X-Message-Number: 8385
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 12:19:07 -0400 (EDT)
From: Kennita Watson <>
Subject: Re: Marty and other pessimistic people

Marty granted a probability of one in 400,000.  Still seems like a no-brainer
to me, assuming money isn't the problem.  "You can have this one in a million
chance of living, or none at all.  Which do you want?"

However, I'll toss in a few probability-related items, because I can't resist.
Well-informed list members, feel free to correct anything I get wrong.

1) As I understand it, short-term memory is electrical, but long-term memory
(which I care more about) is stored as actual physical changes in the brain
(bumps on neurons, thickened pathways, etc.) which would be preserved after
electrical activity stopped.  Computers can be rebooted unless you melt them

2) Like other things, once reanimation can be done at all, its price will
come down.  Remember when a CD player cost $1000+?  Stay frozen till it's
cheaper.  No loss.  Gain, even -- the reanimators will have more time to
perfect the process.

3) Alcor's been around 20+ years; ACS even longer.  The market is growing,
and if competition grows, weaker organizations are much more likely to be
merged into stronger ones than to toss their dewars in a landfill.

4) Given cloning, the most important cells to revive are brain cells (the
dynamically-configured memory hardware) -- this reduces the number of
different things that have to be successfully reconstructed.

5) As I understand it, there are many sources of pain in the body, but
there are only a few in the brain (if not only one).  We've already said
that the body should be no problem.  And recall that the brain can also
turn off pain -- anesthetics and endorphins come to mind.

All that aside:  I still think all this is just a rationalization of a
feeling of despair, melancholy, fear, or other _emotion_ which is the
underlying cause of your procrastination.  I will think this less strongly,
or maybe even abandon the notion altogether, if you provide a number -- the
minimum percentage chance of successful revival above which you will say
"At this percentage, it's worth it to take these steps to protect my life"
and pick up the phone and call the cryonics organization of your choice
without further delay.

If there is such a number, then those so inclined can set themselves to
convincing you that the chance is greater than that number, rather than
trotting out number after number with no particular goal in mind.  If
there is no such number, we are all wasting our time with statistics
and percentages.

I, for one, am having way too much fun living to ruminate on such things,
and figure this way:  "Why not get frozen?  It could work!  If it does,
I win big!  If it doesn't, it's a bummer, but I'll never know.  However,
if I _don't_ get frozen, I _can't_ win, because I didn't buy a ticket."
But suit yourself.  You may be lucky, and the problems of disease and
aging may be solved before you need cryonics (now how's *that* for


Kennita Watson    | The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,
| but of respect and joy in each other's life.   Rarely do
                  | members of the same family grow up under the same roof.
                  |                            -- Richard Bach, _Illusions_

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