Ray Bradbury: When the Writer Mistakes His Books for Himself

By Mike Darwin

On 5 June 2012, the master storyteller and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury died at the age of 91. Some Bradbury’s work, and very nearly Bradbury himself became an iconic part of the culture. His novel Fahrenheit 451, the collection of short stories that became The Martian Chronicles, and especially his superb short stories such as Dandelion Wine, I Sing the Body Electric and There Will Come Soft Rains took him to apogee of SF and fantasy writers in the 1950s and ’60s. There have been many reminiscences of Bradbury on various life extension forums, some by advocates of cryonics and/or radical life extension, such Steve Harris, M.D. and Gregory Fahy, Ph.D. Oddly, these condolences make no mention of Bradbury’s decades long public and not infrequent opposition to human life span extension.

There Will Come Soft Rains, along with I Sing the Body Electric were my introduction to Bradbury, followed a little later by Fahrenheit 451, which I read whilst recovering from a tonsillectomy at age 15 (a very painful procedure when done past childhood). I met Bradbury some years ago, quite unexpectedly, at a social gathering in Los Angeles. The person who introduced us made the grave error of disclosing my background in cryonics and Bradbury was anxious to terminate the encounter as soon as it had begun. Probably even more so than Isaac Asimov, he loathed the idea of cryonics and life span extension. I gained a bit of ground by immediately raising this point, before he could, and our conversation continued long enough for me to get some insight into why Bradbury had such strong negative feelings about extending the human life span. And it was just the human life span he was concerned with – robots, such as the nanny in I Sing the Body Electric could go on forever, and it made no difference to him.

I finally concluded that, like Mother Theresa, Bradbury’s morality was evil incarnate. He opposed vast extension of the human life span not because it would result in stagnation, or social injustice, but rather because it would lead to the diminution or termination of those elements of human suffering and weakness he considered essential to being human. Without death, and forgetting and constantly being “reset” to that fraction of our libraries each human generation might be able to absorb before, in turn, being extinguished, there could be no pathos of the kind that was Bradbury’s stock and trade. Bradbury saw, quite clearly, that practical biological immortality would transform man into something fundamentally different, alien even, from his current state of being and he was deeply repulsed by that. To be human is to be mortal and to suffer and to die and to live out a history of error and folly over and over, indefinitely. A history that would recede into the dim mists of living memory. A history that required the storyteller to shape the critical parables for mankind to live (and die) by. A history that required men like Ray Bradbury. His final remark in our conversation was that he would have immortality through his books which was the only kind of immortality to which men were entitled.

At the end of Fahrenheit, Granger tells Montag the story of the phoenix, the mythical bird that goes through endless cycles of fiery death and resurrections as an allegory to the human condition, noting that men, unlike birds, ought to be able to remember their mistakes and not repeat them (which, alas, they never do). Granger then proposes that the “books” set about building a “gigantic mirror factory” so that mankind can gaze at himself and come to realize the folly of his forgetting, his hubris and his foolishness.

The end result of such literal self reflection would, no doubt, have been either vanity or disgust – not insight into the follies of history. To gain the latter, it is necessary for us to transcend our mortality. We have mastered fire; and in so doing have fouled our planet’s air and water. Because we live only briefly, we have little ability to see the long term consequences of our actions, and we (like all others before us), cannot truly suffer the effects of our ignorance and recklessness through our children. If we are to behave responsibly with respect to the long term effects of our deeds, we must live long enough to experience them firsthand.

Approximately every fifty years, the accumulated wisdom and experience of an entire generation is wiped out. Yes, some tiny fraction of the knowledge can be (and is) captured in books and other ‘media.’ But knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is a property of the conscious mind imbued with memory and experience. Wiping out all the hard won accumulated wisdom (and in reality most of the real knowledge, in the bargain) of each human generation is incredibly wasteful – and destructive. This was unavoidable in the past, and it was tolerable because we were barely better than beasts, and we played only with mortals’ things. But it is no longer acceptable. Quite apart from the terrible injustice that death represents for the individual, it is no longer a tenable option for us as species. It has become an expense we can no longer pay, a debt we can no longer afford to service.

 The great economic collapses of 1929 and 2008.

Consider this timely analogy. One of the great problems in economies is the loss of institutional memory for infrequent, but disastrous events. Just about the time the last individuals are dying out from the previous round of economic madness and irresponsibility, another round occurs. This timing is not coincidental; you have to live through some kinds of errors and experience them for yourself, before you can avoid them in the future. That’s exactly what a big part of becoming an adult and growing up are all about; everybody knows you can’t tell a child, or a teenager, about ‘responsibility,’ or about being taken advantage of, or about how to manage money wisely. That kind of knowledge comes only through experience. At present, we are manipulating technologies so vast and so powerful that we will get only one chance to get it right (and that only if we are lucky). There will be no forgiveness for playing the technological equivalent of 1929, over and over again, as we have just done now.

Bradbury didn’t understand that, or refused to understand it. While I loved the melancholy of his stories, I came to realize upon meeting him that it was not dissatisfaction with that melancholia that drove their production, nor the hope that mankind would once and forever learn from the mistakes of the Cold War and book burners, but rather, that mankind would go on, mortal, until his end as a species, with only some fraction of his books surviving until that final day.

I was disappointed to meet Bradbury the man, because he was nothing like Bradbury the author, whom I had read and loved. And therein lay another powerful lesson; authors are not their books and books are most certainly not their authors. Ray Bradbury is dead and for the talent lost and the man lost we can justly grieve. However, I believe that in the midst of his warmth and generosity, there was a terrible streak of cruel repression – one which he might well have written about eloquently and movingly, had he only been able to see it and to recognize it for it was.

Much of Ray Bradbury’s fiction is not only brilliant, it is profoundly humane. He had the rare ability as an author to deeply engage our emotions in the service of making us see both the good and the evil in mankind. Fahrenheit was, is, and will likely long remain a deserved touchstone on the evils of censorship and the opportunity for, if not the inevitability of intellectual and moral decline as a result of advances in telecommunications. Nothing in what I write here is meant to in any way diminish that considerable accomplishment.

My points are three. First, to express surprise that no one in the cryonics and life extension communities has noted that Bradbury had been a staunch and public opponent to life span extension and, in particular, to the technologies of cryonics and suspended animation. The second reason is to point out that there can be, and often is, a dichotomy between the fiction writer as a person and the perception of the writer (public and private) created by his works. Third, and last, I want to say that Bradbury was an influential person. Indeed, I consider him one of the most influential writers in my own life. By definition, influential people influence others and I have no doubt that Bradbury’s voiceiferously negative stance on cryonics and life span extension had a (from our standpoint) negative influence on others. In fact, I would argue that the most powerful objections to practical immortality are not the technical ones, but the philosophical, social and moral ones.

Today there are myriad eminently practical technologies that are only minimally exploited, not exploited at all, or completely forbidden. As Peter Thiel has recently observed, most kinds of engineering and practical scientific research have become illegal to do, absent extensive and oppressive governmental control. People may understandably have some sympathy with this, wherein things like nuclear engineering are concerned, but the fact is that social-ethical concerns have slowed and essentially stopped almost all independent biomedical research.

As a practical example, when I was a teenager (and well into my 20s) it was possible for me to undertake animal research in an upstairs storage room converted to a “bio-hacker’s” laboratory and surgery. Nor was I alone; many Science Fair projects of the 1960s and ’70′s involved extensive research on live animals – including drug and transplantation studies, which were mostly conducted on rodents, but also sometimes on dogs. Today, even as an adult, were I to try the same thing I would be carted off to prison (prison, not jail). A bit earlier today, I read a question posted by some hapless investigator on the Gerontology Research Group forum as to whether experiments on Drosophila (fruit flies!) were regulated, and as to whether the creatures must be treated “humanely.” Incredible!

The issue of how laboratory animals are handled is indeed an important one, and not just to the animals, but to us, as well. It is a complex issue and it admits of no easy solutions and it especially admits of no syrupy, knee-jerk sentimentality that invokes outright bans or crushing regulation. It was and is exactly the latter – coupled with the philosophically erroneous position of “animal rights,” that has slowed the pace of biomedical advance to an abysmal crawl when compared with the explosive and stunning progress that has been made over the same interval of time in software, computing power, and consumer electronics. If advances had been half as fast in biomedicine, we’d likely all be “immortal” now.

I have taken the time to get to know a fair cross section of the people who advocate radical (terrorist) action against biomedical researchers in the name of animal rights. Some are idiots and fools. But others are sincere, caring and compassionate people who are certain they are acting from the best intentions and in the best interest of our species. Many of these people are kindly and otherwise decent; and they are certainly people who, in many cases, have achieved good and decent things in their lives. In short, they are not “pure evil.”

Hitler’s secretary, Traudl Junge, knew him as a decent, caring man who was a good employer – someone she found both worthwhile and exciting to work for and with. And, truth to tell, leaving aside his philosophical peccadilloes and a great deal of unfortunate timing, Hitler might well have been a perfectly pedestrian Austrian or German shop keep selling artist’s supplies, or perhaps operating an art gallery, or a photography studio. Neither his anti-Semitism or his twisted political views would have been much out of character for the times. Indeed, some Neo-Nazis and Communists I’ve known have been otherwise very pleasant people. And, truth to tell, I have occasion to deal with such “crazy” people from time to time, as do we all, and as long we steer clear of politics and race, the commercial transactions and the accompanying social banter are rewarding. True, where I can, I try to do business elsewhere. But that isn’t always possible.

Recently, Steve Harris, M.D., wrote in response to my comments about Bradbury:

 “Sure, Bradbury doesn’t mind eternal life for machines, or Martians, or Dead Authors. And I suspect he wouldn’t have minded it for humans, if he could have seen his way to it as he did for the Martians. But he didn’t, that’s all, and he wasn’t an incrementalist and he wasn’t into “Scientism” (as we all are). He saw “the flesh” as permanent for humanity, and death as permanent as flesh, and books and the vicarious experience of horror for the good of the soul, were Bradbury’s best answer to a “human condition” problem that he took as a given, not solvable by technology (certainly not solvable by technology as HE knew it). If some of the writers on this list don’t share Bradbury’s premises from his benighted time, that’s fine. But give the guy a break, okay?”

I wish I could do that. But, the fact of the matter is that “Scientism” or education, or knowledge in or about science, have little to do with whether a person embraces radical life span extension, or not. Twenty four years ago I wrote an article titled The Door to Nowhere about the near simultaneous “deaths” of two very different “Roberts”: Robert Heinlein and a man I’ll call Robert B. Robert B. was a TV repairman who lived a very ordinary life in a manufactured home park in South Florida. He was not highly educated and I doubt that he knew much more about the sciences than Ray Bradbury, and most likely he knew much less. Unarguably, he knew much, much less than Robert Heinlein. The critical difference between the two was that Robert B. had an outlook, a world view, a philosophy and a set of expectations that demanded the pursuit of his personal survival, even at considerable costs in the face of (arguably) overwhelmingly adverse odds. So, whilst Robert Heinlein was being removed to the crematorium (literally), Robert B. was making his way down towards liquid nitrogen temperature (where he remain to this day).

Above left, the science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein and, at right, the cryonaut Robert B.

My point then (and now) is that it was Robert B., not Robert Heinlein who was the authentic adventurer, pioneer and optimist. Henlein wrote eloquently of such characters, but when the rubber hit the road, he chose not to live like them (and yers, he was well aware of cryonics, as is his still surviving SF-writer cohort, Fred Pohl). Many apologies for this decision are, of course possible, and indeed even likely reasonable. Maybe Heinlein just didn’t think cryonics would work. Fair enough, if that was the case. But importantly, unlike Isaac Asimov (who did, in fact, think cryonics might well work), Heinlein did not espouse a philosophy, nor take a position that cryonics, let alone life span extension, were evil, or should be prohibited. Indeed, his fiction treats both technological possibilities in a positive way.

My problem with Bradbury is a fairly abstract one, especially now that he is dead. He seemed a nice enough man the one time I met him, and I had no doubt, then or now, that his convictions regarding the undesirability of life prolongation (which ran to the point of banning it) were both heartfelt and sincere. And, as I’ve previously said, I love much of his fiction and hold it in high esteem. Much of his published work is good work and it deserves to be read until such time as it no longer speaks to any who are alive. I tolerate (and ignore) the crazy and kooky political and social views of many of the people I have to interact with in commerce, and in the business of daily life, because I really have no choice, and much more importantly, because they are not influential. The militiaman, or neolithic fundamentalist-racist, or even the devout Catholic who is a member of Opus Dei who may be my neighbors are of little concern to me if or until they become powerful and influential. There were hundreds of thousands of down and out and embittered anti-Semitic veterans of World War I in Germany in the 1920s, and Hitler was a nobody of no concern until he became a somebody of great influence.

The problem with Ray Bradbury wasn’t his lack of the proper scientific perspective, but rather his active and zealous belief in a philosophical and moral perspective which are anathema to those of us pursuing practical, biological immortality. That doesn’t make Bradbury a “bad or evil person.” But it also doesn’t make him a saint. And what’s more, it behooves us not to let such ideas and such behavior go unremarked upon, especially when they are espoused by influential people of such import as to practically have become a cultural icon. As I said with respect to Robert Heinlein over two decades ago:

“Extraordinary writing skills, technical vision – these will likely be things available to anyone almost for the asking in the future. They are worthwhile things, but they are not core values, not the fundamental things required to enjoy and hold on to life. The other Bob, the one waiting quietly in liquid nitrogen at Alcor, may not have been an intellectual luminary or a great entertainer of the masses as Heinlein was. But he had and still has something Heinlein hasn’t a chance in the world of now: the prospect of immortality in an open ended world of incredible possibilities. For he had the courage and the brains not to merely hear about “The Door Into Summer,” but to actually step through it. “

Posted in Cryonics Philosophy, Culture & Propaganda | 5 Comments

Semantics and Cryonics Propaganda

By Mike Darwin
One of the things I hear from time to time is the assertion by some cryonicists that recent advances in mammalian brain vitrification technology have resulted in the brains of cryonics patients being “alive.” While the error is understandable, because under optimum laboratory conditions many, if not most of the cells in such  brains may be viable – recoverable as metabolically active and self sustaining following cryopreservation, that does not equate to brain viability.
Semantics are very important here. “Viably” vitrified brain tissue is not alive, nor is it dead. Rather, it is in a thirds state, that of (true) suspended animation. And it is important to point out that there are a number of different kinds of suspended animation:
crypto- or anhydro-biosis, wherein living systems are rendered into a preserved, inanimate state by dehydration,
ambient temperature vitrification, wherein living systems are solidified and molecularly immobilized by substitution of their water content with an amorphous solid, such as amber,
and estivation, wherein the living system is rendered metabolically quiescent in the liquid state at ambient temperature by the inhibition or inactivation of biochemical metabolism.
The brains of cryonics patients, even if treated under ideal laboratory conditions, are neither alive nor in suspended animation. This is so because they are critically injured in at least these ways:
1) They have large peri-capillary tears and tears in the brain parenchyma/neuropil (tissue) on the microscopic level, ranging in size from a few, to perhaps 10 to 30 microns, scattered throughout the whole of the organ at (perhaps) distance intervals of tens to hundreds of microns. You can see both of these phenomena in the transmission electron micrographs (TEMs) of (optimally) vitrified rabbit brain below:
 Figure 1: At left, above, is vitrified rabbit cerebral cortex showing an intact capillary properly attached to the brain parenchyma (neuropil) next to a micrograph of a brain capillary where the basement membrane has torn away from the surrounding neuropil. These peri-capillary tears are thought to result from dehydration induced by the cryoprotectant agents, not from cooling to vitrification temperature. [Micrograph courtesy of Dr. Gregory Fahy.]
Figure 2: Above, a tear in the neuropil of a vitrified rabbit brain extending perhaps ~30 to 40 microns across. [Micrograph courtesy of Dr. Gregory Fahy.]
It should be kept in mind that these images are 2-dimensional, and thus cannot show the depth of such lesions. To do that, it would be necessary to make serial sections and micrographs of the tissue and perform 3-D reconstruction of the image. If that were done, you might well see something like the Photoshopped image I’ve created below:
 Figure 3: Photoshopped image of a 3-D reconstruction of brain tissue with a peri-capillary tear shown to extend many microns along the length of the capillary.
There is also damage to the molecular structure of some proteins and to the lipid membranes of the cells and the organelles they contain. While these injuries do not render all of the cells in the brain “non-viable” (e.g., unable to recover metabolism upon rewarming), they do render the brain “nonviable” in terms of being able to resume integrated, long term function. Such injuries are “lethal” because they are currently irreversible.
Thus, we have a fourth state: preserved and potentially recoverable.
So, to recap, there are at least four possible states that biological systems can be in:
Alive: functioning and metabolically active.
Dead: Irreversibly non-functional with loss of the necessary structural and/or contextual information required to permit restoration to life.
Suspended Animation: in a state of indefinite and complete biochemical and metabolic arrest, but fully intact and capable of resuming life if the process is reversed.
Potentially Recoverable: damaged to such an extent that external repair will be necessary before life can be restored; such repair may, or may not be possible as a function of technological advance, but in any event, the damage is of a nature or extent that extant biotechnology is incapable of reversing it. Cryonics falls into this fourth category.
It is both misleading and incorrect to equate a (currently) vitrified brain with being alive. It is fair to say that optimally vitrified brains have many viable cells, but that is also true of most cryonics patients frozen under reasonably good conditions.
That having been said, it is very important to point out that vitrified rabbit brains demonstrate far less damage than do frozen brains – in fact, virtually no injury from ice at all. It is also fair to note that vitrified brain slices have been shown to retain long term potentiation, which is a key step in memory formation.
The problem with these arguments is that they are sophisticated, require complex explanations and qualifications, and also require a sophisticated mind to understand them. It would be far easier to just declare that “the brains of vitrified cryonics patients are alive.” Unfortunately, we haven’t earned the right to do that. And perhaps more importantly, such a success is neither vital to the cryonics argument, nor is it ultimately germane, because, by definition, everyone who is placed into cryopreservation is not, and will never be, currently recoverable, because if we could heal them, we wouldn’t need to cryopreserve them in the first place. All cryonics patients, now and forever, face the fundamental uncertainty of whether they can be returned to life (cured). Suspended Animation will make that uncertainty much less daunting, but it will never eliminate it.

Posted in Cryobiology, Cryonics Philosophy, Culture & Propaganda | 4 Comments

Venturist Cryonics Conference

The Society for Venturism will be holding a unique conference focusing on issues of special interest to cryonicists at the Creekside Preserve and Lodge in Mayer, Arizona on June 1st and Second (this coming Friday and Saturday).


The June Cryonics Conference presenters will be:

Mike Darwin: Beyond Alzheimer’s: NADA (Neuronal Attrition Disorder of Aging) & What You Can Do About It.



Cairn Idun: Evolution of the Asset Preservation Group – Three areas of asset preservation:  Capital Assets, Emotional Assets, The Asset of the Self.


Dr. Mike Perry: Chemical Preservation – Is it more affordable, safer, and/or better than cryonics?


Dr. Mark Voelker:  How cryonicists can prepare for

the coming economic crisis.


Mark Plus: Cognitive Science versus Cartesian Reason in the Culture War for Cryonics.


David Pizer: Explaining the new Venturist possible protections for your Cryonic Suspension with the new Trust for our members. Mike Perry will join David to discuss the Venturist Cryonics Trust Agreement which he has created. The Venturist Cryonics Trust Agreement with has been designed to allow members to use the financial reserves in the Venturist Patient Care Rescue Fund which has been created to serve as a resource for patients who may need financial rescue in the future. Thus, it could literally save your life. The Trust Agreement & Trust Fund could also provide money to reanimated Venturists.

The Whole Group of Attendees: Group Discussion on how we can create a Cryonics Hall of Fame.

FRIDAY NIGHT PARTY ===================

The conference opens Friday, June 1st at 3 PM with an informal open house & welcome party.  You can tour the Venturist Museum and Library room upstairs. This is a time to inspect historic cryonics materials, catch up with old friends and make new ones. Sometime during this interval we’ll go downstairs to the restaurant/lounge and have dinner.



Morning Hike: 45 minute hike/walk down adjoining high desert trail. (meet in lobby at 7AM) 8:00

Breakfast downstairs at restaurant…………………………. 9:15

Welcome to the Conference……………………….. 9:30 to 10:15

Dr. Mark Voelker……………………………………..10:15 to 11:00

Break………………………………………………………… 15 minutes

Mark Plus………………………………………………… 1:15 to noon

Cairn Idun……………………………………………… Noon to 1:00

Lunch & Break ………………………………………… 1:30 to 2:15

Mike Darwin………………………………………….. 2:15 to 3:00

Dr. Mike Perry (chemical preservation) …… 3:00 to 4:00

David Pizer/Mike Perry

Venturist Suspension Back up Protection…..3:00 to 4:00

Break……………………………………………………… 15 minutes

Group Discussion:

CRYONICS HALL OF FAME…………………  4:00 to 5:00

Break…………………………………………………… 30 minutes

Dinner…………………………………………………….. 5:30

Socialize & Meet the Presenters………………….7:00



Walk down desert trail (45 minutes)……………. 7AM (meet in lobby)


Board meeting to vote on ideas from the talks Saturday and Venturist Business: 9:30 to 11:00 AM

Conference ends following the conclusion of Board Meeting


Conference is at the Creekside Lodge in Mayer Arizona www.creeksidepreserve.com

For more info contact David at pizerdavid@yahoo.com


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Reality Check

By Mike Darwin


In order to understand the significance of the results of the Cryonics Intelligence Test and the discussion of priorities in cryonics research that is to follow (and in particular the relationship of such research to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation and the cryonics community at large), it will first be necessary to provide a substantial amount of background and context.

The first part of this context is to understand the statistics of Chronosphere. Even a decade and a half ago, the data I am about to present and discuss would have been virtually impossible to obtain. Small-scale paper, and even Internet publications, were mostly black boxes in terms of feedback. Knowing how many people viewed a given article, looked at your publication (no matter how cursorily) or took the time to download specific materials was essentially impossible. Letters to the Editor and the total number of paid and gratis subscribers (e.g., basic circulation), as well as advertisers, if any, were all the data available – plus, perhaps some demographic data on subscribers, such as what part of the country and what part of the world they resided in.

Today, with powerful statistical engines, it is possible to obtain in real time a large body of data that was heretofore not only inaccessible, it was unimaginable that it would ever be available, let alone be available at virtually no cost and with almost no effort. Having said this, it still not possible to capture the core demographic data that would provide the most useful information about the scope and depth of Chronosphere’s impact; namely the detailed demographic characteristics of the individuals accessing the site, the individual articles, the identities of those individuals, which articles they actually read, and finally, what impact those articles have on their world view, or subsequent actions. To a very limited extent it is possible to track the effect that articles and ideas in Chronosphere have on others by using Google search tools to monitor the mention of discrete articles or ideas that have appeared uniquely on Chronosphere in the blogosphere and on the Internet in general. However, this is still far from satisfactory, and such data is necessarily anecdotal, rather than comprehensive.

A Preliminary Look at the Numbers

The graph below shows the total number of hits, by month, that  Chronosphere has received since its inception through, 23 May, 2012, at 1307. Since the start of Chronosphere, there have been 101,929 unique visitors to the site. During 2012 the average number of unique viewers, excluding individuals who subscribe via Google Reader Subscriber Service (RSS), is approximately 300 per day. The number of RSS subscribers has increased from ~ 80 as of October 2011 to 101 as of 23 May, 2012. The average number of new posts to Chronosphere has been 2.1 per week since its inception in February of 2011. The table below shows the statistics for the top 10 articles being accessed as of 22 and 23 May, 2012. There is substantial variability on a day to day basis as to which articles achieve “top ten” status. The following table shows the ranking of all articles that have appeared, from the first one, which was posted on 06 February 2011, through 23 May, 2012. These data show the number of unique hits these articles received, independent of RSS subscribers and of individuals who may have read the article, copied or downloaded it from the “Home Page.”

To understand what this means in practical terms, the article Robert C. W. Ettinger, First Life Cycle: 1918 to 2011, shows 2,762 discrete hits.

However, any examination of the aggregate number of hits for the two week period following Ettinger’s cryopreservation (boxed in red in the top graph, above), when his obituary, and a related article on media obituaries were the articles featured on the Homepage, show that the number of hits to Chronosphere increased from ~ 1,000 per day to ~ 3,000 per day. Thus, a more realistic number for views that article received is probably in the range of ~ 4,000, total.  Therefore, the total “viewership” for any given article will be some total of the number of discrete hits the article receives, plus some fraction of the number of Homepage hits it received when it was the featured (Homepage) article on Chronosphere.

 Making Sense of it All

Missing from all these data is the critically important “time on page” number. This metric helps to distinguish between “accidental,” or very casual viewers, and those who have a serious interest in the content of the article. Unfortunately, all efforts to date to add this capability (a function of Google Analytics) have proved unsuccessful. Nevertheless, the absolute number of hits a given article receives after it ceases to be the Homepage feature is very likely representative of its popularity and readership.

My personal (completely arbitrary) rule of thumb has been to assume that ~ 10% of the hits to lengthily and highly technical posts  represent serious readers and that ~25% of hits for shorter, topical posts are actually read and seriously considered.  What the “real” number of serious readers is for any given article is, of course, unknown. I have set my numbers so low primarily because of the nearly complete lack of commentary or embedded URL actuations most of the articles generate.

As a case in point, the extensive four-part series of articles Last Aid as First Aid for Cryonicists generated a total of only 5 comments, most of which were not of a practical nature consonant with the subject matter of the articles, which dealt specifically with how to prepare for a cryonics emergency. Some of the suggestions in the articles should have proved controversial (based on past experience in discussing them in the cryonics community) and yet, there were no dissenting comments, nor any alternative or additional suggestions offered, either on Chronosphere, or in the publications, blogs, or list-serves of the various cryonics organizations (or those serving the cryonics community as a whole, such as New Cryonet). This is in striking contrast to the author’s past experience with printed periodicals serving the cryonics community and having a comparable, or  smaller number of readers  (e.g., 200-300).

Some of the likely reasons for these differences between print and epublications are:

a)      Subscribers paid for paper publications and thus were more heavily invested in recovering the value expended.

b)      Because of the time, effort and money required to gain access to paper publications, the readership was highly filtered compared to epublications.

c)       Prior to the Internet era, the total volume of information being disseminated about cryonics was very small and the available technology (e.g., the printing press) further compressed and limited dissemination of that information to a very few venues.

d)      Cryonics itself was far smaller and the overlap between “activists” and “customers” was more nearly complete.

e)      Cryonics publications prior to the Internet were necessarily more diverse in content than is Chronosphere due to the need to cater to a broader audience.

f)       The content in Chronosphere leans heavily towards the technical and historical and is lengthily; all of which are likely to discourage the casual reader. In other words it is, by definition, a niche publication.

g)      Chronosphere and its author are frequently critical of how cryonics is currently practiced as well as of  the major (extant) cryonics organizations, and sometimes  specific individuals who are, or who have been active in cryonics.

h)      Chronosphere does not (yet) offer a blog roll nor high profile links to other organizations, sites, or publications (paper or electronic). This, coupled with the hostility generated by g) above, has resulted in a near complete lack of on-line and paper publication referrals to Chronosphere.

With these considerations in mind, let’s again take a look at how Chronosphere  has performed from its inception, thru 24 May, 2012, but this time in greater detail with attention to daily and weekly numbers:

But what do these metrics really mean? Is Chronosphere doing what it is supposed top do: raise awareness and change fundamental thinking about the way cryonics and interventive gerontological research is being pursued,  as well as attracting other, like minded contributors to the site? The number of RSS feeds, the number of unique viewers and even the number of comments aren’t necessarily very useful metrics (certainly not in isolation) to determine if the effort being expended on Chronosphere is worth the return. Probably the best indicators are the combination of:

a)      Number of comments,

b)      Number of RTs,

c)       Number of downloads of white-papers, pingbacks, and “critical” URL’s accessed from the site.

d) Number of people who contribute articles to Chronosphere.

Of course, context is everything, or almost everything in this case, because Chronosphere is catering to what is, both relatively and absolutely, a miniscule community of people. To put these numbers in context, the graph below shows the traffic on the Wikipedia “cryonics” page.

In the past 90 days there have been ~78,000 visitors or ~25,000 visitors per month, as compared with ~8,400 visitors to Chronosphere over the same time period.

There are perhaps something on the order of 2,000 living cryonicists[i] in the world, the majority of them in the English speaking/reading world. Of these, optimistically, perhaps 15% are technically/scientifically/philosophically oriented “activists” with an interest in the mechanics of cryonics, as opposed to people who have chosen cryonics as a service or product “as is,” and are content to accept it without further improvement as a result of their own efforts. That would yield a number of ~ 300 people within the cryonics community who are sufficiently interested to read a publication like Chronosphere.

Even using these far more restrictive criteria, it is hard to know just how well or poorly Chronosphere is doing. Consider the cryonics self-help series of articles, Last Aid as First Aid for Cryonicists:

The overall performance of this series of articles is pretty dismal. However, interestingly, Part 4 in the series received the most hits, roughly three times the total that each of the preceding three parts received. This might be explained on the basis that the fourth part of the article contained the bulk of the practical suggestions for how to deal with an emergency (such as the equipment and supplies needed for cooling).

Articles that are likely to be of interest primarily to cryonicists, such as A Brief Pictorial History of Extracorporeal Technology in Cryonics show a viewership that is broadly similar to that seen for this five part  series of article (below).

By monitoring the search engine terms (and their frequency) being used, it is possible to get some idea of how many people are accessing these articles for reasons unrelated to cryonics, such as for information on extracorporeal medicine, specific devices mentioned in the articles and for illustrations of equipment or procedures (again, unrelated to cryonics, per se). Roughly a third of all hits fall into this category of what could be fairly called “extraneous viewers.” Again, the number of likely seriously interested viewers is probably quite small, being somewhere in the rage of 50 to 100.

The intermittent spiky nature of the number of hits over time is most likely the result of referrals; one person sees an article of interest, passes the URL to others and there is a brief burst of activity until that pocket of interested people is exhausted.

Similarly, technical posts which have direct relevance to medicine or biomedical research are clearly attracting viewers who are not accessing them because of any interest in cryonics. Indeed, it can reasonably be presumed they are accessing them in spite of their cryonics orientation and content, as can be seen from the data for the articles The Pathophysiology of Ischemic Injury: Impact on the Human Cryopreservation Patient, I Know this is Going to be Shocking: A Review of Wearable Continuous Monitoring Systems to Detect and Treat Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Cryonicists, Does Personal Identity Survive Cryopreservation?, Achieving Truly Universal Health Care and Induction of Hypothermia in the Cryonics Patient: Theory and Technique.

It is possible that articles that deal solely with technical issues related to cryonics, but which do not explicitly mention it, such as Liquid Assisted Pulmonary Cooling in Cardiopulmonary Cerebral Resuscitation may provide some insight into how many of the visitors accessing the explicitly cryonics-oriented technical articles are doing so for reasons completely unrelated to any interest in cryonics:

If If this line of reasoning is indeed valid, then the number of explicitly cryonics-interested viewers is again probably somewhere in the range of 50 to 150 people.

This number is also consonant with the number of viewers that access a post which is almost exclusively of interest to cryonicists, such as the series of articles, Much Less Than Half a Chance,  on using medical imaging to reduce the number of sudden and unexpected deanimations (cardiac arrests) amongst cryonicists:

and Your Picture Won’t Be Hanging Here?:

More problematic to interpret are articles which deal with technical matters of a nature, interest in which one would expect would be largely or completely confined to cryonicists, such as the (so far) three-part series, The Effects of Cryopreservation on the Cat, which has generated sustained and (relatively) substantial interest, with Parts 2 & 3, wherein the results of the study are presented, having received a total number of views of ~ 1,800:

This is comparable to the degree of interest shown in most “data/conclusion-dense” part of the series of articles on brain degeneration in aging, Going, Going, Gone…:

However, it bears pointing out again that the more specifically cryonics oriented an article is, the smaller its readership will typically be, as was the case in the Cryonics: Failure Analysis Lectures, 1 & 2:

and the article Freezing People is Easy:

Below, I’ve presented the statistics on a range of other types of articles without comment, in large measure because it is hard to know how to interpret the data:

And finally, we come to Take the Cryonics Intelligence Test which was designed as a seminal experiment to probe both the readership of Chronosphere and the cryonics community at large. Leaving out of consideration the number of people who may have read this article during its tenure on the Homepage, 193 people accessed it as of 24, May, 2012:

and only 82 people were interested enough to view the results of the test:

Even more interesting (and telling) is metric for the number of people who downloaded the Resource Materials for the test from Yousendit, a mere 22 souls: of whom two bothered to actually take the test.

These numbers seem dismal to me, all the more so when, in the next few installments here, the issues involved (dealing with the principal subject matter in the Cryonics Intelligence Test and the Cryonics Intelligence Test Responses) are explicated and put into context and their importance (hopefully) made apparent to even the least technically inclined readers of Chronosphere.

Finally, it would be most useful to see similar performance metrics from other cryonics and life extension related blogs and websites. It is virtually impossible to evaluate the performance of this effort without any benchmarks to compare it to.


[i] Excluding the ~200 patients now cryopreserved.

Posted in Cryonics Technology (General), Culture & Propaganda, Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury | 8 Comments

Cryonics Intelligence Test Responses


On 06 May, 2012 responses were solicited to what was termed The Cryonics Intelligence Test which was posted here on Chronosphere (see: http://wp.me/p1sGcr-vV). Two people responded to this public request to “take the test” and provide input on possible solutions to the problems posed by the resource material that accompanied the test. The test consisted of the resource materials and the following  instructions:

Dear ______,

If you can figure out the scientific take home message for cryonics in what is to follow, you will have demonstrated extraordinary insight into “thinking in a cryonics-medical context.”

You will also have the tool to be able to understand why I believe that cryonics must, on a purely scientific-medical basis, be pursued in a fundamentally different way, both biomedically and socially.

The Test: The test resource materials are available for download at ___________, you will find a number of full text peer reviewed scientific papers. In addition, you will be sent several cryopatient case Hxs. Together, these resources contain data which should give a reasonably intelligent person with a properly prepared mind a fundamentally new insight into a major, indeed overwhelming flaw in how cryonics has been, and currently is practiced.

Your task is to:

a) identify the problem(s)

b) identify one or more possible solutions

You have 5 days to complete this task. Your response should be in the form of a succinct statement of the problem, and an itemization, and if you like, a discussion of possible solutions.

Thanks for your patience and cooperation.

Mike Darwin


The reasons for  this exercise were as follows (in no particular order):

To answer the question posed to me by Alcor CEO on what was the most important research to be undertaking in cryonics at this time.

To determine if a representative cross section of people not actively employed in cryonics, or working in cryonics-related research, would independently reach the same or same similar conclusions about a heretofore not understood or appreciated major problem in cryonics and propose the same possible solutions (or novel ones) to said problem.

To evaluate the caliber of the intellects (who chose to participate) who read Chronosphere.

To attempt to determine the number of Chronosphere readers who were willing to accept the challenge of  exposing their judgment and intellectual performance to scrutiny, either by myself, publicly, or both.

To determine the approximate number of people who took the time and exerted the effort to at least peruse the article and download the Test Resource Materials.

To attempt to get a preliminary idea of the nature of the readers of Chronosphere and their interest in highly technical topics of serious relevance to cryonics.

To gauge the impact and reaction of both the leadership of the cryonics community, and the cryonics community itself, to the revelations that result from this exercise and the commentary that is to shortly follow it.

To solicit novel solutions to the central problem posed in the exercise.

To inform the community at large, both the cryonics community and the public, of this serious problem in the way human cryoprerservation is currently being pursued (e.g., informed consent).


Two people (Alexander McLin and Gerald Monroe ) responded to the public request on Chronosphere to take the test. Prior to publicly soliciting responses, fifteen individuals of diverse backgrounds in cryonics were privately asked to take the test. Of these, eleven agreed to do so and of those eleven, ten completed the test. Of the ten privately solicited respondents, three agreed to allow publication of their answers; two with the use of their names. One individual, a young academic pursuing advanced graduate degrees, asked for and was granted anonymity, due to the likelihood that open involvement in cryonics could prejudice his academic career.

Since it is not possible for the responses of those who chose not to allow publication to be evaluated here, I will not make any comment on them beyond noting that they exist and that they, along with those of the respondents who did allow publication, were material in making the decision to pursue an open solicitation here for additional respondents.

At this time, the answers of the respondents are being presented absent any biographical/background information, so as not to bias the reader as he reads and considers each response. At a later date, I will edit this post to add a brief (few sentences) background description on each of the participants in order to provide demographic data on the participants as a group (e.g., how many were biomedically sophisticated, laypersons, long-time cryonicists, novices, etc.).[1]


Responses are presented in alphabetical order (by name of the respondent). The only editing that has been done is to to correct typographical errors.

Alexander McLin

After studying the test materials, I have come to the following conclusions about how cryonics is currently practiced today and the problem with its current standards of practice. The problem is that cryonics isn’t effectively managing ischemia, nor it doesn’t seem to be incorporating medical findings about how the brain is affected by hypotension, hypoventilation, and hyperventilation.

Moreover, research in determining a method to predict onset of cardiac death after life-saving treatments is withdrawn indicate that this is difficult to do so, this in conjunction with other papers, show that the brain damage begins almost as soon as a patient’s circulatory system begins to fail. This is problematic from the cryonics point of view, because long before cardiac death is declared, the brain may have already suffered irreversible ischemia damage preventing optimal cryonics suspension.

The research materials furthermore show that hyperventilation when administrated for whatever reason actually makes things worse and that hypoventilation is preferred. With this in mind, do cryonics providers incorporate that finding when administrating oxygen to patients as part of the stabilization protocol?

To summarize, the conclusions I arrived at are that current cryonics providers are failing to manage ischemia, failing to research ways to predict the degree of severity of ischemia, failing to engage in proactive activities to minimize ischemia pre- and post-deanimation, and not incorporating medical findings in improving brain survivability in presence of hypotension and hypoventilation. In addition, there appear to be a lack of an attempt to maintain extensive database of patient medical history, collection of body fluids for pre and post-deanimation, and pre- and post-suspension which is essential for research intended to improve cryonics practices.

Here I will discuss solutions I have come up to address some of the conclusions I have arrived at. The biggest problem is the issue of ischemia and how likely it is to occur once oxygen is interrupted and also how sensitive the brain is to reperfusion injury. I would review the existing protocols to ensure whether they’re adequately taking the reperfusion injury into account, whether medicines need to be updated(add or remove medicines) with respect to the latest medical findings. It should be verified via meaningful actual research whether the cool-down equipment is really minimizing ischemia.

Finally, how can cryonics address the crucial issue of the existing medical-legal atmosphere that require patients to be declared dead according either to the cardiac or brain death definitions. Both which ensure that the brain will suffer ischemia damage before suspension occurs. How can cryonicists safely arrange for optimal cryonic suspension free of problematic legal implications? This suggests a need to engage in policy lobbying and pushing for legislation aimed towards changing the legal situation for the betterment of cryonics. To put it so bluntly, it appears that voluntary euthanasia is a cryonicist’s best friend, as distressing and stressful it may sound.

Lastly, cryonics providers need to establish a medical database and engage in much more data collection than they are doing at present. Some of the patient histories show recurrent problems with their collection equipment, do they need to be upgraded or replaced? Research in minimizing or preventing ischemia should be undertaken to determine how to optimize brain preservation prior to beginning suspension.

Mark Plus

Many cryonicists in hospice conditions currently deanimate and are pronounced after agonal periods similar to shock which result in prolonged hypoperfusion and hypoxia of the brain. These lead to significant compromises of the brain’s vasculature (e.g., the brain’s ability to self-regulate its blood flow to certain regions like the hypothalamus when the arterial pressure drops below 40 mm Hg) and interfere with cardiopulmonary support, washout and especially perfusion with cryoprotectants, not to mention the havoc they must cause to the brain’s fine structure.

Also, the trend towards harvesting organs from patients who are pronounced cardiac-dead after as little as two minutes of asystole is probably not a good thing for cryonicists, if the laws change to make it harder to opt out of such donations which will have the effect of ensuring thorough brain death.

My suggestions:

Use people with professional training in shock medicine and anesthesiology to perform the cardiopulmonary support after pronouncement. Monitor the level of brain perfusion with the proprietary bispectral index technology (which I had to look up and I’d like to read more about) to determine if brain hypoperfusion happens. Hypoventilate the patients.

Premedicate cryonicists before pronouncement with drugs like piracetam, arginine vasopressin and NO inhibitors, mentioned in the papers you sent me. You also wrote that Jerome White had attempted to premedicate himself with over the counter supplements until a few weeks before his suspension.

Cryonicists with terminal illnesses should consider moving to places where the laws allow assisted euthanasia so that they can go into arrest and undergo the suspension procedure well before their agonal decline.

Cryonics organizations need to gather a lot more data when they perform suspensions based on the current state of the medical art. The S-100B assay should be used along with other assays to measure brain injuries. These assays plus the bispectral index data can provide badly needed feedback on the effectiveness of brain perfusion procedures.

If the patient can’t deanimate at the time of his choosing, use some of the medical models developed by the DCD researchers to better estimate the patient’s time of cardiac death during standby.

I hope my answers and recommendations are not too off the mark, and I suspect I’ve misunderstand or failed to notice some key points. You gave me a lot of unfamiliar material to absorb in a short amount of time. After a few more weeks of study, I could probably understand it better. Some kind of primer would also help. A few years ago I speculated that based on actuarial considerations, the ideal candidate for cryosuspension would have to be a healthy ten year old who could walk into the lab and lie down on the table. That leaves the rest of us somewhere away from optimal candidacy for cryosuspension. But then, what can we do about it?

And I do plan to study this further, so thank you very much for the scientific background information, and feel free to send me additional papers.

Other observations:

I notice the contrast between the thorough reports you’ve written for the suspensions you’ve performed versus the ones written by Alcor’s “pod people,” which apparently includes Aaron Drake. Several things seem to go wrong with about every suspension Alcor has done lately, including basic preparations like not having the tray of all the necessary surgical tools ready for Dr. Nancy or the surgeon. I knew in a vague way that things had gotten bad, but you’ve given me some idea of how bad.

The scientific literature started to report the effects of shock and hypoperfusion decades ago, but you wouldn’t know that from the “official” cryonics propaganda. It seems like the cryonics movement should have incorporated this knowledge from the very beginning, but then physicians, surgeons and neuroscientists have mostly avoided cryonics and deprived us of their expertise. Dr. Ravin Jain, a neurologist, sits on Alcor’s board, and he should know this stuff, but I don’t get the impression that he’s done anything to incorporate his knowledge into Alcor’s suspension procedures. The neglect gives cryonics a reputation for “scienciness” and pseudoscience which it doesn’t necessarily have to have.

Gerald Monroe

a. The current techniques practiced for all the cryonics cases most likely result in long periods of ischemic hypoperfusion to the brain. Instruments now exist to detect this, combining the bispectral index with near infrared spectroscopy, and apparently even when top notch experts support cardiac surgeries on children, the hypoperfusion is common.

The ischemia and the hypoperfusion are very, very bad. Of course, so is the freezing. And the storage in liquid nitrogen where dissolved oxygen can reach the tissues and oxidize them. And the shoestring budget (compared to even a single hospital) the cryonics organizations have to do everything on.

b. It doesn’t sound like these problems are insoluble if there were real resources (compared to those spent to delay death from cancer by a few months, for instance) dedicated to the problem. Tomorrow, if cryonics had the resources of a single major metropolitan hospital, it could actually solve these problems in a systemic way.

There have to be experiments done on animals, where many different techniques* are attempted and evaluated. Evaluations should be done by preparing synapses of slices of the subject’s brain following the freezing. Also, rewarming and function tests (of slices), once the state of the art reaches the point that this is practical.

The human patients have to be part of this evaluation. If no one looks, the mistakes made will never be corrected. Somehow very small pieces need to be removed as samples from the human patients, following each cryonics procedure, small portions mostly taken from sections of the patient’s brain not thought to contain unique personality information.

And so on. Real improvements don’t come easily or cheaply – they come incrementally, with great effort, and honest evaluation of the results of each change. The last element is probably the most important of all.

The history of medicine is littered with many, many examples where something becomes common practice without honest testing of the results. Pretty much universally it fails.

With all that said, for those of us right here, alive in an era where cryonics does not have the resources it deserves, it is simply Pascal’s wager. No matter how dim the odds are, some chance of a form of survival is better than none. Information is probably duplicated inside the human brain many times over, and all of the decay processes that work against cryonics are things that happen according to predictable laws of physics. In a future world where a brain could be scanned at the molecular level, there is probably at least some recoverable memory and personality data for even the worst cryonics case.

For some, the prospective of saving even an incomplete fragment of yourself is better than the guaranteed destruction by rotting in the ground or burning in an incinerator.

Why it is like it is : the cryonics organizations don’t have any money. There’s probably a hundred new things that could be tried, and most of them are not better than what is being done now. Every dollar spent now is a buck less that could go to protecting the existing patients over many more decades.

Moreover, without any way to evaluate the current baseline : how effective is cryonics actually preserving the patients, right now? Making changes blindly is stupid. In the history of medicine, time and time again, it has been found that when a simple and dumb medical technique is compared honestly to a more expensive and advanced technique, almost universally the difference is minimal to none. A few examples : diuretics work as well as the far more expensive and specific beta blockers, film X-rays provide basically the same therapeutic improvement as the vastly more expensive CTs and MRIs, physical therapy works about as often as spine surgery, etc.

This is why in countries with socialized medicine, with outdated equipment and techniques and long wait lists, the patients live almost as long. (and the population lives years longer due to better lifestyles)

* A few ideas that might or might not work :
1. More rapid cooling by exposing the brain to coolant with burr holes and connecting pumps directly to cerebral perfusion
2. Drugs to prevent the cerebral arterioles from closing when exposed to cold perfusate.
3. Calcium blockers to prevent apoptotic pathways from triggering
4. Oscillating magnets like the Japanese claim work for transplanting teeth
5. Skipping cryonics entirely and plastinating the brain

Jordan Sparks, DMD

Well, I’ve read all the papers. I’ve attached the notes I made. I know you said I could skim them a little more quickly, but I was having trouble understanding and remembering. I needed to use a more aggressive approach this time. I did the references to help me get organized, and if I had to do that again I would do it without listing out all the names. Anyway, this is where I’m at.

I have a tentative answer which I may refine later. I’m continuing to think about it. You only gave me one cryopatient case Hx. I notice that it’s rich with hematology and chemistry data. Repeated samples were taken and charted over time. Both the TBW circuit and the cryoprotective perfusion circuit are well documented. Pressures and flow rates are nicely charted. Also, glycerol, blood gas, and pH were monitored during cryoprotective perfusion. The lab samples, in particular, are notable because that is not the current practice of Alcor or CI. It would take me some time to look back through case reports to see when was the last time this was done.

a) Cryonics providers are currently disregarding complexity associated with the biochemical milieu. I’m not quite sure how to state it, but all of the 22 papers treated their problems as a complex interplay of the mechanical issues as well as the biochemistry. Reading current Alcor and CI reports, on the other hand, there is a total disregard for the role of biochemistry.

That’s my first stab at it. I wish I could state it better, and I might try to rewrite it. I might wait for feedback from you before I go much further in case I’ve missed your point.

1.  Fast recovery from shock used vasopressor combined with hypertonic saline starch.  Slow recovery used fluid resuscitation.  Propofol and Hb concentrations were comparable in both groups.  The fast recovery resulted in better cerebral perfusion and a higher BIS that was likely due to the better perfusion.  CPP =MAP−ICP.

2.  Three resuscitation protocols: 1=FR (fluid resuscitation), 2=NA/HS (noradrenaline/ hypertonic starch), and 3=AVP/ HS (arginine vasopressin/HS).  The AVP/HS group had faster and higher increase in MAP and CCP as well as better survival.  Also, ICP was lower.

3.  After significant hypervolemia, cerebral circulation decompensation occured.  There were significant regional variations in cerebral blood flow.  The redistribution favored the areas related to cardiovascular control.

4.  Patients in shock can have normal physiological, hematological, fluid, and electrolyte balance but still die due to metabolic abnormalities.

5.  In spite of mechanisms for preferential shunting of blood to the brain, low MAP will result in poor perfusion.  This results in inadequate oxygenation as well as inadequate lactate washout.  Decreased perfusion leads to ischemic damage.

6.  Hemorrhagic hypotension was induced in dogs which was still above the lower limit of cerebral autoregulation.  This resulted in an increased turnover of free fatty acids in the CSF.

7.  Moderate reduction of MAP in anesthetized cats resulted in no significant EEG changes.  Below 40 mm Hg, cortical rhythms slowed and then stopped.  Cell damage was only found below 40 mm Hg.

8.  Baboons were pretreated with Phenoxybenzamine (PBZ) before hypovolemic shock, and it prevented the fall in cerebral blood flow.  EEG does not normally return after reinfusion.

9.  Bispectral index (BIS) dropped to 0 during cerebral hypoperfusion.

10.  For donation after cardiac death (DCD) kidneys, prolonged severe hypotension was a good predictor of subsequent organ function.  Donor age also correlated with worse outcome.

11.  Dogs anesthetized and hypovolemic shock induced for 2 hours.  NMR used to monitor phosphate metabolism.  Upon fluid resuscitation, phosphate pools quickly returned to near baseline values, but intracellular acidosis persisted.

12.  Hemorrhagic shock combined with increased ICP is particularly damaging.  Increased ICP leads to cerebral ischemia which causes release of thromboxane A2 (TxA2), a potent vasoconstrictor and hypertenstive agent.  The increase in TxA2 persists for at least two hours after reperfusion and results in further cerebral hypoperfusion.  Pretreatment with COX inhibitor ibuprofen decreases TxA2 levels and improves total cerebral blood flow after global cerebral ischemia.

13.  Brain is vulnerable during hypotension and shock, especially long-lasting shock.  Patchy areas of ischemia developed through sludge formation and persisted even after hyperperfusion, indicating the role of local factors.  Phenoxybenzamine pretreatment significantly reduced rCBF changes during shock.

14.  DCD livers result in inferior graft survival compared to donation after brain death (DBD).  A DCD risk index was developed.  The lowest risk is with donor age <= 45 years,  warm ischemia time (DWIT) <= 15 minutes, and cold ischemia time (CIT) <= 10 hours.

15.  CNS activity was measured during hemorrhagic shock under light central anesthesia.  After reinfusion, if neurons failed to recover electrical activity, this was an early indication of eventual irreversibility.  There is a relationship between irreversibility and cumulative oxygen debt and excess lactate.

16.  Rats were subjected to hypoxia and hypotension followed by resuscitation.  Rather than the no reflow that the authors were expecting, they observed hyperemia in some areas for at least two hours.  They concluded that therapy aimed at increasing cerebral blood flow and oxygenation would be insufficient.

17.  Guidelines for controlled DCD are given.  DBD is superior.

18.  DCD score system is described.  Kidneys may benefit from therapeutic interventions before transplantation.

19.  Average values for basal respiratory functions in adolescents and adults.

20.  Severe hypotension causes brain damage.  Microvascular damage results in hemorrhage upon reinfusion.

21.  Prolonged agonal time did not influence kidney transplantation outcome when other variables were closely considered instead.  For example, elderly donors were not included.

22.  During hypovolemic shock, electrical activity and ICP was minimally altered.  The authors interpret this as a lessening of the role of the brain in the genesis and perpetuation of irreversible shock.


1: Cavus E, Meybohm P, Doerges V, Hoecker J, Betz M, Hanss R, Steinfath M, Bein B.  Effects of cerebral hypoperfusion on bispectral index: A randomized, controlled animal experiment during haemorrhagic shock.  Resuscitation.  2010;81:1183-1189.

2: Cavus E, Meybohm P, Doerges V, Hugo HH, Steinfath M, Nordstroem J, Scholz J, Bein B.  Cerebral effects of three resuscitation protocols in uncontrolled haemorrhagic shock: a randomized controlled experimental study.  Resuscitation.  2009;80:567-572.

3: Chen RY, Fan FC, Schuessler GB, Simchon S, Kim S, Chien S.  Regional cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption of the canine brain during hemorrhagic hypotension.  Stroke.  1984;15:343-350.

4: Cowley RA, Attar S, LaBrosse E, McLaughlin J, Scanlan E, Wheeler S, Hanashiro P, Grumberg I, Vitek V, Mansberger A, Firminger H.  Some significant biochemical parameters found in 300 shock patients.  J Trauma.  1960;9:926-938.

5: Feldman RA, Yashon D, Locke GE, Hunt WE.  Cerebral tissue lactate in experimental oligemic shock.  J Neurosurg.  1971;34:774-778.

6: Fritschka E, Ferguson JL, Spitzer JJ.  Increased free fatty acid turnover in CSF during hypotension in dogs.  Am J Physiol.  1979;236(6):H802-H807.

7: Gregory PC, McGeorge AP, Fitch W, Graham DI, MacKensie ET, Harper AM.  Effects of hemorrhagic hypotension on the cerebral circulation.  II.  Electricocortical function.  Stroke.  1979;10:719-723.

8: Hamar J, Kovach AGB, Reivich M, Nyary I, Durity F.  Effect of phenoxybenzamine on cerebral blood flow and metabolism in the baboon during hemorrhagic shock.  Stroke.  1979;10:401-407.

9: Hemmerling TM, Olivier JF, Basile F, Le N, Prieto I.  Bispectral index as an indicator of cerebral hypoperfusion during off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting.  Anesth Analg.  2005;100:354-6.

10: Ho KJ, Owens CD, Johnson SR, Khwaja K, Curry MP, Pavlakis M, Mandelbrot D, Pomposelli JJ, Shah SA, Saidi RF, Ko DSC, Malek S, Belcher J, Hull D, Tullius SG, Freeman RB, Pomfret EA, Whiting JF, Hanto DW, Karp SJ.  Donor postextubation hypotension and age correlate with outcome after donation after cardiac death transplantation.  Transplantation.  2008;85:1588-1594.

11: Horton JW, McDonald G.  Heart and brain nucleotide pools during hemorrhage and resuscitation.  Am J Physiol.  1990;259:H1781-H1788.

12: Kong DL, Prough DS, Whitley JM, Taylor C, Vines S, Deal DD, DeWitt DS.  Hemorrhage and intracranial hypertension in combination incresae cerebral production of thromboxane A2.  Critical Care Medicine.  1991;19:532-538.

13: Kovach A, Sandor P.  Cerebral blood flow and brain function during hypotension and shock.  Ann Rev Physiol.  1976;38:571-596.

14: Lee KW, Simplins CE, Montgomery RA, Locke JE, Segev DL, Maley WR.  Factors affecting graft survival after liver transplantation from donation after cardiac death donors.  Transplantation.  2006;82:1683-1688.

15: Peterson CG, Haugen FP.  Hemorrhagic shock and the nervous system.  1. Spinal cord reflex activity and brain stem reticular formation.  Annals Surgery.  1965;485-496.

16: Proctor HJ, Wood JJ, Palladino W, Woodley C.  Effects of hypoxia and hypotension on oxygen delivery in the brain.  J Trauma.  1979;19:682-685.

17: Reich DJ, Mulligan DC, Abt PL, Pruett TL, Abecassis MMI, D’Alessandro A, Pomfret EA, Freeman RB, Markmann JF, Hanto DW, Matas AJ, Roberts JP, Merion RM, Klintmalm GBG.  A J Transplant. 2009;9:2004-2011.

18: Plata-Munoz JJ, Vazques-Montes M, Friend PJ, Fuggle SV.  The deceased donor score system in kidney transplants from deceased donors after cardiac death.  European Society Organ Transplant.  2010;23:131-139.

19: Shock NW, Soley MH.  Average values for basal respiratory functions in adolescents and adults.  J Nutrition.  1939;143-153.

20: Tamura H, Witoszka MM, Hopkins RW, Simeone FA.  The nervous system in experimental hemorrhagic shock: morphology of the brain.  J Trauma.  1972;12:869-875.

21: van Heurn LWE.  Prolonged agonal time–not a contraindication for transplantation.  Nat Rev Nephrol.  2011;7:432-433.

22: Yashon D, Locke GE, Bingham WG, Wiederholt WC, Hunt WE.  Cerebral function during profound oligemic hypotension in the dog.  J Neurosurg.  1971;34:494-499.


As you wrote in 1994, the three sources of damage to cryopatients are 1) the underlying disease process, 2) shock and global and trickle flow ischemia secondary to dying and cardiac arrest, and 3) cryoprotectant toxicity and cryoinjury from freezing. This, as far as I can tell, has not changed. So, a flaw in how cryonics is practiced would have to mean that providers are not minimizing the damage from these processes as well as they could be. #1 is out as that is not the primary mission of cryo providers, although I agree with the arguments on your blog that they could add some value here too. #3 is also basically out, because gains over M22 seem unlikely to come in the near future, at least outside of 21CM.

That leaves #2. A number of the papers you sent me study animal models of hemorrhagic shock, and the results are not pretty for preservation of cellular structure. For example, the amount of necrotic cells in Ozkan et al’s paper is pretty high–up to 50% necrotic in the temporal lobe, after just 3 hours. The natural question is: if a cell undergoes necrosis, has it irretrievably lost the information coded in its cellular state? The answer is unclear. On one hand, it may be possible to reverse engineer the process of cell degradation from the surviving clues and thus recover the position of crucial membrane receptors and/or neurites. On the other hand, if the degradation process is random enough, that may not be the case. Probably it depends on the specifics — “cell necrosis” is a broad class.

A number of the other papers look at the acceptability of donors who died of cardiac death. It seems that kidneys can last up to 4 hr’s of warm ischemia with similar function post-transplant, while lungs following can hardly withstand 15 mins of warm ischemia time and still offer good function post-transplant. Meanwhile, it is practically common knowledge that the organ which is least able to survive following ischemic time is the brain. Finally, there is regional susceptibility variation within the brain, and there are reasons to think that regions like CA1 that may be especially important for identity (i.e., memory) are especially vulnerable to ischemia.

To me, this emphasized how quick the interventions must be and how essential it is to maximize the time period during which oxygen perfusion in the brain is high. There’s no reason why neurons have to be able to withstand lack of oxygen for long before randomly decaying — evolution has little reason to select for it. It is a bias of operating on human timescales to think that not much can happen within five minutes, but molecular timescales unfold much faster.

You also sent a few papers that evaluated measures to query brain activity via EEG. You seem to have a particular interest in one EEG-derived algorithm called the Bispectral Index, which in a few fascinating cases actually went to zero in the absence of cerebral blood flow during surgery. These are interesting in part because they could potentially be used to monitor CBF in cryo patients.

Which brings me to the major problem that we see in many of the case reports you sent me. That is, we have good reason to believe that all of them had already experienced a very low brain oxygen perfusion prior to clinical death. The signs of this are many, and include the hyperventilation of A2435 and A2361, the terrible peripheral perfusion of A1556, the hypotension and fluid loss of A1614, ACS9577′s poor perfusion and very low coma scale score, and the long periods of apnea and low blood pressure of A2420. One of the papers that you sent me called the period after removal from life support and cardiac death the “agonal phase”, and this phrase has been aptly used in cryonics to describe the period during which a patient is known to be eminently terminal but has not yet reached cardiac death.

One key question is whether these patients are ever in fact technically brain dead, meaning no neural activity at all, as measured by EEG or CT. If they are, then it is possible that clinical death could be pronounced and preservation techniques could be started much sooner. When I first thought of this, I was hopeful that I had discovered your “problem.” But on further contemplation I’m not so sure, in part because it seems like people would have thought of this. So, I am going with the more obvious, and indeed in some senses more troubling, problem that many or most cryonics patients experience torrents of brain damage during their agonal period.

What to do about this?

1) Somehow establish, in the US, legal recognition of the rights of cryo patients to initiate procedures to preserve brain-encoded identity when the patient is diagnosed by independent physicians to be terminal, in a similar way that organ transplants are.

2) Use a workaround by going to a country like Switzerland that already allows assisted suicide in such cases, perform the cryopreservation there, and then ship the patients back on dry ice to the US.

3) #2, except establish a new storage facility in the foreign country.

4) Develop, drawing off of the “normal” biomedical literature, substantially improved methods for preserving brain oxygen perfusion in agonal cryonics patients, and implement these on a routine basis.

One of the interesting things about this problem is that it is not specific to cryopreservation but would also apply to plastination, and may even be more pronounced there. So this is one area where progress, if any is made on either front, would certainly be synergistic.

A meta thought of mine about this assignment is that I didn’t like the assumption that I would be able to diagnose problems and suggest solutions so quickly to a problem that many people have spent lots of time thinking about. I doubt that what I have written above is at all novel.

Still, I did find it to be a very worthwhile exercise to learn about some details of cryopreservation and its associated medical concepts, and for that, I thank you for offering it to me.


I want to extend a sincere thank you to all who participated in this exercise, and especially to Alexander McLin, Mark Plus, Gerald Monroe, Jordan Sparks, DMD, and “Synaptic” for publicly participating. It takes an enormous amount of courage to undertake such an exercise on the Internet, where it both is and will remain open to public scrutiny, more or less indefinitely. Congratulations gentlemen, you have my unreserved admiration for your courage and for your willingness to take a personal risk in pursuit of the truth. — MD


[1] Excluded from the private solicitation for participation were individuals actively employed in cryonics or working as paid, or indirectly paid employees or contractors for cryonics organizations, or in cryonics-related research. The public solicitation for participation was open to all comers.

Posted in Cryonics Technology (General), Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In Thy Orisons Be All My Sins Remembered*

By Daichi Sasaki

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following text has been edited from a machine translation. I have tried to be as faithful to the original as possible. The title is mine – MD

I came to visit the United States, and specifically to visit California, earlier this year. Before my visit I wrote to Mike Darwin and to some others in cryonics to learn where the underground facility was where the Cryonics Society of California (CSC) cryonics patients were found decomposed in 1979. No one could tell me where to find the facility. I went to Oakwood Cemetery in Chatsworth, and inquired of the management as to where the facility had been located. The cemetery management was not of any help and they informed me that, unless I had relatives interred there, I would have to leave the premises.

I returned to the cemetery the next day, this time on foot (without a driver) and spent the day from the time the cemetery opened until nearly sunset looking for the place where the CSC facility had been, but I was unable to find any trace of it. There is nothing there to show where the CSC patients were lost. There is nothing to memorialize their attempt to survive via cryonics. There is nothing to commemorate them, either as individuals, or as tragic reminders to others in cryonics.

Mike Darwin writes about the importance of memory and not forgetting the history of cryonics. He says that lessons from the past must be learned and not forgotten. My point here is that people need help to do this; they cannot do it unaided. They need instructions on how to remember and constant reminders which are enduring.

After much effort, I finally found out where the CSC facility was. I went back to Oakwood Cemetery and there is nothing on that spot – just a bend in the road and grass. This made me very angry and I said to myself, “What is the matter with the cryonicists in the United States that they have no hearts and no sorrow about what happened in this place? How can you remember your history if you never knew it in the first place? How can you learn what you have already forgotten?” This makes me very sad.

Mike Darwin says it must be remembered, but he does not say how to remember it.

When I returned home I continued to think about that unmarked place in Oakwood Cemetery where those cryonics patients were abandoned, and where they lost their lives forever, and I began to make a plan to remember them. I went to Chatsworth to remember and to honor them, and I could not even find the place where they lost their chance at continued life. There must be marker there. There must be a tool to make us remember. So, I have devised a tool for keeping memory alive and for making cryonicists learn this lesson from the past.

My proposal is for a memorial on the spot where the CSC facility is now buried. This tool for remembering will be buried in the earth and it will be unknown and unseen, except by people who know where to look for it. The memorial is level with the earth and buried in it just as were (and are) the CSC cryonics patients. It is sunken in earth and forgotten as they now are, and will forever be, without this tool.


The memorial is an inverted decagonal pyramid placed into earth above vault. Each side of the pyramid is in memory of one of the cryonics patients lost at there. The top opening of the decagon has a surface area of 1.61803399 meters (the Golden Mean) and bottom has a surface area of 0 meters. This makes a catch-basin in which leaves, grass clippings, insects and all other matter, dead and alive, will be trapped and remain. The catch-basin will fill up to the top and become invisible and lost. The names and faces of the lost cryonics patients that are engraved on each facet of the dodecagon will be covered with dead matter and soil.

To stop this from happening, every person who is a true cryonicist must do as I did and go to the Oakwood Cemetery in Chatsworth one time before they too are cryopreserved. They must reach past the metal grate covering the opening in the memorial and remove the dead matter in the catch basin. They must do this to preserve the memory of and to learn the lesson that the mistake at Chatsworth has to teach. They must do this because to be a cryonicist is to have a duty to remember and a duty to learn from past mistakes. It is also required that all cryonicists honor the patients lost at Chatsworth, because in becoming a cryonicist, each person accepts some of the responsibility for the loss of the patients at Chatsworth. Becoming a cryonicist means accepting some responsibility for that terrible mistake and in that way the forgetting is hard. Only if such a terrible lesson is costly and unpleasant will the memory, and the lesson to be learned from it, endure.

Each cryonicist keeps the accumulating debris in the memorial from erasing the memory of the patients who were lost there. It is a task that is unending – and that is as it should be. If we forget those patients we will have forgotten ourselves and we will surely make the same mistake again (or others will make it on us). We must never forget!

* Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1: In your prayers be all my sins remembered, or remember my sins in your prayers to God, so that I may be forgiven them.


Posted in Cryonics History, Cryonics Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Myth and Memory in Cryonics

By Mike Darwin

Steven B. Harris, M.D.

In September of 1988, Steve Harris, M.D., published an essay entitled The Day the Earth Stood Still: Cryonics and the Resurrection of the Mythic Hero. It was one of his best in a formidable roster of insightful articles that he wrote dealing with the likely cultural requirements and cognitive limitations that inform humanity’s acceptance, or lack thereof, of cryonics.  I strongly recommend cryonicists read it. Steve’s articles had a great deal of influence on my thinking,  and both Steve and I were, in turn,  influenced by  the philosopher-mythologist-historian Joseph Campbell. I don’t know how Steve was introduced to him, but I first heard of Campbell as a result of the PBS series THE POWER OF MYTH WILL BILL MOYERS, (downloadable here)  which aired in the late 1980s.

I remember breaking out in goose bumps (I have them now) many times during Campbell’s program and, subsequently, when reading his books. His book of the same title as the series is an excellent introduction to his work. I had the same reaction when reading  Steve Harris’ brilliantly insightful articles dealing with issues critical to human perception of, and reaction to cryonics when I read them for the first time in manuscript form, before they were published in Cryonics And I had it again when I read them in “in print” as the final, published product. These works bear reading and rereading and reading again.

The Dead Ant Heap & Our Mechanical Society: http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/DeadAntHeap.html

The Return of the Krell Machine: http://www.grg.org/charter/Krell2.htm

Will Cryonics Work?: http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/probability.html

The Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Dead: http://www.alcor.org/Library/html/PersonsApparentlyDead.htm

Many are Cold But Few Are Frozen: http://www.cryocare.org/index.cgi?subdir=&url=humanist.html

Frankenstein and the Fear of Science (Lecture), VHS tape: http://www.worldcat.org/title/frankenstein-and-the-fear-of-science/oclc/043933281

There are very powerful ideas and insights in these essays which should be a source of influence and inspiration to many more cryonicists, than to those relatively few who have read them, to date.

One of my central points about the reason for the continued “failure” of cryonics, and for its very slow growth, both absolutely and relatively,  is the near total lack of any kind of memory of what has gone before, let alone a sorting out of what part of that history is vitally important to be remembered. It’s as if most cryonicists live only in the present, looking forward to a future exclusively of their own imagining, with just a dim halo of memory extending, perhaps 5 years back, at most.

A few days ago, I had my nth practical example of that. I was contacted by some people interested in establishing cryonics Elsewhere. One of the interesting (and depressing) things they had been told by “cryonics people in the US,” was that it was a “good idea to establish companion for profit and non-profit organizations” to carry out the various functions of the cryonics undertaking with minimal liability.


Maybe that is the best system, but if it is, there is no evidence I know of to support it, and substantial empirical evidence to refute it.

This is an edited version of my response t0 that recommendation:

“I can only tell you what I have observed here over and over again. Maybe you can figure a way around it, or maybe you won’t have the same problems in the first place, owing to cultural differences. I just don’t know.

You will notice that all of the cryonics organizations in the US consist of fully integrated providers. Suspended Animation is the (recent) exception. What’s remarkable about this situation is that it is the polar opposite of what all of us intended when we started cryonics operations here (myself included). There were always paired for profit and not for profit companies, and for just the reasons you’ve stated. CSNY & Cryo-Span, CSC & Cryonic Interment, BACS & Trans Time, IABS & Soma, Cryovita, Manrise & Alcor… And yet there are only single entities around today. Why?

I do not know about your local law, but in the US, it is forbidden for non-profit organizations (NPOs) and for-profit corporations (FPCs) to have interlocking directorates. In fact, it is generally prohibited for corporations related to, or doing business with each other to have interlocking directorates, unless one is mostly or wholly owned by the other, regardless of their status as FPCs, or NPOs. The reasons for this are many and are deeply rooted in corporate law, but mostly can they be reduced to “conflict of interest” issues. In the early days of cryonics, this ban on interlocking directorates was flagrantly disregarded. The inevitable result was that the FPCs completely dominated the NPOs. In fact, FPCs used the NPOs as a convenient shill for doing all the things that were unprofitable, risky, or otherwise not desirable, such as being stuck with the open-ended custody of the patient!

While the initial reason for this was the use of the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) to accept the patients, the eventual reason for it became (obviously), proprietary interest. People in the FPCs got paid for their work (usually in shares in the FPC) and people in the NPO didn’t – couldn’t, in fact. Valuable work, work that would earn shares, got done by the FPCs, and everything else got shuffled off onto the NPOs. You can actually  see this happening at the time, if you take a look at the issues of “Life Extension”/”Long Life Magazine” on the CryoEuro Wiki, because people didn’t talk about BACS, they talked about Trans Time… And where the reward, or the potential for reward exists is also typically where all the time, attention and money will flow.

Eventually, as visibility increased, the state began to menace, and the directorates were fully separated. That’s when all hell broke loose! The people running the NPOs had to be disinterested directors, and they did not stand to make money (or shares), or gain in any way from giving advantage to the FPCs. Contracts, fee increases, and all the other “taken for granteds” between the FPCs and NPOs were now up for debate and consideration. And since they were now two truly separate organizations, jealousy, resentment, and plain old proprietary interest and territoriality took over.

I pretty much thought the FPCs would win, primarily because they did have that huge advantage of proprietary interest on their side. But what I hadn’t figured on was the patients! The NPOs had control of the patients; and it was with the patients that the real loyalties ultimately rested. TT and BACS pretty much destroyed each other. In the case of Alcor, Alcor prevailed, and in the case of CI, well, there was never an issue in the first place, since CI was always an integrated operation. And yet, why this happened remains a mystery to many, even to those who have put some effort into finding out what happened.

In a large, diverse and robust marketplace, commercial service providers servicing NPOs could possibly work. SA may be the first of these, but only time will tell.

However, while cryonics is small and not subject to normal market forces, the two organizations model has not been proven workable. It becomes particularly vicious when there is only one service provider and one NPO, but totally different directors (as the law here requires), because then it becomes like a long-married couple who hate each other, but because of children, fiances and other reasons, cannot divorce. Far from creating the checks and balances it was anticipated to, this set-up created a state of gridlock and animosity. Ultimately, it degenerated to people on both sides screaming that the other was trying to screw them. And since they couldn’t stop dealing with each other and go to the “competition,” it just ground on until there was little or nothing left. That is, in fact, in significant measure, how Alcor was reborn.

Finally, you will encounter this problem: the FPC will be absolutely essential to the NPO, because the FPC will hold all the assets for delivering the up-front (immediately legally riskiest) part of cryopreservation (CP). They will own the equipment, employ the people, own the vehicles…. So the NPO eventually finds itself not just held hostage to FPC , but at risk if the FPC screws up.

I’ll give you a highly personal example. I was a major shareholder in Cryovita, the service provider to Alcor, but Jerry Leaf held most of the shares. Alcor relied on Cryovita completely for rescue and perfusion and there were no alternative service providers available – none. Alcor didn’t own so much as a cannula, or a set of scrub clothes. Cryovita was a shares corporation and the shares were distributed in a complex and potentially problematic way. It seemed possible that if Jerry were to suddenly experience medico-legal death, that the continued smooth functioning of Cryovita could be at risk of being disrupted. That became one of several causes of a major split between Jerry and I, because I realized, as President of Alcor (which I was, at that time), that if Jerry dropped “dead,” Alcor’s ability to deliver CP could be at risk of disruption. Alcor didn’t have cash lying around to go buy all the required equipment in a hurry! It had taken Jerry and me many years to patiently accumulate it, and to do so at well below market rates.

But it was worse than that, because over the years, Cryovita had generated patents, made exclusive agreements, and otherwise done all kinds of normal business things that corporations do. The problem was, all that “stuff” was also needed and used by Alcor! So, I began acquiring those same capabilities for Alcor, which was, of course, a costly duplication of capital equipment and it caused a feeling of resentment in Jerry/Cryovita.

So, what actually happened when Jerry did have a heart attack and was CPed? Well, exactly what I thought might happen, but in a way I never could have imagined. Cryovita did split from Alcor (kindly selling Alcor some of the most critical assets Alcor needed to stay in business), but the people who took Cryovita away were Kathy Leaf (Jerry’s widow), Saul Kent, Paul Wakfer, Brenda Peters and myself – the very people who had been the most ardent advocates of Alcor for so hard and long.

What happened to Cryovita? Well, it morphed in various ways, but today it is known as 21st Century Medicine!

Naturally, this version of events will be strongly biased by my point of view, so I would suggest you ask others and check it out for yourself. Look at the back issues of “Life Extension” and “Long Life” magazine on the CryoEuro Wiki to get a feel for the “Trans Times” of the 1970s and ’80s. Jim Yount, John Day and especially Frank Rothacker of ACS, may also be able to provide you with valuable perspective.”

My guess is that almost all of the newcomers to cryonics over the past decade, or so, have not read any of Steve Harris’ essays. And they clearly know little of the actual history of cryonics, let alone have any distillation (regardless of the direction of its bias) of what is important in that history to remember and act upon.

If you Google “history of cryonics” this what comes up on the first page (and subsequent pages offer no greater resources). Ben Best’s article is actually the most popular (longitudinally). It’s a fine, bare-bones factual narrative. But it is bloodless and lesson-less; it provides no instruction for others striving to create cryonics without recreating our errors. [I want to be very clear here that this is not a criticism of Ben's article: it was not written to be a tutorial on the lessons to be learned from the history of cryonics.]

What makes history both “teachable” and “leanable” is the humanity of it. We are, as Campbell so eloquently said, “story creatures”; we learn through guided narrative informed by the power of the mythic. BACS, TT, CSNY, Cryo-Span, Alcor, Manrise, CI, these entities were created by individual people for very personal reasons, as well as for the visible and easily understood public ones. Most contemporary cryonicists seem to recoil from any consideration of the “messy” and “untidy” aspects of the personal motivations and dynamics that drove (and drive) organizations, in and out of cryonics. And yet, that’s where a lot of the most important reasons and answers are to be found that will lead on to successes, or doom us to repeated failures.


Posted in Cryonics History, Cryonics Philosophy, Culture & Propaganda, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Almax Cryostat Post-Manufacturing Preparation Procedure STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (With Specimen Contract & Purchase Order)

Credits: Ben Best, Andy Zawacki, Mike Darwin

Adapted from Source Document: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/88919930/Cryostat-Preparation—Cryonics-Institute

PURPOSE: To detail the procedures used for set-up and final preparation of Almax fiberglass-composite resin long-term patient care cryostats. This standard operating procedure (SOP) (aka Best Practices) details the vendors, materials and techniques used to prepare the Almax cryostats for full operational status after receipt from the manufacturer.

1.0. Detail of configuration and a brief overview of the manufacturing procedure used to produce cryostats.

Almax cryostats are cylindrical, double walled vessels that employ perlite and low vacuum (1-12 torr) insulation to facilitate highly efficient long-term liquid nitrogen refrigeration of cryopatients. Each unit has an overall height of 327.7 cm, an external diameter of 182.9 cm, an internal diameter of 121.9 cm and a useable internal height of 218.4 cm. The static liquid nitrogen capacity of Almax cryostats is approximately 2550 liters with a static boil-off rate in the range of 10.5 to 12.5 liters per day. Adult, human, whole body patient capacity is between 4 and 6 patients, depending upon patient diameter and the method of packaging used.

1.2.  Engineering details are presented Figure 1.1-1.2.

Figure 1.1: Detailed engineering specifications for the Almax long-term patient care Cryostats.

The cryostats are fabricated from a fibreglass mat-modified vinyl ester (Hetron 922, Ashland Chemical Co.) composite. The basic procedure for fabrication consists of building up layers of glass mat saturated with a resin monomer that is reinforced with carboxyl-terminated butadiene-acrylonitrile copolymer. The resin is polymerized (cured) using methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (2-butanone peroxide, or MEK-peroxide), which initiates free-radical cross-linkage of the monomer. This technique avoids incorporation of the MEK peroxide catalyst into the finished polymer, rendering it more stable, more corrosion resistant and less chemically reactive. Five millilitres of MEK peroxide are used per pound of Hetron 922. The inner vessel (can) of the cryostat is an open- topped cylinder with a concave bottom made from of vinyl ester resin and glass mat with a wall thickness of ~13 mm. The outer cylinder (can) is comprised of the same material, has a wall thickness of ~15 mm and is connected to the inner can only by a glue bond where the two are joined at the opening of the inner can on the top of the cryostat.

The opening of each cryostat is closed with a snug-fitting insulating neck-plug with an external cover of 14 gauge grade #2, 304 stainless steel. The insulating neck-plug is made from 22 layers of 2.5 cm thick Owens-Corning high density extruded polystyrene insulating foam board (~121.9 cm in diameter by 55.9 cm thick.) which are sandwiched between the stainless steel cover and an inner cover of painted chip board or marine plywood using 4 threaded nylon rods to compress and secure the foam to the inner and outer covers of the cryostat lid. A section of 5.1 cm diameter PVC plastic pipe penetrates the neck-plug and external cover in the center allowing access to the inside of the cryostat for temperature and liquid level monitoring.

Figure 1.2: Detailed engineering specifications for the Almax long-term patient care cryostats.

1.3.  Cryostats are manufactured under contract with Almax Products, a company owned and operated by Bruce Alter, located in Bearsville, New York:

Almax Products                    Mailing address:  Almax Products

363 Coldbrook Road                                            P.O. Box 441

Bearsville, NY 12409                                           Bearsville, NY 12409

Phone: 845-679-4615  FAX: 845-679-8620   email: Almax441@aol.com

Almax subcontracts the work of building the cryostats shells to Polymil Products, (contacts Sam Yacuzzo and Tammy Shultz) of LeRoy, NY:

Polymil Products, Inc                 585-768-8170

51 North Street

Leroy, NY 14482

Purchase price for 1 cryostat, ordered in May 2009 was $23,000 US, half payable on issuance of the purchase order and half payable by 45 days after delivery.

Perlite insulation is for the units is obtained from:

Noble Perlite                             405-872-5660

312 W Chestnut

Noble, OK 73068-8545

On average, 70 thirty-pound bags of perlite are used by Almax in a preliminary filling of the annular space prior to shipment of the cryostat. An additional 14 bags of perlite are shipped with the unit and used to top-up the annular space after shipping; the perlite settles en route due to handling and movement of the cryostat. Cost per bag as of 16 May, 2009 was ~ $20 US, per bag, including wrapping and palletizing, in preparation for shipment.

Currently shipment is being arranged by Almax and charges for the last load of perlite were $__________ US.

The stainless steel cover for the cryostat is manufactured by:

Beck Industries, Inc.

24462 Sorrentino Court,

Clinton Township,MI, United States, 48035
(586) 790-4060 PHONE
(586) 790-4982 FAX
EMAIL: mbeck6@sbcglobal.net

Figure 1.3: Stainless steel cryostat covers manufactured by Beck Industries, Clinton Township, MI.

The covers are 127 cm in diameter x 7.6 cm deep with a 20.3 cm circular central access port cover. The cover has 1/8″ diameter holes at 116.8 cm bolt circle, 22.9 cm bolt pattern with 1/8″ screw holes and 7.6 cm sides which are skip welded around the 127 diameter of the cover. The covers are fabricated from 14 gauge, grade #2, 304 stainless steel.

Price is $860.00 US per cover. Charge for palletizing and shipping to Bearsville, NY is $200.00 US.

TOTAL PRICE $_________ US

Figure 1.4: Removal of cryostat from shipping vehicle/container.

1.4  Atmospheric air is withdrawn from the annular space of the cryostat in order to create a vacuum in two stages. The first stage employs a roughing pump which is capable of reducing pressure in the annulus to ~ 5 x 10-2 torr, however it will only be necessary to achieve a stable vacuum of ~ 500 torr before switching to the polishing/ maintenance vacuum pump. The roughing pump used is  in an Alcatel ACP-15, 8.2 cubic ft/min with a peak pumping speed of 14 m3 /hr and a final vacuum capacity of 5 x 10-2 torr. The ACP-15 employs Roots blower technology. Roots pumps are positive displacement machines using two synchronized rotors rotating in opposite directions. The rotors feature profiles usually shaped like the figure 8.During the rotation, molecules of gas are isolated between the lobes and the stator and then led to the exhaust side of the pump without variation of volume.


Figure 1.5: Alcatel ACP-15 roughing pump.

The ACP-15 features a frictionless pumping module that is optimized for operation without internal lubrication. Complete technical specifications, operation and servicing instructions for the ACP-15 are present as Appendix 1 to this SOP.

Figure 1.6: Welch 1376C-03, DUOSEAL®, two-stage, belt drive high vacuum pump.

Final ‘polishing’ evacuation of the cryostat annulus as well as maintenance of the vacuum, is achieved using a Welch 1376C-03,DUOSEAL®, two-stage, belt drive high vacuum pump. The Welch pump has a peak pumping capacity of 300 LPM (10.6 CFM) with a final achievable vacuum of 1 x10-4 torr. The Welch pump motor is configured to operate on 220V, 50 Hz,1 PH and is supplied with Schuko plug which must be replaced with a ____________ plug prior to be being placed into service.

Complete technical specifications, operating and servicing instructions for the Welch Welch 1376C-03,DUOSEAL® pump are present as Appendix II to this SOP.

2.0.  Shipment and unloading of the cryostat.

2.1.  The cryostats is palletized and prepared for shipment via commercial freighter in a sea-land container. It is then shipped, either by semi-trailer, or by truck, within the sea-land container, on wooden skids (generally skids of very poor quality). Drag chains are placed around the skids and they are pulled to the end of the trailer. Then they are pulled out further with the forklift so that the rear end of the skid rests firmly on the trailer and the opposite end of the skid is then lowered to rest on a wooden support frame so that the pallet holding the cryostat can be can be picked-up from the side with the forklift, removed from the  truck and moved into the facility where the cryostat is placed on custom made steel frame castered trolley for additional preparation, prior to placement into service.

Figure 2.2: The forklift is repositioned at the side of the cryostat/pallet and the unit is removed from the vehicle and placed on the ground..

 Figure 2.3: The evacuation port cover plate used to hold perlite in place and prevent contamination of the perlite with moisture during shipping is unbolted and removed.

 Table 2.1: Equipment, Tools and Supplies Required to Remove Cryostats from Delivery Vehicle

Item Description Quantity & Specifications
Steel drag chain Promac WD-113 or higher: http://www.promacusa.com/pdfs/PWStlDrag08.pdf
S- hooks 2,500 kg load (minimum)
Wooden support frame 10.2 cm x 10.2 cm x X cm X cm X cm
Snug fitting pig skin leather work gloves Size required by personnel
Forklift with long tines 5,000 kg load capacity
Metal shears To cut securing tie bands

2.2.  The cryostat is shipped from the manufacturer with a resin-composite cover plate and sealing gasket secured to the evacuation port opening of the unit with 12 bolts (Figure 1.3). This cover plate serves both to contain the perlite insulation material and keep it dry during shipment. Perlite is moderately hygroscopic and will absorb water from the atmosphere in high humidity environments. Once the cryostat is in the storage facility, the cover plate is unbolted and the cover plate and the neoprene rubber gasket that seals it to the evacuation port flange are removed and set aside. The evacuation port opening is then immediately covered with a heavy-duty, 3 mil plastic refuse bag that is tightly secured in place with a ratchet-type nylon tie-down strap. It is important to immediately and tightly cover this opening to prevent moisture from entering the annular space and contaminating the perlite, since this would make subsequent evacuation of the annulus difficult, or impossible.

  Figure 2.4:  A custom built trolley fabricated from powder coated welded steel tube stock and high quality 3″ diameter urethane casters is used to safely move the  cryostat around the facility in the horizontal position during post -manufacturing preparation. Wooden skids are used to protect the cryostat from damage by the steel frame of the trolley.

 2.3.  The cryostat is transported to the work-area at the facility by placing it on a custom built metal trolley. The unit is left on the trolley until all preparative work (prior to hoisting the unit into the upright position) is completed.

3.0 Topping up the cryostat with perlite.

3.1 Protective clothing consisting of a heavy-duty, hooded Tyvek work coverall, fabric reinforced vinyl gloves and a full face N-100 respirator are donned. Duct tape is used to secure the hood opening of the of Tyvek suit to the edges of the respirator, the sleeves of the Tyvek suit to the work gloves and the tops of the work boots to the leggings of the Tyvek coverall, as shown in Figure 3.1, below. It is important to achieve a seal at all joints in the protective clothing in order to prevent the highly irritating perlite dust from contaminating the worker’s skin.

3.2  The plastic bag covering the evacuation port is removed and perlite is poured from the bags into the evacuation port opening as shown in Figure 3.2. The perlite is spread out inside the annular space and packed tight with wooden spreading and tamping paddles that are made in-house, as shown in Figure 3.3, below. Considerable force is required to tamp the perlite solidly into place, and typically the full weight of the worker must be brought to bear on the tamping paddle.

Figure 3.1: Duct tape is used to secure and seal the respirator, gloves and boots to the protective Tyvek coverall in order to prevent perlite dust from coming into contact with the workers’ skin. An full-face N-100 respirator is to provide respiratory protection from the perlite dust. Note perlite spreading and tamping tools resting on the cryostat at the middle left of the photo.

 Figure 3.2: Perlite is poured from the 20 lb bags into the cryostat annular space with the workman standing atop the cryostat.

Figure 3.3: A spreading and tamping tool are fabricated from plywood and a 24 x 24 x 61 cm piece of lumber (which serves as the handle). The spreading tool has the handle offset to one side of the plywood plate, while the tamping tool has the handle secured to the center of the plate allowing for stability and even distribution of load when compressing the perlite. The handles are secured to the plywood plates using  1/4″  by 3″ wood screws reinforced with quick-set epoxy adhesive.


Figure 3.5: Perlite is tamped into place in the annulus of the cryostat using the wooden tamping tool.

Figure 3.6: When the annular space is filled with packed perlite to the level of the bottom of the evacuation port no additional perlite is added and the top of the cryostat is brushed off with a household broom.

Figure 3.7: The evacuation port is again tightly covered with a plastic bag to prevent entry of water vapor into the annular space.

Figure 3.8: A jet of compressed air is used to clean the perlite dust off of the cryostat.

4.0.  Preparation of the evacuation port and evacuation valve assembly.

The first step in preparing the evacuation plumbing assembly is to sweat solder a 27 cm long x 3/4″ piece of copper onto a 3/4″ NPT Stainless Steel Ball Valve Full Port WOG1000 SS304 SUS304 0.75 .75 Female Ports.

Assemble the tools and supplies required for sweating the section of pipe into the valve. Prepare the copper pipe by sanding both ends using fine grit sand paper. Apply solder paste to the end to be sweated to the ball valve and insert the pipe into the 3/4″ copper T-connector. Don gloves and heat the copper pipe and connector with the torch for approximately 30 seconds. Apply solder by touching a J-shaped piece of solder to the joint 7 times; the solder will be drawn into the joint between the pipe and connector by capillary action. If the metal is not hot enough, reheat it with the torch as necessary. Allow the solder to cool and set-up for 60 seconds and then wipe the joint clean with a shop towel. Any remaining excess solder may be removed with a wire brush.

The threaded copper NPT to pipe slip fitting is then attached to the vacuum shut-off valve using Teflon thread sealing tape to insure a gas-tight seal.

Table 4.1 Tools and Supplies Required for Sweating Joints in Copper Pipe


Item Description Quantity
Copper Pipe 1 ea  3/4″ x 27.9 cm
Pipe cutter 1 ea
Pipe cleaner & de-burrer 1 ea
Solder paste 1 tube, 3 ounces
Solder Silver solder (non rosin core)
Mapp gas or propane gas torch 1 ea
Gloves 1 pair, close-fitting work gloves
Teflon plumber’s sealing tape 1 roll


Figure 4.1: A section of copper pipe is sweat-soldered into the female end of a brass NPT connector which is then screw threaded into a ball type shut off valve using Teflon pipe joint sealing tape.



The valve and pipe assembly are then attached to the evacuation port cover plate by drilling a hole just large enough to admit the copper pipe in the center of the 41.9 cm diameter cover plate. It is important that the hole be a tight fit to the valve and pipe assembly so that the pipe can be securely cemented into place without any possibility of leaks (there must be a gas-tight seal). The copper pipe is prepared for cementing into place by sanding with fine grit sand paper, after which it is degreased using acetone and a clean rag (or lint-less disposable shop towel). The end of the pipe to be attached to the evacuation port cover is then painted with Special Blend MFR-10 lb laminating resin (low volatile organ compound, mixed 100 to1 with methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) peroxide (supplied by Michigan Fiberglass Sales, St. Claire Shores, MI)  and the pipe is inserted into the previously drilled hole. Additional coats of laminating resin and glass mat, as needed, are used to secure the evacuation pipe in place, with care being taken to ensure that the pipe opening remains clean and unobstructed by resin. Each coat of applied resin is allowed to fully cure before the next coat is applied.

Figure 4.2: Top: the evacuation port cover plate with the stub of copper pipe to which the vacuum valve will be attached already in position. Bottom: schematic of the evacuation port, vacuum valve and T assembly housing the thermocouple vacuum gauge.

The back of evacuation port cover plate and the tip of the copper evacuation pipe assembly is then prepared for bonding to the flange of the evacuation port by being sanded with fine grit sandpaper. Once the plate has been “roughed-up” so that the adhesive epoxy will adhere, it is blown clean of particulates with a jet of compressed air, and then wiped with a clean rag dampened with acetone. Seven 6”x6” squares of cotton batting for filtration are painted with special blend MFR-10 lb laminating resin, low V.O.C. mixed  100/1 with MEK Peroxide (both from Michigan Fiber Glass Sales, St. Claire Shores) for hardening and adhesion.

Figure 4.3: Cotton batting filter pads are shown being cemented in place on back of evacuation port cover plate.

Figure 4.4.: The edges of the cotton bats are saturated with adhesive resin and smoothed onto the back of evacuation port cover plate.

The neoprene rubber gaskets that were between the evacuation port cover plates and the evacuation port flanges during shipment from Almax are used as templates for cutting the 3/4 ounce chopped strand FG-03438 fiberglass cloth rings.

Figure 4.5: The rubber sealing gaskets used to protect the annulus from the ingress of dirt and moisture during transport of the cryostat from the manufacturer are used as templates for cutting rings of fiberglass cloth which will act as the permanent sealing gasket.

Figure 4.6: It is important to wear respiratory protection whenever working with or around fiberglass. N-95 masks are suitable for such work, whereas a full-face N-100 respirator is required for work where perlite dust is being generated.


The fiberglass cloth rings are then applied to the cryostat evacuation plate flange using the same laminating resin that was used to adhere the cotton filter pads.

Figure 4.7: This illustrates proper preparation for cementing the fiberglass cloth rings to the evacuation port plate flange. Note the presence of a piece of protective (black) plastic to prevent damage or marring of the surface of the cryostat with the resin being used to cement the rings in place.

Figure 4.8: Household fiberglass building insulation (Owens-Corning) is used to plug the opening of the evacuation port. This prevents the perlite from migrating into the vacuum line, and it also serves as a coarse pre-filter for the larger particles of perlite dust, preventing them from entering the vacuum pumps.

Owens-Corning fiberglass “wool”  building insulating is packed against the perlite to prevent the perlite from plugging the filter.  The edges are then painted with laminating resin to facilitate adherence of the fiberglass cloth rings.

Figure 4.9: The edges of the evacuation port flange are carefully painted with resin to insure adhesion of the fiberglass cloth rings and to facilitate a thorough seal when the port cover is applied and clamped in place for final bonding to the flange.


 4.10: A small paint application roller is used to evenly apply (and assure saturation of) the fiberglass cloth rings to the flange.

A roller applicator is used to apply more laminating resin to the fiberglass cloth  rings. Three fiberglass “cloth” rings are applied in this manner to each cryostat. [The non-disposable parts of the roller may be cleaned up with acetone after use.] Once preparation of the fiberglass cloth rings is completed, the back surface of the evacuation port cover plate is painted with resin, taking care not to contaminate the cotton batting filters.

Figure 4.11: After the prep of the filter is completed and the final coat of adhesive has been applied, the back of the evacuation port cover plate is carefully and completely painted with adhesive resin taking care not to get resin on the cotton filter pads.

Figure 4.12: The evacuation port cover is then attached to the flange and held in place tightly with 4 equidistantly spaced C-clamps which are left in place until the resin has dried and fully hardened (~72 hours under normal working conditions).

The evacuation port cover with its integral filter (i.e., glued-on assembly of 3 cotton bats) is then clamped onto the flange opening and held in position for the adhesive resin to set up and cure.

5.0 Initial (rough) evacuation of the cryostat

 Initial evacuation of the cryostat is undertaken using the Alcatel ACP-15 roughing pump to a stable vacuum of ~ 500 torr. The Welch 1376C-03,DUOSEAL®, two-stage, belt drive high vacuum pump. must not be used for initial evacuation of the cryostat.  Failure to pre-evacuate the cryostat using a roughing pump will result in contamination of the oil in the two-stage pump with water and can damage the pump mechanism. Additionally, two-stage vacuum pumps are not designed to pump high density atmospheric gas – they are to be used only as “polishing” pumps to  harden and subsequently maintain the vacuum to ~ 1.0 torr.

Figure 5.1: Initial evacuation of the perlite filled annulus is accomplished using the Alcatel roughing pump. An inexpensive Bourdon tube vacuum  gauge (VG350-14CBM) is interposed in the vacuum line (mounted on a 3/4″ copper T-connector) to monitor the progress of the initial pump-out.

Figure 5.2: Once a vacuum of ~ 1.0 torr is achieved, the vacuum valve is closed, the roughing pump is removed, and the 2-stage vacuum pump is connected to the annulus. For this preliminary hardening of the vacuum a thermocouple vacuum gauge is used and is placed near the pump, for convenience.

 6.0 Preparing the base of the cryostat prior to erection upright.

A five foot diameter circle of 3/4″ plywood is used to seal and secure the bottom of the cryostat. The plywood circle has three 5″diameter holes cut in it, arranged as shown in Figure 6.1, to allow for 2-part  urethane foam resin to be poured into the space between the plywood circles and the bottom of the cryostat. Once the urethane resin foams, expands and sets, it serves to stabilize and reinforce the plywood so the bottom of the cryostat and ensure that  it is well supported and stable on the floor when the unit is finally filled with liquid nitrogen.

Figure 6.1:Circles of 3/4″ plywood are cut so as to fit into the opening of the base of the cryostat’s outer cylinder. Three 5″ diameter holes, spaced equidistant from each other are cut into the plywood to allow for filling of the space between the plywood discs and the bottom of the cryostat with urethane foam. The discs are placed with the holes at the top of cryostat base so that the urethane resin-activator mixture does not leak out onto the floor during loading into the base of the cryostat.

 Figure 6.2: The plywood disc is initially held in place with duct tape until it can be firmly anchored with steel tube stock or metal bars to prevent it from being displaced by the expanding urethane foam.

The plywood disc is initially secured to the bottom of the cryostat with duct tape and then clamped firmly into place using rigid steel tube stock or metal bars and heavy-duty C-clamps, as shown in Figures 6.2 and 6.6

The  space between the plywood disc and the bottom of the cryostat can now be filled with supporting, rigid, closed-cell urethane foam. The foam used for this is MF-1002 1.2 lb density urethane foam (from Michigan Fiberglass Sales). The foam is prepared from a two component kit consisting of  urethane resin (part-A) and activator (Part-B) which are mixed in equal parts using a wooden paint mixing-type stick in disposable 2-gallon paper pails. The resin, activator, paper pails and wooden mixing paddle are included with each MF-1002  kit.

Figure 6.3: The two (A&B) components of the urethane foam are mixed in disposable paper pails using a wooden mixing paddle (also disposable). The foaming reaction begins almost immediately and is well underway within a minute.

Figure 6.4: Foaming action of the combined resin and activator less than a minute after being combined and thoroughly mixed in the mixing-dispensing pail.

Once the components are mixed, the activated urethane resin will expand to ten times its starting volume and will subsequently harden into dense foam. The foaming action begins within 60 seconds of the start of mixing of the resin and activator, so it is necessary to quickly pour the mixture into the holes in the plywood. The activated urethane resin is poured into the headspace using disposable funnels made from lightweight aluminum sheet metal (~22 gauge). The resulting urethane foam requires approximately an hour to set and  is fully cured in 24 hours.

Figure 6.5: Lightweight flexible aluminum sheet metal is formed into half-cones which are taped in place to form funnels. These disposable funnels are then used to facilitate pouring the mixture into the 5″ holes cut into the plywood discs, starting with the lower holes and finishing up with the top holes.


Figure 6.6:Once the urethane foam has filled the headspace and has stopped exhausting from the filling holes, the holes are covered with squares of plywood which are screwed into place. The plywood disc should then be primed and painted with a waterproof oil-based, or two-part epoxy concrete floor paint, to prevent subsequent water damage due to efflorescence from the concrete slab, or insect (termite) infestation.

Four to six 2-gallon pails of the activated resin mixture is typically enough for each cryostat. [ The density of the foam may be altered by changing the ratio of resin and activator: more part-B than part-A results in a larger final volume of foam with less density.]

The cryostat is now ready for movement to the patient storage area of the facility for erection to a vertical position, fire-retardant coating, final hardware outfitting, painting and placement into service.


By  Mike Darwin



These Conditions may only be varied with the written agreement of the Purchaser.. No terms or conditions put forward at any time by the Supplier (Almax)  shall form any part of the Contract unless specifically agreed in writing by the Purchaser.


In these Conditions:

“Purchaser” means the Purchaser, a limited liability company located at OOO “Purchaser_______________________________________________, hereinafter referred to as ‘Purchaser.’

“Supplier” means Almax Products, 363 Coldbrook Road, P.O. Box 441, Bearsville, NY, United States of America, 12409, Phone: 845-679-4615, FAX: 845-679-8620   email: Almax441@aol.com hereinafter referred to as ‘Almax.’

“Goods” means any goods as are to be supplied to Purchaser by Almax Products (or by any of the Supplier’s subcontractors) pursuant to or in connection with this Contract, as detailed in the Purchase Order attached to this contract and in Section 2.4, below.

“Contract” means the Contract between Purchaser and the Almax consisting of the Purchase Order, these conditions and any other documents (or parts thereof) specified in the Purchase Order and in A.

“Purchase Order” means the document setting out Purchaser’ requirements for the Contract.


2.1       The Goods shall be to the reasonable satisfaction of Purchaser and shall conform in all respects with any particulars specified in the Contract and in any variations thereto.

2.2       The Goods shall conform in all respects with the requirements of any statutes, orders, regulations or bye-laws from time to time in force.

2.3       The Goods shall be fit and sufficient for the purpose for which such Goods are ordinarily used and for any particular purpose by Almax in the supply of the Goods and the execution of the Contract.

2.4       Specifically, Almax agrees to provide the following goods and services:

2.4.1   A double walled, cylindrical, composite vinyl ester resin fiberglass, perlite and vacuum (10-3 mm Hg) insulated cryogenic liquid nitrogen biological specimen storage container (cryostat) based on the engineering drawings provided by Almax Products and attached to this Contract as Exhibit A. The inner vessel diameter is 1220 mm, and the inner vessel height is 2440 mm (tolerance ± 2 mm). The outer vessel diameter is 1830 mm, and the outer vessel height 2740 mm (without stand). With the stand the overall height of the cryostat is 3200 mm. The empty weight with the stand attached is 1814 kg. The inner cylinder wall thickness is a minimum of 12.7 thick. The approximate working volume for liquid nitrogen of the cryostat is 2142 liters.

All drawings are included in the price. Almax will send detailed drawings, blueprints and photos as requested, upon signing the contract.

Materials of construction for the cryostat are as follows:

Outer cylinder or shell: H-992  MEKP/COBALT STRUCT

Inner cylinder or shell:  H-992 MEKP/COBALT STRUCT



Nozzle necks: H-992  MEKP/COBALT STRUCT

External nuts/bolts: CS

CS Gaskets: 11 mm Neoprene rubber

Corrosion Barrier: 1-ply “C” backed W 2-ply chopped strand fiberglass laminate

Exterior: Five (5) coats of FireFree FF88 tumescent fire protective coating as supplied by FIREFREE Coatings, Inc., 580 Irwin Street, Suite 1, San Rafael, CA 94901, Phone: (888) 990-3388, USA and applied per the manufacturer’s specifications and instructions attached as Exhibit B to this Contract.

Design Pressure: (4′) + 15 PSIG, (6′) – 15 PSIG

Design standards: ASTM-D3299

2.4.2   A stand for the cryostat is provided equipped with 4 casters capable of easily rolling over finished concrete floors with the unit fully loaded with liquid nitrogen at  a gross weight of 2,430 kg including the cryostat stand, neck-plug and cover.

2.4.3   Cryostat will be loaded with perlite prior to shipment. Additional perlite will be furnished for “top off” as per 2.4.4, below. Price of cryostat inclusive of above: $25,000 with $3,000 discount on a second cryostat if ordered with 90 days of the receipt of the unit specified in this Contract.

2.4.4   Fourteen (14) bags Grefco Minerals HP-500 grade perlite as supplied Noble Perlite, 312 W Chestnut, Noble, OK 73068-8545 USA, phone:405-872-5660.@ $ 30 a bag (30 pound bag) plus a $15.00 pallet charge, price: $435.00

2.4.5   One (1) each resin kit to include: 2 ea: 10″ wide x 50 yards rolls of 1.5 oz FRP mat and 1 each 5-gallon drum of 411-400 resin, price: $545.00

2.4.6   Annular space vacuum burst disc to be provided by Purchaser or Purchaser’ designated vendor FOB to Almax.( Rupture disc set pressure: 15 psi rupture temp: ambient (-20 to +45 deg C) normal operating pressure: 2.5 x 10-5 torr (high vacuum) on one side, ambient pressure (1 atmosphere) Almax installation charge: $175.00

2.4.7   One (1) each extra 41.9 cm diameter evacuation port/filter cover plate to be supplied by Almax, price $245.00

2.4.8   One (1) each 41.9 cm diameter evacuation port/filter cover plate fully outfitted with 7-ply cotton filter and 3/4″ copper pipe and fittings, including Mueller brand 3/4″ ball brass ball valve (Home Depot part #06P115) sealed and assembled per the procedure detailed in Exhibit C, attached to this Contract, price included in base cryostat price.

2.4.9   Five (5) each: steel clevises for lifting cryostat capable of bearing a weight of at least 1,000 kg each, price: $148.50.

2.5.0   One (1) each R-06413-30 Tygon® vacuum tubing, 3/8″ID x 7/8″OD, 10 ft/pack, price $115.00

2.5.1   One (1) each 10 ft length Fischer Scientific red rubber vacuum tubing 9.5mm ID 22.3mm OD, 3/8″ ID 7/8″ OD., price: $69.90

2.5.2   Almax agrees to work with the subcontractor selected for the cryostat cover, Beck Industries of 24454 Sorrentino Court, Clinton Township,MI, 48035, USA, Phone number (586)790-4060, to ensure that the stainless steel cover fabricated by Beck Industries fits the cryostat supplied by Almax. In the event the cover does not fit due to incorrect specification supplied to Beck Industries by Almax, then Almax shall be fully liable for the replacement cost of said cover.


3.1       The price of the Goods shall be as stated in the Contract and no increase will be accepted by Purchaser unless agreed by them in writing before the execution of the Contract.

3.2       Unless otherwise agreed in writing by Purchaser, Almax shall render a separate invoice in respect of each consignment delivered under the Contract. Payment shall be due 30 days after receipt of the Goods or the correct invoice therefore, whichever is the later.

3.3       Taxes, where applicable, shall be shown separately on all invoices as a strictly net extra charge.

3.4       The cost of palletizing and preparing the cryostat for shipment and for shipping the container is to be paid by Almax. Shall employ a licensed and bonded forwarder to handle the entire shipping procedure to include arranging the pick-up and delivery of Goods, filing and completing all required paperwork, and clearing of  the Goods through customs.

3.5       The total price is $27,733.34

3.6       The price shall be paid as follows:

•           1/3rd deposit upon initiation of this Contract and issuance of the Purchase Order

•           1/3rd upon completion of unit/system and or photo or inspection at factory

•           Final 1/3rd prior to ship and confirming positive test results done by Purchaser at its facility in Moscow, Russian federation

•           Prices are FOB shipping point.

•           All payments are in US dollars.


4.1       The Goods shall be delivered to Purchaser, _________________________. Any access to premises and any labor and equipment that may be provided by Purchaser in connection with delivery shall be provided without acceptance by the Purchaser of any liability whatsoever and Almax shall indemnify Purchaser in respect of any actions, suits, claims, demands, losses, charges, costs and expenses which the Purchaser may suffer or incur as a result of or in connection with any damage or injury (whether fatal or otherwise) occurring in the course of delivery or installation to the extent that any such damage or injury is attributable to any act or omission of the Supplier or any of his subcontractors.

4.2       Where any access to the premises is necessary in connection with delivery or installation, the Supplier and his sub contractors shall at all times comply with the reasonable requirements of the Purchaser’ staff.

4.3       The time of delivery shall be of the essence and failure to deliver within eighty (80) days shall enable Purchaser (at its option) to release itself from any obligation to accept and pay for the Goods and/or to cancel all or part of the Contract therefore, in either case without prejudice to its other rights and remedies.


5.1       Property and risk in the Goods shall without prejudice to any of the rights or remedies of the Purchaser (including Purchaser’ rights and remedies under condition 7 hereof) pass to Almax at the time of delivery.

5.2       The property in the Goods shall pass to Purchaser upon payment for the Goods unless delivery of the Goods is made prior to payment, when it shall pass to Purchaser once the Goods have been delivered.

5.3       Any Goods for which the Supplier has received payment but which have not been delivered will, for the avoidance of doubt, remain the exclusive property of Purchaser and may be removed at any time by Purchaser or its representatives from wherever they are stored.


6.1       On dispatch of any consignment of the Goods Almax shall send to Purchaser at the address for delivery of the Goods an advice note specifying the means of transport, the place and the date of dispatch, the number of packages and their weight and volume. Almax  shall free of charge and as quickly as possible either repair or replace (as the Purchaser  shall elect) such of the Goods as may either be damaged in transit or having been placed in transit fail to be delivered to Purchaser provided that: (a) in the case of damage to such goods in transit the purchaser shall within 30 days of delivery give notice to Purchaser that the Goods have been damaged, (b) in the case of non delivery Purchaser shall (provided that Almax has been advised of the dispatch of the Goods) within 10 days of the notified date of delivery give notice to the Supplier that the Goods have not been delivered.


7.1       Almax Products guarantees and warrants that the cryostat will maintain a vacuum of 10-3 mm Hg between inner and outer containers with no more than 24 hours of pumping (using a standard laboratory vacuum pump with a minimum of 20 LPM of free air displacement and capable of delivering an ultimate vacuum of 1 x10 -4) per 30 day period. Almax further warrants that the cryostat (inner and outer containers and joint  at the neck-tube) will retain their structural integrity without leaking or cracking at a pressure difference of one atmosphere while storing a full load of liquid nitrogen (at least 2142 liters) and that the cryostat will conform to the description and drawings attached hereto as exhibit

7.2       Almax shall permit Purchaser or his authorized representatives to make any inspections or tests they may reasonably require and Almax shall afford all reasonable facilities and assistance free of charge at his premises. No failure to make complaint at the time of such inspection or tests and no approval given during or after such tests or inspections shall constitute a waiver by Purchaser’ of any rights or remedies in respect of the Goods.

7.3       Purchaser may by written notice to Almax reject any of the Goods which fail to meet the requirements specified herein. Such notice shall be given within a reasonable time after delivery to Purchaser of Goods concerned. If Purchaser shall reject any of the Goods pursuant to this Condition, Purchaser shall be entitled (without prejudice to his other rights and remedies) either (a) to have the Goods concerned as quickly as possible either repaired by Almax or (as the Purchaser shall elect) replaced by Almax with Goods which comply in all respects with the requirements specified herein, or (b) to obtain a refund from Almax in respect of the Goods concerned with no charge, either in materials or labor, to Purchaser.

7.3       The guarantee period applicable to the cryostat shall be 3 years from putting into service or 3 years from delivery, whichever shall be the shorter (subject to any alternative guarantee arrangements agreed in writing between Purchaser and Almax). If Purchaser shall within such guarantee period, or within 30 days thereafter, give notice in writing to Almax of any defect in any of the Goods as may have arisen during such guarantee period under proper and normal use Almax shall (without prejudice to any other rights and remedies which Purchaser may have) as quickly as possible remedy such defects (whether by repair or replacement as the Purchaser may elect) without cost to Purchaser.

7.4       Prior to shipment of the cryostat Almax shall perform a successful vacuum confirmation and spark test and provide detailed results of these test to Purchaser.

7.5       Any Goods rejected or returned by Purchaser as described in paragraph 7.2 or 7.3 shall be returned to the Almax at Almax’s risk and expense.


8.1       The Goods shall be packed and marked in a proper manner and in accordance with the Purchaser’s instructions and any statutory requirements and any requirements of the carriers. In particular, the Goods shall be marked with the Purchase Order number, the net gross and tare weights, the name of the contents shall be clearly marked on each container and all containers of hazardous goods (and any documents relating thereto) shall bear prominent and adequate warnings. Almax shall indemnify Purchaser against all actions, suits, claims, demands, losses, charges, costs and expenses which Purchaser may suffer or incur as a result of, or in connection with, any breach of this Condition.

8.2       All packaging materials will be considered nonrefundable and will be destroyed unless Almax’s advice note states that such materials will be charged for unless returned. The Purchaser accepts no liability in respect of the non-arrival at the Supplier’s premises of empty packages returned by Purchaser unless Almax shall within 10 days of receiving notice from the Purchaser that the packages have been dispatched notify Purchaser of such non-arrival.

8.3       Almax agrees to accept for placement in the sea-land container transporting the Goods to Purchaser at ____________________________ such other accessory items and equipment as will reasonably fit in the container upon the mutual agreement of both parties at no additional charge to Purchaser.


Almax shall not offer or give or agree to give, to any employee or representative of Purchaser any gift or consideration of any kind as an inducement or reward for doing or refraining from doing or having done or refrained from doing, any act in relation to the obtaining or execution of this or any other contract with Almax or showing or refraining from showing favor or disfavor to any person in relation to this or any such contract.


10.1    It shall be a condition of the Contract that the Goods are made up in accordance with designs furnished by Almax that none of the Goods will infringe any patent, trademark, registered design, copyright or other right in the nature of industrial property of any third party and Almax shall indemnify Purchaser against all actions, suits, claims, demands, losses, charges, costs and expenses which Purchaser may suffer or incur as a result of or in connection with any breach of this Condition.

10.2    All rights (including ownership and copyright) in any specifications, instructions, plans, drawings, patterns, models, designs or other materials (a) furnished to or made available to Almax Purchaser pursuant to the Contract, shall remain vested solely in Purchaser (b) prepared by or for Almax for use, or intended use, in relation to the performance of this Contract are hereby assigned to and shall be vested in the Purchaser solely and (without prejudice to condition 14.2). Almax shall not, and shall procure that his servants and agents shall not (except to the extent necessary for the implementation of the Contract) without the prior written consent of Purchaser, use or disclose any such specifications, instructions, plans, drawings, patterns, models, designs or other materials as aforesaid, or any other information (whether or not relevant to the Contract) which Purchaser may obtain pursuant to or by reason of this Contract, except information which is in the public domain, otherwise than by reason of a breach of this provision, and in particular (but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing) Almax shall not refer to Purchaser or the Contract in any advertisement without Purchaser’ prior written agreement.

10.3    The provision of this Condition 10 shall apply during the continuance of this Contract and after its termination, howsoever arising.


Almax represents and warrants to Purchaser that Purchaser has satisfied itself that all necessary tests and examinations have been made or will be made prior to delivery of the Goods to ensure that the Goods are designed and made so as to be safe and without risk to the health and safety of persons using the same, and that Almax has made available Purchaser adequate information about the use for which the Goods have been designed and which have been tested and about any Conditions necessary to ensure that when put to use the Goods will be safe and without risk to health. Almax shall indemnify Purchaser against all actions, suits, claims, demands, losses, charges, costs and expenses which Purchaser may suffer or incur as a result of or in connection with any breach of this Condition.


12.1    Without prejudice to any rights or remedies of Purchaser’ (including Purchaser’ rights and remedies under condition 7 hereof) Almax shall indemnify Purchaser, its agents and employees against all actions, suits, claims, demands, losses, charges, costs and expenses which Purchaser may suffer or incur as a result of or in connection with any damage to property or in respect of any injury (whether fatal or otherwise) to any person which may result directly or indirectly from any defect in the Goods or the negligent or wrongful act or omission of the Almax.

12.2    Purchaser shall have in force and shall require any sub-contractor of Almax to have in force; (a) employer’s liability insurance in accordance with any legal requirements for the time being in force, and (b) public liability insurance for such sum and range of cover as Almax deems to be appropriate but covering at least all matters which are the subject of indemnities or compensation obligations under these Conditions in the sum of not less than $1,000,000 for any one incident and unlimited in total, unless otherwise agreed by Almax in writing.

12.3    The policy or policies of insurance referred to in paragraph 12.2 shall be shown to Purchaser whenever it requests, together with satisfactory evidence of payment of premiums.


13.1    Almax’s shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that all persons engaged in any work in connection with this Contract have notice that the statutory provisions apply to them and will continue so to apply after the expiry or termination of this Contract.

13.2    Almax shall keep secret and not disclose and shall procure that his employees shall keep secret and do not disclose any information of a confidential nature obtained by him by reason of the Contract except information which is in the public domain otherwise than by reason of a breach of this Provision.

13.3    The provisions of paragraphs 14.1 and 14.2 shall apply during the continuance of this Contract and after its termination howsoever arising.


14.1    Almax shall notify Purchaser in writing immediately upon the occurrence of any of the following events:

a) where Almax is an individual and if a petition is presented for Almax’s bankruptcy or the sequestration of its estate or a criminal bankruptcy order is made against Almax  or Almax is apparently insolvent or Almax  makes any conveyance or assignation for the benefit of creditors, or if an administrator is appointed to manage his affairs; or b) where Almax is not an individual but is a firm; or a number of persons acting together in any capacity, if any event in (a) or (c) of this Condition occurs in respect of any partner in the firm or any of those persons or a petition is presented for Almax to be wound up as an unincorporated company; or c) where the Almax is a company, if the company passes a resolution for a winding-up or dissolution (otherwise than for the purposes of and followed by an amalgamation or reconstruction) or the court makes an administration order or a winding-up order, or the company makes a composition or arrangement with its creditors, or an administrative receiver, receiver or manager is appointed by a creditor or by the court, or possession is taken of any of its property under the terms of a floating charge.

14.2    On the occurrence of any of the events described in paragraph 15.1, or if Almax shall have committed a material breach of this contract and (if such breach is capable of remedy) shall have failed to remedy such breach within 30 days of being required by Purchaser in writing to do so, or, where Almax is an individual, if he shall die or be adjudged incapable of managing his affairs by determination of a court of law, Purchaser shall be entitled to terminate this Contract by notice to Almax with immediate effect. Thereupon, without prejudice to another of its rights, Purchaser may itself complete the Services or have them completed by a third party using for that purpose (making a fair and proper allowance therefore in any payment subsequently made to Almax) all materials, plant and equipment on the Premises belonging to the Almax, and the Purchaser shall not be liable to make any further payment to Almax until the Services have been completed in accordance with the requirements of this Contract, and shall be entitled to deduct from any amount due to the Almax the costs thereof incurred by Purchaser (including the Purchaser’ own costs). If the total cost to the Purchaser exceeds the amount (if any) due to Almax, the difference shall be recoverable by the Purchaser from Almax.

14.3    In addition to his rights of termination under paragraph Purchaser shall be entitled to terminate this contract by giving to Almax  not less than 30 days’ notice to that effect. In the event of such termination Almax shall, if required to do so by Purchaser , prepare and submit to  Purchaser a report on the work done prior to the termination and making such recommendations as may be based on the work done prior to termination.

14.4    Termination under paragraphs 14.2 or 14.3 shall not prejudice or affect any right of action or remedy which shall have accrued or shall thereupon accrue to Purchaser and shall not affect the continued operation of Conditions 10 and 14.


Wherever under the Contract any sum of money is recoverable from or payable by Almax, that sum may be deducted from any sum then due, or which at any later time may become due, to the Supplier under this Contract or under any other agreement or contract with Purchaser


16.1    Almax shall not assign or sub-contract any portion of the Contract without the prior written consent of Purchaser. Sub-contracting any part of the Contract shall not relieve Almax of any obligation or duty attributable to it under the Contract or these conditions.

16.2    Where Purchaser has consented to the placing of subcontracts, copies of each sub-contract shall be sent by the Supplier to the Purchaser immediately it is issued.

16.3    Where Almax enters a sub-contract with a supplier or contractor for the purpose of performing the Contract, Almax shall cause a term to be included in such sub-contract which requires payment to be made to the supplier or contractor within a specified period not exceeding 30 days from receipt of a valid invoice as defined by the sub-contract terms.


17.1    For the purposes of this Contract the expression “force majeure” shall mean any cause affecting the performance by a party of its obligations arising from acts, events, omissions, happenings or non happenings beyond its reasonable control including (but without limiting the generality thereof) governmental regulations, fire, flood, or any disaster or an industrial dispute affecting a third party for which a substitute third party is not reasonably available. In the case of Almax, each cause will only be considered force majeure if it is not attributable to the willful act, neglect or failure to take reasonable precautions of Almax, its agents or employees.

17.2    Neither party shall, in any circumstances, be liable to the other for any loss of any kind whatsoever including, but not limited to, any damages or abatement of charges whether directly or indirectly caused to or incurred by the other party by reason of any failure or delay in the performance of its obligations hereunder which is due to force majeure.

17.3    If either of the parties shall become aware of circumstances of force majeure which give rise to or which are likely to give rise to any such failure or delay on its part, it shall forthwith notify the other by the most expeditious method then available and shall inform the other of the period which it is estimated that such failure or delay shall continue.

17.4    It is expressly agreed that any failure by Almax to perform or any delay by Almax in performing its obligations under this Contract which results from any failure or delay in the performance of its obligations by any person, firm or company with which Almax shall have entered into any contract, supply arrangement or sub-contract or otherwise shall be regarded as a failure or delay due to force majeure only in the event that such person, firm or company shall itself be prevented from or delayed in complying with its obligations under such contract, supply arrangement, subcontract or otherwise as a result of circumstances or force majeure.

17.5    For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby expressly declared that the only events which shall afford relief from liability for failure or delay shall be any event qualifying for force majeure hereunder


Almax shall provide details of two reference bodies including names and telephone numbers of contacts, for whom similar work has been, or is currently, undertaken.


19.1    The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of the Contract, or the failure of either party to exercise any right or remedy to which it is entitled under the Contract, shall not constitute a waiver thereof and shall not cause a diminution of the obligations established by the agreement.

19.2    A waiver of any default shall not constitute a waiver of any subsequent default.

19.3    No waiver of any of the provisions of the Contract shall be effective unless it is expressly stated to be a waiver and communicated to the other party in writing.


If any provision of the Contract is held invalid, illegal or unenforceable for any reason by any court of competent jurisdiction, such provision shall be severed and the remainder of the provisions hereof shall continue in full force and effect as if the Contract had been executed with the invalid, illegal or unenforceable provision eliminated. In the event of a holding of invalidity so fundamental as to prevent the accomplishment of the purpose of the agreement, the Purchaser and Almax shall immediately commence good faith negotiations to remedy such invalidity.


Any notice given under or pursuant to the Contract may be sent by hand or by post or by registered post or by the recorded delivery service or transmitted by telex, telemessage, facsimile transmission or other means of telecommunication resulting in the receipt of a written communication in permanent form and if so sent or transmitted to the address of the party shown in the Purchase Order, or to such other address as the party may by notice to the other have substituted therefore, shall be deemed effectively given on the day when in the ordinary course of the means of transmission it would first be received by the addressee in normal business hours.


Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this Contract, or the breach thereof shall be settled by binding arbitration in accordance with the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association, and judgment upon the award entered by the arbitrator(s) may be entered and enforced by any court having jurisdiction thereof. Additionally, the parties intend that the arbitrators have power to issue any provisional relief appropriate to the circumstances, including but not limited to: temporary restraining orders, injunctions and attachments. The parties intend that this agreement to arbitrate be irrevocable and agree that either party is entitled to injunctive relief to quash litigation by the other part which breaches the agreement


The headings to Conditions shall not affect their interpretation.


The Contract shall be governed by and construed in accordance with United States of America law and Almax hereby irrevocably submits to the jurisdiction of the US courts. The submission to such jurisdiction shall not (and shall not be construed so as to) limit the right of the Purchaser to take proceedings against Almax  in any other court of competent jurisdiction, nor shall the taking of proceedings in any one or more jurisdictions preclude the taking of proceedings in any other jurisdiction, whether concurrently or not.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this

Agreement as of the date and year indicated below.

______Month _______Day ___________Year


By : _____________________________


Title: General Director, “Purchaser”


Almax Products, Inc.


Bruce Alter

Title: President, Chief Executive Officer




Almax Products agrees to supply

At this time Price for one (1) complete unit, per contract to include:

double wall fiberglass liquid nitrogen storage system complete with required load of perlite, fill/load service fitting installed and 4 extra bags of perlite for “toping off” system…

Lifting lugs (3) placed per details


PRICE $ 25,000 USD

2 plus units:

@ $ 22,000  Each  USD






55 gallons Hetron 922 Resin** @ $ 595  USD

** Catalyst can not be shipped due to regulations.

This can be obtained via web site or local hardware or DIY store.

Extra Perlite: 14 bags Grefco Minerals HP-500 grade   @ $ 30 a bag ( 30 pound ) plus a $ 15 pallet charge

5-layers of Fire Flame 88 equal  Flame Control 20-20 A @ $ 1320  USD

1-Extra sealing Filter Plate Fiberglass @ $ 540 USD

1-Welch Model # 1376C-03  Vacuum pump wired for 220V, 50Hz 1 phase with Schuko Plug @ $ 4480 USD

5-clevises for lifting with a capacity 2,000 kg @ $ 29.70 each USD




Posted in Cryonics Technology (General) | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Freezing People Is Easy

Clockwise: Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, Kirsten Wiig, Christopher Walken, with Errol Morris in the center.

By Mike Darwin

Sometime in the next few months, it seems likely that Director Errol Morris’ take on Bob Nelson’s account of the cryopreservation of James H. Bedford, We Froze the First Man, retitled Freezing People is Easy, will go into production. The title is at once sarcastic, brilliant, inspired and accurate, because, as readers of Chronosphere already (should) know, freezing people is anything but easy. While there have been many movies made that touch on cryonics, use it as a plot element, or even rely on it  as a major enabler of the story, this will be the first film about cryonics. It is, of course, quiet possible for a film about  cryonics to be good – even great – and still be bad for it. This film offers substantial possibilities for both of those elements to be in play.

Perhaps the most important thing to beware of is that the script is not based solely upon Nelson’s heavily (positively) biased and often inaccurate memoir, but also upon the searingly acerbic episode of Ira Glass‘ popular Public Radio International (PRI) radio show, This American Life (full program at this link). What’s more, Glass is also a co-producer of Freezing People is Easy. It is possible to listen to the This American Life episode, entitled Mistakes Were Made, and forget the context in which it was aired on PRI – as part of a series of pieces on scumbags in public life who refuse to take responsibility for their bad acts.To know that this so, one has only to read this excerpt from the review of that broadcast by cryonicist, author and social psychologist Ronald G. Havelock, published in the May, 2009 issue of  Long Life, the news organ of the Cryonics Institute/Immortalist Society:

“First of all, I think we should absolve Nelson of blame for what happened. This poor
man was struggling with a task which was way over his head. He deceived himself, as
others have before and since, with the notion that many people would flock to cryonics
once they realized that it had a real possibility of working. he greatly underestimated
the length of time it would take for cryonics to become popular. We are still
waiting. More importantly, he also greatly underestimated the basic requirements for
making it work, the first of which is to have an adequately funded and competently
staffed facility with the ability to maintain itself over long periods. I think he gambled
that, something like that mythical ball field, if he started it and had real capsules
filled with liquid nitrogen, they would come. Those who actually came, including the
famous Dr. Bedford, came with hope and desperation in their hearts but they came
empty-handed. How could they imagine that this service would be free? Simply put,
they took advantage of this man, and he returned the favor by promising much more
than he could possibly deliver.” [1]

It is also possible to forget that, first and foremost, Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line, The Guardian, The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara: center photo in montage above) is a documentarian with a clever, often indirect, but always ruthless approach to making film show the truth and expose hypocrisy.

Zach Hem authored the script and while his narrative talent might be questioned on the basis of his botched effort in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, he also wrote the script for the 2006 film Stranger Than Fiction, which is a surprisingly intellectual meditation on life, death and the power of the mundane to make life worth living. Helm’s take on Nelson and Chatsworth should be especially interesting, because his perspective in Stranger Than Fiction and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium suggest he may favor the intrinsic value of the individual life; the issue which makes or breaks a viable approach to a “cryonics friendly” perspective in any work of art.

 Somehow I doubt it though, and the casting of Paul Rudd (CluelessAnchorman, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Dinner for Schmucks) to play Nelson does nothing to reassure me. It has also been reported that Owen Wilson and Christopher Walken are on-board – one wonders what their respective roles will be; Norman Bedford and Robert Prehoda?  Or perhaps Walken will play Bob Ettinger? If, as rumored, Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig also joins the cast, will she play Nelson’s then wife, or the author of We Froze the First Man, Sandra Stanley, to whom Nelson was confiding the details of Dr. Bedford’s cryopreservation and with whom he was reportedly having an affair at that time?

The book is rich in characters familiar to those with any history in cryonics: Saul Kent, Curtis Henderson, Bob Ettinger, Robert Prehoda, Dick Jones (aka Dick Clair), Dante Brunol, MD, Stella Gramer…and many more. It should be a fascinating exercise to see which, if any, of these supporting characters makes it into the film by name, or in a clearly recognizable way.

But will Freezing People is Easy get made, and if so, what will be its fate? Cryonics has been around for 50 years and attracting international attention for almost all of them. Thus, it should come as no surprise that there were two previous efforts to make movies where cryonics was the subject of the film, most notably, a film of Norman Spinrad’s darkly comedic and politically (left) loaded science fiction novel, Bug Jack Barron. For over 30 years, there were regular reports from the Hollywood intelligentsia (an oxymoron, I know) that Bug Jack Barron was to be made by Universal Studios, directed by Costa-Gavras, with the script written by Harlan Ellison. The story of why Bug Jack Barron never made it onto film has the same bizarre, cursed and insane quality to it as does the history of cryonics itself.

The story of why Thomas Berger’s (Little Big Man) novel Vital Parts never made it into production is even more tragic,  and the links with cryonics go deeper. The first go-round at Vital Parts the movie, was in 1971, with a when director Hal Ashby (Being There Harold and MaudeThe Landlord and Let’s Spend the Night Together ), with Walter Matthau was slotted to play the principal character in the novel, Carlo Rheinhart (a long running character of Berger’s whose middle aged make over in this novel was reportedly inspired by Bob Nelson), the loser in the midst of a mid-life crisis who is seduced into involvement in the bizarre world of cryonics by the seemingly transtemporal Bob Sweet – a man from Rheinhart’s distant past who seemingly knows too much to be merely human.

Berger had visited the Cryonics Society of new York (CSNY) repeatedly to gather background information for his book, so it is no accident that a Mr. Softy ice cream  truck features prominently in the novel; Gillian Cummings (aka Beverly Greenberg), who was later to die tragically in the CSNY facility, drove a Jolly Tim’s ice cream truck to help pay the liquid nitrogen bills for her father, Herman Cummings (aka Herman Greenberg). And it is also probably no accident that the creepily mysterious bob Sweet shares the same last name with on the most prominent cryonics patients of the time; the liberal (“negro rights”) activist Marie Phelps Sweet, later lost at Chatsworth, along with the other Cryonics Society of California (CSC’s) patients who were also in the custody of Bob Nelson. Matthau’s son, and the apple of his eye, Charlie Matthau, was later to become a signed up, bracelet wearing cryonicist who was condemned to watch his father die by inches while doing everything in his power to both keep him alive (he kept portable defibrillators in his father’s home, car and work places) and unsuccessfully persuade him to make cryonics arrangements.

Left to Right: Walter Matthau, Charlie Matthau and Hal Ashby.

The next go round at turning Vital Parts into a movie was in 1987, with the irascible, reclusive and heavily drug abusing Ashby trying to make a comeback from his exile to television with another important, quirky film. This time Danny deVito had been recruited to play Rheinhart, and, in an inspired bit of casting, Gene Hackman had agreed to play Bob Sweet. During a meeting between Ashby and the producer Jerome Hellman to discuss finalization of the production of Vital Parts, Hellman became aware of what appeared to be “traveling phlebitis” in Ashby and shortly thereafter actor Warren Beatty became aware of Ashby’s symptoms, ultimately resulting in Ashby’s seeing an oncologist who diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer, from which he subsequently died in December of 1988.

The two other films which feature cryonics as cryonics (e.g., medical time travel) are screenwriter Mark Andrus’ and director W.D. Richter‘s  1991 Late For Dinner; a treacley, train wreck of a film which reviewer aptly described as a film “so meticulously scrubbed of what we generally think of as entertainment value that the result is mostly a quirky, dawdling snooze,” and the truly, irredeemably awful 1985 film Stitches, starring the late Eddie Albert, Parker Stevenson, Geoffrey Lewis, and Brian Tochi. Oh yes, and I almost forgot to include the garbled and largely incoherent Vanilla Sky (starring Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz) by the otherwise brilliant director Cameron Crowe, of which Stephan Zacharek of Salon.com said: “Who would have thought that Cameron Crowe had a movie as bad as Vanilla Sky in him? It’s a punishing picture, a betrayal of everything that Crowe has proved he knows how to do right….But the disheartening truth is that we can see Crowe taking all the right steps, the most Crowe-like steps, as he mounts a spectacle that overshoots boldness and ambition and idiosyncrasy and heads right for arrogance and pretension — and those last two are traits I never would have thought we’d have to ascribe to Crowe.” While I am no superstitious mystic, the ill fated bad luck attached to cryonics – in an out of film – makes me want to shout out a warning to all and sundry involved with Freezing People Is Easy, to “Run as far and as fast from the project as you can for both your personal and professional lives.

Any way you look at it, the film promises to be a deep wallow in black comedy. That’s normally a genre I really appreciate, and often enjoy. This time, I’m not so sure. Robert F. Nelson (aka Frank Bucelli) is a bad man – a man who did enormous damage to cryonics, but more importantly, to the lives of the many people he defrauded and destroyed; not the least of which are the 10 cryonics patients whose loss were a direct or indirect result of his actions.  It is probably too much to hope that Helm’s and Morris’ effort could be as dark and well executed a black comedy as Peter Berg’s Very Bad Things, which Roger Ebert aptly summed up as not “a bad movie, just a reprehensible one. It presents as comedy things that are not amusing. If you think this movie is funny, that tells me things about you I don’t want to know.” That’s the movie that should be made about Nelson. The question is, should it be a movie, let alone the first movie, made about cryonics?


[1] This statement is so wrongheadedly stupid on so many levels, it is hard to know where to begin in critiquing it. A good place to start would be by noting that Dr. Bedford hardly came “empty handed” to Nelson, or to cryonics. Instead, he came bearing $250,000 1967 US dollars ($1,714,832.83 in 2012 dollars) all of which was subsequently spent on his cryopreservation. It should also be pointed out that the majority of the families of the patients lost at Chatsworth, and at the Cryonic Interment facility on the East Coast (as well as some of the patients themselves), paid exactly what Nelson asked of them at the time: $10,000 to $15,000 in ~1973 US dollars, or $53,099.29 in 2012 dollars; substantially more than what the Cryonics Institute now charges for whole body cryopreservation today. Finally, this statement neglects the finding of the civil court that found Nelson guilty of fraud and for “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

Posted in Cryonics Biography, Cryonics History, Culture & Propaganda | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Take the Cryonics Intelligence Test

When you give the answer to a question over and over again and it is not understood, perhaps not even perceived, and the question gets asked repeatedly, you know you’ve got a communication problem. I suppose the classic example is a friend, a family member or colleague who keep asking the same question repeatedly, but either can’t hear, or don’t want to hear the answer.

It’s a frustrating situation, because it raises another question that often has no answer; “How do I parse my answer or give the information in a way that will be understood?” The cliché answer to that question, and one my mother frequently gave is, “That’s something they’re just going to have to figure out for themselves; you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”

Over the past six months or so, I’ve been doing an experiment. I confess that I’m surprised that the first part of that experiment has worked as well as it has. What the experiment consisted of was asking a cross section of people in cryonics to whom I have personal access (correspondents, queries for information, old cryonics friends…) to take something I call “The Cryonics Intelligence Test.” My expectation was that few, if any, would participate. I was thus gratified when 10 people out of 12 agreed to take the test. Of those, 9 completed it. The results were fascinating – at least to me – and they convinced me that, as a prelude to discharging another obligation I have relating to Chronosphere, that I should offer the test to all and sundry who are willing to take it.

You needn’t be concerned about  your “performance”; this is an instance where anonymity on Chronosphere is permitted. If you like, you can submit your answers using a pseudononymous name and email address. If someone out there knows how to format the test to Survey Monkey, or some similar anonymous data gathering engine, please contact me and I’ll work with you to set it up (contact me at m2darwin@aol.com).

The test itself consists to of two parts: a simple introductory letter with the two test questions and a file of resource materials which must be evaluated in order to answer the two questions. The answers will necessarily be essay style and expositive.

You can submit your answers to either the Comments section of this post (here on Chronosphere), or to me directly at m2darwin@aol.com. Obviously, if you submit to the Comments section, your answers will be published. If you submit to me, they will be held in confidence, unless permission is granted from you, in writing, to post them. Privately submitted answers, and the fact that the individual participated in the Test will not be circulated, either privately or publicly, without the prior written consent of the participant, although statistical data obtained as a result will be used at my discretion.

I will be commenting on the issues raised by the answers to the test extensively in the near future.

The test is below, and should you choose to take it, I offer both my thanks and good luck.

  Cryonics Intelligence Test

Dear ______,

If you can figure out the scientific take home message for cryonics in what is to follow, you will have demonstrated extraordinary insight into “thinking in a cryonics-medical context.”

You will also have the tool to be able to understand why I believe that cryonics must, on a purely scientific-medical basis, be pursued in a fundamentally different way, both biomedically and socially.

The Test: The test resource materials are available for download at http://www.yousendit.com/download/M3BsQndOR0ZsMHhjR05Vag , you will find a number of full text peer reviewed scientific papers. In addition, you will be sent several cryopatient case Hxs. Together, these resources contain data which should give a reasonably intelligent person with a properly prepared mind a fundamentally new insight into a major, indeed overwhelming flaw in how cryonics has been, and currently is practiced.

Your task is to:

a) identify the problem(s)

b) identify one or more possible solutions

You have 5 days to complete this task. Your response should be in the form of a succinct statement of the problem, and an itemization, and if you like, a discussion of possible solutions.

Thanks for your patience and cooperation.

Mike Darwin



Posted in Cryonics Technology (General), Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury | 5 Comments