X-Message-Number: 898
Date: 12 Jun 92 00:05:33 EDT


April/May 1992

Editor:  Richard Shock


    I was greatly encouraged by reader response to last issue's plea for 
funds.  Just enough was accumulated to publish AIN #4 without putting me 
forever in hock.  To all of you who dug into your pockets for spare 
change, I am in your eternal debt (perhaps literally).

    However, this should in no way be construed as a sign of solvency.  
Copying and postage cost plenty.  I'd STILL appreciate any amount you can 
offer.  Thanks.

    While I'm at it, let me also call for WRITTEN contributions.  Do you 
have questions about Alcor, cryonics, or immortalism?  Do you disagree 
with something you've seen in the pages of AIN?  Are you a cryonicist with 
interesting knowledge or experiences?  If you can answer "YES" to any of 
these questions (even if you can't, AIN is very flexible), write an 
article or letter and send it to me.

    Wouldn't you enjoy seeing your name and ideas in print?

    (Letters should include a brief line releasing text for publication.  
Materials cannot be returned without an enclosed Self-Addressed Stamped 

                                    *  *  *

By Steve Bridge

    It is July, 1977.  I find myself as President of the non-profit 
Institute for Advanced Biological Studies (IABS) in Indianapolis.   "Find 
myself" is meant in the sense of becoming conscious and realizing you are 
not in the same place you had been previously.  Early 1977 is still a 
memory only glimpsed through the fog.  I remember uncountable meetings 
with attorneys and accountants, piles of forms to read and sign, and the 
insistent voice high up in the back of my head saying, "Are you nuts?  
You're using up all of your savings so Mike Darwin can freeze people?"

    Memory is a tricky process.  We don't so much remember our past as an 
exact whole, as much as we "re-create" it, based on the separate images 
and facts that we have stored.  My memories of my days with IABS are so 
entangled with those of my personal life and friendships that I have 
trouble bringing them into clear focus.  As I became more deeply involved 
in IABS, I recall telling friends that I was leading dual lives, one as a 
mainstream public librarian, and one as a counter-culture radical 
cryonicist.  There were times over the next four years that I was not only 
burning the candle at both ends, I had also started a flame in the middle.

    So, I was President of a cryonics organization.  What does an 
organization need first?  Members!  So Step One was to have a meeting (Hey 
gang, let's put on a show!) and invite everyone we knew and show them the 
way they could save the world and themselves at the same time.  We would 
get a large number of members, divide up into committees, form a research 
team, recruit hundreds from the Indianapolis area, buy a building, save 
people's lives, become a national power on the cryonics scene, and . . . 
*** stop me, please, before I hurt myself!  OK, maybe we were a little 
overly ambitious.  But this was such a LOGICAL idea.  People didn't really 
WANT to die;  they would see this as the solution as soon as we proposed 
it, right?

    So on September 17, 1977 we had our first IABS membership meeting, at 
a Denny's Restaurant in Indianapolis.  Sixteen people were there, 
including IABS officers Steve Bridge (President), Floyd Tolle (Vice-
President), and Judson Horning (Secretary-Treasurer).  Mike Darwin and 
Allen Lopp were there as the officers of Mike's for-profit company, Soma, 
Inc.  Anna Schoppenhorst, Carolyn Doyle, and Joe Allen, would contribute 
many hours as IABS members.  Randy Porter and Michael Landis occasionally 
helped out on projects.  The other six were just curious or hungry and 
never attended any other meetings.

    In our first newsletter published a few days after this meeting, I 
wrote, "The need for interested and talented volunteer workers was 
stressed, as was the critical need for money in the organization."  Things 
haven't changed much in THAT regard over the years.  It is funny thinking 
back to my plea for funds and recalling what a poverty-stricken group of 
teenagers and young science fiction fans I was speaking to.  Even those of 
us with decent jobs (Floyd Tolle, Allen Lopp, and myself) were lower 
middle class at the best.  It was many years before cryonics had any 
committed wealthy people, and even then the first two I ever knew about 
earned their money AFTER becoming involved in cryonics.

    Michael Darwin was listed in Newsletter #1 as "Technical Advisor and 
Staff Researcher."  Some of his research ideas which were reported in the 
2nd issue of the Newsletter were actually worked on.  Mike spent a lot of 
time looking at the differences between using glycerol or DMSO as the 
cryoprotectant (the chemical that protects the cells from freezing 
injury).  In 1977, DMSO vs. glycerol was one of the major controversies in 
cryonics;  but somewhere before 1980 glycerol won out and is used today.

    However, most of our elaborate research plans were far too elaborate 
and expensive for us to tackle.  We didn't even have a building at this 
time, we had little money available for purchase of equipment, and Mike 
was our only member with any kind of research experience.  Some of our 
goals still make me shake my head as I re-read them today.

    -- "a comprehensive cryobiological research program with the stated 
goal of demonstrating the preservation of consciousness and memory in the 
canine central nervous system following cooling to and rewarming from 
-196 degrees C by 1990."

    Well, we didn't think small.  Alcor research HAS eventually proved 
that dogs, with their blood replaced by our perfusion solution (without 
cryoprotectant), can go down to 2 degrees C (NOT frozen) for several hours 
and return to consciousness with memory intact.  Only 198 degrees to go.

    -- "It is hoped that by the end of 1978 the Institute will have 
facilities to perform canine kidney transplants and other sophisticated 
procedures which will aid the research effort."

    Oh, sure.  Transplants were just a TEENY bit more sophisticated than 
we were ready for.

    -- "One of the important questions we hope to answer is to what degree 
it is possible to restore circulation in the brain after extended periods 
at body temperature with no blood flow."

    While most of this research was later done by Mike and Jerry Leaf at 
Alcor, some was actually started at IABS.

    --  Mike also had a very "sexy" research idea about freezing and 
thawing salamander brains and transplanting them.  It seems that 
salamanders with transplanted brains "can regrow spinal cords and vascular 
connections in about two weeks and recover consciousness and mobility . . .
Since salamanders may be trained to run simple mazes and respond to 
certain stimuli such as light in a characteristic manner, it should be 
possible to demonstrate whether or not the salamander's memory has 
survived freezing."

    It's STILL a great idea, and maybe someone will actually do it 

    Later that winter, Floyd Tolle resigned from the IABS Board of 
Directors under pressure from his wife.  This was the first instance I 
personally saw of family conflict creating a "cryonics dropout;"  but it 
is a common phenomenon.  For many people, cryonics occupies the same "idea 
space" in their worldview as religion;  so it shouldn't be surprising that 
ideological differences occur.  I now know of several marriages and 
relationships that were broken up primarily because of cryonics.  And I am 
always sad when I reflect on those friends who chose to drop out of 
cryonics rather than putting their marriages at risk.  From my point of 
view, this gives new meaning to the phrase "dying for love."

    Joseph Allen replaced Floyd on the IABS Board.  Joe had been a high 
school friend of Mike Darwin's and had been a member of the Cryonics Youth 
Organization many years ago.  He had recently graduated with a biology 
degree from Indiana Central University (now called University of 
Indianapolis) and was employed by the city of Indianapolis in water 
pollution control.  We also gave Joe the title of Director of Research.  
In truth, while Joe did assist greatly with the research we did over the 
next few years, Mike was the person with the inspiration and cryonics 
experience and was really in charge.  But Mike had quit college to work in 
cryonics and Joe had a degree we could highlight.  I still can't decide 
whether that approach was paranoid or merely practical.

    In February 1978 we published our second newsletter.  I was primarily 
responsible for writing and editing the IABS Newsletters over the years.  
This was long before the era of personal computers, remember, so a 
newsletter of seven pages was a labor of careful typing and deciding which 
errors one could live with.   Looking back at #2 is especially 
interesting, because this was the first issue to include our speculations 
on the philosophical basis of immortalism and cryonics.  I wrote an essay 
called "Why Immortality?" and Mike and I together wrote another called 
"Why Suspended Animation and Cryonics?"  These two essays are part of a 
direct line to our first promotional booklet for IABS and on to the 
current edition of Alcor's book, CRYONICS -- REACHING FOR TOMORROW.

    I think it was at this point that I really began to believe what I was 
doing.  Before then, most of the insight was Mike's;  but now I was trying 
to explain the concept of cryonics to other people -- and in the process 
understanding it for the first time myself.  You may find your situation 
to be the same.  If you've never tried to explain this to some one else -- 
friends, family, lover, fellow workers or students -- you might not really 
understand what we're talking about or what you really think of it.  
Intellectual curiosity is one thing;  discussing cryonics as a real 
process is quite another.

    The summer of 1978 was very busy and exciting for us.  We were 
actively looking for a building for research and we were preparing for our 
second Annual Meeting.  We had booked a room at a local university for the 
meeting and had advertised it heavily.  We actually had several curious 
new people show up and Mike gave a short lecture on cryonics.  Another one 
of Mike Darwin's high school friends, Ella Vinci, was at the meeting and 
immediately joined IABS.  Ella, a social worker and counselor, became very 
important to us in the next year.

    One very interesting couple, Greg Noe' and Candy Smith, traveled from 
Cincinnati for the meeting.  They were college students who had been 
trying to find an active cryonics group for some time and were happy to 
finally discover one.  Greg and Candy also joined right away, and Greg 
especially, having some experience in finance, had many ideas on how we 
might expand and get funds for our research.

    In that simple paragraph are both the seeds of accomplishment and the 
seeds of discontent;  some even said in hindsight that this was the origin 
of the difficulties which years later broke up IABS.  We were so 
inexperienced in group dynamics and in entrepreneuring that we made at 
least two major errors at the Board meeting that followed the open Annual 
Meeting.  I'm not convinced that the errors themselves doomed IABS;  
instead I think they were emblematic of the amateur fumbling around we 
were doing in search of a way to make an organization work.

    Error #1 was simple:  even though none of us had met Greg Noe' before, 
we were impressed by the fact that he knew more about finance and business 
than the rest of us (Allen Lopp reading the Wall Street Journal was about 
the extent of our financial expertise at the time), so we elected him to 
the Board of Directors.  Since we didn't want a Board with an even number, 
we expanded to five and and added Allen Lopp as well.

    This wasn't fair to either Greg or to us.  How can a person who has 
just met you hope to advise your organization without knowing much more 
than can be learned in one afternoon?  It is absurd to expect a brand new 
person to save you in one hour or less;  but that is exactly what we hoped 
for.  It is crazy to put an inexperienced person with little knowledge of 
what you have already done on a Board of Directors;  but there we were -- 

    Error #2 was much more complicated and injurious:  we asked Greg for 
ideas.  He was young, also, you must remember, and suddenly under a lot of 
pressure to produce.  Greg had certainly not come to Indianapolis with the 
idea of joining the Board and improvising a business plan.  He SHOULD have 
said, "Whoa, you folks.  I need to know a lot more about cryonics and 
about your group before I can throw out ideas.  Let's get to know each 
other."  Instead, he found himself on the spot and started brainstorming.  
This was a very bad thing to do in front of people like Mike, who likes 
knocking holes in people's ideas, and like myself, who really didn't 
understand much about running a business at that time.  Instead of 
allowing Greg's suggestions to generate ideas in us and beginning a give-
and-take of information, we immediately judged his ideas to be unworkable 
and made the decision that Greg didn't know what he was talking about.  In 
one step we added a Board member, put a chip in his confidence, and sowed 
distrust that would last a very long time.  These were actions and 
attitudes I would come to regret.

    Still there was the excitement of new blood in the organization to 
give us hope for good things ahead.  And one very good thing was in the 
works in the summer of 1978.

    Allen Lopp and I had put together a plan where we would pool $5,000 
apiece as a down payment on a building for IABS.  I figured that we should 
find a building that at least one or two of us could also live in, to cut 
down on rent and to provide security.  After only a couple of months of 
searching, the perfect building practically fell into our lap.  An elderly 
lady had been running a private nursing home for four patients for several 
years.  But the state regulations had changed enough that she wanted to 
retire and sell the place.  This was a solid, brick, two-story building 
with a huge front room and kitchen, a 2/3 basement, one bedroom downstairs 
and four bedrooms upstairs.  It wasn't in the best neighborhood, but at an 
asking price of $25,000 it looked like a castle to us.

    We were also impressed by the house's owner.  She was a cantankerous, 
independent woman who had been offered $18,500 for the property by a 
nearby major insurance company.  She had told the company she would eat 
the damn building before she would sell it to them;  so she was delighted 
to see these radical young guys come along and give her the price she 
wanted.  We even told her about cryonics and she wasn't fazed one bit.  (I 
can just imagine her thinking, "All right -- smart, crazy people freezing 
dead bodies.  THAT'LL show those insurance bastards.")

    There was a matter of a zoning variance to do animal research before 
we took final title to the house.  Our attorney managed this very well and 
told us not to discuss cryonics with the zoning commission.  We were just 
to state that we wanted to do biological research on tissue freezing and 
try to sound very calm and innocuous.  We were so innocuous that the 
commissioners barely stayed awake long enough to give us approval.  Now we 
were ready to move in and change the world.

    But, no, life's not that simple.  Now the insurance company's attorney 
came to US and wanted to buy the building.  He said he would take it off 
our hands for what we paid for it.  We told him we LIKED having the 
building on our hands, we had just worked very hard and paid our attorney 
handsomely to get a zoning variance, we weren't in the mood to go 
searching for another building, and we damn well planned to KEEP this one.  
The insurance company hadn't wanted to pay a reasonable price to the 
owner, so they could go jump in the lake.  OUR attorney thought we were 
being foolish and told us these guys could mess us over with various legal 
actions, so we should sell.

    After various negotiations, we finally worked out a deal.  The 
insurance company would buy the building from Allen and me for $35,000 and 
pay all attorney fees involved in purchase and sale of the building, plus 
our zoning expenses.  In addition, we would be allowed to occupy the 
building for seven years at a rent of $1.00 per month, plus all utilities 
and taxes.  We hoped we were being very annoying.

    Finally, in September, 1978, the house at 2901 N. Pennsylvania became 
the offices of the Institute for Advanced Biological Studies.  Mike Darwin 
and Joe Allen each decided to move out from their parents' homes and live 
in the new house.  Allen Lopp had recently left Bloomington and was also 
excited about moving in.  I did NOT become a resident, since I had just 
moved to a nice apartment where I was very comfortable and since I had 
also discovered I liked my privacy  -- a commodity which I suspected would 
be in short supply at the new house.  I wasn't sure I could TAKE Mike 
Darwin giving me new ideas 24 hours a day.

    But overall, we were tremendously excited.  We had new members and a 
wonderful building and it looked like the future stretched out in front of 
us in an unbroken string of triumphs.


                                    *  *  *

by Bob Schwarz

    "[The Foresight Institute] aims to chart a safe path through the 
potential upheavals and reap the benefits of nanotechnology . . . . It is 
our mission to prepare the future for nanotechnology.  Your help counts."

    -- from K. Eric Drexler's annual letter to members of the Foresight 

    This appeal is to the readers of AIN who are not familiar with the 
ideas of nanotechnology and cryonics.  I want everyone to join the 
Foresight Institute and at least support its efforts financially.  I also 
want everyone to understand why the almost inevitable emergence of this 
technology (and this IS technology, not some new science) has profound 
implications for your actions and day-to-day decisions RIGHT NOW.

The Cryonics Argument Today

(1)  You are simply atoms and molecules organized in such a fashion that 
they recognize themselves and call themselves you.  There is some 
preliminary scientific data that indicate current "best efforts" of 
cryonic suspension -- carefully controlled freezing -- preserve the 
patterns of atoms and molecules that constitute your identity.

(2)  There has emerged in the scientific community an idea called 
molecular nanotechnology, defined by K.E. Drexler in ENGINES OF CREATION, 
1986, as "Technology based on the manipulation of individual atoms and 
molecules to build structures to complex specifications."  If you were 
cryonically suspended, this kind of technology could just as easily be 
used to unfreeze and reanimate your organized atoms and molecules such 
that they would once again recognize themselves and call themselves you.

(3)  While these ideas have been debated for the last six years by those 
who have had the courage to confront them truthfully, no valid argument 
has arisen that would disallow, at least in principle, the workability of 
such schemes.

(4)  So -- it appears to anyone who values reason, that cryonics is a 
rational gamble to avoid the disappearance of the information and material 
organized such that it calls itself you, and also other similar 
organizations that you might have come to identify as "loved ones."

    The Foresight Institute supports responsible nanotechnology research, 
which will affect your future regardless of whether you are interested in 
cryonics.  As a member of FI you will receive the quarterly FORESIGHT 
UPDATE, news of the latest developments in this rapidly growing field.  
You will also have taken constructive action toward a positive future for 
yourself, your children, and your grandchildren.

    Join Foresight today.  For more information, write:

                            The Foresight Institute
                                P.O. Box 61058
                              Palo Alto, CA 94306

    or send E-Mail to:


                                    *  *  *


    April 19, 1992, 5:00 PM, at the home of Margaret and Bob Schwarz.  
Present were Steve Bridge, Bob Schwarz, Margaret Schwarz, and Richard 
Shock.  (Because of schedule conflicts, Angalee Shepherd was unable to 

    -- The meeting began with a review of Richard Shock's notes on Alcor's 
20th Anniversary Banquet and Alcor Southern California's April Meeting, 
both of which he and Steve Bridge attended.  (See TWO ANNIVERSARY'S, ONE 
NIGHT, ZERO COMPLAINTS later in this issue.)

    -- Steve Bridge reported recent items of interest:

       The April issue of LONGEVITY magazine contained an interview with 
Eric Drexler, author of ENGINES OF CREATION.

       Alcor founders Fred and Linda Chamberlains had transmitted comments 
about the Alcor Chapter Guidelines.

       The Alcor emergency instructions had been updated.

       The video tape of Alcor Indiana members being interviewed by an 
Elkhart, Indiana television station was not yet available.

       Preparations were being made for a small Alcor presence at the 
World Science Fiction Convention in Orlando, Florida at the beginning of 

       Memorial Day weekend, Steve Bridge would be giving a cryonics 
slideshow at a small science fiction convention in the Chicago area.  The 
same weekend, Richard Shock would be giving a similar presentation at 
another convention, "Marcon XXVII," in Columbus, Ohio.

       Efforts were mixed but hopeful in attempting to recruit new Alcor 
Indiana members.

       Alcor Southern California performed another suspension the previous 
week (details available in CRYONICS, May 1992).

       A local copy of Alcor's bylaws was now available.

       Alcor Indiana's new Heart-Lung Resuscitator unit had yet to be 
ordered, pending a possible discount.

       Alcor's Hugh Hixon had sent advice on improving the SQUID water-
dispersal apparatus Bob Schwarz constructed last December.

    -- Bob Schwarz mentioned an article in a local paper that dealt with a 
conflict between religious freedom and autopsies.  A New York court had 
ruled that autopsies could be refused if prohibited by religious 

    -- Richard Shock related a conversation he'd had in California with 
Nevada cryonicist Eric Klien.  Mr. Klien had successfully organized 
cryonics groups in Boston and Nevada, and Mr. Shock was curious as to the 
methods of his success.  Aside from energy, enthusiasm, and nerve, Mr. 
Klien had emphasized the importance of regular meetings.

    In light of this advice, Alcor Indiana members agreed to hold future 
meetings on the second Sunday of each month, at 2:00 PM.

                                    *  *  *

    Sunday, May 17, 1992, 7:00 PM, at the home of Margaret and Bob 
Schwarz.  Present were Steve Bridge, Bob Schwarz, Margaret Schwarz, and 
Richard Shock.

    -- Mr. Shock raised the subject of organizing Alcor Indiana finances.  
Mrs. Schwarz, who had agreed informally to act as treasurer at a previous 
date, was still waiting for itemized expenditure and contribution list 
from members.

    -- Mr. Shock also detailed the progress of Alcor Indiana Newsletter 
#4, including financial status, articles, and response to AIN #3.

    -- Mr. Schwarz suggested that Mr. Bridge might teach a short summer 
course on nanotechnology at Indiana University and Purdue University at 
Indianapolis, noting that such courses in the current IUPUI summer catalog 
didn't necessarily last more than a single four-hour meeting.  
Nevertheless, Mr. Bridge wasn't enthusiastic about the project.

    -- Mr. Bridge reported events of interest from the past month:

       As per his request, Alcor Southern California had sent several new 
photographs that could be incorporated into Mr. Bridge's cryonics slide 
presentation.  This was of particular importance because both Mr. Bridge 
and Mr. Shock were giving this same presentation at two different science 
fiction conventions Sunday, May 24.

       Alcor SC was apparently still interested in the potential new 
building found in Scottsdale, Arizona.  So far, queries to the Scottsdale 
authorities had resulted in positive responses.

       "Biopreservation," a joint business venture by Mike Darwin and Paul 
Wakfer for the purpose of cryonics research and cryonic suspension 
services, was progressing well.

       Mr. Bridge was scheduled to be interviewed on Chicago television's 
"Aaron Freeman Show" (Channel 50), sometime in the next few weeks.  
Participating in the interview would be a local "bioethicist."

       NATURAL HISTORY magazine had published a series of articles about 
aging, beginning in the February 1992 issue.

                                    *  *  *
(continued in Part 2)

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=898