X-Message-Number: 15704
From: "Jeff Grimes" <>
Subject: The Final Answers
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 01:08:34 +0000

David Pascal has answered my questions, while complaining about it at 
great length. Actually if he had omitted all his complaints during the 
last few weeks and had just answered the questions initially, he could 
have saved an amazing amount of time. But anyway:

I thank him for the answers and have put away my list of questions. Some 
of the answers seem a bit dubious though.

> CI does not use Viaspan as a transplant solution because because 
> though endorsed by the FDA for selected abdominal organs, has no such
> approval for neural tissue or other tissues. 

So, he seems to be saying, CI doesn't use it because CI hasn't tested it 
(and no one else has either). I would respond: Other cryonics 
organizations have used it, so, presumably there is room for more than one 
opinion on this subject. This sounds like another case where, if CI hasn't 
tried something itself, it won't believe anyone else's experience. As for 
no improvements to Viaspan in 10 years, either this means the product is 
as good as it can get, or it means something else has come along, 
suggesting that the "something else" might be worth looking into. The one 
thing David says that makes a lot more sense is "cost" which must be a 
factor since CI makes a big point of its low-cost operations. 

As for vitrification, some of the text that David quotes from his own web 
site seems relatively new and may have been added because of complaints 
here on CryoNet. (Of course he makes it sound as if the text has always 
been there, which is not the case.) Other quotes are incomplete and omit 
the cattier comments on this topic. But I will certainly agree that the 
web site is less negative and scary about vitrification than it used to be.
> What CI is being accused of, you see, is using 'a more concentrated
> solution of glycerol than has been used by any other organization',

It turns out that my statement on this topic was true after all, and the 
person who advised me about this knew what he was talking about. (See the 
Hugh Hixon statement which I mention below.) CI's use of a very high 
concentration remains a real mystery.

> which
> (apart from being factually incorrect) is very very bad, and then of
> using 'a lower concentration than other organizations,' which (apart 
> being incorrect) is very very bad too.   

No, I didn't say that, and David must know that I didn't say that. I said, 
many times, that as I understand it, the idea of using very concentrated 
glycerol for a short time, so that only a small amount penetrates, seems 
guaranteed to create uneven, localized, or inconsistent levels. He chose 
not to address this issue, but just buried it in a huge amount of text.

> It is customary
> in cryonics circles to argue this question from theory, ie, to go: 
> 'study
> A in Journal B says more cryoprotectant, more protection - let's do it!'
> or 'study C in Journal D says less cryoprotectant, less toxicity - let's
> do it!'
> CI doesn't believe in theory.  It runs actual tests, 

This just confirms my repeated point that CI ignores other people's work, 
and not just theory work, but experimental work. I find this very hard to 

> research labs to look at the results, sends them blind samples and says: 
> which of these gives us the best results? 

I have pointed out that if you invent two procedures yourself, then ask 
experts to say which is better, this is a very peculiar way to do 
research, and guarantees that you will not learn very much, because you 
are limiting yourself only to the two things that you thought of. 

> To reply:  the areas he is taking about are (I think) ice. 

All right, in that case, there does seem to be a 
LOT of ice! I wonder if this is because the amount of glycerol that 
penetrated is relatively small.

> that sort of tearing damage should
> certainly be within the range of repair. 

Ah, so, we're back to the basic idea that nanotech will fix things. Of 
course, it may fix things. But why not reduce the amount that needs to be 
fixed? Oops, this sounds like a question, and I said I wouldn't ask any 
more questions. So, take it as a rhetorical question, I don't expect an 

> But not only do people not read the
> text, they can actually look at a photo with subheads saying
> 'Photomicrogram 39' and ask:  "How many photos were taken?".  Sir, the
> reason we receive pictures labeled 'Photomicrogram 39' is that 38 other
> photomicrograms precede it.

Thank you David, but since I am not an imbecile, there is no need for the 
condescending tone, especially because "Photo 39" does not necessarily 
mean there were ONLY 39 photos. Maybe there were 100. It doesn't say.

> And as for the main charge - the actual times - let me explain why it's
> completely pointless. 

But David started this topic by criticizing Alcor for the time it took. 
So, if this criticism was "pointless," why did he make it? Because he 
wanted to make Alcor look bad, of course! And that's what all this 
verbiage seems to be about. Criticizing competitors. Doing PR.

Oh well. At least David has finally given some numbers. Thank you David, 
and I have no idea why this became such a sticking point. Perhaps because 
there was one CI patient who took a very long time. But Robert Ettinger 
explained this (when someone from Alcor forced the issue).

> And also - please listen closely, everyone - because people at CI are
> *busy*:  I'm not saying that to brush anyone off. 

This is ridiculous. If Robert Ettinger was busy, he wouldn't post two or 
more messages per day, saying the same things over and over again, while 
refusing to answer questions. If David Pascal was busy, he wouldn't write 
messages that are 10,000 words long (or seem to be). My questions could 
have been answered, in one post, in about 500 words or less.

I have to conclude that CI uses CryoNet as a broadcasting station, not as 
an interactive forum. Fair enough, but let's be honest about it. 

> If he's asked so much as
> *one single question* of anyone on this list *other* than CI, I've 
> missed
> it.  What makes us so privileged?  I have no idea. 

Yes you do. I told you at the beginning I was interested in CI because it 
offers service in England. I thought I was asking some fairly simple and 
obvious questions which might have been asked many times before--but it 
was hard for me to check, because CryoNet archives are not indexed. But it 
turns out that no one seems to have asked these questions before, and they 
caused many personal emails, and personal attacks ridiculing me and 
suggesting that I am an idiot. Naturally this roused my curiosity to say 
the least. What a weird place cryonics seems to be, and CI in particular. 
So, I continued to ask the questions although my personal interest in the 
organization has diminished.

This from Hugh Hixon:

> The result is a cryoprotectant ramp from 4%v/v glycerol to
> a cutoff point of about 55%v/v glycerol (~7.5M). 

So, my question, why CI uses a higher concentration of glycerol than any 
other organization, is valid, and remains unanswered.

Hugh Hixon continues:

> The object of the ramp is to prevent the severe osmotic shrinkage of
> cells that occurs when tissues are suddenly exposed to high 
> concentrations
> of osmotically active active agents such as glycerol 

Nice to get some material here from someone who sounds as if he knows what 
he is talking about. The casual way he describes "osmotic shrinkage" makes 
it sound like a well-known phenomenon. This makes me wonder even more, why 
CI persists in using the highly concentrated stuff. But I'm losing 
interest at this point.

Maybe cryonics will be better tested and proven another ten years from 
now. Maybe then, we will have some real science here instead of PR. I'm 
still somewhat interested in the way Alcor does things but even that 
sounds as if it is a work in progress.

Anyway thanks for confirming that this is not a field I want to get 
into right now.

Jeff Grimes.

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