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[Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young

24 [deleted] 18 August 2012 03:17PM

Saw this on reddit.


Hey Reddit,

I'm a 23 year old girl with recurrent Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a highly aggressive type of brain cancer. I posted a couple of months ago asking for suggestions for things I should try before I die (life expectancy is 3-6 months) and got a lot of great ideas (many of which I've fulfilled).

At the time of my last post, my treatment was undecided. I ended up participating in a phase I trial at Dana-Farber, but I progressed after two months of treatment. There are not many great treatment options left for me, but my next move will be five radiosurgery treatments at Duke University next week. My prognosis looks pretty bleak at this point, and though I am hoping to exceed the 6-10 month median survival, I have to prepare to die. In a way, I am fortunate because the lesion is primarily in my brain stem (controls things like breathing), so I will likely die before the tumor spreads to the areas central to who I am.

I'm back on Reddit again, mostly to ask for help because I want to be cryogenically preserved upon my death. I've been interested in cryonics since long before I was even diagnosed, but I never thought that I would have to secure the finances so fast, and without a career or savings to stand on. As weird as it feels to ask for help here, I feel I should just give it a shot and sees what happens.

I caused a lot of family controversy last week by breaking the news to my parents. I can tell I've alienated them quite a bit as they are Christian and don't see why I'd want to be preserved; in their mind, I am going to heaven and my "soul" will forever leave my body when I die anyway. I clearly upset both of them with the implication that I was agnostic (I didn't say this outright, but it's true). My mom is fairly supportive of my plans to be preserved, but unfortunately, my dad isn't a fan of the idea, and he's really the only family I have that could offer financial help (my parents are divorced and not on good terms). The company I'm looking into, Cryonics Institute, costs $30,000-35,000 with transportation to the facility accounted for. My boyfriend is fully supportive, but like me, he's broke and barely out of college.

I know this is a big thing to ask for, and I'm sure many people are doubtful that preservation is plausible with cryonics. I'm far from convinced, but I would rather take the chance with preservation than rot in the ground or get cremated. The company I'm looking into, Cryonics Institute, has a good intro on their FAQ page that offers a hopeful outlook on future technology: http://cryonics.org/prod.html

A lot of people on reddit wanted to start a fundraiser for me awhile ago to aid in doing fun things before I die. I am hoping that redditors will still have some interest in helping me even if it's not going towards vacation or skydiving and shit like that. Cryopreservation is sincerely what will bring me the most peace in death.

I wish I could give a particularly compelling reason why I deserve another chance at life, but there's not much to say. I'm still just a kid, and hadn't even finished college when I was diagnosed. Unfortunately the most interesting thing I have yet to do is get a terminal disease at a young age.

If you guys can help me out, I would be grateful to a degree I can't possibly describe. I'm desperate. If you care to donate to the cause, the link to my blog and fundraiser is HERE. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, you can do to help would be endlessly appreciated. If you don't want to look at my dumb cancer blog, the direct link to the preservation fund can be found HERE

On a lighter note, I'm open to the idea of trading donations for anything you might want in exchange (within legal limits). This could be fun!

Proof can be found on my earlier post, but here's a pic from today: http://i.imgur.com/Qdkzn.jpg?1

I'm also open to any questions about brain cancer, or my rationale for wanting to be preserved.


I want to explain in a little more detail why I think cryopreservation is worth a try. (Even an expensive try).

First, I want to make it clear that I'm not betting my life on cryopreservation. I am aware of the problems with the current state of cryonics, but I have the hope that technology might come up with a solution in the future. No one knows what technology will be available in 50 years. Yes, it takes "faith" in technology, but it takes faith to assume that technology won't be sufficient to reverse these problems someday.

The main point I want to make here is that it's a better shot at living again than if I were decomposing somewhere or cooked into ash. The relative value of even a slight chance at living again is a huge payoff for what seems like a lot of money to me now, but probably would be an easy decision for me if I had a steady job. Compare the cost of preservation to the cost of traveling overseas to pursue experimental treatments; I think the current state of glioblastoma treatment is just as bleak (if not more), but it doesn't seem so crazy to pursue those routes.

I'm trying to be preserved because I've done everything else in my power to help me extend my life. I've looked at essentially every diet, supplement, clinical trial, and "miracle treatment" out there. This is the last thing I can possibly do to fight for another chance, and if does happen to work, it will be incredible.

Live again or die trying.

EDIT 2: A cool quote

"The correct scientific answer to the question "Does cryonics work?" is: "The clinical trials are in progress. Come back in a century and we'll give you a reliable answer." The relevant question for those of us who don't expect to survive that long is: "Would I rather be in the control group, or the experimental group?" We are forced by circumstances to answer that question without the benefit of knowing the results of the clinical trials." - Dr. Ralph Merkle

TLDR; I want to be cryogenically preserved when I die from brain cancer but can't afford it. I am literally begging for financial help.

I couldn't help be moved by this. I felt a very strong sense that she is one of us, whoever "us" is. Looking at some of the negative comments and worst of all bad arguments people are using as reasons not to donate made me more upset.

I hope some here might join me in dismantling them. I'd also encourage those like me for who this buys a lot of warm fuzzies to donate. Though it might be wise to wait until we hear from CI or some other third party on the matter.

Edit: She has since made a comment on LW! The provided information has made me pretty much certain that this is a genuine plight.

redditors where willing to give her money to go skydiving, they don't want to give her money to buy cryonics. Sometimes I can only weep.

I think it pretty clear that promoting efficient charity in that particular thread is very unlikely to result in people giving money to better causes. Also I just plain want her to be rewarded in some small way! Note the part starting in the second paragraph that I bolded, not only did she realized what she really was, but she stepped over the entire set of pro-death rationalizations and faced the social pressure people she loved exerted on her because they think she might go to heaven ... its not her fault that a few cells in her brain went haywire before she could afford an insurance policy, I just don't want people like that not having something to show after getting so much stuff right.

2n Edit:

For anyone who just realized the universe sucks and wishes to do something about that whole people dying thing, they are welcome to engage in some optimal death defeating philanthropy by donating to The Brain Preservation Prize that has been endorsed by both Robin Hanson and Eliezer Yudkowsky. 

I know that there are more than 17 other people like me in the world, who really want to see the results of these attempts. A world in which brains can be cheaply preserved indefinitely is a world I want to live in - and it would just be sad if this project fizzled because it lacked the funds to verify the already-existing results.

Comments (181)

Comment author: AlexMennen 18 August 2012 06:11:35PM 9 points [-]

Live again or die trying.

Wow, I'd heard "live forever or die trying" before, and it came across as just a clever saying. In the context of someone facing this challenge in the immediate future, it came across as deeply emotional.

Comment author: dbaupp 18 August 2012 03:36:44PM *  17 points [-]

Ugh. The top comment seems to fall into all the traps of someone rationalising their mortality, and it has received so much positive feedback too! :(

(And also they clearly don't properly know what they are talking about: calling it "cryogenics" and saying the vague and awkwardly phrased "it's been debunked by science".)

Comment author: DanPeverley 21 August 2012 12:02:40AM 2 points [-]

I felt somewhat phygish when I went into that little chain and started down-voting with a passion after following your link. I guess I would have done the same if I had found such blatant deathism on my own, but it feels weird. Eh, it's an emotional problem, not a logical one.

Comment author: Raemon 18 August 2012 05:41:56PM 18 points [-]

I find myself curious if we'd care as much about this if there were two girls who needed cryopreserving, instead of just one.

Comment author: mtaran 19 August 2012 01:19:55AM 13 points [-]

I have donated $1000, and I really do believe that our community can get her fully funded. I understand how CI has to be cautious about these sorts of things, but I've seen enough evidence to be more than convinced.

Comment author: hankx7787 19 August 2012 05:34:27PM *  2 points [-]

She posted her first vlog on youtube:


Also per facebook, she's working on setting up a more official donation route with CI or Alcor. I expect donations will pour in once that gets established.

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2012 03:54:35PM 16 points [-]

Is there any third-party or objective evidence whatsoever that this is not just another Reddit scam?

Comment author: [deleted] 18 August 2012 03:57:54PM *  15 points [-]

I don't recall any third party evidence but I would say the pictures of her in the first reddit post count as weak evidence this is real, also if it was a scam isn't it a bit silly that she didn't go for the skydiving thing? Expected income from that seems higher no?

I suggest you make a comment on her blog or on the thread defining what you would find acceptable evidence and asking for it. Those who agree with you and want to donate can then commit to donating should she provide it. Or if you won't do that people who would otherwise donate but are concerned about this can use the tactic to discover if that is their true objection.

Even if it was a scam deathist rants still need debunking.

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2012 04:05:05PM *  9 points [-]

Why would you donate to her, with a highly nontrivial chance of the money being wasted, spent on something else, or turning out to be just another Reddit scam - even if some iota of evidence was presented - rather than donate straight to ALCOR or CI or the Brain Preservation Prize? Especially given her claimed aim to give the money to ALCOR/CI? Why would you not cut out a highly dubious middleman? (And don't tell me that it will help create an additional suspension at the margin: ALCOR runs at a loss, and money is fungible.)

I'm astonished that on a site that discusses charity & philanthropy all the time, anyone could think donating a good idea.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 August 2012 04:14:44PM *  16 points [-]


I already covered this in the OP, I felt a strong sense of kinship, I would get a lot of warm fuzzies from doing this, if it is real, that I wouldn't from other things. It buys me more hedons than eating more ice cream this summer.

I didn't claim this was the best thing people could do with their money, I just wanted to encourage and alert those who might feel as I do.

Also I did think the Brain Preservation Prize was worth donating to. Its just that perhaps you didn't notice that I haven't exactly been around on the forums here for the past month+, no?

Comment author: Vaniver 18 August 2012 06:50:31PM 4 points [-]

I already covered this in the OP, I felt a strong sense of kinship, I would get a lot of warm fuzzies from doing this

I agree that it feels uncharitable to ask hard questions of someone claiming to go through a rough time. But gwern's proposed suggestion- of donating the money to CI directly, and trying to earmark it for her suspension if she does sign up- feels like it should give the same fuzzies while protecting you from this being a scam. You can even send her an email saying "I donated to CI on your behalf" for some extra fuzzies.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 August 2012 07:16:53PM 2 points [-]

That was in response to this not being optimal philanthropy (something I'm well aware of), not about asking for third party evidence with which I don't have a problem.

Comment author: hankx7787 18 August 2012 04:24:23PM *  3 points [-]

This is more than purchasing fuzzies to me. I'm counting on people sufficiently like me to cooperate on cases of this nature. It's the superrational thing to do.

Comment author: J_Taylor 19 August 2012 07:35:18PM 2 points [-]

If you have the time, could you elaborate on an issue? That is, if you were acting rationally in this particular scenario, and not super-rationally, how would your behavior differ?

Comment author: hankx7787 03 January 2013 03:05:04AM *  1 point [-]

If you were acting "rationally" and not "super-rationally" in this context - you would declare this an absurd expense of fuzzies, which can be obtained much more cheaply, and not dare divert your resources from the much more effective things you're already doing.to maximize your goal system

This is missing the point, assuming you a somewhat comparable person here (and if this doesn't really apply to you, then there is no "superrational" justification for this), that cooperating and encouraging cooperation on cases of this nature increases your chances that, should you yourself (or anyone else you care about for that matter) be caught in a situation like this, there will be a safety net to catch you.

Granted it would be improbable for me personally to end up in this situation, but it's much the same economy as insurance for me - I pay for health insurance and cryonics (my life insurance) despite the long odds I'll ever need them in anywhere near as much quantity as I'm paying in the next 25 years, at least, so a hundred bucks or whatever one-time is just a drop in that budget.

Call me paranoid, but for me there is a clear superrational justification here.

Comment author: siodine 19 August 2012 07:28:54PM *  -1 points [-]

Shouldn't this community be tabooing this behavior (going for fuzzies rather than optimal philanthropy) even though it might be a reasonable personal decision? I think by upvoting Konkvistador's comment and post, this community is enforcing obviously suboptimal norms and making this behavior acceptable and even appreciated (16 karma to gwern's 0?). By tabooing this behavior, this community could enforce the opposite reaction (i.e., fuzzies for optimal philanthropy while humiliation and shame just purchasing fuzzies [actually suboptimal charity]).

Comment author: [deleted] 19 August 2012 07:55:32PM *  6 points [-]

I guess. But then to be consistent we should probably also make a norm against buying medicine for relatives too. This is only a half joking proposal since there are excellent arguments in favour of not spending more on last ditch attempt treatments. Also the general Hansonian argument on the uselessness of medical spending our society indulges in.

Oh and since we are on this topic we should shame everyone who uses cryonics because that clearly isn't optimal charity. And we don't want people to be selfish.

A strange thought has struck me, if it is de facto ok for me to be selfish for myself, why isn't it ok for me to be selfish on someone's else's behalf? I'm pretty sure I'm selfish enough on say my daughters behalf that its worth at least a few lives when we do the number crunching.

I just care more about some people than others. I'm generally ok with this. I don't recall a rule carved into the fabric of reality demanding I care about all humans equally. And if there is one... pshaw... no thanks I'm going to follow something that's more fun and in tune with my values. I wouldn't take objective morality that wanted me to stone adulterers seriously either, why should I treat this hypothetical one thus?

Neither do I aspire to eventually take such a rule seriously. In fact I would find a society where I couldn't treat some people preferentially a horrible one to live in as I have pointed out in a different context. This has been my ethical stance for quite some time.

Comment author: siodine 19 August 2012 08:17:57PM *  0 points [-]

So, that was a long winded way of saying, "okay, if this community taboos buying fuzzies rather than optimal philantropy [note: there's a lot to unpack in that], then what's to stop this community from sliding down the undesirable slope towards ultimately tabooing any nonessential personal spending?"

The answer is simple. While completely avoiding nonessential personal spending is suboptimal in the most obvious sense it's, as you alluded to, unmaintainable. I.e., a society like that is likely to die from emigration and stagnation.

Here's an example of tabooing and how it works in realistic terms: Large SUVs, especially in certain areas, have become taboo for their environmental impact. Now, you could say, "if we're going to taboo large SUVs for their negative environmental impact, why then don't we all ride bicycles, because that's obviously where this is leading, isn't it?" But, no; that isn't where it leads at all. The taboo is an communal awareness of an obviously bad thing.

On lesswrong, and in this context, we could start with tabooing pet charities, and quickly move towards your example, but I'm doubtful that we would find that we'd want to take that to dystopic levels. And this reminds me of a common criticism of consequentialism in yvain's faq:

7.1: Wouldn't consequentialism lead to [obviously horrible outcome]?

Probably not. After all, consequentialism says to make the world a better place. So if an outcome is obviously horrible, consequentialists wouldn't want it, would they?

(also, personal objections are irrelevant in the context of a community taboo; "but I drive a hummer because I want a warmer climate!")

Comment author: [deleted] 19 August 2012 08:46:12PM *  1 point [-]

"okay, if this community taboos buying fuzzies rather than optimal philantropy [note: there's a lot to unpack in that], then what's to stop this community from sliding down the undesirable slope towards ultimately tabooing any nonessential personal spending?"

Just for reference it should be pointed out that people have already attacked people spending money on medicine or buying cryonics based on this reasoning on LW.

Comment author: siodine 19 August 2012 09:08:33PM *  -2 points [-]

To be clear, you mean people have attacked others for investing in cryonics for themselves rather than, e.g., a GiveWell charity. All I have to say regarding that is that it's been, as you say, attacked rather than tabooed, and that I think it should be attacked (or without the negative connotation of attack, 'questioned').

The issue of cryonics being a worthwhile expenditure is currently somewhat unclear, and I don't see it being tabooed soon. Knowingly buying fuzzies (in the context of charity) over more optimal charity is clear.

To put in within my previous analogy, cryonics is on the slope towards driving a prius rather than a bike, and you're more towards driving a hummer than a prius.

Comment author: hankx7787 18 August 2012 04:10:14PM *  7 points [-]

Personally, I am not in a financial position to engage in philanthropy. I contributed $100 to her (and I contributed $100 to thefirstimmortal on the immortality institute forums, who did get cryopreserved with the Cryonics Institute after dying of cancer shortly thereafter), because I will always help someone who is terminal and begging for cryo. This girl is literally begging for her life. I hope to meet her someday in the distant future...

(As a side note, everyone should get started signing up for cryonics BEFORE anything bad happens - like now! I highly recommend just giving Rudi Hoffman a call. He makes it easy.)

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2012 04:18:19PM *  18 points [-]

I am not in a financial position to engage in philanthropy.

Of course you are, you just gave away $200. Good grief.

Not to pick on you... Well actually yes, to pick on you: What the hell is wrong with you people? If this were religious-oriented - for a pilgrimage to Mecca or buy Mormon underpants or pay for one last course of Scientology auditing - you'd be laughing your ass off hysterically! But because it's cryonics...

How could you fail and compartmentalize so epically? This is like, fractally bad: at every level, donating is a bad idea. It's probably a scam, so donating is a bad idea; if it weren't a scam, you still have no idea what she would really do with it or how close to the cryonics fee she'd come, so donating is a bad idea; even if she would collect enough, donating to ALCOR or the Brain Preservation Prize is a better idea; even if you wanted to donate to them, they're still almost certainly not as good as Givewell's best charity; and so on.

Comment author: shminux 18 August 2012 04:24:55PM 7 points [-]

From a hedonistic point of view, what would you propose to be a better way to buy warm fuzzies for those already moved by and emotionally invested in the story?

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2012 05:08:23PM 2 points [-]

Maybe a charity specializing in Africans which will send you pictures of little kids? Another option might be to go to the local pound, play with some of the kittens, and then donate; if warm fuzzy kittens and cats don't get you warm fuzzies, I dunno what will!

(Best of course would be to not fall for the trap in the first place.)

Comment author: Vaniver 18 August 2012 06:48:50PM 13 points [-]

Maybe a charity specializing in Africans which will send you pictures of little kids?

You're missing the similarity drive. Pictures of smiling Africans is different from "this girl thinks like me"- the former are just kindred bodies, the latter are kindred spirits.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 August 2012 07:20:38PM 6 points [-]

I felt a very strong sense that she is one of us, whoever "us" is

Comment author: KPier 18 August 2012 05:12:25PM 7 points [-]

Not to fall into the "trap" of buying warm fuzzies? Do you advocate a policy of never buying yourself any warm fuzzies, or just of never buying warm fuzzies specifically through donating to charity (because it's easy to trick your brain into believing it just did good)?

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2012 05:23:24PM 9 points [-]

Yes, I am deeply suspicious of Eliezer's post on warm fuzzies vs utilons because while I accept that it can be a good strategy, I am skeptical that it actually is: my suspicion is that for pretty much all people, buying fuzzies just crowds out buying utilons.

For example, I asked Konkvistador on IRC, since he was planning on buying fuzzies by donating to this person, what utilons he was planning on buying, especially since he had just mentioned he had very little money to spare. He replied with something about not eating ice cream and drinking more water.

Comment author: [deleted] 19 August 2012 08:56:39AM *  1 point [-]

He replied with something about not eating ice cream and drinking more water.

I was going for how this increase in fuzzy spending would be counteracted by me specifically cutting out fuzzy spending elsewhere, so total fuzzy spending remains unchanged by this particular decision.

Also me loosing weight does bring me utility.

Comment author: Decius 19 August 2012 01:38:51AM 0 points [-]

Fuzzies are utilons.

Personally, I prefer Kickstarter projects for my fuzzies, because they typically also come with direct physical rewards.

Comment author: 7F5768D4 19 August 2012 01:37:07AM 3 points [-]

Assuming her story is not a scam, ponder why I find the idea of donating for cute kittens instead of helping another human being facing death and begging for help repugnant.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 01:48:45AM *  12 points [-]

I have; now please ponder why I might find repugnant the idea of donating towards something as inefficient and low-probability as cryonics rather than the very high probability charities identified by GiveWell, based solely on some identity politics and a Reddit post.

If everyone is going to justify donating to her on fuzzies, then have the guts to defend fuzzies. Fuzzies are not a good way of helping human beings 'facing death': that's the point. Don't equivocate between arguing that donating to her is a good way of making you feel better, and arguing that donating to her is a utilitarianly optimal sort of donation.

Comment author: Dolores1984 19 August 2012 05:27:36PM 7 points [-]

You make an interesting assumption that we care about other people in general. If you assume that we model the human species as a group of people with the bell curve split fifty percent above and below the zero value line symmetrically, then it's perfectly rational to give only to people who are familiar enough with to rank in the positive half.

Note: I do not believe this.

Also, if you actually believe in optimal charity for utilitarian reasons, then abusing people for sub-optimal charity is ridiculous. It does not make them more likely to engage in optimal charity, it makes them more likely not to engage in charity at all. You're shooting your cause in the foot at least as much as they are.

Comment author: 7F5768D4 19 August 2012 12:43:53PM *  8 points [-]

I have. You know what, you're perfectly right, there are better ways to help people, and that's even if you're selfish and wish to help groups in which you're likely to find yourself, for instance setting a precedent of people helping needy, terminally ill cryonics patients because "someday I could be in her shoes".

You're also too good at rhetoric for your own good. I wouldn't have been so distracted from the content of your message if you hadn't been acting so aggressive, indignant and grandiloquent in the comments from the beginning on. Why did you have to? Do you feel like the strength of your arguments alone wouldn't suffice? Or were you too engrossed in the game of putting your ideas forward and destroying those on the other side?

Comment author: shminux 18 August 2012 06:06:42PM 4 points [-]

Not sure if your suggestion would work at this stage. This dying (assuming it's not a scam) person is already real and embedded in their hearts, especially if they read her older posts. They would have to pick cute kittens or sad pictures over a cancer girl, not an obvious decision. Like Murder-Gandhi, they have been irreversibly changed and would require a sobering pill to snap out of it, which they would probably refuse to take.

Comment author: Dr_Manhattan 19 August 2012 12:22:59AM *  12 points [-]

Assuming this is not a scam, I would donate for practical reasons (and not only fuzzies) - for those who plan to be frozen, we want cryonics to be popular. A public incident like this might make it into news, etc., and make a difference. Plus Reddit has gotten quite big.

Comment author: RobertLumley 18 August 2012 04:30:16PM 14 points [-]

As Konkvistador points out, I don't think people are being philanthropic, they're purchasing fuzzies.

Comment author: mtaran 19 August 2012 01:46:43AM *  7 points [-]

There are a lot of things I'd like to say, but you have put forth a prediction

It's probably a scam

I would like to take up a bet with you on this ending up being a scam. This can be arbitrated by some prominent member of CI, Alcor, or Rudi Hoffman. I would win if an arbiter decides that the person who posted on Reddit was in fact diagnosed with cancer essentially as stated in her Reddit posts, and is in fact gathering money for a her own cryonics arrangements. If none of the proposed arbiters can vouch for the above within one month (through September 18), then you will win the bet.

What odds would you like on this, and what's the maximum amount of money you'd put on the line?

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 01:53:58AM *  6 points [-]

As I said in my other comment, I'm now giving 5-10% for scam. I'd be happy to take a 1:10 bet on the CI outcome risking no more than $100 on my part, but I think 1 month is much too tight; 1 January 2013 would be a better deadline with the bet short-circuiting on CI judgment.

Comment author: mtaran 19 August 2012 02:15:50AM 5 points [-]

Done. $100 from you vs $1000 from me. If you lose, you donate it to her fund. If I lose, I can send you the money or do with it what you wish.

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 02:27:03AM 5 points [-]

Wait, I'm not sure we're understanding each other. I thought I was putting up $100, and you'd put up $10; if she turned out to be a scam (as judged by CI), I lose the $100 to you - while if she turned out to be genuine (as judged by CI), you would lose the $10 to me.

Comment author: mtaran 19 August 2012 05:44:58AM 3 points [-]

Well I still accept, since now it's a much better deal for me!

Comment author: hankx7787 19 August 2012 05:37:37PM 0 points [-]

Genius, I should have thought of that ^_^

Comment author: khafra 18 August 2012 08:48:00PM 4 points [-]

Great textbook example of the biases affecting charitable giving, isn't it? People will give more to a single, identifiable person than to an anonymous person or a group. People want to feel like they actually changed something they can directly see, rather than contributing a small amount to a big goal; etc.

Comment author: LukeStebbing 18 August 2012 09:35:23PM *  7 points [-]

People will give more to a single, identifiable person than to an anonymous person or a group.

As a counterpoint to your generalization, JGWeissman has given 82x more to SIAI than he plans to give to this girl if her story checks out.

Comment author: [deleted] 20 August 2012 02:18:18AM 1 point [-]

And how many JGWs are there in the world?

Comment author: LukeStebbing 20 August 2012 02:37:59AM *  3 points [-]

More and more, if I can do anything about it. (Edit since someone didn't like this comment: That's a big if. I'm trying to make it smaller.)

Comment author: faul_sname 18 August 2012 10:36:16PM 0 points [-]

I think what hankx means is that (s)he's not in a position to donate large amounts of money (as in large enough to save 50 or more life-years). However, $100 is still enough to buy warm fuzzies.

Comment author: hankx7787 18 August 2012 11:05:16PM 0 points [-]

No, I mean this is not just about fuzzies for me.

Comment author: hankx7787 18 August 2012 10:05:04PM 7 points [-]

FYI, I'm now friends with this girl on facebook. She has posts going back to 2005 and ample evidence that she is legit. But I did not need to see this to know she was legitimate. I highly recommend you re-evaluate whatever cognitive process you were using that led to such over-skepticism... you obviously need to update something.

Comment author: gwern 18 August 2012 10:19:24PM 3 points [-]

I'm glad your blind faith in this 'hot' girl seems to have been rewarded, but I stand by my comments: it had many characteristics of a scam, and even if not, is suboptimal on multiple levels.

Comment author: hankx7787 18 August 2012 11:49:02PM *  1 point [-]

Well I wasn't going to dignify this with a response, but since you're getting up-votes for some reason...

You're right gwern, you caught me. My enthusiasm for supporting this girl's cause has nothing to do with life and death issues and my ability to wisely judge the context and available evidence, but rather is better explained by the hypothesis that this is all a bunch of motivated cognition on my part deriving from my secret fetish for cancer girls...

Comment author: gwern 19 August 2012 12:02:27AM 2 points [-]

my secret fetish for cancer girls...

There's a fetish for everything. You laugh, but Neon Genesis Evangelion was so successful in part because of bandaged Rei, and we recently saw an entire fan-made English visual novel (Katawa Shoujo/"Cripple Girls") on this sort of thing. Fight Club also comes to mind.

Of course, you don't need a fetish to want to help out a girl. As I commented yesterday on The Last Psychiatrist - 'organisms are adaptation-executers, not fitness-maximizers'.

Comment author: metaphysicist 20 August 2012 03:12:38PM 0 points [-]

I do hope you cited the aphorism rather than taking credit for it as original. But seeing it repeated once again forced me for once to pay attention to its meaning: to find it vacuous. The point should be stated Don't confuse functional and mechanistic explanations. Organisms don't "execute" their adaptations, this being just another confusion of kinds of explanation, at least if taken literally. And organisms can be said to be fitness maximizers, once it is realized that functional generalizations are always riddled with exceptions.

Comment author: gwern 20 August 2012 04:59:36PM 0 points [-]

I presented it as a quote, and it's very easily googleable, so I didn't provide a full cite or anything, no.

And organisms can be said to be fitness maximizers, once it is realized that functional generalizations are always riddled with exceptions.

One of the exceptions is exactly the point of the quote.

Comment author: Brigid 18 August 2012 06:49:55PM *  8 points [-]

Is it possible that she could suggest to the Cryonics Institute that they could set up an account in her name and we could donate directly to that account, cutting out the middleman but still directly contributing to this girl?

Also, I think that if it was a scam choosing cryonics is probably a bad choice since plenty of people even in an atheist forum seem to be against it, and thus its not as likely to generate as much sympathy. I think she could have said "I want to go on a safari in Africa" or some sort of trip that is moderately expensive (just like the skydiving comments claim) and received more funding.

Comment author: JGWeissman 18 August 2012 07:01:19PM *  11 points [-]

Is it possible that she could suggest to the Cryonics Institute that they could set up an account in her name and we could donate directly to that account, cutting out the middleman but still directly contributing to this girl?

This comment on CI's Facebook page indicates that she and CI are in the process of setting that up.

When that is established, I plan to donate $500. (If anyone sees that it is set up, and I haven't followed up yet, respond to this comment.)

(ETA: There is now a fund set up by the Society for Venturism, and I have made my donation through them.)

Comment author: Suryc11 19 August 2012 04:48:14AM 0 points [-]

The comment is now gone ("This post has been removed or could not be loaded"). What did it say?

Comment author: mahadri 19 August 2012 06:18:16AM *  1 point [-]

A 3rd party quoted what appears to be an email from CI stating that she contacted CI. In the quote, CI advised delaying donations until they set up a donation account as previously done for two members, where CI could return donations if necessary.

tarwatirno comments on the rest of the conversation.

Comment author: hankx7787 18 August 2012 03:55:55PM *  14 points [-]

A few of my favorite posts in this thread:

And Death is not something I will ever embrace.
It is only a childish thing, that the human species has not yet outgrown.
And someday...
We'll get over it...
And people won't have to say goodbye any more...


And someday when the descendants of humanity have spread from star to star, they won't tell the children about the history of Ancient Earth until they're old enough to bear it; and when they learn they'll weep to hear that such a thing as Death had ever once existed!


Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light!


Comment author: dbaupp 18 August 2012 06:31:37PM *  12 points [-]


Fuck you. I like being alive.


(For context, the first two quotes you have there are from HPMoR.)

Comment author: hankx7787 19 August 2012 05:52:20PM *  5 points [-]
Comment author: hankx7787 20 August 2012 03:21:37AM *  0 points [-]

And to whoever just came through and down-voted every single comment of mine in this thread... really? Why?

EDIT: Wow, someone just did it again.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 19 August 2012 01:17:49AM 9 points [-]

Rarely am I angry that I don't have more money. This is one of the times. Conditional on being true.

To the people arguing for efficient charity: I prefer to help people who actually want to live forever. Helping someone who wants to die, just not right now, seems like a waste to me.

Comment author: Dolores1984 19 August 2012 04:16:56AM 9 points [-]

I donated out of an irrational sense of kinship. I hope she makes it.

Comment author: Raemon 19 August 2012 05:14:53AM 2 points [-]

Upvoted for honesty.

Comment author: hankx7787 19 August 2012 05:39:21PM 0 points [-]

I think this is more rational than you suspect.

Comment author: D_Alex 20 August 2012 04:27:06AM 2 points [-]

Well I have a $150 payment that I got from the Good Judgement Project. I will donate that to her on or around 15 September.

I think this is actually a very worthwhile charity, for a number of reasons, I do not really wish to enter into a discussion at this point. However, to those of you who think there is a better use for the money AND think this might be a scam: If you present evidence that this is a scam by 15th September, I will donate the money to the charity of your choice instead.

Comment author: ScottMessick 19 August 2012 02:45:16AM 2 points [-]

What about the brain damage her tumor is causing?

This seems important and I'm a little surprised no one's asked. How will her brain damage impact her chances of revival? (From the blog linked in the reddit post, it sounds like she is already experiencing symptoms.) Obviously she is quite mentally competent right now, but what about when she is declared legally dead? I am far from an expert and simply would like to hear some authoritative commentary on this. I am interested in donating but only if there's a reasonable chance brain damage won't make it superfluous.

Comment author: tarwatirno 19 August 2012 03:26:02AM 3 points [-]

It is in her brainstem. Which while that makes it very difficult to treat, it probably increases her chances of being revived intact.

Comment author: Eudoxia 19 August 2012 03:14:33AM *  3 points [-]

What about the brain damage her tumor is causing?

Jim Glennie (A-1367) had a glioblastoma multiforme, and cryoprotective perfusion achieved the best Glycerol concentration at the time (6.02M glycerol, 1992). A-2091 (name withheld) also had a glioblastoma and reportedly "target cryoprotectant concentration was reached in the brain".

Thomas Donaldson (A-1097) had an astrocytoma (I guess Astrocytes are a kind of glial cell, but I doubt the comparison can be extended further) and his cryopreservation was very good [p.16].

I am far from an expert and simply would like to hear some authoritative commentary on this

Disclaimer: I am not medically trained.

EDIT: I'm not sure if you're referring to brain damage affecting cryoprotection or brain damage affecting her mental state and making her opt out.

Comment author: ScottMessick 20 August 2012 04:34:09PM 0 points [-]

I was mainly worried that she would suffer information-theoretic death (or substantial degradation) before she could be cryopreserved.

Comment author: MileyCyrus 18 August 2012 06:29:44PM *  10 points [-]

Look at the evidence:

  • Her Reddit account is only five months old, and most of her posts are about her cancer.
  • Her blog is less than a year old, and contains only six posts (all about cancer).
  • She won't share any serious proof, not even with the Reddit mods.
  • She's using a Paypal account that doesn't identify her real name.

If pizzarules1000 (that's what we have to call her, since she won't share her real name) is desperate for her life, she could have fooled me. Why didn't she PM the reddit mods, so that they could verify her information? Why didn't she ask the Cyrogenics Institute to handle preservation fund? Why won't she videoblog? The whole think looks like a lazy attempt to make a few bucks, rather than a desperate attempt to preserve her own life.

Comment author: RobertLumley 18 August 2012 06:33:38PM 16 points [-]

I think that one of the strongest pieces of evidence against this being a scam is that she picked cryonics, which seems low payout even in the demographics of reddit. Not saying that it's not a scam, but if I were designing a scam, I'd pick something else.

Comment author: Desrtopa 18 August 2012 09:14:27PM 2 points [-]

This is a significant point against picking cryonics, but on the other hand, it does give a convenient excuse for the person to do away with the online persona afterwards without raising additional suspicions and needing to answer any further questions.

Also, the more potential donors you attract, the more investigators you're also likely to attract. If I were designing a scam, I probably wouldn't pick cryonics, but I also wouldn't go for something that attracted as many benefactors as possible because it would increase my risk of being found out.

Comment author: tarwatirno 18 August 2012 07:03:15PM *  20 points [-]

There is a conversation going on about her on the CI Facebook page that seems to indicate that she has been in contact with them. According to info there, her name is Kim Suozzi. Also they will set up a fund at CI for her, once she becomes a member and they vet her story. So If you are considering donating, but worried its a scam, it might be best to hold off until then.

Comment author: magfrump 19 August 2012 11:59:37AM 4 points [-]

This needs to be at the top of this page or linked in the main post.

Comment author: [deleted] 18 August 2012 07:13:48PM *  4 points [-]

I agree with this, this is why I've decided to wait with my donation.

Comment author: dblch 19 August 2012 05:46:14PM 46 points [-]

Hey guys, you may know me as pizzarules1000, but I want to formally introduce myself to the community. My name is Kim Suozzi. Here's a link to my Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/kimsuozzi), a video I made today (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW3peOK1X9E), and Twitter, which you might enjoy (https://twitter.com/dblchb). I'd be happy to upload some documents confirming my identity/that I have cancer. I'll be at Duke tomorrow and can have my medical records sent to whomever. I also could upload a pathology report today, or have one of my doctors email you guys a document confirming my condition/treatment. I always have my driver license to show you as well. I just made a payment to CI (http://imgur.com/VVdoU) and asked them if they could help with handling the fund. I don't blame you for wanting to be careful.

Anyway, now that I have all of that out of the way (sort of), I want to express how deeply I appreciate everyone's support so far in donating, spreading my story, and otherwise advocating for me. I'm so glad that there's this robust community of intelligent and compassionate people that have come to my aid. As much as it sucks to die now, I'm goddamned lucky to live in the place and time that I do. You guys are giving me hope that I can achieve my goal. Again, it's hard to describe how much that means to me; people like you are offering me the most peace that can feasibly be found with knowledge that I'm going to die.

Comment author: LukeStebbing 20 August 2012 02:27:09AM 17 points [-]

Kim, I am so sorry about what has happened to you. Reading your post was heartbreaking. Death is a stupid and terrible thing.

Like JGWeissman, I planned to donate $500.

Stephan has been a close friend of mine for the past decade, and when he told me he was planning to donate $5,000, I wrangled a commitment from him to do what I do and donate a significant and permanent percentage of his income to efficient charities. There are many lives to save, and even though you have to do some emotional math to realize how you should be feeling, it's the right thing to do and it's vital to act.

He wrangled a commitment from me too: when CI manages a fund for you, I will donate $5,000.

Comment author: [deleted] 19 August 2012 11:56:04PM *  15 points [-]

Hi Kim, I'm Stephan. Your story hit me harder than probably anyone else here - I'm 29, I intend to sign up for cryonics in the next few years, and glioblastoma multiforme has killed two of my ancestors: my maternal grandmother when I was very young, and my dad in 2010. If I were diagnosed with GBM now, much less at 23, I'd be mewling like a kitten in terror. I am truly sorry to hear of the shitty hand that nature has dealt you.

I will donate $5,000 when CI manages a fund for you (like JGWeissman said).

While some people have been offering you terrible "advice" on Reddit, I swear that this is completely different - I want to point out two important things that you may have missed. (Obviously, you haven't had a ton of time to look into your options here!)

  • CI's fee structure is confusing. I've been looking at Alcor, so I'm not very familiar with CI, but you appear to have created a Yearly membership ($75 one-time initiation fee, plus $120 per-year membership). With this membership, you need $35,000 for cryopreservation. There's another kind of membership, the Lifetime membership. That has a $0 initiation fee and a $1,250 one-time membership fee, after which cryopreservation is $28,000.

The Yearly membership makes sense for people who can't scrape together $1,250 at the beginning. But for your purposes, the Yearly membership is significantly more expensive.

The good news is that you can reduce the amount you'll need to raise from $35,195 to $29,250: "Yearly Membership members may switch to Lifetime Membership at any time, by paying the $1,250 Lifetime membership fee. If Yearly Member decides to covert to a Lifetime Membership, all Yearly Membership payments paid in the year prior to the conversion date can be counted toward the one-time Lifetime Membership fee of $1,250.00. This means that the $75.00 Initiation Fee can only be applied to the Lifetime Membership fee during the first year of Yearly Membership."

  • Unlike Alcor, CI's basic membership doesn't include "Standby" - CI presents it as a significantly more expensive feature that you can add for $88,000 (in fact, you must set it up with a separate organization, Suspended Animation). CI has a pros/cons page about this. Alcor's $80,000 neurocryopreservation includes Standby. If your fundraising is wildly successful, you should definitely consider it.
Comment author: JGWeissman 20 August 2012 01:52:04AM 6 points [-]

I intend to sign up for cryonics in the next few years

Why not sign up now? To get started, just fill out this form and Rudi Hoffman will find insurance policies for you and walk you through the rest of the process. (You have clearly put some research into this, so if you have some other path, take it, but "the next few years" is too vague of a time frame for you to ever decide "now is the time to do it".)

Comment author: [deleted] 20 August 2012 04:16:13AM 5 points [-]

I'm not completely irrational. The primary roadblock is not my paperwork allergy (which is admittedly intense) but the fact that I like to completely think through major decisions. My financial situation is unlike most people's, and insurance may not be optimal for me. While researching Kim's options, I looked at Alcor's funding methods closely for the first time, and a trust may be best for me. I try to collect other data, like this found today. Then it all goes into my brain, I heavily weight whatever Luke thinks, and bam - decision. Then I procrastinate on paperwork.

Comment author: JGWeissman 20 August 2012 03:25:25PM 1 point [-]

Then I procrastinate on paperwork.


I think I will have to trust Luke to make sure you get going on the paper work after you make your decision.

Comment author: LukeStebbing 20 August 2012 02:28:54AM 3 points [-]

I'll be in Seattle in two weeks, and I'll take care of it (final three paragraphs).

Comment author: Dolores1984 21 August 2012 09:01:14PM 4 points [-]

I contributed twenty dollars. I wish I could help more, but... college student. You seem like a cool person, and I wish you long life and prosperity, current inconveniences aside. With prompt cryopreservation, your odds (in my estimation) are actually pretty good. The big risk is that either a major, civilization-disrupting disaster will occur in the next century, or CI will suffer economic failure, and be unable to afford containment costs. With chemo-preservation as a backup option in the latter case, you may take some comfort in knowing that if you die the real death, as Zelazny would say, odds are pretty good you're taking western civilization down with you.

Best of luck to you on your fundraising, and subsequent vacation from the mortal coil.

Comment author: MixedNuts 21 August 2012 06:31:16PM 4 points [-]

Dear Kim,

I donated $25. (I'm broke, okay?) I hope and pray[1] that you'll make it to the future, and look forward to meeting you there. You are smart for finding a path to life, brave for doing what you must in the face of death, and sensible for worrying about that instead of how smart and brave you sound. You have earned peace and joy and praise; may you enjoy them now, and enjoy them later.



[1] PayPal counts as a higher power, right?

Comment author: [deleted] 19 August 2012 07:09:05PM *  4 points [-]

Awesome. Welcome here! I have updated the main article to link to this.

Comment author: JGWeissman 19 August 2012 08:17:17PM *  6 points [-]


I plan to donate when CI manages a fund. I appreciate your understanding that I want to be careful. (And set up the right incentives for future cases. I'm pretty confident you are legit.) (ETA: There is now a fund set up by the Society for Venturism, and I have made my donation through them.)

You had mentioned on your Reddit post that your boyfriend is supportive of your decision to pursue cryonics. Is he interested in cryonics for himself? Cryonics is much more affordable when you set things up when you are young and healthy, he may be able to do it on his own. I have been figuring out ways to get interested people to actually do this (and it turns it to be really easy), and I'm sorry I didn't figure this out and meet you earlier, when you were thinking about cryonics but not yet diagnosed. You actually inspired me to post about that now instead of waiting to see how many people I got to start made it through the whole process.

Comment author: Dr_Manhattan 21 August 2012 12:52:53PM 2 points [-]

I just donated, and seems like quite a few people are doing same. Please post something here to see how you're doing on your target and CI formalities. (more can be done at a later point)

Comment author: shminux 19 August 2012 07:37:51PM 3 points [-]

Not going to donate myself (makes no sense unless I set up my own cryo plans first), but I'll be quite happy for you if you reach your goal of $35k or so charged by CI. Good luck!

Comment author: LukeStebbing 19 August 2012 08:31:32PM 5 points [-]

If you're planning on it, you should get on it now. Cryonics is much more affordable if you don't have a terminal illness and can cover it with a policy.

Comment author: JGWeissman 19 August 2012 07:58:20PM 1 point [-]

(makes no sense unless I set up my own cryo plans first)

Do you want to set up your own cryo plans?

Comment author: shminux 19 August 2012 09:49:56PM 1 point [-]

I suspect that I can probably borrow enough against a regular life insurance if and when the time comes.

Comment author: Dr_Manhattan 20 August 2012 05:33:17PM 2 points [-]

The time might come with a car crash, nullifying this strategy.

Comment author: shminux 20 August 2012 06:03:23PM 3 points [-]

Yes indeed. As I said in the original reply, I have no cryo plans set up. Then again, the odds of your brain being in a good enough shape for cryo long enough after a bad car crash are not good. Consider that for the cryo measures to be triggered on time, you have to end up in a hospital alive, with an intact brain, but fatally injured otherwise, and live long enough for the cryo team to negotiate with the hospital to get a hold of your body right after you die, but not long enough to be able to make cryo arrangements from scratch, should you wish to.

Comment author: V_V 20 August 2012 07:49:55PM 2 points [-]

If you die in a car crash, your brain will most likely suffer massive damage (from traumatic injury or ischemia or both) long before any attempt at cryopreservation could be made. I suppose this also applies to all the most common causes of death before 45 - 50.

Comment author: Dr_Manhattan 20 August 2012 11:22:07PM 1 point [-]

I understand the point, but do you have any stats on this or just guessing? Esp. for adult drivers buckle in and such.

Comment author: JGWeissman 19 August 2012 10:01:02PM *  1 point [-]

Interesting strategy. It would be a good idea to validate this possibility now rather than when you suddenly need it.

(ETA: I am confused by the parent being downvoted. I don't think it is effective to punish people for honestly answering questions.)

Comment author: shminux 20 August 2012 05:15:08AM 0 points [-]

t would be a good idea to validate this possibility now

I know that it is possible, but no, I haven't looked into the details.

Comment author: Oscar_Cunningham 19 August 2012 04:54:44PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: [deleted] 18 August 2012 07:54:32PM 1 point [-]

She's using a Paypal account that doesn't identify her real name.

This is compelling.

I've added the following disclaimer.

Though it might be wise to wait until we hear from CI or some other third party on the matter.

Comment author: Eudoxia 19 August 2012 09:35:31PM *  1 point [-]

Alternatively, people could loan her the money until she is revived and can pay back, though I'm not sure if that's entirely legal.

Comment author: gwern 20 August 2012 05:03:50PM 3 points [-]

Discounting over decades means that if you're going to do it at all, you might as well just consider it a gift and not a loan.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 20 August 2012 05:07:23AM *  0 points [-]


I would furthermore advise the billionaire that what they spend on utilons should be at least, say, 20 times what they spend on warm fuzzies—5% overhead on keeping yourself altruistic seems reasonable, and I, your dispassionate judge, would have no trouble validating the warm fuzzies against a multiplier that large.

To those who have donated to the girl with the express purpose of buying fuzzies: could you please name below the cost-effective charity to which you have given or will soon give at least 20 times the amount donated?

Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 20 August 2012 06:53:20AM 0 points [-]

People talked about "warm fuzzies" in order to defend themselves against the criticism that they might be supporting a scam. Now that Kim is here on this site, and likely to die right in front of us in a few months' time, I don't think that's what anyone is feeling.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 20 August 2012 04:14:23PM *  2 points [-]

People talked about "warm fuzzies" in order to defend themselves against the criticism that they might be supporting a scam.

I don't think this is correct. People talked about warm fuzzies also to justify a donation which clearly isn't cost-effective. For example, in his original post kokvistador writes: "I'd also encourage those like me for who this buys a lot of warm fuzzies to donate. " See also his exchange with gwern, where he elaborates on his rationale for donating.

Now that Kim is here on this site, and likely to die right in front of us in a few months' time, I don't think that's what anyone is feeling.

I didn't know Kim was here. If you think conducting this discussion might be a cause of much pain for her, perhaps we should move it to somewhere else.

For what is worth, I'd like to stress that I empathize with Kim and I feel genuinely saddened by the situation. At the same time, I don't think this is a valid justification for lowering the standards of argument and evidence we normally require.

Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 21 August 2012 04:07:46AM 1 point [-]

OK, I missed the occurrence of the phrase in the post itself. But I think it is being employed because it is a readily available LW idiom, not because it is psychologically accurate. Donating to help someone obtain cryopreservation is not a feel-good sort of donation in any conventional sense. No-one in the history of the world has ever been revived from cryosuspension. The whole situation confronts people with their own mortality and the fact that society is not set up to save them from it. You can argue about whether donating is the "optimal" thing for anyone to do, but I don't think "warm fuzzies vs utilons" is the right way to describe the psychology of the initial response, or to frame the subsequent debate about what to do. Wanting to donate, and then deciding not to, would be a triage decision in this case. Or even like deciding to neglect your own family in order to send money to unknown orphans on the other side of the world.

I don't think we should move the conversation.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 21 August 2012 05:42:00AM *  1 point [-]

I challenged the "warm fuzzies" argument because it was the only prima facie plausible justification for donating to the girl that I could find on this thread. If the phrase is not being use to justify the donation but merely to explain why people donate, then I simply restate my challenge as demanding a justification of some kind for spending money on a cause whose expected benefit, whether measured in lives saved or suffering prevented, is a tiny fraction of what one can expect from a donation to the most effective charities out there, as rated e.g. by Give Well, Giving What We Can or Effective Animal Activism.

Comment author: MixedNuts 21 August 2012 04:57:27PM 2 points [-]

Cryonics promotion. We (I, at any rate) want cryonics to be easier to sign up for, for mostly selfish reasons. An additional patient decreases somewhat the financial and social costs of cryonics, and a case that brings publicity (Reddit is big) of an overwhelmingly positive kind (Kim is a cute girl begging for help) will directly lower the social cost and attract new patients. I took the money from my ice cream budget, not my altruistic one.

Comment author: Jonathan_Graehl 21 August 2012 07:48:52PM 2 points [-]

If I understand you correctly, whenever an opportunity of this efficacy is available for promoting cryonics (or plastination, or life extension) that it becomes your top-quality marginal charitable dollar. Or perhaps you're saying merely that it's decent charity, enough to justify rolling with the emotional attachment to an individual.

Someone on IRC suggested I fund the Brain Preservation prize Robin Hanson posted about rather than sign up for cryonics now, since I'm pretty sure current practice just won't work at all and I want to advance the state of the art.

Comment author: MixedNuts 21 August 2012 09:27:27PM 3 points [-]

it becomes your top-quality marginal charitable dollar

No, not charitable. (I said "for mostly selfish reasons" and " I took the money from my ice cream budget, not my altruistic one.") It's a pampering budget, for things I want for myself but can skip buying now without any fuss, like saving for retirement and tasty food and museum visits and socks with no holes and trips to see friends. My top-quality charitable dollar is still for malaria nets.

Comment author: Jonathan_Graehl 22 August 2012 10:02:32PM 0 points [-]

Oh. I missed that you considered cryonics promotion selfish more than charitable. My fault.

Comment author: Mitchell_Porter 22 August 2012 01:39:01AM 1 point [-]

a justification of some kind

If we accept the original framework of "you're allowed 95% utilons and 5% non-utilons", then it can still fall under the "allowed non-utilon" category.

If we were to take the other option and try to defend this as an optimal expenditure of money, it might be defended as an act of civilization-building. None of the charities you list will decide the fate of the world; they all depend on the existence somewhere else of a functioning self-sufficient society with spare capacity. Frankly, if you really do take the big picture, it is far from clear that any of those activities matter very much. Civilizational directions are not usually set by what happens in the most unfortunate places.

So if we swing to a different extreme and consider whether high-tech futurist activities might be the best place to spend money, then there's a different challenge - why spend your money on helping to make a single cryonic suspension happen, rather than on FAI research, brain modeling, or wherever you think the most neglected area is.

But actions of a different kind also matter. People who are attuned to these topics need to shake off the distractions of an uncomprehending world and remind themselves of why they took the ideas seriously to begin with. One step leads to another. Unless we just have a singularity first, a day is going to come when there's a lot more than just one desperate person, out of the 100,000 who die every day, seeking cryonic suspension.

When it really, finally dawns on the human race at large that cryonics might work, that a slightly more advanced medicine might cure most causes of death even without cryonics, etc., there is going to be mayhem. Sorting out a rational balance now between self-preservation, conventional charity, and futurist charity may do a little to alleviate that mayhem when it arrives; and it's clear that none of these activities should be wholly absent in the right balance. So we absolutely need to figure out how to accommodate something like Kim's situation into our "optimizing", rather than just putting it to one side.

Comment author: Rain 24 August 2012 04:54:29PM 1 point [-]

My current plan, should I be diagnosed with a terminal illness, is to immediately donate all available funds to an optimal charity so that the money canNOT be spent on treatments with extremely high costs and low (if any) benefits.

Comment author: Eudoxia 19 August 2012 12:22:54AM *  1 point [-]

She might be able to afford a lower-quality alternative, but nothing other than plastination seems to show any chance of reversibility. And plastination, to the best of my knowledge, has only been shown to work on thin slices of tissue.

As an example, Thomas Sullivan's brain was chemopreserved by his son, and was later transferred to LN2. And brain-only chemopreservation may turn out to be better for her future chances than vitrification at CI, considering the kind of errors CI has on its record.

Comment author: Jonathan_Graehl 24 August 2012 05:47:21AM *  0 points [-]

Here, have some warm fuzzies.

Though I do agree that this case is probably good exposure for cryonics.