X-Message-Number: 2065
Date: 05 Apr 93 18:43:05 EDT
From: Clarissa Wells <>
Subject: CRYONICS Simple Freezer Costs

I have been reading the plans for a "cold room" with some interest. I do not 
have any qualifications in physical sciences, but I do have some experience 
and expertise evaluating human psychology, and consequently, this is the 
aspect of the discussion that interests me. First I hope we can all agree that 
most cryonics enthusiasts are excited by the idea of the future. After all, 
you have to have some faith in the future in order to want to be frozen. My 
next logical step is to conclude that cryonics enthusiasts are excited by 
futuristic science, gadgets, and anything of that kind which may be available 
right now. So far, so good?
I have seen photographs of those big stainless-steel tanks at Alcor, and they 
have that "futuristic" look. They look just the way people would want them to 
look. (That's why the media like to print pictures of those tanks, as on the 
front page of the Boston Globe.) I have also seen a couple of pictures of the 
"cryostats" which Mr. Ettinger maintains at his cryonics facility. By 
comparison they look home-made. I doubt they excite anyone's imagination. 
I am interested that people in Alcor find it so hard to believe that Mr. 
Ettinger's system is at all satisfactory. He has published some figures about 
it, and he has made some claims about its relative security, right here on 
CryoNet. This all seemed quite convincing to me, but I don't see anyone at 
Alcor being convinced by it, and I am absolutely convinced that there are 
psychological factors involved. Given the choice of a futuristic stainless-
steel high-tech high-vacuum tank, and a home-made "cryostat," which would 
cryonicists prefer as a "time machine" to transport them into the future? 
Clearly, the stainless-steel tank wins out every time. 
Now let me apply this line of logic to the recent discussion about a "cold 
room." I am impressed that this has created so much enthusiasm here. All the 
bickering and back-biting has evaporated overnight! And I think this is 
because the "cold room" is another high-tech kind of project, a new kind of 
"time machine" with state-of-the-art insulating materials, a little piece of 
the dream of cryonics which people may be able to create here, today. 
But then, in the middle of all the diagrams and speculation, Perry Metzger 
tries to spoil things. He speaks up and says, "why not use off-the-shelf 
technology, like a regular freezer?"
Naturally enough, Mr. Metzger's comments are dismissed very quickly, without 
the benefit of any calculations or technical proofs. After all, he is spoiling 
the fun. He's tossing aside the science-fictional pleasure of gadget-building 
and saying, look, all you have to do is plug a freezer into the wall. 
Of course, he may be wrong, and I can understand that generally speaking, a 
large storage unit would be more efficient than a bunch of smaller ones. 
However, there are some other factors which are being ignored in a very 
cavalier fashion. It seems to me that SAFETY of a cryonics storage facility is 
just as important as EFFICIENCY, if not more important. And surely, safety 
would be greater if the facility was located in a remote area, far away from 
city inspectors and other trouble-makers. If the facility was using 
conventional freezers, it would not need liquid nitrogen deliveries, so it 
could be located in the middle of nowhere. Also, it could use solar cells to 
supplement power supplied by the utility company or by a diesel generator. 
Also, it could perhaps buy up some conventional freezers very cheaply, and put 
them in a cheaply insulated room (a "cool room") which would improve the 
efficiency of the freezers. None of this is very high-tech, but it seems to me 
it would be simple, and it would be safe. It would not satisfy the cryonic 
enthusiasts' psychological need for something technologically exciting, but 
isn't safety a more important issue? 
Since I do not have the necessary background to do efficiency calculations, I 
may be quite wrong suggesting that a remote facility using conventional 
freezers, with supplemental solar power, could be as economical as the "cold 
room" suggested by Mr. Wowk. But if I'm wrong (and if Perry Metzger is wrong), 
at least let us be PROVED wrong, with the same kind of rigorous mathematics 
which have been used in the much more exciting project of the cold room. (And 
don't forget that the cost of real estate and land in a remote area would be 
MUCH less than for a facility in an industrial park.) 

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=2065