Comments on: Bon Voyage, Fred Chamberlain A revolution in time. Thu, 11 Apr 2013 01:11:28 +0000 hourly 1 By: Bon Voyage, Fred Chamberlain | methuselahunbound Bon Voyage, Fred Chamberlain | methuselahunbound Sat, 23 Feb 2013 08:30:35 +0000 [...] Chronosphere article and obituary [...]

By: Taurus Londono Taurus Londono Fri, 27 Jul 2012 01:11:43 +0000 “The GenY/GeNexters significance is mostly in the context of the irresponsible and clueless leadership they will likely exercise.”

I’d take exception that dubious, sweeping generalization since I and the vast majority of my personal friends and colleagues are among that generation…But I know that you don’t have a very good track record when it comes to perspective and predictions regarding politics.

I have a deep and fundamental respect for your points of view when they’re based on more than the barest shred of secondhand knowledge.

By: chronopause chronopause Sat, 31 Mar 2012 06:25:44 +0000 Great, then you can expect my reply here as post on Chronosphere fairly shortly. It will be a straight up exposition of what I believe is the most pressing research problem facing cryonics, how to determine if this is so, and how to determine its extent and frequency in what I believe will be a fairly straightforward and cost effective way. I’m not sure yet if any exposition on solving the problem is merited before it is first verified and its scope and severity determined. This is not meant to be a research proposal or a highly structured plan, but rather (hopefully) a good exposition of the problem and how to probe it further.

If you sent me a subsequent email, to my last one to you on the topic, I did not receive it and I apologize for the inferences drawn. That’s ever a problem when communication is poor and conditions adverse; there is a tendency (inevitability) to assume the worst. If this is the case here, I plead guilty. As you may know (and this is no joke) I’ve been (and continue) to have very serious difficulties with DSL access here which include hours long bouts of frequent disconnections (several a minute). This has played havoc with my correspondence and my productivity.

I have other, more sophisticated ideas, and certainly a lot more exciting ones. But I think it makes sense to lay out one idea at a time. This doesn’t mean that several projects cannot be pursued in parallel – especially if they require very different staff and resources. But, I think it makes sense to keep the consideration process linear.

I’m also sure I”m not alone in having ideas and hopefully good ones. I’d urge you and others to share those because, at least at this time in cryonics, interaction and brainstorming are likely to be more valuable than any hope of eventual commercialization. And, after all, as I can tell you from hard experience, a good idea, even proved out in the laboratory isn’t any guarantee of financial return or marketplace advantage — Mike Darwin

By: Max More Max More Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:22:19 +0000 To Rick Potvin: “How did Fred predict his ETD (estimated time to deanimation) so accurately?”

He didn’t. He almost didn’t make it to Scottsdale. I’m not going to go into the details before clearing them with Linda. All I will say now is that we worked hard to ensure than Fred made it to a Scottsdale hospice in his last week (for now, we hope). He actually lasted a couple of days longer than we expected. As Mike notes, Fred’s strategy was completely legal — and incredibly strong, determined and principled — to refuse food and fluids until his body gave out. Fred (and Linda) were ready for him to go and enter the cryopreservation process, but his (remarkably well-maintained for his age) body wouldn’t quit. He would stop breathing for almost a minute, only to draw another breath. It took six days.

Fred may not have always made great decisions (who does?), but I can tell you that for a guy of his age he had a vascular system in good condition. Poor health habits leading to fragile blood vessels can be disastrous for cryonicists. Happily (given the context), Fred was perfused easily and well. He ALMOST didn’t make it to Scottsdale — but he DID, and he was cooled rapidly, perfused well, and will be cared for as long as it takes.


By: Max More Max More Fri, 30 Mar 2012 08:00:28 +0000 You wrote: “Recently, one of the people from the cryonics organizations contacted to me to inform me that “March was going to be research month.” One can only wonder what they use the other 11 months of the year for there.”

No need to be shy, Mike, That was me. You made that clear in another blog post. I do think about research in EVERY month of the year. What I was saying (which any reasonably reader would surely recognize) was that research would be top priority in that month. Your own writing suggests that, in your mind, *everything* is top priority all the time. Alas, that is an impossible guide to action.

Also, you are disingenuous when you wonder what “they use the other 11 months of the year for there”. You were president of Alcor for as long as anyone has been. True, Alcor was far smaller then. Even so, you must familiar with all the other priorities. If you were truly objectively interested in improving things, rather than in attacking, you would not say something like that.

“This person wanted to know what I thought were the most important research priorities in cryonics? As it turned out, there was no real interest in an answer to that question, at least not from me. I did incidentally, have an answer (there were several) to the question and I offered to give them, but was I was never asked. I wonder what their answer(s) will turn out to be? Oh, BTW, if you want mine, all you have to do is ask – but you do have to ask.”

But I did ask. In a March 9 email, you “asked for some sort of compensation scheme regarding my cryopreservation arrangements and research input”. So, I DID ask for your input. You put conditions on it. You wanted quid pro quo before saying anything. As I’ve made abundantly clear in related contexts, I remain open to compensating you for valuable results-based inputs. If you want compensation before offering even a sketch of a research proposal, you will have to tell me what you what. I’m not telepathic. (Nor is anyone else — one thing I suspect we can agree on.)


By: chronopause chronopause Fri, 30 Mar 2012 06:45:32 +0000 Well, if you mean that Fred, or I, or most decent and reasonable people think that it is both moral and legal for a dying person in misery to refuse food and fluids, even if it hastens their demise a little, then I heartily agree. It’s legal, it’s common practice, its humane and it is done by countless non-cryonicists every day. So, where’s the big issue or the drama?

The answer to that question is that there isn’t any – unless someone can cook up an inference that something sneaky, suspicious or underhanded was afoot. Who do that? I can’t begin to answer that question, but I can tell you that it is the last time you will ever do it here. — Mike Darwin

By: chronopause chronopause Thu, 29 Mar 2012 17:19:41 +0000 I don’t know the particulars of Fred’s situation, but nothing strikes me as unusual about it. From what little I’ve heard, he had an unexpectedly long agonal course once admitted as an inpatient. Fred was “in hospice” for much longer than the time he spent as an inpatient.

For the past 20 years hospice has been evolving as a medical specialty, one of whose goals is to increasingly accurately prognosticate the time course of death. To do so, a number of objective scientific tools have been developed which are working with increasingly precision – especially with cancer patients. The prototypical one of these is the Karnofsky’s scoring system, which I have used myself for many years. Over the past decade it has been increasingly refined. I have reproduced the KPFSS that I used in the mid-1990s. Patients whose score is 20 are no more than 2 weeks away from deanimation. Patients with a KPFS of ~10 will almost invariably die within a week to 10 days.

Your speculations are based in IGNORANCE Rick, ignorance and a salacious desire for drama where there is only heartbreak and hard work. The KPFSS works so well in cancer patients it is stunning; not every time, but in a high percentage of cases. Unfortunately, it is not nearly as predictive for patients with congestive heart failure – at least not those still receiving some treatment for palliation, such as oxygen and diuretics.

Other than good clinical skills, the right tools, a bit of common sense, and often feedback from the patient, there is nothing more required to “predict” your checkout time so accurately. Oh, except for one more thing I forgot to mention: ENORMOUS COURAGE TO FACE THE FACTS. Most people who’ve seen a lot of people die of cancer, or other similar diseases, can easily tell you when the patient is in the last week of life. However, quite understandably, most people don’t really want to hear that news with any precision.

Finally, Arlene Fried was not Fred Chamberlain. Arlene had brain metastases, and she made a personal decision based on her circumstances that her quality of life was no longer acceptable in her dying condition. Ultimately, that’s what most slowly dying people do by deciding not to have a feeding tube placed, IVs started and other life support measures taken. I’m sure this will come as a shock to you Rick, but do you know what the actual primary cause of death is in most cancer patients? Malnutrition and dehydration. In Alzheimer’s Disease they have a quaint euphemism, adapted from pediatric medicine, which is exactly the same thing: Adult Failure to Thrive. — Mike Darwin

Circle the appropriate score.
Patient Name: Date: ID:

Able to carry on normal activity and 100 Normal, no complaints; no evidence of disease.
to work; no special care needed.
90 Able to carry on normal activity; minor signs or symptoms
of disease.
80 Normal activity with effort; some signs or symptoms
of disease.
Unable to work; able to live at home and 70 Cares for self; unable to carry on normal activity or do
care for most personal needs; varying normal work.
amount of assistance needed. 60 Requires considerable assistance, but is able to care for most
of his/her personal needs.
50 Requires considerable assistance and frequent medical care.

Unable to care for self; requires 40 Disabled; requires special care and assistance.
equivalent of institutional or hospital
care; disease may be progressing rapidly. 30 Severely disabled; hospital admission is indicated
although death is not imminent.
20 Very sick; hospital admission necessary; active
supportive treatment necessary.
10 Moribund; fatal processes progressing rapidly.

0 Dead

% of normal pre-morbid weight:
Albumin/Total Protein: WBC: HCT:
Glasgow score:
PO Intake Score: (normal) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 (none)
Fluid balance:
Scored by:

By: Rick Potvin Rick Potvin Thu, 29 Mar 2012 16:25:48 +0000 How did Fred predict his ETD (estimated time to deanimation) so accurately? He spent a very tightly scheduled single week at the Scottsdale hospice. Usually, standbys are not estimated that accurately, are they? If there was intellectual honesty in cryonics, Alcor would publish a graph of the standby times for all cases over time. That would help in costing as well as in determination of physical constraints. Bottom line: I see the possibility of another cryocide here, as I suspected with Ettinger.

Mike Perry wrote that Fred sympathized with Arlene’s “proactive legal death”:

One public case of this sort was Arlene Fried who was cryopreserved (as a neuro or head-only, the rationale being that future technology could very likely create the missing rest of the body) at Alcor’s facility in Riverside, California in June 1990.1 Ms. Fried, who is Linda Chamberlain’s mother, had the loving, attentive support of her daughter and her son-in-law Fred Chamberlain, two cryonics pioneers who well understood and sympathized with her views and what she was attempting. Ms. Fried, terminally ill with cancer that had metastasized to the brain, was cared for during approximately 10 days while her VSED was in progress, receiving only some moistening of her lips and mouth from time, and very limited amounts of fluid internally. She persevered and accomplished her mission of proactive legal death and cryopreservation, escaping both the ravages of the tumor in her head and the autopsy that would have followed had she chosen an easier “exit.”

My comment: I can predict that readers here will naturally attempt to dismiss and even discredit me here (again) on this way of thinking. This post may even be deleted for “speculating” on this matter. However this is “substantiated speculation”– not “unsubstantiated speculation”. Cryonics processing continues to be submerged in its finer details and considerations “until it’s big enough to protect itself”, it has been said. My personal opinion is that publishing the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the “significant truth” related to the crux of the matter we’re concerned with is always the best way forward. It would garner more public attention (and criticism of course) but at the same time, it would create more interest and potential for success.

For the record, my 50K insurance is still being left to Alcor in my “PALM” program… pre arranged last minute.

Reanimation scenarios cannot work without taking the oncoming ice age into account.

By: chronopause chronopause Tue, 27 Mar 2012 04:38:02 +0000 “Why don’t we see more people in their 20′s and 30′s who have taken on cryonics with the kind of fervor you, the Chamberlains and others displayed at one time?”

The answer to that is simple, it’s the implementation that’s complex: You have to be inspired to be inspiring. I’ve really held back in writing about Fred Chamberlain for a lot of reasons, many of which I’m not comfortable talking about at this time. But one thing I’ve said before and can certainly say again is that Fred was an inspiring man.

I had two “dads” in cryonics, one was Curtis Henderson and the other was Fred Chamberlain. Curtis was a Charles Addamsesque kind of dad who froze dead bodies; the kind of dad who would take you to saloons, to mortuaries, to places where girls with long hair named Suzie Cream Cheese sat in a room full of mattresses along with guys with long hair and no shirts. Fred was a Robert Heinleinesque kind of dad who took you meetings where people talked about universes where the guys who created intellectual property ran the world and this stuff called polywater made suspended animation practical and everybody had gold bullion in a safe and it was perfectly normal to have a cryogenic dewar to store your dying father’s head in stashed in a shed behind your modest suburban home.

Now both of those dads were absolutely barking, crazy mad by any objective criteria. But they were also inspiring. Curtis Henderson was a lawyer and an absolutely amazing student of history – particularly the history of warfare and capitalism. He was a pilot, a welder, and a superb craftsman with both metal and wood. He also had a great intuitive understanding of mechanical systems – he could pull and repair auto and boat engines and he understood the basics of cryogenic engineering. Fred Chamberlain was an I triple E, but he wasn’t just a theoretical guy – just like Curtis he had enormous hands skills. He could solder, weld, and had enormous facility with a wide range of electronic and mechanical systems. What’s more, his expertise extended into the range of chemistry. And like Curtis, indeed more so, Fred was able to troubleshoot and repair almost any electrical or mechanical device that existed in the 1970s.

Both of these men were incredibly impressive. They were impressive to other men their age or older and they were mind blowing to young men or teenagers; just on the basis of their knowledge and their skills sets. But beyond that, they were both intensely engaged with and passionate about both life and cryonics. There was none of this “academic remove” about either of them. When they had fire in their belly you knew it – you couldn’t help but know it. They were excited about cryonics and it leaked out of them in countless ways. That they were remarkable people with remarkable talents and abilities made that “leakage” electric and irresistible.

Nothing has changed. We’re still working on that time machine. Right now, I’ve got a really straightforward and incredibly important and pressing research project critical to cryonics that needs to be done. I’ve even got some incredibly subversive and insurgent rejuvenation projects. They’re much, much wilder than the one Fred and I discussed on the phone that summer night 40 years ago in front of the Piggly Wiggly in Augusta. They just have to be electrified and sold. — Mike Darwin.

You know, I want to say a little bit more about this and about Fred. Here was this fantastically bright and talented man and he would go off to work at JPL everyday. Now, keep in mind he was working at very edge of what was possible in his technological domain. Fred was in charge of the sun sensor/ Canopus tracker on the Voyager spacecraft and we corresponded about that in the months before he was cryopreserved. I want to share with you some of what he wrote: “On the Voyager subject, your email inspired some photographing of an old sun detector I’d taken with me (it was by that time, considered to be ‘scrap’) when I left JPL. I’d glued it to a ‘group’ certificate that arrived in the mail, somewhat wrinkled, a few months after leaving JPL to move to Tahoe, but as you’ll see from the closeup photos of it, where there are solder joints indicating that at one time it had been installed in a full-up sun sensor assembly, it’s one of those that might have flown but probably was removed, due to some performance problem in subsystem testing. Anyway, it’s one of those artifacts from the past with some significance, probably of the same kind as that sun detector you remember that very well might have been fully flight-qualified and have ‘made the trip’ as one of the four that actually flew (two per spacecraft, for biaxial stabilization).

One of the interesting things about the sun detector program was that the development program finally led to a production process involving about seventeen different steps of thin film depositions on the black glass substrates and heat treatments between depositions, with areas of corruption on the detector surfaces which made various detectors unsuitable, depending on the areas involved and how they were installed. Nevertheless, by knowing which parts of the detectors had to be most accurate, and by accelerated life testing to see if the corruption problem would progress or remain stable, choices were made so that in the end it was possible to use detectors that were imperfect in some respects, but functional enough in the essential fields of vew to be satisfactory. The very best detector of all was never flown. Why not? Because it was so good it could have replaced any of the others if one had failed in final system test, so it was the only one versatile enough to serve as the final and ultimate backup against a last minute failure prior to launch.

Even more fascinating, perhaps, was the fact that to solve a two to three hundred thousand dollar overrun on having to make extra detectors and investigate the corruption problem, a decision was made to eliminate the “auxiliary sun sensors” that generally would have been used to roughly position the main sun sensor for fine control. Instead, a “roll search” strategy was used with the gyros to find the sun with the relatively narrow angle main sun sensor. Many of those in the decision process were worried. “We’ve never flown a spacecraft without auxiliary sun sensors!” was the conservative argument, but the budget was tight enough so they “threw the auxiliary sun sensors off the spacecraft”, and relied on gyro acquisition. It worked just fine.”

You can sense his engagement and interest in his work at JPL in the paragraphs he has written above. And yet, I have but one overriding memory of that time: his desire to be free of his job at JPL and to work full time on cryonics. In fact, to work full time on cryonics and to never look back. So, here’s this guy working on interplanetary spaceships – two of them if you’re counting – and all he can think about is cryonics! That really happened. And here’s the pity. At that time in his life Fred was uniquely positioned to have made a huge contribution to cryonics. He knew it and so did all of us. That was a great part of the frustration of being a cryonicist in his position at that time. You could see that no matter how hard you worked, no matter how great your struggle, you were always going to be performing at a small fraction of your rated capacity. So I would say of Fred Chamberlain that he was at once an Atlas who hurled clockworks at the stars and also a Sisyphus constrained to keep a boulder in its groove. Any way you look at them, both are damned impressive feats. — MD

By: chronopause chronopause Sun, 25 Mar 2012 06:52:29 +0000 The cryonics community was never very cohesive. Wasn’t then; isn’t now. This is a problem. I suppose it has some advantages too. I mean, imagine if it was utterly cohesive in Nelson’s day?

Art Quaife and those around him in Trans Time (TT) in the mid-1970s sincerely believed that TT was going to be the “IBM of the ’90s.” That’s a direct quote. In which case there should be tens of millions of people cryopreserved about now. I think Thomas and I were probably pretty far apart on this one, and here’s why I say that. I’m not a numbers person. I have only the vaguest grasp of the world in numerical terms. In fact, I was stunned to learn it was Saturday today – more stunned to learn what day of the month it was. Having said that, if you cast you mind back to, say, 1984 and you look at the growth rate for Alcor – just Alcor – in terms of members and patients, take 20% off of that, extrapolate it to today, then that’s about where I thought then (and think now) we should have been. I don’t know how closely that comes to Thomas’ number for patients in cryopreservation – because I never really thought in those terms. The idea of patients in cryopreservation has always horrified me. “Converts” uplifted me, patients horrified me.

That may seem a rather malignant or callous attitude to have. And it would be, if it were accompanied by the attitude that I didn’t want to try and save every single dying individual person who was reaching for cryonics that I could. But that is very different than setting out as a goal to just recruit lots and lots of patients, per se, as in say, doing outreach through mortuaries or intensive care units! BTW, I’m bracing myself for just such a mad scheme any day now.

If memory serves me, I think projections for 2010 in terms of members were something like 4K to 6K, the latter being pretty optimistic. I know that in the early 1990s Ralph Whlean did a projection out to I think, 2005 or 06, and he put the patient population at around 400, which I though was very high at the time. So if Thomas was projecting 6K by 2000, I don’t think I’d have bought that in say, 1978. But then, historically, I’d say I have been the the most pessimistic person in cryonics about the likelihood for the growth and acceptance of cryonics. Until now.

No, I don’t think cryonics is going to sweep the planet and become the next Marxism or the next i-anything. As I’ve long and often said, suspended animation could be developed and proved out tomorrow, and it would be still be decades before its widespread, let alone universal implementation. These are ideas as big as antisepsis and anesthesia which took easily three decades to reach global acceptance. Even birth control is far from fully accepted today!

The problem with cryonics now is wholly endogenous, not exogenous. It’s an internal moron problem not an external moron problem. The culture has lots of niche space for cryonics. It’s true, that the temper of the culture is pro death and suicidal, but it is also a very disorganized and wealthy culture – it is NOT North Korea! There is lots of wiggle room. The problem is this distracted, foggy, disorganized, moronic and utterly ineffective “leadership.” No ideas, no energy, no insurgency, no activism, no nuthin.

So now, at this late (for me) stage of the game, I find myself in the peculiar position of saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve never seen more favorable conditions for growth. There are, by comparison to the first 30 years, MASSIVE numbers of scientists supporting our position, there are increasing amounts of DIRECT evidence supporting the viability of cryonics, there are DOCUMENTED ultrastructural studies demonstrating preservation of brain synaptic connectivity…NONE of that was available when we were growing EXPONENTIALLY in the early 1980s. So, who’s FAULT is that?

Recently, one of the people from the cryonics organizations contacted to me to inform me that “March was going to be research month.” One can only wonder what they use the other 11 months of the year for there. This person wanted to know what I thought were the most important research priorities in cryonics? As it turned out, there was no real interest in an answer to that question, at least not from me. I did incidentally, have an answer (there were several) to the question and I offered to give them, but was I was never asked. I wonder what their answer(s) will turn out to be? Oh, BTW, if you want mine, all you have to do is ask – but you do have to ask.– Mike Darwin