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Ice Ice Baby
April 21, 2008 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Jack London wrote about it before the 20th century, then it was Austin Powers, and even more recently Eric Cartman. But because most portrayals of cryonics are used in the sci-fi or humor genres, we often forget that the practice is very real, and has some very real consequences.
posted by aheckler (28 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Somebody listened to TAL yesterday.
posted by spock at 7:14 AM on April 21, 2008


Jack London wrote about it more than once. :D
posted by tzikeh at 7:36 AM on April 21, 2008


"Head decapitated," eh? Man, I'd sure hate to wake up in Teh Future with a headless head.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:46 AM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wait, did I say Elasmosaurus? I meant Ted Williams. Hot damn it's been a good morning on the internet!
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:46 AM on April 21, 2008


At the end of this episode, several people read their own versions of "This is just to say."
posted by Tehanu at 7:47 AM on April 21, 2008


spock: Some people obsess over Apple rumors. Some play WoW 24/7. I listen to TAL.
posted by aheckler at 7:54 AM on April 21, 2008


Yeah, well, I play WoW 24/7 while listening to TAL and coming up with Apple rumors to give to the kids in Barrens Chat.





(please send help)
posted by Spatch at 8:12 AM on April 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Don't forget Adam Adamant.
posted by Phanx at 8:38 AM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


They are not afraid to take measures others squeamishly shun, when a patient’s survival is at stake. Neuroconversions carried out by such people have saved several patients whose funding ran out

"Remove head with chainsaw" == "survival". The human brain is indeed a wonderful thing.
posted by Leon at 8:45 AM on April 21, 2008


(And no, I don't mean "chainsaw" to be taken literally)
posted by Leon at 8:54 AM on April 21, 2008


After Williams died July 5, 2002, his body was taken by private jet to the company in Scottsdale, Ariz. There, Williams' body was separated from his head in a procedure called neuroseparation

They sure got them some fancy ways of putting things in that there cryonics movement.
posted by nanojath at 10:30 AM on April 21, 2008


Thanks for this, aheckler. Cursory research into the Chatswood cryonics disaster has continued to leave me leery of being personally invested in cryonics, even in an organisation with a relatively sterling reputation like Alcor. Under the current technology, as a corpsicle you're still at the mercy of human beings: someone has to keep the pump operating and refill the nitrogen. I'd never heard the participants in Chatswood talk before, and appreciate the perspective. And you've given me more Jack London to read!
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:01 AM on April 21, 2008


Fun trivia fact: Among those currently in cyrosuspension is the creator of Hunt the Wumpus. (Head only) I found this out trying to seek him out for a documentary interview.
posted by jscott at 11:03 AM on April 21, 2008


Seems like the majority of the 60s feezees ended up being passed around in a rather undignified way and then thawed… I’m wondering if any of them just ended up in landfill.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the future won’t want these people when they get there, as in the Transmetropolitan story “Another Cold Morning” (Issue #8, which was on the internets for a while, but seems to have disappeared. Still one of the best things Warren Ellis has every written, and given his current output unlikely to be surpassed).
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on April 21, 2008


Song: "Cold as Ice," Foreigner

Heh. I think i caught the tail end of this while me and the wife were driving somewhere and was all "Hurf Durf, Foreigner" - We don't have Foreigner where I come from so it opens the way to all kinds of wife-mocking opportunities. Pity I only caught the poetry bit.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on April 21, 2008


Heh, I was just looking around for that very issue online, Artw. It pretty well captured my feelings of huckerism and doe-eyed optimism in the cryo industry and the general apathy of the human race in general.

Still, good to see multiple different views on the industry. Nice post.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:37 PM on April 21, 2008


Downloading the NPR story proves to be extremely worthwhile, BTW.
posted by Artw at 12:47 PM on April 21, 2008


Oh… I just got to “body tetris”.
posted by Artw at 12:50 PM on April 21, 2008


Somebody listened to TAL yesterday.
posted by spock at 7:14 AM on April 21 [+] [!]


"Welcome to the Head Museum! I'm Leonard Nimoy."
posted by SPrintF at 12:59 PM on April 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like to watch "Ow, My Balls" and I like money.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:35 PM on April 21, 2008


Doh! Again, with links:

I like to watch "Ow, My Balls" and I like money.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:39 PM on April 21, 2008


Looks like Ellis' "Another Cold Morning" is still accessible at the Wayback Machine. Try here.
posted by dd42 at 1:48 PM on April 21, 2008


Good one, Phanx. I'm watching Adam Adamant Lives! at the moment and from the Goldfinger-type theme song to the swordfighting, it's way more fun than Austin Powers (which it must have inspired, surely?)
posted by andraste at 3:30 PM on April 21, 2008


dd42 - Good find there, though a lot of the image links are failing for me, which kind of ruins the story.
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on April 21, 2008


[Herman] Greenberg’s daughter Beverly, who used the stage name Gillian Cummings, was only in her teens when he suddenly died but fought vigorously to arrange his cryopreservation, which involved digging his newly-buried body out of the ground with the help of a backhoe. ... Her free-lance lifestyle came to a tragic end in November 1973 when she died under mysterious circumstances at the CSNY facility, possibly a victim of hypothermia. She had been sleeping in her truck in the unheated building only a few feet from her father’s capsule.

You're doing it wrong.
posted by teraflop at 4:42 PM on April 21, 2008


Considering when these corpses are frozen, ice crystals form which turn all the cells into garbage, I doubt the occasional thawing is going to make any difference to the hypothetical "future scientists." Not to mention some of these corpses have been at room temperature for days and embalmed prior to freezing.

Seems like the hundreds of thousands of dollars the rich waste on this fad could be better spent in other ways. Not the least of which is to put this money towards research organizations and charities that are trying to cure the diseases that kill so many people before their time.

Even if youre doing it right, youre doing it wrong.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:08 PM on April 21, 2008


Somebody listened to TAL yesterday.

Heh. First thing I thought, too. Great story, that one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:19 PM on April 21, 2008


There is more on the Chatsworth scandal here. This article includes photos of most of the deceased mentioned in the TAL story, including little Genevieve.

ice crystals form which turn all the cells into garbage

When used at high concentrations, cryoprotectants stop ice formation completely.
posted by mattbucher at 12:54 PM on April 22, 2008


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