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Eudoxia comments on [Link] Reddit, help me find some peace I'm dying young - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Konkvistador 18 August 2012 03:17PM

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Comment author: Eudoxia 20 August 2012 09:34:48PM *  2 points [-]

This is the sort of story I've heard. What are you even referring to?

I think he was talking about Robert Nelson leaving eleven 'patients' out in the open to rot.

The implication being that the folks running cryonics organization are frauds just out to make money and don't give a damn about the patient? Another baseless and insulting accusation.

Well, there's Robert Nelson, among other things. Trans Time once threatened to have two patients, Ray and Katherine Mills, thawed and cremated, because to them they were nothing more than paying customers, certainly not patients. They were later, thankfully, neuroconverted and transported to Alcor, which is not completely innocent either, if you read Darwin's A Visit to Alcor. Specifically, this part made me reconsider the plausibility of cryonics, not from a scientific standpoint, but from a social/organizational one:

[...] Saul Kent invited me over to his home in Woodcrest, California to view videotapes of two Alcor cases which troubled him – but he couldn’t quite put his finger on why this was so.[...] Patients were being stabilized at a nearby hospice, transported to Alcor (~20 min away) and then CPS was discontinued, the patients were placed on the OR table and, without any ice on their heads, they were allowed to sit there at temperatures a little below normal body temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours, while burr holes were drilled, [...] smoke could be seen coming from the burr wound! Since the patient had no circulation to provide blood to carry away the enormous heat generated by the action of the burr on the bone, the temperature of the underlying bone (and brain) must have been high enough to literally cook an egg. In one case, a patient’s head was removed in the field and, because they had failed to use a rectal plug, the patient had defecated in the PIB. The result was that feces had contaminated the neck wound, and Alcor personnel were seen pouring saline over the stump of the neck whilst holding the patient’s severed head over a bucket trying to wash the fecal matter off the stump. These are just a few of the grotesque problems I observed.[...]

Comment author: Eudoxia 20 August 2012 09:36:30PM 1 point [-]

[Cont., original post was cut]

As for the Cryonics Institute, well, I think this says it all:

My dear friend and mentor Curtis Henderson was little more than straight frozen because CI President Ben Best had this idea that adding polyethylene glycol to the CPA solution would inhibit edema.(Source).

As for MNT:

There is nothing magical about the prospects of nanotechnology. There are no assumptions that we will discover free energy, cold fusion, or need anything that we know violates the laws of physics. If you're not going to point out exactly what is magical about widely held beliefs about the prospects of future technology then it's safe to assume this is yet another opinion pulled out of your ass.

By now mechanosynthesis has pretty much been proven, at least in the environment of computer simulations. The things that are extrapolated from it are not so certain: For example, the Planetary Gear and other nanomechanical wonders have only been simulated using molecular dynamics, but the only way to validate that they work (That is, that the atoms won't clump together or bonds will be formed across gears) is with an ab-initio calculation, and to the extent of my knowledge this has not been done. The prospect of nanomedicine as described by Freitas is even more dubious, since it builds on the assumption that those machines are feasible. The scaling laws used by Drexler in Nanosystems (And subsequently by Freitas in Nanomedicine) are also flawed, as Richard Jones pointed out to Michael Anissimov:

With respect to the calculations in MNT, you should know that the numerical estimates of the rubbing friction of hydrogen terminated diamond surfaces you get from the formulae in Nanosystems are several orders of magnitude lower than the values obtained by Judith Harrison’s molecular dynamics simulations. This isn’t a “numerical error”, of course, it’s a result of an incomplete formulation of the relevant physics.

So while the basic capabilities are beyond doubt (In the theory), the capabilities that are presumed to arise from them are not.

Comment author: V_V 20 August 2012 10:36:00PM -2 points [-]

By now mechanosynthesis has pretty much been proven, at least in the environment of computer simulations.

Not really my field of expertise, but if I understand correctly, this refers to scanning tunneling microscope tips for atom-by-atom assembly. While certainly interesting for research purposes, this doesn't seem to be a scalable manufacturing technology.

Comment author: Eudoxia 20 August 2012 10:42:01PM *  -1 points [-]

I'm not sure about the scalability of mechanosynthesis, either (Massive parallelism gets thrown around a lot, but there may be something to convergent assembly) , but I was just talking about the basic tip chemistry.

Zyvex has a similar process called Patterned Atomic Layer Epitaxy which seems more promising as a large-scale manufacturing technology, but I have not seen designs for nanofactories of megadalton-scale products made using PALE.