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Lack of Transparency and Intermediate Temperature Storage

December 25 2010 at 1:42 PM
Charles Platt  (Login cplatt)
Veteran Member

Response to A factual correction (not by me)

IRS regulations state: "The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals." So long as Alcor claims not to be a religion, it's left with "educational/scientific" as its excuse for claiming tax-exempt status. In the absence of much scientific activity, "educational" must be its primary justification. In other words, the organization has a legal obligation to disseminate educational information.

It's unfortunate that various events during the past five or ten years seem to have discouraged some people associated with Alcor from being informative. Personally I feel that the lack of widely shared information about Alcor's policy regarding intermediate temperature storage (ITS) is very regettable.

One major problem is that ITS is a contentious topic. As I understand it, some people actually regard ITS as being undesirable. It adds slightly to the cost of preservation, and the system is slightly more complex than a simple dewar full of liquid nitrogen. For those such as Ralph Merkle, an Alcor director who seems to feel that molecular repair of the brain will be not merely feasible but inevitable, ITS may appear to be irrelevant. We should remember also that the fabrication of "pods" to hold immersed patients has become a routine procedure, performed by an outside contractor. I would not be surprised if the prospect of fabricating something more complex and totally different would seem very unwelcome to people at Alcor who feel they have better things to do. (The current ITS system at Alcor was not built by Alcor.) While I was at Alcor in 2003, I brought in Todd Huffman to do some preliminary testing of a simple ITS design, and I wrote about this in Alcor News. After Huffman left, I don't think anything more was done or said on this topic.

I am attempting to write about this diplomatically. But on a personal level, the lack of institutional interest in ITS was one of many factors that made me feel I was gaining nothing by remaining an Alcor member.

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