X-Message-Number: 141

From att!saqqara.cis.ohio-state.edu!compuserve.com!72320.1642 Thu Nov 16 
02:55:16 1989
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Date: 16 Nov 89 01:45:16 EST
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By Steve Bridge, Midwest Coordinator, Alcor Life Extension Foundation

     About  45 people attended the Cryonics Conference in Detroit,  Michigan 
on October 6-8.  The conference was sponsored by the Immortalist Society and 
the Cryonics Institute,  the organizations founded by Robert C. W. Ettinger, 
author  of  The Prospect of Immortality and the originator of  the  cryonics 
movement.    While  the conference was a bit short on new information for us 
old  hands  (most of the presentations were new versions of material  I  had 
heard  before),  I  did  notice that the few people there who  were  new  to 
cryonics were fascinated by it all.   For most of the people there, however, 
the advantage was in the personal contacts. 

     The  conference  program  was organized and well run  by  Mae  Ettinger 
(Bob's  wife);  but it appeared that Bob and Mae had only a little help from 
other IS/CI members.   In fact,  close to half of those present were  either 
Alcor  suspension  members (17 by my count) or people with whom Alcor has  a 
lot  of  contact (children of suspensed patients,  subscribers  to  CRYONICS 
magazine,  etc.).  American Cryonics Society (ACS) had four members there, I 
believe,  and at least half of the rest were uncommitted.  I wonder if IS/CI 
will continue to exist as an independent organization after Bob and Mae  are 
suspended.   They  are in their 60's and the only comparatively young people 
among the other leaders are David Ettinger (Bob's son) and his wife. 

     Several  participants  were children of suspended  patients,  including 
five people whose parents were suspended by Alcor within the past two years.  
Those five talked quite a bit and had some emotional times sharing  feelings 
about the different emotional approaches required by cryonic suspension.   I 
saw that this is a concern Alcor will have to address in the future,  at the 
least  providing opportunities for these families to come together and  meet 
each other.  Eventually, children of patients who have been suspended longer 
could provide counseling or comforting for the children of newer suspendees.  
And from a practical standpoint,  I think this approach makes it more likely 
that  family  members will eventually sign up themselves.   

     The  conference opened Friday evening with an informal  reception  from 
about  7:30 to 9:00.   The Ettingers left before 9:00 and the evening  would 
have  been pretty quiet after that except for some lessons Alcor had learned 
at  various conventions during the past two years.   People love to  have  a 
place to talk in the late evening and if you can provide interesting people, 
plus food and beverage,  they may well choose YOUR place.  So Alcor hosted a 
hospitality  suite from 9:30 to about midnight both nights.   Brenda  Peters 
and Mike Darwin deserve most of the credit for the work here.  As has always 
been  our experience,  some of the best conversations and  most  interesting 
mixing  of  people took place in Alcor's suite.   (If you ever decide to  do 
something like this yourself someday, ask us for advice.)

     One  thing  I have noticed from watching new people  go  from  hesitant 
observers  to full participants:  people get involved with groups they  feel 
FRIENDLY  toward.   Few people can judge levels of technological or business 
competence  to  any  real degree.   But they can get  a  sense  of  honesty, 
openness,  friendliness,  and  general competence from the personal contacts 
they have.  That makes these informal parties very important for groups like 
ours.   Outsiders  especially have to be given the chance to see that we are 
not  crazies,  but are  intelligent,  interesting,  rational,  and  friendly 

     Saturday  morning  started with Bob Ettinger's low key summary  of  his 
experiences  in  the  cryonics movement and his ideas  about  what  will  be 
required in the future.    If you don't know Bob, he is a quiet, thoughtful, 
and sincere individual,  but not a powerful activist or charismatic speaker.  
He reminds me of what I have read of Charles Darwin.   One basic idea, which 
he  has  steadily worked on and shaped bit by bit for many years.   I  don't 
believe he ever wanted to run a cryonics organization.   He assumed 25 years 
ago that if he laid the idea out for everyone,  then experts in the  various 
applicable  fields would take over and run things.   Of course,  that didn't 
happen, so he has had to become more personally involved.

     Next was Dr. Paul Segall of ACS and Cryomedical Sciences, Inc. (his own 
little  company),  speaking  about recent progress made by him and  his  co-
workers  (especially  Harold  "Frosty" Waitz).   This included  total  blood 
washout  and cooldown (not freezing) of a dog to about 2 degrees C  for  six 
hours  and further progress in cooldown of hamsters.   He hopes to achieve 8 
hours of cooldown on a dog sometime this year.     Apparently he is  getting 
some serious funding for his ice cold blood substitute research and he hopes 
to  patent and market within the next 3-5 years.   Paul's talk was rambling; 
he rarely prepares well.

     Dr.  Ralph Merkle (computer and AI whiz from Xerox Parc) gave a lecture 
on  nanotechnology which was a highlight of the  conference.   Ralph  really 
knows his stuff, and he has a colorful, witty style.  His talk has tightened 
up  quite a bit since I saw it in Lake Tahoe.   I was impressed and so  were 
many other people.   I'm hoping on learning more about this,  myself.   I've 
had  a  high  school  science teacher tell me she wants  me  to  talk  about 
nanotech  to  her  advanced chemistry class,  with only a little  bit  about 
cryonics.   It may be a bit over my head;  but I could probably handle it at 
high school level.

     Linda  Chamberlain's  talk on LifePact and Fred Chamberlain's  talk  on 
Post-mortem Suspensions (Fred is now calling these "Non-Member  Suspensions" 
on  the  logical  basis that currently ALL suspensions  are  "post-mortem.")  
both   were  much  better  organized  and  presented  than  their   previous 
presentations on these  subjects.   You could see the amount of effort  they 
had  put into this during the past five months.   They are getting a LOT  of 
positive reactions on LifePact.  

     LifePact  is a plan for providing cooperation between cryonicists today 
with  the hope and plan that we will also cooperate in bringing people  back 
in  the future.   The emphasis here is on planning for the unexpected  costs 
and problems of future revival,  including financial, technical, social, and 

     Fred's talk was on ideas for involving morticians around the country in 
offering  information  about  cryonics  groups  as  part  of  their  regular 
discussion  with  clients and in those morticians  possibly  providing  some 
actual services.   For example,  except under unusual circumstances, today's 
cryonics  organizations  do not provide suspension services on an  emergency 
basis  to non-members.   There are many important reasons for this,  but the 
most  important is the principle that a family cannot give informed  consent 
in  a last minute,  emotionally-laden situation;  so they could later  claim 
coercion or fraud on the part of the cryonics group.  Fred would like to see 
morticians  be able to put the patient's body on water ice or dry ice  on  a 
temporary  basis,  buying  time  for the family to  better  investigate  the 
possibilities.   Under these circumstances,  Fred theorizes, cryonics groups 
may have more incentive to provide suspension services.   Obviously,  such a 
suspension would be done with what seems like less advanced methods;  but it 
still might be adequate by the standards of future technology.

     It  is beyond my capabilities to more fully describe the  Chamberlains' 
ideas here,  and unnecessary to boot.   If you write to them and send them a 
couple  of dollars for postage,  they will happily provide you with details.  
Fred and Linda Chamberlain, P.O. Box 16220, South Lake Tahoe, CA 95706.

     Saul  Kent spoke on some similar themes as he discussed  the  fledgling 
Reanimation Foundation.   This is an organization which is planned to act as 
a financial setting for "taking it with you."  In the United States there is 
a rule against "perpetuities," i.e.,  giving a deceased person control  over 
his  estate for longer than a certain number of years.   This is to  prevent 
immense  sums of money from being tied up in estates and never getting  back 
into  circulation.   The tiny,  but wealthy,  country of Lichtenstein has no 
such  rule,  so  Saul is setting up a corporation there  which  will  invest 
people's  money  and  save  it for their "return."   To  get  his  brochures 
explaining  this,   write  to:  Saul  Kent,  Reanimation  Foundation,  16280 
Whispering Spur, Riverside CA 92504.  A caution:  This is still in the early 
stages  and Saul has told me there are already changes being  made,  so  the 
brochures  may not be accurate in all details.   Indeed,  I found an unclear 
item or two which I quizzed him on.  But he is happy to hear other ideas.

     Saul is definitely onto something here.  When I showed the brochures to 
a couple of friends who have been interested in cryonics but not INTERESTED, 
their eyes lit up for the first time.   The idea of being rich in the future 
makes  being  alive in the future seem a lot more palatable.   

     It  was  interesting  to see the intense  reactions  (mostly  positive) 
generated by LifePact and the Reanimation Foundation.   As Saul  says,  most 
people  don't  get  much good feeling out  of  discussing  operations,  dead 
bodies,  freezing procedures,  insurance needs, etc.  It is simply something 
they endure.   But MOST people get excited about the future and helping each 
other  out and coming back with a lot of money and a lot of choices.   If we 
spend more time on the positives and fewer on the negatives, perhaps we will 
get  more people excited about our ideas.   We certainly cannot ignore  this 
reaction.   I even felt it emotionally.   People LIKE the feeling that other 
people  are  looking  out for them.   Perhaps  we  haven't  strongly  enough 
emphasized  Alcor's  position  as a mutual aid society.   I do  notice  that 
statements by me to the effect that "Alcor is not a company selling services 
to outsiders;  it is a group of people providing services to each  other..."  
get strong positive reactions from friends and audiences.

     Dr.  Michael Perry gave a short talk about the goals of The Venturists.  
This  was much the same as what has been written about Venturism in  various 
magazines and on this "cryonet," so I won't bother to summarize.   Mike  did 
add  that  the Venturists were examining the possiblity of  encouraging  and 
perhaps  even  participating in long-term storage of records  ("intellectual 
property" rather than goods) for suspension patients and in providing  "Good 
Samaritan" funds in some way.   Incidentally, Venturist head David Pizer has 
moved to California.  Write to the Venturists at P.O. Box 458, Wrightwood CA 
92397 (Pizer's address) for subscriptions or to P.O.  Box 8511, Riverside CA 
92515 (Perry's address) for editorial purposes.   Subscriptions to Venturist 
Monthly News are $8.00 (one year) in the U.S.,  $10.00 in Canada, and $15.00 
overseas.  Remit to "The Venturists."
     Saturday  evening  after  dinner,  Jack Zinn of the  American  Cryonics 
Society gave an extremely brief talk about what ACS is doing.   He surprised 
everyone  with  an  impassioned  thank-you  to  Alcor  and  to  Mike  Darwin 
in particular for their courage and perseverance under fire in the Dora Kent 
crisis last year.   Frankly,  Mike was quite embarassed at being singled out 
like this,  and he wants everyone to know that at least as much courage,  if 
not more,  was shown by Saul Kent,  Jerry Leaf,  Carlos Mondragon,  and many 
others during the crisis.

     Sunday  morning  was the other big news:  several of the people at  the 
conference  took  it  upon  themselves to begin  a  Federation  of  Cryonics 
Societies.   I gather this will be more or less a "professional association" 
for cryonics groups, to set ethics, standards, and cooperation for cryonics.  
It  is  too early to tell if this will be a workable idea  or  just  another 
place for the organizations to argue.  I assume Alcor will be participating.  
If  you  are on the LifePact list,  you have received (or  will)  the  first 
discussion of this idea from the Chamberlains.

     Frankly,  ideas  are coming so fast and furious in cryonics that it  is 
hard  to keep score.   Cryonics is far from its final form,  economically or 
organizationally.   Fortunately,  we  have forums like this to keep the news 
spread around and to talk out the ideas.  Feel free to contribute.

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