Friday, December 31, 2010

Edgar Swank - Cryonics' Tie to the Exploitation of Impoverished Young Women

I find it quite distasteful and upsetting, to be writing about the "Cryogirl Scandal," but if no one else is going to address the obvious leadership deficit over at CI, and the total uselessness and embarrassment of ACS, I feel compelled to. I wrote a lot about Jim Yount and Ben Best, these past two days, but little about Edgar Swank. I'm going to write about him, now, and then I am going to wash my hands of the Cryogirl situation, and hope the members of CI step up and demand new leadership, preferably someone who will place his organization's best interests ahead of generating income for his "friends," (something that would probably be a novel idea, in cryonics.)

On Swank's personal website, (which has been archived), one can find a link (including nude photos) to the young "Grace," who will "be your personal servant guide while visiting Cebu. She'll take good care of you," for a mere $400 a week. If $400 is a little too much for one's wallet, Swank includes a link to a travel agent in the Philippines, which promotes a boardinghouse in Cebu, where "girls" can be had for "$20 all night, $200 all week 24/7," along with links to "The Girls of Venezuela" and "The Erotic Traveler" which "is predominately about commercial sex with women of legal and proper age. Relationships, dating, and even inter-marriage are also explored. TET is for men who love the girls, nightlife, romance of Asia, Latin America, and beyond." (Mr. Swank and his friends are not only creepy and disgusting, but cheap.)

I hear Mr. Swank says prostitution is a "way of life" in the Philippines, and that is "what girls do over there." I also hear he claims to be assisting these young ladies, in finding a way to a better life, (?by selling them to American men?). I don’t suppose Mr. Swank ever thought of simply DONATING some of his money to schools, or healthcare, as opposed to promoting the exploitation of impoverished young women. Prostitution may be "tolerated," in the Philippines, but make no mistake, it is quite illegal.

Prostitution in the Philippines is illegal. It is a serious crime with penalties ranging up to life imprisonment for those involved in trafficking. It is covered by the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act. Prostitution is sometimes illegally available through brothels (also known as casa), bars, karaoke bars (also known as KTVs), massage parlors, street walkers and escort services.
There are an estimated 800,000 women working as prostitutes in the Philippines, with up to half of them believed to be underage.

Maybe I could talk Mr. Swank into taking a holiday, in the Philippines, and have some friends of mine meet him at the airport.

Let's not overlook
Swank's fond memories of his involvement in the Church of Satan, or his self-proclaimed "15 minutes (OK, more like 15 seconds) of fame," invoking the devil to "come forth, come forth..." on a Geraldo Rivera show. Swank was a little too old (about 29) to be playing make-believe, at the time of that show, if you ask me, and invoking Satan to "come forth," on national television seems to be nothing more than attention-seeking, adolescent behavior. By many accounts, organizations such as the Church of Satan and the Temple of Vampires appear to be little more than cults and pyramid scams, in which one can buy their way to the top.

To the cryonicists interested in crying "bigotry," in response to these criticisms, maybe you should point your finger at Mr. Swank. On his personal website, he links to the National Alliance, a white separatist organization. Below that link, is the comment, "Racial views expressed in this site and maillist are not necessarily those of Edgar Swank..." The racial views are "not necessarily" his views? Does that mean maybe they are? If he's not a racist, why is he including a link to that type of material on his site? Just out of curiosity, how many non-whites are there, in the cryostats and Dewars?

I don't know how to say this nicely...Edgar Swank and Jim Yount are a couple of scumbags, who exploit impoverished, vulnerable young women, and engage in questionable business ethics, while operating a non-profit cryonics organization, linked to CI. An interesting thought, just came to me...Would the scientists of the future look at the biographical information of Swank and Yount, and be charitable in donating their time and resources toward attempting to revive such individuals?

Maybe Mr. Swank's New Year's resolution could be to ASSIST the young people of the Philippines, (and more local needy young women), rather than EXPLOIT them. And, maybe his ACS partner, Mr. Yount, could donate some of his "spoons full of sugar" to cryonics research, or the needy, without expecting something illicit, in return.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ben Best's Lame Excuses

Yesterday, I posted an entry that, for the most part, was something I wrote and saved, months ago. I posted it because I've heard others are attempting to convince CI to sever ties with ACS, and I wanted them to know I support their efforts. I think there are a few more things these people should know, about the "Cryogirl" situation.

Back in October, I publicly complained that Cryonics Institute's president, Ben Best, had done nothing to isolate CI from the American Cryonics Society (ACS), though he had been aware of the impending "Cryogirl Scandal," since February.

In an email, Ben responded that CI had 19 ACS patients in storage and he would not leave these patients “out in the warm.” I responded that no one was asking him to do any such thing, and told him his excuse for not taking action was "ridiculous." Ben responded with, "But that would be the consequence of CI severing all ties with ACS.” Ben, and I both know that neither he, nor anyone else at CI or ACS, can remove cryo-suspended persons from the cryostats.

CI is regulated as a cemetery, and it would take an act of Congress, (or, at least, a State of Michigan court order), to remove someone from the cryostats, at CI. Anyone aware of that situation, (as, certainly, Ben Best is), should have been able to figure that out. Personally, I think Ben Best was pretending to be altruistic, and making lame excuses; he was probably afraid that if heads started rolling, his would be one of them, since he was personally involved in the "Cryogirl" scandal. (Note: I don't think Ben did anything that should result in his dismissal, in regard to his part in the Cryogirl debacle. However, his reluctance to do everything possible, to protect CI, coupled with his recent efforts to conceal information about the Styles/TOV situation, from Andy Zawacki and the rest of the CI board, clearly indicate he cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of CI.)

I believe Ben Best attempted to apply some very subversive, psychological manipulations, on the cryonics community, when he wrote this, on the Cold Filter forum:

"The enemies of cryonics claim that I have conspired with vampires against the CI Board on the basis of the conversation I had with David in April. David's description of the conversation is a misrepresentation in this regard. There is a bright side to this allegation, however. To claim that I tried to hide David's affiliations from the CI Board is to admit that the CI Board has no connection with vampirism or satanism. Much as our enemies would like to smear CI as being satanist or vampirist, they cannot make this claim while at the same time claiming that the Board is an innocent victim of concealment attempts by me. They can't have it both ways."

I think Ben Best was, clearly, attempting to "rally the troops" against HIS critics, by painting any such persons as "enemies of cryonics." People who want the leadership figures of cryonics organizations to avoid allowing their organizations to be tied to scandalous activities, are NOT "enemies of cryonics." Cryonics is a process; no one can be an "enemy" of it. Ben was clearly trying to persuade the audience that I, and others, who objected to his unprofessional behaviors were THEIR "enemies." He tried to make two distinctly opposing sides, in the situation, using the term "our enemies," and "they," when discussing HIS critics. I am one person, who accused Ben of exposing CI to serious scandal, when he attempted to hide the truth about Styles, from CI's Board of Directors. I am not a part of any "they" comprised of "enemies of cryonics," and I do not want to "have it both ways." I have NOT accused CI's board of being connected to vampirism, or satanism. I'm just one person, tremendously disappointed in Ben Best.

Ben Best claims to have a background that includes advanced-level physics, chemistry, and pharmacology, yet he consistently makes simple errors, related to these fields. For many years, CI recorded "patient pressures" of approximately 100mmHg, until I pointed out that most of that pressure could be attributed to the small lumens of the cannulae being used by CI. (When I made that observation, I was unaware of Ben's educational background, or I probably would not have been very understanding of that mistake. For a layman to overlook such a mistake is understandable, but for someone claiming a background in advanced physics, it's inexcusable.) It's a very simple concept: If you restrict the outlet diameter of a hose, the pressure in the hose increases.

After my last visit to CI, Andy Zawacki called me, quite exasperated, because he and Ben were having a disagreement, over how to zero the pressure sensor/alarms, on the perfusion circuit. He said Ben was insisting they set the pressure sensor to zero, while fluid was flowing through the pressure line, something that made no sense to him (Andy). He said Ben insisted I told him that was the way perfusionists zero the pressure line. I told Andy to check the documentation I had left, which clearly indicated there should be no flow through the line, and the line should be open to air, before the sensor is set to zero. Again, an elementary concept...obviously, the sensor should be set to zero, when the pressure is KNOWN to be zero! Simple physics. Andy recognized that, but Ben did not. (Ben was recalling my instructions for flushing the line, not zero-ing it.) Again, this is something that should have been instantly obvious, to someone with a background in physics.

Then, there is the matter, of Ben writing, in the CI-95 case report, (in the same sentence, I believe), that "solids formed in solution, but there were no precipitates," when "precipitates" ARE solids that form as the result of a chemical reaction, certainly something any pharmacist should know. This event occurred, when Ben made the decision to modify the vitrification solutions, DURING the cryopreservation of Mr. Curtis Henderson. Was that something a pharmacist, or a chemist, would do? With his pharmacological background, shouldn't Ben have known the mixture would precipitate? Isn't it simply common sense, to avoid modifying the solutions, in the middle of a case, if one is not familiar with the outcome of including any given additive?

"Precipitation is the formation of a solid in a solution or inside another solid during a chemical reaction or by diffusion in a solid. When the reaction occurs in a liquid, the solid formed is called the precipitate..." (Emphasis added.)

As for Ben's extensive scientific writings, I have to agree with !Jill, who says, "It looks like Ben Best, and others in cryonics, write with their textbooks open." I think many of the scientific articles used to sell cryonics, are simply the regurgitation of information that has already been published in textbooks. How many of the insiders can actually contribute to the scientific advancement, of cryonics? Are they really accomplishing anything, or are they simply good academics, capable of impressing an audience comprised mostly of laymen? Are they impressing anyone, other than themselves, and each other, and people who don't have much of a scientific background?

Finally, there's the matter of Ben trying to defend himself, by referring to his income and his self-imposed "monkhood." How many people reading this blog entry get paid $30,000 a year, plus free room and board, and had all-expenses-paid trips to the UK, Japan, Germany, Arizona, Florida, and Oregon, (and maybe more), over the past couple of years? And, did anyone ask Ben Best to give up his social life, or his sex life, in exchange for the presidency of CI? I'm not buying into Ben's martyrdom, and neither should anyone else. There are a lot of, what my teenagers would call "posers," in cryonics, and I think Ben Best is one of them.

Many times I've heard the excuse that "no one else wants to be the president of CI," but I doubt that's true. Even if CI does not have the funds to attract a great scientific mind, having someone of integrity would be preferable to having someone who is "carrying more secrets than the Titanic," but feels he can "handle one more," (allegedly comments made by Ben Best, to David Styles), especially when it comes to withholding information from CI's Board of Directors.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

American Cryonics Society (ACS) and "Cryogirl"

In mid-July, I received a very long string of emails, which appeared to be from the private email account of "Cryogirl," (close to 100 messages, I believe). Most of these were forwarded messages that had been exchanges between Cryogirl and some well-known cryonicists, (members of ACS, Alcor and CI). I verified the contents of the messages with three individuals, (two whose private emails to/from Cryogirl had been forwarded to me, and a third person who was not involved, but who was aware of the situation). All three of these people acknowledged the emails were genuine. (Since they have now identified themselves, I will note the Alcor member was Shannon Vyff and the CI member was CI's president, Ben Best. I think Ms. Vyff has been doing her best to attempt to rectify the situation, but I can't say the same for Mr. Best, who seems to care more about himself, than his organization.)

I believe the person who forwarded the emails wanted me to publish them, but I was reluctant to, for a number of reasons. My primary concern was the children, (not just the children of Cryogirl and/or her husband, but the children of others, involved in the situation), who could be embarrassed and hurt by the contents of those emails, for many years to come, should those emails be published on the Internet, (which, unfortunately, they have been, many times, now). I did not forward these emails, (or even excerpts from them), to ANYONE. I engaged in private communications, as mentioned in the paragraph above, and "went fishing" on Cold Filter, with no response. The bottom line is: At least one leader (Jim Yount) of the American Cryonics Society (ACS), has been involved in some seriously questionable behavior directly-related to cryonics/ACS' activities, and the other leader (Edgar Swank) has publicly engaged in activities potentially damaging to the cryonics organizations he is associated with.

Most of the exchanges were what I consider to be cybersex between consenting adults, and are of no concern to me. There were some seriously disturbing accusations, regarding Cryogirl, her stepson, and a younger, autistic child. I won't go into the details, as I have been assured those activities have been reported to the proper authorities. Supposedly, other illegal activities, such as alleged software piracy engaged in by someone at ACS, have also been reported to the authorities.

The most damning information, related to cryonics, are the emails between Cryogirl and Jim Yount, of the American Cryonics Society (ACS). As I've already written, I couldn't care less what consenting adults do, when it comes to sex, but Mr. Yount crossed the line, when he paid Cryogirl funds from the coffers of a California non-profit organization. I'm quite sure he will claim to have been paying Cryogirl for some sort of marketing, in regard to the ACS money she received, and that the other funds he gave her were from his personal bank account, (in fact, Ben Best already provided this excuse, for Mr. Yount). My answer to that is, no reputable business, related to futuristic medical science, would have been found advertising on Cryogirl's MySpace page. (Note: Recent attempts to view Cryogirl's Myspace page, (which was, previously, easily accessible), resulted in warnings of security issues, so I have removed the link.)

The payments from ACS do not indicate they were for business-related services, but instead have labels such as "a spoonful of sugar." (I have screenshots of the actual PayPal transactions, if the State of California is interested). Judging by Cryogirl's MySpace page, or her Twitter page, (which has now been deleted, but was archived), I don't think anyone would believe marketing services from Cryogirl was a reasonable expenditure, for a non-profit organization. Her sites were not of the sort, on which companies said to be engaging in futuristic medical science-related research would advertise. More likely, Mr. Yount was interested in continuing his communications with Cryogirl, conversations that included discussions of the sexual activities of Cryogirl's 16-year-old sister, and nude photos of young women. While I think it's rather clear Mr. Yount was using money, and his position of power, at ACS, to influence Cryogirl's sexual communications, it's also quite clear that she was using him, and probably violating the conditions of the governmental support she receives, (allegedly for a psychological disability that the people taking advantage of her were said to have been aware of), by accepting money from him. (Our tax dollars at work.)

Cryogirl's husband claims Mr. Yount helped Cryogirl avoid questioning by the police, by funding her departure from her home state. A high-ranking person, in cryonics, admits he believes Mr. Yount provided Cryogirl the financial means for leaving her home, with the sole purpose of "shacking up with her for a few weeks." Cryogirl is an attractive young woman, and Mr. Yount is a man in his mid-to-late 60's, who, (judging from his emails), likes to engage in adolescent games, such as pretending to have an evil twin, who lives on Mars. (I don't know what the policy is on Mars, Mr. Yount, but here on Earth, we step down from positions of power, when we have embarrassed our entire professional community.)

ACS seems to serve no purpose, other than to pad the pockets and bolster the egos of two narcissistic old fools. They don't provide their own services, but act as a "middleman" for CI, adding to the cost of CI's services. It's time for the CI Board of Directors to take action, in severing ties with ACS. (No appeal, to Ben Best, as I am weary of his lame excuses.)

(Interestingly, "Cryogirl" can now be heard, on numerous Internet audiotapes, claiming she can "bring down" all of cryonics. She seems to be pretending to be some sort of super-spy, digging up dirt on the leaders of cryonics activities, yet some of them are said to still be funding her living quarters and expenses, in California, including a $1,300 a month apartment, (while she allegedly still collects social security income). This is what the decisions of people like Yount, Swank and Best have brought to the cryonics community. According to Cryogirl's husband, these men KNEW, through his warnings, that this young woman had psychological problems, yet they allowed her to cloud their judgment in running their organizations. The question is: "Is anyone going to do something about this, (other than try to "sweep it under the rug")???

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More DIY Foolishness and an Appeal to Max More

For anyone who has been wondering what inspired my last blog entry, it was the recent news about 21CM's intermediate temperature storage (ITS) unit, at Alcor. I was just wondering why Alcor didn't call up one of the many companies that manufacture cryogenic freezers, instead of funding another DIY project.

Did Brian Wowk, Stephen Valentine and Michael Iarocci bill LEF a small fortune, over a long period of time, for their ITS project, (and the cost of a patent), when a cryogenic freezer manufacturer could have delivered a spec-device, in a short time, for a reasonable price? How long has the ITS project been going on, and how many decades will it continue? Will it ever end, or will it linger on, like the liquid ventilation project? What is the true value of the associated patent?

Why DO cryonics companies seem determined to do nothing more than continually engage in endless engineering projects, mostly carried out by amateurs? Year-after-year, decade-after-decade, little-to-no REAL scientific research...just endless equipment fabrication projects, when most of the equipment could be purchased. Wouldn't it make more sense to outsource the ITS project, to a company that specializes in cryogenic containers, so that biophysicist Brian Wowk could work on improving those extremely toxic vitrification solutions?

Recently, on, Dr. Wowk seemed to be arguing that Alcor's solutions are so extremely toxic, it doesn't matter how much additional damage the amateur patient care providers, at Suspended Animation and/or Alcor, inflict on Alcor's members, while attempting to perform the medical procedures needed to deliver the washout and vitrification solutions. So, why does his primary work seem to involve inventing/engineering? Has anyone, (other than Saul Kent, or Alcor), expressed interest in the patents of Brian Wowk, Steve Harris, and others being funded by LEF?

Yesterday, on the Cold Filter forum,
Charles Platt indicated he doesn't believe Alcor meets the requirements of a non-profit agency. (I, and others, agree.) Mr. Platt seems to think Alcor could meet the requirements by engaging in, yet another, Rube Goldberg-esque project. In regard to an intermediate temperature storage unit, he laments "... I would not be surprised if the prospect of fabricating something more complex and totally different would seem very unwelcome to people at Alcor who feel they have better things to do...While I was at Alcor in 2003, I brought in Todd Huffman to do some preliminary testing of a simple ITS design, and I wrote about this in Alcor News. After Huffman left, I don't think anything more was done or said on this topic." It is BEYOND absurd for Mr. Platt to think having the Alcor staff assume the task of engineering a cryogenic freezer is a good idea, and cryonics DIY equipment projects probably do not qualify as real research, when it comes to "not-for-profit" status.

When are cryonics organizations going to engage in some REAL medical-science research, and stop wasting all their time and money on glorified garage projects? (Not specifically referring to the ITS device, but to the abundant DIY projects, in cryonics.)

To the new Alcor CEO, Mr. More your best to determine if ITS is really the best way to go. If you believe it is, determine the required specifications, and then consult with several manufacturers of cryogenic freezers...unless, of course, you think amateur engineering projects constitute "research," and you won't mind sitting around, watching the same small group of DIY-ers bill Alcor and LEF for this project, for many years to come. If Alcor is going to charge $200,000 to preserve bodies, with the implied promise of a possible future resurrection, they should make an effort to provide qualified personnel using professionally-built equipment; not laymen using their own garage-project devices. Take all the money you save on these endless, (and mostly fruitless) projects, and spend it on REAL research, (carried out by scientists, not unqualified laymen, please).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cryogenic Storage Containers

When considering the various aspects of cooling, transporting and storing human bodies, at cryogenic temperatures, did anyone at Alcor, or the LEF-funded organizations, think of googling "cryogenic freezers"? Did they consult with any of the companies, which manufacture cryogenic containers? Let me guess...instead of consulting with experts in the manufacture of cryogenic containers, most research dollars directed toward that area of cryonics went into the pockets of people like Wowk, Harris and Platt, and other LEF-funded staff members, or to companies like Home Depot, (where I'm sure all reputable manufacturers of cryogenic containers, and other medical equipment, purchase their supplies).

I saw it, myself, at SA...huge amounts of money being spent on the amateur efforts of several highly-paid staff members, attempting to build a cryogenic container, when a basic professionally-built model could have been had for approximately $2500. This was just one of the many kooky "R&D" projects, at SA. When is Saul Kent going to realize he hasn't been funding valid "research," in regard to projects such as these? How many times has anyone, outside the very small sea of cryonics, been impressed, by any of their DIY equipment projects?

Alcor and Cryonics Institute suspend their clients in liquid nitrogen vapor. Have they addressed the issues of temperature variation in this type of storage? What about contamination issues? Do they acknowledge these issues to their members, and potential members, (people who may be charged up to $200,000, to be suspended in liquid nitrogen vapor, at Alcor)?

From this article :

"In larger liquid nitrogen freezers, vapor phase gradients have been documented to span the glass transition temperature of water, at times reaching -72°C (White and Wharton, 1984), -70°C (Wolfinbarger, 1998), and -95°C (Rowley and Byrne, 1992). The wide temperature ranges observed with liquid nitrogen storage systems is inherent to their operation...

...Below -130°C, even the most temperature sensitive cells are estimated to survive for hundreds of years. However, above this temperature the longevity of cells is reduced to months."

There's a lot of interesting information in the above article, and many others, which have been published by people experienced in the construction of cryogenic containers. Wouldn't contracting with such a company be the logical thing to do, rather than funding amateur design and engineering projects?
A few more tens of millions of dollars, and another couple of decades, and perhaps the amateur engineers of the cryonics industry will catch up to where the manufacturers of cryogenic containers were, 20 years ago.

Don't let these people fool you, (or take your $200K, or your trust fund, or estate). Others have been capable of cryogenically freezing things, (both large and small), within a narrow range, just below glass transition temperatures, ("intermediate temperature storage"), for years. Just google "cryogenic freezer glass transition," (without the quotation marks), and see for yourself.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Arrest Warrant for Larry Johnson Quashed in Nevada

According to the Clark County Court, the bench warrant for Larry Johnson's arrest has been quashed. If I were more like the Alcor supporters, I would try to paint this as indicative of deficiencies in Alcor's case, but the truth is probably that the State of Nevada wanted nothing to do with an arrest warrant related to civil matters in another state. (Purely speculation, on my part.)

Alcor could probably give us the details, but it seems they tend to only publish news that is favorable to their organization, when discussing these legal matters.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dr. Wowk's Questionable Defense of Alcor

From my 12/04/2010 post on “What happened when Larry Johnson brought up the issue of OSHA violations, at Alcor? Did his superiors ask him to remedy the situation, or did they ask him to shred documents and delete computer files, related to his complaints?”

Brian Wowk’s response, (which really wasn't a valid response, at all, if you ask me): “Johnson's claims are presently subject to an active defamation lawsuit. Numerous medical professionals have done work with Alcor at various times, including nurses, clinical perfusionists, a neurosurgeon, two doctors who served as CEOs, and two full-time paramedics hired after Johnson. None of them behaved as Johnson did.”

Personally, I am tired of people trying to pretend Alcor’s accusations of defamation prove Larry Johnson to be a liar, and I’m hoping the Alcor vs. Johnson et. al. civil suit makes it to a jury trial, so we can all know the truth about the many accusations between Alcor and Mr. Johnson, (in both directions).

What makes Dr. Wowk’s comments more than a little offensive, to me, is the fact that he knows Charles Platt’s voice, as well as I do, (probably better). Assuming Dr. Wowk listened to the audiotapes, previously published on, Dr. Wowk and I both know Mr. Johnson has recordings of a conversation he had with Charles Platt, (COO of Alcor, at the time), and they seem to be discussing Mr. Platt’s instructions, to destroy the evidence of Mr. Johnson’s complaints about OSHA violations. As I recall, Mr. Platt expressed concern that someone from The National Enquirer might be hiding in the bushes, when they were pouring biohazardous materials down the sewer drain.

Dr. Wowk claims none of the medical professionals, who have been associated with Alcor, since that time, have “behaved as Johnson did.” As far as I know, there is only one paramedic on Alcor’s staff, and I think it’s safe to assume it is the rest of the Alcor staff, whose behaviors have changed, since Larry Johnson published evidence of some very questionable activities at their facility. For example, I kind of doubt they still go around, bragging about having been involved in an alleged illegal euthanasia.

I believe Dr. Wowk has heard the tapes, and I believe he knows certain stories, (whether true, or not), were told to Larry Johnson, by Alcor staff members. I would ask Dr. Wowk, the same question I have asked others, intent on discrediting Mr. Johnson: "If you want to call someone a liar, why don't you point your finger at the Alcor staff members, on those tapes?"

Again, I am hoping for a jury to iron this all out, in a New York court of law. It appears the judge has recently put the trial off, until December 2011, with 30 – 90 day deadlines on things like discovery requests and depositions.

(On a tangent...Was Dr. Wowk the "Brian," at the Ted Williams case? If I had witnessed that fiasco, I would have gone straight to the authorities. It was a mess...a mockery of both modern medicine AND science.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Can Brian Wowk Support His Statements about Larry Johnson?

Recently, on, Brian Wowk stated Larry Johnson had been "shown to have falsified death threats," and to have "violated court orders in three states," (along with quite a few other statements I find "questionable," at best).

Five days ago, I challenged Dr. Wowk to prove those statements, which I have forwarded to Mr. Johnson and his attorneys. As of this date, I have not seen any response, from Dr. Wowk, to my challenge, posted December 7, 2010:

I would like to ask Dr. Wowk to show me where Larry Johnson "was shown to have falsified death threats," and where he "violated court orders in three states."

During this discussion, Dr. Wowk has identified himself as being on the Board of Directors of Alcor, so I assume he can be considered to be representing them, here. Alcor has accused Mr. Johnson of many wrong-doings, but I do not believe he has been "shown to have falsified death threats."

In addition, it's my understanding the agreement, in which Mr. Johnson was not supposed to publicly comment about Alcor, was supposed to work both ways. Is that correct, Dr. Wowk?

As for violating court orders, I believe the State of Arizona has ruled that Mr. Johnson violated a court order, but are the States of Nevada and New York like-minded?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

EUCRIO Deleted from Cryonics Institute's Site

EDIT 12/11/10:

As usual, some of the cryos respond to legitimate criticism, with lies and personal attacks. In response to my playful comments, (see below), about the David Styles situation, Mathew Sullivan of Suspended Animation, (an LEF-funded organization, located in Boynton Beach, Florida), called me a "white trash bigot," (the CF moderator edited out those remarks). Mathew, and other cryos, then proceeded on a silly campaign intended to convince the public this was a case of religious discrimination. (I'm the most tolerant person I know...if one of my sons was to show up with a pink polka-dotted male Martian, who worshipped the gods of Alpha Centauri, I wouldn't bat an eye, before welcoming him into my family.)

I think anyone of reasonable intelligence would realize this has nothing to do with religion, or bigotry. It has to do with the manipulative, fraudulent activities of David Styles, (and others, who have assisted him in his fraudulent activities), and the risk to cryonics from the obvious (to most of us) public relations fallout that comes from associating with someone like Styles.

I feel sorry, for Styles, on some level. He's obviously a very bright young man, who will probably never be able to live up to his full potential, due to some very poor choices. When it comes to any sort of management position, most legitimate businesses will avoid him, like the plague, for many years to come. I think the only way he could outlive his sullied reputation, would be to step out of the limelight for a few years, get a proper education, and chalk his past activities up to youth.

His biggest mistake has more to do with his lies, than with his religious choices; I think he's already proven he is not someone who can be trusted to lead any organization, many times over. More than a few people have demanded he name the medical professionals he claimed to have scattered throughout Europe, yet he has yet to produce even one such person. Then, there were the lies and secrecy, related to his attempts to get a position on the Board of Directors, of Cryonics Institute. (An attempt, in which CI's president, Ben Best, appeared to be subversively assisting Styles, and attempting to manipulate others, at CI.)

While I am 1,000 percent in favor of religious freedom, I don't see how anyone can take the Church of Satan, or the Temple of Vampires, seriously. Too many of their former members have come out with stories that make those organizations seem more like cults and pyramid schemes, than any religion. Logically, any organization being sincere about a religion based on pagan principles, would have picked another name. In my mind, anyone choosing to include the Christian nemesis, "Satan," in their name, could only be pulling a publicity stunt. Isn't it obvious that only someone in dire need of attention, would make that choice? I'm not saying everyone involved in the COS and TOV are needy publicity hounds; some of them appear to be a rather fun bunch, engaging in the silly "frat-boy" activities of youth, while not harming anyone. (Look at photos of Styles hanging out with his COS and TOV buddies, and you'll see what appears to be a happy young man; look at photos of him pretending to be a leader of a medical science endeavor, and you'll see a very uncomfortable person playing out of his league.)

I'm going to end this edit with a quote from the Church of Satan founder, Anton LaVey:
"You cannot love everyone; it is ridiculous to think you can. If you love everyone and everything you lose your natural powers of selection and wind up being a pretty poor judge of character and quality. If anything is used too freely it loses its true meaning. Therefore, the Satanist believes you should love strongly and completely those who deserve your love, but never turn the other cheek to your enemy!"

I'm with LaVey on that one, and anyone who tries to defraud the public with "a ticket to the future," and medical professionals that don't exist, or anyone who makes a mockery of REAL hypothermic medical science, is no friend of mine.

(This probably should have been a stand-alone blog entry, rather than an edit, but the original blog entry is below.)


Vampire and satanists lose to a handful of conscientious cryonicists, (with a lot of help from one wild and crazy chef!) Maybe CI should now focus on getting rid of the resident know, the one who was letting the vampires in the back door.

On that comment mind-boggling bizarre comment, I think I should probably call it an evening.

This weekend, I will most likely make additional comments, on that insanity, and I will definitely make my last comments for Dr. Wowk, on this blog, (referring to our recent discussion on Dr. Wowk's ridiculous arguments have me feeling like I am "beating my head against a wall."

Dr. Wowk thinks it's acceptable, for Catherine Baldwin, to refer to herself as a "surgeon," because she didn't refer to herself as a "credentialed surgeon." I hate to tell Dr. Wowk this, but it is illegal in some states, to refer to one's self as a "surgeon," period. One does not have to add "credentialed," to make it illegal.

No matter what he writes, I'm quite sure Dr. Wowk is intelligent enough to understand why regulators, and authorities, might frown on Suspended Animation's case report, which was nothing more than an attempt to defraud SA's potential clients, by misrepresenting their personnel and capabilities. The same goes for Alcor, and their case reports, in which charlatans, such as Mike Darwin, have been referred to as "surgeon," and even "chief surgeon," (something that happens to be illegal, in Alcor's home state of Arizona, by the way).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Impersonating a Physician in Arizona

32-1455. Violation; classification

A. The following acts are class 5 felonies:

1. The practice of medicine by a person not licensed or exempt from licensure pursuant to this chapter.

2. Securing a license to practice medicine pursuant to this chapter by fraud or deceit.

3. Impersonating a member of the board in issuing a license to practice medicine to another.

B. The following acts if committed by a person not licensed under this chapter or exempt from licensure pursuant to section 32-1421 are class 2 misdemeanors:

1. The use of the designation "M.D." in a way that would lead the public to believe that a person was licensed to practice medicine in this state.

2. The use of the designation "doctor of medicine", "physician", "surgeon", "physician and surgeon" or any combination thereof unless such designation additionally contains the description of another branch of the healing arts.

3. The use of the designation "doctor" by a member of another branch of healing arts unless there is set forth with each such designation the other branch of the healing arts concerned.

4. The use of any other words, initials, symbols or combination thereof which would lead the public to believe such person is licensed to practice medicine in this state.

(Emphasis added.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Comic Relief in Cryonics

I can't believe this has been around, for nearly three years, and I seem to have missed it, it's hilarious.

The video on this site isn't quite as funny, as it is thoughtful. Perhaps it could be called "intellectually playful."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cryonics Meets the Tobacco Industry

A while back, I had to turn off the comments, on this blog, due to the malicious links being posted, in that section, on a regular basis. This morning, I received the following, from someone who had attempted to comment on this post: (I am temporarily omitting the name of the author, while awaiting his permission to include it.)

"Bravo for this post. It is good to see people taking on the cryonics industry--and indeed is is an industry like any other--and shining light on it.

There is a deluded notion by those who are so fearful of dying and so desperate for any alternative, that organizations like Alcor are altruistic and can be trusted to do the right thing without supervision. In truth, much of this is the modern version of snake oil.

And what most people don't realize is that people like Brian Wowk have major financial stakes in ensuring cryonics and cryonic-related organizations remain untarnished. They are paid through grant money, donations, etc from foundations or the public.

Even though Suspended Animation does not directly impact Wowk or Steve Harris (of Alcor), if the field of cryonics is shown to be full of con-men and incompetents, then their own funding (and paychecks) are likely to be cut. They have got a very, very large financial stake in all of this.

It is similar to Big Tobacco--none of the major tobacco firms wanted any of their competitors to get nabbed or regulated for their abuses of the public trust or deception/manipulation of the science, because if one tobacco company fell, they would all fall. That's why you see the Brian Wowks of the world coming to the aid of Suspended Animation. They're covering their own asses. Just like Big Tobacco has always banded together against outsiders, even though the individual companies of the industry are direct competitors.

It is time these organizations come under strict legal jurisdiction and regulation. They must be accountable. There must be public light on their activities. Complete transparency and accountability. If they are honest, there should be nothing for them to fear from this.

I hope your efforts prove fruitful. Don't give up. We need to bring some honesty to these industries and the individuals behind them."

(End quote.)
I think that was an excellent assessment of the situation, with the exception being that these companies have much closer ties than the tobacco companies. Suspended Animation, Critical Care Research (Harris et. al.) and 21st Century Medicine (Wowk et. al.) are not competitors. I believe most, (if not all), of SA, CCR and 21CM's funding comes from Saul Kent/LEF. (Saul Kent is identified as the "owner" of 21CM on Alcor's 2008 form 990.)

Dr. Wowk and I are having a debate, on, and I'm not liking his tactics. I'm not sure if Dr. Wowk is attempting to mislead people, or if he has been mislead, himself, but some of his remarks are way off the mark.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cryonics' Well-Oiled Propaganda Machine

Why does Brian Wowk PhD write, “Lies travel halfway around world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” in response to someone's comments about my blog, and then temper it with, “(t)his reply is mostly directed to David Gerard, whose comments have been generally sensible except for some misinformation”? (See Dr. Wowk's comments, under the "lesswrong" post, here:

Does Brian Wowk even know what the truth is, in regard to the information to which he would like to object? Like Steve Harris MD, (Chief Medical Advisor to Alcor and someone who posted blatant lies about me on the Internet, in response to my criticisms of Suspended Animation), Dr. Wowk was working in California, while I was working at Suspended Animation, in Florida. He doesn’t know what was going on at SA when I was there, any more than Harris did, and he very likely does not know what really goes on there, now. He also did not work at the Alcor facility, with Larry Johnson, but that didn’t stop him from calling Johnson’s book “400 pages of lies,” (under oath, no less).

Like Steve Harris MD's Critical Care Research, Dr. Wowk’s organization, 21st Century Medicine, receives substantial funding, courtesy of Life Extension Foundation, the same company that funds Suspended Animation and makes generous contributions to Alcor. Both these men live and work in California, so why have they they been two of the primary defenders of SA, a company in Florida? Why don’t Jennifer Chapman (President and Executive Director of Alcor) and Catherine Baldwin (Manager of Suspended Animation) defend the organizations they lead? Why should a PhD and an MD, who are not employees of SA and/or Alcor, defend those companies against accusations of incompetence and unethical behavior? Could it be that many with close ties to Saul Kent, Life Extension Foundation, SA and Alcor are lacking in credibility? Will Dr. Wowk’s efforts to defend those who fund his generous annual compensation, soon leave him with a similar reputation?

Suspended Animation is a secretive organization, which has not produced their “monthly” News Bulletin in nearly two years, and which refuses to identify their personnel, or the qualifications, (or lack thereof), of those personnel. Their case reports, (even the most recent ones), CLEARLY indicate an extreme level of incompetence in performing medical procedures, which were virtually perfected many decades ago, and any defense of their ability to properly perform these procedures would not hold up to the scrutiny of expert witnesses in a court of law, or in front of a regulatory agency.

Dr. Wowk wrote,
“In Johnson's case there were also other issues that no decent organization could allow uncontested, such as selling alleged photographs of the remains of Ted Williams on the Internet. Not suing for something like that would expose the organization itself to liability.” I’m baffled by Dr. Wowk’s remarks. As I recall reading, Johnson posted the Ted Williams photos for a very brief time, (minutes, or hours, many years ago), before he realized it was pretty tasteless, and then took the photos down. Alcor did not sue anyone for that activity, when it occurred, as far as I know. Does everyone know what the “decent organization” of Alcor did in response to Larry Johnson’s first whistleblowing, all those years ago? They attempted to pay him $17,000 to keep his mouth shut. They drafted an agreement, but Johnson later changed his mind, didn’t sign the formally-typed version of the document, sent back the $17,000 check, and wrote a book. (Unfortunately, for Johnson, an Arizona judge has ruled the handwritten agreement is binding, something I believe Johnson’s attorneys may be appealing.) In my opinion, Johnson had, not only a right, but an obligation, to inform the public of the activities he witnessed at Alcor, and he should be protected as a whistleblower.

Does anyone think Johnson made more than $17,000, on the book? Think again. He first contacted me, when the book was about to be released. He told me he would never make a profit on the book, because Alcor would sue him for every penny he made, and more. Recent New York court documents state a measly 33,000 copies of Johnson’s book were sold, (an amazingly low number, in light of the generous publicity), yet Alcor is orchestrating ongoing legal battles with Johnson et. al. in three states. With that in mind, I think it's safe to assume Johnson’s prediction rang true, many months ago. Taking the $17K and keeping his mouth shut would have been the fiscally-wise decision, but I believe Johnson felt morally-obligated to expose the events he claims to have witnessed, at Alcor, (a frame of mind I can identify with).

While Dr. Wowk is correct, in that I have not worked for SA in years, and never under the current management, I have read their most recent reports, and I stand by my criticisms of that organization, and of cryonics activities, in general. If Dr. Wowk’s semi-veiled threats about possible “legal redress,” were meant to intimidate me, it was a waste of keystrokes. Personally, I welcome any opportunity to draw attention to the urgent need for the stringent regulation of cryonics organizations, (something I was previously opposed to), and am thankful to Dr. Wowk for presenting this particular opportunity. If these people cannot be trusted to consistently behave in a professional and ethical manner, without someone looking over their shoulders, (and I see little evidence they are capable of doing so), strict regulation is the logical answer. Dr. Wowk showing up, in recent months, to defend what I consider to be extremely unprofessional activities, has been something akin to the “last straw,” for me, in regard to believing anyone working in these organizations can be trusted to be forthcoming, in regard to the truth about Alcor’s and/or SA’s activities and/or capabilities.

For example, Dr. Wowk writes, "SA in fact contracts with professional perfusionists and surgeons." Why did Dr. Wowk leave out the fact that none of these people are guaranteed to show up for cases? When I was working at SA, they had a contract with a group of paramedics, too. That contract involved the paramedic group receiving a monthly retainer and extremely generous compensation for showing up for training sessions, but did not require them to show up for actual cryonics cases, a situation that resulted in SA sending three laymen, with no medical experience whatsoever, to perform (botch) their procedures. On the Cold Filter forum, Steve Harris informed us the perfusion group SA contracts with, costs them a bundle. Not only does SA pay for the perfusionists, but they lease some very expensive equipment from the perfusion group. Mathew Sullivan verified, (also on the Cold Filter forum) that, like the paramedics, the perfusionists are not required to show up for cases, unless they are available, (meaning they are not needed for conventional medical procedures, when SA calls them). In my opinion, contracted medical professionals, who are not obligated to attend cases, are nothing more than “window dressing".

If SA has qualified surgeons available, as Dr. Wowk claims, why was historical cryonics figure, Curtis Henderson kept at relatively warm temperatures, for MANY hours, and subjected to numerous incisions, last year, by SA’s manager, Catherine Baldwin, who is not a physician, much less a surgeon, (though she falsely referred to herself in SA’s published case report as a “surgeon”)? It seems she couldn't even FIND, much less cannulate, some of the largest blood vessels in the human body. (Afterward, someone from SA's perfusion group said, to me, "You were right, they can't do a cannulation.") I’m sure Dr. Wowk is aware of that case, and an Alcor case, which occurred at about the same time, in which another SA pseudo-surgeon, (someone who is also NOT a physician, much less a surgeon), is said to have cut well into the abdomen of an Alcor member, while attempting to perform a femoral cannulation. Is Dr. Wowk not aware that two of SA’s “surgeons,” (who, again, are NOT physicians, at all), butchered these two people, just last year, while trying to perform vascular cannulations, for SA?

SA’s contracted perfusionists did show up for each of those cases, but a perfusionist without a surgeon to perform the cannulation is basically useless. SA might as well have taken along the usual laymen to perform perfusion, since they didn’t have anyone to perform a proper vascular cannulation. It’s pretty meaningless, (and even deceptive), for Dr. Wowk to be claiming SA has “professional perfusionists and surgeons,” when there is no guarantee either will show up for a case, and one is no good without the other. The truth is, NOT ONE staff member of Suspended Animation, or Alcor, is a medical professional qualified to perform vascular cannulations or perfusion, the two medical procedures required to deliver cryonics washout and/or vitrification solutions...the procedures for which SA and Alcor charge $60,000 to $200,000.

Does it make sense to Dr. Wowk, for two companies, (each with a seven-figure annual budget), said to be in the business of delivering medical procedures that require competently-performed vascular cannulations and perfusion, to have staffs of six-to-ten persons, each, without either one having even ONE staff member professionally-qualified to perform the medical services they are selling, with price tags up to $200,000? Why is it the self-proclaimed “world leader” of cryonics, and the company that seems to be their primary standby team, don't have competent, qualified personnel, but contract with professionals who are not guaranteed to show up, instead? (Note that there were no contracts with professional perfusionists, prior to harsh public criticisms of allowing laymen to perform these procedures.)

I believe Dr. Wowk’s comment, in regard to someone attempting to “sabotage” SA’s relationship with their contracted perfusionists, is a reference to me. Perhaps Dr. Wowk does not know that I was acquainted with one of the leaders of that perfusion group, for quite a few years, prior to SA contracting with them. If one of Dr. Wowk's peers, someone he was acquainted with, was to be placed in a potentially career-damaging position, would Dr. Wowk not apprise them of the situation? Perhaps Dr. Wowk does not know that it was I, who first suggested SA contract with that same group, (a suggestion that was shot down, when I made it, back in 2006). Dr. Wowk certainly does not know that, even if I had been happily employed at SA, at the time the perfusion group was contracted, I would have made full disclosure of the situation, to them. I would have warned them they might show up for cases and not have anyone to perform the needed cannulations, because that would have been the professional thing to do. I would also have warned them that there had been a lot of scandal associated with cryonics, and expressed my concerns regarding certain issues related to cryonics procedures, (such as issues related to SA's medications, and state laws regarding performing procedures on the deceased). Finally, I would have asked their permission to post their company name on the SA website, before placing it there, something Catherine Baldwin failed to do. (After I informed the group their company name was listed on the SA website, (ironically, while SA was not willing to disclose the identities of their own staff members), the perfusion group requested their name be removed from the site.) Dr. Wowk can call my gestures “sabotage,” if he likes, but those professionals deserved to know the truth about what they were getting into, and Catherine Baldwin should have been the one to inform them. I wrote about my communication with SA’s perfusionists, here:

Dr. Wowk remarks that “Alcor's Chief Medical Advisor, Steven B. Harris, MD, has sat on the Editorial Board of Skeptic magazine for many years and is respected for his contributions to scientific skepticism.” Steve Harris is the head of another secretive LEF-funded organization, Critical Care Research (CCR). The last known staff members of CCR, (a company that receives nearly a million dollars a year in funding, from the same company that funds SA and 21stCM), were Harris and three of his family members. Harris has publicly distributed a mountain of questionable medical advice, and doled out numerous blatant lies, in attempts to defend the companies his benefactors fund. I’ve written about him, extensively, on this blog. (Check the index, on the right side of the page.) I think Dr. Wowk will understand why I am unimpressed, though I'm guessing he hoped other readers would be. Anyone of reasonable intelligence, and having general knowledge of perfusion procedures, and being aware of some of Harris' many bizarre responses to my criticisms of Alcor and SA's perfusion procedures, would be skeptical of Harris.

Until recently, I had a fairly high regard for Dr. Wowk’s integrity, but in my opinion, he’s starting to look like someone fairly close to the hub of a well-oiled propaganda-spewing machine.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cryonics Cranks and Crackpots

I'm not really surprised when people I consider to be intelligent continue to hold Michael "Mike Darwin" Federowicz up as some sort of cryonics icon, but I am dismayed. He puts on a good show, spewing out medical terminology like there's no tomorrow, but any valid information he spews forth almost always comes from the works of others, in conventional medicine. The cryonics audience seems to frequently overlook the fact that someone who regurgitates known scientific information, is not responsible for establishing it, and most often cannot be relied upon to build on it! On top of that, his audience is mostly comprised of laymen, (people unfamiliar with perfusion and hypothermic procedures), who will not recognize his mistakes. Federowicz is a quack, a crank, a liar, and perhaps much worse than that; if you ask me, people like him are the primary reason most REAL scientists and medical professionals are reluctant to be associated with cryonics.

Federowicz recently wrote:
"It is certainly true that some cryopatients unequivocally benefit from aggressive reperfusion with ventilation as evidenced by return of good tissue perfusion and even the return of neocortical electrical activity (and if un-medicated, return of consciousness)."

Is that true? Did some of the persons undergoing cryopreservation efforts exhibit "the return of neocortical electrical activity and if un-medicated, return of consciousness"??? If they did experience a "return of consciousness," were they given an injection to make them "legally" (or, perhaps, "illegally") dead, again? (There have been public accusations of the illegal euthanization of people undergoing cryonics procedures, and some of the Johnson tapes do seem to be of Alcor personnel discussing more than one such incident.)

The truth is, Federowicz cannot prove "...cryopatients unequivocally benefit from aggressive reperfusion with ventilation..." It's easy for Federowicz and his peers to make such grandiose claims, because their human experiments have no outcomes. They perform their little poorly-designed, poorly-executed experiments; drop the subjects in liquid nitrogen vapor; and then there's never any outcomes by which people can judge the efficacy of their procedures.

In the same article, Federowicz goes on to write:
"What is really needed is systematic research in truly relevant animal models (i.e., following cardiac arrest from sepsis, hypovolemia in the setting of systemic inflammation, prolonged hypoxia, and so on) to determine if anoxic (closed chest) CPS can be made workable or even superior to CPS with ventilation."

Mr. Federowicz would probably like nothing more than to have someone fund more cryonics animal experiments, where an unqualified person, such as himself, could play doctor, subjecting even more than the >1,000 dogs he claims to have already experimented on, to painful, mostly pointless and unproductive, experimentation.

In 30 - 40 years of "cryonics research," what have Mr. Federowicz and his peers contributed to hypothermic medicine? What have they contributed to cryonics, other than a bad reputation? What, exactly, have cryonics dog experiments accomplished? Were Federowicz' and/or Steve Harris' dog experiments reliable, and have they been of any value, whatsoever, to the advancement of hypothermic medicine?

I can't imagine anyone being under the impression that Federowicz should be someone to advise on developing "systematic research." Whom have Federowicz and his peers impressed, other than cryonicists, (an audience comprised mostly of young laypersons, who are easily taken in by some crank, like Federowicz, spewing forth medical terminology)? There is a plethora of ongoing research experiments being carried out by reputable scientists and clinicians, exploring the topics of perfusion and hypothermic medicine, and the cryonics community continues to look for advice from the likes of Federowicz?

Michael "Mike Darwin" Federowicz may be an "expert" in the eyes of some cryonicists, but I think that's mostly due to the relative ignorance of his audience, his shameless self-promotion and that of his cryonics peers. "Cryonics experts," for the most part, are a small self-serving group, who specialize in "smoke and mirrors."

People should have recognized Federowicz for what he is, by now. Amongst other things, he is someone who would blatantly lie about being a board-eligible perfusionist, when he most certainly knows he never met the requirments to make such a claim. A hospice nurse claims Federowicz also lied to him about being a nurse, and Federowicz has referred to himself as a "surgeon," in numerous cryonics case reports. I believe this constitutes a felony, in some states, and is possibly a violation of federal law. Federowicz has never been a board-eligible perfusionist, or a nurse, and he is not a physician, at all, much less a surgeon. His only formal medical training, as far as I know, is as a dialysis technician. If the cryonics organizations want to rely on self-proclaimed experts and laymen "doing the best they can," let them label those persons as such.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Alcor's Glaring Self-Contradiction

Alcor Life Extension Foundation calls the residents of the Dewars "patients," yet they collected these patients, under the "Uniform Anatomical Gift Act" (UAGA). If you ask me, those people cannot be both "patients" AND "brain donors." So, which one is it???

Living donors can donate a lot of things, including a kidney, a lobe of their liver, a lung, part of the pancreas, part of the intestine, bone marrow, blood, stem cells, and more, but they cannot donate their brains. The people in the Dewars are "donors," not "patients." As donors, I believe they can be pulled out of those Dewars, and any time, and subjected to any slice-and-dice experiment Alcor wants to subject them to, unlike CI's members, who are protected by the same regulations that govern Michgan's cemeteries.

On September 11, 2010 Alcor's Executive Director, Jennfer Chapman, referred to Mr. Orville Richardson, (someone who had been dead and buried, for more than a year, before Alcor dug him up and put him in the Dewar), as
"Alcor's 99th patient." If Mr. Richardson is Alcor's patient, I would like to know who is his physician of record. I'm serious...I want to know. On a humorous note, I'd also be interested in his treatment plan and prognosis! Mr. Richardson is NOT a patient...he is a corpse, and most likely a severely-decayed one, at that.

In the same report, Ms. Chapman also wrote:
"My recent efforts have largely focused on developing a budget and budget balancing strategies to address the nearly $400,000 deficit Alcor will face in 2011 and 2012, should it receive no income from cases. Although it is unlikely that there will be no cases in a given year, it is Alcor’s tradition to prepare for the worst case scenario. Due to the unpredictable nature of cryonics caseloads, we start with a baseline assumption that no cases will occur. The deficit we face is only partially due to expiration of the grant. Even in 2010, Alcor would have experienced a deficit were it not for case income."

In the same report, Ms. Chapman also indicates Alcor has been somewhat dependent on the "LEF/Miller/Thorp Grant," since 2008, (which I believe was $450K a year, for three years), and notes that grant will expire in June 2011.

What happens if Alcor goes bankrupt, and is not be able to care for their cryogenically-suspended members? Certainly local regulatory agencies would have some sort of requirements, for disposing of their deceased residents, but would Alcor have any legal obligation to the families of those people? Some of those people paid $150,000, (and more, in the way of membership dues, etc.), to be preserved there, and I've heard of significant bequests being left to Alcor. Would these Alcor members, and their families, simply be "out in the warm," without any recourse, if Alcor were to fail?

Has Alcor accomplished anything, with their rash of recent, protracted legal battles, other than garnering a lot of negative publicity, and placing a huge financial drain on their already-tenuous budget? Who will protect the brain donors, Alcor calls "patients," if Alcor cannot, in the future?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Alcor's Spin Doctors

Alcor recently issued a public statement, regarding the deposition of Larry Johnson. In response, an anonymous person on the Cold Filter forum claimed Mr. Johnson is "digging himself in deeper," because he asserted his Fifth Amendment rights, during the deposition. Is he? Hopefully, Mr. Johnson was following an attorney's advice, when he invoked the Fifth, (during a deposition, not a court hearing). The same person, writes "so much for the huge embarrassment, speculated by some here in the past, to Alcor, if these matters were aired in court." I still think Alcor will suffer a HUGE, perhaps devastating, embarrassment, if "these matters," (the conversations on those tapes), are aired in a court of law, (which they have not been).

I'm perplexed as to why Alcor continues to make public statements about this matter, before the NY case is over, and even more amazed they published questions and answers from the recent deposition. If I was Johnson's attorney, (I'm not an attorney, at all), I would respond by deposing the people who are alleged to be speaking on the tapes Johnson has, and publish their answers. Just think of it...

Question to Alcor Staff Member X: "Mr. X, is that your voice saying to Larry Johnson, "He killed her?"" And if the answer is "Yes,"... "To whom were you referring to, in regard to both the alleged murderer and the alleged victim?"

I could come up with thousands of embarrassing questions, for Alcor staff members, (both past and present), but I'm not interested in playing that game. Johnson et. al.'s attorneys should keep in mind that at least one person who allegedly discussed being involved in at least one illegal euthanasia still works at Alcor. If those tapes are legitimate, (and I, personally, believe they are), Alcor has had staff members who were either actually present when a certain cryonics superstar is said to have performed an illegal euthanasia, or who are psychologically-disturbed individuals who want to pretend they were involved in an illegal euthanasia.

Alcor gloats, "During deposition, Larry Johnson invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 300 times to avoid incriminating himself."

I'm just curious...Who, in that room, did not figure out that Mr. Johnson was not going to answer any questions, after the first 40, or 50? Seriously. Were Alcor's attorneys in control of the length of the deposition? How much do they get paid per hour? How much did Mr. Johnson have to pay his attorney, per hour? Is the goal of this legal battle to get to the truth, or to see who runs out of money, first? (And, for those of you who still think Johnson did this for the money, the court document reports that "over 33,000 copies of the book have been distributed." The cost of his legal battles probably exceeded any money he made, from the book, in the first few months!)

I think Alcor is hoping people will overlook the fact that Alcor cannot really "win" anything, in a hearing regarding Johnson et. al.'s "Motions to Dismiss," other than the right to proceed to trial with their claims. On the other hand, Johnson et. al. did succeed in having some of Alcor's claims thrown out of court.

My favorite part of the Alcor news brief was:

"On October 29, 2010, the New York court denied a motion to dismiss filed by Mr. Johnson. The court would only dismiss for now the "conversion" claim against Mr. Johnson for technical reasons, leaving claims for defamation and other causes of action intact."

The "technical reason" was that Alcor's allegations were "insufficient to state a claim for conversion as a matter of law," so their claim was dismissed.

Here are some highlights from the recent NY ruling, on Johnson et. al.'s "Motions to Dismiss:"

"In its opposition, Alcor appears to have abandoned its breach of contract claim with respect to the NDA."

"Accordingly, as a matter of law, Alcor has no ground to assert a breach of contract claim based on the Employee Handbook."

The judge leaves Alcor's claims for "Breach of Agreements and Judgment" in regard to the handwritten agreement, and their claim for "Breach of Fiduciary Duty" intact. (That doesn't mean Alcor "wins," only that those claims may proceed to trial.)

"Accordingly, Alcor fails to state a tortious interference with contract against Baldyga."

"According, Alcor's claim for aiding and abetting misappropriation of trade secrets must be dismissed."

The court did not rule on Alcor's status, as a public figure, something that may determine the outcome of a lot of the claims against Johnson et. al.

(From Alcor's statement: "Claims for defamation and other causes of action, including aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty, against Vanguard Press and Scott Baldyga will also continue forward in New York.")

I have been busy with other things, and may not have even noticed the court documents, if not for Alcor's public statement. If Alcor is going to publish self-serving statements, appearing to be "cherry-picking" favorable court decisions, while leaving their members, and potential members, mostly in the dark, regarding their defeats, I feel compelled to comment.

The court documents can be found here: (Do an index search for case # 113938/2009.)

***This post may be updated (added to) in the near future. I've wasted enough time blogging about cryonics, this morning.***

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I Believe Cryonics Should be Regulated

About four-and-a-half years ago, I stumbled into the world of cryonics. It was a cosmic accident, of sorts; I REALLY needed a job, and there was an ad on, for a position at an alleged research company, doing something related to perfusion. The company turned out to be Suspended Animation, a cryonics facility located very near my home, so I forwarded my resume. When I answered the ad, I was told the position, (a management position), had already been filled, but they were interested in my perfusion background, so they invited me to do some consulting work. I was told SA's "research" mostly consisted of building equipment for performing cryopreservations, and was assured all their activities were perfectly legal.

Having participated in surgical procedures, which require cooling people to a state of "death," for short periods of time, for certain repairs to the aorta, I probably find the notion of cryonics a little less bizarre than most. On top of that, I truly believe people should have their last wishes carried out, if at all possible and legal, no matter what those of us left behind want for them. I accepted the consulting work, which mostly consisted of answering their questions about perfusion, and building some very simple perfusion circuits. A short time later, I was offered a very well-compensated fulltime position, which I also accepted. It was a mere five months, before I walked away, in total disgust.

Fairly early on, it became clear to me that these people were simply trying to build equipment for performing procedures, which are fundamentally the same as procedures that have been performed in heart surgery for many decades. Suspended Animation wanted to gain vascular access, and replace the blood of their recently-deceased clients, (people who had made arrangements for cryopreservation), with an organ preservation solution, while cooling them down to near zero degrees Celsius. After that, they were to transport the bodies to another cryonics facility, (either Cryonics Institute in Michigan, or Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona), where the bodies would be perfused with a cryopreservative solution, and cooled to cryogenic temperatures, before being placed in storage.

When I tried to convince my manager that the equipment SA needed to perform these procedures already existed, I was met with a tremendous amount of resistance. I wanted to believe that person was simply ignorant of vascular cannulations and perfusion and the related equipment, but it was impossible to believe that, for very long. It soon became quite clear to me that he did not want to use existing equipment because the "research" we were doing was the construction of HIS designs. Not only were his designs vastly inferior to existing equipment, but they were exponentially more expensive than existing equipment, due to the man-hours involved. He was easily making six figures, and he was paying several people, very generously, to assist him with his "R&D" projects, none of which would have made sense to anyone familiar with the medical procedures SA was trying to deliver. (He was also engaging in adolescent, manipulative behaviors, such as asking his employees to spy on one another, and coercing them into allowing him to use their email addresses, to support his own projects and further his political agendas.)

At first, I was unaware of the amount of money involved, so when I was told SA couldn't buy certain equipment, or hire qualified personnel, because such things were "too expensive," I believed those lies. Later, I found out Suspended Animation was receiving over a million dollars a year, from Life Extension Foundation (LEF) / Saul Kent and Bill Faloon. Others at Suspended Animation agreed with me, that the many of the projects were a ridiculous waste of time and money, but at least two of them encouraged me to "play along," so we could all keep collecting our very generous salaries. It's hard to blame them, for wanting that. We could come and go, as we pleased, or sit at our desks playing on the Internet all day, and no one would least not for so long as we didn't object to the mind-bendingly ridiculous design and fabrication projects, going on in the workshop.

When I left Suspended Animation, I left believing Mr. Kent and Mr. Faloon were the victims of a con artist, who had a few very generously-paid puppets supporting him...that IS truly what I believed. Mr. Faloon had never set foot in the facility, while I was there, and I think Mr. Kent had only visited three, or four, times, usually just for a few hours. I tried to walk away and not look back, but four months after my resignation, I decided I could not sit by, in silence, while a group of laymen, armed with "garage project" equipment, tried to charge $60,000 for procedures, which are normally performed by vascular surgeons and perfusionists, (even if the recipients were already dead). It was "false advertising" in the very least, in my opinion.

I began writing about SA's activities, on the Internet, thinking people in the cryonics community would be appalled, and something would be done about the activities at the small facility, in Boynton Beach, Florida. Imagine my surprise, when someone with the initials "MD" after his name, (someone on the opposite coast of this country, someone who had never worked with me), defended that organization by posting a number of blatant, vicious lies about my activities there. This physician is someone who has been performing surgical experiments for cryonics purposes, on dogs, for many years. His co-workers, at Critical Care Research, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, are said to be three of his family members and they, too, are funded by LEF / Mr. Kent and Mr. Faloon. According to LEF's Form 990s, CCR received in excess of $900,000, in 2008. This person, someone who did not hesitate to publish vicious lies about a medical professional he had never met, (and sees no harm in placing dangerous general anesthetic drugs, such as propofol, in the hands of laymen he does not know), has been earning a bundle, working in cryonics, for many years. He has been caught in numerous lies and mistakes, regarding the procedures Alcor and Suspended Animation are attempting to perform. There's more like him...not physicians, but others who seem willing to misrepresent their capabilities and deceive the public, in exchange for salaries and benefits most REAL medical professionals will never see.

It is no longer possible for me to believe what I witnessed was an isolated bit of corruption, and the picture gets bigger, by the year. It's also no longer possible for me to think of Mr. Kent and Mr. Faloon as victims; they can't possibly be THAT blind to what goes on at their organizations. Just recently, Mr. Kent has been associated with a new push to market cryonics in Europe, with the leader of that effort being a silly young man who has held positions of power in the Church of Satan, and the Temple of Vampires. The new cryonics "leader," someone who seems to be supported by Saul Kent and Ben Best, is not a medical professional, or a scientist, but a known cult member in organizations thought, by most, to be nothing more than pyramid schemes? That's beyond ridiculous, and it makes it VERY hard to believe Mr. Kent, Mr. Best and their peers are actually interested in advancing the science of hypothermic medicine.

For forty years, cryonics "research" has primarily consisted of laymen attempting to build equipment that already exists, and laymen trying to train other laymen how to perform the tasks of paramedics, perfusionists, and vascular surgeons...much of this time with the benefactors having ample funding to provide the real thing, in regard to both equipment and personnel. Organizations such as Alcor and Suspended Animation, which want to charge $60,000 to $150,000, (not to mention other extra charges, or years worth of membership dues), are not capable of preserving brains and/or bodies in a condition likely to be viable in the future. People associated with these companies, have been known to encourage people, not only to leave hefty life insurance policies with their organizations listed as the beneficiaries, to pay for these amateur surgical procedures, but to leave their estates and irrevocable trusts to cryonics organizations.

Some cryonicists make the seemingly-valid argument that people like Saul Kent and Bill Faloon contribute MILLIONS of dollars, each year, to cryonics organization, with no return. To be honest, I really can't figure it out, but something is seriously wrong with two allegedly-stellar businessmen, to be funding what appears to be mostly a scam. Then, again, the "tipping point" to earn money, at those prices, (not to mention the donations of irrevocable trusts, and bequests), must be relatively low. My guess is, even a small percentage of the funerary business must be worth exponentially more than they have been putting into their cryonics ventures.

Again, I have no problem with people receiving their last wishes. If people want to be cryopreserved, I think they should have that right. BUT...companies should not be allowed to deceive people who wish to be cryopreserved. They should not be allowed to publish photos of what looks like medical professionals performing surgery, but in actuality, is a group of laymen playing doctor with a dead body...people whose incompetency will result in their clients being left warm (and decaying), for many hours while they struggle to perform a vascular cannulation, or people whose brains will be underperfused or turned to mush, by laymen who have no idea how to properly and safely operate a perfusion circuit. Cryonics companies should not be allowed to refer to laymen as "Chief Surgeon," "Surgeon," "Perfusionist," when these people hold no medical credentials. IT'S FRAUDULENT.

It is time for legislators, (both here, in the US, and abroad), to recognize cryonics scams, and to restrict laymen from performing surgical procedures on dead bodies, (I don't know why licensed embalmers, (other than those in the State of Michigan), haven't already done something about this. Maybe the numbers just aren't big enough to worry them, yet.) It's also time for regulators to sanction medical personnel who enable laymen to have access to dangerous prescription medications, and engage in other unethical activities, related to cryonics. It's's past time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Newest Cryonics Con Artist - EUCRIO's David Styles

There'a a new kid on the cryonics block..."Church of Satan" member, and "Temple of Vampire" member, David Styles. Oh, and he's not just a kid being brainwashed by those organizations; according to his MySpace page, he holds the position of "Warlock" in the Church of Satan, and the grade of "Adept" in the Temple of Vampires, (I'm told that is the highest possible rank). (Scroll down to the bottom of the linked page, to see some interesting photos of Styles.)

Do I really think David Styles is a devil-worshipper, or that he believes he's an immortal vampire? No...I think he's an attention-seeking scam artist, plain and simple.The only "scary" aspect of this news is the fact that he has been able to garner the support of people like Saul Kent, Catherine Baldwin, Ben Best, and other prominent members of cryonics organizations, who attended the launch of Style's European cryonics organization, "EUCRIO." According to a fairly reliable source, Kent and Best knew of Styles' cult-connections (pyramid schemes), prior to attending Style's launch of EUCRIO. (Is it just me, or do the "leaders" of cryonics activities seem to have more of an affinity for con artists and "yes men," than they do for reputable scientists and medical professionals?)

"!Jill" exposes Styles, here: !Jill links Styles to the Cryonics Institute, but neglects to note Styles' obvious connections to the Life Extension Foundation (LEF)-funded company, Suspended Animation of Boynton Beach Florida, or Styles' alleged connections to Alcor and KrioRus, for which he claims to be offering transport services.

It's interesting that one of the photos posted on !Jill's site is of David Styles hanging out with Anton LeVay's son. It's interesting because Edgar Swank, of the American Cryonics Society (ACS), was also a member of the Church of Satan, and brags on his website, about hanging out with Anton LeVay. Best calls Style's new organization "Suspended Animation Inc.-like," and I have to agree with appears to be a total sham. Styles claims to have medical professionals on his standby teams but, just like Suspended Animation, there's no real evidence of who his team members are, much less any evidence of them having medical qualifications. Where did Styles get that shiny new ambulance? Did Saul and Bill/LEF pay for that? Maybe, it was compensation for the publicity he got, for their "Teens and Twenties" meeting, by way of his much-discussed romps in the hot tub.

Do the people running cryonics organizations really want to put forth a scientific effort to cryopreserve someone in a viable condition, or are they just running a scam? They don't appear to be very successful, at running either of those things.


Is it not logical that the people most likely to promote such a glaringly-obvious scam artist, are other scam artists??

Is anyone in a position of power, in any European country, paying attention to this mess???