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Immortality Grant

A fund to pass some of our better people onto the future
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A large grant association, begun either by private citizens or the government could award "grants" to deserving individuals in the form of an account with the most stable of the cryogenic preservation societies. Winners would have the option of chosing immortality or having a sum equal to one account donated to a charity of their choice.
bear, Apr 25 2000

Illumatron http://www.illumatron.com/
Discussions of and resources for techo-immortality now. [Qualien, Apr 25 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Live Forever! http://cgi.ebay.com...79160&category=1523
we'll see how much it goes for... Pipe clamps with a magnet attatched. Ingenious! The ironic part is that it has a 30 day garentee.. shouldnt that be a... life time garentee? "If you dont live forever within 30 days you can return it for a full refund!" [L a z y M a n, Oct 04 2004]

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       Nice idea, if cryogenics had even a hope in hell of working.
hippo, Apr 26 2000
  

       Screw cryogenics then. How about sending our brilliant minds on a trip around the outer solar system at .9c (a la Ender's Game)?   

       Anyone know the state of the art in Bussard ramjets?
centauri, Apr 26 2000
  

       Traveling at relativistic speeds doesn't change how long you live in your own reference frame (proper time is a relativistic invariant). All that orbiting the Sun at .9c would accomplish is that the folks back on Earth will seem to age and die rather swiftly (by a factor of ~2.3, neglecting general-relativistic corrections for the fact that both the ship and Earth are continually accelerated). Maybe this sort of thing would be good enough to keep "our brilliant minds" in storage, until we want them back for some purpose, but I have a hard time imagining people accepting the deal.   

       Incidentally, it turns out that ramjets really don't work well at all; the strength of the magnetic field needed would do really unpleasant things to critters with nervous systems, and even then it's not clear that it wouldn't overall _decelerate_ the ship. See Peter Nicholls, David Langford and Brian Stableford, _The Science in Science Fiction_ (NY: Knopf, 1983). I could probably find more details if people care.
cosma, Apr 27 2000
  

       I understand about relativity (like you, cosma, I've a degree in physics) but I don't actually see how cryogenics increases a person's USEFUL lifespan, either. I thought bear's whole plan revolved around being able to revive the Immortals later so the rest of us could benefit, though I don't see that upon rereading his idea. What's the point of immortality (for you or the rest of us) if you're locked into a freezer?   

       As for people accepting the relativity deal, that's why I made a reference to Ender's Game. They had a pretty good reason to do it in that book.   

       I'd love more details on Bussard ramjets. I got most of mine from Niven stories which are more than a little optimistic on such matters.
centauri, Apr 27 2000
  

       "I don't want to achieve immortality through my works; I want to achieve it by living forever." - Woody Allen
hippo, May 04 2000
  

       Although there is no excuse for not having read Ender's Game, I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. I'll place the reference I'm making in my profile. Just click on my name to see what I'm talking about. Email me for further discussion.
centauri, May 04 2000
  

       Yipe. Glad I got such a good response. The actual idea (maybe put a bit poorly, I tend to make too many assumptions about my audience) was to start a grant to buy cryogenic preservation for people who are _dying_ and briliant. I apologize for not making this nearly clear enough. Hippo is essentially right, cryogenic post-mortem preservation has significantly less than a snowball's chance in hell of woking. However, compared to the other common methods of dealing with corpses, you chances of ever seeing daylight again are infinitely higher. This is what I want to give to those who do something for society, if they're willing.
bear, May 04 2000
  

       Being frozen sure beats being cremated or dragged through the street by angry urban warriors.
dontthink, May 10 2000
  

       Read "The First Immortal". It explores the possiblities of immortality via technology and covers the hurdles along the way.
sah777, Jun 27 2000
  

       From personal knowledge of the ongoing research involved, I would say that cryonics is about to reach a level of possibility quite a bit higher than a "hope in hell." It appears that a leading cryobiologist may have finally cracked the problem of "solid-state organ cryopreservation" -- vitrifying whole organs for storage. This will mean the ability to preserve human brains or bodies without adding freezing damage. The final experiments are being performed this summer -- I'll update.. For a general look at cryonics now, please see www.alcor.org   

       BTW, "cryogenics" is the general study and production of cold temperatures. It works just fine. "Cryonics" is the more speculative freezing of legally deceased humans for possible repair by future medicine.   

       Cryonics itself will not increase a person's useful lifespan. "Cryotransport" serves as an ambulance to hospitals in the future, where I expect improved medicine and biotechnology will be able to cure most diseases, repair most kinds of cell damage, and *eliminate aging.* Future medicine will increase youthful lifespan; cryonics merely allows some of us to get there.
Futurebridge, Jun 30 2000
  

       Hey, who cares about future medicine? I'm far more interested in using cryonics (thanks for the vocab, Futurebridge) to get space travellers where they need to go with a minimum of maintenance along the way. A healthy astronaut probably has a better chance of surviving the process than a disease ridden oldster, anyway.
centauri, Jun 30 2000
  

       Wouldn't it be a lot simpler and cheaper to just store a sample of the DNA of brilliant people? It would probably also stand more of a chance of being useful, with the advances in cloning that have occured these past few years.
FakeGreenDress, Jun 30 2000
  

       As for storing the DNA of brilliant people: Would every clone created from that DNA be the same person? It's the old "nature vs. nurture" chestnut. A clone of Einstein might have the same tendancies toward scientific achievement, but the modern school system (at least in the US) would probably stick him in remedial math classes (he was never that good at it, he claimed). Not that remedial math classes doom a person to a life of mediocrity....   

       Maybe if we could lift a person's memories along with their DNA and recombine the two later.   

       Sorry, I'm getting WAY off topic here.
centauri, Jun 30 2000
  

       I think that this fund should actually be for politicians who think they can escape any responsibility for their actions by suddenly dropping dead. They should be abruptly reawakened at some random point in the future and forced to live through the consequences of their decisions.
DrBob, Jun 30 2000
  

       There may be an alternative to "Cryonics", or so its called. Does anyone know what causes cancer? Cancer is a mutated cell that does not die on its own. The reason for this is a protien code that keeps it alive. Its kind of hard to explain. Think of it like this: each time a cell goes through mitosis (cell division), there is something like a "life meter", and after each cell division, a little piece of the life meter dissapears, until the cell is no longer able to reproduce. But in cancer cells, the life meter dosen't get subtracted from, so the cancer cell dosen't die.   

       If we could somehow find a way to make this protein code in a lab, a person could undergo gene therapy and have this protien code inserted into all of their cells so that they would never die. But I am very much against this. The earth is already over populated. We probably already have 7 billion, or are dawning on 7 billion people. If every wealthy person in America, and/or Europe were to undergo this treatment, think of how densly the world would become populated. And if the treatment was applied through gene therapy, isn't there a chance that it could become hereditary?   

       Just some thoughts to share. Although, I may be horribly wrong. I dont have a degree in anything. I'm not even out of high school yet. But this is what i have read and what I have been taught. Anyone else have any ideas?
delirium, Sep 10 2000
  

       Never stops reproducing != never dies.
bookworm, Sep 10 2000
  

       The gene therapy idea seems a decent enough idea, but I would think that in order to have a gene therapy to (fundamentally speaking) make yourself into a permanently living, breathing, thinking cancer cell, you would have to have the cure for cancer first. You don't tinker with your cells, make them so they constantly reproduce, and not have adverse side effects. As a society, we have already discovered a few secrets and made some medical advances to help elongate our lifespans, proper diet and exercise can do wonders for that youthful appearance and energy. On a side note of the cloning idea, why not just clone ourselves? There would have to be some serious refinement to neural surgical procedures to make the idea possible, but we could clone our bodies, and then have a brain transplant done from the dying body into the new young body. The question there is, to do such a thing, we would essentially be murdering our counterpart, what do we do with the brain of the clone? Trash it? Put it in the dying body? Aside from the legal aspects of it, there are the moral and religious facets. Maybe if we just clone our own organs and body parts? Kidneys going bad huh Doc? Ok, well, clone me some new ones then. On a final note, getting back to how this thread got started in the first place... Who exactly, decides which people are deserving of such a thing as frozen immortality? What qualifies the decision makers to judge his fellow man and decide this? Who is deserving? People who do things helpful for society? There are people, as history has shown, who did nothing spectacular for the world, until nearly the day they died. Not to mention the many historical figures who may have done something good for the world, but that one thing is all they are known for. One hit wonders. They dedicated their whole life to that pursuit, and died after achieving it. Just my own thoughts on everything.
Anthrax, Mar 17 2001
  

       FakeGreenDress is absolutely right. Storing DNA for cloning would not only be simpler and easier, it would work better. Centauri is right too, cloning + memory storage = human immortality. Fortunately, humans have been developing memory storage technology for a long time (writing, photography, computers, etc. )and are getting better at it all the time.   

       If you think your clone won't be you, read _Twins_ by Lawrence Wright. Many identical twins (who share DNA of course) raised apart are so alike that on personality tests it is as if the same person is taking the tests. In spite of what environmental determinists tell us, Einstein and his latter day twin would be so alike as to be considered two minds of the same person.
Qualien, Aug 18 2001
  

       I don't think that's what centauri said. Combining DNA and memories to recreate a person may be useful or amusing but it's not necessarily a route to personal immortality -- there's a continuity problem here, or a confusion about identity. Consider a situation in which it happens without your knowledge: You die as normal, nothing having changed in your (to steal a phrase) "frame of reference". (The possibility of shifting fragments of identities around does bring up a lot of interesting questions, though.)
Monkfish, Aug 18 2001
  

       If we could clone ourselves we'd be fine. but i'm sure human cloning will be outlawed like drugs. There would be no rejection from the body if the brain is of our own dna. replace the brain with our own. If Stem cell technology becomes what we all hope that it can be. to reverse brain damage, mend spinal cord and nerve tissue. In theory, if you just keep having a clone of yourself handy to put your already filled brain into, mend the spine and brain with stem cells, and you will just keep living forever, from a child state. except you have to keep growing up, all over again. Just take care of your brain.
L a z y M a n, Aug 07 2003
  
      
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