[ExI] Alcor's new statement on ASC

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sun May 20 15:18:37 UTC 2018

​On Sat, May 19, 2018 at 12:06 AM, Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com
> wrote:

* > *you* don't have any clear cut boundaries.*

I agree, that's why the destruction of my body won't mean my oblivion if
the information on how the atoms in my brain are arranged is not destroyed.

> *> let's for convenience sake, say you assume the boundary to yourself is
> your skin.*

Today it’s true, the only group of atoms in the entire observable universe
that behaves in a johnkclarkian way is contained by that layer of skin.
However that fact is not a law of nature it just a happenstance due to the
limitations of current technology (not of science) and it need not always
be true.

> *> But what is John Clark but an abstract label for a set of
> time-dependent biochemical feedback loops operating between
> memory, stimulus, instinct, and response engaged in by a network of
> trillions of cells? John Clark is a label applied to a
> time-dependent process, you eliminate time, and you are not John Clark at
> all but at best a 3-D cross-section of him.*

I don’t disagree with any of that but.... how does any of it have relevance
in determining if ASC or Alcor is better?

> *> even at liquid N2 temperatures with vitrification, some
> chemical reactions are still taking place albeit very slowly, some thermal
> motion is still happening.*

Brains stored with ASC are also stored at those very same liquid
nitrogen temperatures with the same amount of tiny thermal motion and the
same trivial rate of chemical reaction. The rate of chemical reactions
slows down as things get colder and can be calculated with the Arrhenius
equation, and it is not even close to being linear, its exponential. If we
use one second's worth of chemical reactions at body temperature (37C) as
the baseline then:

At 0C, the freezing point of water, it would take 5.2 seconds to equal one
second of decay at body temperature.

At −65C, the coldest most commercial freezers can get, it would take 4.9
minutes to equal one second of decay at body temperature.

At −79.5C, the temperature of dry ice, it would take 17.2 minutes to equal
one second of decay at body temperature.

At -120C, around the glass transition point, it would take 1.5 days to
equal one second of decay at body temperature.

At -128C, the lowest the best Freon refrigerators can get, it would take
5.2 days to equal one second of decay at body temperature.

At -195.8C, liquid nitrogen and the temperature that both Alcor and ASC
use, it would take 24.6 million years to equal one second of decay at body
temperature. So liquid nitrogen slows chemical reactions down by a factor
of 7.8*10^14 over body temperature.

> *> Look in my professional opinion liquid nitrogen might not be ideal
> storage conditions for what cryonicists are trying to achieve.*

We want long term storage so we can safely wait for technology to advance
enough that it can help us, and liquid nitrogen slows down the rate of
decay by a factor of *780 thousand billion*. Granted that’s overkill so you
could go a little bit warmer but not much because the relationship between
temperature and the chemical reaction rate is not linear.

> > >  We're trying to decide if ASC or Alcor's method should be used, so
>> how is the above relevant?

> >* Because ASC stops time completely for you a while Alcor just slows it
> way down.*

I don't think that's true but if it were then on the face of it you seem to
be saying ASC does a better job. But I don't see the point in arguing
if something slows things down by a factor of 780 thousand billion  or by
an even larger number.

> *> For example,  cryptobiotic organisms are thought to maintain some very
> slow metabolism​ ​even in a dried out dormant state.*

No organism larger than about a millimeter can survive complete
dehydration, and no mammal has been in a hibernating state longer than a
few months.

> *> medicine is making huge strides with suspended animation on mammals
> which happens at a much higher temperature range than liquid nitrogen.*

If the temperature is much higher then the time they could safely be in
suspended  animation would be much MUCH *MUCH* shorter because
the Arrhenius chemical reaction rate equation is NOT linear. Even at dry
ice temperatures  it would probably only be safe for a human for a few
days, but with liquid nitrogen a million years would be no problem at least
as far as the chemical reaction decay   rate is concerned, although when
you get into super long time intervals other factors, like damage caused by
background radiation, start to come into play. And of course the longer it
is the higher the likelihood something will go catastrophically wrong and
you'll accidentally warm up.

> *> What might not make it are neuronal connections, specific synapses but
> so what? *

That's an odd question. There are only 2 types of information I need to
survive, my genome and my memory of life experience. I mean, if you've
saved both the hardware and the software then you've saved everything .
Saving my genome is easy, but saving memories not so much. The pattern of
neuronal connections in a brain may or may not be the total answer the the
question of how life experiences are encoded, but at the very least it is
certainly *part* of the answer, and I maintain it is beyond dispute that
ASC distorts that precious connectome information less than Alcor's way

> *> You could even read you own autobiography if  you chose to write one to
> remind yourself of who you were.*

If I read your autobiography would I become you? Well I would if it
rearranged the atoms in my brain so they were organized the same way atoms
are organized in your brain. But to do that it would have to be one hell of
a well written autobiography!

> *> in addition to killing all your cells, gluteraldehyde will add a shit
> load of noise to your molecular information.*

I'm sure that's true, but the electron microscope pictures provide
excellent evidence that it would add LESS noise than Alcor's method. There
is a hell of a lot of redundancy in biology and redundancy always helps
code-breakers so future technology might be able to clean up the noise
produced by both methods, or maybe both produce too much noise for even
nanotechnology to be able to fix I don't know, but I do know less noise is
better than more noise.

>  >> If the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is relevant then we become a
>> different person a billion times a second.

> *> I cannot confidently state that we do not become different people every
> nanosecond.*
Then whatever "becoming a different person" means it is of no interest to
me, I've been becoming a "different person" a billion times a second since
I was born and it never bothered me, so if it happens one extra time due to
Cryonics its not a big deal.

*> Every nanosecond many photons enter my eye that were not there a
> nanosecond ago. Does what I see not change me?*

Of course it changes you, if it didn't there would be no point in having
eyes.   But I don't understand what any of this has to do with deciding of
ASC or Alcor is the better technology.

> *> I don't understand . . . why this lengthy tangent on "brain
> turbulence"?*

Because it gets at the fundamental key issue that determines if  you
survive or not. Its inevitable that any Cryonics procedure is going to push
things around and produce unwanted changes, but the life or death question
is what is the nature of those changes? If the changes were turbulent (aka
chaotic) then even very tiny changes in initial conditions will lead to
huge changes in outcome, so if you just see the outcome its hopeless to try
to work backwards and figure out what the initial conditions were. But if
the fluid flow was linear and not chaotic (laminar) then a small change in
initial conditions will only produce a small change in outcome. That's
why from its present orbit we can work backwards and figure out pretty well
where Halley's comet was anytime during the last several thousand years,
but in 240BC it got very close to Jupiter  and any small error in our
calculated position at that point is enormously magnified beyond that so we
don't know what the orbit of Halley's comet was before 240BC.

> *> Mammals, tardigrades, Natasha's little worms -- We are all made of the
> exact same stuff.*

Yes, but tardigrades and Natasha's little worms can be flash frozen but
mammals can not be, not even the smallest shrew.

> *> A good cryonicist should try to make their resurrection cheap and easy,
> not expensive and hard*

Right. So how on earth could a good cryonicist look at the textbook clear
electron microscopic images of brain slices made with ASC, compare them wit
the confusing messy images made with Alcor's method, and then decide it is
cheaper and easier to go Alcor's way??

> *> And a good cryonics company should aim for repeat  business.*

Repeat business? I only plan to get frozen once.

> *> You are not just inactivating it, you are sabotaging it so that it
> can't ever run again.*

I know and I don't care. If the microchip in my computer goes bad as long
as there is enough of it remaining that I can recognize what it is then
it's far easier to replace it with a newly built microchip than to try to
repair the bad one. In fact it would probably be easier to replace the
entire computer if I could save the information on the old hard drive.

> *> Even from a purely informational theoretical POV you are adding random
> bytes to your data in order to preserve character length. If the meaning of
> "meaning" has meaning to you, then why would you want to do that?*

Because experimental evidence clearly shows ASC adds fewer random bits than
any other known method of long term storage of brain information; if you
find a method that produces even fewer random bits than ASC I'll switch my
allegiance over to it but it ain't Alcor's method.

> *> Yes we know the chemical properties of aldehyde. What we do not know
> is exactly where aldehyde will do it's damage.*

But we do know exactly where the damage Alcor's method is, it shows up
clear as day in electron microscope pictures. In fact you don't even need a
microscope, you can detect the damage with a yardstick, the brain shrinks
by 50%.  You're ignoring the gross morphological distortions  and very
obvious damage that Alcor's method produces while hypothesizing about
damage ASC makes that nobody has seen and may not even exist. And all the
purely philosophical arguments you’ve used against ASC are weak and could
just as easily be used against Alcor’s method and even Cryonics in general.

> *> If you want molecular scale information preserved, you can't have
> covalent bonds forming willy-nilly like that. When you do so you change
> the structure of the molecule into a whole new molecule. Since as you
> yourself noted atoms are interchangeable*

So if I see 2 carbon atoms A and B it makes absolutely no difference which
atom was originally part of molecule X and which atom was originally part
of molecule Y. If you’ve seen one carbon atom you’ve seen then all.

> *> The shapes of molecular orbitals would get all screwed up.*

And Alcor doesn't screw up molecular orbitals ? We’re not trying to decide
which Cryonics procedure is perfect, we’re trying to decide which Cryonics
procedure is better.

> *> In my opinion, regenerative medicine will probably arrive well
> before truly robust Drexlerian nanotechnology.*

Without Drexlerian nanotechnology I can't conceive how on earth anyone
preserved with Alcor or ASC or anything else is coming back, we would
not have the manual dexterity to feel around with a trillion Scanning
Tunneling Microscopes to determine what the precise frozen state of the
brain is, and we wouldn't have the enormous computational capacity needed
to work backwards and figure out what the initial state of the person was
before being frozen. If I ever came to the conclusion that Drexlerian
nanotechnology is impossible I’d abandon Cryonics entirely.
​ It's the only hope for​ immortality that we have.

*> Largely because our first nano-machines will likely be reversed
> engineered enzymes with many of the​ ​same limitations that natural enzymes
> have today.*

I think our intelligently designed nano-machines will work much better than
the natural enzymes Evolution came up with, and it won't take a billion
years either. Evolution had to work with restrictions that human engineers
don’t have, that’s why we don’t have 100 ton supersonic birds or nuclear
powered elephants or even a macroscopic part that can rotate by 360

> *> Look, I am not affiliated with Alcor *

You should be, everybody should get signed up, even with Alcor's current
method they're the best bet in town, I just think they could be better.

> *> ASC stops everything in its tracks with a bunch chemical reactions*

And by cooling things down just as Alcor does.

> *> that corrupt the cell s operating system and changes electron orbitals
> in the way that damages quantum information.*

Not only is there no evidence the human brain uses any sort of quantum
information processing it is very hard to see how it possibly could, the
architecture is all wrong.

> >> In a way Natasha’s work is more impressive than the frog even though
>> the worm is so small it can barely be seen by the naked eye because she
>> got down to −80C and because she showed that memory is retained. But −80C
>> is STILL not cold enough for long term storage, the chemical reaction rate
>> ​ ​
>> is just too high, the worms were only frozen for 2 weeks.

> *> I agree. I wonder why she didn't try it longer or at colder temps.*

Because it wouldn't have worked much longer at that temperature; 2 weeks at
-80C  as many unwanted chemical reactions would occur as
​in ​
about a second and a half at body temperature, to go longer you must go

> >  Nobody knows that you're just guessing. But it doesn't matter because
>> I don't insist that Electron Microscope pictures provide enough
>> information to deduce the connectome or that the connectome information is
>> enough to bring a individual back; but I do insist those Electron Microscope
>> ​ ​
>> pictures are excellent evidence that ASC distorts information less
>> than Alcor's current method, and not just information about the connectome.
> >* I am not "guessing" at all. Hydrogen bonds are extremely important for
> biological structure*

Electron microscopic pictures are unambiguous on that point; ASC does
better, mush much better, than Alcor at preserving biological structure.
You’re right, Hydrogen bonds are important in determining how the linear
chain of amino acids in a protein folds up, and the shape of a protein
determines its function. And its also true glutaraldehyde would interfere
with those hydrogen bonds and denature some proteins and cause them to have
shapes never found in a living organism, but the linear sequence of amino
acids would be the same regardless of the shape of the protein so you could
figure out what protein it is. And after all there are only 2 million
proteins in a living human body so its got to be one of them, and 2 million
is not a large number for a computer.

> *> and therefore function.*

Yes a denatured protein has lost it’s function so it can no longer do what
it was once able to do, but it can still tell me what it looked like when
the protein was young and in its prime. I don't care if things are still
functional or not, I only care about working backwards and figuring out
what the initial conditions were.

> *> Forget physics and think engineering for a minute. It is almost always
> easier to repair a broken machine than it is to build one from scratch.*

Then why isn't there a chain of fixit shops where people bring in their
broken microprocessor chips to be repaired?   Why do people EVER buy new

John K Clark
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