by [anonymous]2 min read11th Mar 201346 comments


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Edit 1: context: Cryonics is a common topic on Less Wrong. There are a lot of Less Wrong cryonicists... and a good portion of people to whom this warning is relevant to are Less Wrongers. So this seems like as good a place as any to post this, since I'm just trying to get some potentially helpful information to these people.

Edit 2: It also occurred to me that if you just randomly see this you might have no idea if it's legitimate... feel free to message me if you'd like references to back up the story or anything... all you have to do is ask


Sent this to a friend, and I thought I should share:

Warning on the Young Cryonicists Gathering: The lady who runs this is quite literally, nuts. Cairn Adun will revoke your scholarship for petty reasons and leave you screwed. I had to heroically bargain down her punishment on two friends who were late to breakfast and missed the sign-in sheet. Another guy missed his flight or something and showed up late and had his entire scholarship revoked.

I went last year and escaped unscathed (as did most everyone). You can certainly do it, and yes I would recommend setting independent alarms, ample planning time, etc. I would also recommend going ahead and just sending Cairn an email saying hello, you know maybe thank her for putting the event together, you're looking forward to seeing her (lol) and you're having no problems so far (and make sure you let her know right away if there are any problems, and that it isn't your fault). When you get the chance maybe try to cautiously elicit what exactly her criteria are for screwing someone (lol), and try to be extra responsible (make sure you fill in all the fields in all the stupid forms she hands out, with at least some decent BS or something - don't give completely sarcastic answers or anything, I think she had it in for some from the beginning for half-trolling in their answers).

They will encourage you to stay out late Saturday night, and if you miss breakfast Sunday morning, multiple people were having their entire scholarships revoked, without ever being told about any of these criteria beforehand (I've heard that some of this is stated more explicitly in the contract this year). They didn't really seem to be standing up for themselves, so I went and pleaded with her as best I could and she agreed to only revoke their hotel scholarship. (Which they did end up having to pay.)

But don't freak out about it too much if you're already committed. This conference is absolutely full of interesting weirdos :) so just go and be yourself and enjoy it. I don't know if it's worth it to eat any charges you've already committed. Interested in taking Florida vacation? lol.


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I, too, attended the 2012 Young Cryonicists Gathering. This is an important enough topic that I'm upvoting this post, despite it being pretty badly written. I'm going to try rewriting the OP's post for them.

The Young Cryonicists Gathering is a networking event for people under 30 years of age to meet other young cryonicists, and to meet older cryonicists who are leaders in the community. Eliezer has written about this event before. They offer scholarships which cover airfare, food, and lodging. To get a scholarship, you must hand copy a contract that you'll attend, and they claimed this was because previous people have used it as a way of getting a free vacation to Florida.

On Saturday evening, we were encouraged to attend an open bar event that started somewhere between 10:30 and 11:00 PM at the hotel's bar. This apparently went on for quite some time; I wouldn't know for sure since I cut out slightly after midnight, and only had a single alcoholic drink. I arrived at 8:50 the next morning and had a very quick breakfast. Main proceedings were scheduled to start at 9:00, and at 9:10, a staffer walked around the main table asking us our names, and writing them down.

I later learned that this list of names were the people who didn't have their scholarships revoked.

Let's temporarily ignore fairness complaints: this action was not instrumental to the organizer's goals, which were to have us meet and talk about ourselves to other people. A very large share of conversation that morning was about people's scholarships being partially revoked. More total time was wasted with discussion and worry about this (and not getting to know each other) than actual sum time wasted by the handful of people who showed up late. Several people who were on time were worried and freaking out because they couldn't afford having their scholarships revoked, even partially. One woman there told how she was instructed by her lawyer parents that there was no way in hell that she should hand write and sign the contract that had been presented to us. The event turned into a rumor mill about what exactly was going on because people were in the dark.

Moving back to the fairness issues, this was done with no warning after a late night drinking event that we were encouraged to attend. And the saddest part is that that open bar was probably the most worthwhile part of the trip. I found most of the conference to otherwise be overly regimented without enough unstructured time.

I found most of the conference to otherwise be overly regimented without enough unstructured time.

I actually agree with this completely. That was my main piece of constructive advice for the conference: more unstructured time. The best conversations were around the hot tub. Funny how that works.


That is not your call to make. If you don't like how the conference is run, don't go. Encourage others not to go by telling them how the event is organized, not by throwing around wild, entitled accusations of mental illness. There is no evidence that the conference organizer is mentally ill. Writing "lol" is the functional equivalent of pointing and laughing - what gave you the right to point and laugh? You shouldn't be surprised that appearing and being petty is not rewarded in this forum.

If you had written what iceman wrote, you wouldn't have been downvoted. NPOV writing enhances credibility, and you are going out of your way to avoid NPOV. In fact, you seem surprised that your wisecracking is not being appreciated.

I'm sympathetic to the people hurt by the conference organizer. I have suspicions about behind the scenes issues that the conference organizer has not revealed because the issues would make the organizer look bad - even if they aren't illegal or immoral or even the organizer's fault.

By contrast, your original post seems uninterested in their problems or in the quality of the conference, except as a bloody shirt for you to wield to support your ad hominem attacks.

That is not your call to make. If you don't like how the conference is run, don't go. Encourage others not to go by telling them how the event is organized, not by throwing around wild, entitled accusations of mental illness.

You have made this reply to Hank in response to (perhaps) the only comment by Hank in this thread to which it isn't a valid response.

The grandparent (in particular and perhaps to the exclusion of the other rants) is an entirely legitimate position. Giving an evaluation on which component is most valuable is his call. You don't need to agree with it and the organizers do not need to comply with the advice but he is not "out of his place" to make it.

Given the rest of the context, (particularly hankx7787's other response to iceman's post), I'm not confident that he understands the distinction between appropriate criticism and the organizer being required to follow his advice.

But I agree with you that the distinction is valid, and criticism without the necessity to comply is completely appropriate in this context.

[-][anonymous]9y 0


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The lady who runs this is quite literally, nuts.

I do not think this means what you think it means, but thanks for the funny image anyway.

[-][anonymous]9y 18

... Context?

If you have references, and you want to get potentially helpful information to rationalists, why on earth would you not just post these references to begin with? If you have a good reason for not making the references public, why didn't you say so in your initial post?

(I know I'm late to the conversation, but whatever......)

I attended Teen & Twenties 1 & 2, and I can definitely attest to Cairn being a nutjob.

T&T 1 went off without a hitch. T&T 2.....not so much.

During the "Speed Dating" session, I got up to use the restroom. A good friend of mine (also in attendance) was in the hallway conducting business. I returned to the room and, rather than interrupt the entire session, I grabbed a chair and sat by myself. Soon after, my friend returned as well. He pulled up a chair and we proceeded to shoot the breeze. Once everyone was told to switch, we gained another person. Soon we had a large group of people loosely socializing (very happily, I might add). For the record, this group included Saul Kent from Life Extension.

To those in attendance, this was a nice break from the rigid structure. To Cairn, this was a HUGE problem. Once she noticed, she proceeded to throw an absolute s**t fit. She likened us to suicide bombers, publicly called us out, and blatantly accused my friend of starting the whole thing. She repeatedly asserted that this was HER event, and if we weren't willing to play by HER rules, we shouldn't even come. The whole thing was akin to a toddler pounding their fists on the floor screaming "MINE!! MINEMINEMINE!!!"

In doing so, she successfully alienated several people (a number of which are very active and influential in Cryonics).

We were originally told that T&T was about creating a Cryonics community. It has, however, become increasingly obvious that the true purpose is to provide Cairn with an opportunity to play Tyrant.

I strongly recommend staying as far away as possible from ANYTHING run by Cairn Idun.