After nearly 8 years, I have two questions.1. Do you still see plastination as "near", or do you think it's probably more than 20 years off.2. Now that Aldehyde Stabilized Cryopreservation has won the Large Mammal BPF Prize, do you see value in getting Alcor and other organizations to adopt that instead? In other words, should we push more in that direction?

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BTW: "Plastination is Near" sounds like something that a serial killer might say in a horror movie, as he menacingly steps toward his quivering victim, plastination equipment in hand.

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Who likes the term "radical" or "absolute" combined with "medical freedom" as a more politically-viable alternative to "transhumanism"?

(Same position on the "Overton window," but just a better label that allows conformists ---37/40 voters--- to feel less like they are voting for people to be legally allowed to turn themselves into raccoons so they can have raccoon sex. Not that I'm against tolerating strange desires for raccoon sex, but it's just not anything that middle America is going to not be bigoted against anytime soon.)

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Although I often counsel for money to be spent on effective libertarian political action, I think brain preservation is a heroic site, dedicated to a worthy cause. Brain Preservation is a lower-cost competitor to Alcor, but rather than see them as competing, I see it more as "focusing on different possibilities," since they no doubt would both like to see advancements made toward unbounding the lifespan of those now living.

I do, however, think that government sociopathy will be a thornier problem than any other technical obstacle. Informational battles relying on human wetware are "democratic" and "cybernetic" network battles at a very low intelligence level. They'd work better if we were smarter, or more willing to engage, but both of those variables are very low.

I like that BP.org focuses some of their efforts on expanding the freedom that is necessary to allow for transhumanism, without explicitly labeling themselves with difficult-for-idiots-to-comprehend terms. They are politically smart. When I get some spare money, I will donate to them, and ideally, I will sign up with them.

I also like the fact that if I go with them, and both BP and Alcor are torn apart by earthquakes, my brain at BP will bounce and be fine, whereas all the wealthy Alcor patients' brains will shatter into cookie cutter dust. (I'm certainly not malevolent enough to hope that happens, nor do I think it would be "poetic justice" --it would be a tragedy. I just like the fact that sometimes the unexpected "bargain" occasionally does come through on value as well.) I also think that the "brain bounce" concept is comical, but if you read this after I'm preserved, don't bounce my brain in the lab as an example to visitors. :)

In any case, zaijian.

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"the research is not so fast."I'm not so sure about that, however, the research is not allowed to be brought to market in a finite period of time. If it was, it would move at market and computation speeds, not g....o....v....e....r....n....m....e....n....t.... speeds.

Technically, it's way easier to interface with government and alter it than it is to build synthetic brains, (even moreso because almost anyone can learn the necessary skillset with relative ease), but it's also way more boring, annoying, and seemingly wasteful of mental resources.

Of course, if you successfully engage, you don't have to be a slave anymore. If you successfully engage and convince many others to do the same, it's quick and easy. If it's just you by yourself, it's almost impossible.

So, it makes sense to do a little bit of optimized political engagement every week, and wait for numbers of similar activists to increase. It also makes sense to have good geo-political software at your disposal.

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It would be nice to have friends as smart as you guys. Everyone else, pretty much everyone else, always say things like "swag," Shut up you 'faggit'," and so on. I wish that these types of people weren't so somewhat innocently biased. People who blame other people for being offended by saying something truly offensive even if it isn't guided towards that person. Dealing with these intellectual "noobs" is really tiresome. I do need a vacation.

Sorry for being off topic.

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I finally found some type of discussion for this so called "plastintion" process. I'm only 17 but just read a very brief summary if what I think about plastination:

I recently have been to the science museum and went to some body works exhibit. I do kind of regret doing that. I saw the human body, super naked, a term I came up with meaning a Human body with anything less then skin on their bodies. I truly think that plastination is a disgusting process. I never should have agreed to go see something very grotesque, graphic, and explicit. Putting non-rotting, skinless, organless humans on display... What a horrible thing to see in my eyes. What's even worse is that people "played" with their bodies putting them in various poses. But, even worse would be that their were Humans sliced up into pieces... Perfectly, as if some type of saw of laser cut through them with extreme ease. Well, maybe I'm just stupid and naïve for thinking like this, but then again I have always been a softie and don't like to see death or super grotesque things.

Woah, this was not a brief summary at all... For a high school learning standard that is. Colleges would make you write "like" 20 pages.

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It's clearly sarcastic... are you hoping it's sarcastically sarcastic?

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In the case of seasonal freezing/unfreezing I think it could be said that it is still part of the natural lifecycle of these organisms.

Organisms artificially preserved in liquid nitrogen can be considered non-living (dead if you prefer) until they are restored.

Cryopatients are preserved when they are alread dead or almost-dead, and they can't be restored by any known mean.

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Charitable interpretation: The fact that the email has no additional comments by you to represent multiple voices, the fact that it is minimally formatted (one carat to start each paragraph instead of one on each line), and that it is written in a conversational style (features exclamations and question marks ending paragraphs), all combine to make it relatively easy to make the mistake Fahy made.

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There is a lot of signaling in the brain that is not mediated through the connectome.  Volume signals such as nitric oxide don't have surface receptors, and membranes allow NO to diffuse through them.  Many of the NO sensors are single molecules dissolved in the cytosol.  Where they are will affect how NO signals are transduced into what kind of neuronal activity (or not).  

It would be necessary to model the diffusion of these non-connectome mediated signaling molecules because the brain is quite non-isotropic, that is the diffusion depends on the composition and geometry of the volume element the molecules are diffusing in.  Axons are particularly non-isotropic with myelin sheaths having alternate layers of lipid bilayer and aqueous cytoplasm.  The lipids that comprise those bilayers are anisotropic too, of variable composition, and with orientation based properties.  Some of the phases are liquid crystal, so while they are liquid, they are oriented and will have anisotropic diffusional properties.  

Diffusion in water at the interface between water and hydrophobic surfaces is quite complicated and depends on the details of the hydrophobic interactions of the surfaces, the proteins involved and what is in the water.  

If you need to model diffusion, then the time scales you need to emulate are on the same time scale as the chemical reactions that occur due to diffusion.  In the case of NO, there are many reactions that are diffusion limited, that is they occur in the sub-nanosecond regime.  

To use a very crude analogy, having the connectome might be like having a complete description of a processor while it is off.  But the behavior of the processor when it is powered up depends on the software the processor is running which the description of the processor doesn't address at all.  

If you had the connectome of a Pentium processor running Windows, could you emulate it?  

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By scanning the cryo- or chemically preserved brain with electron microscopes, extracting its neural connectivity pattern (connectome) and appropriate neural dynamics, and performing a simulation of the brain thus digitized. These operations are already possible on (very) small brain fragments

AFAIK, doing that is not possible with current technology. Do you have any reference to the contrary?

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The "appropriate neural dynamics" part is where you lost me.  There is no theory or understanding of how the "appropriate neural dynamics" happen and which neural dynamics are important for what. 

It can't be in the connectome, because the connectome doesn't have the dynamic bandwidth to instantiate thought.  Thought requires differential neuronal interactions at sub-millisecond time scales.  The connectome is static on those time scale.  A static connectome can't by itself instantiate the dynamics of thought.  There has to be a dynamic layer on top of the connectome, and there is no understanding of what that is and how it is dynamically regulated.

Exhibiting very complex behaviors (the game of Life) is not the same as exhibiting the very complex behavior of rational thought. 

Physiology is comprised of many coupled non-linear interactions.  Coupled non-linear interactions exhibit chaos.  They are fundamentally not predictable long term.  Modeling a chaotic system without understanding the underlying structure and necessary limits, boundary conditions, control mechanisms, and time scales over which things happen takes more than just bigger computers. 

If you are going to simulate a brain, you need to be able to simulate it in diverse states.  What is the difference between a brain with 0.05% ethanol and one with 0.10% ethanol?  How does that change the connectome that you have measured?  To a first order, the presence of alcohol doesn't acutely change the connectome.  It does change the dynamics of how the brain works.

I bring up ethanol because it is one of the lipid soluble gaseous anesthetics, like ether and various other gases, including xenon.  The mechanism by which these gases cause anesthesia remains unknown.  These anesthetic gases work on essentially all eukaryotes, so the pathways that they affect are highly conserved across all vertebrates and invertebrates, many plants too.  Yet they remain unknown.  How are you going to program your large computers to simulate the effects of lipid soluble gases? 

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Where do you draw the line? Do creatures in nature that freeze and vitrify reversibly constitute natural instances of "death" and "resurrection" as you define the terms? Is a frozen wood frog alive, for example? How about a tardigrade immersed in liquid nitrogen?

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A deep bow to you Daniel! :)

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By scanning the cryo- or chemically preserved brain with electron microscopes, extracting its neural connectivity pattern (connectome) and appropriate neural dynamics, and performing a simulation of the brain thus digitized. These operations are already possible on (very) small brain fragments, the main problem being that they take too long because our computers are too slow.

In response to John and Daedalus, the great thing about this procedure is that, although a high level understanding of exactly how the neural operations  thus simulated give rise to consciousness would help, it is not required as long as the low level phenomena are faithfully reproduced. Think of John Conway's Game of Life: you don't have to know why the automata do what they do; as long as you apply the very simple simulation rules, the simulated structures can exhibit very complex behavior.

See the Brain Preservation Foundation site for details.

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