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Luke Parrish
Works at Open Dental Software
Attended Treasure Valley Community College
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Part 0: Introduction[edit]. Part 1: Science and Engineering Fundamentals[edit]. Basic Sciences - Physics: Units, Motion, Forces || page 2 Energy, Mechanics, Thermodynamics || page 3 Astronomy, Planetary Science, Chemistry; Orbital Mechanics - Orbits, Velocity Map, Powered Flight, Mass Ratio, ...
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Luke Parrish

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As was pointed out clearly on Max More's rebuttal video (which Dr Kaku obviously never watched, and maybe never heard of), his take on cryobiology is totally "off the shallow end", and inaccurate in important ways.

As one example of his ignorance, ice does not typically begin to form inside of cells, it can only nucleate in extracellular areas.  There is too much protein inside of a cell for ice to begin forming there.  Intracellular ice tends to have crossed over from the extracellular spaces.  This only happens if the temperature drops too fast.  Otherwise, the result is very similar to dehydration.  The water is pulled out of the cell to be added to the ice crystal, causing the contents of the cell to become highly concentrated.  If very cold temperatures are reached, or it is sufficiently dehydrated, the cytosol becomes vitrified.  Suggested reading: http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/~jw/cryoblurb.html

Moreover, glucose is not the only cryoprotectant of note -- not even in the context of wood frogs and fish.  Many other factors are important.  The salt and proteins contained in the frog's cells, which are concentrated due to ice formation, also prevent ice from forming inside the cells.

As to the criticism that we cannot (with today's technology) robustly revive a brain that has been cut off from its body, that is utterly irrelevant to the goals of cryonics.  Apparently it never occurred to Dr Kaku to wonder whether a brain sufficiently well preserved might be reanimated by future technology (such as printing the necessary organs).  Instead he apparently thinks cryonics companies are daft enough to think that it is as easy as reanimating a wood frog that has barely gone below the freezing point of water.  It is both incredible and insulting that he would attribute such ridiculous beliefs to cryonicists -- some of whom are in fact prominent cryobiologists.
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Are creationist parents scared to teach their kids about evolution? Mine sure were. I didn't hear much about it until I read the creationist literature, which completely misrepresents it. How could they not be scared, with my eternal soul hanging in the balance? Any sincere christian who isn't scared of their kid learning about evolution is a moron. The simple fact is that christianity is wrong about the universe, and gets away with this by teaching people to be scared of not being a christian. It doesn't make us 'special' -- that's propaganda to make up for the fact that it teaches kids to be guilty for imaginary crimes and afraid of the worst possible punishment.

Chance random processes? Nonsense. Evolution involves selection of different designs to pick the most favorable. You can't engineer without iteratively selecting the most favorable designs, i.e. applying evolutionary principles. Random inputs, non-random outputs. Wave your hand magic principles don't work. Speaking things into existence doesn't work. There's no "creationary principles" to apply to engineering.

Furthermore, humanism and science aren't exclusive (most scientists are humanist -- they complement each other), so Ken trying to relabel Bill Nye to "the humanist guy" instead of "the science guy" comes across as pretty desperate. How is "humanist" a bad thing? Humanism teaches respect for human life and human rights. What is he trying to promote, inhumanism? If anything, we should be thinking about transhumanism and how we can (safely) progress (evolve!) beyond the current baseline of humanity. We don't need more focus on bronze-age myths, we need more science, reason, empathy, and education.
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"Jerry Lemler was a speaker, and shortly before, in fact very shortly before, his talk he asked whether it would be okay for him to publicize that I was in the process of signing up as a member of Alcor. I did decide that it was fine for him to publicize this, which he did. A couple of hours later I was involved in a meeting of the Board of Directors of the British Society for Research on Aging, which is the learned society, the equivalent would be the American Aging Association, for example. I was on the Board of Directors at that time. And, I only had about five minutes, because I was running a conference, but I came in and they immediately said, “Well, we’ve got a problem here. We don’t think much of the idea of being publicly associated with someone who is going to have their head frozen.” The upshot was that eventually we came to a sort of negotiated compromise whereby I actually removed from my website the information that I was on the Board of Directors of the BSRA. It was a curious, curious conversation, but it definitely left me with no doubt of the implications of the decision I had taken."
 
My personal work-life balance struggles aside, I strongly agree with the following sentiment:

“Ethically, what is the correct thing to do when medicine encounters a difficult problem? Stablize the patient until a solution can be found? Or throw people away like garbage? Centuries from now, historians may marvel at the shortsightedness and rationalizations used to sanction the unnecessary death of millions.”
-- Brian Wowk, Ph.D.

Which statement Max More recently rephrased and made even more explicit:

“We’ll look back on this 50 to 100 years from now — we’ll shake our heads and say, “What were people thinking? They took these people who were very nearly viable, just barely dysfunctional, and they put them in an oven or buried them under the ground, when there were people who could have put them into cryopreservation. I think we’ll look at this just as we look today at slavery, beating women, and human sacrifice, and we’ll say, “this was insane — a huge tragedy.”
-- Alcor CEO Max More, Ph.D.

Though I am tired of being expected to explain and defend myself endlessly when other intelligent people can't be bothered to educate themselves whatsoever prior to initiating a debate. I rarely engage that anymore, unless pressed to do so. It is inevitably a waste of time.

Aubrey de Grey has much more eloquent things to say on this topic (see link).
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This really is an interesting talk, isn't it? He thinks that never having personally done experimental science worked in his favor, allowing him to say what he knows and not worry about the potential effects on funding.

But now he needs vastly greater amounts of money to support the experimental scientists working for him. So he faces the same situation as an academic scientist, essentially, except instead of grant applications he travels around the world and talks to people to get research funding. 

That's a pretty good trick he pulled off, there! 
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Luke Parrish

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Cryoprotectants are a fascinating topic. I encourage Dr Kaku and others to read the publications from Dr. Work and Dr. Fahy, who have pioneered the area of vitrification.

One point worth mentioning here is that glucose is not the same thing as glycerol. Glucose is the simplest and most commonplace sugar in nature, and is indeed one of the main things frogs use to avoid too much ice in their bodies. Glycerol is a chemical used to replace water. For example in moisturizing lotion it can help make the skin more supple and fight dryness. There are a number of compounds (DMSO, Ethelyne Glycol, Glycerol, and so forth) that can be mixed together to produce less toxic cryoprotectants that are better than a pure form of any of them. Even toxic chemicals like Formamide can be used when combined with others that neutralize their toxicity like DMSO.

Sugars like glucose are also cryoprotectants, but because they react with proteins it is not possible to use very high concentrations of them. Alternative sugars like trehalose (a table-sugar-like molecule that is under investigation to treat Huntington's) are non-reactive with proteins, but do not penetrate the cell membrane very well in mammals due to the fact that we did not evolve to use them (unlike insects and tardigrades). Nonetheless, they can play a supporting role by preventing ice formation outside of the cell (where ice nucleates) while 'supercooling' the interior of the cell. Supercooling is when you reduce the temperature below the freezing point, but avoid freezing. This is done temporarily while you lower the temperature even further to achieve vitrification (the formation of glass, which cannot crystallize). That lets you use less antifreeze.

Dr. Kaku is correct that the frogs do not freeze completely solid, but their heart does stop so it is not true that their blood is still circulating. The reason they remain partly liquid is that frogs only go a few degrees below zero, they do not get cold enough to become vitrified. The interior of the cells remains liquid, but is dehydrated by the formation of ice. Since it is in a state of hypothermia, biological processes slow down, but they do not halt completely as happens in vitrification. Frogs have special genes and enzymes that make the dehydration less damaging to them. Also, their cell membranes are more adapted to the flowing of water through them, which means that when the ice does thaw and the water flows back into the cell by the laws of osmosis, it does not tear them up as much.
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Best musical I have seen in a while. :)
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Luke Parrish

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It sounds like the reason you side with SENS as opposed to Cryonics Research is that you think survival by any kind of cryonics (including the hypothetical where no damage occurs or needs to be repaired) would be less preferable than survival by a means that keeps your metabolism going, because you base the primary concept of self on some aspect of metabolism, or perhaps some aspect of brain electrical activity. Is that correct?
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As far as I know, the concept of cryo-tissue-printing is original to me as of a few days ago. It started as an afterthought, but now I am thinking more seriously about its potential as an alternative to the standard printing approaches (like polymers and cells at warm temperatures). I am not yet sure how much promise it has.

Some other things to ponder on the topic of repair under cold conditions: Nanobots might actually function better if kept very cold -- some proposed designs only would work if kept very cold. So cryo could be the most feasible way to send in fleets of nanorobots to work against neurological senescence. A person whose body is fine but their mind is starting to go might find it advantageous to go through a cryo-treatment to help their brain.

Also, it may be possible to slice the vitreous brain very thinly, repair and rejuvenate the slices by exposing them to a printed surface of digitally controlled nanoscale robot arms, then press them back together again afterward with the surfaces matching well enough to bond together. If this all goes well, you would end up with a working brain in pristine condition when you warm it back up.

There is a kind of frog that tolerates ice formation, yes. But I do not think a human can tolerate ice formation because we are not adapted to allow water to pass through the membranes like a frog is. Vitrification is actually an alternative approach with more promise for humans. You saturate the fluid (up to 80%) with a cryoprotectant antifreeze like glycerol, then when it cools no ice forms.

Instead it becomes a glass. This actually happens much colder than the frog's ice formation, which happens only outside of the cells and leaves their contents liquid (and is only good to keep the frog viable for a matter of weeks, to last the winter). Vitrification affects the tissue as a whole, including the inner parts of the cell, so it does not quickly force a lot of water in and out of the cell the way ice formation does.

Since vitrification involves no ice, it is not referred to as freezing in technical literature. Ice is a different phase of matter from liquid, whereas vitrification is simply a very viscous form of the liquid phase.
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Luke Parrish

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+Lincoln Cannon
"There are the sacraments of nutrition supplements, the rituals of cryonics, the prophecies of indefinite healthy life extension, the spirits of substrate independent minds, the apocalyptic and messianic postures toward artificial intelligence, the millennial paradisiacal hope of life and abundance beyond present notions of suffering and poverty, and ultimately the pantheon of posthumanity."

I think this perspective is utterly ridiculous and undermines the true meaning (and stupidity) of religion.

Why not come out and say that science is the religious belief in physical evidence, law is the religious moral conviction that rules made by man should be followed, democracy is the religious rite of majority rule, technology is the miraculous hand of God expressed through human ingenuity...  Oh yeah, you probably do say these things.

It's too much for me.  For your way of thinking, secularism is always an illusion, and words pertaining to religion are so vaguely defined they don't really mean anything.  Sorry, but I prefer my slightly more black-and-white lexical universe where religion does mean something well defined (which is stupid and wrong), even if that implies that some of my dearly beloved friends and relatives are engaging in something that is basically idiotic.

Most smart people (including you) know perfectly well that God (by which I mean the kind of God described in the Bible, and other myths) just simply isn't real.  That fact should have no bearing whatsoever on their views about technology, the future, life extension, and so forth.  We should go with our best estimates based on the data and reasoned argument.

The real universe is awesome enough without dressing it up in the fake splendor of religious myth and metaphor.  We need to grow out of religion.
Some Transhumanists have a hard time distinguishing between Transhumanism and atheism, and some Transhumanists have a hard time recognizing the religious behavior in which they are engaged. I mention these observations, today...
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Luke, I strongly sympathize with your desire to clearly separate supernatural claims from physicalist claims. Though, I do think there is a sort of cultish pattern of behavior that materialistic groups can fall into. Objectivism, the Revolutionary Communist Party, and even Greenpeace all come to mind
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Maybe cryonics will create demand for cryptocurrency? It's kind of nice to be able to carry your wallet in your brain.
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This is a good question. I think the answer is yes. And the good news is that it should not require new technology to do this, just existing technology on a larger scale. The cost to store something under cold conditions is lower per unit volume when you do it on a larger scale, due to the square-cube law. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square-cube_law

As a starting point, note that Cryonics Institute (cryonics.org) reports that they have achieved efficiencies of less than $100/patient/year in their better dewars. That is in lots of six full body patients. Alcor reports that 10 neuro patients can be stored in the space of 1 full body patient, so there should be enough volume there to fit 60 patients (perhaps more since they could be stacked more efficiently). That's $10/year per person. Assuming conservative 1% interest, you could fund it at a cost of $1000 per person. That's already pretty low.

But if you were to scale it up, it should be possible to reduce the cost further. If the volume is brought to eight times, the energy cost of the unit as a whole only increases by four times -- meaning that each person has half the cooling cost. So instead of $600/year for 60 patients, you would pay 2400/year for 4800 patients. If you went much bigger, say 1000 times, to 60,000 patients, it would be a tenth of the cost per patient and 100 times the total cost -- $60,000 per year to store 60,000 patients, $1/year each, and only $100 per person needed to accrue sufficient long term interest to keep them cold indefinitely.

This analysis only accounts for the keeping-cold part of the equation, of course. The cost of cooling someone ASAP after they die and perfusing them with cryoprotectants is probably going to be higher than $100/person. However, it is something that can be realistically integrated with the existing medical infrastructure if enough people want it. It might even pay for itself by helping people come to terms with their end of natural life without resorting to heroic measures (which can be both very painful and very expensive, while usually being futile).
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Okay, in that case I can agree with your point. I was thrown off by the terminology which I had associated with the concept of ongoing payment by relatives after the patient is suspended. Paying an organization in a life-insurance-like context while you are a living member makes much more sense.

I also agree that multiple organizations would be a more robust model for the industry, including separating advocacy from the provision of services. Also, having groups/co-ops/churches play the role of insurance provider makes much more sense to me than having a central cryonics organization bear the financial risks directly.
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The prediction certainly has not held for how businesses have used the Internet. Now I wonder what Alvin Toffler said.
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Luke Parrish

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Talk of 'stealing' with respect to digital content is misguided, I think -- intellectual property is only a legal fiction to begin with, and exists only out of the theory that it is the best way to promote the arts and sciences. If that premise is ever invalidated by empirical evidence or by new technology, or even a cultural change, the constitutional grounds for intellectual property law would be lost.

IP is not comparable to a naturally scarce physical good like a car or a piece of food, rather laws limiting the copying of a work were deliberately creatd as a convenience for maintaining artificial scarcity and providing incentive to artists to create and share.

The whole reason for permitting these kinds of restrictions on our freedom to copy things (remember, we the public are constantly taking a hit to our freedom on this deal) is as a way to make artists more likely to share their work. We don't want to go back to the days of small audiences of privileged users being the only ones who can benefit from a new work which is kept secret from everyone else.

Does lyric sharing carry the risk of an artist deciding not to publish instead of allowing their lyrics to be put up for free? I don't think so. Nobody would be likely to share a lyric on one of these free sites unless it is popular enough to matter anyway, which implies that it has been marketed and sold to the public already as music. That implies the artist, or at least their publishing company, already got their fair share from the public.

The concept that your ideas, words, and so forth are proprietary and you should keep them secret unless someone pays you, is fundamentally a cultural one. It is not shared by everyone.
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Well spoken!
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  • Open Dental Software
    Support Technician, present
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Luke Samuel Parrish
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I'm kind of nerdy, into cryonics and space travel. Also like programming.
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  • Treasure Valley Community College
    Computer Science
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