Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Link Roundup 8/12

We’re very proud of our patient care bay, but of course we think about a future in which many thousands of patients are under our care. Turns out there are others thinking about this same future, and so you might enjoy this article on Timeship, an ambitious project intended to be a Noah’s Ark to get cryonicists to the future.

You’ve seen our reports on memory retention after cryopreservation of C. elegans, but now we’re seeing other examples of successful cryopreservations on small, living organisms. The most recent is this report on the successful cryopreservation and thawing of zebra fish embryos. While it’s not obvious that the flash freezing process involved would be relevant on an object the size of the human brain, it’s still an interesting milestone and deserving of future study.

What is that? Win a contest, get cryopreserved? Yep, as a promotion for their new show, The Orville is holding a contest where the grand prize is a lifetime membership to a certain cryonics organization that we all know, and a partial prepayment towards the preservation itself. If you’d like to enter, here’s the link. It’s reminiscent of a similar essay contest features in Omni Magazine many years ago.

There won’t be much new in this article to people who have thought about cryonics a lot. However, it’s worth once every few months getting that reminder that there’s a broader world of non-cryonicists out there, and some of them, when they learn about the idea of cryonics for the first time, don’t reflexively retreat to why death is a positive, but instead open their mind and find the idea very interesting.

I’ve longed argued that just as any rational person signs up for health insurance when they become an adult, similarly any rational person should be signing up for cryonics, as just one of those sensible things that adults should do (assuming the financial means, of course). Well, for the first time an entire company agrees with that principle. Not surprisingly Numerai is a cutting edge hedge fund using AI for its data modeling.

Cryonics Survey

Melanie Swan is doing a cryonics survey for members of existing cryonics organizations and supporters for an upcoming scholarly publication. It takes around 15 minutes to complete. If you are interested in taking the survey, click on the following link:

Cryonics Survey

Link Roundup 3/5

In January we celebrated the cryopreservation of the first person, James Bedford, who remains preserved at Alcor today. Several publications covered the milestone, and of course Alcor has written extensively about Bedford as well. Bedford became an Alcor patient in 1991.

Southern Cryonics is getting ready to break ground on a new cryonics facility in Australia. When completed, it would be the first storage facility not only in Australia, but in the entire southern hemisphere.

Cryonics seldom gets long pieces written about it in major media outlets, but Bloomberg has recently been paying attention. They sent a journalist to Russia to write a very comprehensive piece on KrioRus back in November. That was followed up by a cryonics themed podcast which, despite the negative title, ended up being a very thoughtful, positive discussion about cryonics and transhumanism targeted at folks less familiar with the concepts.

Obviously this blog is focused on Alcor and cryonics, but organ preservation is an important area of research that touches many of the same technologies necessary for human cryopreservation. It’s also an area that the White House has started paying attention to, and now the Pentagon is allocating $160 million to programs aimed at preserving donor organs.

Cryobiologists haven’t historically written a lot of positive pieces about cryonics, but as technology improves, that may change. See this recent piece in Cosmos Magazine. While the contents aren’t likely to be new to an Alcor member, that a lecturer working in cryopreservation at a research institution is saying it is. Those of us who believe the most important thing cryonics advocates can do is shift the Overton window get excited by articles like this.

Research continues into new techniques for preserving and thawing tissues. Recent work at the University of Minnesota suggests that there’s a way to rapidly thaw cryopreserved tissue without damage. The thawing process is considered the most dangerous part of reversible cryopreservation due to ice formation as the tissue warms towards the freezing point. Obviously more work needs to be done before we have something that is practical outside the lab. The full paper can be read here.