I think this is a good point, although I think that a Givewell-like site theoretically could compare charities in a particular domain in which outcomes aren't easily measurable. Just because things aren't easily measurable doesn't mean that they are unmeasurable.
Upvoted because this is a good critique. My rationale for using this scale is that I was less interested in absolute interest in cryonics and more in relative interest in cryonics between groups. The data and my code are publicly available, so if you are bothered by it, then you should do your own analysis.
I used ingres's excellent LW 2016 survey data set to do some analyses on the extended LW community's interest in cryonics. Fair warning, the stats are pretty basic and descriptive. Here it is: http://www.brainpreservation.org/interest-in-cryonics-from-the-less-wrong-2016-survey/
You didn't explain anything about the evolution of your thoughts related to cryonics/brain preservation in particular. Why is that?
I'm a PhD student in genomics (read: argument to authority). Regulatory issues are definitely important and largely an impediment that should be removed, imo. That said, I think the larger issue is capturing and integrating good phenotypic and disease state data into datasets. Although there are large genomics data sets available, generally they have pretty sparse and poorly annotated phenotypic data. This is actually tied to other regulatory issues related to medicine. If you think this is important, please do consider getting involved in the area.
Yes. This is part of the mission of the Brain Preservation Foundation. The American Cryonics Society is also in this space, I believe.
What should cleonid do instead (if anything)? And even if something is not true in general, could it still be used as an approximation?
Great! Please feel free to also contact Ken Hayworth if you are interested in more information: http://brainpreservation.org/content/contact
What does "adequately funded" mean in this context? Certainly labs at the Buck Insitute could easily expand in personal or experiments given more money. Importantly, SENS and BI also collaborate, and many SENS grant dollars are awarded to scientists at BI (I don't know the exact numbers, but last time I looked into it, this was the case).
If you think that there is promise in brain preservation (e.g., cryonics), your money may also be highly leveraged if you donate to the Brain Preservation Foundation (disclosure: I'm a volunteer for BPF). Cryonics is not a static technology -- this is the #1 lesson from Mike Darwin's blog, who is probably the most knowledgeable person about cryonics alive. And other technologies for brain preservation, such as aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation, are possible. BPF has a track record of providing grants that has already led to promising research avenues. However, there is basically no funding for this research, as publicly evidenced by the fact that BPF's two largest donations over the past two years have been for $1000 each.