wdg3rd on August 17, 2010, 10:31:20 pm
Folks,

I have a non-fiction op-ed piece about cryogenics in today's H+ Magazine:

http://hplusmagazine.com/editors-blog/cryogenic-death-benefits-better-dead

Tell me what you think.

Not a bad piece, Sandy.  (And some of the links below to "related" articles are good fun too).

I've been more or less a transhumanist since I read Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson way back when it was just out and I was still a kid in the USAF.  Hell, Drexler hadn't published Engines of Creation yet.  Bob set the Singularity in 2012, based on some weird cycle from the I Ching or something, I find it amusing that now folks are claiming the Mayan calendar has the end of the world happening then (I just think they ran out of space on that particular slab of rock).  But a Singularity may just look like the end of the world (especially to those holding religious faith).

I dunno.  I turned 55 this past May and nobody with my Y-chromosome has had a 56th birthday in recorded history.  (Dad got close, before the VA got tired of maintaining his abused liver, I drink as much as he did, and I have yet to get the emergency treatments he had before he was 50 -- he married a woman from a family that had weeded out weak livers, Granddad married a woman whose liver was toast at 42 and Granddad's heart exploded at 53, 6'2" and 350 lbs, on a fishing trip with a younger "lady" Dad dated for a while after Mom dumped him as a bad experiment).  So maybe I will break the record.  (Generations prior to my Granddad generally died of Black Lung around 40, whether in the US or before they came over from Wales -- while I've toured a few coal mines, I never made that environment a career or even a part time job -- the father of my cohusband during my first marriage was an electrician in coal mines in western Colorado -- that'd be my dream, splicing sparky wires where there just might be enough methane in the mix to make things interesting like in the old Chinese curse).
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

Gillsing on August 18, 2010, 03:07:39 pm
I must admit that I never considered the legal vs practical ramifications of cryogenics. Until a couple of weeks ago I didn't even know how picky they have to be when they harvest organs for transplantation. Apparently the donor has to die of brain death, while the rest of the body keeps functioning, or some organs become useless. So I guess that assisted suicide is the only 'safe' way to go with cryogenics, although once they can bring the frozen people back they might have ways to deal with damage caused by bad conditions.

On the topic of cryogenics I'd like to recommend an episode of Steampod:
Cold Duty (the story starts 7 minutes in)
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

SandySandfort on August 18, 2010, 09:32:19 pm
... how picky they have to be when they harvest organs for transplantation. Apparently the donor has to die of brain death, while the rest of the body keeps functioning, or some organs become useless.

That's why emergency room staff refer to motorcycles as "donorcycles." By and large, cyclists are healthy, young men who have cracked the coconut without much other damage.

terry_freeman on August 18, 2010, 10:35:08 pm
A slight amendment: those motorcyclists who land in the emergency room on their last journey tend to be young and healthy, with cracked coconuts as their major issue.

There are quite a few motorcyclists who manage to ride without making such one-way trips.

There's a saying: there are old bikers and bold bikers, but there are no old bold bikers.

The trouble is, some ER people tend to not think much about sampling biases.

wdg3rd on August 19, 2010, 09:01:09 am
A slight amendment: those motorcyclists who land in the emergency room on their last journey tend to be young and healthy, with cracked coconuts as their major issue.

There are quite a few motorcyclists who manage to ride without making such one-way trips.

There's a saying: there are old bikers and bold bikers, but there are no old bold bikers.

The trouble is, some ER people tend to not think much about sampling biases.

Yup.  If I was to get my bike license and join the Brotherhood MC of Jersey City, the average age in the club would go down, and I'm 55.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

quadibloc on August 20, 2010, 09:09:41 am
So I guess that assisted suicide is the only 'safe' way to go with cryogenics, although once they can bring the frozen people back they might have ways to deal with damage caused by bad conditions.
Since freezing someone is basically equivalent to cooking him, as far as cell damage is concerned, it isn't actually that pressing an issue to be 'picky' for cryonics. At least not until the preservation techniques used are vastly improved.

I've been more or less a transhumanist since I read Cosmic Trigger by Robert Anton Wilson.
While I support the basic premises of transhumanism, I more or less gave up on cryonics after reading the chapter "The Problem of Identity" in The Prospect of Immortality by R. C. W. Ettinger. If the cryonics movement isn't going to take seriously the issue of restoring me to life as opposed to building a copy of me, getting frozen becomes even more likely to be a waste of money and effort.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 09:13:55 am by quadibloc »

terry_freeman on August 20, 2010, 10:57:37 am
I believe that cryonics depends upon "and then a miracle happens" theories. Somehow, magically, all the cell damage caused by the freezing process is erased, and whatever patterns of electrochemistry make our memories and personalities are restored, and the damage done by old age is reversed, and we awake as frisky 18 year olds who happen to remember 60 or 80 or 90 years of experiences.

I'd sooner hope that, in my lifetime, a means of whole-body-replication a la Hans Moravec is discovered, and my personality will be moved to a new kind of body. Of course, I would not be the first volunteer; I am a "show me" kind of guy.

SandySandfort on August 20, 2010, 11:25:07 am
I believe that cryonics depends upon "and then a miracle happens" theories. Somehow, magically, all the cell damage caused by the freezing process is erased...

Just a quick correction, Terry. People aren't frozen, in the conventional sense. There is no damage due to the expansion of water. The body is "vitrified." the body is cooled to a glass-like state which cause very little cellular damage. Like you, however, I won't be the first, second or nth person to do it, unless all other measures had failed or they had brought people back.

quadibloc on August 20, 2010, 07:52:54 pm
People aren't frozen, in the conventional sense. There is no damage due to the expansion of water. The body is "vitrified." the body is cooled to a glass-like state which cause very little cellular damage.
This comes as news to me. I know that the cell damage due to freezing was referred to in the (older) books about cryonics that I've read. So if they have found a way to largely avoid freezing damage, this is a relatively recent advance that many people who have heard of cryonics from back when the idea was first advocated, but haven't followed it closely since then, won't be aware of.

wdg3rd on August 22, 2010, 09:07:47 pm
It's my only chance.  I sure as hell volunteer.  I'm 55 and nobody with my Y-chromosome has ever had a 56th birthday.  This is one of the few fookin' things I don't  joke about.

Ward
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot