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Archive for the ‘Cryonics’ Category

Frozen Dead Guy

Frozen Dead GuyHome of The Frozen Dead Guy (AKA Bredo Morstoel)The Iceman’s Chronicle…Contact the Iceman for information on where to get your copy…and for booksignings and special events.Get information on events for 2013 FDGDays>>>>Get Twitter Tweets from Botheiceman@Twitter.com!!!What’s the Frozen Dead Guy all about?It has a lot to do with Cryonics, which is pretty much freezing people who are about to die, in hopes that future technology will be able to “re-animate” them and cure what ailed them.It had a lot to do with the Town of Nederland and the Nederland Chamber of Commerce….and there’s a year round Information Center in Ned for souvenirs of the Frozen Dead Guy Days festival (see below). The Chamber’s site had all the information on upcoming FDGDaze…..but in 2011 they sold the festival to a private group who now has the only site with information on the upcoming festival. Frozen Dead Guy Days is their link.It has a big connection to Norway, as the Grandson of the FDG, Trygve, lives there with his Mother, Aud (FDG’s Daughter). They are the ones responsible for maintaining the financials and micro-managing from afar. Trygve was deported in 1994 and has not set foot in the US since. Aud has visited…once. THere are long and curious tales about both of these situations, but suffice to say, neither is allowed back in the country at this time.There’s some of that old history……Psychics and all, found in the Historical Archives of the Planetary Ecologists at….There’s some history regarding the Great Unappearance on the Jay Leno Tonight Show..Here’s some archived video of the days when Grandpa was persona non grata…..Although there is a wild and entertaining side to this story…..there is also a serious and scientific side, too.There’s been some Press…….and some websites, like Dark DestinationsEven a local company who went National has played a part….Tuff Shed has made it all possible from a practical point of view.We celebrated Grandpa Bredo’s 107th Birthday with an Ice Run Party at the old International Cryonics Institute, before it was dismantled.********Update…..September 2012******* In September of 2012, a labor dispute broke out and when overseas management and local labor couldn’t agree on terms, a walkout ensued. The International Cryonics Institute was kicked out of it’s offices and had to remove all their equipment. Scabs were hired and the fate of Grandpa Bredo now rests in the hands of some guy and a truck. The coming winter is predicted to be snowy and cold. Stay tuned for further info…. The Iceman’s last day on the job…Here’s a wordle from the book “Chronicles of the Colorado Iceman”….And then there’s the Frozen Dead Guy Days Festival…..Frozen Dead Guy Days 2006 Frozen Dead Guy Daze of 2007…..a festival to remember!Frozen Dead guy Days of 2008…A picture GalleryFrozen Dead Guy Daze 2009…Frozen Dead Guy Daze 2010…Re-animated Tours!If, after perusing this evolving site, you have any questions or still just can’t seem to figure out what the FDG is all about…Feel free to Send your query to The IcemanThis Page is deep in the throes of Creative Endeavour…….please be advised

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Frozen Dead Guy

This Company Freezes Your Body So That You Could One Day Be Resurrected – Billionaire BLLNR | Singapore (registration)

An estimated 2,500 bodies around the world have been frozen in the hope of some future resurrection.

Robert Ettinger, the father of cryogenics, who introduced the concept in 1962.

If you have around US$90,000 to spare and are of a gambling disposition, perhaps your final journey should be to Australia. A company called Southern Cryonics is looking to open a facility in New South Wales this year that will allow its customers to freeze their bodies after death in the hope of one day being resurrected. If it goes ahead, it will make Australia only the third country, after the US and Russia, where such a service is available.

But, especially for those of a futurist bent perhaps, its as valid a thing to do with ones body as burial or cremation. Last year, a terminally ill 14-year-old girl in the UK became the first and only child so far to undergo the cryonic process. This is technically not freezing but vitrification, in which the body is treated with chemicals and chilled to super-cold temperatures so that molecules are locked in place and a solid is formed. An estimated 2,500 bodies around the world are now stored in this condition.

Supporters concede that the technology to revive the infinitely complex interactions between those molecules may never exist, but are nonetheless hopeful, pointing to shifting conceptions of what irreversible death actually is. If, for example, cessation of a heartbeat used to define it, now hearts can be re-started todays corpse may be tomorrows patient. They point to experiments such as that announced last year by 21st Century Medicine, which claimed to have successfully vitrified and recovered an entire mammalian brain for the first time, with the thawed rabbits brain found to have all of its synapses, cell membranes and intracellular structures intact.

Its not just cryonics. Stem-cell research, nano-tech, cloning, the science just keeps plugging away towards a future [of reanimating] that may or may not come to exist, says an upfront Dennis Kowalski, president of the Michigan-based Cryonics Institute. His company was launched just over 40 years ago to provide cryostasis services. Lots of things considered impossible not long ago are possible today, so we just dont know how cryonics will work out. For people who use the service its really a case of theres nothing to lose.

Naturally, not everyone is hopeful that such processes will ever work out for those in the chiller. The problem with cryonics is that the perception of it is largely shaped by companies offering a service based on something completely unproven, says Joo Pedro De Magalhes, biologist and principal investigator into life extension at the University of Liverpool, UK, and co-founder of the UK Cryonics and Cryopreservation Network. Youre talking about a fairly eccentric procedure that only a few people have signed up to and into which little reported research is being done. That said, I think the people providing these services do believe theres a chance it may work one day, although I would have to say theyre optimistic.

But this is not to say that living longer wont, in time, prove possible as a result of some other method; just that arguably this is more likely to be based around preserving a life that has not experienced death, rather than the promise of reanimating one after its demise. The chasm between the two is all the more pronounced given neurosciences still scant ideas as to what consciousness or mind is, let alone how it might be saved and rebooted; would the warmed and reanimated you be the you that died, or a mere simulacrum? Your body may well not be the same: many of those opting for cryo-preservation go for the freezing of just their brains.

Certainly while cryonics specifically may remain a largely unexplored field, Google is now investing in anti-ageing science, an area that, as De Magalhes puts it, now has fewer crackpots and more reputable scientists working in it, with stronger science behind it too. Indeed, as Yuval Noah Harari argues in his best-selling book Homo Deus, humanisms status as contemporary societys new religion of choice, combined with technological advances, makes some form of greatly extended lifespan inevitable for some generation to come. Whether this will be by melding man and machine, by genetic manipulation, by a form of existence in cyberspace or some other fix can only be speculated at, but everything about our civilisations recent development points to it becoming a reality.

Advances in medicine, after all, have greatly extended average longevity over the last century alone. With this has come a shift in perspective that sees death less as the natural end point to a life so much as a process of disease that could, and perhaps should, be tackled like any other disease that threatens existence. De Magalhes points out that for many working in the field it is less about the pursuit of immortality as of improved health.

After all, its not self-evident that we all want to live forever, and there are philosophical arguments for the idea that death is good, that its necessary to appreciate life, he says. But it is self-evident that nobody wants Alzheimers, for example. If you focus on retarding the problems of ageing then inevitably were going to live longer. The longevity we have now isnt normal; its already better than what we had not long ago. Extrapolate that to the future and in a century the length of time we live now might be considered pretty bad. One can envisage a time when we might live, if not forever, then perhaps thousands of years so much longer than we live now that it might feel like forever.

That, naturally, would bring with it profound changes to the way in which we perceive ourselves and to how the world operates and all the more so if living considerably longer became a possibility faster than society was able to inculcate the notion. How would such a long lifespan affect our sense of self? Would institutions and mores such as lifelong marriage and monogamy remain the norm? When would we retire? How would our relationships with the many subsequent generations of our family be shaped? How would population growth be managed? How would such long lives be funded?

Such questions are, for sure, of no concern to those currently in cryostasis. These people tend to be into sci-fi, and into science too, suggests Kowalski, who has signed up himself, his wife and children for cryonic services when the time comes. I think for a lot of them its not necessarily about the fear of death. Its more a fascination with the future. Theyre optimistic about what it will bring. Theyre more Star Trek than Terminator.

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This Company Freezes Your Body So That You Could One Day Be Resurrected – Billionaire BLLNR | Singapore (registration)

Blast off into eternity: Russian company to send the dead into space – Russia Beyond the Headlines

The dead bodies of cryogenically frozen people and pets, DNA samples, and even organs, such as brains, might soon be sent to space. Russia’s first and only cryonics company,KrioRus, announced an agreement with Space Technologies, a new science and tech consortium.

Satellites with cryo-capsules will be launched into orbit by Russian rockets, said Yulia Arkhipova, general director ofSpace Technologies.

Cryogenics facilities exist only in the U.S. and Russia. Since 2005,KrioRushas frozen the bodies and brains of 54 people, eight dogs, nine cats,three birds, and even one pet chinchilla. According to the company, many frozen individuals once had the aspiration to go to space.

Arkhipova didnt provide details on whether her company has partnerships with established Russian space organizations. Space Technologies was registered in 2016 and it doesnt have its own rocket fleet or launch vehicles. The company hasnt yet implemented a single space project but already announced ambitious plans, such as the creation ofRussia’sfirst private cosmodrome and a new orbital station,MIR-2.

The cryo-capsules wont be just hanging about in orbit, Arkipova promised. The company is planning to develop satellites for in-orbit repairs but, once again, Arkhipova didnt provide any details. The leading Russian space companies are developing these satellites, the technologies are unique and its classified information, Arkipova said.

The names of these leading space companies are classified, as well as the names of the organization’s founders. Space Technologies declined to respond to these questions.

Freezing bodies and cryogenic experiments might be necessary for the future development of space travel to distant planets or galaxies.

Cryogenic freezing is the process of preserving a dead body with liquid nitrogen. Currently, it can only happen at the moment when someone has just been declared dead. The freezing process must begin as soon as the patient dies in order to preventbraindamage.

First, the body is cooled in an ice bath to gradually reduce its temperature, and then doctors drain the blood and replace it with an anti-freeze fluid to stop harmful ice crystals forming.

People who make the decision to freeze their bodies believe scientists will one day in the future figure out how to warm up the body and bring them back to life. Hopefully by that time doctors will be able to cure cancer and other illness.

According to KrioRus, the cost of preserving a body in space starts from $250,000. Space Technologies didnt clarify the costs of launching a body into orbit.

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Blast off into eternity: Russian company to send the dead into space – Russia Beyond the Headlines

For The First Time Ever, a Woman in China Has Been Cryogenically Frozen – ScienceAlert

Cryonics is the practice ofdeep-freezing recently deceased bodies(or even justthe brains of thosewho have recently died)in the hopes of one day reviving them.

It has been the subject of serious scientific exploration and study – as well as a fair share of pseudoscience, lore, and myth. Fictional accounts like Batman’s Iceman, and the (untrue) rumours of Walt Disney being cryogenically frozen have cast a speculative shadow over the field of cryonics.

Butrecently, for the first time ever in China,a woman has been cryogenically frozen. Zhan Wenlian died at the age of 49 from lung cancer and her husband, Gui Junmin, “volunteered” her for the cryonic procedure.

Bothhe and his late wife wanted to donate her body to science to “give back to society.” He told TheMirror UKthat hewas initially “pitched”the idea of cryonicswith it being described as a “life preservation project”.

This procedure – which has Wenlian’s body restingface downin 2,000 litres of liquid nitrogen – was completed at theYinfeng Biological Group in Jinan.

This project is the collaborative effortof the Yinfeng Biological Group, Qilu Hospital Shandong University and consultants fromAlcor Life Extension Foundation, a nonprofit cryonics company based in the United States.

Even with all the faith many have in the procedure, the question remains: how scientifically possible is a project like this? Is this just an experiment to allow us to better understand human biology, orcould cryonics one day become a feasible option?

Cryonics isall about timing.The bodies of the deceased arecryogenically frozenimmediately after the heartstops beating.”Freezing” is a bit of a misleading term, because cryonic freezing is actually very specifically trying toavoidice crystal formation – which damages the cells of the body’s tissues.

Rapid cooling, rather than freezing, is a more accuratedescription of the process.

A chemical cocktail of preservatives likeglycerol andpropandiol, in addition to antifreeze agents, are commonly used to get the body into a stable state where it won’t be decaying, but also won’t suffer damage from being stored at low temperatures for, conceivably, a very long time.

From there, the bodiesare given specific care that caters to the idea that death is a continuing process; one that can ultimately be reversed.

The aim of cryonic preservation would be to one day be able to thaw the bodies and reanimate them at a cellular level – preferably without too many epigenetic changes.

“I tend to believe in new and emerging technologies, so I think it will be completely possible to revive her.”

With ourcurrent understanding and technology, this process of reversingdeath so completely is just not possible. The closest kind of revival we have are themoments after clinical death where patients are revived by something such as cardiac defibrillation.

Cryonics acts within this critical, albeit brief, period as well- but works within the belief that death is a grey area. More of a processrather than a definite, final, event.

Just because we haven’t succeeded in reviving the dead yetdoesn’t mean the field of cryonics isunnecessary or unimportant.This case inChina is a step forward for everyone researchingthe field of cryonics- and those of us who hope to benefit from advancements in it.

We may not be able to reverse death just yet,but it doesn’t seem outof the realm of possibility to imagine that, withsuch wild scientific advancements underway, technology could one day allow it to be possible.

Whether or not it does in our lifetimes, this most recent development is certainly an interesting one.

This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

View post:
For The First Time Ever, a Woman in China Has Been Cryogenically Frozen – ScienceAlert

For The First Time Ever, a Woman in China Has Been Cryogenically … – DeathRattleSports.com

Cryonics is the practice ofdeep-freezing recently deceased bodies(or even justthe brains of thosewho have recently died)in the hopes of one day reviving them.

It has been the subject of serious scientific exploration and study as well as a fair share of pseudoscience, lore, and myth. Fictional accounts like Batmans Iceman, and the (untrue) rumours of Walt Disney being cryogenically frozen have cast a speculative shadow over the field of cryonics.

Butrecently, for the first time ever in China,a woman has been cryogenically frozen. Zhan Wenlian died at the age of 49 from lung cancer and her husband, Gui Junmin, volunteered her for the cryonic procedure.

Bothhe and his late wife wanted to donate her body to science to give back to society. He told TheMirror UKthat hewas initially pitchedthe idea of cryonicswith it being described as a life preservation project.

This procedure which has Wenlians body restingface downin 2,000 litres of liquid nitrogen was completed at theYinfeng Biological Group in Jinan.

This project is the collaborative effortof the Yinfeng Biological Group, Qilu Hospital Shandong University and consultants fromAlcor Life Extension Foundation, a nonprofit cryonics company based in the United States.

Even with all the faith many have in the procedure, the question remains: how scientifically possible is a project like this? Is this just an experiment to allow us to better understand human biology, orcould cryonics one day become a feasible option?

Cryonics isall about timing.The bodies of the deceased arecryogenically frozenimmediately after the heartstops beating.Freezing is a bit of a misleading term, because cryonic freezing is actually very specifically trying toavoidice crystal formation which damages the cells of the bodys tissues.

Rapid cooling, rather than freezing, is a more accuratedescription of the process.

A chemical cocktail of preservatives likeglycerol andpropandiol, in addition to antifreeze agents, are commonly used to get the body into a stable state where it wont be decaying, but also wont suffer damage from being stored at low temperatures for, conceivably, a very long time.

From there, the bodiesare given specific care that caters to the idea that death is a continuing process; one that can ultimately be reversed.

The aim of cryonic preservation would be to one day be able to thaw the bodies and reanimate them at a cellular level preferably without too many epigenetic changes.

I tend to believe in new and emerging technologies, so I think it will be completely possible to revive her.

With ourcurrent understanding and technology, this process of reversingdeath so completely is just not possible. The closest kind of revival we have are themoments after clinical death where patients are revived by something such as cardiac defibrillation.

Cryonics acts within this critical, albeit brief, period as well but works within the belief that death is a grey area. More of a processrather than a definite, final, event.

Just because we havent succeeded in reviving the dead yetdoesnt mean the field of cryonics isunnecessary or unimportant.This case inChina is a step forward for everyone researchingthe field of cryonics and those of us who hope to benefit from advancements in it.

We may not be able to reverse death just yet,but it doesnt seem outof the realm of possibility to imagine that, withsuch wild scientific advancements underway, technology could one day allow it to be possible.

Whether or not it does in our lifetimes, this most recent development is certainly an interesting one.

This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

Continued here:
For The First Time Ever, a Woman in China Has Been Cryogenically … – DeathRattleSports.com

Chinese woman cryogenically frozen with ‘COMPLETE possibility’ of … – Express.co.uk

Cryonics is the practice in which a body is frozen shortly after death with the hope, when technology catches up, they will be able to be revived.

Zhan Wenlian, who died of lung cancer aged 49 earlier this year, became the first person in China to be cryogenically frozen.

Ms Wenlians remains are currently in a giant tank filled with 2,000 litres of liquid nitrogen at Yinfeng Biological Group in Jinan, capital of East China’s Shandong Province.

The deceased was volunteered for the procedure by her husband Gui Junmin, who said that his late wife wanted to donate her body to science to “give back to society, according to The Mirror.

The project was a collaboration between the Yinfeng Biological Group and from US firm Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

In cryonics, as soon as a persons heart stops beating, they must be rapidly cooled but not technically frozen.

If the person is frozen, their cells form ice crystals which is irreversible damage.

A cocktail of chemicals like glycerol and propandiol, as well as antifreeze agents, are commonly used in the procedure so the body can be cooled without freezing.

However, there is no evidence that people will one day be able to be revived.

Director Jia Chusheng of Yinfeng Biological Group said that although there is a chance the procedure will not work, it gives the husband and wife hope for the future.

She said: [Zhan] and her family are clear about the risks and the possibility that the procedure might ultimately fail.

“But as someone who has donated her body to science, she also gains hope of being revived one day.

Her husband is extremely hopeful, however, and even plans to have himself preserved when he dies so that he can be reunited with his wife.

Mr Junmin said: “I tend to believe in new and emerging technologies, so I think it will be completely possible to revive her.

“If my wife wakes up, she might be lonely. I need to keep her company.”

Read the original:
Chinese woman cryogenically frozen with ‘COMPLETE possibility’ of … – Express.co.uk

This company freezes your body so that you could one day be resurrected – AsiaOne

If you have around US$90,000 (S$122,733) to spare and are of a gambling disposition, perhaps your final journey should be to Australia. A company called Southern Cryonics is looking to open a facility in New South Wales this year that will allow its customers to ‘freeze’ their bodies after death in the hope of one day being resurrected. If it goes ahead, it will make Australia only the third country, after the US and Russia, where such a service is available.

But, especially for those of a futurist bent perhaps, it’s as valid a thing to do with one’s body as burial or cremation. Last year, a terminally ill 14-year-old girl in the UK became the first and only child so far to undergo the cryonic process. This is technically not freezing but vitrification, in which the body is treated with chemicals and chilled to super-cold temperatures so that molecules are locked in place and a solid is formed. An estimated 2,500 bodies around the world are now stored in this condition.

Supporters concede that the technology to revive the infinitely complex interactions between those molecules may never exist, but are nonetheless hopeful, pointing to shifting conceptions of what irreversible death actually is. If, for example, cessation of a heartbeat used to define it, now hearts can be re-started – today’s corpse may be tomorrow’s patient. They point to experiments such as that announced last year by 21st Century Medicine, which claimed to have successfully vitrified and recovered an entire mammalian brain for the first time, with the thawed rabbit’s brain found to have all of its synapses, cell membranes and intracellular structures intact.

“It’s not just cryonics. Stem-cell research, nano-tech, cloning, the science just keeps plugging away towards a future [of reanimating] that may or may not come to exist,” says an upfront Dennis Kowalski, president of the Michigan-based Cryonics Institute. His company was launched just over 40 years ago to provide cryostasis services. “Lots of things considered impossible not long ago are possible today, so we just don’t know how cryonics will work out. For people who use the service it’s really a case of there’s nothing to lose.”

Naturally, not everyone is hopeful that such processes will ever work out for those in the chiller. “The problem with cryonics is that the perception of it is largely shaped by companies offering a service based on something completely unproven,” says Joo Pedro De Magalhes, biologist and principal investigator into life extension at the University of Liverpool, UK, and co-founder of the UK Cryonics and Cryopreservation Network. “You’re talking about a fairly eccentric procedure that only a few people have signed up to and into which little reported research is being done. That said, I think the people providing these services do believe there’s a chance it may work one day, although I would have to say they’re optimistic.”

But this is not to say that living longer won’t, in time, prove possible as a result of some other method; just that arguably this is more likely to be based around preserving a life that has not experienced death, rather than the promise of reanimating one after its demise. The chasm between the two is all the more pronounced given neuroscience’s still scant ideas as to what consciousness or mind is, let alone how it might be saved and rebooted; would the warmed and reanimated you be the you that died, or a mere simulacrum? Your body may well not be the same: many of those opting for cryo-preservation go for the ‘freezing’ of just their brains.

Certainly while cryonics specifically may remain a largely unexplored field, Google is now investing in anti-ageing science, an area that, as De Magalhes puts it, “now has fewer crackpots and more reputable scientists working in it, with stronger science behind it too”. Indeed, as Yuval Noah Harari argues in his best-selling book Homo Deus, humanism’s status as contemporary society’s new religion of choice, combined with technological advances, makes some form of greatly extended lifespan inevitable for some generation to come. Whether this will be by melding man and machine, by genetic manipulation, by a form of existence in cyberspace or some other fix can only be speculated at, but everything about our civilisation’s recent development points to it becoming a reality.

Advances in medicine, after all, have greatly extended average longevity over the last century alone. With this has come a shift in perspective that sees death less as the natural end point to a life so much as a process of disease that could, and perhaps should, be tackled like any other disease that threatens existence. De Magalhes points out that for many working in the field it is less about the pursuit of immortality as of improved health.

“After all, it’s not self-evident that we all want to live forever, and there are philosophical arguments for the idea that death is good, that it’s necessary to appreciate life,” he says. “But it is self-evident that nobody wants Alzheimer’s, for example. If you focus on retarding the problems of ageing then inevitably we’re going to live longer. The longevity we have now isn’t ‘normal’; it’s already better than what we had not long ago. Extrapolate that to the future and in a century the length of time we live now might be considered pretty bad. One can envisage a time when we might live, if not forever, then perhaps thousands of years – so much longer than we live now that it might feel like forever.”

That, naturally, would bring with it profound changes to the way in which we perceive ourselves and to how the world operates and all the more so if living considerably longer became a possibility faster than society was able to inculcate the notion. How would such a long lifespan affect our sense of self? Would institutions and mores such as lifelong marriage and monogamy remain the norm? When would we retire? How would our relationships with the many subsequent generations of our family be shaped? How would population growth be managed? How would such long lives be funded?

Such questions are, for sure, of no concern to those currently in cryostasis. “These people tend to be into sci-fi, and into science too,” suggests Kowalski, who has signed up himself, his wife and children for cryonic services when the time comes. “I think for a lot of them it’s not necessarily about the fear of death. It’s more a fascination with the future. They’re optimistic about what it will bring. They’re more Star Trek than Terminator.”

See the rest here:
This company freezes your body so that you could one day be resurrected – AsiaOne

For The First Time Ever, A Woman in China Was Cryogenically Frozen – Futurism

Preserving Life Through Cryonics

Cryonics is the practice of deep-freezing recently deceased bodies(or even just the brains of those who have recently died)in the hopes of one day reviving them. It has been the subject of serious scientific exploration and study as well as a fair share of pseudoscience, lore, and myth. Fictional accounts like Batmans Iceman, and the (untrue) rumors of Walt Disney being cryogenically frozen have, unfortunately, cast a speculative shadow over the field of cryonics.

But recently, for the first time ever in China, a woman has been cryogenically frozen. Zhan Wenlian died at the age of 49 from lung cancer and her husband, Gui Junmin, volunteered her for the cryonic procedure. Bothhe and his late wife wanted to donate her body to science to give back to society. He told Mirror UKthat hewas initially pitched the idea of cryonics with it being described as a life preservation project.

This procedure which has Wenlians body restingfacedownin 2,000 liters of liquid nitrogen was completed at theYinfeng Biological Group in Jinan. This project is the collaborative effortof the Yinfeng Biological Group, Qilu Hospital Shandong University and consultants from Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a nonprofit cryonics company based in the United States.

Even with all the faith many have in the procedure, the question remains: how scientifically possible is a project like this? Is this just an experiment to allow us to better understand human biology, orcould cryonics one day become a feasible option?

Cryonics is all about timing.The bodies of the deceased arecryogenically frozenimmediately after the heartstops beating. Freezing is a bit of a misleading term, because cryonic freezing is actually very specifically trying toavoidice crystal formation which damages the cells of the bodys tissues. Rapid cooling, rather than freezing, is a more accuratedescription of the process. A chemical cocktail of preservatives likeglycerol andpropandiol, in addition to antifreeze agents, are commonly used to get the body into a stable state where it wont be decaying, but also wont suffer damage from being stored at low temperatures for, conceivably, a very long time.

From there, the bodiesare given specific care that caters to the idea that death is a continuing process; one that can ultimately be reversed. The aim of cryonic preservation would be to one day be able to thaw the bodies and reanimate them at a cellular level preferably without too many epigenetic changes.

I tend to believe in new and emerging technologies, so I think it will be completely possible to revive her.

With ourcurrent understanding and technology, this process of reversingdeath so completely is just not possible. The closest kind of revival we have are themoments after clinical death where patients are revived by something such as cardiac defibrillation. Cryonics acts within this critical, albeit brief, period as well but works within the belief that death is a grey area. More of a processrather than a definite, final, event.

Just because we havent succeeded in reviving the dead yetdoesnt mean the field of cryonics isunnecessary or unimportant.This first case inChina is a major step forward for everyone researching inthe field of cryonics and those of us who may, one day, hope to benefit from advancements in it.

We may not be able to reverse death just yet,but it doesnt seem outof the realm of possibility to imagine that, with such wild scientific advancements underway, technology could one day allow it to be possible. Whether or not it does in our lifetimes, this most recent development is certainly a positive one.

Originally posted here:
For The First Time Ever, A Woman in China Was Cryogenically Frozen – Futurism

How to live forever – TechRadar

Humans have wanted to live forever for as long as we’ve lived at all. It’s an obsession that stretches back so far that it feels like it’s somehow hard-coded into our DNA. Over the years, immortality (to a greater or lesser extent) has been promised by everyone from religions and cults to the cosmetics industry, big tech companies and questionable food blogs.

It’s also a staple of fiction, all the way back to the earliest surviving great work of literature. The Epic of Gilgamesh, carved onto stone tablets in 2100 BC, depicts its titular king hunting for the secret of eternal life, which he finds in a plant that lives at at the bottom of the sea. He collects the plant by roping stones to his feet, but then a snake steals it while he’s having a pre-immortality bath. Gilgamesh has a little cry, then gives up.

A cuneiform tablet containing part of The Epic of Gilgamesh.

The reason why we age is still the subject of major scientific debate, but it basically boils down to damage accumulating in our cells throughout our lives, which eventually kills us. By slowing that damage – first by making tools, then controlling fire, inventing writing, trade, agriculture, logic, the scientific method, the industrial revolution, democracy and so on, we’ve managed to massively increase human life expectancy.

There’s a common misconception that to live forever we need to somehow pause the ageing process. We don’t. We just need to increase the rate at which our lifespans are lengthening. Human lifespan has been lengthening at a constant rate of about two years per decade for the last 200 years. If we can speed that up past the rate at which we age then we hit what futurist Aubrey de Grey calls “longevity escape velocity” – the point we become immortal.

There’s a common misconception that to live forever we need to somehow pause the ageing process. We don’t. We just need to increase the rate at which our lifespans are lengthening.

That all sounds rather easy, and of course it’s not quite that simple. It’s all we can do at the moment to keep up with the Moore’s Law of increasing lifespans. But with a major research effort, coordinated around the world, who knows? Scientific history is filled with fields that ticked along slowly and then suddenly, massively, accelerated. Computer science is one. Genetics is another recent example.

To understand what we need to do to hit longevity escape velocity, it’s worth looking at how life expectancy has increased in recent history. The late statistician Hans Rosling made a powerful case that average lifespans rise alongside per capita income. Take a couple of minutes to watch this video and you’ll be convinced:

Reducing the gap between the global rich and poor, therefore, is probably the fastest way to boost the world average life expectancy figure, but it’s limited. And it won’t do much for people in rich countries.

To boost the lifespans of the people living in countries that are already pretty wealthy, we need to look closer at the countries that are forecast to have the highest life expectancies in the coming years. A study published earlier this year in the Lancet shows what life expectancy might look like in 2030 in 35 industrialised countries, using an amalgamation of 21 different forecasting models.

South Korea tops the chart with women living on average beyond 90, while France, Japan, Switzerland and Australia are not far behind. Most of the countries at the top of the chart have high-quality healthcare provision, low infant deaths, and low smoking and road traffic injury rates. Fewer people are overweight or obese. The US, meanwhile, is projected to see only a modest rise – due to a lack of healthcare access, and high rates of obesity, child mortality and homicides.

The study results are interesting, not only because they’re the best possible guess at our future but because they clearly show how social policies make a massive difference to how long people live. There are unknowns, of course – no-one could have predicted the 80s AIDS epidemic, for example, and no doubt further pandemics lurk in humanity’s future. But ban smoking, fight obesity, and introduce autonomous cars and personalised medicine, and you’ll see lifespans rise.

The US is projected to see only a modest rise in lifespan – due to a lack of healthcare access, and high rates of obesity, child mortality and homicides.

The other interesting thing is that the study’s results are a shot across the bows of scientists who claim that there are hard limits to human lifespan.

“As recently as the turn of the century, many researchers believed that life expectancy would never surpass 90 years, lead author Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London told the Guardian back in February.

That prediction mirrors another, published in Nature in October 2016, that concluded that the upper limit of human age is stuck at about 115 years.

“By analysing global demographic data, we show that improvements in survival with age tend to decline after age 100, and that the age at death of the worlds oldest person has not increased since the 1990s,” wrote the authors – Xiao Dong, Brandon Milholland & Jan Vijg.

“Our results strongly suggest that the maximum lifespan of humans is fixed and subject to natural constraints.”

The maximum length of a human lifespan remains up for debate.

Other researchers, however, disagree. Bryan G. Hughes & Siegfried Hekimi wrote in the same journal a few months later that their analysis showed that there are many possible maximum lifespan trajectories.

We just dont know what the age limit might be. In fact, by extending trend lines, we can show that maximum and average lifespans, could continue to increase far into the foreseeable future, Hekimi said.

Three hundred years ago, many people lived only short lives. If we would have told them that one day most humans might live up to 100, they would have said we were crazy.

That’s all big-picture stuff, so let’s dive down to a more personal level. Assuming that you can’t change your genetics or your life up until the point that you’re currently at, what can you personally do to live longer?

Here’s the list: Don’t smoke. Exercise your body and mind on a daily basis. Eat foods rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and unsaturated fat. Don’t drink too much alcohol. Get your blood pressure checked. Chop out sources of stress and anxiety in your life. Travel by train. Stay in school. Think positive. Cultivate a strong social group. Don’t sit for long periods of time. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D. Keep your weight at a healthy level. And don’t go to hospital if you can help it – hospitals are dangerous places.

All of those things have been correlated with increased lifespan in scientific studies. And they’re all pretty easy and cheap to do. If you want to maximise your longevity, then that’s your to-do list. But there are also strategies that have a little less scientific merit. The ones that people with too much money pursue when they realise they haven’t been following any of the above for most of their life.

Inside the Cryonics Institute.

Cryonics is probably the most popular. First proposed in the 1960s by US academic Robert Ettinger in his book “The Prospect of Immortality”, it involves freezing the body as soon as possible after death in a tube kept at -196C, along with detailed notes of what they died of. The idea is that when medicine has invented a cure for that ailment, the corpse can be thawed and reanimated.

Calling someone dead is merely medicines way of excusing itself from resuscitation problems it cannot fix today, reads the website of top cryogenics firm Alcor.

The problem is the brain. First, it’s so dense and well-protected that it’s extremely difficult for the cryonics chemicals to penetrate it. It’s almost impossible that it doesn’t get damaged in the freezing process.

The 21,000,000,000 neurons and ~1,000,000,000,000,000 synapses in the human brain means that it’ll be a while until we have the computational resources to map it.

Secondly, your neurons die quickly – even if you’re immersed within minutes of death, you’re still likely to suffer substantial brain damage. To which cryonics proponents argue: “What do I have to lose?” If the choice is between probably never waking up again and never waking up again, and it’s your money to spend, then why not give it a shot?

An alternative to deep freeze is storing your brain in a computer. Not literally a lump of grey matter, but a database detailing in full all of the connections between the neurons in your brain that make you you (known as your connectome). Future doctors could then either rewire a real or artificial brain to match that data, resurrecting you in a new body (or perhaps even as an artificial intelligence).

A close look at a slice of mouse brain. Credit: Robert Cudmore

So far, we’ve only managed to map the full connectome of one animal – the roundworm C. elegans. Despite the worm’s mere 302 neurons and 7,500 or so synapses, the resulting data is about 12GB in size – you can download it in full at the Open Connectome Project, and even install it in a robot, which will then act like a worm.

Unfortunately the human brain is a somewhat larger undertaking. The Human Connectome Project is making a start, and AI is helping, but the 21,000,000,000 neurons and ~1,000,000,000,000,000 synapses in the human brain means that it’ll be a while until we have the computational resources to get it done. It’s worth noting that this isn’t an unassailable goal, especially if we can somehow figure out which bits are actually important to our personality and who we are as individuals and which bits are just used to remember the lyrics of Spice Girls songs.

For now, though, my recommendation would be to stick to the list of simple life extension strategies above. It’s probable that in time we’ll have new ways of augmenting our bodies that will extend our lifespans (we’ve already started with cyborg technology – just look at pacemakers and artificial hips).

But if you want to be at the front of the waiting list then you’ll need to arrive at that point with as youthful a body as possible.

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How to live forever – TechRadar

Freeze Frame: Lifting The Lid On Cryonics – Billionaire.com

If you have around US$90,000 to spare and are of a gambling disposition, perhaps your final journey should be to Australia. A company called Southern Cryonics is looking to open a facility in New South Wales this year that will allow its customers to freeze their bodies after death in the hope of one day being resurrected. If it goes ahead, it will make Australia only the third country, after the US and Russia, where such a service is available.

But, especially for those of a futurist bent perhaps, its as valid a thing to do with ones body as burial or cremation. Last year, a terminally ill 14-year-old girl in the UK became the first and only child so far to undergo the cryonic process. This is technically not freezing but vitrification, in which the body is treated with chemicals and chilled to super-cold temperatures so that molecules are locked in place and a solid is formed. An estimated 2,500 bodies around the world are now stored in this condition.

Supporters concede that the technology to revive the infinitely complex interactions between those molecules may never exist, but are nonetheless hopeful, pointing to shifting conceptions of what irreversible death actually is. If, for example, cessation of a heartbeat used to define it, now hearts can be re-started todays corpse may be tomorrows patient. They point to experiments such as that announced last year by 21st Century Medicine, which claimed to have successfully vitrified and recovered an entire mammalian brain for the first time, with the thawed rabbits brain found to have all of its synapses, cell membranes and intracellular structures intact.

Its not just cryonics. Stem-cell research, nano-tech, cloning, the science just keeps plugging away towards a future [of reanimating] that may or may not come to exist, says an upfront Dennis Kowalski, president of the Michigan-based Cryonics Institute. His company was launched just over 40 years ago to provide cryostasis services. Lots of things considered impossible not long ago are possible today, so we just dont know how cryonics will work out. For people who use the service its really a case of theres nothing to lose.

Naturally, not everyone is hopeful that such processes will ever work out for those in the chiller. The problem with cryonics is that the perception of it is largely shaped by companies offering a service based on something completely unproven, says Joo Pedro De Magalhes, biologist and principal investigator into life extension at the University of Liverpool, UK, and co-founder of the UK Cryonics and Cryopreservation Network. Youre talking about a fairly eccentric procedure that only a few people have signed up to and into which little reported research is being done. That said, I think the people providing these services do believe theres a chance it may work one day, although I would have to say theyre optimistic.

But this is not to say that living longer wont, in time, prove possible as a result of some other method; just that arguably this is more likely to be based around preserving a life that has not experienced death, rather than the promise of reanimating one after its demise. The chasm between the two is all the more pronounced given neurosciences still scant ideas as to what consciousness or mind is, let alone how it might be saved and rebooted; would the warmed and reanimated you be the you that died, or a mere simulacrum? Your body may well not be the same: many of those opting for cryo-preservation go for the freezing of just their brains.

Certainly while cryonics specifically may remain a largely unexplored field, Google is now investing in anti-ageing science, an area that, as De Magalhes puts it, now has fewer crackpots and more reputable scientists working in it, with stronger science behind it too. Indeed, as Yuval Noah Harari argues in his best-selling book Homo Deus, humanisms status as contemporary societys new religion of choice, combined with technological advances, makes some form of greatly extended lifespan inevitable for some generation to come. Whether this will be by melding man and machine, by genetic manipulation, by a form of existence in cyberspace or some other fix can only be speculated at, but everything about our civilisations recent development points to it becoming a reality.

Advances in medicine, after all, have greatly extended average longevity over the last century alone. With this has come a shift in perspective that sees death less as the natural end point to a life so much as a process of disease that could, and perhaps should, be tackled like any other disease that threatens existence. De Magalhes points out that for many working in the field it is less about the pursuit of immortality as of improved health.

After all, its not self-evident that we all want to live forever, and there are philosophical arguments for the idea that death is good, that its necessary to appreciate life, he says. But it is self-evident that nobody wants Alzheimers, for example. If you focus on retarding the problems of ageing then inevitably were going to live longer. The longevity we have now isnt normal; its already better than what we had not long ago. Extrapolate that to the future and in a century the length of time we live now might be considered pretty bad. One can envisage a time when we might live, if not forever, then perhaps thousands of years so much longer than we live now that it might feel like forever.

That, naturally, would bring with it profound changes to the way in which we perceive ourselves and to how the world operates and all the more so if living considerably longer became a possibility faster than society was able to inculcate the notion. How would such a long lifespan affect our sense of self? Would institutions and mores such as lifelong marriage and monogamy remain the norm? When would we retire? How would our relationships with the many subsequent generations of our family be shaped? How would population growth be managed? How would such long lives be funded?

Such questions are, for sure, of no concern to those currently in cryostasis. These people tend to be into sci-fi, and into science too, suggests Kowalski, who has signed up himself, his wife and children for cryonic services when the time comes. I think for a lot of them its not necessarily about the fear of death. Its more a fascination with the future. Theyre optimistic about what it will bring. Theyre more Star Trek than Terminator.

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Freeze Frame: Lifting The Lid On Cryonics – Billionaire.com

Walt Disney Was NOT Frozen – MousePlanet

I recently did a presentation at the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee, Florida, about Disney and World War II. During the question-and-answer session, I was asked if I actually believed Walt was cremated and his ashes interred at Forest Lawn Glendale, because they had heard from a reliable source “that worked at Disney” that it was obvious he was frozen.

I was even asked about this during a question-and-answer session after a presentation I did at the Walt Disney Family Museum a few years ago about Disney and outer space.

It is a question I keep getting asked not out of idle curiosity, but because the person often wants to prove that they know this “secret fact” and if I am simply a Disney apologist who only promotes the official Disney line.

First, it is always challenging to try to prove a negative to the satisfaction of all people.

Second, just the mere mention of these falsehoods about Walt continues to give them additional life, with people claiming they saw this assertion in a book or heard it somewhere, like from a Disney cast member, so it must be true.

Finally, there will be people who despite common sense and all the evidence to the contrary will condescendingly assume that where there is smoke, there must be fire, or that someone is trying to cover-up the real story.

The one image that sticks in my mind when someone asks me if Walt were frozen is the memory of his oldest daughter Diane Disney Miller. I remember her telling me with a mixture of sadness and anger in her face and voice about how upsetting it was to the Disney family over the years for this question to even be asked in the first place.

She told me that one of the reasons she was so adamant about creating the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco was “Other little kids would say to my kids, ‘Your grandfather is frozen, isn’t he?’ And I just couldn’t let that stand. What if someone said that about their parent? How would they feel?”

When I lived in California, some California Institute of the Arts students as an art project raised some money by producing a limited amount of “Waltsickles” that featured a full-figured model of Walt Disney in a suit inside of a popsickle. That never happened again although gags about “Disney on Ice” with Walt frozen in a block of ice and skaters performing on top of him abound.

An editorial cartoon jokingly referred to Disney on Ice as being Walt frozen in ice.

Walt Disney was not cryogenically frozen, but was cremated on December 17, 1966. Rumors still persist that Walt was put into cryogenic suspension and buried somewhere underneath Disneyland, in particular under the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, since it was still under construction when he died.

However, I have had people tell me, he was put under the dedication plaque on Main Street or directly in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Interestingly, I haven’t yet had anyone tell me Walt’s supposed frozen body is somewhere in the Haunted Mansion. I guess that is because the Mansion is supposed to be for dead people and in theory, if he were frozen, Walt would still be alive.

Articles and books about the preservation of animal tissue through freezing appeared in medical and scientific journals and occasionally the general press starting in the late 1950s. Perhaps the most prominent book during Walt’s lifetime, The Prospect of Immortality by Robert C.W. Ettinger, was published in 1964.

However, this book still discussed cryonics as merely theoretical although eventually possible. Just as it was possible Walt “might” have heard about this topic, but there is no documentation that he ever did. Neither his family nor his closest associates ever heard him talk about the topicand Walt talked about everything he was interested in at the moment.

Certainly, there are several untrustworthy and unreliable sources that have proposed that he did but there is no evidence, including interviews with those who actually knew and worked with Walt.

Again, this is one of those Walt Disney Urban Legends that “everyone knows” but nobody seems to know where the information originated.

Waking Walt was a novel published in 2002 by former Disneyland and Walt Disney World Vice-President Larry Pontius about Walt Disney supposedly being defrosted by a very small group of former confidants to save the Disney Company from the machinations of Michael Eisner.

It is no surprise that Walt’s disgust about what has happened to his dream, especially Epcot, is clearly apparent in the novel. Pontinus never knew Walt, but worked as a Disney marketing executive from 1976-1982.

Diane Disney Miller asserted in 1972: “There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that my father, Walt Disney, wished to be frozen. I doubt that my father had ever heard of cryonics.”

Walt’s official death certificate clearly shows that his body was cremated at Forest Lawn Glendale on December 17, 1966. The name, license number and signature of the embalmer, Dean Fluss, are those of a real embalmer who worked at the mortuary at the time. Court papers show that the Disney family paid $40,000 to Forest Lawn for the interment location of his ashes.

Certainly, Walt did not like attending funerals and even avoided the ones for his own father and brother.

“He never goes to a funeral if he can help it,” wrote Diane in 1956. “If he had to go to one it plunges him into a reverie which lasts for hours after he’s home. At such times he says, ‘When I’m dead I don’t want a funeral. I want people to remember me alive’.”

Walt did not want people to see him in the hospital, and so only the immediate family was allowed into his room. Very few people, even those close to him, knew how really sick Walt actually was. The story told to the public was that he was undergoing surgery for an old neck injury from playing polo that most people knew had troubled him for decades and then re-entered the hospital days later for a routine post operative checkup.

Walt’s death was not immediately announced to the press until several hours after it occurred at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 15, 1966. Walt lay in his hospital bed for a few hours while his family arrived and said their farewells. If Walt was to be put into cryonic suspension, it would have had to be done immediately to preserve him or even just moments before his death. That did not happen.

He lay there as his daughter Diane tried to get her mother to hurry up to get to the hospital but Lillian kept delaying the inevitable. His older brother Roy sat at the edge of the bed rubbing one of Walt’s feet that was sticking out from the under the sheets. Walt had always complained his feet were cold in the hospital.

The cause of Disney’s death was initially announced as being “acute circulatory collapse” and, on the death certificate, “cardiac arrest,” which meant simply that his heart had stopped beating. It was a standard medical phrase giving no indication of what caused the heart to stop beating, which, in this case, was cancer. The cause was considered of secondary importance and to the general public the actual cause was unimportant. Walt Disney was gone.

Walt’s funeral was quietly held at the Little Church of the Flowers in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale at 5 p.m. on Friday, December 16, the day after his death. No funeral announcement was made until after it had taken place. Only immediate family members attended, no friends, people who worked at the studio or business associates.

The Disney characters and cast members mourn Walt Disney in this cartoon.

His widow Lillian; daughters Diane and Sharon, with their husbands (Ron Miller and Robert Brown); his brother Roy and his wife Edna; and their son, Walt’s nephew Roy E. Disney, with his wife Patty, were the only ones there. His sister Ruth was told not to fly down from Portland, Oregon, where she lived for fear the press would follow her to the service.

The Los Angeles Times reported, “Secret rites were conducted at the Little Church of the Flowers at Forest Lawn. The services were a closely-guarded secret. Family services were announced only after they had been concluded. Studio and cemetery officials refused to reveal details.”

Forest Lawn officials refused to disclose any details of the funeral or disposition of the body, stating only that “Mr. Disney’s wishes were very specific and had been spelled out in great detail.”

The situation that people were not fully aware how ill Walt was, never saw him in the hospital and how badly he had deteriorated, nor attended his funeral to see him lying in state sparked the speculation that like other popular celebrities who died somewhat suddenly, including Elvis Presley, Walt was not really dead.

While the Disney family were a private family and felt this was a private matter, others saw it as a mystery.

The origin of the rumor of Walt being frozen has often been credited to Disney Studios animators who “had a bizarre sense of humor” and perhaps the earliest known printed version appeared in the French magazine Ici Paris in 1969.

In 1985, I asked animator Ward Kimball if he was the source for the rumor since he was well known for his pranks. “When Disney fans ask me if it’s true that Walt’s body is kept frozen for future resurrection, I answer that question by pointing out that Walt was always intensely interested in things scientific and he, more than any person I knew, just might have been curious enough to agree to such an experiment.”

A decade earlier, Kimball had told another interviewer, “The smoking may have set the stage for his death. It probably weakened his physical condition. But I’m convinced it was the emotional stress he was under that killed him. It’s such a dull world. So when I am asked if Walt’s body was frozen and if he believed he could come back someday, just to stir things up I tell everybody he is frozen. Actually, he was cremated.”

in 1972, Bob Nelson, who was then the president of the Cryonics Society of California, gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times. He specifically stated that Walt was not cryogenically frozen and reaffirmed that he had been cremated. However, he continued that he felt that Walt wanted to be frozen and based it on the fact that he had been contacted by someone at the studios prior to Disney death that asked elaborate questions about the process, the facilities, the staff, and their history.

That someone may have been writer Charles Show, who had worked on the Tomorrowland episodes for the Disney television series and has admitted doing research on the topic before Walt’s death.

Nelson pointed out that the first cryonic suspension took place just a month after Disney’s death. Dr. James Bedford, a 73-year-old psychologist from Glendale, was suspended by Nelson and his team on January 12, 1967. Bedford has yet to be revived from his comfortable rest in Arizona.

“If Disney had been the first it would have made headlines around the world and been a real shot in the arm for cryonics,” said Nelson who had hoped to put Walt in a nitrogen filled capsule chilled to minus 371 degrees Fahrenheit. Interestingly, Nelson’s organization had its incorporation papers approved by the state of California on December 15, 1966, the same day Walt passed away.

Nelson was later asked if some other facility than his own might have been involved.

“There was no other facility at that time. The only other group was the Cryonics Society of New York and they had nothing no mortician, no doctor, no nothing,” Nelson said.

Author Ray Bradbury said later, “There was a rumor that (Walt) had been frozen in a cryogenic mortuary to be revived in later years. Nonsense! He’s alive now! People at the studio speak of him as if he were present! That’s immortality for you. Who needs cryonics?”

In the 1970s, the National Enquirer revealed the grave site of Walt Disney.

For nearly a year after the cremation, Walt Disney’s ashes remained un-interred. When Sharon’s husband, Bob Brown, died less than a year later, in September 1967, Sharon made the arrangements for her father and her husband to be interred together so that neither would be alone. She and her older sister, Diane, chose a remote plot outside the Freedom Mausoleum.

A modest bronze rectangular tablet on a wall lists the name of Walter Elias Disney; his wife, Lillian; his son-in-law, Robert Brown; and a mention that daughter Sharon’s ashes were “scattered in paradise.”

To locate the site, drive through the entrance to a road called Cathedral Drive. Stay on the road to the eastern edge of the park where Cathedral Drive intersects with Freedom Way. At that intersection, turn right onto Freedom Way. On your left will be trees, fountains, and statues. This area is called Freedom Court.

At the far end of Freedom Court is a large mausoleum. Pull over and park on the right-hand side of the street. There should be a “33” painted on the curb opposite your car, indicating 33 Freedom Way. Standing at the base of the steps leading to the main entrance of the Freedom Mausoleum, turn to your left and walk to the far edge of the steps.

There is a small, private, low-gated courtyard garden near the brick wall. Inside this area guarded by a hedge of orange olivias, red azaleas, and a holly tree there is a small statue of Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid sitting on a rock.

In recent years, another huge falsehood has circulated in regards to Walt Disney’s death and I have no clue where this could have originated.

According to the myth, in Walt Disney’s Last Will and Testament dated March 1966, he stipulated that the first man to get pregnant or give birth would receive millions of dollars, all of Walt Disney World or even the entire Disney Company. The vagueness of the reward should be the first clue that this is bogus.

Walt Disney’s will is a public document and easily accessible so it is easy to see that no such statement exists or anything else like it relating to bizarre statement.

In addition, Walt was a highly conservative Midwest Christian and such a decree would certainly be out of character even for a man interested in innovation and the latest technology. In any case, this would not be something the traditional Walt would likely want to encourage at all nor did he ever discuss anything like it.

In any case, The Walt Disney Company was a publicly held corporation so Walt wouldn’t have been able to give away the company or Walt Disney World. He didn’t own them. In his will, Disney clearly left 45 percent of his estate to his wife and daughters and another 45 percent to be distributed primarily to California Institute of the Arts and the remaining 10 percent to be divided among his sister, nieces, and nephews.

So there were no extra millions of dollars to be distributed to any other bequest.

While there have been stories of eccentric wealthy people making unusual bequests in their wills, Walt never did.

However, even Walt knew that a good story is hard to extinguish and will often take on a life of its own. You might think that the information in this column is enough to put the story to rest but I can tell you that I shared this with an avid and somewhat knowledgeable Disney fan before publication and her immediate reaction was, “documents can be forged!”

I just sighed.

So the falsehoods will probably continue while the facts are forgotten. I just keep remembering how sad it made Diane Disney Miller and I wish there were more I could do.

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Walt Disney Was NOT Frozen – MousePlanet

A first in China cryonics: Dead woman put in deep freeze – EJ Insight – EJ Insight

A 49-year-old Chinese woman who died from lung cancer has been put in deep freeze in the hope that she will be brought back to life and reunited with her husband once science has found a cure for her fatal illness.

Thecryonics procedure was performed at Shandong Yinfeng Life Science Research Institute in Jinan on May 8, several minutes after Zhan Wenlian died at Shandong Universitys Qilu Hospital, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Zhan and her husbandGui Junmin had agreed to put her through the procedure, which involves low-temperature preservation of a person whose life can no longer be sustained under current science and medical knowledge, with the hope that he or she can be resuscitated and restored to full health in the future.

While some people suspect that the procedure is just another hoax, Gui expressed in a letter of consent that he knew it was not possible to revive his wife in the near future but he still he would like to give it a try.

He said he and his family believe that future advances in science and medicine will enable experts to revive his wife.

The cryopreservation was the first for a whole human body in China, although a female writer in Chongqing had had her brain frozen and preserved in 2015.

The procedure was done by Aaron Drake, a specialist in cryogenics, in cooperation with doctors from Shandong Yinfeng Life Science Research Institute and specialists from the hospital.

After more than 60 hours of work, Zhans body temperature was lowered to below minus 190 degrees Celsius before she was kept in a liquid nitrogen tank that provides a stable temperature of minus 196 degrees.

The procedure is said to cost more than 7 million yuan (US$1.05 million) plus an annual charge of 50,000 yuan for the refilling of liquid nitrogen.

But Gui only needs to pay a small portion of the amount since his wife volunteered.

Jia Chunsheng, who is in charge of Shandong Yinfeng, said cryogenics projects remain asserious scientific studies and the institute has no intention to commercialize the procedure anytime soon, news website hk01.com reported.

Jia also praised Zhan for being willing to contribute her body to scientific research, adding that her consent fuels the hope that dead people can be revived and restored to full health in the future.

In the United States, there have been about 250 people placed in cryopreservation as of 2014.

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A first in China cryonics: Dead woman put in deep freeze – EJ Insight – EJ Insight

The Political Spectrum, book review: How wireless deregulation gave us the iPhone – ZDNet

The Political Spectrum: The Tumultuous Liberation of Wireless Technology, from Herbert Hoover to the Smartphone By Thomas Winslow Hazlett Yale University Press 401 pages 978-0-300-21050-7 $35

Fred (Alfred E) Kahn kept fretting about the size of his fake nose. It was the 1973 Cornell Savoyards production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Iolanthe, and he was playing the Lord Chancellor — the little man who prances around and sings the ‘Nightmare Song’. A few years later, he championed airline industry deregulation as part of the Carter administration.

In The Political Spectrum, Thomas Winslow Hazlett — a professor at Clemson University and a frequent contributor to the libertarian magazine Reason — reminds us that the job Kahn really wanted was chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). If he’d gotten that job rather than one on the Civil Aeronautics Board, Hazlett says, we’d have cheaper and better wireless service — but airfares on the “government-protected cartel of carriers” would be really expensive. One could retort: Dr David Dao. However.

This particular ‘what-if’ is a vignette in Hazlett’s history of wireless spectrum regulation, which covers American telecommunications regulation from the Radio Act of 1912 to the present. Hazlett’s basic argument is that government-regulated spectrum rights are slowly allocated (over six to 13 years) and endemically and wastefully underused.

The focus is mainly on the US, although Hazlett regards the story as having broader applicability. As he told an audience at the Adam Smith Institute in June: “Every country has its own story, but they tend to have patterns.” One of these, and the one that perhaps annoys Hazlett the most, is ‘technical reasons’ — the excuse that’s always given for not changing how things are done.

Deregulation, Hazlett argues, gave us FM radio, HBO, wi-fi, and the iPhone. Regulation was meant to provide TV services in the public interest — news, education, and so on. Instead, it gave us a TV landscape that FCC chair Newton N Minow, in a famous 1961 speech to broadcasters in Las Vegas, called a “vast wasteland”. Anyone in Britain might say: ‘But the BBC!’ Hazlett mentions it three times: once as a censor, once as a public utility studied by the economist Ronald Coase, and once (as BBC America) as one of the diverse news and information sources enabled by deregulating cable and ending the “artificial scarcity” of TV channels.

If the book has a hero, it may be Coase. In 1960, he proposed an idea, now known as the Coase theorem, that regulating the airwaves to avoid interference was unnecessary, because as long as property rights in the frequencies were well-defined, the broadcaster to whom the rights were most valuable would pay competitors not to interfere. The market, in other words, would find the most efficient frequency allocation for itself.

Coase, then 50, was much derided for this idea at the time, but lived long enough to receive the Nobel Prize in economics in 1991 and enjoy two decades of vindication before he died in 2013 at the age of 102.

Obviously this is a book that anyone involved with spectrum policy would want as a reference. What’s unexpected is that, whether or not you agree with Hazlett’s conclusions, it’s also reasonably entertaining to read — no small feat with a subject as esoteric as this.

Risk, film review: Access all Assange areas, to incoherent effectOver six years of filming, Laura Poitras follows the elusive and distant Wikileaks founder from a friend’s Norfolk estate to his Ecuadorian Embassy bolt-hole.

Move Fast and Break Things, book review: Where did the internet go wrong?Jonathan Taplin’s book examines how a handful of Silicon Valley libertarians came to dominate the internet via giant companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

To Be a Machine, book review: Disrupting life itselfMark O’Connell explores the drive to transcend biology using technology, examining ideas like the Singularity, mind uploading, cryonics, whole-brain emulation and cyborgs.

Thinking Machines, book review: AI, past, present and futureAdvances in recent decades have seen artificial intelligence develop apace, and AI now pervades our lives. Yet, as this book explains, true machine intelligence is still a work in progress.

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The Political Spectrum, book review: How wireless deregulation gave us the iPhone – ZDNet

SO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE SIMON COWELL? YOU’LL WANT A CRYONIC PRESERVATION TRUST – Bloomberg BNA

Weve all heard the saying, you cant take it with you when you go, butwhat if I told you theres a way you can? Certainly celebrities like SimonCowell, Seth MacFarlane, and Larry King have indicated they would like to try,and with advances in cryonics, somethingthat has been around for a few decades, it may actually be possible. But it raisesthe question: how exactly do you go about paying to keep your body preserved, andat the same time growing (or at least preserving) your assets for use when youfinally come back to life? The simple answer . . . the aptly named cryonicpreservation trust.[1]

A cryonic preservation trust (CPT) functions similarly to a typical dynastytrust, but with a few different twists. For one, you must consider how to gaugethe life of the trust taking into consideration the rule against perpetuities(RAP). The logical solution is to make the cryopreservation institution abeneficiary, or simply establish your trust in a state that has done away withthe RAP, like Delaware, South Dakota, and Alaska. Of course, the grantor would have to be theprimary beneficiary to reclaim his or her assets when he or she awakens from cryopreservation.We really have no idea when revival from cryopreservation will be a viableoption, so building in flexibility for a CPT to last 100 or even 1,000 years isnecessary.

Another major difference is the list of potential beneficiaries. Whereasa typical dynasty trusts beneficiaries will be the lineal descendants of thegrantor, the purpose of a CPT is to provide the grantor with a trust incomestream to pay the annual cryonic preservation fees, and with assets when he orshe is revived. Wealthier individuals may still be able to sprinkle some of theincome generated from the assets in the CPT to lineal descendants or charity,but because they want access to the corpus when they are revived, thisnecessitates a reversion provision. But what happens if the grantor is neverrevived? Logic tells us that the CPT could simply continue on as a traditionaldynasty trust. The reversion provision would be based on an event uncertain(the grantor rising from the dead), and if that event never comes to fruition,then the reversion would never happen.

Perhaps the two greatest questions, however, are: 1) how can anindividual afford to pay for potentially hundreds of years of cryonicpreservation and expect to have assets remaining when they are revived?; and 2)what are the estate tax consequences (if there even is an estate) when theindividual is cryogenically preserved?

The answer to the first question is fairly simple. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation (Alcor),perhaps the most well-known cryopreservation organization, requires a minimum initial fundingamount of $200,000, of which $115,000 goes to the Patient Care Trust, $60,000 isfor cryopreservation, and $25,000 to the Comprehensive MemberStandby Fund. These fees are typically paid for with a life insurancepolicy for the benefit of Alcor, but can also be paid in cash or by using aCPT. It is important to note, however, that these fees are only forcryopreservation and revival, and do not include any medical treatmentnecessary to cure the previously incurable disease that the grantor died from.For this reason, it would make sense to implement a CPT so that the assetswould grow over the course of the individuals biostasis period.

The second question is probably best answered by going through ahypothetical scenario. Mr. Doe is a retired, 70-year-old widower with twochildren Jane (40 and married with one child of her own) and John (45 and marriedwith two children). He has a net worth of $5.49 million. Mr. Doe suffers froman incurable disease and wishes to be cryogenically preserved when he dies inhopes that he will be revived when a cure has been discovered. He also wants to provide a little for hischildren and grandchildren. So how would he go about doing this?

Mr. Doe comes to you asking to design a plan that will allow him to payfor his cryopreservation, provide income to his lineal descendants and charity,and grant him access to his assets once he rises from the dead. You rememberhearing about CPTs, and are very familiar with dynasty trusts, so you tell himyou know exactly what to do.

You begin drafting an ordinary dynasty trust, but start makingmodifications to ensure that the trust is valid, and limits beneficiarychallenges as much as possible. Below are a few modifications you shouldconsider:

Select an institutional trustee (forcontinuity);

Nominate a trust protector (typically a lawfirm) to ensure that Mr. Does wishes are carried out;

Provide beneficiaries with discretionarydistributions (perhaps limiting them to an ascertainable standard);

Include an interrorem clause that would disinherit a beneficiary if he or she challengesthe trusts validity;

Include a charitable beneficiary to furthersupport that the trust has eligible named beneficiaries;

Include a reversion provision (because afterall, the primary purpose of the trust is to allow Mr. Doe to have access to hisfunds when he is revived);

Consider establishing multiple CPTs withdifferent purposes, funded with different assets;

Have the trust purchase a life insurance policyon Mr. Does life with the assets transferred;

Allocate all remaining gift, estate, andgeneration-skipping transfer tax exemption;

Provide for discretionary distributions to fundtechnological advances in cryopreservation and medical care so that Mr. Doe maybe revived more quickly; and

In the event Mr. Doe is never revived, thenprovide for the complete distribution of trust assets to named beneficiariessuch as his lineal descendants and the named charity or charities.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but itdoes provide you with several considerations when drafting a CPT. Remember thatwhen Mr. Doe is cryogenically frozen, he is legally considered dead, so theusual estate filings will be required. No one has been revived from cryostasis,so it is still to be seen what the tax consequences will be if or when ithappens.

Foreverything necessary to research, plan, and implement strategies for maximizingyour clients control while minimizing taxes, take a freetrial to the Estates,Gifts and Trusts Portfolios Library.

[1]These trusts are also referred to as cryonic suspension trusts, personalrevival trusts, or just cryonics trusts.

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SO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE SIMON COWELL? YOU’LL WANT A CRYONIC PRESERVATION TRUST – Bloomberg BNA

Case Reports | Cryonics Institute

Cryonics Institute Case Report for Patient Number 153

CI patient #153 was a 95 year old female from Florida. The patient was a CI member at the time of her death.

The patient died in the hospital during the morning of April 23, 2017. The nurses at the hospital administered heparin and the patient was cooled down promptly after death was pronounced. The next of kin had made arrangements with a local funeral director for the patients transport. The funeral director arrived at the hospital promptly after the death and the patient was transported to the funeral home and remained in water ice while flight arrangements for that afternoon were made.

The patient arrived at the CI facility, in water ice, at 6 pm on the 23rd of April, approximately 11 hours after death. The nasal temperature was 7c.

Hillary McCauley performed the perfusion. The perfusion was completed at 8:55 pm. During the perfusion there were 4 liters of 10% Eg solution used, 5 liters of 30% Eg solution used, and 10 liters of 70% VM1 solutions used. The final refractive index of the effluents exiting the right jugular vein was 1.4206. The final refractive index of the effluents exiting the left jugular vein was 1.4175. The average perfusion pressure was held at 125mm and metal cannulas were used. Flow rate started at 1.54 liters per minute and was reduced to 0.29 liters per minute by the end of the perfusion. The nasal temperature was 6.9c at the end of the perfusion. There were no blood clots noted during the perfusion and there was adequate drainage from the jugular veins. Efforts were made to perfuse the entire body, but the decision was made to perfuse only the patients head due to rapid distention of the abdomen and the absence of any evidence showing the perfusate was reaching the extremities. Considerable dehydration of the head and face was noted along with a bronzing color of the skin. Minimal edema was noted in the face at the end of the perfusion. The perfusion of the head was very successful.

The patient was then transferred to the computer controlled cooling chamber to cool to liquid nitrogen temperature. The human vitrification program was selected and the time needed to cool the patient to liquid nitrogen temperature was five days and 11 hours. The patient was then placed in a cryostat for long-term cryonic storage.

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Case Reports | Cryonics Institute

Brain Freeze: Have yours preserved in Salem for possible future revival – KATU

by Joe Douglass, KATU News and KATU.com Staff

Oregon Cryonics Executive Director Jordan Sparks cools brains to be revived in the future to negative 300 degrees using liquid nitrogen. (KATU Photo)

If there were a way to preserve your mind after you died, would you do it, even if it cost tens of thousands of dollars?

Oregon Cryonics is working to make that idea a reality. Its facility is one of only four offering the service worldwide.

From the outside the facility looks like a normal office building, and inside it looks like a normal lab, complete with gas tanks, computer screens, a refrigerator and nearby buckets.

But inside the refrigerator there is a human brain, and the buckets are full of brains, too.

Oregon Cryonics is a nonprofit group with a very specific goal.

We preserve brains. We try to preserve them with the very best structure that we can, says Executive Director Jordan Sparks, who is a computer programmer and a dentist by trade.

He wrote the software for the endeavor, and part of the facility was his previous dental office.

Sparks started working on Oregon Cryonics full time four years ago. The first brain the group preserved belonged to a dog named Cupcake. Since then it has preserved around 50 or 60 human brains.

We try to lock all the molecules in place so that future scientists can decide what to do with those molecules afterwards revive the person somehow, says Sparks.

He says the preservations are done in two ways.

One: By pumping the brain full of chemicals with a complex electronic system soon after the person dies. Two: By keeping brains cold, around negative 300 degrees.

If you have a brain thats been preserved well, the laws of physics say that you should be able to pull out all the memories, the personalities, the way that person thinks, Sparks says. Clearly, the revival technology is well over 100 years away, but were doing the preparatory work right now to let those future scientists do the revivals.

Most of the brains the ones in the buckets are not kept cold. Theyre preserved only with chemicals.

Those are ones where people donated their body to science, and were trying to perfect the technology, Sparks says. And so we do the same process on those, and then we slice up and analyze and see how good of a job we did.

He says six of the brains are being kept cold through a multistep process. It ends with them chilling in a tank filled with liquid nitrogen.

Those six are ones that are trying to get revived. Thats why theyre here, says Sparks. And so for those, we treat them differently. We treat them with extra care.

He says two of those brains are from folks who spent about $25,000 each.

Anyone can sign up for services, but you have to die close by, Sparks says, because they need to start pumping chemicals into the brain as soon as possible after death to successfully preserve it.

Also, certain life insurance policies do cover cryonics.

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Brain Freeze: Have yours preserved in Salem for possible future revival – KATU

The CI Advantage | Cryonics Institute

Why choose CI?

The Cryonics Institute offers the public cryonic suspensions of the highest quality at the lowest reasonable cost. This has been our mission since 1976, when CI was founded by Robert C.W. Ettinger, the scientist who founded the cryonics movement. Our goal is to preserve life at liquid nitrogen temperatures until the day when medical technologies mature to the point where our patients can be successfully revived to new life, health and even renewed youth.

Cryonics offers a second chance at life. Not surprisingly, the Cryonics Institute is not the sole organization advancing this revolutionary concept.

However, as the stewards of Robert Ettingers legacy, we believe the Cryonics Institute is the organization most vested in advancing cryonics, and as such, offers significant advantages over other cryonic suspension providers.

Our prices are lower than any other organization in fact, the most affordable prices anywhere in the world. We set our prices low because we exist only to benefit our members – we dont want to overcharge ourselves.

Our minimum whole-body suspension fee is $28,000. (For members at a distance, transportation costs and local help will be additional.) Our $28,000 fee is a one-time only payment, with no subsequent charges. It’s easily funded by life insurance or other investments subject to CI verification. One competitors cost is $200,000 for similar cryopreservation procedures and perpetual storage services. (* See more below on mandatory remote standby and how it can increase costs.)

Does our lower cost mean lower quality patient care or services? Absolutely not. Specific methods and research differ only slightly, and we believe our procedures and policies offer the best possible chance for patient survival.

While we certainly encourage our members to overfund and donate to help offset operational costs, we do not force people to pay beyond what we have determined is an adequate sum to fund our process.

The Cryonics Institutes state-of-the-art cryonic suspensions are performed by our team of experienced and trained cryonics professionals, using what we consider to be the best scientifically tested and proven procedures, equipment and vitrification formula available.

Vitrification is a key element in ensuring an optimal suspension. Our vitrification formula has been specifically formulated to minimize ice crystal formation and structural tissue damage associated with the freezing process, resulting in superior suspensions. CI made a significant research investment to arrive at this scientifically tested formula and we share the results openly. Our open source formula is freely available so that anyone who needs it can replicate it for local standby procedures, or to conduct their own independent quality tests.

Since 1976, we have successfully cryopreserved over 100 patients, all of whom are still in perfect cryostasis today. Our long proven track record of successful suspensions makes us one of the most reliable and respected cryonics organization around.

Robert C.W. Ettinger himself was cryopreserved by CI in 2011. A close examination of the late Mr. Ettingers own cryonics case report proves that a superior suspension need not involve expensive remote standby services. Solid planning utilizing local resources is a lower cost, and often superior, solution.

One might ask if the founder of cryonics chose CI (the very organization he founded) for his own cryopreservation, then why would anyone choose a different, more expensive provider? We agree CI is the best choice and hope you will too.

We have a unique, proven track record of financial security and stability, as well as price stability. CI is the only cryonics organization with no debt, no stockholders, and no landlords. We own our patient care facilities outright, and all of our member officers and directors donate their services voluntarily. We’re one of the oldest cryonics organizations in existence — and the only such organization that has never raised its prices, even in high-inflation times like the late 70s and early 80s. Adjusting for inflation, our prices have actually steadily declined.

This is a critical distinction, because as members ourselves, each and every one of us has a vested interest in the long-term viability of our organization – our facilities, cryostats and finances are built to last into the future we’re striving toward.

Importantly, CI has kept its paid staff to a minimum to avoid high labor costs of excess labor. CI has never had a case of embezzlement, employee corruption or, of course, any patients lost. Through due diligence and careful examination of our personnel and procedures, CI has avoided the negative PR and lawsuits that have plagued other organizations.

Our volunteer leadership is an importan asset. It includes very talented people with successful careers in key areas – law, acounting, investment, emergency medical technology and company CEOs – all factors critical to running a successful cryonics organization. These leaders provide their high-priced talent to CI at no cost – because they believe in the promise of cryonics for themselves and their families.

We anticipate greater growth and stability through increased membership and by helping people from all socioeconomic groups. All of CIs directors and officers are directly elected by and from our membership, giving our members institutional oversight and ownership. Many CI members volunteer time and resources, receiving no pay other than the pride and satisfaction of helping one another. All decisions are made by our members, for the benefit of our members. We have no bureacracy, and no decision-maker has any financial interest except to benefit the organization.

While some organizations make centralized remote standby mandatory, CI offers this as an option available through Suspended Animation, Inc., the same organization that serves other providers. CI does not believe in a one size fits all standby solution. Instead, we encourage members to plan and set up their own decentralized local resources. We think that the ultimate responsibility for standby relies to a certain degree with the individual member, since each member can assess his or her own individual circumstances.

Spending large sums of money for remote standby services, unfortunately does not guarantee a successful suspension. Members must take an active role in planning and not be lulled into a false sense of security. By such arrangements, Robert Ettinger himself illustrated this point through the common sense cooperation between his family and friends. He didnt need to spend an extra $170,000 to receive an optimum suspension.

For those who do choose a remote standby option, CI offers its members the identical SA remote standby option as other cryonics providers, but at a much lower cost. For some people, especially those who live close enough to remote standby resources, this option can make sense based on proximity and experience.

However, when evaluating remote standby it is wise to consider the question of time and distance from the remote standby team and the cryonics service provider. Indeed, this is recognized in many life-saving situations. While it would benefit a cardiac arrest patient to have a team of medical professionals on call to perform CPR when needed, it wouldnt help this patient if that team was two hours away and arrived too late. In contrast, a simple network of laypeople five minutes away with the capability to perform CPR would have a much better chance of saving the patient. Similarly, a vast network of volunteers is the gold standard for most of the worlds rural fire and emergency medical services. In the case of cryonics, almost every city has funeral directors willing to provide quick cool down and transport to CI.

We believe that human life comes before profit. We follow fair business practices and hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards.

We welcome you to shop around and ask questions. When you consider the alternatives, were confident that you will agree we are the best, most affordable and most trustworthy cryonics organization available.

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The CI Advantage | Cryonics Institute

Eternity 2.0 – North Bay Bohemian

At 11am on a Sunday morning, I slip into a row of seats in front of a podium with flower bouquets on each side. I’m here to listen to an aging white man talk about the afterlife. A woman in a fancy hat arranges a potluck lunch on a back table. Other attendees, mostly gray-haired, pass around a wicker basket and toss in $20 bills and personal checks.

We aren’t in church. This is godless Silicon Valley.

The Humanist Society has welcomed Ralph Merkle, a Livermore native, to explain cryonicsthe process of freezing a recently dead body in “liquid goo,” like Austin Powersto the weekly Sunday Forum. We all want to know about being re-awoken, or reborn, in the future.

Merkle, who has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford and invented what’s called “public key cryptology” in the ’70s, makes his pitch to the audience: hand over $80,000, plus yearly dues, to Alcor, and the Scottsdale, Arizonabased company will freeze your brain, encased in its skull, so that you and your memories can wait out the years until medical nanotechnology is advanced enough to both bring you back from a frozen state as well as fix the ills that brought on your death in the first place.

“You get to make a decision if you want to join the experimental group or the control group,” Merkle says. “The outcome for the control group is known.”

Alcor gained infamy in 2002, when the body of baseball legend Ted Williams was flown to the company’s Arizona headquarters, where his head was then severed, frozen and, according to some reports, mistreated.

The Humanist Society is an ideal audience for Merkle’s presentation, as its congregants aren’t held back by the tricky business of believing in a soul. Debbie Allen, the perfectly coiffed executive director and secretary of the national board of the American Humanist Association, considers cryonics a practical tool. “Religion has directed the conversation for thousands of years,” she says. Allen prefers to focus on ethics, and whether cryonics “advances the well-being of the individual or the community.”

“Science-fiction,” someone whispers behind me, as Merkle talks about nanorobots of the future. He also notes how respirocytes and microbivores can be “programmed to run around inside a cell and do medically useful things like make you healthy.”

As one might expect in a room full of humanists, skepticism runs high during the Q&A portion of the meeting. People are wondering exactly what kind of animals the scientists have used to test the cryonics process (answer: nematodes); when Alcor freezes bodies (after one’s heart stops, if a DNR, or do not resuscitate, order is requested); whether a frozen brain is any good if the rest of the body deteriorates (“Toss it,” Merkle says. “Replacement of everything will be feasible.”); and what happens if Alcor goes bankrupt.

“We take that very seriously,” the doctor says.

Lunch is served.

“Why would he want to preserve somebody like Adolf Trump?” asks Bob Wallace, 93, who ate salad and cubed cheese with his partner, Marge Ottenberg, 91, whom he met at a Humanist Society event.

“Obviously, the worst possible people are most likely to want to live forever,” says Arthur Jackson, 86, a retired junior high school teacher.

Ottenberg seems more open to the idea of coming back from the dead than her golden-year counterparts. “Whatever works,” she says.

Silicon Valley is the sort of place where people dream about nanorobots fixing our medical disorders. It’s the sort of place where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent chasing that dream.

The last five years have seen an investment boom in what’s called “life extension” research. Some of it is straight-up science, such as the Stanford lab researching blood transfusions in mice to cure Alzheimer’s. Scientists are in a race against time to help as many people as possible, as fast as possible. They’re battling a disease that saw an 89 percent increase in diagnoses between 2000 and 2014; and Alzheimer’s or other dementia is currently the sixth leading cause of death. There are also nontraditional sources of cash flowing into biotech, which was once considered a risky investment.

But death itself is the biggest social ill Silicon Valley is trying to solve.

We can build apps to keep track of diabetics’ blood glucose levels, to measure how soundly we’re sleeping and to access medical records in an instant, but none of this stops the body from wearing out. Alongside the scientists laying the medical foundation to get us to the nanorobots envisioned by Merkle, techie utopians are looking at other ways to cheat death. A cluster of tech companies are attracting far more funding from Silicon Valley than academia, shifting the research landscape with infusions of cash.

Bryan Johnson, an entrepreneur who sold his online payment company to PayPal for $800 million, was the first investor in Craig Venter’s Human Longevity Inc., which aims to create a database of a million human genome sequences, including people who are over 100 years old, by 2020. Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who once said “Death makes me very angry” and is one of the oldest of the life-extension investors at 72, has also invested in Human Longevity. Johnson infused even more cash into the biotech field, investing another $100 million of his own money into the OS Fund in 2014, to “support inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life.”

Such projects are examples of Silicon Valley’s extreme confidence in its own ability to improve the world. In an email, Johnson describes his work in grandly optimistic terms.

“Humanity’s greatest masterpieces have happened when anchored in hope and aspiration, not drowning in fear,” he says.

It takes some serious chutzpah to say you’ll extend the human lifespan, and for Johnson, he and his colleagues are venturing where no one has gone before.

“Building good technology is an act of exploration, and that it is very difficult for us to imagine the good that might come from any new technology,” Johnson says. “We proceed, as explorers, nonetheless.”

Johnson’s lofty goals are similar in scale to other giant anti-aging investments in Silicon Valley. In 2013, Google created an anti-aging lab called Calico (for “California Life Company”), hiring top scientist Cynthia Kenyon, known for altering DNA in worms to make them live twice as long as they usually do. Calico is not your local university research lab; it has $1.5 billion in the bank and has remained close-lipped about its progress, like a Manhattan Project for life extension.

For Google co-founder Sergey Brin, 43, Calico may be another way to attack a more personal health concern: Brin carries a gene that increases his likelihood of contracting Parkinson’s disease and has already invested $50 million in genetic Parkinson’s research, conducted by his ex-wife’s company, 23andMe. Brin said in 2009 that he hoped medicine could “catch up” to cure Parkinson’s before he’s old enough to develop it.

That hope is a common thread among health-obsessed tech investors like PayPal founder Peter Thiel, 49. A libertarian and Trump adviser, Thiel is trying to avoid both death and taxes. His foundation hired a medical director, Jason Camm, whose professional goals include increasing his clients’ “prospects for Optimal Health and significant Lifespan Extension.” Like Brin, who swims and drinks green tea to prevent Parkinson’s, Thiel has changed his daily habits to live longer. He’s aiming for 120, so he avoids refined sugar, follows the Paleo diet, drinks red wine and takes human growth hormone, which he believes will keep bones strong and prevent arthritis.

Thiel has also expressed personal interest in a company called Ambrosia in Monterey, where Dr. Jesse Karmazin is conducting medical trials for a procedure called parabiosis, which gives older people blood plasma transfusions from people between 16 and 25. Karmazin has enrolled more than 70 participants so far, each of whom pays $8,000 for the treatment. Much has been made of Thiel harvesting and receiving injections of young people’s blood, though Karmazin recently denied that Thiel was a client of his.

Karmazin doesn’t call himself a utopian, but he does note that his work requires some faith. “There’s always uncertainty about whether it’s going to stand the test of time, whether it’ll work at all,” he says. “That’s especially true in technology, and you have to believe in it.”

At the same time, the dystopians of Silicon Valley are preparing for the apocalypse. Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn, told the New Yorker that he guesses up to 50 percent of tech executives have property in New Zealand, the hot new hub for the end of the world. Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, bought multiple motorcycles so he can weave through highway traffic if there’s a natural disaster and he needs to escape. He also got laser eye surgery so he wouldn’t have to rely on glasses or contacts in a survival scenario.

Among the dystopians is Elon Musk, whose brand-new Neuralink company is investigating what Musk calls “neural lace,” a digital layer on top of the brain’s cortex that connects us to computers. Such inventions could eventually lead us to what Google director of engineering Ray Kurzweil calls “technological singularity,” or the time when ever more powerful artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, around 2045.

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Eternity 2.0 – North Bay Bohemian

From Inequality to Immortality – INSEAD Knowledge (blog)

A burgeoning industry promises to help the wealthy defeat the ultimate equaliser: Death.

In the year 42 I.E. (Inequality Era, post-Piketty), mankind built its first hibernation machine. This allowed some to jump to the future. A brighter future, a better future. More precisely, hibernation machines became an actualisation of a powerful idea that tomorrow is better than today. A tomorrow that has a cure for cancer and diabetes, where strokes, respiratory diseases and heart attacks are a hazy remembrance (much as we think of typhoid and tuberculosis today), where longevity spans centuries, and Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity, in which humans merge with A.I. to transcend biological limitations, is within reach. The end of Death and a future everlasting beckon.

But only a select few can afford hibernation machines and jump to the future: The rich and the powerful, the rentiers and the capitalists, the titans of industry and the masters of finance. Those who can afford it skip to a future paradise, while those who cannot remain in what they now perceive as a dark and depressing present, whilst building the paradise for the few.

This is a short chapter in Death’s End, the culmination of Liu Cixin’s stunning trilogy, Remembrance of Earth’s Past. Former U.S. President Barack Obama recommended it, in a bygone era when leaders used to read, reflect, and write, rather than rant in 140 characters. It is fascinating to think systematically about . Are we willing to tolerate inequality in income and wealth as long as our basic needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are satisfied? Or will we have a revolution in our hands when inequality is literally a matter of life and death?1 Hollywood which gave us Elysium which certainly sees revolution as the most probable outcome.

This is not some abstract sci-fi scenario. Today, there are four major companies that provide cryogenic or cryonic services Alcor in Arizona, Cryonics Institute in Michigan, American Cryonics Society in California and KrioRus in Russia. Alcor seems the most developed and well-funded. Morbid as it sounds, this could be you in the future, vitrified and then stored in a thermos. Their pricing policy has a weird two-part tariff structure an annual membership fee of US$525 and then an additional US$200,000 for Whole Body Cryopreservation. There is a discount if you only cryogenically freeze your brain; and a US$10,000 premium if you live outside the United States and Canada which rises to US$50,000 if you live in China. A topic for another day is whether this is price discrimination or whether the price differences reflect cost differences.

Interestingly, only 5 percent of the U.S. population has an annual income exceeding the US$200,000 charged by Alcor. But since the amount can be paid out of retirement savings, slightly more than 10 percent of U.S. households theoretically could afford to freeze at least one person (see below). Ironically, most would be bankrupted in the process, meaning they would thaw out to penury. Theyd have to hope that the utopian future awaiting them would be free of the sort of inequality that enabled them to cheat death in the first place.

Meanwhile in Silicon Valley…

Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, are reading Homo Deus, by Yuval Harari. On page 28, the book predicts that they are going to die. Death, after all, is the ultimate equaliser. Steve Jobs was unable to beat pancreatic cancer. Harari is sceptical whether Googles Calico, short for the California Life Company and founded in 2013 with a billion dollars in funding, will solve death in time to make Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin immortal. This is immensely frustrating to the likes of Brin, Page, Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel, all billionaires eager to stretch lives, or, at least their own, to forever in Thiel’s words.

Many believe that aging is encoded in our DNA and if anything is encoded it can be cracked. If something can be cracked, then it can be hacked. Cue applause! And cue billions of dollars for aging research with Bill Maris, the founder and CEO of Google Ventures, leading the way. In the fall of 2016, the life extension start-up Unity Biotechnology raised an enormous round of funding from Silicon Valley billionaires interested in the prospect of humans living much longer lives.

Others are bringing big data and machine learning tools to bear. BioAge Labs, whose tagline is faster drug discovery for aging, has been using machine learning and crunching genomics data to search for biomarkers that predict mortality.

Venture Vampire Capital

In 1615, a German doctor suggested that the hot and spirituous blood of a young man will pour into the old one as if it were from a fountain of youth. In 1924, the physician and Bolshevik Alexander Bogdanov performed young-blood transfusions on himself. He claimed that his eyesight improved, that he stopped balding and a fellow-revolutionary wrote that he seems to have become seven, no, ten years younger. Ironically, Bogdanov injected himself with blood from a student who had both malaria and tuberculosis, and subsequently died. Today, this procedure goes by the innocuous-sounding name parabiosis a surgical union of two organisms sharing the circulation of blood. And the search for the fountain of youth continues.

Of mice and men

Researchers at Stanford University showed in a 2014 study that infusions of blood from young mice reversed cognitive and neurological impairments seen in older mice. These reinvigorated mice performed like ones half their age in memory based tests. Immediately, emails flooded the inbox of the lead researcher, Tony Wyss-Coray. Numerous billionaires, some of whom were experiencing onset of Alzheimers, wanted infusions of young blood. Some had even arranged for what the HBO show Silicon Valley termed blood boys.

There is currently a clinical trial called Young Donor Plasma Transfusion and Age-Related Biomarkers looking for participants. The trial, run by a start-up called Ambrosia, injects young people’s blood into older people. Healthy participants aged 35 and older, pay US$8000 for a transfusion of blood plasma from donors under 25, and researchers monitor their blood over the next two years for indicators (biomarkers) of health and aging. Thiel (yes, him again) is looking seriously into parabiosis.

Today, most reporting on these advances takes one of two perspectives: weary scepticism or unadulterated wonder. In either case, my grim forecast is that a world where such miracles of longevity are confined to billionaires will see socio-political upheaval, the likes of which will make the current hand-wringing and brow-furrowing on the rise of inequality seem quaint in comparison. In the meantime, expect a lot of books and articles and blog posts, targeted at the thought-leader industrial complex, that will at the least, make for stimulating conversation.

Pushan Dutt is the Shell Fellow of Economic Transformation and a Professor of Economics and Political Science at INSEAD. Professor Dutt directs the Asian International Executive Programme.

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1Of course, with unequal access to health care in many countries, with direct consequences for differential mortality rates among the rich and the poor, we already live in such a world.

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From Inequality to Immortality – INSEAD Knowledge (blog)

What is cryonics?

Cryonics is an effort to save lives by using temperatures so cold that a person beyond help by today’s medicine might be preserved for decades or centuries until a future medical technology can restore that person to full health. Cryonics is a second chance at life. It is the reasoned belief in the advancement of future medicinal technologies being able to cure things we cant today.

Many biological specimens, including whole insects, many types of human tissue including brain tissue, and human embryos have been cryogenically preserved, stored at liquid nitrogen temperature where all decay ceases, and revived. This leads scientists to believe that the same can be done with whole human bodies, and that any minimal harm can be reversed with future advancements in medicine.

Neurosurgeons often cool patients bodies so they can operate on aneurysms without damaging or rupturing the nearby blood vessels. Human embryos that are frozen in fertility clinics, defrosted, and implanted in a mothers uterus grow into perfectly normal human beings. This method isnt new or groundbreaking- successful cryopreservation of human embryos was first reported in 1983 by Trounson and Mohr with multicellular embryos that had been slow-cooled using dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO).

And just in Feb. of 2016, there was a cryonics breakthrough when for the first time, scientists vitrified a rabbits brain and, after warming it back up, showed that it was in near perfect condition. This was the first time a cryopreservation was provably able to protect everything associated with learning and memory.

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What is cryonics?

Cryonics Failure – TV Tropes

…And this was the survivor.

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Riplay: He figured he could get an alien back through quarantine if one of us was… impregnated, of whatever you call it… then frozen for the trip home. Nobody would know about the embryos we were carrying; me and Newt. Hicks: No, wait a minute, we’d all know. Ripley: Yes, the only way he’d be able to do it is if he sabotaged certain freezers on the way home, namely yours. Then he could jettison the bodies and make up any story he liked. Hudson: You’re dead… you’re dog meat, pal!

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Wheatley: The reserve power ran out, so of course the whole Relaxation Center stops waking up the bloody test subjects. […] And of course, nobody tells me anything. Nooooooo, why should they tell me anything? […] And who’s fault do you think it’s going to be when the management comes down here and finds ten thousand flippin’ vegetables. […] We should get our stories straight. If anyone asks and no-one’s going to ask, don’t worry but if anyone asks, tell them as far as you know, the last time you checked, everyone looked pretty much alive. Alright? Not dead.

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Cryonics Failure – TV Tropes

A last-ditch attempt to stave off extinction as Sudan goes on Tinder – Irish Times

Chart of the day: Which age groups are coming to Invercargill? – Stuff.co.nz

Chart of the day: Which age groups are coming to Invercargill?
Stuff.co.nz
There seems to be an influx aged 65 upwards. Just checked other cities in NZ and they are losing people in these age brackets. So what do the aged and wiser population know that the rest of us don't ?? Invercargill is closer too cryonics than the rest

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Chart of the day: Which age groups are coming to Invercargill? – Stuff.co.nz

Brotopia: How the Valley’s Tech Elite Plan to Outlive the Rest of Us – San Jose Inside (blog)

At 11am on a Sunday morning, I slip into a row of seats in front of a podium with flower bouquets on each side. Im here to listen to an aging white man talk about the afterlife. A woman in a fancy hat arranges a potluck lunch on a back table. Other attendees, mostly gray-haired, pass around a wicker basket and toss in $20 bills and personal checks.

We arent in church. This is godless Silicon Valley.

The Humanist Society has welcomed Ralph Merkle, a Livermore native, to explain cryonicsthe process of freezing ones own body in liquid goo like Austin Powersto the weekly Sunday Forum. We all want to know about being re-awoken, or reborn, in the future.

Merkle, who has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford and invented whats called public key cryptology in the 70s, makes his pitch to the audience: hand over $80,000 plus yearly dues to Alcor, and the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company will freeze your brain, encased in its skull, so that you and your memories can wait out the years until medical nanotechnology is advanced enough to both bring you back from a frozen state as well as fix the ills that brought you to death in the first place.

You get to make a decision if you want to join the experimental group or the control group, Merkle says. The outcome for the control group is known.

Alcor gained infamy in 2002, when the body of baseball legend Ted Williams was flown to the companys Arizona headquarters, where his head was then severed, frozen and, according to some reports, mistreated.

The Humanist Society is an ideal audience for Merkles presentation, as its congregants arent held back by the tricky business of believing in a soul. Debbie Allen, the perfectly coiffed executive director and secretary of the national board of the American Humanist Association, considers cryonics as a practical tool. Religion has directed the conversation for thousands of years, she says. Allen prefers to focus on ethics, and whether cryonics advances the well-being of the individual or the community.

Science fiction, someone whispers behind me, as Merkle talks about nanorobots of the future. He also notes how respirocytes and microbivores can be programmed to run around inside a cell and do medically useful things like make you healthy.

As one might expect in a room full of humanists, skepticism runs high during the Q&A portion of the meeting. People are wondering exactly what kind of animals the scientists have used to test the cryonics process (the answer: nematodes), when Alcor freezes bodies (after ones heart stops if a DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate, order is requested), whether a frozen brain is any good if the rest of the body deteriorates (Toss it, Merkle says. Replacement of everything will be feasible.) and what happens if Alcor goes bankrupt.

We take that very seriously, the doctor says.

Lunch is served.

Why would he want to preserve somebody like Adolf Trump? asks Bob Wallace, 93, who ate salad and cubed cheese with his partner, Marge Ottenberg, 91, whom he met at a Humanist Society event.

Obviously, the worst possible people are most likely to want to live forever, says Arthur Jackson, 86, a retired junior high school teacher.

Ottenberg seems more open to the idea of coming back from the dead than her golden-year counterparts. Whatever works, she says.

Silicon Valley is the sort of place where people dream about nanorobots fixing our medical disorders. Its the sort of place where hundreds of millions of dollars are spent chasing that dream.

The last five years have seen an investment boom in whats called life extension research. Some of it is straight-up science, such as the Stanford lab researching blood transfusions in mice to cure Alzheimers. Scientists are in a race against time to help as many people as possible, as fast as possible. Theyre battling a disease that saw an 89 percent increase in diagnoses between 2000 and 2014, and Alzheimer’s or other dementia is currently the sixth leading cause of death. There are also nontraditional sources of cash flowing into biotech, which was once considered a risky investment.

But death, itself, is the biggest social ill Silicon Valley is trying to solve.

We can build apps to keep track of diabetics’ blood glucose levels, to measure how soundly we’re sleeping and access medical records in an instant, but none of this stops the body from wearing out. Alongside the scientists laying the medical foundation to get us to the nanorobots envisioned by Merkle, techie utopians are looking at other ways to cheat death. A cluster of tech companies are attracting far more funding from Silicon Valley than academia, shifting the research landscape with infusions of cash.

Bryan Johnson, an entrepreneur who sold his online payment company to PayPal for $800 million, was the first investor in Craig Venters Human Longevity, Inc., which aims to create a database of a million human genome sequences, including people who are over 100 years old, by 2020. Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who once said death makes me very angry, and is one of the oldest of the life-extension investors at 70, has also invested in Human Longevity. Johnson infused even more cash into the biotech field, investing another $100 million of his own money into the OS Fund in 2014 to support inventors and scientists who aim to benefit humanity by rewriting the operating systems of life.

Such projects are examples of Silicon Valleys extreme confidence in its own ability to improve the world. In an email, Johnson describes his work in grandly optimistic terms.

Humanity’s greatest masterpieces have happened when anchored in hope and aspiration, not drowning in fear, he says.

It takes some serious chutzpah to say youll extend the human lifespan, and for Johnson, he and his colleagues are venturing where no one has gone before.

Building good technology is an act of exploration, and that it is very difficult for us to imagine the good that might come from any new technology, Johnson says. We proceed, as explorers, nonetheless.

Online payment entrepreneur Bryan Johnson was one of the first people to invest in Human Longevity, Inc., which aims to extend life by rolling back the aging process. (HCM Media, via Wikimedia Commons)

Johnsons lofty goals are similar in scale to other giant anti-aging investments in Silicon Valley. In 2013, Google created an anti-aging lab called Calico (for California Life Company), hiring top scientist Cynthia Kenyon, known for altering DNA in worms to make them live twice as long as they usually do. Calico is not your local university research lab; it has $1.5 billion in the bank and has remained close-lipped about its progress, like a Manhattan Project for life extension.

For Google co-founder Sergey Brin, 43, Calico may be another way to attack a more personal health concern: Brin carries a gene that increases his likelihood of contracting Parkinsons disease and has already invested $50 million in genetic Parkinsons research, conducted by his ex-wifes company, 23andMe. Brin said in 2009 that he hoped that medicine could catch up to cure Parkinsons before hes old enough to develop it.

That hope is a common thread among health-obsessed tech investors like PayPal founder Peter Thiel, 49. A libertarian and Trump adviser, Thiel is trying to avoid both death and taxes. His foundation hired a medical director, Jason Camm, whose professional goals include increasing his clients prospects for Optimal Health and significant Lifespan Extension. Like Brin, who swims and drinks green tea to prevent Parkinsons, Thiel has changed his daily habits to live longer. Hes aiming for 120, so he avoids refined sugar, follows the Paleo diet, drinks red wine, and takes human growth hormone, which he believes will keep bones strong and prevent arthritis.

Thiel has also expressed personal interest in a company called Ambrosia in Monterey, where Dr. Jesse Karmazin is conducting medical trials for a procedure called parabiosis, which gives older people blood plasma transfusions from people between 16 and 25. Karmazin has enrolled more than 70 participants so far, each of whom pays $8,000 for the treatment. Much has been made of Thiel harvesting and receiving injections of young people’s blood, though Karmazin recently denied that Thiel was a client of his.

Karmazin doesnt call himself utopian, but he does note that his work requires some faith. Theres always uncertainty about whether its going to stand the test of time, whether itll work at all, he says. Thats especially true in technology, and you have to believe in it.

At the same time, the dystopians of Silicon Valley are preparing for the apocalypse. Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn, told the New Yorker that he guesses up to 50 percent of tech executives have property in New Zealand, the hot new hub for the end of the world. Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, bought multiple motorcycles so he can weave through highway traffic if theres a natural disaster and he needs to escape. He also got laser eye surgery so he wouldnt have to rely on glasses or contacts in a survival scenario.

Among the dystopians is Elon Musk, whose brand-new Neuralink company is investigating what Musk calls neural lace, a digital layer on top of the brains cortex that connects us to computers. Such inventions could eventually lead us to what Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil calls technological singularity, or the time when ever-more-powerful artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, around 2045. Musk is nervous about that day, and part of the reason he wants to colonize Mars through his SpaceX plan is because humans need an escape route in case computers take overor, perhaps, in case of environmental apocalypse. Musk recently quit two of President Donald Trumps business advisory councils over Trumps decision to leave the Paris climate accords, tweeting Climate change is real.

Tech companies as a bloc urged Trump not to leave the Paris agreements; Tim Cook of Apple called him after the announcement to try to get him to change his mind, and Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page that leaving Paris would put our childrens future at risk.

Zuckerberg has been trying for years to knock down four houses to build a residential compound in Palo Alto, including a basement structure that sounds like a bunker, with dark steel doors and windows and a dark grey standing seam metal roof, perfect for hiding the whole family if the world ends.

Whether climate change destroys California or regular old death arrives before investors have funded a cure, Musk, Zuckerberg and their elite peers have the resources to plan an escape. The question is whether theyre interested in planning anyone elses.

Tony Wyss-Coray, director of the Stanford Alzheimers Research Center, which is on the forefront of anti-aging research, has seen that conflict up close.

I have been approached by billionaires from LA and Texas, and they already have their clinics in the Bahamas or wherever, where they inject themselves with stem cells, he says.

But those billionaires werent interested in funding his lab or curing disease for anyone else.

Theyre interested in living, Wyss-Coray says. They realize quickly they cant buy this directly from Stanford University.

The line between science and someones obsession with mortality is blurry, especially with this much cash flowing.

Its hard to completely disassociate the influence of wealthy, rich people from what we do, Wyss-Coray says. Until the recent influx of funding and attention, the anti-aging scientists he knew were just a bunch of academic geeks studying worms. Hes interested not in extending life as much as figuring out why certain people can live past 100 years old.

The average person at 60 or 65 starts to suffer from a multitude of age-related diseasesarthritis, heart disease, cognitive declinethat for some reason the centenarians seem to be able to escape from, and thats what drives many of us in the field.

Peter Thiels interest in extending his life has led to wild speculation on just how far he would go. (Photo by Dan Taylor of Heisenberg Media, via Wikimedia Commons)

But when Thiel is reading ones research, things get more complicated. Wyss-Corays studies on the benefits of parabiosis in mice, for example, form the basis of the Monterey trial that so fascinates Thiel. Wyss-Coray is quick to distance himself from Karmazin. He cites all our work on his website, Wyss-Coray says.

The first two studies in the Science section of the Ambrosia website are from Stanfords labs, and the first study Karmazin lists about plasma transfusions in mice is Wyss-Corays.

Many scientists consider clinical trials like Karmazins unethical and scientifically unsound, since they require participant payment for unproven treatments, and you cant charge someone $8,000 for a placebo, so theres no simultaneous control group. The Ambrosia trial passed an ethical review, but Karmazin acknowledges the criticism.

Some people are opposed to it for ethical reasons, he says. Thats understandable, but I still think its worth doing, so Im trying to treat people.

Wyss-Coray is ambivalent about his research being exploited for profit. You contribute a small piece to knowledge that frequently can be abused by somebody, he says. I feel somewhat guilty, but I hope at the same time, we can contribute to maybe having an impact on some diseases, and that will be offset.

Back under the fluorescent lights at the Humanist Society, Merkle explains that in addition to freezing themselves, people can use Alcor as a bank, putting money aside so that they dont wake up poor in 100 years. Future poverty is a common enough concern that Merkle includes it in his presentation. Why would anyone want to live forever if it meant working three jobs to survive?

Indeed, people who are struggling to pay rent right now wont be able to afford to freeze themselves, so anyone waking up from cryogenic sleep will be wealthy, and most of them will be white, just like the bros pioneering biotech startups and building underground bunkers. Indeed, about 75 percent of Alcors frozen customers are male, and Max More, its CEO, is a libertarian like Thiel. The men who have everything want to keep it all, indefinitely.

Income inequality makes life extension the ultimate oligarchical fantasy. A month before Gawker shut down last year, bankrupted by Thiels campaign against it, reporter J.K. Trotter mused, Its not hard to imagine a Thielist future in which members of the overclass literally purchase the blood of the young poor in order to lead longer, healthier lives than their lesser counterparts can afford.

In Thiels libertarian universe, the luckiest people could live forever, feeding on the blood of Silicon Valleys youthful underclasshey there, San Jose renters!and living on extra-governmental barges like the seasteads Thiel dreams about, without paying taxes to help anyone else. Floating cities might be helpful if flooding and erosion destroy the California coastline, as CalMatters Julie Cart reported could happen 70 years from now.

Taking the scenario a little further, birth would be unnecessary, since no death would mean no one would need to be replaced. That might make people with wombs a little less than necessary, as well, especially if those barges are populated with the new crop of alt-right dudes who sleep with men because they worship masculinity.

Baseball legend Ted Williams, right, had his dead body turned over to Alcor so the company could freeze his head and, presumably, bring him back to life in the future. (Photo by NASA, via Wikimedia Commons)

Thiel, who is gay, would probably find it preferable to get by without women; he considers date rape as belated regret and once blamed womens voting rights for the eventual demise of democracy. His worldview is the warped conservative version of feminist theorist Donna Haraways Cyborg Manifesto, in which she imagined the freedom in a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end.

Back in 1984, the author predicted a future where we merged with machines, but warned against letting racist, male-dominant capitalism control technology, since hippie progressives are not cheerleading the convergence of humans and machines.

It might all sound far-fetched, but Thiel shares an anarcho-capitalist worldview with White House senior adviser Steve Bannon, among the most powerful people in America right now. And the House passed a health care law that saves money on insurance by letting poor people die faster, moralizing that poor people dont want to be healthy.

Californians may not agree with that law outright, but Silicon Valleys bootstrappy cult of health is based on the nerds association between fitness and brainpower. Theyre taking up kiteboarding, tracking steps on Fitbits and eating ketogenic diets during stressful times at startups. Its not a big jump to life extension for the rich, who deserve to live longer after all that effort.

Are the ethics of life-extension technology any different from historical questions of who gets access to medicine? Maybe not.

Karmazin hadnt yet considered the topic before our phone call. I havent had this kind of conversation with anyone yet, he says. But Karmazin compares his trial to the introduction of antibiotics. Someone who didnt have access to antibiotics when they were invented? Man, theyd probably be really upset. Thats reasonable. He foresees similar problems with blood plasma as a cure for aging: I think its going to be unevenly distributed.

Wyss-Coray has serious concerns about that distribution.

We have enough problems in the world already, and I definitely do not want a select group of people to live longer just because they can afford it, he says.

In this country, the richest 1 percent in the U.S. live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent, meaning Wyss-Corays fear is already our reality. The question is how much worse things can get, and whether a medically assisted longer life will be inaccessible to almost all of us.

Thats assuming, of course, that we even want a longer life, or to wake up after a cryogenic sleep. We may value our time on Earth, but not everyone thinks its worth it to stick around indefinitely.

If your Silicon Valley brain sees the world as a place of obstacles that can always be overcome, where every system can be disrupted for the better and your brain is the one that will unlock a better future, you might be more inclined to stay. That might also be true if you think the universe is a place to conquer, whether via spaceship to Mars a la Musk or through politics like Thiel.

But what might the future look like, for those who want to (and can afford to) stay?

Googles Kurzweil envisions three medical stages before singularity, starting with our current push to slow aging. Stage two: building on genomic research, including personalized fixes for diseases like cancer. Kurzweil believes well get to the medical nanotechnology that Merkle envisions by the 2030s, which would lead us to the last phasenanorobots connecting us to the cloud in 2045. At that point, avatars of our brains could be loaded into another body. Then wed live forever.

Bodily ailments would be curable and wed access consciousness from the cloud, but wed still lose our memories when our physical brains stopped working. A better (and still terrifying) option might be freezing our brains via cryonics and then bringing them back with nanorobots.

Kurzweil has signed himself up to be frozen, in case the 90 supplements he takes daily dont keep him alive.

Wyss-Coray, of Stanford, has chosen not to go into the meat locker. I cant think of any way to connect that to what were doing, he says. I havent signed up for that myself.

Neither have most other people. Cryonics remains unproven, cost prohibitive and unusually creepy to the general population, an option for the rich and famous who would need several lifetimes to see their savings run dry. At this rate theyll likely outlive us, so we might as well enjoy some refined sugar, pay our taxes and stop fearing the reaper.

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Brotopia: How the Valley’s Tech Elite Plan to Outlive the Rest of Us – San Jose Inside (blog)

The plan to ‘reawaken’ cryogenically frozen brains and transplant them into someone else’s skull – National Post

Sergio Canavero, the Italian surgeon who audaciously plans to perform the worlds first human head transplant within the next 10 months (pending the availability of a donor body) is now preparing to reawaken cryogenically frozen brains and transplant them into someone elses skull.

In an interview with a German-language magazine, Canavero says he will attempt to bring the first brainsfrozen in liquid nitrogen at an Arizona-based cryogenics bank back to life not in 100 years, but three years at the latest.

Transplanting a brain only and not an entire head gets around formidable rejection issues, Canavero said, sincethere will be no need to reconnect and stitch up severed vessels, nerves, tendons and muscles as there is when a new head is fused onto abrain-dead donor body.

Canavero allows that one problematic issue with brain transplants, however, would be that no aspect of your original external body remains the same.

Your head is no longer there, your brain is transplanted into an entirely different skull, he told OOOM magazine, published by the same company that handles the Italian brain surgeonspublic relations.

The flamboyant neuroscientist who some ethicists have decried as nuts rattled the transplant world when he first outlined his plans for a human head transplant two years ago in the journal, Surgical Neurology International.

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan called Canaveros latest proposal to merge head transplants with resurrecting the frozen dead beyond ridiculous. People have their own doubts about whether anything can be salvaged from these frozen heads or bodies because of the damage freezing does, said Caplan, head of ethics at NYU Langone Medical Centre in New York City.

Then saying that he has some technique for making this happen, that has never been demonstrated in frozen animals, is absurd.

Caplan accused the maverick surgeon of playing to peoples fantasies, that somehow you can come back from death, fantasies that you can live forever if you just keep moving your head around and to fears science is out of control. Thats why I pay attention to him.

According to Canavero, the greatest technical hurdle to a head transplant is fusing the donor and recipients severed spinal cords, something never before achieved in humans, and restoring function, without causing massive, irreversible brain damage or death.

In an exclusive interview with the National Post last year, Canavero said what makeshisbrazen, and critics say ethically reckless, protocolpossible isa special fusogen, a waxy, glue-like substance developed by a young B.C.-born chemist that will be used to reconnect the severed spinal cord stumps and coax axons and neurons to regrow across the gap.

Canavero said the first head transplant will be performed in Harbin, China, and the surgical team led by Xiaoping Ren, a Chinese orthopedic surgeon who participated in the first hand transplant in the U.S. in 1999. Ren has been performing hundreds of head transplants in mice in preparation.

The first patient will be an unidentified Chinese citizen, and not, as originally planned, Valery Spiridonov, a 31-year-old Russian man who suffers from a rare and devastating form of spinal muscular dystrophy.

Canavero called Ren a close friend of mine and an extraordinarily capable surgeon.

At the moment, I can only disclose that there has been massive progress in medical experiments that would have seemed impossible even as recently as a few months ago, Canavero told OOOM. The milestones that have been reached will undoubtedly revolutionize medicine.

He declined to offer up exactly what those milestones are, saying that results of the most recent animal experimentshave been submitted for publication in renowned scientific medical journals.

Last September, the team reported they had succeeded in restoring functionality and mobility in mice with severed spinal cords using the special fusogen, dubbed Texas-PEG. Canavero claims the mice were able to run again.

Your head is no longer there, your brain is transplanted into an entirely different skull

He said numerous experiments have been conducted since then on an array of different animals in South Korea and China and the results are unambiguous: the spinal cord and with it the ability to move can be entirely restored, he told OOOM.

Canavero envisions the head (or, perhaps more accurately, body) grafting venture as a cure for people living with horrible medical conditions. The plan is to cut off the head of two people one, the recipient, the other, the donor whose brain is dead but whose body is otherwise healthy, an accident victim for example. Surgeons will then shift the recipients head onto the donor body using a custom-made swivel crane. They will have less than an hour to re-establish blood supply before risking irreversible brain damage.

In a few months we will sever a body from a head in an unprecedented medical procedure, Canavero said. At the moment of decapitation, the patient will be clinically dead. If we bring this person back to life, we will receive the first real account of what actually happens after death, he told the magazine, meaning, he said, whether there is an afterlife, a heaven, a hereafter or whatever you may want to call it or whether death is simply a flicking off of the light switch and thats it.

Canavero said a brain transplant has several advantages over a head-swap, including that there is barely any immune reaction, which means the problem of rejection does not exist. The brain is, in a manner of speaking, a neutral organ, he said.

Others are hugely skeptical of the prospect of reawakening brains, or bodies, frozen after death. In an interview with the Posts Joe OConnor two years ago, Eike-Henner Kluge, a bio-ethicist at the University of Victoria, refers to cryonics patients as corpsesicles.

Unless it is technically possible, and it is not, to replace all the water left in a bodys cells with glycol, unfreezing a frozen corpse will rupture the cell walls ensuring that you are mush a corpsesicle.

However, two years ago researchers with 21st Century Medicine, a California cryobiology research company, reported they had succeeded in freezing a rabbits brain using a flash-freezing technique to protect and stabilize the tissue. After the vitrified brains were rewarmed, electron microscope imaging from across the rabbit brains showed neurons and synapses were crisp and intact.

Canavero hopesto get his first brains from Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz. Alcors most famous patient is Red Sox baseball legend Ted Williams, the greatest hitter in baseball history, whose head was detached from his body and cryopreserved after his death at 83 in 2002.

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The plan to ‘reawaken’ cryogenically frozen brains and transplant them into someone else’s skull – National Post

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