X-Message-Number: 12244
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: comments about 3 postings: #12239-#12242
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 21:56:32 +1000 (EST)

Hi everyone!

Yesterday I wondered if Cryonet had disappeared. Today it looks like
there are a number of messages to which I want to reply. The very first
point I want to make GENERALLY is that means to reversibly cryosuspend
brains just aren't that far away. Yes, cryonicists are the ones who would
have to do that work (when we look at the problem up close, it turns out
that the best methods for preserving kidneys are unlikely to be best for
brains, and so on ... so that it's not enough that some other people/
organizations learn how to preserve kidneys. Or hearts. Or livers). I've
followed such research for years, and know Greg Fahy, the cryobiologist
with 21st Century Medicine. And yes, I think his appreciation of the 
problems is basically correct.

1. For George Smith: Some things are very easy to say, and look easy from
   a distance, but turn out not to be at all easy. The problems which we
   must solve to adequately preserve brains are unlike those of the other
   organs. Yes, discovery of means to preserve other organs will certainly
   be carried out by many who aren't at all interested in cryonics.

   As for people who were suspended with current or previous methods, the
   problem is that of working out how to revive their brains despite any
   damage those methods had caused. The critical point to see here is that
   ALL SUCH PATIENTS ARE THOUGHT TO BE DEAD. Doctors do try to prolong
   our lives, but they've shown little interest in reviving the "dead".
   This essentially means that the problem of reviving such people is 
   going to be up to cryonicists. Yes, in the future there may be more
   cryonicists, and some cryonicists are already doctors (MDs). But the
   very idea of attempting to revive such patients is one that only
   cryonicists will have or even understand.

2. For Tom Mazanec: The means to do suspensions far better than now will
   not require any particular advances in any kind of nanotechnology. They
   need only consist of doing the work with present methods, and they're
   an application of such work to find improved cryoprotectants and 
   methods to apply them (first of all) to brains. It is the application
   of these methods to suspension and revival of BRAINS that makes this
   work of a kind that only cryonicists are likely to do. (Yes, there are
   various cases in which doctors want to preserve pathological samples
   of brain tissue, and our work would help them. But those doctors aren't
   cryonicists and hardly have the numbers to do the required work).

   As for revival of those suspended with past or current methods, as
   someone who is now alive and hopes to continue alive for several
   decades, I'd want most support to go into work to improve our present
   suspension methods. Cryonics patients who have been suspended by
   previous methods aren't going to get any worse for centuries; when we
   work out how to suspend ourselves (at a minimum, just our brains)
   then it will be time to work on reviving those patients. If you feel
   differently, nothing stops you from spending money to advance whatever
   nanotechnology pleases you.

   However I will still point out some things. When Feynman wrote, a lot
   of biotechnology did not exist. The problems he lists (from your
   quote) may well be seen as simple with the hindsight of centuries, but
   they weren't simple to the people who actually tried to solve them
   rather than simply talk about it. And yes, they did use nanotechnology,
   in that form known as biotechnology. Now we know a lot more about the
   questions he asked, too; but like all science, we now have new
   questions which we could not have asked without knowing the answers
   to the older ones we've now answered.

3. David King has a good idea. Right now, in Australia, they've actually
   implemented it with pets. You can take your cat and have a chip giving
   the cats full medical history embedded in the cat's neck; and the same
   is true for dogs.

   NO, it hasn't been applied to people. And that says a lot: besides the
   simple technological issues, there are people who (wrongly) will get
   themselves tied up in knots over possible moral issues. I hope that
   someday we all get over that and can carry out medical histories 
   around with us. (Incidentally, that means that the chips must be
   erasable and writable, but that hardly seems a big problem. The big
   problem may well be that of people getting over their hangups on this

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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