X-Message-Number: 33453
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 08:32:33 EST
Subject: Message #33451 

Message #33451
From: "Chris Manning"  <>
References:  <>
Subject: Re: All About Evil,  Part 2
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:23:55 +1100

Well just as one small  example, here is what happened when I made a 
suggestion to CI. The Nov-Dec  2009 issue of 'Long Life' magazine had an 
article about the annual  inspection of the CI premises carried out on 
of the American Cryonics  Society. The article contained a photo of Andy 
Zawacki manually measuring  the level of the liquid nitrogen in each 
cryostat. I posted the following to  the CI group:

'I was surprised by the method of measuring the level of  the liquid 
in the cryostats. I had assumed there was some automated  process with 
connected to floats (like in a car) and you just go  around and read the 
gauges. Surely something like this could be  done.'

I will take the liberty of quoting Andy's reply:

'The  method we use to measure the liquid nitrogen level is simple, 
foolproof and inexpensive. Floats and gauges can and do give false 
The more complicated things are, the more chances you will have for a  
failure. Why would you want to change our measuring methods and increase 
risk to our patients, even if the risk may be small?'

The response  seems perfectly reasonable to me - my suggested change *was* 
unnecessary -  and I will be happy for CI to continue using the method it 
uses now. And I  will be happy for the cryostat I eventually occupy to have 
its level  measured in this way.
MD: The most valuable resource any enterprise has is the productive  

capacity of its people. The value of good people to an organization even trumps
money. While there is nothing "wrong" with manually checking the LN2 level in 
 cryostats using the dipstick method (I did it for years), it is boring, 
time  consuming and becomes increasingly unsupportable the more units you have 
in  operation. Mostly, it is a poor use of human resources. In theory, you 
could  shift this work to a local volunteer, a retiree perhaps - someone who 
lives  nearby and wants to help... But in reality such "work" is a waste of 
that  person's time as well, because any volunteer with that degree of 
agility and  diligence can be put to other, more useful tasks - *in particular 
tasks that a  machine cannot do.*
Of course, if LN2 level monitoring were an exotic or costly technology, or  
one that was failure prone or unreliable, that would be a different matter. 
 But such is not the case. Nor is it necessary, or even desirable to use 
"floats"  or similar mechanical devices. As is the case with boiling water, 
there is a  large and abrupt discontinuity in temperature between the boiling 
liquid  nitrogen and the vapor above it. Thermocouples have the advantage of 
being  fail-safe, in that they will not provide a believable reading in the 
event of a  malfunction. They are also inexpensive. 
There are other ways to measure to liquid level that are similarly  robust. 
The Dwyer Magnahelic differential pressure gauges, that are to be seen  on 
the sides of the Alcor dewars, are not connected to floats. Rather, they  
measure liquid level by monitoring the pressure in a column (tube) of gas  
submerged in the LN2. Again, this system is robust, and reasonably fail safe.  
There are even ultrasonic systems that are quite elegant, albeit a bit a  
If you look at the photo here: 

(http://cryoeuro.eu:8080/download/attachments/425990/IMG_2845.JPG)  you  will 
see the infrastructure CI uses to access the 

cryostats for liquid level  measurement. I have clambered up and down the ladder
and catwalk at CI, and  exposing personnel to the risk associated with doing 
that with increased  frequency on an year in, year out basis, "even if the 
risk may be small" is  not a good trade-off IMHO. If CI were located in a 
litigious state with  (comparatively) strict workers' compensation regulation, 
like California, they  would likely see the increased risk to workers posed 
by this procedure and  infrastructure in the form of increased workers' 
compensation insurance  premiums. In fact, the access ladder employed by CI, 
which is a conventional  "stepladder" that has been attached to the catwalk 
farming would be an OSHA  violation in some states, but not all! In many 

states, a fall-arrest system  is required, as called out in ISO  14122-4:2004. 
point is, climbing up and down a ladder and across a catwalk  with a 
(hopefully) increasing number of cryostats, in order to check LN2  levels is 

neither efficient, nor good practice with respect to worker safety, in  the long
> This is also an artifact
> of CI President Ben Best  considering  himself an expert in just about 
> every
>  technical area of cryonics, with the added  handicap of being unable to  
> weight," scale, or do cos- benefit analyses on  various  technologies - as
> well as also frequently lacking the necessary   experience base to 
> understand
> them.

While I can't think  offhand of any specific examples, I don't get the 
impression that Ben claims  expertise that he doesn't have. I don't know 
is meant by 'unable to  "weight," scale, or do cost-benefit analyses on 
various technologies'.
MD: LOL, well, maybe you just haven't dealt with Ben enough; I suspect  
Andy might have a view contrary to yours;-). Please also understand that I 

think  Ben is a very good guy - sincere, hard working, and an utterly committed
cryonicist. I'm sure he'd say the same about me - and have many criticisms 
as  well - a fair number of which would be justified!

> It is  only necessary to look
> at CryoNet, to  look at Cold Filter, and to  look at the reams of internal
> criticism of cryonics  BY cryonicists  TO other cryonicists, to understand
> that the vast majority of   people signed up simply don't care. They are
> informed of the screw-ups,  the  incompetence, and the often grotesque 
> errors, and
>  THEY SIMPLY DO NOT CARE. One  of the really good things about Ben  Best's
> nightmarish CI case reports, are that  they constitute due  diligence
> documentation to CI members, to prospective  members,and  to the public, 
> just what a
> mess they can expect to have made  of  their care.

I do read every CI case report, with the same  layman's approach as 
above for reading the posts made here. I  would not describe them as 
'nightmarish', I certainly would care if I  thought they were, and I don't 
get the impression that they make a 'mess' of  members' care.
MD: Notably, you don't ask for chapter and verse as to why I believe  
otherwise. Sigh. That' probably just as well. 

I am intrigued by the fact  that Mr Darwin has the *time* to post these 
long emails. I assume he  would say that the time spent composing them is 
justified by the importance  of setting the record straight (as he would 

MD: Wow, this  is a weird statement. Information processing and 

communications technology are  advancing at a rate that simply blows me away - 
and I'm 
not easily impressed. If  medicine were progressing at 1/10th, or maybe even 
1/100th the rate that is  being sustained in these areas, we'd all be 
immortal already. You might as well  have asked me how I manage to find the 

*time* to post so much, given that using  a hammer and chisel to carve my words
into stone takes so long. And that's a  good place to end this post, because 
it returns us to where we started out: the  intelligent use of technology to 
improve the utilization of the most valuable  resource in the world: human 
intelligence and productive creativity. -- Mike  Darwin

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