X-Message-Number: 33500
From: "Chris Manning" <>
Subject: Reply to Mike Darwin & Melody Maxim
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 22:56:41 +1100

Thank you Kevin Q. Brown for hosting this group. I will join the new group being
set up by John de Rivaz.

Mike Darwin wrote:

'Attempting to make  meaningful technical change at CI is a frustrating, 
micro-incremental, and  mostly unrewarding process. Most suggestions are met 
with the ripostes that they  are "unaffordable, impractical, or unnecessary."'

I then quoted a suggestion I made to the CI group (concerning the way CI 
measures the LN2 levels in the cryostats) and the reply I received from Andy 
Zawacki. Mike then posted a long discussion about different methods of measuring
fluid levels.

Mike seemed to be claiming that there is a culture of resistance to 
change/improvement at CI. My comments were intended merely as an example of how 
CI responded to a suggestion from me. This example did not make it seem to me 
that such a culture exists at CI. Mike does however make some good points about 
measurement of LN2 levels. I will take the liberty of forwarding them to Andy 
(he won't be able to read them here), although I daresay he is already aware of 
them. BTW in my experience, a culture of resistance to change or improvement is 
found in many organisations.

I wrote:

I do read every CI case report, with the same  layman's approach as described 
above for reading the posts made here. I  would not describe them as 
'nightmarish', I certainly would care if I  thought they were, and I don't get 
the impression that they make a 'mess' of  members' care.
Mike replied:

'Notably, you don't ask for chapter and verse as to why I believe otherwise. 
Sigh. That's probably just as well.'

It occurred to me after I posted the above, that I ought to have asked you to 
explain what you meant. You could of course have provided an explanation without
waiting to be asked for it by me.

I wrote:

I am intrigued by the fact  that Mr Darwin has the *time* to post these many 
long emails. I assume he  would say that the time spent composing them is 
justified by the importance  of setting the record straight (as he would see 

Mike replied:

'Wow, this  is a weird statement. Information processing and communications 
technology are  advancing at a rate that simply blows me away - and I'm not 
easily impressed. If  medicine were progressing at 1/10th, or maybe even 1/100th
the rate that is  being sustained in these areas, we'd all be immortal already.
You might as well  have asked me how I manage to find the *time* to post so 
much, given that using a hammer and chisel to carve my words into stone takes so
long. And that's a  good place to end this post, because it returns us to where
we started out: the  intelligent use of technology to improve the utilization 
of the most valuable  resource in the world: human intelligence and productive 

I don't know what is 'weird' about it. I believe your recent posts must have 
taken a long time to type. As far as I know, George Orwell's 'speak-write' 
hasn't been invented yet, so I believe you would have used some sort of keyboard
to type your emails. Possibly you are a fast typist.

On a more personal note, Mike Darwin wrote:

'Furthermore, in looking over the study materials, I doubted I could handle the 
math exercises - the same reason why I gave up any consideration of pursuing  an
undergraduate degree in biology, with the objective of getting a doctorate, and
doing research.'

It appears that we are in a sense opposites. I have a degree in mathematics but 
failed Biology I.

Melody wrote:

'In response, Chris Manning wrote: "I do read every CI case report, with the 
same layman's approach as described above for reading the posts made here. I 
would not describe them as 'nightmarish', I certainly would care if I thought 
they were, and I don't get the impression that they make a 'mess' of members' 

What Mr. Darwin refers to as "Ben Best's nightmarish CI case reports," are a lot
more "honest" than those of Alcor, or SA, in my opinion. CI's reports are, for 
the most part, much more simplistic than Alcor's or SA's reports, and here's a 
layman saying he doesn't see the "messes" Mike Darwin claims are "glaringly 
obvious" in the more simple CI reports? Did Mr. Manning read SA's case report, 
for the Curtis Henderson case?' [remainder snipped]

I am not clear whether you are saying that I should, or should not, notice 
anything 'nightmarish' about the CI case reports. It is of course possible that 
I fail to see things which anyone with medical training would see. What I can 
say that I don't notice any obvious signs of carelessness or incompetence in 
these reports, such as we occasionally read about in the media. I mean things 
like objects being left inside patients who have undergone surgery.

I have never read any SA report. I have not bothered to do so simply because as 
an Australian I am not in a position to use its services.

Regarding the question of whether someone is, or is entitled to be called, a 
'surgeon' I would humbly (being a layman) suggest that it might depend on the 
meaning of the word. My Macquarie Dictionary (of Australian English, which is 
probably close enough to US English for the present purpose) defines 'surgeon' 

1. one who treats injuries, deformities, and diseases by manual operation or 
instrumental appliances.

2. a medical practitioner or physician qualified to practise surgery.

In other words, the word can be used to apply to someone who is *qualified* to 
practise surgery, or to someone who merely practises it. 

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