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Don't hesitate to let me know if I or Alcor's membership administrator Diane Cremeens diane@alcor.org can help by answering any questions. You can reach me at max@alcor.org

The last statement is not accurate. Currently, with some warning, Alcor WILL deploy people outside of North America. In the near future, we expect to be able to deploy more local responders either instead of or in addition to our own personnel.

Depends what you mean by risk-averse. Alcor has an unquestionable history of fighting for its members' wishes, rather than giving up on them at the mere hint of a legal battle. The only way in which CI could be said to be more financially prudent (but in a way with its own costs) is in its remarkable ability to hold down operating costs. I'm working hard on reducing our costs without undesirable penalties in terms of capabilities. I think we are also now at a point where further membership growth will yield significant economies of scale.

But take a look at both organizations' financial statements. You will see that CI expects to maintain patients indefinitely -- and revive them -- on a small amount of per-patient funding. That takes some heroic and highly risky assumptions to accept. Alcor has carefully structured institutions and policies to manage sustainably for the long-term, including strict limits on what can be charged to the patient care trust fund, a 2% draw on the Endowment Fund, and an investment policy that has been giving us gains (while CI has been losing on its investments). If you continue to delve into the gory details, I think you may continue to update your views further.

Ben: I wasn't actually criticizing CI for not perfusing the body other than the brain, I was simply pointing it out. CI members in general seem very insistent on the importance of cryopreserving their entire body. Given THAT, it seems important to note that their body will not be cryoprotected. However, thanks for pointing out that CI will do so if requested. How often is that request made?

Why do you say that vitrification of the body is not possible "either at Alcor or CI"? It is done at Alcor for whole body members.

I mean that when we received some income that was not definitely specified for a particular purpose, when I suggested that some of it go to operations, the board unanimously insisted it all go into the Endowment Fund.

"I follow Alcor's announcements, read its magazine and track its public blog, as I necessarily must, so I am surprised to learn that "In Alcor's O.R., Alcor is presently evaluating and training two board certified general surgeons to supplement the veterinary surgeon and neurosurgeon who have been used by Alcor for the past 15 years." This is the kind of information that I would expect to see showcased in the organization's literature and on its website, not disclosed here. This is the kind of thing that happens over and over and which degrades member confidence in the transparency of the organization. "

In fact, I did mention the new surgeons, briefly, in an Alcor News post on April 2: http://www.alcor.org/blog/?p=2518 And similarly in the issue of Cryonics magazine now in production. Since we are just starting to work with these surgeons, it didn't yet seem appropriate to report much more. We are continually reporting on just about everything. Your attempt to cast Alcor as non-transparent should be obviously false to anyone who looks at what we communicate.

Alcor has stuck to this plan. The board takes it very seriously. Not only have we not taken out more than 2% per year, the board have frequently pushed to add more to the Endowment Fund even where it could legitimately be put into operations.

Consider that it might actually be evidence for a different conclusion: Eliezer signed up for cryonics some years ago, when he had little income, bravely foregoing well-paid employment in favor of pursuing his core goals. (I can relate to that!) I would very much like to talk to E.Y. about whether it's time to reconsider his past decision based on current information and current finances. I'm just an email or a phone call away, Eli...

CharlesR: First of all, let me say that I have sufficient funding for whole body, yet I have chosen the neuro option. I find it difficult to fathom why anyone would want to bring along a broken-down old body which is going to have to be replaced anyway. We can store ten neuro patients for the cost of one whole body patient (which means that we are probably underpricing WBs currently). A neuro arrangement with Alcor currently costs $80,000. Although WB prices may have to rise before long, I've heard no suggestion that neuro rates need to rise anytime soon.

However, assuming someone is determined to take along their complete body, no matter how old and infirm, to answer your question: You CURRENTLY need a MINIMUM of $200,000. At that rate, we are currently drawing between 3% and 4% of the amount going into the Patient Care Trust for indefinite care and eventual revival. That may be sustainable, but is more than our desired conservative estimates. We aim to draw no more than 2% per year. Currently, I'm driving to reduce our costs, especially for liquid nitrogen. Early next year, we should be able to revise our contract and bring these down significantly.

Even so, you should plan to have available not $200,000, but that amount compounded by something like the general rate of inflation. (Your cost doubling rate of 20 years looks close to me. I think it's maybe 22 or 23 years, given a century-long average, but very close...) Unfortunately, some cryonicists have assumed that costs would remain unchanged. Given the history of inflation, that expectation is simply either ignorant or irrational. I would urge every cryonicist to plan for costs to rise by at least the historical long-run average of about 3% annually.

How do you plan for that? You might take out considerably more life insurance initially. You might take out the current minimum or a bit more, then over time supplement that by prepaying additional amounts. We are currently figuring out various options that might help deal with the annoying but inevitable reality of inflation.

If you, or anyone else, would like to discuss this in more detail and in a more personal way, please, please, please, call me at 480.905.1906 x113

--Max

Yes, exactly! Darwin says very little about CI. He's enormously critical of Alcor. Why? The answer is complicated, but part of it clearly is that he was a major force in Alcor in earlier years and has perfectionist standards that ignore costs and other real constraints. He may also be envious that he isn't running things. Alas, his past relationships make that inevitable.

Despite his impulse to stick in the knife, I keep a close eye on his detailed blog posts, since he does have a remarkable depth of knowledge. That depth and his most excellent writing skills often fool people into believing that his judgment is better than it is. But, flawed as it is, his writing contains much of value, so I set my feelings aside and glean as much value as I can from his views.

If Darwin were to turn his attention to CI, the result would be truly ugly!

Please note, that I'm GLAD that CI exists. I respect Ben Best. I think he's doing the best he can with what I think is a badly flawed approach. Although I worry about CI's future, anyone who wants to be cryopreserved but genuinely cannot afford Alcor (about the cost of a venti coffee at Starbucks daily) should definitely look to CI and an alternative.

--Max

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