X-Message-Number: 12262
From: "John de Rivaz" <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: Transplants is to cryonics as air flight is to space flight
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 16:45:59 +0100

One could have said the same thing in the 1950s about space flight. There
were loads of people working on aeroplanes, but only a small band of
"lunatics" like the British Interplanetary Society took space flight
seriously. Behind the scenes there were a few established engineers working
on it, but even in the year of the Sputnik (1957) highly regarded officials,
such as the British Astronomer Royal, were reported as saying that "Space
travel is bunk".

Half a century earlier, established steam engine engineers and academics did
calculations based on the power/weight ratio of steam engines and declared
that powered flight was bunk. Go back another 75 years or so and the
establishment though that if a human travelled faster than about 15 MI/hr
the air would be sucked out of his lungs, or even that his body would

The fact of the matter is that cryonics is not attracting serious attention
because the infrastructure to complete the whole cryopreservation-revival
cycle is not present. The establishment refuses to listen to the argument
that people dying now are better cryopreserved in hope than left to burn or
rot in despair. The other half of the cycle (restoration) can be performed
when the infrastructure is there.

Many people "make" PCs for themselves. But they only do this by plugging in
boards. They could not do this if someone else had not made the boards in
the first place. Go back 30 years, and people "made" radios. They could not
do this unless others made transistors and other parts for them. Back
another 30 years and yes, people could still make radios, but winding your
own coils and using oxidised copper sheet or lump of coal and a piece of
fine wire ("cat's whisker") to make a semiconductor diode didn't produce a
radio that could do much. And that lot probably bought their headphones.

Those that made transistor radios would have been just as capable of making
computers as we are, but they'd laugh at you if you suggested that they try
or even that they could try in the future. I know, I was there. I can
remember wanting a computer in around 1960 (influenced by sci fi no doubt)
and being told that they cost three million pounds and in any case couldn't
do much. Two or three years later I and a friend were wondering what could
be done with a few diode gates, transistor flip-flops and a teleprinter. But
by 1980 I had a computer with 32k memory and which could run little programs
in BASIC, and do far more than the 3,000,000 pound job in 1960. I could have
struggled with diodes and a teleprinter between 1963 and 1980 and never got
that far.

Today, of course, I effectively can get any computer I am capable of using
for virtually nothing - past investments in the industry produce the money
and the Internet provides a cheap source of boards, with customers forcing
down prices. But if I had spend the money otherwise invested in millions of
diodes and transistors (they were relatively expensive then) my total
expenditure on computers would have been positive not negative, and I doubt
whether the contraption I was planning would have worked anyway.

cryopreservation now + investment now = reanimation research in the future +
revivals in the future

Sincerely, John de Rivaz
my homepage links to Longevity Report, Fractal Report, my singles club for
people in Cornwall, music, Inventors' report, an autobio and various other
projects:       http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR

----- Original Message ----- > Message #12249
> Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 05:47:20 -0400
> From: Saul Kent <>
> Subject: Reality Check
>         In the 1960s, the transplantation industry
> did not yet exist, yet there were at least a half dozen
> research teams conducting organ cryopreservation
> research for transplant.  It was also the time when
> cryonics began.
>         Today, transplantation is mainstream
> medicine,

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