satisfaction before he joins. He must join first, and then we will work with the member and do our best, within our resources and as promptly as feasible, to get all the arrangements in place. If at any point the member is dissatisfied, he can always cancel the contract, if he has one, but cannot recover his membership fee (or dues in the case of an Option Two member).

How local volunteers fit in is highly variable. In England there is a well organized and equipped and trained volunteer group, centered on the initiative of Alan Sinclair (now on the CI Board of Directors) and others. But even this group--let alone others much weaker--cannot represent themselves as agents of CI, for obvious reasons of legal liability. Any involvement of volunteers must be informal from the point of view of CI. The members who plan to use the group, and the group itself, must see to their own legal protection and make their own judgments as to what is useful and safe. In particular, care must be taken not to get crossed wires between the volunteers and the local mortician.

Members and prospective members must avoid the "us-them" attitude, that "we" (the members) are customers and "they" (CI) are vendors. CI is not a business in the usual sense, and its members are not customers in the usual sense. Obviously this is one of the reasons for the slow growth of cryonics--that it isn't easy, simple, or cheap. We are trying to make it easier, and in some respects simpler, and at least relatively cheaper, but it won't happen overnight. There is no free lunch. Unless you are rich enough to hire people to do the scut work for you, you will have to put up with inconveniences and tiresome chores.

But you are dealing with chores and inconveniences every day anyway on many levels. At a minimum, you have to run a household with its constant problems and maintenance--it's just the cost of living. With cryonics, you have a chance for a whale of a lot more living with only a moderate dose of inconvenience.


Libertarianism, Cryonics, Religion

by Mike Perry < mike@alcor.org >

Recent exchanges on libertarianism inspired the following, with an additional boost from some remarks on religion. I begin with some issues that seemed to call for further, brief comment, then move on to tie in libertarianism with cryonics and immortalism (albeit in a somewhat limited way). Finally I address the subject of religion, with some thoughts on why a scientific version may be both feasible and desirable at this point, and some tentative suggestions of how I intend to proceed with such a project.

The point seems well-established that no libertarian system has been tried and shown itself able to stand on its own and out-compete alternatives. I argued that the failure of libertarianism to take firmer hold has deep roots in human nature, including the fact that people exist, in some measure, to perpetuate their genes rather than being motivated by more rational self-interest. (It's the genes, we could say, that motivate their hosts to do what is "rational" from the genes' point of view.) Some think of the system in place in the days of the Founding Fathers as much closer to a libertarian system than today's U.S. governmental apparatus and in certain important ways they are right, particularly as regards the federal government-though it was still not fully libertarian. They see the historical trend, though, if I understand it right, as being one of a steady erosion of individual freedoms and usurpation of authority, which may culminate in a complete totalitarian system. The federal government, it is true, has tremendously increased its powers and control over the past two centuries, and this may seem to reflect an unstoppable trend toward full totalitarianism. But I think that, if you consider the system as a whole, which means government on all its levels, there are strong countervailing tendencies. In 1790, for instance, women couldn't vote and blacks could be owned as property. These things were not mandated in the Constitution but were not forbidden either, and did exist as an accepted part of the total system.

As our history unfolded, people demanded the abolition of slavery and the enfranchisement of women, and these reforms took place. In some other ways you can see progressive reforms, such as the elimination of "blue" laws against working on religious holidays, outlawing of racial segregation, and the recent Supreme Court decision banning laws against private sexual acts between consenting adults. Other reforms are possible too, of course, depending on what the people feel is right and proper and try to see enacted via their power to vote. (And we have seen reforms in some other countries too, most notably in the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Europe and its ongoing accommodations with capitalism elsewhere.) This brings us to the present.

Today we have better opportunities for both good and bad than ever before. The bad possibilities should not be overlooked, but here I will focus on the good ones, from an immortalist perspective. Mainly, we could transform society into something that has never existed, and which bears comparison with some of the religious concepts of heaven. We could eliminate diseases and aging as well as poverty and even stupidity and the need for employment as we now understand it (working at a job you would not choose if independently wealthy).

Reforms on this level, though, would require, among other things, modifying the basic human organism. Some fearful pessimists realize this could really happen and is perhaps even starting already. They would impose legislative measures to bring it to a stop before it goes very far. Their fear of the possible down-sides exceeds any appreciation of the possible benefits. It seems that they would recognize the present human species as a kind of "person" in its own right, and an entity with a right to exist surpassing that of the individuals who now comprise that very species but who might voluntarily abandon it under foreseeable circumstances. So they would impose restrictions on an individual's right to choose, for instance, a treatment to eliminate aging, and the physical means to otherwise improve one's body and/or mind, were such to be developed. They fear that allowing this sort of thing would result in something other than homo sapiens populating the planet after a period of time. Cryonics has attracted some, if limited, notice from this group too. Predictably there has been some negative reaction, and we can expect more, since cryonics could serve as a stepping stone to an existence other than human, and in any case is offensive in its intended purpose of permitting an escape from the normal attrition of aging. (So far I think cryonics is mostly dismissed on grounds that it has no serious chance of working anyway, but that could change if there were more appreciation of the scientific case for cryonics, particularly with some new preservation protocols.)

The fears of these people, I think, are well founded-the possibilities really do threaten the biological homo sapiens. The threat exists through the free, voluntary choices of individuals who could decide to opt out of what they would perceive as a biological strait-jacket. As immortalists, of course, we demand the right to choose, should the option present itself. Ultimately, that body of ours must be found wanting, if for no other reason, because it is running down and in time will run no more, unless something is done. We are not concerned about the "needs of the species" if said needs require our physical sacrifice. Some powerful guarantees of our freedom of choice would thus be in order. It is unfortunate that such libertarian thinking as Mill's principle was not firmly embedded in our legal framework; it would serve us well. All is not lost, though; as one ray of hope, the Declaration of Independence (not a part of U.S. law but still widely respected) recognizes the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You could use it to justify a person's right to choose to have his aging process reversed, with extension to other improvements. If such procedures were available there should be widespread support, which should be helped by this historic precedent. (I also think the respect for freedom to date in the U.S., even if it stops short of full libertarianism, has helped keep cryonics legal, given that the public is not particularly interested in it and is even somewhat repelled.) So the ayes would probably outshout the background noises of any holdout luddites. But now we have to confront the fact that the proven procedures are not in place, and the nay-sayers are making their bid to try to forestall the very possibility.

Ironically, they could win, and the consequence could be the destruction of the very species they are trying to save - or perhaps the lesser calamity of a new and lengthy, technophobic dark age. Such could be the outcome if we don't achieve liberation from our present human form, as a consequence of the resulting stagnation and frustration. Imagine a steady-state homo sapiens culture, with individuals dying as usual and new ones being born who would have to relearn everything from square zero to keep the system going. Life would become more or less a zero-sum game (as it was until relatively recent times), with a constant struggle between haves and have-nots. It could, among other things, make a good breeding ground for terrorists of many different stripes and gripes, some of them, it may be presumed, having considerable brilliance along with the traditional fanatical hatred. Sooner or later, one misguided group or lone individual could wreak horrible damage, if some rogue nation didn't do it first. But along with that would surely be a scientific, constructivist underground which would be trying to topple the system in a very different and more hopeful way, that is to say, provide the means for individuals to escape the dreary birth-death cycle and become something more than human.

I doubt if matters will come to the point of a worldwide ban on good science, however. If it did come to that in the West, national rivalries in other parts of the world, Asia, and yes, the Middle East too, would kick in, and you'd see more of the good progress happening there. Our backward bailiwick might then sense it was being left in the dust, undo its repressive policies, and get moving again. In any case, the prospects for the biological homo sapiens don't look good, and we aren't likely to see the steady state for very long, if at all. We should be grateful that at least one of the alternatives, the path to something higher, is both possible and gaining support.

We wonder what we can and should be doing to further the good alternative, and particularly, make it happen for us. Cryonics is an obvious choice -- the life-extending technologies are not here yet, and this offers our best chance of persisting physically until they will be. Beyond that, we can talk and otherwise communicate about our choice of cryonics, and try to support the important work with our resources allocated as seems fit. I will not deal with this difficult subject in any generality here. But I will mention one approach that is sometimes suggested and other times cautioned against: religion. Religion has been a powerful force in human society up to now, and in particular has served to legitimize and honor the deep wish felt by humans through the ages to be something more than human. True, traditional religions have proposed and promised means of achieving this that are not exactly the scientific and technological approach we transhumanists are now advocating. But we can make the point that here the end really is more important than the means, then try for something more: to meet the religionists on something approaching their own turf.

To do this, we have to think of religion in a different way from those who dismiss it as "fantasies about spirits" or insist it must involve belief in the supernatural. If you think instead of religion as a process of attempting to meaningfully engage with what is of transcendent or ultimate significance, the possibility of a rational, scientific religion gains plausibility, at least if we can centre our attention on what is, in fact, of truly deep, beyond-human-level significance. But of course this is just what we immortalists are doing with our attempts to overcome death scientifically, something we know must become a never-ending quest and take us to rather distant reaches of knowable reality if it is to continue. Something along the lines of an immortalist religion has been attempted with Venturism, http://www.venturist.org but I sense the need for something deeper. This I think would fit within the Venturist umbrella - and that's what Venturism is, an umbrella movement within which other cryonics-endorsing movements could find shelter without being in total agreement. What I am proposing, though, would not be an umbrella movement, but a religious enterprise with more specific content - it would, of course, not be acceptable to everyone who may find the "umbrella" congenial, an inevitable tradeoff.

Tentatively, I propose to name the new movement Aionism after the Greek _aion_, "eternal." It is to be based on my book, Forever for All , but to more directly address the special concerns of religion, and itself be called and considered a religion. Aionism would posit no supernatural entity or presence, but would recognize an Ordering Principle or Way of Things, which is manifest in everything from mathematics to the world of our experience. A kind of Dao, then - and Aionism would be a scientific Daoism. It would provide a rather generous eschatology for humans - and other sentient beings too - eventual resurrection in some meaningful form, and eternal happiness, but no guarantee that the path thereto will be smooth or swift - which means that one's choices and behavior will definitely make a difference. (In particular, choosing cryonics will arguably "smooth the path," a subject explored in the book. More generally, though, Aionism would advocate the highest moral standards and consideration for all that is right and good, insofar as these things can be ascertained.) The path of one's existence, though, has special significance, progress and growth in an appropriate sense being important, with no final state ever being reached.

Well, I said this will not be for everyone, but we can ask if such a project would help our cause overall more than hurt. I think it would, even though it could inspire a backlash from traditional religionists who might be especially offended by it. But they in turn have to live with each other who have different persuasions. And a movement that truly advocates what is right and good, as Aionism is to be, must inspire some favorable response from the many in traditional religions who also favor these things. So my guess would be that with proper presentation Aionism would be accepted at least as another kind of religion, again, a variant of Daoism, with special emphasis on science on one hand, and individual salvation and immortality on the other, which implies that each individual is something rather special. I think it could, in particular, serve as a means of clarifying and legitimizing in some skeptical minds what it is we really want with our "tampering with nature." For we are seeking the loftiest and noblest goals imaginable, and yet they are things humans have long dreamed of and sought after. It's just that we think we've found a new and better way to approach these goals, one that is more rooted in the reality that scientific evidence reveals.

Looked at from the Aionist perspective, then, the human race is a great start but not an end-in-itself or final goal. It must be nurtured carefully, like a growing child, not stunted, to find a proper destiny beyond its present level.


Survival Instinct - Extinct

by Robert Ettinger < ettinger@aol.com >

Some still wonder why cryonics is a hard sell, but the answer has been obvious for a long time. The so-called "survival instinct" just doesn't exist any more, for most people most of the time, in the circumstances of modern life. This was reiterated in today's posts by Mark Plus regarding an interview with Brian Alexander, reinforcing what I have said before concerning many others, including Isaac Asimov, Fred Pohl, and Arthur Clarke.

Almost anyone will exert himself to dodge a taxi or a tiger, but if the danger is not clear and present, then, for most people most of the time, it just isn't a major concern. And in today's world, clear and present dangers are rare. Very few people die of murder, or even war or terrorism. Auto and industrial accidents kill scores of thousands in the US every year, but the threat is merely statistical and shrugged off. Health concerns are taken somewhat seriously by many, but it took decades to make a dent in smoking practices. Even eating habits are affected mostly by the fear of looking unattractive, not by fear of death. And for the sick and elderly, the prospect of death is not especially fearsome, and may even be welcome.

People mentioned in the Alexander interview were FOR life extension, and did NOT think cryonics necessarily a very long shot--but STILL rejected it. The motivation just isn't there for most people. The bio-research life-extenders are not motivated by fear of death or even love of life, but just by an intellectual toy and career possibilities.

Conclusion? Forget about "marketing" or magic bullets. There will be a psychological sea change at some point, but we can't predict it or jump-start it, and we should not waste time or energy or money on over-ambitious public relations projects.

There is still a great deal we can do. We can keep on doing what we have done, with incremental improvements in all aspects of our operations. We can work patiently among our own families and circles of friends. The main thing is to do your best to save yourself and those close to you.


Ideas That Don't Work

by Charles Platt <other@platt.us>

Every so often, someone suggests that we should approach millionaires for sponsorship for cryonics projects. A little study of cryonics history might be helpful.

Bob Ettinger tried to find support for The Prospect of Immortality by doing a mailing to names chosen from Who's Who in America. This was - what, fifty years ago? The response was not encouraging. Of course this could be tried again, and it's a task that one person could certainly tackle on his own.

Don Laughlin, founder of the town of Laughlin, Nevada, is an Alcor member and has made no secret of this. He is said to be worth about half-a-billion dollars. I have seen various attempts to get him to donate or invest in cryonics- related initiatives, and I think $10,000 was the most he ever contributed. And he believes in cryonics.

I was at an alternate-energy conference several years ago where a lot of highly speculative proposals were discussed, i.e. wacky ideas that almost certainly wouldn't work. I spoke to a man who was coordinating investment in research, using funds from a consortium of investors that he had set up. When I described the need for investing in cryonics-related research, he was dismissive. "It's much too far fetched," he said. "I could never raise any capital for that."

Ask Saul Kent some time about the lack of response for investing in anti-aging research that looks as if it has an excellent chance of working.

Again and again I see participants in CryoNet urging other people to do what seems obvious. For reasons that I can never understand, no one pauses to think that if it seems obvious, someone else has probably tried it.

In 1992, CryoCare Foundation tried to obtain tax-exempt status as a cemetery organization (not a cemetery; a cemetery association). Since CryoCare was merely an administrative organization, it would not have incurred any regulatory burden restricting the treatments applied to patients. Courtney Smith pursued this through the accounting company Ernst and Young. Ultimately he received a hearing in the office of an IRS official in Washington DC. The appeal was turned down because the IRS official said that CryoCare was working on the basis that its patients were not really dead and could be resuscitated one day. Therefore it could not be a cemetery association. Did this mean that the IRS was endorsing the feasibility of cryonics? The IRS official chose not to address that question. He turned down the appeal anyway.

All of this information--and many other accounts of initiatives that didn't work--are available online for anyone willing to go looking. Of course this requires a little bit more initiative than making CryoNet posts that tell other people what they should do, because it's all so obvious.


Fly Longevity Experiments 111 to 128

By Doug Skrecky <oberon@vcn.bc.ca>

This is the 111th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.8 C during this run.
Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 74 days. Control maximum survival was rather poor this time at only 45 days. It was 51 days for the last run. Of the raw produce extracts, head lettuce, and acorn squash appeared to be particularly beneficial. At 68 days the maximum survival for head lettuce was only 8% less than the estimated maximal longevity under "pathogen free" laboratory conditions. Since I began recording temperatures, none of the maximum survivals in any of my experiments has ever exceeded the estimated maximal longevity for the Oregon-R substrain of drosophila melanogaster.

Run #111

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

9 14 20 25 30 35 40 45 51 57 62 68 74
control one 82 62 48 40 32 20 8 0 - - - - -
control two 66 62 41 31 28 17 10 7 0 - - - -
lettuce, head 8% 83 76 76 71 55 45 36 21 10 10 5 0 -
lettuce, head 33% 87 87 73 60 53 40 29 22 11 4 4 2 0
radish, leaf 8% 71 61 50 42 29 8 8 3 0 - - - -
radish, leaf 33% 85 76 63 51 49 37 17 17 10 7 5 0 -
radish, root 8% 75 52 40 19 15 15 10 8 4 0 - - -
radish, root 33% 78 76 71 67 56 42 31 18 7 4 4 0 -
squash, acorn 8% 72 72 66 55 49 40 28 17 13 6 6 0 -
squash, acorn 33% 71 71 63 60 54 46 34 26 17 11 6 0 -
squash, spaghetti 8% 69 69 56 56 50 38 31 28 13 3 3 0 -
squash, spaghetti 33% 69 65 58 54 42 27 27 12 8 0 - - -

This is the 112th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.8 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 74 days. Here I retest some previous items. Beet, canned coffee/milk, and spinach all improved survival in earlier experiments. Both the coffee, and milk components of coffee/milk are examined separately as well. Since all flies are stored in the dark, I also check to see if a vitamin D deficiency may be influencing survival. Neither beet nor spinach increased survival this time, so the previous results must have been due to chance. No benefit was seen for vitamin D, but 10% skim milk may have been helpful. Coffee by itself, and to a lesser degree coffee/milk appeared to offer a survival advantage early in the experiment.

Run #112

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

4 9 15 20 25 30 35 40 46 52 57 63 69
control one 98 91 82 70 57 43 30 23 11 2 2 2 0
control two 100 83 83 61 44 22 11 11 6 0 - - -
beet 50% 96 92 88 79 63 58 21 17 4 0 - - -
coffee tsp 100 89 89 89 85 81 41 22 15 0 - - -
coffee/milk 100 91 87 83 70 48 39 22 13 0 - - -
skim milk 10% 96 100 96 88 72 56 40 36 20 8 0 - -
skim milk 20% 97 93 90 73 57 40 30 7 3 0 - - -
skim milk 100% 100 95 90 75 60 35 10 0 - - - - -
spinach 13% 100 92 83 75 50 33 25 21 13 8 0 - -
spinach 50% 100 100 87 87 73 53 20 7 0 - - - -
vitamin D 25 IU 100 94 77 59 35 35 24 12 6 0 - - -
vitamin D 100 IU 100 100 84 79 74 63 26 11 5 0 - - -

This is the 113th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.8 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 74 days. Here I continue examining raw produce extracts, and also recheck the previously detected benefit of carob. At just 36 days, maximum control survival here compares very poorly with the 63 days from the last run. I suspect the breeding bottle used to provide flies for this run, may have been heavily infected with some pathogen(s). Cantalope and honeydew melon appeared to offer some protection. A benefit from carob was evident at the 1 teaspoon dose. Carob is currently being retested again in run #124.

Run #113

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

5 10 15 20 25 30 36 42 47 53 59 64 69
control one 96 77 64 55 9 5 5 0 - - - - -
control two 92 77 58 50 15 12 8 0 - - - - -
carob tsp 100 84 68 55 42 32 8 0 - - - - -
carob 1 tsp 97 70 67 55 46 36 36 30 24 15 6 3 0
cantaloupe 8% 97 75 47 47 39 19 19 14 3 0 - - -
cantaloupe 33% 97 91 83 71 54 49 29 17 11 9 6 0 -
honeydew melon 8% 92 68 60 53 34 23 19 11 9 4 2 0 -
honeydew melon 33% 91 83 77 69 51 37 23 20 17 6 0 - -
rubarb, frozen 8% 86 46 43 29 14 11 11 4 0 - - - -
rubarb, frozen 33% 86 35 28 14 14 10 3 3 0 - - - -
watermelon 8% 82 52 49 42 39 27 9 6 3 3 0 - -
watermelon 33% 86 75 57 39 18 7 0 - - - - - -

On the next page is the 114th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.9 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 73 days. Of the raw produce extracts examined this time, avocado proved to toxic. This was expected since avocado has a high fat content, and flies are known to be adversely affected by dietary fat. High dose red tomato appeared to be slightly beneficial, but this result may have been due to chance.

Run #114

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

4 9 14 19 24 29 35 41 46 52 58 63
control one 98 90 86 81 79 58 42 28 11 0 - -
control two 98 91 82 78 67 58 40 29 13 6 0 -
avocado 5% 96 63 41 33 28 20 13 7 2 0 - -
avocado 20% 98 69 41 35 20 20 10 0 - - - -
papaya 8% 100 90 77 73 44 25 19 10 4 2 0 -
papaya 33% 98 85 75 71 51 34 15 2 0 - - -
tomato,green8% 96 76 72 70 65 57 35 9 4 4 2 0
tomato, green 33% 94 81 81 74 74 52 26 7 0 - - -
tomato, red 8% 97 75 69 67 50 33 17 6 3 0 - -
tomato, red 33% 100 95 92 92 84 76 65 35 24 5 0 -

This is the 115th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.4 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 79 days. In this lot of raw produce testing, high dose leek bulb proved to be toxic. I had high hopes for persimmon, but these were dashed by indifferent results.

Run #115

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

4 9 14 19 24 30 36 41 47 53 58 63 69 75
control one 100 92 90 87 74 61 45 18 11 5 3 0 - -
control two 100 81 69 69 56 56 38 13 6 0 - - - -
bean sprouts 8% 97 92 76 68 49 32 22 16 11 5 0 - - -
bean sprouts 33% 97 90 69 69 62 55 38 31 24 7 3 3 0 -
leek bulb 8% 100 82 82 77 50 32 23 18 5 0 - - - -
leek bulb 33% 68 5 0 - - - - - - - - - - -
leek leaves 8% 100 96 85 81 77 58 46 35 23 8 8 8 4 0
leek leaves 33% 96 88 76 68 64 40 32 24 12 4 4 0 - -
mushroom, Portabello 8% 97 87 77 63 57 47 40 37 23 17 7 3 0 -
mushroom, Portabello 26% 100 88 84 80 68 64 56 20 4 0 - - - -
persimmon 8% 94 94 89 67 56 44 28 17 6 0 - - - -
persimmon 33% 100 100 90 84 53 26 16 11 11 0 - - - -

This is the 116th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.7 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 75 days. The most outstanding result this time was the extreme toxicity of raw garlic, and mandarin peel. I'd earlier tried Kyolic garlic extract, and found this to be slightly beneficial. However raw garlic appears to be an effective pesticide. Of the other extracts, red onion appeared to be slightly beneficial.

Run #116

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

4 9 14 19 25 31 36 42 48 53 58
control one 96 77 55 55 46 23 14 9 5 0 -
control two 100 75 58 58 29 21 13 13 8 4 0
garlic 8% 0 - - - - - - - - - -
garlic 33% 0 - - - - - - - - - -
mandarin, peel 5% 0 - - - - - - - - - -
mandarin, peel 20% 0 - - - - - - - - - -
mandarin, pulp 8% 96 74 63 52 41 26 11 11 4 0 -
mandarin, pulp 33% 92 92 58 54 39 27 0 - - - -
onion, red 8% 91 86 91 71 52 33 29 24 19 0 -
onion, red 33% 90 84 74 58 58 42 32 16 11 5 0
onion, white 8% 95 90 90 70 60 25 5 0 - - -
onion, white 33% 94 65 65 53 35 24 24 6 0 - -
onion, yellow 8% 92 80 64 56 52 48 20 8 8 8 0
onion, yellow 33% 86 82 73 68 55 36 18 0 - - -

This is the 118th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 25.0 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 83 days. Banana pulp appeared to offer an advantage during the first 2 weeks of this experiment. If this result is not due to chance, then there may exist an unstable protective ingredient in bananas. Run #119 will further investigate this possibility.

Run #118

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

4 9 15 21 26 32 38 43 48 54 60
control one 82 64 56 49 44 31 26 15 15 5 0
control two 91 72 56 34 22 9 6 0 - - -
banana, peel 8% 91 61 52 48 30 26 17 13 4 0 -
banana, peel 33% 72 39 39 11 11 6 0 - - - -
banana, pulp 8% 100 86 71 43 14 5 0 - - - -
banana, pulp 33% 100 90 80 35 35 10 0 - - - -
lettuce, green leaf 8% 84 68 52 48 32 20 0 - - - -
lettuce, green leaf 33% 92 62 54 54 31 15 0 - - - -
lettuce, red leaf 8% 73 68 59 50 23 9 5 0 - - -
lettuce, red leaf 33% 79 54 54 46 39 25 4 4 4 0 -
nectarine 8% 94 65 65 65 47 18 12 0 - - -
nectarine 33% 95 84 63 53 47 37 21 16 0 - -

This is the 119th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 23.9 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 95 days.

Yellow banana pulp once again offered substantial protection during the first two weeks of the experiment. Ripe banana failed to acheive this, and cooked banana offered a lesser degree of protection. The active ingrediant(s) are apparently unstable, and maximal longevity was reduced at high 20% doses of banana. Dragonfruit rind also offered some transient benefit.

Since fly food is never changed after an experiment is initiated, unstable protectants can not offer long-term protection, due to this experimental limitation.

Run #119

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

9 14 20 26 31 36 42 48 54 60 67 72 77
control one 92 75 67 63 50 46 29 25 25 17 13 0 -
contol two 91 66 63 28 9 9 9 3 0 - - - -
banana, yellow 8% 94 94 88 74 38 29 12 6 3 3 0 - -
banana, yellow 20% 100 100 84 44 36 16 16 8 0 - - - -
banana, cooked 8% 90 84 84 61 45 32 10 10 3 0 - - -
banana, cooked 20% 79 71 50 35 18 9 6 3 0 - - - -
banana, red, ripe 8% 94 74 65 39 36 19 13 10 3 3 3 3 0
banana, red ,ripe 20% 88 77 44 21 3 0 - - - - - - -
dragonfruit, pulp 8% 93 79 68 54 32 14 14 4 0 - - - -
dragonfruit, pulp 20% 87 70 53 37 30 13 13 3 3 3 3 3 0
dragonfruit, rind 8% 95 92 84 73 46 19 16 5 3 3 0 - -
dragonfruit, rind 20% 97 94 77 41 24 18 12 9 3 0 - - -
figs 5% 90 86 83 69 52 38 31 21 17 7 0 - -
figs 12% 81 77 73 69 50 27 15 8 0 - - - -

This is the 120th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 23.5 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 100 days.

In this run, cooked beans were blended with the water, which was added to the fly food. It appeared that the flies did not care for these beans.

Run #120

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

5 10 16 22 27 32 38 44 50 56 63 68 73 78
control one 100 90 75 75 65 55 40 20 20 15 0 - - -
control two 90 84 76 71 68 55 42 32 24 16 5 3 0 -
aduki beans 8% 92 72 68 45 43 38 28 19 9 6 2 0 - -
aduki beans 33% 96 87 83 65 57 22 9 9 4 0 - - - -
black beans 8% 98 69 69 57 43 31 14 10 8 8 2 2 0 -
black beans 33% 100 91 89 80 52 39 21 5 0 - - - - -
garbanzo beans 8% 92 76 70 60 38 32 27 14 3 0 - - - -
garbanzo beans 33% 83 77 77 59 41 29 18 12 6 0 - - - -
kidney beans 8% 100 75 63 46 42 33 29 25 13 13 0 - - -
kidney beans 33% 88 88 81 66 53 38 22 19 9 6 6 6 3 0
pinto beans 8% 95 80 74 62 49 41 31 18 10 3 3 0 - -
pinto beans 33% 91 88 82 56 47 32 12 6 6 3 0 - - -

This is the 121st update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.7 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 108 days.

Here an interesting supplement called theanine has its effect on longevity tested for the first time. This run also continues testing various cooked beans.

Theanine is believed to be the major immune stimulating agent in tea. I was hoping for some modest increase in average lifespan. This expectation appeared to be fulfilled in the present experiment. No evidence for a dose/response was found, so it appears small doses are maximally effective. Although there was some increase in maximal longevity from the control's 61 days to 88 days, this was still much lower than the estimated maximum longevity of 108 days.

Of the beans, some interesting results were found with the 8% white kidney bean bottle. This result will have to replicated before a chance finding can be ruled out. No benefit had earlier been found for red kidney beans.

Run #121

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

9 15 20 25 31 37 43 49 56 61 66 71 76 82 88 97
control one 87 78 78 74 57 57 49 35 22 13 0 - - - - -
control two 92 76 72 68 64 44 36 24 8 4 0 - - - - -
broad beans 8% 96 85 85 78 67 48 33 33 19 15 4 0 - - - -
broad beans 33% 80 67 67 67 40 33 20 20 7 0 - - - - - -
kidney, white 8% 100 100 100 100 86 69 35 31 14 17 14 10 7 3 3 0
kidney, white 33% 100 88 88 82 77 53 18 6 0 - - - - - - -
lupini beans 8% 94 73 73 67 58 52 30 15 9 3 3 0 - - - -
lupini beans 33% 79 50 42 29 8 0 - - - - - - - - - -
romano beans 8% 88 82 77 59 47 32 15 12 3 0 - - - - - -
romano beans 33% 96 91 78 78 70 52 30 26 9 9 0 - - - - -
theanine 50 mg 97 89 83 81 72 58 53 42 30 28 6 3 3 0 - -
theanine 100 mg 100 98 84 79 70 63 51 49 30 26 19 14 7 7 0 -
theanine 200 mg 91 88 84 81 69 59 47 31 22 19 9 6 3 3 0 -
theanine 400 mg 93 89 79 79 61 57 57 43 36 18 11 11 4 4 4 0

This is the 122nd update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.7 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 108 days. No raw vegetable tested this time offered any clear benefit.

Run #122

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

9 14 19 25 31 37 43 49 56 61 66 71 76 82
control one 93 93 89 78 74 59 41 33 22 11 4 4 0 -
control two 88 78 72 66 66 44 41 38 25 22 19 6 3 0
lettuce, butter 8% 90 90 80 67 57 33 23 17 17 10 7 0 - -
lettuce, butter 33% 97 78 78 72 64 53 44 25 14 11 8 3 3 0
lettuce, romaine 8% 96 93 89 78 70 52 52 30 26 4 0 - - -
lettuce, romaine 33% 97 91 91 79 70 52 46 30 21 6 0 - - -
onions, green 8% 90 90 80 60 45 40 35 30 20 5 5 5 0 -
onions, green 33% 90 80 75 80 70 50 40 30 20 10 10 5 5 0
squash, buttercup 8% 93 79 71 61 54 46 32 14 7 4 0 - - -
squash, buttercup 33% 92 83 75 58 29 21 13 4 0 - - - - -

This is the 123rd update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 22.1 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 116 days.

In run #121 white kidney bean appeared to offer some benefit during the first few weeks of that experiment. This could have been a chance finding. However the present experiment indicates that it was probably a real, though transient beneficial effect of white kidney beans. Red kidney beans offered no benefit in run #120.

In an as yet unpublished experiment, Tatar indicates that resveratrol can increase maximum lifespan in drosophila. I had earlier tried resveratrol myself, with null results. Since resveratrol is a very unstable molecule, perhaps this result could have been expected. By contrast, the resveratrol in dried peanuts is known to remain stable for years. Some rather hydrophobic peanut skin was mixed in with wet fly food, to further test resveratrol.

As expected, resveratrol itself was inactive. Although the highest dosage of peanut skin did increase maximum lifespan from 71 to 98 days, this is still less than the estimated maximal longevity of 116 days. Possibly higher dosages of peanut skin might prove to be more beneficial, particularly if it was first reduced to a fine powder. High doses of peanut skin are being tested in run #132 to settle this matter.

Run #123

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

9 14 20 26 32 38 45 50 55 60 65 71 77 86 98 109
control one 80 80 80 75 75 60 40 40 20 15 15 0 - - - -
control two 91 91 86 76 62 48 48 43 19 14 10 5 0 - - -
kidney, white 8% 100 100 67 67 44 39 28 28 6 6 6 6 6 0 - -
kidney, white 33% 95 95 86 67 48 38 24 19 19 19 10 0 - - - -
peanut skin 1/4 tsp 98 73 63 58 50 40 28 15 8 5 3 3 3 0 - -
peanut skin tsp 89 80 72 63 61 46 41 35 26 11 2 2 0 - - -
peanut skin 1 tsp 97 76 61 61 47 37 32 29 18 13 8 3 3 0 - -
peanut skin 2 tsp 95 79 64 52 50 43 43 36 31 26 24 19 10 2 2 0
resveratrol 100 mg 80 72 72 76 44 44 28 24 16 12 8 4 4 0 - -
resveratrol 200 mg 94 87 84 77 74 58 39 16 13 10 3 0 - - - -
resveratrol 400 mg 79 66 59 59 48 35 14 14 14 10 10 7 3 0 - -
resveratrol 800 mg 80 64 56 44 44 28 12 12 12 8 4 0 - - - -

This the 124th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.5 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 122 days. Here I retest carob, and also give cocoa, and black grapes a try. Rooibos tea has been a disappointment in the past, but here I try the rooibos chips themselves, rather than just the hot water extract. Once again carob offered a modest benefit, while cocoa turned out to be inactive. Resveratrol rich grape peel offered nothing, while the pulp was slightly useful, possibly by providing a little additional acid. Rooibos was again a disappointment.

By chance one fly in the low dose grape pulp, and one in the rooibos 1/2 tsp bottle lived to an impressive 115 days, which is quite close to the estimated maximal longevity of 122 days. In all of my previous experiments only one fly fed some pomegranate paste in run #87 lived longer - 124 days. However the average temperature was only 20.0 C for that run, and estimated maximal longevity would then be calculated as 139 days.

Maximal longevity in drosophila has been determined to be controlled by temperature dependant motor neuron degeneration. If my experiments do turn up anything that could block this degeneration, then this might be of value to humans, who suffer from Huntington's disease. If similar increases in maximal longevity were subsequently to be found in other short-lived animal species, then this might then be of some interest to gerontologists, as well as life-extensionists.

Run #124 Percent Survival on Day
supplement 30 37 42 47 52 57 63 69 78 90 101 110 115 122
control one 76 66 62 38 31 24 17 14 7 0 - - - -
control two 66 63 46 34 34 24 22 17 7 0 - - - -
cocoa 1 tsp 63 56 50 44 25 19 13 6 6 0 - - - -
cocoa 2 tsp 74 70 48 39 39 22 22 9 9 4 0 - - -
carob 1 tsp 72 62 62 55 52 55 45 28 24 10 0 - - -
carob 2 tsp 85 65 62 54 35 31 31 19 8 8 0 - - -
grape,blk,peel 1/4 tsp 91 76 61 52 39 36 30 18 9 6 0 - - -
grape,blk,peel tsp 79 58 55 37 34 26 13 0 - - - - - -
grape,blk,peel 1 tsp 78 70 67 48 19 19 4 4 0 - - - - -
grape,blk,peel 2 tsp 65 52 35 52 35 26 17 9 4 0 - - - -
grape,black,pulp 8% 80 69 57 49 37 34 26 17 11 9 3 3 3 0
grape,black,pulp 33% 87 77 63 57 50 40 33 30 13 7 0 - - -
rooibos chips 1/4 tsp 65 65 44 38 27 24 21 18 3 3 0 - - -
rooibos chips tsp 67 58 50 42 38 29 29 21 13 8 4 4 4 0
rooibos chips 1 tsp 61 26 26 26 26 13 13 4 0 - - - - -
rooibos chips 2 tsp 72 72 59 55 55 31 28 17 0 - - - - -

This is the 125th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.6 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 121 days. Here I test various cooked beans again, but with negative results.

Run #125

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

10 16 22 28 35 40 45 50 55 61 67 76 88 99
control one 100 85 75 65 65 55 40 35 30 20 20 15 5 0
control two 95 95 95 91 76 71 52 43 43 14 10 5 5 0
calypso beans 5% 100 95 90 68 53 42 32 5 5 5 0 - - -
calypso beans 20% 88 81 63 63 50 38 25 13 0 - - - - -
channa beans 5% 100 100 100 83 83 75 75 58 33 17 0 - - -
channa beans 20% 94 94 81 63 56 25 25 13 13 6 6 0 - -
cranberry beans 5% 89 85 81 73 62 35 23 19 19 15 12 0 - -
cranberry beans 20% 95 79 53 26 21 16 5 5 5 0 - - - -
soy beans 5% 100 100 91 87 61 52 52 39 39 30 17 13 4 0
soy beans 20% 81 67 62 62 48 38 19 14 14 14 10 5 0 -
valore beans 5% 84 79 79 79 58 53 47 32 21 16 16 16 16 0
valore beans 20% 100 94 88 77 65 53 12 12 6 6 6 0 - -

This is the 126th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.3 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 125 days.

Here I retest white kidney beans, and take a look at another type of banana called plantain.

White kidney beans at the 8% level have repeatedly extended maximum survival in the past, and this run repeats this. The 4% level had no effect, but the 12% level had one fly, that "by chance", lived almost twice as long as any of the control flies. At 122 days, which is just 3 days short of the estimated maximal longevity of 125 days. No control fly has ever lived this long, and only one pomegranate fed fly from run #87 lived even longer - 124 days.

Unlike desert banana, plantain increased maximum survival, which suggests the active prolongevity ingredient was both different, and more stable. Leucocyanidin, which is the active anti-ulcer ingrediant in plantain is known to be more effective than the anti-ulcer ingrediant(s) in desert bananas. (Journal of Ethnopharmacology 65 1999; 283-288) Please note that this experiment used raw plantain, while humans typically consume plantain only after cooking, which destroys the leucocyanidin. I had earlier obtained positive results with the Leucoselect brand of grape anthocyanidins.

Run #126

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

33 38 43 48 54 60 69 81 92 101 106 113 122 133
control one 81 57 38 29 24 14 10 0 - - - - - -
control two 73 60 50 45 30 15 10 0 - - - - - -
dates 5% 46 29 25 17 13 8 0 - - - - - - -
dates 16% 82 61 39 30 15 0 - - - - - - - -
kidney beans, white 4% 67 46 42 33 25 13 8 0 - - - - - -
kidney beans, white 8% 91 76 61 49 42 27 3 3 3 0 - - - -
kidney beans, white 12% 74 61 40 26 18 8 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 0
kidney beans, white 16% 75 63 50 38 34 28 19 13 3 0 - - - -
kidney beans, white 20% 57 44 30 26 22 9 0 - - - - - - -
lima beans 5% 70 59 52 41 41 30 11 4 0 - - - - -
lima beans 20% 91 82 46 36 32 18 14 9 0 - - - - -
plantain banana 5% 57 44 35 17 17 17 4 4 0 - - - - -
plantain banana 20% 88 72 72 52 40 28 20 16 8 0 - - - -

This is the 127th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.2 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 126 days.

Of the beans tested this time, French lentils had the best results. This could be due to chance, so run #129 will take a second look at this bean.

Run #127

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

24 29 34 39 44 50 56 65 77 88 97 102 109 118 129
control one 70 70 55 45 35 35 30 25 10 5 0 - - - -
control two 83 72 66 55 48 38 31 14 3 0 - - - - -
lentils, French 4% 74 65 65 65 52 61 44 30 22 22 9 4 4 4 0
lentils, French 20% 97 93 87 70 67 53 30 23 10 3 0 - - - -
lentils, green 4% 68 68 68 55 46 41 32 9 5 0 - - - - -
lentils, green 20% 79 79 64 50 50 21 21 14 7 0 - - - - -
lentils, red 4% 82 77 68 59 55 36 23 9 0 - - - - - -
lentils, red 20% 82 77 77 65 65 47 29 18 12 0 - - - - -
navy beans 4% 81 77 69 62 54 42 35 23 19 4 0 - - - -
navy beans 20% 80 75 65 40 15 10 10 5 0 - - - - - -

This is the 128th update of my fly longevity experiments. Average temperature was 21.1 C during this run. Estimated maximal longevity using the formula (363 - T*11.2) is 127 days.

Red ginseng drink and low dose flageolet beans looked a little interesting this time. The most surprising finding was that raw pomegranate yielded no benefit. Previous results with (cooked) pomegranate syrup were consistently positive.

Run #128

supplement

Percent Survival on Day

17 22 27 32 37 43 49 58 70 81 90 95 102 111 122
control one 69 48 41 31 28 21 14 7 3 0 - - - - -
control two 68 70 62 49 41 32 24 11 3 0 - - - - -
corn 8% 41 35 21 17 10 10 7 3 0 - - - - - -
corn 33% 76 64 53 44 29 27 16 9 4 2 2 2 0 - -
flageolet beans 5% 65 65 61 52 44 44 26 17 9 9 9 4 4 4 0
flageolet beans 20% 70 50 40 37 20 13 7 3 0 - - - - - -
pomegranate 5% 52 52 43 29 29 24 19 5 5 5 0 - - - -
pomegranate 20% 65 61 61 57 48 26 17 13 4 0 - - - - -
red ginseng drink 25% 65 65 62 50 50 46 31 15 0 - - - - - -
red ginseng drink 100% 36 36 32 32 32 32 23 18 9 5 5 5 5 0 -


Comparing Vanilla Sky and Abre Los Ojos

by Mike O'Neal < mike@mikeoneal.com >

Many cryonicists have (rightly) complained about the silliness of the notion of VR in cryostasis as portrayed in Vanilla Sky.

It is interesting to note that in the original Spanish film Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes) the idea was that you would be revived into a VR environment of your choosing following cryostasis -- with your memories suitably altered to account for the "transition" into this VR world.

This idea of awakening into a VR world survives, to some degree, in Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky. Although the characters in the final act talk as if David's dream is occurring while he is still frozen, the Life Extension "Lucid Dream" marketing film that he watches makes it clear that the dream occurs after revival. The sales pitch goes like this:

"Portrait of a modern human life. American... Male... Birth and Death. Imagine that you are suffering from a terminal illness. You'd like to be cryonized, but you'd rather be resurrected to continue your own life as you know it now. LE offers you the answer. Upon resurrection, you will continue in an ageless state. Preserved, but living in the present, with a future of your choosing. Your death will be wiped from your memory. Your life will continue as a realistic work of art, painted by you, minute to minute and you'll live it with the romantic abandon of a summer day, with the feeling of a great movie, or a pop song you always loved. With no memory of how it all occurred, save for the knowledge that everything simply improved... And in any instance of discontent, you'll be visited by technical support. It's all just around the corner. The day after tomorrow... Another chapter begins seamlessly. A living dream. Life Extension's promise to you -- Life Part 2."

In some ways, this extension of the cryonics concept doesn't seem overly unreasonable. One could argue that many people reject cryonics because they are afraid of the future -- afraid of awakening alone in a strange world. A "Lucid Dream" might offer those who don't want to die, but also don't want to live in a some unknown future, an option. As to the question of whether such a concept would be feasible, surely a society that is capable of reviving patients suspended with today's primitive methods would have the technology to create such a VR world upon revival and potentially edit our memories as well.

Of course, I'm not arguing that CI and Alcor should run out and start selling such a "service". :-) But Abre Los Ojos and Vanilla Sky do present a fascinating answer to the question of how to deal with people's fears of being revived in a world far removed from the present one.


Millionaires

by Charles Platt < charles@platt.us >

Here are the reasons (which have been spelled out before on Cryonet, incidentally) why I believe very wealthy people may be unwilling to put money into cryonics. Of course there may be exceptions to this rule, and I invite anyone to try to find some of these exceptions. For reasons which will become clear I believe that recipients of inherited wealth will be better prospects than self-made millionaires.

Someone who is highly motivated to make money is by definition a competitive individual. The essence of a competition is that there is a finish line and a set of rules. "The person with the most toys, wins," right? The competitors may try to break the rules in order to win, but still they acknowledge the existence of the rules. Now imagine you are telling such a person that the whole rule structure in which he has lived and competed is possibly invalid. There is a future in which his wealth may be irrelevant, his values may be obsolete, his legacy may be forgotten, and there is in fact no finish line, because life may not end. I suggest that the concept of an end-point to life (after which, heirs inherit the cash or a building is named after the wealthy individual) is actually fundamental to the competitive money motivated personality. The idea that he might "come back" in a radically different place where all the rules have changed is not at all reassuring. On the contrary, it could force a very disturbing reassessment of the most fundamental principles on which the person's life has been based.

Moreover, as Curtis Henderson pointed out to me long ago, all the people who surround a wealthy individual will want him to stay dead. How would Michael Eisner feel right now if Walt Disney really had been frozen, and might be resuscitated at any time? How would the heirs of a millionaire feel if the millionaire could "come back" and sue to recover some of his money, on the grounds that since he is now alive, he wasn't really dead after all?

Since people who have a lot of money must rely a lot on their advisors to sustain their empires, we must assume that the advisors will be highly motivated, consciously or unconsciously, to offer negative opinions regarding cryonics. Third, there is the issue of risk. Rich people love money; that's why they are rich. They are constantly endangered by other people trying to con them out of their money, one way or another. They develop elaborate defense mechanisms to protect themselves from scams. Cryonics, at first sight, has all the signs of being a scam. Orthodox scientists mock it, very few people have signed up, it's run by amateurs, the hardcore adherents are not, shall we say, at the center of the bell curve, it has its own weird vocabulary (e.g. "suspension," a word which should be abandoned as quickly as possible), and there is absolutely no proof that it works. I would guess that cryonics registers near maximum on any wealthy person's "scam detection meter."

Finally if you put money into cryonics, you take it away from some other recipient, such as your heirs. And you are implicitly stating that you don't believe in salvation. This doesn't look good, and many wealthy people tend to care, somewhat, about their public image.

Instead of asking why millionaires don't put money into cryonics, a more sensible question might be, why any millionaire ever _would_ put money into cryonics. This could be a very interesting line of inquiry. I asked Don Laughlin (in a taped interview) why he had signed up, and he just said, "I like the odds." Why did this extremely shrewd man tell me that resuscitation seems "pretty much a done deal" to him, while other wealthy individuals would not share this opinion? I don't know the answer to this question, but I would like to.


As Others See us John Ballam and Hayley Riches

New Hope International Review - http ://www.nhi.clara.net/online.htm

NHI Review, 20 Werneth Avenue, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 5NL

Longevity Report #95 This very unusual publication is the newsletter of Longevity Books, and it consists of six folded and stapled A3 sheets, producing 24 numbered pages. There are colour illustrations and a considerable amount of information provided as resources for readers interested in investigating the major concerns of Longevity Books. The subject central to this publication is cryonics -- that is, the preservation of the human body after death in a state that virtually prevents decay. This is achieved through suspending the lifeless body almost instantly at temperatures that fully inhibit its deterioration. The ultimate aim of this treatment is to enable its participants to be re-animated by future generations who, it is presumed, will have an interest in doing so.

Certainly the issues at stake here are presented sympathetically and emphatically. Yet it is difficult to be certain who the intended audience is. The prose style throughout is often circumlocutory, and there is a considerable amount of jargon; while the organization of the newsletter seems random and accumulative. There is a considerable amount of not-altogether scientifically-derived material deployed alongside data gleaned from disinterested sources. For these reasons, the impetus of the whole newsletter looks to be directed towards those people for whom the subject has already taken root, but who feel the need to be better informed, or even persuaded to affirm their latent convictions.

For these people there are certainly examples of balanced and well-judged writing here. Page 16 provides a first-person explanation of the subject and its meta/physical ramifications by a medical doctor who is an enthusiastic supporter; while pages 17-23 are styled as a question-and-answer session between a highly-qualified expositor on the subject and a very skeptical interlocutor. But while this is the most intriguing section of the whole piece and, from an editorial point of view, the most daring, I couldn't help but feel that some of the 'answers' provided dodged the thrust of the question a little too noticeably.

Still, this is a subject that deserves to be debated more widely by the societies concerned, and the scope of its advocacy here is a very good starting point. As biassed as it is -- and that is not a criticism -- I found it provoked questions on a topic that will become of increasing interest as time goes by. For example, what is the environmental impact of cryonics? Also, the easy assumption of the justice of laissez-faire capitalism that makes this process available to only a tiny fraction of the population, while denying it to the huge majority who are obliged to contribute to its maintenance and future success, is something that must be questioned.

All of these issues will be with us for a long time, and the sooner we acquaint ourselves with the facts and fictions as they are described here, the better able we will be to make the informed decisions that will be demanded of us.


Longevity Report #96 Longevity Report is a magazine focussing on cryonics and the issues related to the topic.

Issue #96 includes a section concerning the problems surrounding cryonic endeavours, such as, employee instability and financial costs. There is also an article discussing the effect cryonics might have on the size of the population. These are interesting to read about, but the information seems to be based more on opinion than fact.

There is a review of Nanomedicine, Vol. IIa: Biocompatibility, a book written by Robert A. Freitas. We are given a general overview and a breakdown of some of the chapters. As someone new to the topic, this structure made it easier to understand. I felt as if I had not only learnt about the book, but also something about nanomedicine.

As a regular feature, there is a 9-page section devoted to reporting results from the Fly Longevity Experiments. This is an on-going study observing the lifespan of fruit-flies when exposed to things such as, fruit juice. The presentation of the results looks overwhelming on the page, but the use of visual aids does ease this problem slightly.

In conclusion, I would say this newsletter was interesting to read. It asks important questions and although the answers are biassed, it does highlight problems rather than choosing to ignore them. reviewer: Hayley Riches.


A Cure for Everything?

By Robert Ettinger < ettinger@aol.com >

No, I don't mean the old joke that death cures everything, although it certainly does make your problems go away. If you don't exist, you don't have problems.

What I mean is related to the purported "reasons" for rejecting cryonics, attributed to various people including Fred Pohl, Arthur Clarke, and Isaac Asimov --all of whom agreed that cryonics might work. In every case, we see a failure of nerve, imagination, or simple logic. (Pohl and Asimov were instrumental in the publication of The Prospect of Immortality -- Pohl through publicity, Asimov by vetting it for scientific kashruth.)

Asimov's "reason"--or one of his reported reasons--was that radical life extension is bad, because it would freeze in positions of power the old, entrenched fogies who would resist progress and block the ascension of younger people. But it is clearly preposterous to imagine that old people will be incapable of growth and even retrofitting. It's as nonsensical an argument as that of Swift 's Struldbrugs. Sure, Struldbrugs would be unhappy, but they are merely convenient fictions.

Clarke has said that we become new people every decade or so anyway, so why bother? But if that argument didn't persuade Clarke to give up many years ago, why should it now?

Pohl has said that he wouldn't want to face a future stripped of his friends and family and familiar milieu. I think he probably declined Alcor's offer of a free suspension because he couldn't afford it for all his family. Aside from the fact that some of our friends and relatives will be there (as discussed later in this article), the displaced person syndrome is another tired blunder of logic, as follows.

First, displaced people throughout history have seldom committed suicide and often made successful adjustments. In WWII, stone age aborigines from the south Pacific adjusted to life in New York city (which is more than I think I could do).

Second, the problem is clearly physiological in large part. Young people are likely to endure almost any hardship and persevere, because they have the health and the hormones.

Third, to the extent that fear or despondency are psychological rather than chemical, there are many methods even now that sometimes help. Mae used to say we can choose whether to be cheerful or gloomy. That's often easier said than done, but there is some truth in it. Most of us, most of the time, faced with adversity, will piss and moan for a while and then get on with it.

Fourth and finally, nothing whatever is known for sure to be incurable. Our resuscitees will awaken to a world of wonders, among which will CERTAINLY be greatly enhanced techniques for rehabilitation. And of course the suicide option will presumably remain open if you decide the brave new world isn't brave enough--or a further period of suspended animation.

Friends and Relatives

I mentioned that many of us know we will be reunited with at least some of our relatives and friends, if cryonics works. This reminds us of an obvious but unappreciated statistic - that relatives and friends of

cryonicists are much more likely than others to become cryonicists in their turn.

I could look at the database, but maybe Ben will tell us how many members are additional family members of the first to join or the head of the family. In my own family, my mother and both my wives are patients, and my son and daughter-in-law are active members, Connie being a director and David being a member and our chief counsel, who led the recent successful negotiations with the state. My brother Alan was a member for many years, although in his final illness he became depressed and rescinded his arrangements, despite everything I could say or do. Statistically, if I had not been involved in cryonics, it is extremely unlikely that even one of them would be involved, let alone six.

I also recall that, at one time in the past, Thomas Donaldson in Australia signed up a surprising number of people for Alcor, just by cold-turkey salesmanship. There are other examples as well, including the Chamberlains. Nobody has been sufficiently successful in selling cryonics to make a career of it or a living, although Rudi Hoffman may be closing in on it, but it is very clear that the right people, working with those they know, have enormously improved odds in recruitment.

The moral--keep working on your friends and relatives. Don't expect many or magic conversions, but tact and persistence will pay off, if combined with brains and personality.


A World Transformed Beyond Recognition

by Kurt Kimo < kurt2100kimo@yahoo.com.tw >

I read on CryoNet some time ago a posting from Charles Platt about why he no longer has a personal interest in being cryonically suspended. In it, he mentioned that he did not want to come back into a world "transformed beyond recognition" (I believe these were his words) where no one was left that he new from "before". [Editorial note: Mr Platt remained signed up after many people were disappointed at his proposal to resign - see note at end.]

This is precisely the scenario that I look forward to and IS the reason why I am interested in cryonics. I have made a major move twice in my life. The first was from Spokane, Washington to Southern California, when I was 22. The second was from Phoenix to Tokyo when I was 28. Moving from LA to Phoenix, and from Tokyo to Kaoshiung (in Southern Taiwan) were "lateral moves" that did not involve a major change in my life.

In both instances, I re-invented my life and my self. Both times, I hated the first 8-10 months, then absolutely loved it there after. I expect coming out of cryonic suspension will be the same, except that I can never "go back home" again. You create a new persona and life for yourself and make new friends. The difference is that coming out of suspension into an "ageless" society, the problem of finitude (the itch you can't scratch) no longer exists. You CAN always "look outward" if whatever life you're stuck with pisses you off. There will always be an open door and something new to look forward to.

If relatively few of us make it, our relationship wit the rest of society will be analogous to the "gaijin" in Japan. We will be kind of like a subculture in the new society. I have lived this life and have achieved happiness in it. I can do it again.

The only "psychological" requirements that I need to be happy is that I come out fully competent and competitive (in ability and opportunity) with the best that the new society has to offer. Everything else is the open horizon.

Charles Platt writes:

The author is in fact misquoting me. Over the years, I have expressed many kinds of concerns about implications of cryonics, but I am still signed up (with Alcor). Moreover, through my writing and through personal contact, I have been instrumental in encouraging many other signups.

However, I have never encouraged anyone to sign up by downplaying potential problems. All aspects of this speculative procedure should be recognized and acknowledged. Otherwise we are clinging to a faith instead of acting as rational thinking beings. Kurt's faith apparently tells him that waking up in the future will be no more difficult than moving from one place to another in the present. I can think of numerous obvious reasons why this assumption is probably incorrect.


Note - Longevity Report is now published when there is sufficient material,

rather than on a regular basis.


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