Robert C. W. Ettinger, First Life Cycle: 1918 to 2011

Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger (born December 4, 1918 – cryopreserved 23 July, 2011) was the father of cryonics as a result of the publication and widespread distribution of his book, The Prospect of Immortality (Doubleday, 1964) and because of his unceasing, forty-nine year long advocacy of the cryonics idea. He might also justly be called a “father of Transhumanism “on the basis of his 1972 book, Man Into Superman. Ettinger experienced cardiorespiratory arrest at 1600 on 23 July, 2011 at the age of 92. 

Robert Ettinger as young boy.

Ettinger served as a second lieutenant infantryman in the United States Army during World War II. Severely wounded in battle in Germany, he received the Purple Heart. He earned two Master’s degrees from Wayne State University (one in physics, one in mathematics) and spent his working career teaching physics and mathematics at both Wayne State University and Highland Park Community College in Michigan. Ettinger and his first wife, Elaine, had two children, a son David in 1951, and a daughter Shelley in 1954. David Ettinger has been active in cryonics since 1968 and currently serves as legal counsel to the Cryonics Institute and the Immortalist Society.

Ettinger recovering from war wounds around the time he conceived of the idea of cryonics.

Ettinger grew up reading Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories and assumed that one day – long before he grew old – medicine would have advanced sufficiently to have overcome both disease and aging, resulting in biological immortality.  As he grew out of boyhood in the 1930s, he began to realize it might take much longer.

Ettinger read a Neil R. Jones story, “The Jameson Satellite”, which appeared in the July 1931 issue of Amazing Stories, in which one Prof. Jameson had his corpse sent into earth orbit where (as the author mistakenly thought) it would remain preserved indefinitely at near absolute zero. And so it did, in the story, until millions of years later, when, with humanity extinct, a race of mechanical men with organic brains chanced upon it. They revived and repaired Jameson’s brain, installed it in a mechanical body, and he became one of their company.

It was obvious to Ettinger that the author had missed the main point of his own story. If biological immortality is achievable through the ministrations of technologically advanced aliens repairing a frozen human corpse, then why shouldn’t everyone be cryopreserved to await later rescue by our own medically more sophisticated descendants?

Robert Ettinger in uniform during World war II.

In 1947 Ettinger wrote a short story elucidating the concept of human cryopreservation as a pathway to more sophisticated future medical technology: in effect, a form of “one-way medical time travel.” The story, “The Penultimate Trump”, was published in the March, 1948 issue of Startling Stories, and definitively establishes Ettinger’s priority as the first person to have promulgated the cryonics paradigm:  principally, that contemporary medico-legal definitions of death are relative, not absolute, and are critically dependent upon the sophistication of available medical technology. Thus, a person apparently dead of a heart attack in a tribal village in the Amazon Rainforest will soon become unequivocally so, whereas the same person, with the same condition in the emergency department of a large, industrialized city’s hospital might well be resuscitated and continue a long and healthy life. Ettinger’s genius lay in realizing that criteria for death will vary not just from place-to-place, but from time-to-time. Today’s corpse may well be tomorrow’s patient.

Ettinger waited for prominent scientists or physicians to come to the same conclusion he had, and to take a position of public advocacy. By 1960, Ettinger realized that no one else seemed to have grasped an idea which, to him, had seemed obvious. Ettinger was 42 years old and undoubtedly increasingly aware of his own mortality. In what may be characterized as one of the most important midlife crisis in history, Ettinger reflected on his life and achievements, and decided it was time to take action. He summarized the idea of cryonics in a few pages, with the emphasis on life insurance as a mechanism of affordable funding for the procedure, and sent this to approximately 200 people whom he selected from Who’s Who In America. The response was meager, and it was clear that a much longer exposition was needed. Ettinger observed that people, even the intellectually, financially and socially distinguished, would have to be educated that dying is (usually) a gradual and reversible process, and that freezing damage is so limited (even though lethal by present criteria) that its reversibility demands relatively little in future progress. Ettinger soon made an even more problematic discovery, principally that, “a great many people have to be coaxed into admitting that life is better than death, healthy is better than sick, smart is better than stupid, and immortality might be worth the trouble! [1]

The Prospect of Immortality was published in hardcover by Doubleday in 1964.

In 1962 Ettinger privately published a preliminary version of The Prospect of Immortality; this finally attracted attention of a major publisher, and led to the 1964 Doubleday hardcover and various subsequent editions which launched cryonics. Forty-seven years have elapsed since the commercial publication of The Prospect of Immortality and, without exception, all those active in cryonics today can trace their involvement to the publication of one or both of Ettinger’s books. While Ettinger was the first, most articulate, and most scientifically credible to argue the idea of cryonics, he was not the only one. In 1962, Evan Cooper had independently authored a manuscript entitled Immortality, Scientifically, Physically, Now under the pseudonym N. Durhing. Cooper’s book contained the same argument as did Ettinger’s, but it lacked both scientific and technical rigor and was not of publication quality.

Ettinger became a media celebrity, discussed in the New York Times, Time, Newsweeek, Paris Match, Der Spiegel, Christian Century, and dozens of other periodicals. He appeared on television with David Frost, Johnny Carson, Steve Allen, and others. Ettinger also spoke on radio programs coast-to-coast to promote the idea of human cryopreservation.

 Ettinger on the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” in 1966.

Following the publication of The Prospect of Immortality and Ettinger’s mass media expositions of the idea, he again waited for prominent scientists, industrialists, or others in authority to see the wisdom of his idea and begin implementing it. By contrast, Cooper was an activist, and must be credited with forming the first cryonics organization (although that name was not to be coined until 1965) the Life Extension Society (LES). LES advocated immediate action to implement cryopreservation and established a nationwide network of chapters and coordinators to develop a grassroots capability for delivering cryopreservation on an emergent basis. Cooper left cryonics activism in 1969, and was lost at sea in 1982, but his work with LES was indispensable in helping to launch the first Cryonics Societies. The first of these was the Cryonics Society of New York, formed in 1965 by writer Saul Kent, attorney Curtis Henderson, and mechanical engineer Karl Werner. It was Werner who coined the term “cryonics.”

At left above, Ettinger with his mother’s cryostat in the mid-1980s and at right, Rhea Chaloff Ettinger, Robert Ettinger’s mother as a young woman.

In 1966 the Cryonics Societies of California and Michigan were formed. Ettinger was elected President of the Cryonics Society of Michigan (CSM). In 1976 CSM was transformed, under the direction of Ettinger, into the Cryonics Institute (CI) and the Immortalist Society (IS was originally the Cryonics Association). CI is a nonprofit organization created to provide cryopreservation services to the public. In 1977 Ettinger’s mother, Rhea Chaloff Ettinger, became CI’s first patient. Subsequently, Ettinger’s first wife, Elaine (1987), and his second wife, Mae (Junod) Ettinger (2000) entered cryopreservation at CI. IS is a 501c3 tax exempt organization created to support research and public education into cryonics and related disciplines. Ettinger was President of both CI and IS until 2003.

From the vantage of the opening decade of the 21st century, it is not hard to understand the bewilderment and intense frustration experienced by Ettinger and virtually all other cryonics activists from 1964 through circa 1990. To its adherents, the idea of cryonics seemed at once both obvious and compelling, yet cryonics was not only ignored, it was almost uniformly ridiculed and caricatured in the media. Scientific and medical criticism was vehement, dismissive, and surprisingly superficial. Incorrect statements were made by a wide range of experts, most notably professional cryobiologists, who stated that cryopatients were irreversibly dead, that all such patients’ cells would be ruptured and reduced to debris by ice crystals, that repair of cryoinjury was scientifically impossible, and finally, that the procedure was unethical, immoral, and constituted predation of the bereaved, and others unable to accept the natural order of death and decomposition. [2]

During this period cryonics adherents had no consistent or quality access to professional medical, legal, philosophical, business, or financial expertise. Admission of interest in, or advocacy of cryopreservation evoked displays of revulsion, ridicule, or both. Media and public perception were relentlessly negative. Contrary to public perception at this time, cryonics was (and still is) a largely middle class undertaking, and the resources available were those of mortuary personnel and equipment and the procedures which cryonics adherents were able to construct and devise themselves. [3] An additional concern was the uncertain legal status of cryonics and the ever present possibility of governmental interdiction. [4]

Ettinger has speculated that this state of affairs might be due to the fact that, “I had and have, no credentials worth mentioning being only a teacher of college physics and math. It is precisely this that prevented me, for so long, from doing more: I knew I carried no weight, had no formal qualifications, and was not suited for a leadership role. But as the years passed and no one better came forward, I finally had to write, and later felt I had to form organizations (although others had come into existence). This tragedy, in various manifestations, may persist. Potentially effective leaders may have turned aside because I (and later a few other obscure people) reluctantly preempted leadership. Business people and investors may have hesitated because the small, poorly capitalized organizations already in the field have had such limited (although increasing!) success in attracting participants.” [5]

The passage of over four decades since The Prospect of Immortality was written has demonstrated that the resistance to cryonics was not rooted in any of the deficiencies on which Ettinger speculates above. Rather, the idea was and still is, ironically, far ahead of its time. In 1964 the discovery of DNA was only 11 years old. cloning, genetic engineering, routine organ transplantation (let alone heart and lung transplantation) were years to decades away. Detailed exposition of enabling technology such as molecular level cell and tissue repair were 30 years in the future. Nineteen-sixty-four was a time when vitalistic ideas pervaded both culture and medical science, and death was perceived in binary terms; a patient was either dead or alive, with no middle ground or intermediate states. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) had been invented by  Peter Safar in 1960, only four years before the publication of The Prospect of Immortality and the first mass citizen training in CPR was still 8 years away: Leonard Cobb held the first citizen CPR training sessions in Seattle, WA in 1972. Passage of the Uniform Determination of Death Act did not occur until 1978, 14 years after the publication of The Prospect of Immortality. Successful cryopreservation of the first human embryo, a bundle of less than 60 undifferentiated cells, did not occur until 1983: 19 years after the publication of The Prospect of Immortality and 23 years after Ettinger first circulated his brief tract summarizing the idea of human cryopreseration as a means of medical time travel. At a time when most of the United States had no emergency medical system (EMS) and ambulances were hearses driven by Funeral Directors, the concept of cryopreservation as a vehicle to rescue by advanced medical technology was understandably incredible.

Cryonics depends upon a number of paradigm changing observations: Death is a gradual process rooted in progressive loss of biological structure (information) and is not a binary condition in most cases. Life does not depend upon continuous function or metabolism; widespread cryopreservation of human embryos was required to bring this idea into the public consciousness. Cryopreservation is possible for a wide range of cells and tissues, and even when uncontrolled freezing occurs, vast amounts of cell and tissue structure remain either intact or inferable (i.e., theoretically possible to reconstruct and restore to health and life from their damaged state). Advances in biology and medicine offer the prospect of growing new organs and regenerating or replacing damaged tissues; this is no longer considered wild speculation, but rather, is today progress expected by the public as a result of the logical progression of biomedicine. Finally, the ideas of nanoscale engineering and computation and their implications for cell and tissue repair (nanomedicine) are still not fully appreciated by the public, although understanding and acceptance of these ideas is growing. [6]

Robert Ettinger at the Cryonics Institute (CI) in 2009, with photos of some of some of the patients in CI’s care visible in the background. Photo by Chris Asadian

Without these paradigm shifts, cryonics appears irrational, or even bizarre, or macabre. In 1987 Ettinger, at first surprised that his idea was not rapidly accepted by society, reflected philosophically on the state of affairs 23 years after The Prospect of Immortality introduced the world to the idea of cryonics:

“Tragedy is in the eye of the beholder. As Sid Caesar (or maybe Mel Brooks  – one of those really heavy thinkers) said: “The difference between comedy and tragedy? When the saber tooth tiger eats Moe, that’s comedy. When I get a hangnail, that’s tragedy.” And if the Tiger of Death eats you, that is the ultimate tragedy; that is when the world ends, when the cosmos disappears, when Everything becomes Nothing.

The “tragedy” of the slow growth of immortalism pertains mostly to them, and perhaps to you — not so much to me or to us, the committed immortalists. We already have made our arrangements for cryostasis after clinical death — signed our contracts with existing organizations and allocated the money. We will have our chance, and with a little bit of luck will “taste the wine of centuries unborn.”

– Mike Darwin, 24 July, 2011



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77 Responses to Robert C. W. Ettinger, First Life Cycle: 1918 to 2011

  1. unperson says:

    I just paid my quarterly dues to Alcor via the internet. $201 a quarter now. Seems pretty high these days. A lot higher than it used to be.

    But then I think of the alternative.

    Once more unto the breach, then. I am still a cryonicist. Thanks, Robert Ettinger.

    • Rick Potvin says:

      I see now that I replied to the wrong thread below. I meant to reply to THIS thread where I read this…

      Once more unto the breach, then. I am still a cryonicist. Thanks, Robert Ettinger.

      I took that as a post by Ettinger, quoting Henry V in Shakespeare, as Henry V led his troops into battle. I thought it was fitting for Ettinger to have said as a metaphor for leading the rest of us into battle against the arch enemy “Death”. I imagined Ettinger reminding us that despite being in stasis, he remains a cryonicist and so we should not think of him is past tense… but as still present. I couldn’t understand how Ettinger could have posted this after his deanimation, unless he planned his deanimation in advance as he said he would, announced his passing before he actually was pronounced, made a last second post to this blog, then did assisted suicide in perhaps Oregon where it’s legal. The Telegraph article said he was “shipped back to MI” which must mean he was not in MI when he deanimated.

      Robert Ettinger will be shipped back to Michigan to join his two wives and his mother in cold storage.

      If you combine that bit of information with what Ettinger wrote earlier about his own plan, it makes more sense. Ettinger wrote….

      Robert Ettinger wrote:
      I plan to move back to Michigan this summer. Suicide is not illegal there,
      although assisted suicide is illegal. Before my death, if I have the luxury
      of anticipating it while still compos mentis, I hope to persuade a medical
      examiner to have a representative present at my suicide and ready to
      pronounce death and waive autopsy, with our perfusion team on hand…

      My comment– Note how blithely Ettinger refers to his suicide. Note how Hinek in typical cryonicist world-view mindset, accepts it as a valid idea. And consider the validity of cryonics suicide in general in cryonics since deterioration of the brain is the single most important thing to avoid. Note also the total lack of investigative reporting on this (I myself have been lazy on this account– but I decided to muster the old energy to post this– which I expect Mike to not approve– but he might surprise me).

      No Cryophone would be needed for Ettinger to 1) decide to cryocide 2) announce his passing 3)have Mike post the obit 4) respond to the obit with his post-mortem remark from Shakespeare 5) do the deed. Mark Plus, below, indicated toying with me but it’s me who has been toying with readers here, I must confess. It may be my way of dealing with the grief since a part of all of us is with Ettinger in that cryocapsule and humor is the only way I can deal with it if I am to avoid the sheer terror of it. (Terror management theory TMT). At least I’m sharing here– more than 1000 other cryoneers.

      Mike if you don’t want to post this theory here, I understand. But would you consider leaving the following link here for further discussion? Thanks. I sense a cover up and a scandal because I think CI is afraid to admit that suicide is part of the cryonics plan, as demonstrated by their leader. I would like to expose that because I think there is a higher mission in truth. Feel free to edit this entire post in whatever manner you wish (indicating removed parts with brackets or something… [----].. like that.

      Interested media people and other cryos can continue this line of thought at the old Ted Williams forum where that last big scandal was openly discussed by big names in cryonics…

      The possible Ettinger suicide is definitely a big deal in my view. If cryonics as demonstrated by its leader to neccessitate suicide, we need transparency on that if only for full disclosure reasons. –Rick Potvin

      • admin says:

        Rick, you are 99.9999999% of the way to being wrong. Your research is impeccable, right up to the point of whether Bob did, in fact, “commit suicide,” either actively or passively. You obviously put a lot of work into gathering all of those quotes and cites, Believe me, I know, because I’ve been a “journalist” myself since circa 1980. So, why didn’t you just call up Ben Best and ask him how Bob experienced legal death? I myself haven’t done that, but only because I am, out of respect and understanding, waiting for CI to post Bob’s case report. From what I can tell, Ben’s case reports are not deceitful – indeed, I usually consider them coarse and tactless in their honesty

        It is certainly clear that Bob was pronounced at his home in Clinton Township, MI, just a short distance from the CI facility. That so9me daffy and careless journalist decided to use the prhase thart he was to be shipped to back Michigan is just that: daffy and careless. I’ve had decades of experience with journalists and this is a minor screw-up, compared to the mistakes they often make. The precise cause of his cardiac arrest has not been disclosed, but it may well be that he died as his mother did; simply became too weak and wasted (sarcopenic) to continue taking adequate amounts of fluid to stay hydrated. Or, he may have decided that “enough was enough,” as he said he might, and simply stopped eating and drinking. Many old people do this, consciously and otherwise, and it is neither illegal nor immoral – even the Catholics and ‘right to lifers’ have no problem with such a decision in such circumstances.

        The point is, it is all just so much speculation and you can easily resolve same by the simple expedient of a phone call or an email to CI.

        So please, take this as a warning from me that this is the first and the last post here that I will accept from you based on lots and lots of facts assembled into a theory that has not one actual critical fact supporting it. — Mike Darwin

        • Rick Potvin says:

          Ben Best already wrote

          I think that cryopreserving someone who
          has committed suicide is an abuse of
          cryonics and that it represents a danger
          to the Cryonics Institute. I want to dis-
          tance CI from any possible connection
          with suicide, and I want there to be
          strong disincentives concerning suicide
          for CI Members wishing to be stored at
          the Cryonics Institute.– Ben Best

          My comment: Clearly, Ben Best would not have been in favor of Ettinger engaging in cryonics suicide. You raised interesting points on how an act could become ambiguous in terms of the “suicide component” however. Before writing CI, I would have to understand the parameters of the situation, as I’m doing here, so that I would be able to understand their answer in a context that deals with these issues.

          • Rick Potvin says:

            David Ettinger says that his father “absolutely did not” perform any form of cryonics suicide. Complete quotes from me and him as the following link…


          • admin says:

            I believe David Ettinger, and I think you should, too. And here is why, for the record (and in no particular order):

            * Bob was clearly on the downward trajectory that the very old but cognitively intact often follow when they are within a few months of death. Just by looking at the published (web) photos of him and talking with people who visited with him, this was apparent to me. When I learned in April that he was wheelchair bound, I went into high gear to get the media material ready. In other words, this was expected and consistent with his observed course of declining health.

            * Bob seemed not to be aware of the proximity of his cardiac arrest, since just a short while ago he was arguing with me on-line over the interpretation of the tail end of the lifespan curve, wherein life expectancy goes up. He speculated that the various things he’d been using for aging for many years might buy him added time. In this particular instance he was “wrong,” but I think only relatively so. I have a hunch that two of the molecules Bob was using, and one in particular, may have markedly extended his mean lifespan, and dramatically extended his cognitive lifespan.

            * Bob wasn’t interested in dying, “deanimating,” or otherwise leaving the scene unless life became unbearable. He had very little left to lose,and yet he still found life worth living and he was still cognitively intact. If he wasn’t cognitively intact, then he could not make any kind of decision regarding staying alive versus cryopreservation. So, I think its pretty fair to say that he experienced the usual decompensating end of life (EOL) event that put him into hospice care.

            * He was in hospice care, and they don’t tolerate any kind of active euthanasia – and they are VERY experienced in EOL matters, and how death presents in a wide range of situations.

            * Bob was completely up front about “suicide” and was nobody’s coward. Bob Ettinger may have been many things, but he was NOT a coward. This was a man who took mortar fire in WWII and who was a decorated soldier who went through agonizing surgeries and almost lost his leg. He unflinchingly took the mockery and madness of the media for 49 years. He was not a man to be cowed by any bureaucrat over a civil right he considered fundamental. If he had gone that route, (and there is no shame in it,and often considerable courage), then he would have said so.

            And Rick, that is my most important point. Bob Ettinger deserves the dignity and the honor of the choice he made. Dying in hospice care is not for sissies. If that it was his choice, and that was the best path for him into cryopreservation, then it should be honored and celebrated, and not in any way be besmirched by innuendo. — Mike Darwin

      • unperson says:

        cryonics suicide? You mean “cryocide,” right?

        By the way, Rick, could you please show Mike the way to alphabetically organize his blog posts? I cannot find ANYTHING on this blog…

        • Rick Potvin says:

          I’ve been thinking about the correct terminology for the situation in which one plans for suicide for the purpose of good cryopreservation. Would it be cryocide, cryonicide or cryonics suicide? Keep in mind the terms are already googlable and thus definitions have already been grabbed.

          Cryocide is a Dupont product.

          Cryonicide could mean a situation where an existing cryonics patient is thawed out (killed).

          Michael Anissimov reports from Colloquium on the Law of Futuristic …
          Dec 11, 2008 – It would make sense to institute a similar clause for “cryonicide”, where a cryonics patient is killed or arranges their own death for tax …
 – Cached

          “Cryonics suicide” is the only phrase that is clearly unambiguous as a method of preparing for cryonics then suiciding.

          I would be interested to know what readers here think ought to be the term used, aside from discussion of the case at hand.

        • admin says:

          No, we need and have long needed an agreed upon nomenclature for cryonics. What are we doing? Cryonic interment, cryostasis, stasis, cryonic suspension, biostasis, cryopreservation, cryonization…? the list is endless and CONFUSING. Time for a cryonics dictionary with teeth in it. I’m even willing to reconsider my stand against the word “deanimation.” The important issues are:

          1) Utility – is it absolutely essential to use a new word because no no existing one will do, or its use would cause confusion?
          2) Rationality – does the proposed neologism make sense?
          3) Appeal – is it a word that is easy to use and comfortable for the target populations to use? Defenestration is the proper word for the act of jumping out of a window – but it is almost never used (except by German speaking peoples) – even in autopsy reports! Choose words for ease of use and aesthetic appeal. “Tweet” is a brilliant example.
          4) Related to #1 above does it avoid confusion and is it accurate? Freezing is an example of a terrible word to describe cryonics at this point because of vitrification and intermediate states. Similarly, vitrification is an even worse word to use to describe patients who we do NOT KNOW are vitrified, and are very likely not, in fact, vitrified. — Mike Darwin

      • Fundie says:

        I have some thoughts, but I’m not sure if I should post them.

        First, I emphatically support the right of anyone to undergo cryopreservation before legal death. In fact, I deny the right of government to prevent citizens from choosing to end their lives or to undergo risky procedures such as cryopreservation. If anyone chooses to violate laws to the contrary, I would not oppose or expose them under any circumstances, because I do not support cooperating with the enforcement of laws which I deem to be unjust.

        Second, because suicide and premortem cryonic suspension are illegal in almost every jurisdiction, any formal cryonics institution risks the destruction of itself as an institution as well as the continued care of its patients if it participates in a suicide case. The salvation of one person’s brain in such a case might well be the death of a hundred other people, as well as the ultimate loss of the person so saved, due to failure of the institution under legal prosecution. I would assume that the two U.S. cryo orgs have concluded that they cannot risk this under any circumstances.

        Third, because of the insanely high degree of risk that CI would be exposed to if Robert Ettinger committed suicide, I find it extremely unlikely that he would have done so, and I find it an order of magnitude more unlikely that he would have broadcasted the fact in any way, such as posting here.

        Finally, while some of us may have a Mike Darwin-centered view of cryonics ;) much of the rest of the cryonics world does not, and if Ettinger were to send a final message I doubt it would be through Mike Darwin.

  2. enoonsti says:

    I never thanked Bob properly, and I hope I will be able to correct that error in the future. Since I don’t want to make the same mistake again, let me just take a moment to thank you too Mike. You’ve never met me before, but your writings have meant a lot to me; in fact, I will be converting some of your posts (e.g. “Does Identity Survive Cryopreservation?”) into PDF, with minor/spelling corrections and so forth. It’s part of a project I am working on, but it might still be useful even if/when my project fails.

    Take care, everyone.

    • admin says:

      I do not know who you “really are,” but I want to tell you that you are perhaps the 6th or 7th person to have thanked me for my efforts here on Chronosphere, and maybe one of less than 50 people to have thanked me for my efforts in cryonics over the years – and yes, as much as he almost certainly detested me – Robert Ettinger was one of those who thanked me. That speaks volumes about the man!

      Many years ago, I was attending a conference on progress in artificial organs in San Diego, CA. The inventor of the artificial kidney, Wilem Kolff was speaking there, and after his presentation I waited to talk to talk with him, which proved surprisingly easy. He was in his 80s and was considered a “has been,” which was a terrible mistake, in his case. I wanted to thank him for putting food on my table and giving me an exciting and rewarding career in hemodialysis. For giving me the opportunity to learn so much and for giving me the unbelievably rare chance to advance the state of knowledge and applied technology as a direct consequence of his invention. “I owe you more than I can ever repay you,” I said, “but the least I can do, and the least of what I owe you, is to communicate my sincere gratitude for your efforts and for your invention of hemodialysis.” He invited me back to his room and we talked for hours. As it turned out, I was the first person who had a made a living from his invention who had ever thanked him for it!

      Imagine that – imagine a world where men and women buy homes, movie tickets, raise their children, take cruise vacations, enjoy a chocolate bar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream; all as a result of one man’s determined and painful efforts, and they never even say, “thank you for making so much of my life possible,” So, enoosti, whoever you are, I say to you, “You have moved from the ranks of the masses of the semiconscious who are barely better than savages – indeed perhaps not even as good – because even savages thank the gods for the rain and the crops and the sun and manifold resources of the earth they inhabit. And for doing that to me and to Robert Ettinger, I thank you, most gratefully, in return. — Mike Darwin

      • Paul Crowley says:

        I think your praise for those who praise you is a little over the top, but let me add my thanks for this blog, and for your clear dedication to the cause of keeping people like me alive if my heart stops. Thank you.

        • admin says:

          You’ve got it wrong. My praise wasn’t for praise for me, it was for THANKS – and by no means just to me. Those are two related but very different things. We live in a world where people give lavish thanks and praise for trivial things like crooning, or sports performance, or murdering two people in cold blood, or offing their toddler, but don’t feel it either desirable or necessary to thank the people who put food on their table, extend their lives with medical research, or enable them to cart around a thousand books on a glass and metal tablet the size of a piece of paper and the thickness of a pocket calculator. THAT is a totally distorted and fucked-up value system that will, without question or doubt, destroy the civilization that practices it. Lavish praise is in order for anyone who sees, however briefly or fragmentarily, that paying (the much owed) sincere gratitude to the people who really make their lives both possible and worth living is in order. Me, I’m a minor player, not even in an extra in the crowd. — Mike Darwin

          • Mark Plus says:

            The shrines people have set up for Amy Winehouse illustrate your point about our fucked-up value system.

  3. Rick Potvin says:

    How is it possible that Ettinger could have replied to his own obituary?

    • admin says:

      I’m not sure I understand what you mean? If you are asking how Ettinger could have been thanked before his death, the answer is easy: I did so privately in person, publicly in print, and publicly in speech. There was much about Bob Ettinger I found intensely distasteful, but that takes nothing away from the FACT that he was THE MAN who most completely invented the idea of cryonics – Cooper deserves credit too, and fortunately, I just barely had the chance to thank him before he and The Pelican were lost at sea.

      Also, if you are good journalist, publication, or blogger, you have the obituaries of the important people in your sphere of coverage written long before they die. Bob Ettinger’s obit was written at least 5 years ago. So if my efforts seem a tour de force, they were not. They were the product of several days hard effort over a period of several months. A good obituary is also a concise biography with commentary, and nothing stops such text from being used in other applications before the passing of the subject. I am fairly certain that Ettinger saw a fair portion of what I wrote about him some years ago: without knowing it was written by me. — Mike Darwin

      • Mark Plus says:

        Mike, you blew an opportunity to play around with Rick’s mind. You should have invoked some fringe scientific theory about receiving communications from Robert in the future after his revival.

        • admin says:

          Mark, I don’t understand what you are talking about? Of course I talked with Bob; I did so just this morning on the Cryophone. I talk with Jerry Leaf too; usually once or twice a week. Of course, a difficulty with this technology is knowing which Jerry or Bob in which Multiverse I’m talking with. No matter, it is an incredible piece of technology and it is what makes me so knowledgeable. Should you, or anyone else want me to contact anyone who is cryopreserved, please, just let me know. Rates start as low $29.99 per minute, US dollars. — Mike Darwin

  4. Pingback: Robert Ettinger 1918 – 2011 | KurzweilAI

  5. Mark Plus says:

    Apparently we won’t see much mainstream media coverage about Robert’s suspension. I suspect Michael Shermer will write a snarky column about it in some forthcoming issue of Scientific American, however.

    • admin says:

      I sent out a press release to the major media outlets worldwide (in the West) late on the day Bob was cryopreserved. I note that The Telegraph used one of the photos in that press release; ditto some smaller outlets (always subtly ‘mark’ your photos so you can track them). I believe my total number of recipients was in excess of 100. I got the best results when I had specific reporter’s name or the address of the appropriate news desk. Electronic media, such as Nightline, Today, The Early Show, etc., can take a week or two to do a story and this is particularly true during a busy news cycle,. I guess it goes without saying this has been mass murder week world wide AND the financial crisis worldwide with the deadlock in Congress over the debt ceiling. If Bob had been cryopreserved during a slow of dead new cycle, he might well have been a higher profile story. I note that my ‘snarky reply” to one of the cretins who wrote into The Telegraph attracted attention; I received 5 letters about it.– Mike Darwin

  6. Pingback: Accelerating Future » Robert Ettinger has been Cryopreserved

  7. mind_imminst says:

    I am glad Mark brought up Shermer. I wonder if he knows that people arguing against cryonics still use his scientifically idiotic statement that freezing strawberries is equivalent to freezing flesh. He is usually pretty careful to not make a fool of himself in public. I guess it just goes to show you how irrational belief systems are quite ingrained into the human psyche – even the supposed most rational among us.

    Long live Robert Ettinger.

    • admin says:

      Michael Shermer is a really interesting case. What makes him of special interest, is that he has had what I would describe as extensive contact with cryonicists, and rational ones at that. Steve Harris has written for his Skeptic magazine and I have given a lecture in his Skeptic lecture series. Both Harris and I have talked with him at length. Almost without exception, Shermer’s criticism of the pseudo-scientific is rational and on the mark. He seems to have no difficulty separating the mystical and the irrational from the factual or the speculative. It would have been easy for him to simply state the obvious and the factual regarding cryonics, which is that, from a skeptics perspective, it is weakest and ‘fails’ in that it makes many critical assumptions which may not be correct, such as that the cryopreservation techniques used are adequate to preserve the structure that encodes personhood, that personhood is, in fact, a function of structure (ultrastructure), that technological civilization will endure uninterrupted long enough to allow for recovery of today’s cryonics patients, that your odds of entering cryopreservation with an intact brain are probably no better than 1 in 3, and that any of the other myriad practical obstacles, ranging from the ability of patients to integrate into a future world, to what kind of “jobs” they will have, can be resolved favorably…

      In other words, cryonics is NOT PROVEN. That is a plenty valid reason for rejecting any costly procedure; dying people do this kind of thing every day for medical procedures which are proven, but which have a very low rate of success and a very high misery quotient. Some (few) people have survived extensive head/neck cancer – the film critic Roger Ebert is an example: However, the vast majority of patients who undergo radical neck surgery for cancer die anyway. For the kind and extent of cancer Ebert had, the long term survival rate (>5 years) is ~5% following radical neck dissection and ancillary therapy: usually radiation and chemotherapy. This is thus a proven procedure – it works – and yet the vast majority of patients refuse it.

      Cryonics is not proven, and it is aesthetically disturbing (indeed even disgusting) to many people. It is also costly, and not just in terms of money alone. It is costly in countless other ways, ranging from the potential for martial discord, social alienation, ridicule, social isolation, disruption of family relationships (and with grief coping mechanisms) during the dying process, and on and on and on. And it does cost a LOT of money, because if you figure the lost present value of capital for insurance, dues, and end of life expenses related to cryonics, then that is a very significant dollar amount; my guess is that for a whole body patient who signs up at age 35 with Alcor, it is in the range of ~ $500,000 to $750,000 2010 dollars!

      Those are perfectly valid Skeptical reasons for cautioning people not to go for cryonics. There is no direct evidence it will work – NONE – it costs a lot of money, even if it does work it is unlikely to work for YOU because odds are you will be autopsied, die unnoticed for days, or die of Alzheimer’s Disease long before you are pronounced legally dead. That’s really all you have to say and there is no need for recourse to mushy thawed strawberries or other kinds of lies or deceptions. The facts are plenty dismal enough.

      So, why did Michael Shermer feel the need to go into the territory of outright deceit – because a straight frozen strawberry is not even remotely comparable to a human cryonics patient treated with 9 molar cryoprotectant (CPA) and then cooled to -196 deg C? Indeed, the whole exercise of loading in all that CPA causes other problems, such as protein denaturation, alterations in the molecular fabric of the lipid bilayer in cell membranes and FRACTURING. It would be easy enough to just point out that cryopatients’ brains are sitting there in three, four, five or more uneasy pieces. But Shermer couldn’t do that. Why?

      That’s a question I think we should really press him to answer, both very hard and very publicly. Shermer has a fine and normally rational mind. For some reason the issue of cryonics derailed its functioning. We need to know why. — Mike Darwin

      • unperson says:

        Shermer cannot objectively evaluate cryonics. That puts him in the same boat as 99.99 percent of the population. He is not psychologically/emotionally eligible to evaluate cryonics objectively.

        Furthermore, Shermer does not care whether cryonics has any value or not. He is playing to an audience–the audience of young, male atheists. He sells his words/books/tv commentary/speaking engagements to an audience. He knows what that audience wants to hear, and he delivers it.

        • admin says:

          Maybe, but that’s still just speculation. The situation with Shermer is potentially a bit more complicated than I am free to disclose.

          Your interpretation is certainly a reasonable one – and may be the correct one, or partially correct one. All I can say is that I think he needs to be run to ground on this issue. He is arguably one of the most credible critics of cryonics now extant. I don’t mind honest critics of cryonics – I don’t even mind asinine ones who any reasonable person knows are a fools – like Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly, or in his day, Pat Buchanan. The troubling thing about Shermer is that he IS otherwise reasonable and on the money. This is also true, albeit to a lesser extent, of Penn & Teller. And again, I have no problem with people saying cryonics is a bad idea based on valid deficiencies in it in the context of similar decisions people make to not engage in unproven treatments or investments.

          For instance, people invest in stocks all the time, and yet there is no proof that any given stock will pan out. It’s understood that you are gambling that you can predict the future in that sphere of action in order to profit from it. Mostly, you can’t, unless you have insider information, or impeccable research, or both + luck.

          However, nobody mocks people for investing in unsecured securities. Cryonics is much the same. People who invest in the market do so because of one or more of these reasons: a) they think they are smarter than the market, 2) they believe things will get better over time and that broad investment in the market will yield a profit (true, so far over decades long interval, but certain for the future), 3) They have special information that gives them edge – and if they are Martha Stewart ,they are very likely right, 4) they want financial gain so badly they are willing to accept all the risks to their capital that come with playing the market. Fair enough and reasonable enough.

          Cryonicists are simply will to take really shitty odds and the unknown probability of all kinds of grim complications, because they place, relative to 99.999999999% of the rest of the population, immense value on their personal survival. THAT is also perfectly reasonable. Desire or value for a given outcome is always to be balanced against risk, in every transaction. All we cryonicists ask is that we get a fair shake and that the truth be told. We can’t prove it will work, and they can’t prove it won’t. The scientific evidence that it might work is better mustered and more cohesive than the scientific evidence against it. That’s kind of nice, but it is NOT definitive. Our critics should just say those things and not stray into lying, nor mock us because we put so much worth on our lives, compared to them. Because that’s one area where they are quite likely to be provably crazy. [That's them being crazy, not us.] Because, unless you believe in a mystical escape clause, when you are dead, the universe ends for you and you cannot hold ANY values any longer. So the only way you get to lay any claims to having ongoing values is if you stay in the game. That’s not really subject to a lot of credible argument. — Mike Darwin

  8. Rick Potvin says:

    Mike, has Ben Best given any indication of when we might see a full case report– to your knowledge? Thanks.

  9. John Miller says:

    I understand that Best was not present at either the deanimation or perfusion.
    His report will be that of a second hand appraisal.

    • Rick Potvin says:

      How do you know that?

      • John Miller says:

        I happen to be a distant relative of someone who has worked there…..OK?

        • John Miller says:

          Further to my comment here is a link where Best confirms he was not present

          • Rick Potvin says:

            Why would Ben drop ice off at Ettinger’s house then leave town? –the other side of the country no less! Taking ice would indicate he knew deanimation was possibly imminent. Ben is president of CI. Ettinger is founder of cryonics. It seems to me that this is tantamount to dereliction of duty!

            There is another explanation however. Since Ben is opposed to any form of suicide cryonics, he may have stretched his duty to an ice drop, then created a pretext for himself with the conference so that he could dissociate himself with the situation.

          • admin says:

            Rick, I am not going to countenance endless speculation absent facts here. And if you continue to post this kind of innuendo-laden nonsense, I’ll delete your posts. And if your noise to signal ratio deteriorates to the point that it is mostly noise, I’ll bar you from posting here. It’s just that simple, and just that fair and reasonable. As to the above, which I am going to delete within 24 hours (along with these comments), people often take weeks, or even months to die – this when death seems imminent. I’ve fully deployed on standbys, found the patient to AGONAL – actively dying and with a death rattle – only to have them recover and live for another month. Conversely, I’ve made the mistake of delaying deployment for just 8 hours, because my assessment was that the patient was not in significant danger of arresting during that interval, only to have them arrest some hours later, and with no cryonics team on site. Death (cardiorespiratory arrest in the terminally ill) is an inherently CHAOTIC process, in the same way that weather is chaotic (e.g., the flapping of butterfly wings). It is not easy to predict the window in which it will occur with accuracy, and it is virtually impossible to predict when it will occur with precision. For this reason once the process of terminal decompensation starts, it is essential and responsible to be prepared. As to Ben leaving town – well, common sense isn’t all that common, and my it may be that a desire to go to the Crybiology meeting trumped the desire to not take any risks vis a vis not being there for Ettinger’s cryopreservation. This kind of judgment, or misjudgment, depending upon your point of view, is not unique in this instance. Read over the CI case reports and you will find many other examples, Certainly, as I’ve just pointed out, I’ve made a mistake like this myself. — Mike Darwin

      • Fundie says:

        It was posted publicly, actually.

  10. admin says:

    No, absolutely not. I have three reasons for saying this:

    1) I am incredibly paranoid and desirous of giving good care to cryonics patients for whom I am responsible. I would have weighed in my mind the possible benefits of attending a Society of Cryobiology meeting, versus the chance that a frail, decompensating, 92-year-old man in a hospice program, and whose cryonics care I was responsible for, might arrest whist I was away. For me, there are currently no circumstances under which I would trust others to do as good a job without my contribution, as opposed to with it. This is especially true in a situation where a lack of competent personnel consistently results in errors, omissions and lack of consistent data collection, or failure to collect some kinds data collection at all. Under no reasonable conditions could I imagine any advantages accruing from attending a Cryobiology meeting that could not be gained by other means: reading abstracts and papers, if necessary writing the scientists involved, and so on. Meetings are great opportunities for people to socialize and exchange ideas, however, the people who benefit from this most are those who are already “plugged in” or who are “on the inside.” By this I mean that professionals, up and coming post docs and grad students, industry leaders and the like can network with each other. Meetings aren’t as much about science as they are about social connectivity and networking. The chances of useful networking for cryonics at Society for Cryobiology meeting are very low. In any event, my personal analysis would be that no possible gain in contacts or even technical knowledge would justify putting a patient at increased risk of poor care, or even of getting the best care that he would otherwise have at his disposal.

    2) I have a sufficient base of clinical experience to know that when people die is very much, as I said before, a chaos-driven process. That means that you have as much chance of predicting with precision when someone is going to die as you have of predicting the performance of the stock market tomorrow. Knowing that someone is going to die within a a fairly broad window of time, say 6 months or 3 months is possible with a pretty fair degree of accuracy. However, knowing with precision which week, or which day within that time frame that death will occur is not currently possible. So, given that knowledge, a person is faced with two choices in the situation presented in Bob Ettinger’s case: stay until medico-legal death occurs and have essentially100% certainty that you will be present to assist, or go and face a significant, but unknown risk that the patient will arrest and you will be away.

    3) Despite having a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge in medicine, I have previously made the mistake of not remaining on site or not deploying immediately, or as soon as was possible: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

    However, that is my analysis of what I would have done, based on what I know. It is possible (but unlikely) that a team of highly skilled cryonics personnel were attending Ettinger when he arrested; in which case, the presence or absence of Ben Best or Mike Darwin, very likely would have made no difference. Your mileage may vary. — Mike Darwin

  11. Rick Potvin says:

    You wrote
    I would have weighed in my mind the possible benefits of attending a Society of Cryobiology meeting, versus the chance that a frail, decompensating, 92-year-old man in a hospice program, and whose cryonics care I was responsible for, might arrest whist I was away.

    My comment– I find it odd that you would refer to Ettinger as “a frail, decompensating 92 year old…” rather as a reason for not leaving after delivering ice. The most significant component of Ettinger at that moment was, despite his condition, the fact that he is the founder of the cryonics movement. On that point alone, I would have hung around after delivering ice. You may be trying to pretend, to your readers, that you would treat every human being with equal urgency and I would understand that– but let’s face it– the Ettinger case is not simply just another human being if we’re allowed to say that. He is the founder of the very movement, the process of which he was now going to be subjected. He subsequently became, as can be seen on the Google news and blogs, the single most famous cryonics case since TW (if we’re allowed to think that).

    The ice delivery is what alarms me about this since I have delivered ice in a few cases. When you’re at the point where you’re delivering ice, you know the show is about to begin. Ben wasn’t merely out of town as he originally said. He later (in his wonderfully transparent way) confessed that he actually delivered ice! He delivered ice to the home of the founder of the cryonics movement!. Furthermore, as sitting president of the organization that Ettinger founded, he delivered ice. So the president of the cryonics organization cryonics itself as well as the organizsation having been founded by cryopatient delivers ice, clearly a conscious recogntion of the end stages-of-life-action and leaves town?

    Ben subsequently not merely missed the preservation of a decompensating 92 year old man as you tried to put it. He missed the most important cryopreservation in history, arguably ranking with Nelson and TW! Agree?

    So my question is, after all that… what is wrong with this picture? How could this possibly have occurred? It does not seem possible to me– but for it to not seem possible to you, you would have to agree with me on the significant features of the situation as I pointed to them just now.

    • Rick Potvin says:

      I meant Bedford. Sorry. Apology to Bob Nelson.

    • admin says:

      Rick, what do you want me to say that I have not already said with as much candor and as much tact as I can muster? That this was an ill considered decision? That it is something that, very possibly, most people with a relative or friend that they cared about in that situation would not do? Sure, superficially I agree with those things. It was, IMHO, terrible judgment. But you need to consider the bigger picture from my personal situation, and also from the vantage of others, that you might press on this, and other related matters.

      In the scheme of things, Ben not being there for Bob Ettinger’s cryopreservation is not that big a deal to me for several reasons (beyond the obvious reasons that you state). The first and most important of these is that I have no evidence that Bob Ettinger’s cryopreservation was materially, adversely affected by his absence. The second reason is that the gross errors in CI patients’ care are so frequent and so routine as a consequence of Ben’s poor scientific and technical judgment, that I’m not sure that his absence might not be a positive thing. I confess to being unable to be completely objective on this issue, because one of the patients so mishandled was my mentor, my colleague and my dear friend, Curtis Henderson. I have extracted a fairly long section from Curtis’ published case report. In it Ben notes that edema has been a worrying problem for him in cryopatients. [Of course, it has been worrying problem for all of involved in perfusing cryopatients for onto 30 years now, and both the problem and the attempted (carefully vetted) solutions have been documented in the cryonics literature.] Ben then goes on to say, “We are not helpless against edema caused by ischemia” and he cites three papers from the scientific literature variously dealing with the treatment of edema in living animals under normothermic conditions and two papers dealing with edema reduction in organs for transplant. The latter two papers document the use of polyethylene glycol with a molecular weight (MW) of 20 kD (PEG-20) to improve storage time in hearts and livers.

      PEG is indeed an interesting molecule from the standpoint of both reducing edema and repairing damaged cell membranes. It has even been used to achieve acute repair of transected nerves, both peripherally and in the spinal cord. However, it has not found widespread application in organ preservation solutions to date. One likely reason for this is that reagent grade (commercially available) PEG-20 is not comprised of 100% of PEG molecules with a MW of 20 kd. Rather, that is the average MW of all ofthe molecules in the reagent. That means that there will be many molecules larger than 20 kD and many molecules that are smaller. To produce PEG with a uniform MW of 20 kD is much more difficult and costly.

      In the first papers documenting the use of PEG-20, Wicomb and Collins noted that there was a high MW fraction of PEG present in the reagent chemical they used to prepare their solutions, and that this high MW species was injurious to rabbit hearts, and could even cause failure of flow in the micro circulation (Wicomb WN, Hill DJ, and Collins GM. Twenty-four-hour ice storage of rabbit heart. J Heart Lung Transplant. 1994 Sep-Oct;13(5):891-4. PubMed PMID: 7528539). They found it necessary to purify the reagent grade PEG extensively before it could be safely used.

      Furthermore, polymers such as PEG are notorious for being incompatible with cryoprotectants, and in particular, DMSO, which is a major component of CI’s VS-1. In fact, it was a researcher associated with CI in the 1970s, Dr. Mary Ruwart, who first noted the incompatibility of DMSO with polymers such as Dextran-40 (Ruwart MJ, Holland JF and Haug A: Fluorometric evidence of interactions involving cryoprotectants and biomolecules. Cryobiology 12:26-33, 1975). So, while PEG-20 is a very interesting molecule deserving of further investigation, much testing would need to be done before it was applied to human cryonics patients. Such testing would consist of basic “bench evaluation,” wherein mixtures of the proposed solutions would be made up and evaluated for their physical properties, their stability, and their performance over the range of temperatures to be used. The next step would be to determine if the theory (brain edema reduction after ischemia during CPA perfusion) actually works in practice. This necessarily involves testing of the putative solution in an appropriate animal model.

      Even when proven, validated solutions are being used for the first time, if they are to be prepared in-house, this must be done in a bench-test setting to validate that the method being used yields the same results as the investigative or clinical product. Often small details, such as the order of the addition of the ingredients, the temperature at which mixing takes place, how fast some ingredients are added, and how the mixing is carried out (e.g., slow stirring versus the use of a powerful mechanical mixer) are critical and are not specified in the research paper(s). This kind of basic validation and quality assurance work MUST be done before applying a novel solution to human patients. And in fact, CI had a contract research firm that was investigating exactly these kinds of problems and also evaluating PEG-20. They found that PEG-20 was incompatible with DMSO and produced a cloudy or flocculent solution upon cooling. However, none of this deterred Ben Best from mixing up a solution of VS-1 containing PEG-20 and attempting to perfuse it through Curtis Henderson. This proved disastrous, and even when the solution had become cloudy and opaque upon chilling, something that was anomalous and not expected, Ben proceeded to perfuse Curtis with it. Indeed, despite his misgivings, undeterred, as Ben notes in the case report: “Perfusion was essentially over, but there seemed to be nothing to lose by bypassing the filter and trying to perfuse with the milky VM−1. Predictably, the capillaries immediately blocked fluid flow and the milky solution broke through the descending aorta. The pump was turned-off.

      For what reasons is this this kind of ad hoc experimentation on human cryonics patients allowed (on the basis of arm-chair theorizing with absolutely no data, in the literature or elsewhere), that PEG-20 will reduce or prevent the cerebral edema seen in ischemic cryonics patients? That’s a question I’ve asked repeatedly, and to which there has been no answer. Such spur of the moment ad hoc decisions pepper CI case reports, and there is never any resolution. Did it work? How do you know it worked? Were there any objective measurements made? For instance, how hard it is to use a calibrated rod and actually MEASURE the amount of cerebral edema or shrinkage in patients? Without reliable, quantified data, you cannot draw any meaningful conclusions – and neither can anyone else. Your practice of cryonics then becomes a random walk between the various hunches, guesses and prejudices you happen to hold at the moment a given patient presents for care.

      So, what I am trying to say is that it may not have been a bad thing that Ben Best wasn’t around. The full excerpt from the CI case report on Curtis Henderson is reproduced below. — Mike Darwin

      “Over the years I have become increasingly disturbed over the amount of edema suffered by CI patients. Edema in tissues — notably in the brain — means that tissue bloated with water is compressing blood vessels, and thereby limiting fluid flow, limiting the ability to replace body water with cryoprotectant. Sometimes the edema becomes so bad during perfusion that blood flow stops altogether, and the perfusion must be halted. Warm and cold ischemia cause blood vessels to become increasingly leaky such that water flows into the interstitial space (spaces between cells). Thus, ischemia causes vasogenic edema (edema from leaky blood vessels). The other main form of edema is cytotoxic edema, where cells fill with water. Cells in ischemic tissues no longer have enough energy to pump sodium out of the cell. Sodium entering cells brings in accompanying water, resulting in cell swelling (cytotoxic edema).

      We are not helpless against edema caused by ischemia. Conventional medicine has effectively reduced cerebral edema with sodium chloride and mannitol solutions. Rat experiments have generally shown sodium chloride to be superior to mannitol in reducing brain water content [CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE; Tong,TJK; 33(1):203-208 (2005)].

      Even undamaged blood vessels can leak water into tissue if oncotic pressure is deficient. Blood contains albumin to prevent such leakage by maintaining oncotic pressure. Blood replacement solutions and organ preservation solutions often contain HydroxyEthyl Starch (HES) to play the role of albumin in maintaining oncotic pressure. Because HES is difficult to obtain and can cause microcirculatory disturbances, PolyEthylene Glycol (PEG) has been used as a replacement for HES with good results [THE JOURNAL OF PHARMACOLOGY AND EXPERIMENTAL THERAPEUTICS; Faure,J; 302(3):861-870 (2002) and JOURNAL OF GASTROENTEROLOGY AND HEPATOLOGY; Franco-Gou,R; 22(7):1120-1126 (2007)]. PEG is also fairly inexpensive.

      Preparing for CI’s 95th patient I made an even more aggressive effort against edema — and for increasing water-replacement efficiency — than I had made for the 93rd patient. I increased osmolality and oncotic pressure from all of the perfusion solutions (not just for the initial 10% EG solution), using the same carrier solution. The carrier solution contained not just an additional 100 milliosmols of saline to reduce cerebral vasogenic edema across the blood brain barrier, but contained an additional 50 milliosmols of mannitol to reduce cytotoxic edema. Moreover, I made the carrier solution hyperoncotic, by increasing oncotic pressure one-quarter above normal with extra PEG.

      70% VM−1 is normally kept in the freezer. When I put the 70% VM−1 having the new carrier solution into the freezer, the solution turned milky white and became impossibly viscous. But when I moved this milky 70% VM−1 solution into the refrigerator, the viscosity returned to normal. There was no obvious precipitation, but the milky color should have been a warning of a problem. 70% VM−1 at refrigerator temperature would be more toxic than 70% VM−1 at freezer temperature, but I reasoned that the benefits of reduced body water would out-weigh the hazard of cryoprotectant toxicity.

      The patient was perfused with more than 4 liters of 10% ethylene glycol and at least 8 liters of 30% ethylene glycol in the carrier solution shown in the table. Then, prior to any CI−VM−1 perfusion, burr holes were made in the skull. Both the right and left burr hole showed an initial shrinkage of the cerebral cortex 15 millimeters below the skull, considerably more than the maximum shrinkage of 5mm seen for the right burr hole of the 93rd patient — illustrating the effectiveness of the new carrier solution in removing brain water.

      Perfusion was then attempted with the milky 70% VM−1 solution, but the filter immediately became clogged. The milky color had been due to PEG that had come out of solution to form tiny particles that were too small to precipitate. But the tiny particles were too large to pass through the filter. Fortunately, the particles clogged the 40 micron filter rather than plugging the capillaries of the patient. A new filter was put in place of the old one, and the patient was perfused with nearly ten liters of 70% VM−1 (in the usual iso-osmotic, non-oncotic carrier solution), more than had been deemed adequate to vitrify the 79th patient.

      The notetaker observed some opacity of the 30% ethylene glycol and a decline in fluid flow, but this was not observed at the jugular. I later looked at the 30% ethylene glycol in the refrigerator at CI and observed some slight opacity, so I re-filtered the solution. Fluid flow cannot have been much affected by the 30% ethylene glycol because the brain continued to shrink during and after the 30% ethylene glycol perfusion.

      The refractive index of the effluent was 1.366 after six liters of VM−1 had been perfused, and was 1.3586 at the end. Intermediate values were as low as 1.3586 and as high as 1.3651, but this was a small range with no trend, and is indicative of random variation. These values are well below the values of 1.416 for 60% VM−1 and 1.4275 for 70% VM−1 — and they showed no trend. After nine liters of 70% VM−1 the 93rd patient had an effluent refractive index of 1.424 — not unusual for a CI patient, and indicating adequate VM−1 concentration to produce vitrification. But the perfused 70% VM−1 was not affecting the effluent refractive index for some reason. I later tested the refractometer and it was working fine.

      Perfusion was essentially over, but there seemed to be nothing to lose by bypassing the filter and trying to perfuse with the milky VM−1. Predictably, the capillaries immediately blocked fluid flow and the milky solution broke through the descending aorta. The pump was turned-off.

      After perfusion the patient’s face was visibly dehydrated. The cerebral cortex had shrunken 26mm below the skull at the right burr hole and 27mm at the left burr hole — indicative of considerable dehydration. This is an extremely hopeful sign that the brain was vitrified on cryogenic cooling by dehydration as well as by VM−1. It is believed that Alcor’s M22 cryoprotectant achieves most of its vitrification by dehydration of the brain, insofar little M22 is believed to cross the blood-brain barrier. (Such concerns were what motivated Dr. Pichugin to spend so much time trying to find detergents that will safely open the blood-brain barrier.) Ice does not form without water, and the brain — as well as brain cells — does not contain many nucleators.

      Alcor considers the brain to be vitrified by dehydration when the volume is 78% the original volume. Subtracting 2mm from the skull thickness, our patient’s brain had shrunken 13mm after the ethylene glycol perfusions and an additional 12mm after the 70% VM−1 (both standard and milky) perfusions. The formula for the volume of a sphere in terms of the diameter is (1/6)πd3, which means that a 13mm diameter reduction of a 76mm diameter brain would give a volume 76% of the original, and a 25mm reduction would give a volume 58% of the original. If the brain is 80% water, then complete desiccation would leave a brain volume that is 20% of the original. Given the high tolerance for dehydration I have seen in many cell studied (especially when the cells are not quickly returned to isotonic, normothermic conditions), I think that the patient’s brain was well preserved by dehydration, without harm.

      A number of CI Directors have become concerned that I have been modifying the cryoprotectant carrier solutions without adequate testing. The components I have used have been extensively tested in animal experiments and in clinical trials, and I have an extensive collection of peer-reviewed journal articles documenting tests. But none of these articles mention putting PEG into a freezer. In response to concerns by CI Directors (and my own concerns) I will not make more modifications to the carrier solutions, and I believe we should return to using the traditional VM−1 carrier for the time being. I have paid for some research to be done on this by outside researchers. Given the excellent dehydration seen with this patient, I think it would be a mistake to return to an iso-osmotic, non-oncotic carrier solution for the EG solutions. But I am returning to ordinary m-RPS-2 carrier solution for the 70% VM−1.

      When the cannula was removed from the femoral artery, it was clearly not long enough to have reached the descending aorta, much less the heart. Asked how perfusion had been possible, Mr. Walsh said that the descending aorta had not been completely clamped because of his belief that it contained the cannula.” Ben Best

      • Rick Potvin says:

        I would like you to acknowledge that Ben ought not have left because it was Robert Ettinger, the founder of cryonics, not just some unknown 93 year old or friend or relative.

        To your point about Ben’s skill vs. others’, I think Ben’s presence would have been significantly positive with his photographic memory and acknowledged superior reporting skills and would have led to a beautiful documention of the preservation of the founder of cryonics unachievable, as we would all agree, by anyone else in the business, so to speak. His horrible mistake with Henderson is quite a story I wasn’t aware of but this only indicates that he ought not be team leader– not that he ought not be present.

        The bigger picture is cryonics historical accuracy and the truth. I thought we agreed on that. If there is another bigger picture involved your personal situation and others’ situations that overrides true cryonics history, I would be miffed. Thanks for your conversation and letting me post here anyway.
        By the way, I was looking at urokinase as a clotbuster. It’s $20K a pop to only the highly insured cryonics guys will be able to afford it but it creates instant microcirculatory response apparently, dissolving everything in the blood vessel that’s in the way. I bet the guys who use it get recovered first!

        • unperson says:

          plus, Ben has multiple undergraduate degrees, which is always a huge plus….

        • admin says:

          Look, it is really pretty simple and pretty obvious that if you are, or you deem yourself an essential person on the cryonics team, then you don’t go off to a non-essential, non-critical meeting of any kind while you have ANY member in hospice who is at high risk of dying. NOTE: some people in hospice are NOT at high risk of dying within a given foreseeable interval. Ben’s situation, TO ME is such that he scares the crap out of me, and I wouldn’t want him anywhere near me in a position of authority during my perfusion. In fact, its my impression (and it just that, an impression) that the greater the stress, the more chaotic Ben’s decision making is likely to be. You don’t have to share that opinion, but I don’t have to discard it, either.

          The deeper problems in CI and in cryonics as a whole, are these:

          1) No one person should be that critical. We were getting close to being in the position of true redundancy in 1991. But we didn’t get there. And no one has since. THAT is a huge problem and it is REAL problem today.

          2) Historical records and scientific records should never be the product of one person, or even of a few, if there is any alternative. No one, absolutely no one, sees the world in an unbiased way. If you want proof of this, give 5 people cameras and have them photograph the same event! The outcome is shocking to anyone who has done this. So, if you want the BEST record, you videograph and photograph and instrument the hell out of each case, and THEN you have something approaching an objective record! I know this is so, because I’m now going over videotapes made nearly 30 years ago of the Alcor dog experiments. Mostly they were made with a camera on a tripod sitting in the corner of the OR. They just record what he camera sees. There are, of course, also extensive still photos, notes, labs and other data. THAT composite is a surprisingly objective record which has enormous breadth of bandwidth. Indeed, one of the most interesting things in these dozens and dozens of hours of tape, is just listening in on the small talk and conversation from 30 years ago. A fair bit of it is about Alcor, the future of cryonics, our goals and plans… The non-science part of the record is arguably more valuable for understanding the importance of what was being done than is the scientific part of the record – because those tapes give the whole thing CONTEXT.

          I rant on about this because CI forbids any photo, video or audio documentation of cases – and I have been told Alcor has the same policy. That’s like telling astronomers: No photos! You can look through your telescopes and tell us what YOU see, but no one else can get a peek, or even see a snapshot of what you’ve seen.
          THAT is another problem, far more serious than the presence or absence of Ben Best, and it won’t be fixed by having Ben, or anyone else present, or not present during cases. — Mike Darwin

          PS: It is not necessary to use urokinase or rTPA, for that matter, streptokinase is relatively inexpensive and performs comparably. HOWEVER, the question is really whether these drugs do much good, or even any in a cryonics setting. In clinical trials conducted a few years ago, clot-lysing drugs failed to show benefit in patients undergoing CPR after cardiac arrest, this despite an initial promising trial. These data seem to indicate that microemboli formation in small vessels does not occur quickly after cardiac arrest.

          Theoretically, lysing agents should be useful in cryonics, because heparin is degraded by acidosis and it has a limited life. If lysing agents are present, so the theory goes, clots that would otherwise form, will not. Preliminary work I was doing in 2000 seemed to support that; but it was really too soon to tell. One thing is clear, and that is that the majority of the vascular obstruction that occurs due to ischemia in cryonics patients is due to factors other than clotting. Deep cooling, and the terminal disease process, causes the red and white blood cells to become incredibly sticky and they subsequently adhere to each other, and to the capillary vessel walls. This creates aggregations or globs of RBCs, which plug the capillaries. Platelets also become sticky and contribute meaningfully to the problem. Finally, the ischemic cells of the patient’s tissues cannot pump ions, and a consequence of this is that much of the water in the blood gets “sucked” into the cells. This causes cellular edema (narrowing the capillary diameter) and it causes the cells and proteins in the blood to become very concentrated. Essentially, the blood becomes a sludge of concentrated proteins and mutually adherent cells. So called “clot busting drugs” do nothing to solve these problems. — MD

          • Abelard Lindsey says:

            Really? I thought Ben Best was doing a decent job of turning CI around. Perhaps I’m getting wrong information.

          • admin says:

            I don’t know, what kind of information do you have? What does “turning CI around” mean? — Mike Darwin

          • Rick Potvin says:

            Ben should not have left if only because he, Ben, is CI president and because Robert Ettinger was the inventor of the cryonics concept as well as CI. Anyone else could have been left in the hands of others but this unique individual, of all people, should not have been left, with an ice drop off, by the sitting CI president. It’s that simple. My theory is that something else figured into this otherwise unjustifiable action. Apparently I’m alone in my public thought on this. So be it.

          • admin says:

            I wouldn’t necessarily say you are alone. As I said, given his position and the situation, I don’t think it was acceptable. As to others, it is the nature of the world that people are not going to offer an opinion one way or another on most things, unless they are REALLY exercised about the issue. Even then, they are likely to remain silent unless they perceive that their voice will make a difference. This is especially true if they believe that speaking out could hurt them personally – and mostly, voicing any opinion carries a cost. So, neither of us knows what people really think about this issue (or a most others, for that matter). I will tell you though that once a critical mass of displeasure is reached in any sphere of human action, then there is no shortage of people with opinions who are willing to act upon them. The French Revolution comes to mind, since I was just recently reading a first hand account of it. — Mike Darwin

  12. Abelard Lindsey says:

    I don’t know, what kind of information do you have? What does “turning CI around” mean? —

    That he has improved CI’s suspension process from when Ettinger ran it.

    • admin says:

      I believe that is true, without doubt. — Mike Darwin

      • Abelard Lindsey says:

        I heard it was bad when Ettinger ran things. Like there was no much of a process above and boyond that of straight freezing. My impression of Ettinger (I never met him in person) is that he was more a man of ideas and that he was not good at execution. This seems to fit his political orientation, which was left of center. Its been my experience that people left of center are often not good at execution.

        • unperson says:

          read up on the French Revolution….

        • admin says:

          Ben deserves a great deal of credit for making major improvements to the care CI patients receive. As far as In know, it is not true that CI patients were “straight frozen” during Bob Ettinger’s tenure as CEO. Since there were no published reports, photographs, or other information documenting CI patients’ care, it is only possible to infer what was being done from statements published in The Immortalist. One problem with accessing back issues ofThe Immortalist, is that while it has been scanned in its entirety by Dr. Mike Perry, it is not OCR scanned, and thus it is not computer searchable. That puts me in the uncomfortable position of having to recall from memory the two regimens CI used before Ben arrived. The first consisted of several (?) passes of fairly small volumes of glycerol in a carrier solution. I remember doing the dilution calculation at the time that the volumes and concentrations of CPA were published, and it gave numbers in the range of 6 to 12% (depending upon the assumptions made), if I recall correctly, for the terminal concentration in the tissues. This is what one cryobiologist described as “a homeopathic level of cryoprotection for organized tissues.” Perhaps in response to this criticism, CI switched to a two-step perfusion method that consisted of one pass with a modest concentration of glycerol (if I recall correctly, it was 20% v/v) and a second pass of 75% glycerol. The volumes of both passes were still small (maybe 10 to 12liters). There were no case reports, and it was my understanding that there was essentially no data collection during perfusion. If any of this incorrect, of course I welcome corrections. I will try to locate the articles about the CI protocols, but there are thousands of pages of The Outlook and The Immortalist and it is all digital images, which makes it harder than if it were on paper.

          When Ben came to CI, he worked with Yuri Pichugin to implement better levels of cryoprotection and better documentation. He did this with great difficulty, since he has interpersonal friction with both David Ettinger and Any Zawacki. As near as I could tell from my conversations and correspondence with Bob Ettinger, he pretty much was of a mind that frozen was good enough. Everything else was nice as long as it didn’t get in the way of low cost and of getting frozen. He seemed completely insensitive to quality, and he once engaged in a (to me) bizarre exchange where he argued against sterile technique in tracheotomy care, citing it as an example of hypocritical fraud in medicine, based on his personal experience with his first wife, Elaine, who had a trach.

          Like all of us, Ben brought negatives to the job along with the positives. Broadly, there are two types of personalities: those who engage and involve others, and those who are solitary, either through choice or necessity. The former inexorably draw in other people; in fact, they can’t function without them. They either see, or viscerally understand their own limitations, and they reach out to others. Some men will run a business solo; they keep the books, clean the place up, order supplies and do all the work. That works OK for a monotonic and fairly repetitive business that doesn’t have to endure. You can run a one-man carpet cleaning business that way, or, back in the day, a watch and clock repair shop. However, that approach is anathema in a technologically, financially and socially complex undertaking like cryonics. Even in the technology part, it is way too complicated for one man – and even if he were a genius, he still couldn’t do it, because he can’t be at more than one place at once, or working 24/7, which cryonics often requires.

          CI is a two man operation in terms of the day-to-day – others handle the finances. There is the belief, which I have often challenged, that you can become expert in an area of technology or medicine by reading the literature, and then writing a tutorial to demonstrate that you have mastery. This cannot be done. And in fact, if you pick one of those ‘mastered’ areas and begin to ask questions, it becomes apparent pretty quickly that there is no depth of understanding – but rather the belief that there is. The physicist Richard Feynman remarked on this phenomenon when he spent some time teaching physics in Brazil. He noted that the students knew all the facts, and could regurgitate them on request, but they couldn’t use them to solve even the simplest problems in basic physics. Some years ago, a physician I had corresponded with on-line via one of the medical list serves I participate in, got really interested in cryonics. We wrote back and forth discussing various technical and ethical aspects of cryonics. He was very interested in becoming personally involved. He had trained as anesthesiologist, had extensive surgical experience, but had ended up in, off all specialties, neuropsychiatry. At the time, he was based at the U of M in Ann Arbor, MI and it wasn’t long before he found out about CI. So, I guess he made an appointment, or otherwise went for a tour. His interest in cryonics came to a screeching halt. He was really put off by his experience, and one thing which he repeated several times in our subsequent correspondence was his disbelief that someone whom he believed was “on the Aspergers spectrum, could be “in charge of a cryonics operation.” Whether his clinical judgment was correct or not, the difficulty he had, as a physician, with relating to technical matters with CI personnel, was overwhelming.

  13. Rick Potvin says:

    There was no reply button on the thread I wanted to reply to so I’ll post it here. You write

    Even then, they are likely to remain silent unless they perceive that their voice will make a difference. This is especially true if they believe that speaking out could hurt them personally – and mostly, voicing any opinion carries a cost.

    My comment–
    This is quite a statement. If its true, that’s a very serious problem and a good reason for people to not sign up for cryonics until that problem is fixed.

    • admin says:

      Chuckle. Well, you’ve got a big job ahead of you, and a LONG wait, because this behavior is intrinsic to human nature. For instance, even though the management, and many other influential people in CI and Alcor have said little or nothing about either Chronosphere, or me, I know with a high degree of certainty that their opinions and feelings range from serious disapproval and distaste, to outrage and in some cases near constant preoccupation with thoughts about how to stop what is happening here. But understand, this is not unique to cryonics. It is how life proceeds in most spheres of human action. Gossip is a manifestation of this; people don’t tell the person they are trashing or (usually) the person being trashed, what is being said about them, because that isn’t necessary to achieve their end, it would result in CONFLICT, and it alerts the person being attacked that they are, in fact, under attack, which then gives them the opportunity to defend themselves, or to prepare to. Most people hate conflict and will do almost anything to avoid it – as well they should, because conflict is costly, draining, and tends to breed more conflict. If you tried to right every wrong, of change every one and every situation that displeased you in just one 8 hour day, you’d be exhausted, dead, or both. So mostly, people say little publicly, network behind the scenes, and bide their time. When the tide has turned and they deem it SAFE, or SAFE ENOUGH, they will join the fray. Until then, no. — Mike Darwin

      • Rick Potvin says:

        I think its intrinsic to cults, not human nature or organizations in general.

      • Luke Parrish says:

        I’m with Mike on this one. Gossip is extremely common, in far too many contexts to be considered uniquely cultish. But at the same time I think it’s possible (and important) to create environments where people aren’t so likely to gossip or otherwise indulge in quiet conflict. The main thing in my opinion is to criticize processes, not people.

        • Rick Potvin says:

          Luke, I wasn’t referring to gossip. I was referring to Mike’s pointing out that speaking up about something could get you into trouble. Mike wrote

          This is especially true if they believe that speaking out could hurt them personally – and mostly, voicing any opinion carries a cost.

          Mike introduced the idea of gossip as “a manifestation of this”– which he should not have done because what I’m referring to, as you can see from my earlier posts in this thread, is not gossip but conjecture based on actions that don’t otherwise make sense.

          • Luke Parrish says:

            Well this is a different subject, but I don’t see anything particularly extraordinary about Ben’s actions or the circumstances of Bob’s deanimation. He was very old by our primitive technological standards, and evidently there were relatives on hand capable of cooling him quickly in the event that he perished during Ben’s short absence. I’m sure Ben was looking forward to attending the cryobiology conference and visiting the de Wolfs.

        • admin says:

          You’re right Luke, when you say that gossip isn’t uniquely cultish. The proof of that is everywhere and at every convenience store and supermarket check out. The tabloids are gossip made flesh. It is also more ironic than I can adequately put into words that Rick is so clueless about gossip, because that is exactly what he likes to write and post. The formal definitions of gossip are: “1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature. 2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.” Gossip can be true or false, but most commonly it is some parts fact and some parts speculation. The speculation part, is however, never dull. It is always amazing, unusual or sensational. Seeing the UPS man take a package INSIDE Mary’s home whilst her husband was at work becomes, “Mary is having sex with UPS delivery man!” Dropping off ice chests at a dying cryonics patients home before an ill-considered trip, becomes cryo-euthanasia. And because the person who is the recipient of the gossip is not quite as thrilled as they were when they first heard it, they are apt to extend on its substance, just a little, to make it a bit more dramatic and a bit more gratifying for the next recipient. That kind of process is pernicious and can usually be easily stopped by saying, “I don’t want to hear your bullshit speculations, show me the FACTS. How do you know, with reasonable and RESPONSIBLE certitude that what you are saying is TRUE?” And you can’t get around the responsible part by saying, “Well IF my speculations are correct, then they are so important that _____________. In fact, the reverse is true, the greater the harm such speculation or theorization can do, the greater the requirement is that the evidence be sound, or even unimpeachable.

          In the more casual and less malicious sense, gossip is a good thing. Few would want to live in a world where they could get no private and honest information about the people and institutions with whom they must interact, and often rely upon. I could not even begin to count the times I’ve been spared harm or loss by the well timed and credible warning of a friend to NOT deal with an individual or business – followed on by a specific and detailed personal experience (which was credible) or with other, reliable third-party information (check them out with the BBB or at X-website on line, before you deal with them). Countless people have been spared a bad sexual or romantic experience by a well-timed warning from friends and associates who’ve had prior bad experience.

          However, because there are often really bad consequences to saying negative things about a person, a business, or an institution, even if they are true – and in fact especially if they are true, much of the really valuable information we need for decision making is not in the public sphere. This is true even today, with the Internet. Or if it is on the web, is it true? A good personal example for me is the Scientologists. My thoughts about Scientology were about the same as my thoughts about the saffron robe clad Hari Krishnas; mostly I didn’t think about them, and I still don’t. But then, back in the late 1990s our COO at 21CM, started getting these phone calls inquiring if she knew I was a close associate of a known pedophile! Say what???!!??? She screened all my calls, and since the caller wasn’t on the “OK List,” she would attempt to take a message. Given that the messages sounded like would be solicitations for donations, or the clever antics of a would-be vendor, I didn’t return the calls. So, the next step was for the caller to say what he did! And it worked, I took his next call; the ashen look on the face of company COO was all that was required. As it turned out, the guy was a very nasty private investigator, the kind you only see in movies, hired by the Church of Scientology. He wanted to know everything I knew about a former Alcor Director who was in conflict with the church. I laughed. I hadn’t had any dealing with that Director in years, what’s more, the man hated my guts, and what’s even more to the point, I knew absolutely nothing that would be of any use to the PI. That’s pretty much what I told him. But, he wasn’t satisfied at that. He launched into a laundry list of lurid allegations against this man and he even took the trouble to MAIL me a copy of the court records, investigatory results, and all sorts of assorted other mayhem. AND to mail same to the 21CM COO! Some months later, I learned from my ex, former Alcor Director and member Al Lopp, that the same creep went to his home and finally left a similar package of material under the windshield wipers of his car. This, after filling up his answering machine many times over with phone calls!

          I tell this story for several reasons. First, it shows how dangerous it can be to publicly criticize some institutions publicly. The good thing about the Scientologists is that you KNOW what will happen if you really get under their skin. You may not read about it in the newspaper, but if you ask around, even a little, you’ll get the 411, as they say today. Second, for every Scientology, there are a perhaps 1,000 institutions that will come after you as badly, or worse, but will never show their hand. Ditto individuals.

          It is generally preferable to criticize actions rather than people, but this isn’t always either practical, or desirable. In fairness to the people who despise me/my actions, how are they are going to criticize just what I do, and not me? My actions don’t just come into being absent association with a person, in this case me. And what’s more, at this point, it is, regrettably, mostly just me. In fact, organizations can often be really good shields, deflectors, or “covers”for individuals who engage in bad acts. Merrill-Lynch engaged in dishonest behavior, the US government water-boarded detainees or POWs…. There has to be a balance of responsibility for actions between the institution and the individual and between the individuals WITHIN an institution who are responsible for, and who enable bad acts on the part of employees or management. Corporate CEOs and managers who do bad things are most often the ones held responsible (to the extent that anyone is), but the Board’s of these institutions are almost never held responsible – even though, when they know and tolerate such behavior over long periods of time, they are in fact, morally and legally culpable. It is also very much the case that there are individual bad actors. There are people whose only intent is to steal, game the system, or in rarer cases, actively cause pain and do harm, because they enjoy it. It is futile, and indeed counterproductive, to try to deal with such people only in terms of their actions, because the root cause of their actions isn’t error, misjudgement, or even flawed reasoning: Rather, it is a focused desire to steal or cause harm. And it doesn’t matter whether they are sane as day, or total psychopaths. Finally, when you are in any kind of war or battle with an enemy who absolutely means to harm or destroy or you (for whatever reason), you will be unable to muster effective defense unless you personalize your struggle.

          Which of these two sentences speaks to you most urgently for action:

          1) The person is now applying a nylon cord ligature around the cervical spine area of the youngster and cinching it tight.


          2) This crazy SOB has a rope around that little kids neck and is strangling him.

          –Mike Darwin

          • Rick Potvin says:

            I plead “not guilty” to gossip. This “court”, such as it is, is simply refusing to consider Ettinger’s own plans. Here is Ettinger’s talking to me in Cold Filter about those plans…


            How is gossip for me to point this out?

            I think I’ll make this my final post in this blog. I can see I’m spinning my wheels. Thanks for publishing at least what you did, Mike, without removing my posts or blocking them. Good luck with your excellent blog but I think I won’t post again given this mischaracterization of my work as gossip.

          • admin says:

            Rick, you are currently banned from posting here, and I have unapproved all of your previous posts, and here is why. You have created a link embedded in your name, so that if anyone clicks on your name whilst attempting to access the comments thread to which you have posted, they are redirected to your web site of irresponsible and lunatic speculation. Since the technical experts who advise me do nor know how this was done, and since other readers are now warned, I am leaving THIS post from you up just along for them to sort the problem.

            There will be a fair number of people chortling with glee that that is what I get for letting you post here. They can laugh as they like, but I have no regrets; the principle involved was and remains important, and a few of the issues you raised provoked discussion and exposition of genuine merit.

            Finally, I would point out to you personally and publicly that the use of redirects or other attempts to end-run discussion which the administrator (me, Mike Darwin) deems irresponsible, unfounded, slanderous, or otherwise inappropriate for Chronosphere, will not be tolerated. This is a moderated forum. It is an incredibly generous one in tolerating a wide range of opinion, and it even tolerates individuals posting URLs where they would like to continue discussion deemed inappropriate here. It does NOT tolerate embedded links that divert unknowing readers who, by the way, were both confused and unhappy to find themselves in the Alice in Wonderland world that you have created on line. Your latest post (today) will come down within 24 hours. — Mike Darwin

          • admin says:

            Rick, NO MORE COMMENTS HERE ABOUT YOUR FANTASIES ABOUT BOB ETTINGER’s legal death and cryopreservation. If you continue to post on this totally unfounded and I might add, untrue “theory”of yours I will ban you from posting on Chronosphere. I might add that this kind of crazy nonsense is unarguably one of the most compelling reasons to have thorough and redundant audiovisual documentation of cryonics patients’ care. — Mike Darwin

          • Rick says:

            DeRivaz banned me from YahooNewCryonet for asking when we can expect a case report. Freep supported my call for at least a time frame but DeRivaz ignored his comment and attacked me instead. Interesting, no? Click on my name above to see his actual response.

          • admin says:

            Yes, and I’ll ban you here if you raise the issue one more time. You’ve used up your allotment. The question has been asked. I might also add that CI has the longstanding policy of allowing relatives to forbid disclosure of even anonymous case histories. So it is possible that the Ettinger family may request same. — Mike Darwin

  14. The so called “embedded” website in his name is nothing nefarious. It is a feature of WordPress if you fill in the website box when you post a reply. It is standard and automatic, and I doubt Potvin was even aware of it. This is not a crafty redirect, but your blog operating normally. As an example, I set my name to go to a website of my choice. I don’t think your experts are very expert.

    There is no shame in banning Potvin for being an idiot. But banning him for being a master hacker is just laughable.

    • admin says:

      Mostly, I take criticism well;-): my experts can speak for themselves, if they so choose. At any rate, thanks for enlightening me. I would also add that there is no shame in being legitimately wrong, or ignorant for that matter, especially in areas outside of your sphere of expertise, or competence. My level of knowledge with respect to WordPress is microscopic, but growing. I would also add that this is the kind of thing that I have little aptitude for, and even less interest. I can use all the help I can get! I now know a bit more, and it was really useful. Again my thanks. — Mike Darwin.

    • unperson says:

      the ever-crafty Potvin is a master hacker, I’ll have you know. He even uses WEB TV!

      • Rick says:

        There was no reply button on Mike’s latest post about the link on my name so I’ll respond here.

        Mike, when a visitor to your site clicks on REPLY, they get 4 fields. Three of them are already filled out automatically but can be changed.. Name, email, and website. Then the comments box itself. The name and email are required fields but the website field is optional. Mine was automatically filled in with the website I normally post under.

        I’ve removed my original website and replaced it with what you might call a redirect– although it was never intended to be a redirect– and certainly is not labelled that way on your blog. Redirects technically are something that interrupt a page-load and “redirect” the user to a page they did not anticipate. To call the link behind my name a redirect is a misuse (even abuse) of the term. To say that I redirected your readers thusly is simply not true as any visitor here would agree.

        I’ve changed the URL in my name-linked field so you can visit the site where I’ve replicated and will continue some of the work I’ve done here. You’re invited to post there on the topic you say you want to ban for here. Eventually, the angle I’m covering will be available more widely anyway. Once the full case report is published, I’ll correlate it with my theory and see what comes of it.

    • Rick says:

      So I’m an idiot, in your view? Give 3 good reasons. Let’s see what you really have in your quiver. I’ll bet there’s nothing there.

      • admin says:

        The only reason I approved Bosch’s comment was because it contained useful information – not because he called you an idiot in it. Ad hominem between posters is not acceptable here. It is sometimes acceptable to use ad hominem on 3rd parties – but even then you must articulate the reasons, and they should be good ones. As an example, the cryobiologist Arthur Rowe endless parrots the Cryobiologist Peter Mazur’s remark that cryonics patients have about as much chance of being recovered as “hamburger.” Arthur Rowe is a vicious fool; not for making this remark, but for making it endlessly, for using erroneous pseudo-scientific “examples” to support it, and because his motives are not communicate scientific fact or protect the public from what he genuinely perceives as fraud, but rather because he personally hates cryonics. I know this true because Arthur Rowe was once more than willing to help cryonicists (and in fact did so) until he found out we were at that time broke and incapable of giving him money. I have also had the benefit of hearing from his colleagues first-hand reports of his loathing for cryonics and for its basis; namely that he is angry over the media coverage cryonics gets and his perceived belief that it damages cryobiology and causes him to have spend all his time saying we are freezing hamburgers. So, a guy like that, feel free to use ad hominem. Otherwise, please don’t.

  15. Mark Plus says:

    Do You Want To Live Forever? Trifecta Examines the Morality of Immortality

  16. I’m back!

    Reanimation technology has now been perfected! My cryonics test worked!!!! I’m feeling a bit woozy but otherwise I’m intact. I’ve initiated my anti-aging program and look much the same as I did at 80. I expect to be back to a normal metabolic rate and 30 year old appearance within 24 hours. I’ll be keeping my name although I’ll add “II”after it… as in Robert Ettinger II (the second).

    Thanks to the cryonics crews, reanimation team members and anti-aging crew. I now expect to be immortal. Join me by signing up with CI and the rest of our program today!


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