X-Message-Number: 28576
From: "mike99" <>
Subject: Report on the Alcor Conference 2006 [Part 1]
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 18:56:07 -0600

Report on the Alcor Conference 2006 [Part 1]

I've been a member of Alcor since 2000, but this is the first Alcor
conference I have attended. I was very impressed by the information in the
presentations, the quality of the accommodations, and the smoothly efficient
organization of the entire event. Alcor CEO TANYA JONES and her able
helpers, both paid and volunteer, deserve kudos for a job well done.

Friday 6 October
After registration, I walked over to the "Welcome" reception on the Marriott
Hotel patio where drinks and snacks were available and a crowd of
cryonicists and interested others were mingling beneath the desert moon. I
met old friends and new, heard a brief speech by an Arizona politician, and
then went to my room. Before leaving the patio, I gazed at the moon for a
moment and wondered: Will I look up again at the moon centuries from now,
living a new life thanks to cryonics? And how many of the fellow cryonicist
who I had just chatted with will be there, too?

Saturday 7 October
The longest day of the conference began at 9 in the morning and ended some
time after 10 in the evening.

The history of cryonics was the subject of THEODORE KRAVER, who was present
at the genesis of the movement. Imagine, if you will, stepping back to the
1960s and seeing history being made. That's exactly how the audience surely
felt while viewing Dr. Kraver's fascinating collection of photo slides of
early suspension technology. This was accompanied by his unique commentary,
which could only have been given by someone who had actually designed and
built some of the earliest cryo-capsules, as well as transporting them
before and after patients had been put into them. I'm sure that our
earliest, continuing cryonics patient, Dr. Bedford, on some happy future day
will want to see photos of his first cryo-capsule. (I'd like to be there
with him!)

Politics was not something that most cryonicists wanted to hear about, but
it is something that can directly impact the ability of cryonics
organizations to suspend patients, perform research and, hopefully,
resuscitate patients in the future. So most of us paid careful attention
when Alcor's paid lobbyist hosted a panel discussion with two Arizona state
legislators, a Democrat with particular interest in end-of-life issues and a
Republican with particular interest in keeping Arizona open to biotechnology
and free enterprise. What they told us about how laws are made   and how bad
bills are stopped from becoming laws   was very interesting and important to

Then we listened to RALPH MERKLE on the theoretical prospects for
nanotechnology, followed by ROBERT FREITAS showing a remarkable PowerPoint
slide show including animations of possible nanotech devices in action. An
opening video animation sequence in the Freitas presentation was the work of
Gina "Nanogirl" Miller. It depicted a real-time medical nanotech system
interface that consisted of a back-of-the-hand visual display of
bio-activity within the person's body. The display was visible on-demand,
and clickable by the other hand. This animated sequence drew rave applause
from the audience.

After lunch we had another fascinating tech (nano and other) presentation by
J. STORRS HALL, followed by a talk about the economic implications of life
extension by DAVID FRIEDMAN. Next came AUBREY DE GREY, who preceded his talk
about engineering negligible senescence by first presenting an award to an
8-yr-old girl who had gone door-to-door in her neighborhood to raise money
for de Grey's Methuselah Mouse Prize (given to researchers who
experimentally extend the life spans of laboratory mice).

The day concluded with a fine banquet and the presentation of Alcor
membership pins to cryonicists who have been signed up for 20 years or more.
An impressive number of these long-timers were present to accept their

Michael LaTorra

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