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The Staff at Alcor
There wasn’t enough room to include Alcor and cryonics in the very recent NOVA Making Things Colder show but the footage was used for a web special, which was just put online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/cryonics.html
On Friday, November 1, 2013 a newly signed up international member became Alcor’s 118th patient. A-2694, a confidential whole-body member, was declared clinically dead on October 27th in the Czech Republic.
A-2694 completed sign-up paperwork just four days before being pronounced and we confirmed receipt of payment for his cryopreservation on the day of pronouncement. The patient was admitted to a hospital in the Czech Republic on Wednesday October 23. Initially, a relative told us that doctors had claimed that conducting cryopreservation procedures in that country would be illegal. That turned out to be incorrect, although there is a requirement to conduct a postmortem. Fortunately, either because of the patient’s dual citizenship or because a close relative was physically present to dismiss that requirement, no postmortem was required. Although payment for cryopreservation had not yet been received, the patient’s brother had the wisdom to wire sufficient funds to allow us to begin preparations (with the invaluable assistance of international funeral directors Rowland Brothers in London) and to send Medical Response Director Aaron Drake to the Czech Republic.
We had hoped to perform a field cryoprotection for the first time. This would have allowed us to cryoprotect the patient and ship him on dry ice. Just recently, we had positioned supplies in England for this purpose. Unfortunately, this turned out to be impossible. In part, this was due to the extremely close time frame for the patient’s sign-up. More critically, however, we ran into incredibly bad luck in that on the day our supplies were to be moved from England to the patient’s location, England was hit by the massive St. Jude storm. Winds of up to 80 mph led to cancelled flights and other major travel disruptions. Even if the patient had been well enough to move him to Germany (as we had suggested), field cryoprotection would not have been feasible.
The patient’s location in the Czech Republic added further difficulties. It turned out that the hospital lacked any ice facilities – a situation that would never happen in a US hospital. When the patient’s condition (based on very limited medical information) seemed to be critical, Aaron Drake got on a flight to the Czech Republic on Sunday October 27. The patient was pronounced while Aaron was still in transit, then placed in the hospital morgue at around 2 degrees Celsius. All the dry ice in the area was purchased and used to cool and pack the patient for air transport to Alcor. A-2694 arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport early in the evening of Friday November 1 and at Alcor around 9:00 pm. The transfer into cool down took a little over an hour. At the time of writing (November 7), the patient is close to completing the cool down process.
Alcor members Max More and Aubrey de Grey will be among the speakers at the Venturist’s Cryonics FAQ Conference in Laughlin, NV, October 25-27. Details here.
Please join the Alcor Northern California Group for a meeting and potluck meal
Date: October 20th – 3:00 pm
Hosted by: Gail Haspert
Where: 745 Lola Lane – Mountain View, CA 94040
For more information: 650-967-2569 or 650-796-0962
Tim Shavers has stepped down from the Alcor board of directors, citing a major move, a second baby, and other major life changes. Tim was elected to the Board of Directors on April 25, 2009. We will miss the considerable time and energy he devoted to his role, and the steady, calm professionalism that he brought to it.
Alcor welcomes Catherine Baldwin to its board of directors. See:
Not long ago, Alcor president Max More proposed that those who had been Alcor members for 20 years or longer should receive a 30% discount on their membership dues. This is a reward for their loyalty and a strong sign than members will not face ever-escalating dues.
Adding to this, at the September 7, 2013 board meeting, Max proposed that members of 25 years standing should receive a 40% discount, and members of 30 years standing should receive a 50% discount. The board unanimously approved the motion. Here is the motion that was passed:
Starting January 1, 2014, the discount on membership dues given to members of 25 years standing will increase from 30% to 40%, and the discount on membership dues given to members of 30 years standing will increase from 30% to 50%.
You’ll have to excuse the newspaper-style headline. The popular story is that Alcor dues just keep going up. (That’s not surprising, since the price of almost everything goes up due to inflation. A dollar today is worth less than a dollar of any previous year. That has been true for many decades.)
However, Alcor members paying the regular rate of dues (that is, not receiving discounts as family members, students, or long-term members) will — from January 1, 2014 — receive a 5% discount. This proposal by Alcor president Max More was supported by the Alcor board at the September 7 board meeting.
5% is not a large amount in absolute terms. But: It is the first time that dues have gone DOWN. Other initiatives presented at the meeting (to be covered in detail in Cryonics magazine) may enable further reductions. We will continue to do our best to reduce the cost of cryonics. Remembers — you will receive a credit on your dues if you get someone else to join and credit you for doing so.
Here is the wording of the motion that passed:
Starting January 1, 2014, dues for members paying the full rate of $620 will be reduced by 5% (rounded down to $30). If funds are received specifically for the purpose of reducing dues (such as through the proposed Membership Dues Reduction Fund), the 5% reduction will be folded into the new reductions rather than added on to them. That is, if the Membership Dues Reduction Fund reduces the top rate by 30%, the reduction will be 30% and not 5% + 30%.