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Comment by cath on Alcor vs. Cryonics Institute · 2012-04-30T05:53:12.910Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Perhaps Alcor should do the perfusions and freezing and CI chug away at the storage which needs safety and stability. About Mike's or anyone's judgment for that matter, it is a commonplace that no one person has good judgment in all areas. Alcor's judgment in selection of personnel may be comparatively poor, but on the other hand I note few comments of a scientific or technical nature on his technical arguments, and as my own knowledge is rusty, I crave input from someone other than Mike of an exact nature, and not the dismissive "often fool people into believing that his judgment is better than it is" type of comment. I'm not fooled by any of this, but sorely lacking in the means to exercise my own intellect on the critical area of perfusion technology and I am becoming concerned that Mike's technical postings are ignored in substance and detail because of a general lack of technical and scientific know-how in both organizations. At some point in the future if research on reanimation continues to be at or near zero BOTH organizations will be storing people whose information loss is approaching an upper asymptote of 100% regardless of the technology used to get them into the capsules in the first place.

Comment by cath on Alcor vs. Cryonics Institute · 2012-04-24T04:19:43.635Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I signed up with Bay Area Cryonics Society in 1977, and changed to Alcor in 1985, along with my husband, Thomas Donaldson, a mathematician and writer, who is now a neuropreservation patient with Alcor, as of 2006. We changed because of the dynamism and research brought to Alcor by Mike Darwin and Jerry Leaf, both of whom I first met in 1979. I switched to CI about ten years ago after moving back to Australia.

A big reason for moving back to Australia was largely because as a result of the lawsuits engaged in by Alcor, the Dora Kent case and Donaldson's lawsuit against the State of California for assisted suicide in the event of destruction of neural tissue by his brain tumour, my bipolar disorder became severe and I ran out of medical insurance. About this time, a young man in contact with Alcor committed suicide, and the response of a number of the Libertarian Alcor members was that "this must have been what he wanted" i.e. his death by suicide, and not cryonic suspension. As a person who has contemplated suicide, this was not an impressive response.

Whilst in Australia, I phoned Alcor to find out how the much-promised (over years) review of members paperwork was going, and the staff member (presumably being paid) was unable to make an international phone call, and unable to handle my anger at this ineptitude. I switched promptly to CI because Andy Zawacki made the call with grace and ease.

Subsequently on the cryonic suspension of Thomas, Alcor went against the stated wishes in his paperwork (that had a personal and potentially critically important justification), of not making public his suspension by doing so "informally", after a staff member tried to coerce me to allow them to do so, using sarcasm when I refused and was in a crisis of shock and grief. There was a poor history of returning my phone calls whilst I was administering his estate, by senior Alcorians. Hugh Hixon and Mike Perry are notable exceptions.

During this severe period of my life, Ben Best and Andy Zawacki were sensitive and supportive, and good listeners. Hugh Hixon, Mike Perry and Aschwin have also been active in contacting me in a short time frame, and Hugh was supportive in the time immediately after the suspension. As Alcor has the copyright of Thomas' published writings, and a number of people have contacted me wishing to read some of them again, the Alcor board was approached to allow me to do so. I have not heard from them in several months. Merkle was responsible for suppression some of Thomas' writings critical of nanotechnology, so I hope this is an oversight and not suppression, or the policy that once a person is suspended and paid up there is no responsibility for the intellectual continuation of patients' lives. This is hard particularly because of the personal and emotional costs of the euthanasia lawsuit. Most particularly, I wished to make his fiction more available to interested readers.

In summary, I am not surprised Alcor runs into difficulties with lawsuits. Cryonics is a "people business" as well as a technology provider, dealing with people in some of the most extreme emotional situations, and I think Alcor may do this side of the business poorly. I have the confidence that should I become irrational and suicidal, CI would have the skills to call me back to myself, so I remain with them, and try to put any spare cash into research or general running costs. At some point the immeasurably valuable quality of "the human touch" can be more important than technological accessories and certainly better than the lawsuits that its lack of possession may bring.

Comment by cath on How to avoid dying in a car crash · 2012-03-30T04:40:47.393Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The added complication of autopsy after death by road accident could imperil cryonics arrangements. How many road accident deaths are also accompanied by autopsy, especially of neural tissue?

Comment by cath on Building case-studies of akrasia · 2012-01-27T01:30:41.310Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Sometimes after a break of a few days or weeks I find it hard to start work on a new painting (art) project. I have found it effective to use contrary thinking, so I tell myself to do no more than one hour of work and then I MUST stop, and I do this, then again the next day, say, an hour and a half, and then I MUST stop, which I do. By about the third day I am engrossed in the project, and stopping work is hard to do, and by then I'm over the initial problem. Works nearly every time and I have been using this technique for some years.