X-Message-Number: 3337
From:  (David Stodolsky)
Subject: CRYONICS: Re: Brain scanning, reply to David Stodolsky
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 94 10:53:34 +0100 (MET)

In Message: #3317 - Brain scanning, reply to David Stodolsky
> From: Brian Wowk <> writes:
> Date: Fri, 21 Oct 94 11:53:42 CDT
> Message-Subject: CRYONICS Brain scanning, reply to David Stodolsky
> David Stodolsky:
> > I said, "theoretical alternative". Do we agree that one could escape
> > information theoretical death with Merkle's approach, given you had
> > $6 Billion or so on hand?
>         No. (see below)  
> > 
> >>P.S. I've read Ralph Merkle's "Large Scale Analysis of Neural 
> >>Structures" monograph too.  In it even Ralph admits, "A complete 
> >>analysis of the cellular connectivity of a structure as large as the 
> >>human brain is only *a few decades away*." (emphasis mine).  And Ralph 
> >>is an optimist.
> > Isn't this a requirement for revival? That is not the question here.
> > Could we do safe storage with today's techniques, so that analysis could
> > occur in the future?
>         No.  Ralph was speaking about the capability to merely *read* the
> neural connectivity information of a brain into a computer.  His
>         In fact, if I was in charge if a brain-mapping project, I
> would spend the first 0.1% of my budget perfecting biostasis of
> intact whole brains.  Indeed, cryonics is not in *competition* with brain 
> mapping.  It is probably a *pre-requisite* to brain mapping!!

Unfortunately, I don't have Merkle's paper on hand, but I recall that
the first step in the procedure was to "fix" the brain and embed it
in a plastic cube, prior to processing. Since the fixation required
does not need to consider revival of the brain, it is a significantly
easier problem then that faced in cryonics. It completely eliminates
potential freezing damage. 

You may not consider a "fixed" brain as a safe form of storage, as
compared to having multiple copies of brain backup information, but
it is certainly more safe than a brain in cryonic suspension. So,
I continue to maintain that Merkle's proposal is an alternative that
is somewhat less demanding of *current* technological capabilities
and has significantly weaker requirements in terms of continuous care
by a social unit. I regard the risk of organizational failure for
the 30 years needed to backup the fixed brain to be very low.

David S. Stodolsky, PhD               Internet: 
Peder Lykkes Vej 8, 4. tv.      (C)         Tel.: + 45 32 97 66 74
DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark                Fax: + 45 32 84 08 28

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