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Date: Wed, 17 Oct 90 18:06:52 PDT
From: Ralph Merkle <>
Subject: Re:  cryonics #235 - Proposal for Cheap Freeze

Before we jump on Rich too hard, remember that the ideas he
is proposing seem quite reasonable and were actually tried
for many years before the difficulties became apparent.

While the idea of relatives tending dewars is (from historical
evidence) a very poor one, the general concept of cost-reduction
is a good one.  The trick, of course, is to cut out all the
unnecessary costs but none of the necessary ones....

Alcor is currently experiencing exponential growth.  While the
initial base of members is modest, we can reasonably expect
tens of thousands of members (or more) in the next few decades.
The basic technical concepts supporting the feasibility of
cryonics are now available in several formats.  Press coverage
now refers to cryonics as a "controversial practice" (an
improvement from a few years ago) with increasing acceptance
of the idea.  The legality of cryonics has recently been reaffirmed
so that even the densest must acknowledge it.  Critics of cryonics
are in disarray, and have been routed in several recent debates.

The only remaining legal issue is the right to pre-mortem suspension.
While critical, it seems more than likely that this will be won
during the next few years (though the Donaldson case is by no means
a sure thing).  Growing public intolerance for forcing the incurably
and miserably ill from being kept "alive" for a few wretched weeks
or months before their invevitable deaths will eventually force legal
changes providing for physician assisted termination of life for
the terminally ill who so choose.  Cryonics can ride the coattails
of this movement, even if earlier legal victories prove elusive.

Membership growth is primarily through direct contact with existing
members.  Growth will also require a great deal of work and dedication
by a great many people.  Anyone familiar with a startup, especially
a successful startup, is aware of the huge amount of work required.
And, of course, any rapidly growing organization is forced to fund
next years growth with this years revenues -- which by definition means
money is scarce and work is plentiful.

The basic organizational structure and strategies seem to be in place.
Some transitions ahead might result in fairly fundamental strategic shifts,
e.g., the entry of hospitals and other traditional health care providers
into the suspension business would result in significant restructuring.
Such changes, while fundamental, would tend to increase (rather than
decrease) the overall probability of success.

In short, there are no extraordinary or unreasonable requirements for
success.  The usual virtues; dedication, hard work, money, persistence, good
explanations patiently repeated; should be more than sufficient.

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