X-Message-Number: 2663
Date: 23 Mar 94 23:47:23 EST
From: Mike Darwin <>
Subject: CRYONICS ground zero

I read Ralph Merkel's message about earthquakes with great interest.  Not
because it was news (it ain't) but because of the agenda I perceived it
represents.  If Ralph is implying that cryonics is unsafe to do in
California (particularly Southern California) he would do us all a favor
by laying his cards on the table and telling us that's his agenda.

I am uniquely qualified to comment on this issue because it was moi who
first raised the issue of earthquakes and in fact even suggested Phoenix
as a likely alternative MANY years ago (read your back issues of
CRYONICS).  I have spent a great deal of time since thinking about it and
the more I've learned the less sanguine I've become about avoiding the
risks of natural disasters by running from them.

A few days ago we had a top notch structural engineer examine our facility
and prepare a proposal for retrofitting to protect against earthquakes. 
The firm he represents has retrofitted hospitals, nuclear powerplants and
specializes in tilt-up concrete buildings such as the one we are in.  Part
of the 100 plus page proposal they have submitted to us is the
construction of an underground vault which will be both 8.5 earthquake
resistant and blast resistant.  The forces involved in earthquakes are
large, but CAN be engineered for in almost every situation.  The
engineers seem confident they can retrofit us to take it and to build a
vault that will take it.

The proposal we have calls for soil studies and extensive computer
modeling of our structure and assessment of our risks. It will not be
cheap, but it will be thorough.  It will go a long way towards protecting
patients -- both neuro and whole body. 

We are well aware of the seismic risks here and we are thoughtful about
addressing them.  I plan a more detailed article in the near future.

In the meantime I would remind Ralph that pride/smugness cometh before
the fall.  Alcor has soft spots of its own which could be very easily
addressed publically.  How much better it would be if we could all lay
our cards on the table and deal with the problems in a straightforward

If Ralph's intention in going to the trouble of posting the Wall Street
Journal article was strictly to caution us all about earthquakes then  I
would like to express my regret at misinterpreting his intent.  However,
taken with other information I have, I very much doubt this is the case.

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