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Archive for the ‘Cryonics’ Category

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.

Contact us at [emailprotected]

TL/JC/CG

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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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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.

Email: skirkey@nationalpost.com | Twitter:

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The plan to 'reawaken' cryogenically frozen brains and transplant them into someone else's skull - National Post

The confounding world of Cryonics, and the Kiwi scientists trying to … – Stuff.co.nz

NICOLE LAWTON

Last updated05:00, June 18 2017

CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Stem cells, skin, red blood cells and platelets are all frozen in liquid nitrogen freezer at the New Zealand Blood Service for later use - but not whole bodies.

Cryonics, the practice of deep-freezing bodies, remains a controversial area of research with many scientists in New Zealand reluctant to wade into the freezer.

Not surprisingly, the art of filling the deceased with antifreeze, suspending them in liquid nitrogen in the vain hopes that scientific break-throughs will one day reanimate them and cure them isnot an accepted academic discipline New Zealand, and therefore isn't pursued in any official capacity.

But that hasn't stopped a few individuals from trying.

CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Dr Richard Charlewood, is the medical director of the national tissue bank, run by the New Zealand Blood Service.

Two New Zealand foundations -The Foundation for Anti-aging Research and the Foundation for Reversal of Solid State Hypothermia - were given the cold shoulder in 2013 when applying to be considered a charity from the Charities Registration Boards (CRB).

READ MORE: Kiwi'sbody hangs upside-down in a -196C vat

The board rejected the foundations on the basis that cryonics was not an accepted academic discipline based on the lack, in mainstream science, of feasibility and benefits of the research.

This decision was then successfully appealed in october 2016 - when Justice Rebecca Ellis found cryonics research to fall squarely under the 'advancement of education' heading and therefore had 'charitable purpose'.

She said there was evidence that the proposed research was likely to lead to advances in areas such as organ transplant medicine, stem cell research, and treating a range of diseases and disorders.

The listed officers and trustees for both foundations have addresses Monaco, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Others, Saul Kent and William Faloon bought an old church in downtown Hollywood in 2013 for $880,000 and founded the Church of Perpetual Life.

The pair are big were the cryonics world and both personally signed up for their shot at eternal life.

Nothing has been heard from the foundations since the CRB appeal and all attempts to contact the trustees were unsuccessful.

The closet thing that happens to freezing humans in New Zealand is cryogenically freezing tissue through the tissue banks of the New Zealand Blood Service.

Stem cells, skin, red blood cells and platelets are all submerged in a cryoprotectant and frozen to liquid nitrogen temperatures of around negative 196 degrees Celsius - for later human use.

"The skin cells last for up to 5 years, and stem cells up to ten years," said Richard Charlewood, the national tissue bank's medical director.

"We don't like keeping it for any longer than that because most of the studies only go up as far as ten years.

"At liquid nitrogen temperatures very little is actually happening at molecular level. So it's possible that they would be fine well beyond ten years, we just don't know for sure."

Charlewood said when cryo-preserving, the key thing is to get the cryoprotectant into all the cells that you want to keep alive, otherwise the formation of ice crystals can burst the cells and kill them.

"In terms of whole body freezing, my understanding is that you have to get the cryo-protectant to all the cells in the body, so you'd have to pump it around the body really thoroughly."

Fertility specialists in New Zealand also offer cryogenic preservation of eggs, ovarian tissue, sperm and embryos for reproductively-challenged patients who wish to conceive later.

Otago University's associate professor in botany, David Burritt, also regularly employs cryopreservation in his line of study.

Ina 2016 research paper he said cryopreservation was a great method for long-term storage ofreproductive plant material - such as seeds, pollen, dormant buds, shoot tips, embryos, or isolated plant cells or tissues.

"Plant material is first preconditioned, using chemical and physical treatments, so that it remains viable when it is frozen and during ultra-low temperature storage."

"Following re-warming, seeds and embryos can germinate, buds or shoot tips can be induced to grow, and whole plants can be regenerated from cryopreserved cells or tissues."

He said the samples could, in theory, be conserved indefinitely as "no metabolic activity occurs at these ultra-low temperatures."

'Cryobanking' enables large numbers of important crops, such as wheat, potato and various fruit and forest trees, to be cryopreserved, rewarmed and then allowed to grow into complete plants.

In March, scientists in the UK succeeded in cryogenically freezing and rewarming sections of heart tissue for the first time, in an advance that could pave the way for organs to be stored for months or years.

-Sunday Star Times

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The confounding world of Cryonics, and the Kiwi scientists trying to ... - Stuff.co.nz

JoAnn Ruth Martin, Riverside, Calif. – Mason City Globe Gazette

October 27, 1936 - May 25, 2017

JoAnn Ruth Martin was born on October 27, 1936 in Lansing, Mich.

She died on May 25, 2017, after living a vibrant life filled with love and devotion to her husband, Saul Kent, and to friends, family, and charitable causes, particularly three organizations she founded, The Riverside Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), The California DBSA, and The Detroit Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA).

Fiercely independent, JoAnn grew up in Lansing with her mother, Ruth; her father, Rial and her brother, Robert. JoAnn became a teacher and a musician, playing the piano and singing in venues around the country.

She had two children, Emily McCue of Mammoth, Calif., and Nathalie Martin of Albuquerque, N.M. She was married for several years to Don Martin, the father of her daughter, Nathalie.

In 1985, she met the love for her life, Saul Kent. The two shared many interests, including cryonics. JoAnn soon moved from Detroit to California to be with Saul.

In 1986, JoAnn and Saul bought a property in Riverside, Calif., where JoAnn's passion for music, gardening, painting, and architecture enabled her to create a beautiful setting that would be used over the next three decades to hold many events, beginning with the wedding of her daughter, Nathalie, in 1988.

JoAnn's generosity was well-known in the community and her loss will be felt in the lives of hundreds of people. Jo Ann founded the Riverside DBSA in the fall of 1987, and has graciously opened her home to the public for DBSA meetings, holiday barbecues and dinners ever since.

She has been a friend and great source of support for mental health clients and advocates throughout the years. Jo Ann felt that her own experience with mental illness gave her insight and allowed her to help others. Jo Ann was first diagnosed with manic depression in 1963, the same year JFK was killed.

JoAnn is survived by husband, Saul Kent; daughters, Emily McCue and Nathalie Martin, and many friends.

A memorial to celebrate the life of JoAnn Martin will be held at her home on June 24, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations in JoAnn's memory may be made to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, 55 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 490, Chicago, IL, 60604.

Cards may be sent care of Nathalie Martin, 1117 Stanford N.E., Albuquerque, NM, 87106.

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JoAnn Ruth Martin, Riverside, Calif. - Mason City Globe Gazette

Orphan Black: 3 Major Revelations From the Season 5 Premiere – TV Guide (blog)

Orphan Black might be nearing the end of its run, but the heart pumping sci-fi drama isn't going down without a fight. Picking up right where we left off at the end of Season 4, Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) fights for survival after a brutal battle with Rachel Duncan (Tatiana Maslany) left her bruised and broken. Meanwhile, Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) and Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) finally have that reunion we've been waiting for since last season and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is doing everything he can to keep his family alive. With so much happening at once, we're breaking down the biggest revelations of the Season 5 opener.

1. The Revival At the end of Season 4, Cosima was captured and taken to a mysterious outdoors camp which we now know is called Revival. The self-sufficient base, located on the Island, is made up of people who were genetically chosen to live there with the hopes of improving the human race. We previously saw them in Rachel's visions back in season 3 so it shouldn't come as a surprise that she's now one of their leaders.

Members of the Revival participate in "crazy science" treatments like stem cell therapy, cryonics, caloric restrictions, immunotherapy, and cloning in order to prolong life expectancy. "When you think about it, if you wanted to genetically improve the human race, life extension is the first principle," Delphine says after referring to them the "heart of the Neolutionists." She's got a point.

2. Art's New Partner Unfortunately for Detective Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard), he's paired with a Neolutionist named Maddy who's been described as a misogynist. From the little we've seen of her, she's a bit rough around the edges and is willing to do whatever it takes (like holding a gun to Art's head in order to get Alison to talk) to accomplish her goals. Things aren't looking good now that she's got an eye on our favorite preppy clone. Threat level: major.

3. Rachel's Unexpected Alliance After killing Susan Duncan, Rachel has taken over as a mouthpiece for Revival founder P.T. Westmorland. When she confronts Cosima, who is trying to inject her uterus with Castor DNA before the others catch her, it's shocking to see Duncan help out her fellow clone rather than kill her.

Even more startling is the fact that Cosima trusts Rachel to use that giant needle on her. "You and I are going to cure us all," Rachel says after revealing that Westmorland wants Cosima to be a part of his plan. Hopefully, it won't be at Cosima's expense.

Some burning questions...

Are Helena's babies okay? I know they probably have super healing abilities but a branch through the abdomen is not a good look.

What is the Fountain? And why is the Revival so thirsty for it?

What is this feral creature roaming the woods? Given that Revival loves to experiment on people, I'm guessing the ferocious being is one of them gone wrong.

What's up with Sarah's visions? Is Kira communicating with her? Last season, we learned her daughter can feel all of the Leda clones so it's possible.

How does Aisha tie into everything? We do know that she has cancer and was brought to the Revival for experimental treatment. Delphine hinted that she's a major part of their agenda but in what capacity remains unclear.

With Cosima gambling on her health and Sarah currently held captive by Rachel, does this mean a clone will die this season? We previously contemplated the idea as it would surely bring the others closer together.

And keen observations...

Sara using a tampon as a bandage is brilliant. BRB, packing them in my emergency kit.

Alison and Donnie are hiding out in a national park in the nicest homemade tent I've ever seen. Even in nature, they're still so fancy. You already know.... (sorry)

"I almost hit you with a pan!" "Well, I almost shot you so we're even." So when are Art and Felix getting that reluctant buddy cop spin-off we didn't know we needed until now?

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10/9c on BBC America.

The rest is here:
Orphan Black: 3 Major Revelations From the Season 5 Premiere - TV Guide (blog)

Frozen in time: why an Ontario man chose cryonic suspension – Simcoe.com


Simcoe.com
Frozen in time: why an Ontario man chose cryonic suspension
Simcoe.com
Brian was also known to be quite the conversationalist and could tackle any subject matter, regardless of how out of the norm it was, even the concept of living forever. Phil, who became interested in cryonics as a child, recalls talking casually about ...

and more »

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Frozen in time: why an Ontario man chose cryonic suspension - Simcoe.com

Off the Cuffs: Bibbs considers donation, cremation, cryonics – Cecil Whig

ELKTON I spent a fair amount of time in cemeteries last week, said Cuffs, explaining his recent absence from the local scene. Attending memorial services and visiting relatives graves.

Billy Bibbs and I nodded, encouraging the North Street Hotel curmudgeon to continue his report.

Peaceful places, Cuffs added. Usually pretty empty except on weekends and holidays. But during the workweek you might see a few workers doing landscaping and general maintenance. Opening up fresh graves for upcoming funerals.

Allows you plenty of privacy, and time to reflect upon your loved ones. Even talk out loud if you want. Nobody around to overhear your private thoughts.

Well, Bibbs said, that old fashioned burial-in-the-ground routine aint for me. Im going to get myself cremated. Save on cost, less aggravation to deal with, and no need to buy a clean white shirt and new suit plus Ill be doing my part to help the environment.

I nodded, offering no comment. I didnt care if Bibbs was tossed off the side of his crab boat into the upper Chesapeake, given a dirt nap in a county boneyard, or cooked to a crisp and had his ashes jammed in a jelly jar.

Cuffs thought differently, however, saying, You might want to think about donating your sorry stupid self to science, he said, sporting a smile. Maybe then some clumsy med student could look inside your thick skull and see what wires are crossed. Then wed find out why you were such a pain in all our backsides.

Jimmy, the saloons owner, happened to be passing by, and entered the conversation with a question: Have you ever heard of anybodys body being rejected for scientific study? From what I understand, years ago it was against the law. But now I hear they take everybody and anybody.

I couldnt resist, So that gives Bibbs two options. He can finally become some use to society as a scientific case study. Or spend the hereafter in a fancy vase, perched on somebodys bookshelf.

Id rather be scattered across the finish line at Delaware Park, Bibbs said. In fact, I think Ill make sure thats written down in my will.

Everyone enjoyed his remark, but when the laughter died down, Cuffs said, This cremation thing got me to thinking, so I did a bit of research.

Look out, said Jimmy, sounds like were moving into serious territory.

Did you know, Cuffs said, there are thousands. Maybe tens of thousands, of unclaimed cremated remains stacked in storage areas in funeral parlors across the country?

Youre crazy, said Bibbs, obviously annoyed, since he had announced bodily incineration as his preferred method of environmentally conscious disposal from Mother Earth. Where you getting that kind of information.

A bunch of articles on the internet focus on ashes left behind and never retrieved from crematoriums. Either because the family member forgot about the loved one, didnt want to pick him or her up, or didnt have the money to pay for the fireside service. So the undertakers hold onto Johnny or Jenney for as long as possible. Then, depending upon state law, they get rid of the remains as they see fit.

Sounds harsh, said Bibbs, his face displaying concern.

Looks like our pal Bibbs might be having second thoughts about his cremation determination, said Cuffs, as he slapped his perplexed friend across the back.

Entering into the discussion, I mentioned there were other problems with the disposition of ashen remains. Containers holding loved ones often become misplaced or lost by those entrusted with their care. Urns and vases are shoved into attics, storage sheds, and old trunks, or placed onto crowded basement shelves. Like boxes filled with old unidentified photographs, over time remains are forgotten. Until discovered years later by confused descendants or clueless strangers.

Theres also the so-called convenience of cremation that affects the ritual associated with the longstanding visitation process, Cuffs said.

Acknowledging the confusion apparent on the faces of the rest of the group, he added, My recent cemetery visits involved preparation for the trip, or journey. Locating the familiar resting place. Saying a few prayers, and having a brief conversation. Finally, placing a flag, special memento, or flowers near the marble marker.

That ritual, or process, is lost when the loved one is kept in a box on the bottom detergent shelf of a laundry room.

Youre exaggerating, challenged Bibbs, becoming more annoyed as the conversation continued.

Not so, I interjected. Over time, boxed or vased remains are treated with less reverence than a traditional burial site. I recall an unusual incident, when I was interviewing a couple of quirky historians in their home. As we sat down to talk, the wife brought out four fancy urns which held the remains of both sets of parents. She set them down on the coffee table, saying she thought her deceased relatives might enjoy listening to the interview.

Shaking his head, Bibbs said, Youre making that up. No way that ever happened.

Raising my right hand, I said, I swear on the remains of my late father that have been pressed into this diamond, worn on my right hand that I did not make up the statement about that interview.

What about the story of the diamond ring? Cuffs asked, as confused as the others by my addition of that little tidbit.

Smiling, I replied, Now thats a total fabrication, I said.

Picking up on my clever reply, Jimmy asked, So your ring or the wacky story is a fabrication from cremated ashes?

Ill let you decide, placing my hand on the table, and adding, By the way, theyre called cremation crystals, or cremations diamonds. A wearable trend thats increasing in popularity, environmentally friendly and, of course, politically correct.

Shaking his head, Jimmy said, What will they think of next?

Responding, Cuffs said, We havent even touched on cryonics deep freezing you after death. Only costs about $200,000, and you might end up in the same warehouse as Walt Disney.

I think we should put that topic on the shelf for another time, I said.

Yeah! Cuffs said, right next to Bibbs ashes.

Unless his relatives toss him out in an old outhouse, added Jimmy.

Or a yard sale, I said.

After the laughter subsided, Bibbs asked, If I donate myself to science, do I have to buy a new suit?

Nope, Cuffs said. Its even cheaper than cremation, and theyll take you just the way you are.

Count me in, Bibbs said.

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Off the Cuffs: Bibbs considers donation, cremation, cryonics - Cecil Whig

To Be a Machine, book review: Disrupting life itself – ZDNet

To Be a Machine: Adventures among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death Mark O'Connell Granta 242 pages ISBN: 978-1-78378-196-6 12.99

"We built ingenious devices and we destroyed things." These words are easy to imagine carved on the tombstone of the human race. In To Be a Machine, where these words appear after an alarming session with people working on artificial intelligence, they're just one of the many possible futures that Dublin journalist Mark O'Connell visits. None seem to appeal to him much.

A friend once observed that anyone who had ever watched a baby could see how limited AI really is. Here, O'Connell's new baby son helpfully provides him with a grounding biological balance as he ponders the work of people who, in one way or another, all want to transcend biology.

Many of the ideas O'Connell explores, and some of the people he interviews, will be familiar to those who who've read prior efforts, beginning with Ed Regis's Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition. It's probably a mark of some kind of social change that Regis, writing 26 years ago, couldn't avoid -- or rather, embraced -- a certain, "Oh, my God, are these people nuts or what?" tone, while O'Connell, writing now, can be more soberly reflective. The Singularity, mind uploading, cryonics, whole-brain emulation, real-life 'cyborgs', and escaping the surly bonds of Earth to colonise distant planets and save the future of humanity may be no closer to reality than they were in 1991, but the ideas are more familiar: twenty-five years of Wired magazine and Silicon Valley hegemony have had their effect.

Today, when Nick Bostrom predicts (in his book Superintelligence) that an AI might turn all the Earth's resources to making paper clips he may still seem crazy -- but he's an Oxford University professor and director of the Future of Humanity Institute. Colonizing space to save the human race may be a fringe notion -- but it's also been embraced by the physicist Stephen Hawking.

To embrace biology, O'Connell is told during his study of cryonics, is to buy into "deathist ideology". I sympathize here: visiting the leading cryonics company, Alcor, and learning the details of cryopreservation can make death seem almost cuddly. Cryonicists themselves admit that revival is a very long shot -- but it's the only non-zero option.

The one overtly comic section of To Be a Machine, therefore, is the one that's most embodied: O'Connell watches as robots try to complete DARPA's 2015 challenge -- there's a collection of the best pratfalls at Popular Mechanics. The hardest things to automate are the things humans learn earliest: the 2015 state of the art, after millions of dollars and millions of hours of human engineering, couldn't climb stairs or open doors as well as a two-year-old. So in that area, at least, we can feel smug.

Given that the technology industry famously loves disruption, it should be no surprise that it attracts people who favour disrupting life itself. In the end, however, O'Connell favours blood and bone.

Read more book reviews

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To Be a Machine, book review: Disrupting life itself - ZDNet

Why head transplants won’t disprove the existence of God – The Tidings

Denver, Colo., May 23, 2017 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- With plans for the first human head transplant surgery looming in the next year, a lead doctor on the formidable project has high hopes for the procedure. Along with the aim of finding a new body for a yet-to-be-selected patient, the physician says that the surgery as a first step toward immortality will effectively disprove religion. But Catholic critics have called into question not only the ethics of such a risky procedure, but the dubious claim that such a development would render belief in God irrelevant.

The actual trying of the surgery at this point I think would be unethical because of the tremendous risk involved, and it is an unproven surgery, Dr. Paul Scherz, assistant professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America, told CNA.

Sherz made his remarks following the news that Italian doctor Sergio Canavero is aiming to carry out the first human head transplant surgery within the next 10 months. It's a process Canavero hopes will pave the way for the process of transplanting cryogenically frozen brains and ultimately, in his view, to the eradication of death.

Canavero serves as director of Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group and has teamed up with Harbin Medical Centre and Doctor Xiaoping Ren, an orthopedic surgeon who was involved with the first successful hand transplant in the U.S. The first surgical attempt for the head transplant is expected to take place in China, where the group says they're more likely to find a donor body.

Cryonics involves the freezing of the brain or even the whole body of patients, with expectations that future science will have the means to restore the frozen tissue and extend life. Because conscious minds will have experienced life outside of death, Canavero said the surgery would then remove the fear of death and the people's need for religion. He said if the process succeeds, religions will be swept away forever.

However, Sherz responded that even if the surgery was a success, it would not disprove the Catholic faith. There is nothing in the Catholic tradition of how we understand the soul that would think that if you moved a head or moved the brain that that wouldnt allow the person to come back to life, he said.

Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has already claimed that a successful head transplant has been carried out on a monkey, but not all scientists agree that the operation can be recorded as a success. Before the monkey's head was stitched back together, it was removed, cooled, and the blood of the transplant body was cross circulated with an outside source. Canavero and his group claimed the supply of blood was then connected to prove the surgery succeeded without brain damage, but the spinal cord was left unattached.

How the connected blood supply proves the surgery is possible without brain damage was not described, and many bioethicists are skeptical of the publication of the surgery's success without proper peer review and of the issues around the severed spine. Because the technology has not yet been developed, the bioethicists worry that the severed spine may never be reconstructed, leaving the patient worse off than before.

Despite the pervasive belief in the surgery's failure, Canavero claims there's a 90 percent chance that the human head transplant will succeed. And not only that, its success would allow humans to no longer need to be afraid of death.

Father Tad Pacholczyk, who serves as a bioethicist for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, disagreed with Canavero's definition of being brought back to life. He said to assume death as a necessary product of either the head surgery or brain surgery is gullible and mistaken, as there is potential for the patient to be merely unconscious.

The patient undergoing the head transplant is not dead, only unconscious, he told CNA. There is not any 'bringing back to life'There is merely a restoration of consciousness, briefly lost during the movement of the head from one human body to the other.

Scherz also said that the Church accepts an intimate and mysterious relationship between soul and body, and that the procedure's success wouldn't necessary disprove the soul or religion. Our neurological tissue has important part to play in our soulThe soul is always intimately related to the body. We are not just souls that are disembodied, right? We are embodied spirits or spirited bodies.

Most physicians agree that the proposed surgery's success rate is infinitesimal, and they've questioned the morality of a procedure that's doomed to fail and the unrealistic hope life extension projects could give to people. I am concerned that the rights of vulnerable patients undergoing cryonics cannot be protected indefinitely, Dr. Channa Jayasena, a lecturer in Reproductive Endocrinology at Imperial College in London, told the Telegraph. Cryonics, she said, has risks for the patient, poses ethical issues for society, is highly expensive, but has no proven benefit.

And the hope for immortal life, Scherz weighed in, isn't a realistic desire in a fallen world. Living forever in bodily form is not going to satisfy anyone, he said. If the goal is not to help someone to get back bodily movement or things like that, but to try to live forever on this earth, then I think if you really want to get over the fear of death then you will have to come to terms with the fact that we are mortal. That what's going to help you to live a better life because you are going to be willing to give your life to things like service.

In fact, he said that people in transhumanist movements have admitted they would most likely avoid risky behavior in order to preserve their lives. If life extension projects come into being there is so much more to lose and you committed yourself to trying to live on this earth for as long as possible, which stands in contrast to the Catholic tradition and a lot of the philosophical traditions, Scherz noted.

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Why head transplants won't disprove the existence of God - The Tidings

Why head transplants won’t disprove the existence of God | Angelus – The Tidings

Denver, Colo., May 23, 2017 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- With plans for the first human head transplant surgery looming in the next year, a lead doctor on the formidable project has high hopes for the procedure. Along with the aim of finding a new body for a yet-to-be-selected patient, the physician says that the surgery as a first step toward immortality will effectively disprove religion. But Catholic critics have called into question not only the ethics of such a risky procedure, but the dubious claim that such a development would render belief in God irrelevant.

The actual trying of the surgery at this point I think would be unethical because of the tremendous risk involved, and it is an unproven surgery, Dr. Paul Scherz, assistant professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America, told CNA.

Sherz made his remarks following the news that Italian doctor Sergio Canavero is aiming to carry out the first human head transplant surgery within the next 10 months. It's a process Canavero hopes will pave the way for the process of transplanting cryogenically frozen brains and ultimately, in his view, to the eradication of death.

Canavero serves as director of Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group and has teamed up with Harbin Medical Centre and Doctor Xiaoping Ren, an orthopedic surgeon who was involved with the first successful hand transplant in the U.S. The first surgical attempt for the head transplant is expected to take place in China, where the group says they're more likely to find a donor body.

Cryonics involves the freezing of the brain or even the whole body of patients, with expectations that future science will have the means to restore the frozen tissue and extend life. Because conscious minds will have experienced life outside of death, Canavero said the surgery would then remove the fear of death and the people's need for religion. He said if the process succeeds, religions will be swept away forever.

However, Sherz responded that even if the surgery was a success, it would not disprove the Catholic faith. There is nothing in the Catholic tradition of how we understand the soul that would think that if you moved a head or moved the brain that that wouldnt allow the person to come back to life, he said.

Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has already claimed that a successful head transplant has been carried out on a monkey, but not all scientists agree that the operation can be recorded as a success. Before the monkey's head was stitched back together, it was removed, cooled, and the blood of the transplant body was cross circulated with an outside source. Canavero and his group claimed the supply of blood was then connected to prove the surgery succeeded without brain damage, but the spinal cord was left unattached.

How the connected blood supply proves the surgery is possible without brain damage was not described, and many bioethicists are skeptical of the publication of the surgery's success without proper peer review and of the issues around the severed spine. Because the technology has not yet been developed, the bioethicists worry that the severed spine may never be reconstructed, leaving the patient worse off than before.

Despite the pervasive belief in the surgery's failure, Canavero claims there's a 90 percent chance that the human head transplant will succeed. And not only that, its success would allow humans to no longer need to be afraid of death.

Father Tad Pacholczyk, who serves as a bioethicist for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, disagreed with Canavero's definition of being brought back to life. He said to assume death as a necessary product of either the head surgery or brain surgery is gullible and mistaken, as there is potential for the patient to be merely unconscious.

The patient undergoing the head transplant is not dead, only unconscious, he told CNA. There is not any 'bringing back to life'There is merely a restoration of consciousness, briefly lost during the movement of the head from one human body to the other.

Scherz also said that the Church accepts an intimate and mysterious relationship between soul and body, and that the procedure's success wouldn't necessary disprove the soul or religion. Our neurological tissue has important part to play in our soulThe soul is always intimately related to the body. We are not just souls that are disembodied, right? We are embodied spirits or spirited bodies.

Most physicians agree that the proposed surgery's success rate is infinitesimal, and they've questioned the morality of a procedure that's doomed to fail and the unrealistic hope life extension projects could give to people. I am concerned that the rights of vulnerable patients undergoing cryonics cannot be protected indefinitely, Dr. Channa Jayasena, a lecturer in Reproductive Endocrinology at Imperial College in London, told the Telegraph. Cryonics, she said, has risks for the patient, poses ethical issues for society, is highly expensive, but has no proven benefit.

And the hope for immortal life, Scherz weighed in, isn't a realistic desire in a fallen world. Living forever in bodily form is not going to satisfy anyone, he said. If the goal is not to help someone to get back bodily movement or things like that, but to try to live forever on this earth, then I think if you really want to get over the fear of death then you will have to come to terms with the fact that we are mortal. That what's going to help you to live a better life because you are going to be willing to give your life to things like service.

In fact, he said that people in transhumanist movements have admitted they would most likely avoid risky behavior in order to preserve their lives. If life extension projects come into being there is so much more to lose and you committed yourself to trying to live on this earth for as long as possible, which stands in contrast to the Catholic tradition and a lot of the philosophical traditions, Scherz noted.

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Why head transplants won't disprove the existence of God | Angelus - The Tidings

Why Head Transplants Won’t Disprove the Existence of God – Patheos (blog)

Denver, Colo., May 23, 2017 / 03:04 am (CNA/EWTN News).- With plans for the first human head transplant surgery looming in the next year, a lead doctor on the formidable project has high hopes for the procedure.

Along with the aim of finding a new body for a yet-to-be-selected patient, the physician says that the surgery as a first step toward immortality will effectively disprove religion.

But Catholic critics have called into question not only the ethics of such a risky procedure, but the dubious claim that such a development would render belief in God irrelevant.

The actual trying of the surgery at this point I think would be unethical because of the tremendous risk involved, and it is an unproven surgery, Dr. Paul Scherz, assistant professor of moral theology and ethics at The Catholic University of America, told CNA.

Sherz made his remarks following the news that Italian doctor Sergio Canavero is aiming to carry out the first human head transplant surgery within the next 10 months. Its a process Canavero hopes will pave the way for the process of transplanting cryogenically frozen brains and ultimately, in his view, to the eradication of death.

Canavero serves as director of Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group and has teamed up with Harbin Medical Centre and Doctor Xiaoping Ren, an orthopedic surgeon who was involved with the first successful hand transplant in the U.S. The first surgical attempt for the head transplant is expected to take place in China, where the group says theyre more likely to find a donor body.

Cryonics involves the freezing of the brain or even the whole body of patients, with expectations that future science will have the means to restore the frozen tissue and extend life.

Because conscious minds will have experienced life outside of death, Canavero said the surgery would then remove the fear of death and the peoples need for religion. He said if the process succeeds, religions will be swept away forever.

However, Sherz responded that even if the surgery was a success, it would not disprove the Catholic faith.

There is nothing in the Catholic tradition of how we understand the soul that would think that if you moved a head or moved the brain that that wouldnt allow the person to come back to life, he said.

Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has already claimed that a successful head transplant has been carried out on a monkey, but not all scientists agree that the operation can be recorded as a success.

Before the monkeys head was stitched back together, it was removed, cooled, and the blood of the transplant body was cross circulated with an outside source. Canavero and his group claimed the supply of blood was then connected to prove the surgery succeeded without brain damage, but the spinal cord was left unattached.

How the connected blood supply proves the surgery is possible without brain damage was not described, and many bioethicists are skeptical of the publication of the surgerys success without proper peer review and of the issues around the severed spine.

Because the technology has not yet been developed, the bioethicists worry that the severed spine may never be reconstructed, leaving the patient worse off than before.

Despite the pervasive belief in the surgerys failure, Canavero claims theres a 90 percent chance that the human head transplant will succeed. And not only that, its success would allow humans to no longer need to be afraid of death.

Father Tad Pacholczyk, who serves as a bioethicist for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, disagreed with Canaveros definition of being brought back to life.

He said to assume death as a necessary product of either the head surgery or brain surgery is gullible and mistaken, as there is potential for the patient to be merely unconscious.

The patient undergoing the head transplant is not dead, only unconscious, he told CNA. There is not any bringing back to lifeThere is merely a restoration of consciousness, briefly lost during the movement of the head from one human body to the other.

Scherz also said that the Church accepts an intimate and mysterious relationship between soul and body, and that the procedures success wouldnt necessary disprove the soul or religion.

Our neurological tissue has important part to play in our soulThe soul is always intimately related to the body. We are not just souls that are disembodied, right? We are embodied spirits or spirited bodies.

Most physicians agree that the proposed surgerys success rate is infinitesimal, and theyve questioned the morality of a procedure thats doomed to fail and the unrealistic hope life extension projects could give to people.

I am concerned that the rights of vulnerable patients undergoing cryonics cannot be protected indefinitely, Dr. Channa Jayasena, a lecturer in Reproductive Endocrinology at Imperial College in London, told the Telegraph.

Cryonics, she said, has risks for the patient, poses ethical issues for society, is highly expensive, but has no proven benefit.

And the hope for immortal life, Scherz weighed in, isnt a realistic desire in a fallen world. Living forever in bodily form is not going to satisfy anyone, he said.

If the goal is not to help someone to get back bodily movement or things like that, but to try to live forever on this earth, then I think if you really want to get over the fear of death then you will have to come to terms with the fact that we are mortal.

That whats going to help you to live a better life because you are going to be willing to give your life to things like service.

In fact, he said that people in transhumanist movements have admitted they would most likely avoid risky behavior in order to preserve their lives.

If life extension projects come into being there is so much more to lose and you committed yourself to trying to live on this earth for as long as possible, which stands in contrast to the Catholic tradition and a lot of the philosophical traditions, Scherz noted.

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Why Head Transplants Won't Disprove the Existence of God - Patheos (blog)

Forget healthcare this startup offers cryonic freezing as an employee benefit – Digital Trends

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If free lunches and a foosball table aren't enticing work perks, this AI-powered hedge fund is offering new recruits a chance to live forever.

Generous employee perks are as much a part of the tech industry as long work hours, office Nerf gun battles, and people overusing the word disruption. But while most firms only go so far as free meals, on-site yoga classes, and maybe the occasional indoor climbing wall, an artificial intelligence-driven hedge fund is taking things to the next level.

The good news? Numeraisnew employee benefit is quite literally the coolest one we have heard about. The bad news? You wont be able to enjoy it until youre dead.

We are allowing employees cryonic body preservation as a benefit, Richard Craib, founder of Numerai, told Digital Trends. Employees sign up through a life insurance policy and upon legal death, the life insurance claim is handed over to cryonics provider Alcor.

While the idea of whole-body preservation cryonics being a benefit isnt necessarily going to appeal to everyone, the hope is that it will appeal to the right kind of people, who will have something to bring to Numerai. That means folks with an interest (and, preferably, plenty of impressive qualifications) in artificial intelligence. Strong education backgrounds in mathematics and statistics are also advantageous, Craib continued.

The company is clearly doing something right in this department because it already includes former employees from Apple and Google DeepMind among its (soon to be frozen) ranks.

As to how long successful candidates will be frozen for well, that depends on a whole lot on scientific advances. According to Alcors website, Revival of todays cryonics patients will require future repair by highly advanced future technology, such as molecular nanotechnology. Technology that is advanced enough to repair a cryopreserved brain would by its nature also be able to regrow new tissues, organs, and a healthy body for the revived person.

Dont expect too much free time to explore your new futuristic home when you are thawed, though, because Craib is joining employees in the cryonics process. The only worse thing than being reanimated years in the future, to find that all your friends and family are long-since dead and youre a living fossil with outdated 21st-century views? Waking up in the aforementioned scenario, only to immediately be put back to work by your boss.

I personally signed up for Alcor recently, he explained. Many of the other Numerai employees were intrigued as to why and generally agree with the argument that a small chance of eternal life is worth the risk of an unconventional post-death experience. After discussing the idea on This Week In Startups, we decided to offer it to all employees.

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Forget healthcare this startup offers cryonic freezing as an employee benefit - Digital Trends

Company’s benefits package includes chance at eternal life | New … – New York Post

Having your assets frozen is officially a job perk.

Numerai, a San Francisco-based hedge fund, is currently hiring for a full stack engineer and the position comes with some cool benefits.

The $130,000-$160,000-a-year position seeks an optimistic and passionate individual to help develop the companysweb app, numer.ai. And your benefits package includes the option to be cryogenically frozen after you die.

Specifically, the job offers whole-body preservation cryonics through Alcor. Richard Craib, Numerais founder, told Digital Trends that the offering started as a joke, but he hopes it will attract some interesting candidates.

Numerai cares about its employees beyond their legal deaths, the job listing says.

According to Alcors website, over 100 people have been cryogenically preserved since 1967.

The over $100,000 process involves injecting a persons veins with chemicals shortly after theyre pronounced dead. Once the body arrives at the cryogenics facility their blood is replaced with a preservation solution and their body is stored in a tank of liquid nitrogen kept at -348 degrees Fahrenheit.

The hope is that technology will eventually be advanced enough to bring the frozen bodies back to life.

Craib, who is already signed up for Alcor, said many of his employees generally agree with the argument that a small chance of eternal life is worth the risk of an unconventional post-death experience.

The option is available through the companys life insurance policy, with Alcor receiving the life insurance claim after an employees death.

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Company's benefits package includes chance at eternal life | New ... - New York Post

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