Re: CRYO: Nature's little cryonauts

Jeff Fabijanic (
Fri, 6 Aug 1999 09:53:26 -0400

Hal writes:

>I think the problem is that at these relatively high temperatures, there
>is still considerable chemical activity. It's like meat in your freezer.
>Gradually, over time, it is still changing. Ice crystals are continuing
>to grow, chemical reactions are occuring, even decay is occuring -
>it's just slowed down. But it's not really safe to eat after a period
>of years, nor would the goldfish and flies survive many years of being
>frozen (presumably).

I take your point, but I think you are overestimating the rate of inevitable decay in "naturally" deep-frozen fauna. People in the 19th and early 20th centuries who have discovered mammoths thawing out of the permafrost have sampled the meat and found it fresh-tasting and decidely non-rancid, and the contents of the animals' stomachs were still partially undigested - enough so that in at least one case, samples of the buttercups eaten by the creature as its last meal were still recognizable and pollen prints could be taken (on record in the Harvard Botanical collection). If the contents of the *stomach* were still around after millenia, methinks that it is reasonable to look to the natural world for leads as to what's possible.

>What we want with cryonics is complete preservation, especially of the
>very fine structures in the neural tissue.

No, what I want from cryonics is to be able to be brought forward into a time where whatever damage/threat that threatened the complete termination of my conciousness will be repaired/dipersed, or in order to ride out a long period of "boring time" (eg interstellar travel to new systems). I don't care if I age or partially decay during that time - if it is a recoverable state. After all, I am getting older and dying a bit every moment. It is a price I am willing to pay for continued existence - of course, like any good businessman, I want to pay the lowest price possible for the greatest gain, but it's not necesssary for me to get the goods for 'free' to feel satisfied with the deal. I'm not looking to completely cheat the laws of thermodynamics, just negotiate the heck out of them. If that makes me less than an absolute True-Believer Extropian, so be it. Color me a practical dreamer.

>So these observations of fish and flies surviving "freezing" aren't that
>relevant to cryonics, and the reason does lie in the technical meaning
>of the word "frozen".

You haven't made the point to my satisfaction. I'm not obsessed with cryonics as a way to completely stop "personal time". I just see it as a tool to help me get to where and when I want. Dismissing examples of successful natural partial suspension seems to me foolish and arrogant. I am sure that there is much to be learned about the process by studying these animals. Just off the top of my head, it seems that since even deep-frozen cryonauts will have to pass through a phase similar to the naturally frozen creatures on their way back to "regular time", we could learn much about the transition process from studying them.

|    Jeffrey Fabijanic, Designer         The Future exists,
|        Primordial Software               first in Imagination,
|   "Software of the First Order"            then in Will,
|    Boston, MA  * (617) 983-1369              and finally in Reality.