X-Message-Number: 13860
Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2000 14:44:08 EDT
Subject: price and service and brains... oh my!

starting with:

>Subject: cryostats and economics of scale

re Dave Pizer's concerns over Alcor costs:

Greeting, friends, I've been lurking on your newsgroup for some time now...  
I've known many cryonics members of Alcor, but have never signed up due to 
the cost involved. I know that many might argue (reasonably) that Alcor is 
affordable with life insurance, and certainly that may be true, but 
nevertheless the cost has been THE primary factor in my not joining. 

When I recently discovered that the Cryonics Institute was MUCH more 
affordable by a factor of at least 2, or 5 if you compare whole body 
preservation, I began thinking about and investigating and reading up on 
them.  Well, I'm just a single point of information here, but here's my 
thoughts -- I currently have $15,000 in life insurance through my job, and if 
I were to contract a life terminating disease, for instance, I would be only 
$13,000 short of possible cryonics preservation.  Selling my car, house and 
other possessions would get me over the limit I'm pretty sure, even with just 
a short time to prepare.  If there were a more reasonable insurance available 
for minimum cryonic preservation, then that might be an option.  Over time, 
if I live a normal life span, then the value in my house will easily cover 
cryonics suspension at Cryonics Institute- perhaps just another 4-5 years.  

You could- should provide more insurance info on the websites-  Every time I 
look into it someone wants to come to my house or pressure sale me into 
buying more- More- MORE than I need, when it should be really easy for a 
company selling cryonics services to contract with an insurance company and 
provide signup on the web- post a darn chart with prices for age/smoking/etc 
and other factors... or provide email quotes!  I can buy a car or house on 
the web, why do I need to meet face to face with an insurance agent?

Tying in Kennita's statement re brain mummification:

>I'd expect that if there were a well-defined procedure, and an easy 
>and reliable way to get it past authorities, there would be quite a 
>bit more interest.  Even though the chances of revival are likely 
>much less, they may well be great enough that between dramatically 
>reduced cost (say, $2000 instead of at least $28,000) and ability 
>to have the procedure performed without the elaborate advance 
>preparation and ongoing expense of current cryonics contracts, 
>there may well be significant interest.

I'd love to have this option available to myself and my family.  How nice it 
would be to have a very low cost brain preservation system available, that 
would cost LESS than a traditional funeral!  If such a procedure were 
routinely available, then speed of preservation and procedure might be a 
tremendous boon to those of us with family members they would like to offer 
the possibility of survival to.  I tend to think that technology in the 
future, with an adequately preserved brain record, will EASILY allow almost 
complete if not TOTAL recovery of any quickly preserved individual.  Also, 
consider that even if some memories are lost (is your phone number when you 
were a child really important anyway?) the option of preserving say 90-95% of 
your memories, but RESTORING them to a PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING BRAIN, will be 
much different I think than the trauma we expect from coma cases and brain 
damage we see today, where the brain is permanently damaged and function not 

Or, will the lost memories impair reason and cognition, would I say get in a 
car and start to drive but forget where the brake pedal was?  Or, would I 
simply need a new course in driver's ed?  Or, would it be impossible for me 
to ever learn to drive again even if my memories were restored to a new brain 
and body, due to imperfect transfer and "transcription errors" (thanks 
Michael Crichton for that term) ? 

I tend to believe (call if faith and turn up your nose if you must) that 
preserving a brain quickly after death, even with cracking, will be easily 
repairable as long as the brain isn't mucked about with in some way to screw 
up that first damaged/preservation.  Long delay in preservation, or possibly 
massive damage to the point of turning portions of the brain to soup, even a 
quantum computer might have trouble with.  if the initial damage is 
preserved, and frozen, then I think there will be a way to fix this damage, 
and probably using the computing power that will be found on the equivalent 
of future desktop computers.

Also, what's the big deal with brain preservation either in or out of the 
skull- I've heard the argument the brain is best protected in the skull... 
okay, that seems reasonable... but wouldn't it be easy to devise a simple 
brain jar for  this?  I mean, sure, its icky, but come on, if they're gonna 
restore your BRAIN, why worry about skull and eyes and stuff?

so would brain- out - of - head preservation be cheaper/easier/faster? is it 
really slow and messy and damaging  taking the brain out of the skull, isn't 
this normally done for autopsy anyway?

Or would popping the brain out allow quick cheap good preservation techniques,
 and possibly even CHEAPER storage at LN2 temps or the -20 glycerol temps? 
(Is the freezing point of glycerol below -20?)

LOL.. okay, so I'm jumping into the conversation with both feet forward, I 
hope that my many questions do not promote too much head banging into walls 
in offices and homes around the world. 

To finish this first post, I have to admit the second reason I'm not signed 
up with a cryonics company...  I don't want it to DOMINATE my life- I don't 
want to be a "member" or VOTE or argue  or go to conventions or have it take 
me away from the purpose of my life, anymore than having a doctor, health 
insurance and hospitals available to me does... 

I want it there when I need it, I want to buy it easily, and I don't want any 
pressure to "join"- no offense to ANYONE on this list, I respect you all more 
than I can say, so I think I owe you my honesty... without intending to 
provoke any of you.  But until I can go to a website and choose my option and 
wave my credit card and get my wrist bracelet in the mail, with no more 
bother than a monthly fee deduction and an occasional unwanted newsletter, 
you haven't quite got the job done.  Think Auto Club.  Think Blue Cross. 
Think Amazon.com...

To absent friends...  be well.

Mike Donahue

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