Alcor News

Alcor News

News Blog of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation

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.

Link Roundup 1/6

Wait But Why, April 2016, “Why Cryonics Makes Sense” – This is probably now the most read piece in history about the pros and cons of cryonics. It was republished with permission in our magazine. Eight months later, our website still gets decent traffic from this article, and no link roundup would be complete without it. If you’re looking for one article to share with a friend who hasn’t thought about the issue, this is it.

The Economist, February 6, 2016, “Wait Not In Vain” – An excellent piece about the developing business of organ banking. The potential XPRIZE award is currently available to be voted on.

Scientific American, February 1, 2016, “Can Our Minds Live Forever?” – This is a change for Shermer, who wrote a 2001 editorial in Scientific American titled “Nano Nonsense and Cryonics“.

MIT Technology Review, October 19, 2015, “The Science Surrounding Cryonics” – If you haven’t already seen the study from a year ago involving memory retention in cryopreserved roundworms, you should. This article links to that study as part of a longer discussion about cryonics and consciousness.

The Journal of Medical Ethics, February 25, 2015, “The case for cryonics” – I hate linking to articles behind a paywall, but if you’re looking for a thorough treatment of this topic, here it is.

Journal of Critical Care, December 2014, “The Future of Death” – An excellent piece on the changing nature of the boundary between life and death. “If future technologies come to include nanotechnological interventions to enter cells and reverse structural and molecular changes that prevent natural return to normal cell function, then even neuronal cell death as currently understood is not a loss of the capacity to return to consciousness. Whether a patient is living or dead depends on time, place, and circumstances as much as it does on biology.”

Benford back with new edition of Chiller

Gregory Benford: “In the early 1990s it seemed time for a novel that looked at cryonics with a view of how it might play out in our time.

I think it’s still time to reconsider the fundamental issues of cryonics, and indeed, of any attempt to live far into the long future before us. In a time of strange religious passions and ideas, we need to realize what the future might hold, and so how high the stakes are.

So I somewhat rewrote and now reissue it here.”

 

Australian Adventist Media Network

An Australian production crew for the Adventist Media Network visited Alcor to film an episode for an upcoming series entitled “Beyond.” The project is a series of fifteen documentaries which follows a native Australian as he travels the world looking beyond and asking bigger picture questions about life in the modern world, religion, spirituality and life extension technology, including the amazing new advances in scientific possibility through cryonics.

Aaron Drake was filmed as he conducted a tour of the Alcor facility. Joe Waynick was also interviewed to discuss how religious beliefs can coexist with cryonics.

Media

We hosted a crew of about nine people for filming of “Science Impossible” for the History Channel, a new series to air in the spring. This piece includes interviews with Aubrey de Grey, Ray Kurzweil and Robert Lanza, among others.

We were also visited by a reporter from Cronkite News Service, who writes stories that are published in newspapers all over the state. The article is titled: Some banking on cryonically freezing after death

Media

Cheryl Knight from The Institution of Engineering and Technology visited Alcor and the Cryonics Institute and published a positive, refreshing and an in-depth article on cryonics. A science without a deadline reports on: the cryopreservation process; a symbol of hope; possibility of revival; ethics; skeptics; and clears up myths about cryonics.

Media

Tanya Jones and a local member were interviewed at Alcor for a documentary about ways people are attempting to live longer. It includes interviews with Aubrey de Grey and Ray Kurzweil.