X-Message-Number: 10399
Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 11:16:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Various

On Tue, 8 Sep 1998, CryoNet wrote:

> From: The Hitman <>
> Subject: Cryonet response:

> Generally, what I'm trying to say is don't insult people for not asking 
> for information they wouldn't understand anyway. 

Brett, as I have already communicated to you in personal email, no insult
was intended. I suggested that one reason for seeming lack of interest
might be that some people felt unqualified to interpret electron
micrographs. You have agreed that this reason applies in your case.
So--where's the insult? I also suggested that the fault might be my own;
my posts may be so dull, people may skip reading them. 

> From: 
> Subject: Re: CryoNet #10390

> > So far, precisely one person has taken me up on my offer.  >>

> Gimme.

Will be happy to do so. But you need to send me your physical address.

> From: Ralph Merkle <>
> Subject: Metaphor considered harmful

> It might therefore be useful to describe freezing injury with statements that
> are literally true, or are intended to be literally true.

Okay. But bear in mind I did not ally myself with the Rowe metaphorical
"hamburger"  description; I think I made it clear that my real point was
simply there _can be substantial damage_ depending on circumstances of
death and the protocol used for cryoprotection. Whether the result looks
more like hamburger or beef stew, the main issue (to me) is that damage
exists, and, depending on its extent, may be easy, difficult, or even
impractical to repair. (This is how I interpret the Rowe quote, though
I've been told that I may be being too generous to Rowe.)

I doubt that even you, Ralph, can tell us how much it's going to cost to
design software to control nanobots to fix major damage as opposed to
minor damage. The two tasks could turn out to be very different. Thus
minimizing damage seems the #1 priority to me in general, a) because it
will be the ultimate answer to critics such as Rowe, and b) because we 
don't want to increase the risk of patients needing major repair work 
that could result in them waiting in their tanks for longer than 

Surely these views are not especially controversial?

> Further, we must remain focused on the critical issues: while there is 

> reason to believe that existing suspension methods (even with high 

> of cryoprotectant) cause "damage," we do not have good reasons to believe that

> "damage" results in loss of fundamental information relevant to long term 
> and personality.

This may indeed be true. But retrieving that information may be vastly 
more expensive if the information has been substantially disrupted. It 
may be comparable, for instance, to the difference between cracking 
64-bit and 128-bit encryption. The necessary time may increase as an 
exponential function. How can we be sure that this isn't true?

> My experience with cryobiologists critical of cryonics is that they are 

> ignorant of basic issues and often display behavior which can only be 
> as grossly unscientific. 

What "basic issues" are you talking about here? If you are referring to 
information content and retrieval, surely this is outside the realm of 
expertise of cryobiologists. I suggest to you that it is quite common for 
scientists in one field to react defensively and antagonistically when 
they feel that their field is being "invaded" by scientists from another 
field. The reaction of atomic physicists when electrochemists 
postulated cold fusion is a classic example. Regardless of the validity 
of cold fusion, the physicists showed an immediate desire to discredit 
the experiments by any means possible, and electrochemists were 
effectively blocked from publishing papers in almost all academic 
journals. Thus, while I agree that the reaction of the Society for 
Cryobiology is contrary to the ideal _spirit_ of science, I suggest it is 
quite typical of the scientific community as a whole.

Also I note that presentations from staff at 21st Century Medicine at this
year's Society for Cryobiology conference were well received, presumably
because they described verifiable research of a type that the Society
members could understand. In other words, they didn't talk about
information-theoretic death, or nanomachines that can't be built yet. 
Personally Ralph I respect your work immensely, but I can certainly see
how it would rub cryobiologists the wrong way, especially since, in
effect, you have told them that they don't know what they're talking

> Message #10394
> Date: Mon, 07 Sep 1998 16:20:50 -0400
> From: Jan Coetzee <>
> Subject: Re: CryoNet #10390
> References: <>

> Electron micrograms are artifacts that may reflect the technicians experience
> preparing tissue for the instrument. Until different very competent persons
> have repeated the preparation of frozen brain tissue one would not know

> whether the damage is due to freezing or the preparation of the tissue for the
> microscope.

Two control series of micrographs were done in the experiment that I 
referred to. One showed brain tissue that was simply fixed without 
treatment. The other showed tissue that was perfused and then fixed 
without being frozen. This provides some assurance that artifacts were 
not introduced in the electron micrographs, but of course in an ideal 
world the work would be repeated by another lab.

--Charles Platt

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