Posts

Comments

Comment by eudoxia on Good transhumanist fiction? · 2012-10-14T16:23:10.043Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I cannot believe nobody has recommended David Zindell yet! His work is a masterpiece of transhumanist fiction.

His Requiem for Homo Sapiens series is preceded by a short story Shanidar, you should read it first to get a taste of what's next. If you want more, then the next four books are:

  • Neverness
  • The Broken God (My personal favorite)
  • The Wild (IMHO the worst of the series, but Nikolos Daru Ede is just lovable)
  • War in Heaven

I'll second After Life, it's very short but definitely one of my favorite pieces of h+ fiction. The work of Cordwainer Smith (He only wrote a novel and a few short stories) could also be considered transhumanist fiction, as it includes genetically-engineered super-furries.

Sirius, by Olaf Stapledon, is also a very, very good (And rather depressing) novel about an uplifted dog. In the short story deparment, my personal favorite (Even better than Shanidar) is Fermi's Urbex Paradox, a real must-read about a posthuman who travels around the galaxy investigating the remains of civilizations and provides an answer for the Fermi Paradox. Crystal Nights, by Greg Egan, is also good.

Full list

Comment by eudoxia on Finally Ending My Cryo-Crastination · 2012-09-24T18:26:45.987Z · score: 12 (16 votes) · LW · GW

Is there anything else you would recommend be discussed before I make that initial payment and set the ball in motion?

Sure, the fact that Ben Best experimented on a patient, ruining his perfusion (Emphasis mine):

My dear friend and mentor Curtis Henderson was little more than straight frozen because CI President Ben Best had this idea that adding polyethylene glycol to the CPA solution would inhibit edema. Now the thing is, Ben had been told by his own researchers that PEG was incompatible with DMSO containing solutions, and resulted in gel formation. Nevertheless, he decided he would try this out on Curtis Henderson. He did NOT do any bench experiments, or do test mixes of solutions, let alone any animal studies to validate that this approach would in fact help reduce edema (it doesn’t). Instead, he prepared a batch of this untested mixture, and AFTER it gelled, he tried to perfuse Curtis with it.

Mike Darwin believes they are providing substandard care, certainly not enough to ensure the possibility of revival.

And they go pretty badly. Go to: http://cryonics.org/refs.html#cases and start reading the case reports posted there. That’s pretty much my working definition of horrible. It seems apparent to me that “just getting frozen” is now all that is necessary for a ticket to tomorrow, and that anything else that is done is “just gravy,” and probably unnecessary to a happy outcome.

And the fact that they are licensed as a cemetery, and at any time the state can decide that cryonics doesn't work and thaw everyone.

Comment by eudoxia on Request for a cryonics decision flowchart · 2012-09-13T00:18:01.123Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This would be a useful inclusion in a will. For example, add provisions and funds to transport you to another facility should the one you are in fail, and to another if the second is not available, ad infinitum until permafrost interment.

Eric DeMar did something similar in his will, to ensure his parents (Who'd been cryopreserved by Trans Time in the seventies) would be transported to the CI facilities. A very good choice, considering Trans Time's policies.

A separate decision tree may be included to cover alternatives to cryonics, if the entire cryonics decision tree is exhausted of possibilities: Brain-only chemopreservation as the first alternative, high-temperature vitrification as the second, and so on and on until you decide to simply have your body cremated.

Comment by eudoxia on How to Improve Field Cryonics · 2012-09-09T19:39:32.395Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As long as you recognize that clotting is a different process. =)

Of course.

It's been a few years since I studied this, but as far as I know, the physiological significance of rouleaux (including whether they block blood vessels) is unknown - don't forget that they're in equilibrium with the non-rouleaux form.

I wouldn't know, but Mike Darwin says they are harmful:

[...] irregular aggregation of RBCs rouleaux formation has a profound negative impact on perfusion.

Comment by eudoxia on How to Improve Field Cryonics · 2012-09-09T19:07:36.908Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've never heard of rouleaux having a role in blood clotting

They block blood vessels and prevent perfusion, which is why it's equivalent to clotting.

Comment by eudoxia on How to Improve Field Cryonics · 2012-09-09T02:14:25.281Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Blood clotting is not caused by red blood cells but by platelets.

I thought ischemic tissue caused RBCs to form Rouleaux complexes. Even without RBC's, ischemia causes plenty of changes that have effects functionally equivalent to clotting: Swelling of myocytes and the endothelium, subsarcolemmal and endothelial blebs, et cetera.

I suppose another option would be to suggest that the patient to start taking anticoagulants before death. I'm not sure whether that would have legal implications though.

This is certainly helpful and doesn't seem to have been done in past patients, but we're mostly talking about unexpected settings here, where no standby is available. I don't think it has any legal implications, at least the Best's article doesn't mention any.

Comment by eudoxia on How to Improve Field Cryonics · 2012-09-08T22:12:41.193Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I don't know if you can make a perfusion pump fit into a shoebox, especially not without very good funding. I do remember a case where a standby team (With a slightly-more-than-briefcase-sized perfusion pump, I think it was this) was working on one of those resusci-anne dolls and they mishandled the pump, causing a whole mess:

I will add one thing that the reporter didn‟t because he had left the room to photograph some of the other CUK members before he lost his light to the setting sun. And that is that the venous blood reservoir bag in the circuit of the ATP exploded due to a misplaced clamp. The reporter apparently missed the timid request made to the meeting‟s hostess, Sylvia Sinclair, for a mop and towels to clean up the water that was all over the kitchen. While it is true that cryonicists often have no choice but to undertake to provide and deliver care for themselves, it is equally true that they should not attempt to do so in ways that make the situation worse for the patient than had they taken a simpler approach that was, in fact, within their ability to master. I had spent most of that day at the meeting trying to convince the CUK group that rather than the ATP, what they really needed was to use a simple, inherently „safe‟ open circuit system open circuit system equipped with a microbubble detector and auto-line clamp, to start cryoprotective perfusion as soon as was logistically feasible and to follow that with cooling of the patient to dry ice. Source (Emphasis mine).

If it were feasible (To make an automatic shoebox-sized HLM or general perfusion pump), it would be worked on, because then you don't have to pay all those expensive hemodialysis technicians (Trivia: Mike Darwin is one) and cardio perfusionists, who remain the only people capable of operating such machines in a manner that is safe for the patient.

Comment by eudoxia on Cryonics: Can I Take Door No. 3? · 2012-09-06T01:25:01.398Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

What about a fracture that severs the brain in several pieces?

Comment by eudoxia on Cryonics: Can I Take Door No. 3? · 2012-09-06T00:33:06.779Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hooking up the nerves is still tricky, but we could probably figure it out.

Wouldn't this be tantamount to regrowing a transected spine? I'm not up-to-date on that area, but I don't think we can do that yet.

Comment by eudoxia on Cryonics: Can I Take Door No. 3? · 2012-09-06T00:30:16.142Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

substantially better neuroscience

We have plenty of models of neurons and some of them imitate neurons very well.

Eugene Izhikevich simulated an entire human brain equivalent with his model and he saw some pretty interesting emergent behaviour (Granted, the anatomy had to be generated randomly at every iteration, so we still need better computers).

Comment by eudoxia on Cryonics: Can I Take Door No. 3? · 2012-09-06T00:22:27.654Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

super duper nanotech

MNT isn't strictly necessary. Anabolocytes, and other speculative genetically engineered cells. They are a little more likely than Freitas' nanomedicine because, well, cells exist; which is not an argument that works for MNT.

Comment by eudoxia on Cryonics: Can I Take Door No. 3? · 2012-09-06T00:19:16.824Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Physical and biological aspects of renal vitrification.

Cryopreservation of organs by vitrification: perspectives and recent advances (PDF).

EDIT: I should clarify, the kidney was cooled with liquid nitrogen vapor and the lowest temperature it was exposed to was still fifty degrees above that of Liquid Nitrogen. This is important because LN2 temperature is far below the vitrification point of M22, and cooling even a little below T_g causes fracturing.

Comment by eudoxia on Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 4 · 2012-08-30T01:17:06.004Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

To the best of my knowledge, doctors don't experiment on patients without their consent, drill burr holes without circulation, or generally just do anything they want without fear of prosecution (Since cryonics is considered a form of interment, whether the person was completely turned into a glass sculpture or straight-frozen like so many people were does not affect the organizations). Doctors may forget rectal plugs or leave patients if funds are unavailable, though.

What do you define as 'very recently'?

Comment by eudoxia on Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 4 · 2012-08-29T21:57:02.389Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Thank goodness CI and Alcor have standards.

Well, I have this theory that CI stores its neuropatients in the dewar with the dead cats in it.

Comment by eudoxia on Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 4 · 2012-08-28T18:16:56.410Z · score: 11 (11 votes) · LW · GW

Alcor: Improperly trained personnel, unkempt and ill-equipped facilities.

[...] Saul Kent invited me over to his home in Woodcrest, California to view videotapes of two Alcor cases which troubled him – but he couldn’t quite put his finger on why this was so.[...] Patients were being stabilized at a nearby hospice, transported to Alcor (~20 min away) and then CPS was discontinued, the patients were placed on the OR table and, without any ice on their heads, they were allowed to sit there at temperatures a little below normal body temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours, while burr holes were drilled, [...] smoke could be seen coming from the burr wound! Since the patient had no circulation to provide blood to carry away the enormous heat generated by the action of the burr on the bone, the temperature of the underlying bone (and brain) must have been high enough to literally cook an egg. In one case, a patient’s head was removed in the field and, because they had failed to use a rectal plug, the patient had defecated in the PIB. The result was that feces had contaminated the neck wound, and Alcor personnel were seen pouring saline over the stump of the neck whilst holding the patient’s severed head over a bucket trying to wash the fecal matter off the stump. These are just a few of the grotesque problems I observed.[...] The operating room was unkempt. The floors were scuffed, stained, dirty, and had obviously not been waxed in a long time. [...] I wouldn’t consider medical treatment in a facility with this appearance – nor for that matter would I like to dine in a restaurant with a kitchen in such a state.

Source

Cryonics Institute: Patient experimentation. No need to say anything else.

It was a snotty, and probably inappropriate remark. Basically I was commenting on the operational paradigm at CI, which is pretty much “ritual.” You sign up, you get frozen and it’s pretty much kumbaya, no matter how badly things go. And they go pretty badly. Go to: http://cryonics.org/refs.html#cases and start reading the case reports posted there. That’s pretty much my working definition of horrible. It seems apparent to me that “just getting frozen” is now all that is necessary for a ticket to tomorrow, and that anything else that is done is “just gravy,” and probably unnecessary to a happy outcome. ...Even in cases that CI perfuses, things go horribly wrong – often – and usually for to me bizarre and unfathomable (and careless) reasons. My dear friend and mentor Curtis Henderson was little more than straight frozen because CI President Ben Best had this idea that adding polyethylene glycol to the CPA solution would inhibit edema. Now the thing is, Ben had been told by his own researchers that PEG was incompatible with DMSO containing solutions, and resulted in gel formation. Nevertheless, he decided he would try this out on Curtis Henderson. He did NOT do any bench experiments, or do test mixes of solutions, let alone any animal studies to validate that this approach would in fact help reduce edema (it doesn’t). Instead, he prepared a batch of this untested mixture, and AFTER it gelled, he tried to perfuse Curtis with it. See my introduction to Thus Spake Curtis Henderson on this blog for how this affected me psychologically and emotionally. Needless to say, as soon as he tried to perfuse this goop, perfusion came to a screeching halt. They have pumped air into patient’s circulatory systems… I could go on and on, but all you need to do is really look at those patient case reports and think about everything that is going on in those cases critically.

Source

Trans Time:

The principal criticism against Trans Time was their for-profit model, in which, if funding ran out, the patients would be thawed and conventionally interred (This is what would've happened to Janice Foote and the Mills couple), unlike other organizations with a pay-once model in which the storage costs for the patients are covered for perpetuity.

I should add, Ray Mills was actually removed from suspension and placed in a chest full of dry ice.

You can also consider the now-defunct Cryonics Society of California, though I don't think any of the above organizations would go as far as talking about a non-existent facility in the present tense while the patients lay on the floor, rotting.

Comment by eudoxia on Stupid Questions Open Thread Round 4 · 2012-08-28T02:16:58.345Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

As soon as the first upload is successful then patient zero will realize he's got unimaginable (brain)power, will start talking in ALL CAPS, and go FOOM on the world, bad end.

Now, I have to admit I'm not too familiar with the local discourse re:uploading, but if a functional upload requires emulation down to individual ion channels (PSICS-level) and the chemical environment, I find it hard to believe we'll have the computer power to do that, a million times faster, and in a volume of space small enough that we don't have to put it under a constant waterfall of liquid Helium.

I don't expect femtotechnology or rod logic any time soon, the former may not even be possible at all and the latter is based on some dubious math from Nanosystems; so where does that leave us in terms of computing power? (Assuming, of course, that Clarke's law is a wish-fulfilling fantasy). I understand the reach of Bremermann's Limit, but it may not be possible to reach it, or there may be areas in between zero and the Limit that are unreachable for lack of a physical substrate for them.

Comment by eudoxia on Heading off a near-term AGI arms race · 2012-08-22T15:06:03.859Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

Narrow AI and machine learning?

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-22T02:33:20.896Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Are you saying Mike Darwin is a religious nut? Because I'm not the one making up stories about on-patient experimentation, shit-covered neck stumps, unkempt and ill-equipped operating rooms, and boiling brains by drilling a burr hole without irrigation.

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-20T22:42:01.502Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'm not sure about the scalability of mechanosynthesis, either (Massive parallelism gets thrown around a lot, but there may be something to convergent assembly) , but I was just talking about the basic tip chemistry.

Zyvex has a similar process called Patterned Atomic Layer Epitaxy which seems more promising as a large-scale manufacturing technology, but I have not seen designs for nanofactories of megadalton-scale products made using PALE.

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-20T21:58:09.862Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

It was the first to freeze somebody, but the first to be formed was the Cryonics Society of New York in 1965. CSC was founded a year later.

(If you want to nit pick, technically the first organization to freeze somebody was CryoCare Equipment Corporation who froze a still unidentified woman in 1966).

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-20T21:36:30.497Z · score: 1 (3 votes) · LW · GW

[Cont., original post was cut]

As for the Cryonics Institute, well, I think this says it all:

My dear friend and mentor Curtis Henderson was little more than straight frozen because CI President Ben Best had this idea that adding polyethylene glycol to the CPA solution would inhibit edema.(Source).

As for MNT:

There is nothing magical about the prospects of nanotechnology. There are no assumptions that we will discover free energy, cold fusion, or need anything that we know violates the laws of physics. If you're not going to point out exactly what is magical about widely held beliefs about the prospects of future technology then it's safe to assume this is yet another opinion pulled out of your ass.

By now mechanosynthesis has pretty much been proven, at least in the environment of computer simulations. The things that are extrapolated from it are not so certain: For example, the Planetary Gear and other nanomechanical wonders have only been simulated using molecular dynamics, but the only way to validate that they work (That is, that the atoms won't clump together or bonds will be formed across gears) is with an ab-initio calculation, and to the extent of my knowledge this has not been done. The prospect of nanomedicine as described by Freitas is even more dubious, since it builds on the assumption that those machines are feasible. The scaling laws used by Drexler in Nanosystems (And subsequently by Freitas in Nanomedicine) are also flawed, as Richard Jones pointed out to Michael Anissimov:

With respect to the calculations in MNT, you should know that the numerical estimates of the rubbing friction of hydrogen terminated diamond surfaces you get from the formulae in Nanosystems are several orders of magnitude lower than the values obtained by Judith Harrison’s molecular dynamics simulations. This isn’t a “numerical error”, of course, it’s a result of an incomplete formulation of the relevant physics.

So while the basic capabilities are beyond doubt (In the theory), the capabilities that are presumed to arise from them are not.

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-20T21:34:48.731Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

This is the sort of story I've heard. What are you even referring to?

I think he was talking about Robert Nelson leaving eleven 'patients' out in the open to rot.

The implication being that the folks running cryonics organization are frauds just out to make money and don't give a damn about the patient? Another baseless and insulting accusation.

Well, there's Robert Nelson, among other things. Trans Time once threatened to have two patients, Ray and Katherine Mills, thawed and cremated, because to them they were nothing more than paying customers, certainly not patients. They were later, thankfully, neuroconverted and transported to Alcor, which is not completely innocent either, if you read Darwin's A Visit to Alcor. Specifically, this part made me reconsider the plausibility of cryonics, not from a scientific standpoint, but from a social/organizational one:

[...] Saul Kent invited me over to his home in Woodcrest, California to view videotapes of two Alcor cases which troubled him – but he couldn’t quite put his finger on why this was so.[...] Patients were being stabilized at a nearby hospice, transported to Alcor (~20 min away) and then CPS was discontinued, the patients were placed on the OR table and, without any ice on their heads, they were allowed to sit there at temperatures a little below normal body temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours, while burr holes were drilled, [...] smoke could be seen coming from the burr wound! Since the patient had no circulation to provide blood to carry away the enormous heat generated by the action of the burr on the bone, the temperature of the underlying bone (and brain) must have been high enough to literally cook an egg. In one case, a patient’s head was removed in the field and, because they had failed to use a rectal plug, the patient had defecated in the PIB. The result was that feces had contaminated the neck wound, and Alcor personnel were seen pouring saline over the stump of the neck whilst holding the patient’s severed head over a bucket trying to wash the fecal matter off the stump. These are just a few of the grotesque problems I observed.[...]

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-19T21:35:31.642Z · score: 1 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Alternatively, people could loan her the money until she is revived and can pay back, though I'm not sure if that's entirely legal.

Comment by eudoxia on How to get cryocrastinators to actually sign up for cryonics · 2012-08-19T20:51:19.021Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Eliezer's judgement was that he had to get signed up to convince people to do the same. And he didn't have much money.

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-19T03:14:33.081Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

What about the brain damage her tumor is causing?

Jim Glennie (A-1367) had a glioblastoma multiforme, and cryoprotective perfusion achieved the best Glycerol concentration at the time (6.02M glycerol, 1992). A-2091 (name withheld) also had a glioblastoma and reportedly "target cryoprotectant concentration was reached in the brain".

Thomas Donaldson (A-1097) had an astrocytoma (I guess Astrocytes are a kind of glial cell, but I doubt the comparison can be extended further) and his cryopreservation was very good [p.16].

I am far from an expert and simply would like to hear some authoritative commentary on this

Disclaimer: I am not medically trained.

EDIT: I'm not sure if you're referring to brain damage affecting cryoprotection or brain damage affecting her mental state and making her opt out.

Comment by eudoxia on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young · 2012-08-19T00:22:54.931Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

She might be able to afford a lower-quality alternative, but nothing other than plastination seems to show any chance of reversibility. And plastination, to the best of my knowledge, has only been shown to work on thin slices of tissue.

As an example, Thomas Sullivan's brain was chemopreserved by his son, and was later transferred to LN2. And brain-only chemopreservation may turn out to be better for her future chances than vitrification at CI, considering the kind of errors CI has on its record.

Comment by eudoxia on [LINK] Cryonics - without even trying · 2012-08-17T16:42:56.744Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Sounds like something Giulio Prisco would propose. That is, a scientifically impossible to justify feel-good fantasy. Information that is lost is lost forever.

Comment by eudoxia on Mentioning cryonics to a dying person · 2012-08-13T22:09:30.617Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

One public image advantage of plastination is that, if you're doing it on whole bodies, you could (Plausibly) put the plastinated patient on a standard bed (Maybe in a 2001-esque pod for extra effect (No, no need to mention Robert Nelson pulled the same stunt)) and make it look closer to real medicine. Though I'm not sure it's completely prudent to let a plastinated body out in the open collecting dust for show.