But then where did all the money go?December 30 2009 at 9:45 PM
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Response to Cryonics' Decade of Improgression?
Your question appears to be Alcor-focused, but we'll get to other areas in a minute. So let's talk about Alcor, of which you are a devoted member (er, quasi-member with no rights). Alcor got massive infusions of money, first from the Rothblatt matching grant program, followed up by the multi-million-dollar grants from whom I have dubbed variously but let's call them here "The We Have More Money Than We Know What To Do With So Let's Dump It Down A Cryonics Sinkhole, Triplets".
If you look at only Alcor, you would have to conclude it was a Decade of Retrogression since for all the big bucks they got, they now have only one person on their HQ standby team, reduced from two (still woefully inadequate). No change to real-world modernizing of its Board, by recognizing a historical error and giving its members valid status; namely, the right to vote for the Board. Various Research people were hired, then left, finally never replaced. I've heard Alcor's closets are full of unfinished half-baked projects.
The only thing I saw from Alcor that got "improved" is that all of its employees got raises, now every year, at least until the Trio's money runs out. But they just raised the "member" dues for the upcoming year and forever from there. I suppose that will help in this important endeavor.
As I understand it, Alcor has only one person employed who can actually manage to get the final vitrification, etc. job done on a patient and into the dewars; namely, Hugh Hixon. He is not getting any younger. I have to wonder who will do him when his need for it comes. And what if he is out sick when a patient comes in that is actually vitrifiable? (Several "straight freeze" patients were noted in the meagre reporting Alcor does on its patients.)
Another important part of the last decade of cryonics that you overlook, Mark, is how Cryonics Institute has changed. With the advent of Ben Best to its presidency, it actually changed from a "Freeze, Wait, Hope That Nanotechnology Can Reanimate" paradigm to hiring Yuri Pichugin to develop a vitrification solution comparable to the overpriced 21CM one Alcor uses.
Another milestone in CI history, which I know many irrationally disagree with me on as to its positive attributes, is that it horsetraded with the State of Michigan to become regulated as a cemetery. In addition to the fact that they no longer have to worry about their legal status as to the bodies they receive, this gives superb protection to those bodies from pillaging, plunder, and anything else that has historically threatened cemetery residents. This compares to Alcor's bodies, which are "research specimens" at the whim of anyone in the future, with no legal protection at all. Larry Johnson and some others probably agree on me with this too; well, they are right on one thing.
I don't know how to add all of the above up, as most of it is not quantifiable. I do see, though, which organization made the most progress, and that weighs heavily on my mind as to which one I might join in the future. Heck, if I join CI, I even have voting rights for its Board, so I am told!
As to any other more reclusive orgs out there, such as ACS, Trans Time ??!, and Grandpa in Nederland, I have no information and therefore no comment.
Happy New Year to All,