Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

The Prophets of Science Fiction

This is a series of eight shows produced by Tony and Ridley Scott. It’s about SF’s greatest writers and how they have influenced technology and culture. The last show is about Robert Heinlein and includes an interview with Alcor member Mark Voelker on cryonics and Robert Heinlein’s novel, The Door Into Summer. It will air on the Science Channel at 10PM E/P on Wednesday February 29th.

Alcor-40 2012 Conference

Five years have passed since Alcor held a conference. 2012 is also Alcor’s 40th year. That means it’s time to hold a conference this year. The date and venue are now settled:

Friday October 19 to Sunday October 21, 2012.

Scottsdale Plaza, 7200 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253.
Rooms are $159/night for single and double rooms.

Registration rates will be decided soon.

The conference is an excellent forum where Alcor members and friends can catch up with one another, learn about the latest thinking in cryonics, and visit Alcor. At the same time, my goal is to keep expenses under control, aiming for the event to pay for itself.

Which speakers and topics would appeal to you? Our budget for speaker expenses will be extremely limited, but don’t assume that a well-known speaker will not be available without speaking fees.

Rather than cramming in as many speakers as possible, there will be ample time between sessions. The conversation and networking opportunities are one of the most valuable aspects of conferences.

Cryonics January-February 2012

The January-February 2012 issue of Cryonics marks the return of Alcor’s magazine as a bi-monthly professionally printed publication. This issue features two major articles on cryonics and brain-threatening disorders. The first article, by Cryonics editor Aschwin de Wolf, provides a framework for thinking about identity-destroying brain diseases and discusses what Alcor members can do to prevent them from threatening your cryopreservation. Alcor staff member Mike Perry returns to the topic of  brain-threatening disorders and presents his updated findings on the options available to cryonicists who have been diagnosed with such a disease, (like Alzheimer’s).

After being CEO at Alcor for one year, Alcor CEO and President Max More reflects on his Alcor experience to date and we get a look into the interesting career of one of the pioneers of transhumanism. Another Alcor veteran, Russel Cheney, contributes an article about the importance of “superfunding” your cryopreservation arrangements.

Click on the cover image to download PDF version.

New Alcor staff member

Alcor is pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Shock to the position of Membership Communications Director. Lisa has participated in cryopreservation cases at Alcor and has helped out in other ways. The staff, management, and the board welcome Lisa to the Alcor staff. We also thank Life Extension Foundation for funding this new position for the first year.

Lawsuits against Larry Johnson End; Johnson Issues Statement

Alcor’s lawsuits against Larry Johnson have been ended by his bankruptcy and various concessions.  In 2009 Alcor sued authors Larry Johnson, Scott Baldyga, and publisher Vanguard Press in New York for their book Frozen, which purported to be about Alcor.  The lawsuit was filed to obtain damages for the false and defamatory content of the book, to enforce prior court orders and agreements which publication of the book directly violated, and to protect the privacy of Alcor members.  Bankruptcy papers filed by Johnson end Alcor’s ability to collect damages related to this lawsuit from Mr. Johnson, unless there is a subsequent violation of terms by Mr. Johnson.  All court orders remain in force to prevent future violations.

In connection with the end of litigation, Larry Johnson has issued this public statement:

“When the book Frozen was written, I believed my conclusions to be correct.  However information unknown to me and a more complete understanding of the facts furnished by ALCOR contradict part of my account and some of my conclusions.  In light of this new information from ALCOR, some parts of the book are questioned as to veracity.

“For example my account of the Ted Williams cryopreservation, which was not based upon my first-hand observation as noted in my book, is contradicted by information furnished by ALCOR.  I am not now certain that Ted Williams’ body was treated disrespectfully, or that any procedures were performed without authorization or conducted poorly.

“To the extent my recollections and conclusions were erroneous, and those recollections and errors caused harm I apologize.”

False allegations of mistreatment of member remains were the centerpiece of sensational publicity sought by Mr. Johnson in 2003, and subsequently during his promotion of the book Frozen in October 2009.  Yet they were just a few of the many falsehoods contained in the book Frozen and the surrounding publicity.  The lawsuit against the book’s coauthor, Scott Baldyga, and publisher, Vanguard Press, continues in New York.  Alcor is seeking money damages against Mr. Baldyga and Vanguard Press for aiding and abetting violation of court orders, ignoring valid court injunctions, and otherwise assisting in the distribution of false information about Alcor.

Alcor CEO, Max More, stated, “We are very pleased that Mr. Johnson has publicly retracted his allegations about Alcor.  Alcor feels vindicated from the falsehoods perpetrated by Mr. Johnson.  Alcor is a professional cryopreservation facility dedicated to the well-being and privacy of its members.”

Medical Response Director Report

Case Report for A-1546
A-1546 was born in Raton, New Mexico, a city just south of the Colorado-New Mexico border, on November 26th, 1938.  Known as ‘Bucky’, he served with honor in the US Coast Guard, and then attended the Colorado School of Mines to become a land surveyor. He was a husband, father, grand-father and was married to his wife for 41 years.

A-1546 possessed a brilliant and analytical mind, had a keen sense of humor and an unquestionable personal ethic.  A member of Mensa, he eagerly embraced technological innovation, and was a vocal proponent of future developments.

A-1546 became a member of Alcor in 1995.  His health declined in his early 70’s from metastatic gastric cancer and his clinical death occurred at 5:20 PM on November 9th of 2011, at his home in Kirkland, WA.  This case report will be published to Alcor’s website shortly.

Public Education & Media
Alcor has conducted 4 tours this past month with a total of 37 attendees.  This included two separate tours for a local college’s medical ethics course where students could learn and discuss the various aspects of postmortem directives, anatomical donations, interactions with medical providers and cooperation from relatives.

Another tour was provided for Dr. Jaime Lagunez from Cuernavaca, Mexico who is the Scientific Director of the American Association of Cryopreservation.  As a human rights activist, he strongly supports cryonics as a personal choice and is working to promote the continued development of the science throughout Spanish speaking nations.

During 2011, there were a total of 61 tours given for 246 attendees.  Groups included Arizona State University, Ottawa University, Glendale Community College, Tucson Unified School District, Bryman College, Barry Aaron’s office, TEDMED and the World Futurist Society.  International visitors came from Finland, Russia, China, Italy and Mexico.

Medical Event Tracking
During the month of December, 7 Alcor members that had either some type of surgery or significant medical procedure performed that we tracked.  Some events were planned and others were urgent.  Either way, we are pleased that members are being proactive and alerting us prior to events occurring.

A typical scenario involves receiving a call from an individual about an upcoming procedure.  Two forms are often provided to the individual – one that allows them to input all of the specifics of their surgery/procedure including date, time, location, surgeon, contacts, etc, – and the other form they give to their medical providers that articulates the purpose of their directives and requests specific action in the event of a clinical death.  Occasionally, calls will be made to the medical providers, at the request of the member, to answer specific questions physicians and/or administrators may have.  Alternatively, if a procedure is urgent and there is no time for this process, the information is recorded and disseminated to the deployment committee for evaluation.

Readiness and Technical Coordinator Report

Overseas Neuro Dry Ice Shipping Container 
With specific performance goals provided by Max More and Steve Graber have been developing a super-duty dry ice international neuro shipping container. (SDDIINSC) The unit that Steve developed with input from Hugh Hixon and Aaron Drake provides a superior level of insulation and travel protection, and a dry ice performance period (sub -70C) of ~4.5 days. The case shell is a cube shape Peli 340 with detachable roller feet and wide lifting handles on either side. It appears to be virtually indestructible. The case innards consist of a standard U-Line brand styrofoam dry ice shipping box which has been modified to our specification and press-fit into the Peli plucked foam protective liner.

Prior dry ice tests performed on the U-line box alone resulted in a dry ice temperature period of ~2.5 days, the insertion of the Styrofoam into the Peli container has extended this time period to at minimum 4.5 days. Steve has several ideas as to how to extend that time frame an additional day or possibly two. During the test, a 4 liter bottle filled with E.G. gel simulating a cryoprotected cephalon was placed in the box. The container was plunge cooled to -70C over a period of 1.5 days using 25 Lbs of crushed dry ice. Once dry ice temp was achieved an additional 12 Lbs of crushed dry ice was added to the box and the box was closed. A thermocouple probe was inserted into the center of the bottle and a second probe was attached to the outer surface of the bottle. The test was run until both thermocouples warmed to ~-50C.  development team added venting to the Peli case to allow the CO2 to vent and the Peli case was opened several times during the test to simulate inspections that will likely occur at various points along its trip. The ‘reload with dry ice’ spike in the graph below was inserted artificially for display clarity.

Administrative Report

Membership Statistics
Alcor had 957 members on its Emergency Responsibility List. Two memberships were approved during the month of December, one membership was reinstated, three memberships were cancelled and one member was cryopreserved. Overall, there was a net loss of one member in December.

Applicant Statistics
Alcor had 42 applicants for membership. Two new applicants were added, three applicants were converted to members and one applicant was cancelled resulting in net a loss of two applicants in November. 

Information Packet Statistics
Alcor received 95 info pack requests in December. Fifteen were handed out during facility tours or from special request. The average total of 104 info packs sent per month in 2011 compares to 199 in 2010. The full Information Packet is now available online.