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Meet the Company Offering a Chance at Immortality for $200,000

Frozen Brain

More and more people are signing up to be frozen for a chance at life after death. So the question is, would you?

 writes: In the desert climate of Scottsdale, Arizona, rest 147 brains and bodies, all frozen in liquid nitrogen with the goal of being revived one day.

It’s not science fiction — to some it might not even be science — yet thousands of people around the world have put their trust, lives and fortunes into the promise of cryonics, the practice of preserving a body with antifreeze shortly after death in hopes future medicine might be able to bring the deceased back.

Mad-Science

“If you think back half a century or so, if somebody stopped breathing and their heart stopped beating we would’ve checked them and said they’re dead,” said Max More, CEO of the Scottsdale-based Alcor. “Our view is that when we call someone dead it’s a bit of an arbitrary line. In fact they are in need of a rescue.”

That “rescue” begins the moment a doctor declares a patient dead. Alcor’s team then prepares an ice bath and begins administering 16 medications and variations of antifreeze until the patient’s temperature drops to near freezing.

Alcor CEO Max More poses in front of the dewars that house his 147 cryopreserved patients.

Alcor CEO Max More poses in front of the dewars that house his 147 cryopreserved patients. Qin Chen | CNBC

“The critical thing is how fast we get to someone and how quickly we start the cooling process,” More said. In order to ensure that can happen, Alcor stations equipped teams in the U.K., Canada and Germany and offers members a $10,000 incentive to legally die in Scottsdale, where the record for getting a patient cooled down and prepped for an operation is 35 minutes.

Next, a contracted surgeon removes a patient’s head if the member selected Alcor’s “Neuro” option, as it’s euphemistically called, in hopes that a new body can be grown with a member’s DNA once it comes time to be thawed out. It’s also the much cheaper route. At a price tag of $80,000, it’s less than half the cost of preserving your whole body. “That requires a minimum of $200,000, which isn’t as much as it sounds, because most people pay with life insurance,” More said.

Alcor-3

In fact, such a business model is pretty consistent in the nonprofit cryonics community. Michigan-based Cryonics Institute offers a similar payment structure, albeit at the more affordable cost of just $28,000 for whole-body preservation. Which begs the question: Why the price discrepancy?

“We’ve been very conservative in the way we plan the financing,” More said. “Of that $200,000, about $115,000 of it goes into the patient care trust fund,” which is meant to cover eventual costs and is controlled by a board of trustees (a certain number of which is required to have loved ones currently in cryopreservation). More says the trust currently boasts a total of over $10 million, which is supported by Alcor’s most recent nonprofit 990 filings.

Who is doing this?

When More came to the U.S. in 1986 from Britain to train at Alcor, it was run by volunteers and he signed up as Alcor’s 67th member. Since then, the company has hired a full-time staff of eight employees, boosted its membership to more than 1,000, and is looking into doubling the size of its patient care bay.

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Does Artificial Intelligence Pose a Threat?

AI-WSJ

A panel of experts discusses the prospect of machines capable of autonomous reasoning

Ted Greenwald writes: After decades as a sci-fi staple, artificial intelligence has leapt into the mainstream. Between Apple ’s Siri and Amazon ’s Alexa, IBM ’s Watson and Google Brain, machines that understand the world and respond productively suddenly seem imminent.

The combination of immense Internet-connected networks and machine-learning algorithms has yielded dramatic advances in machines’ ability to understand spoken and visual communications, capabilities that fall under the heading “narrow” artificial intelligence. Can machines capable of autonomous reasoning—so-called general AI—be far behind? And at that point, what’s to keep them from improving themselves until they have no need for humanity?

Meka's M1 robot is one of the systems that has been acquired by Google

The prospect has unleashed a wave of anxiety. “I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” astrophysicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC. Tesla founder Elon Musk called AI “our biggest existential threat.” Former Microsoft Chief Executive Bill Gates has voiced his agreement.

How realistic are such concerns? And how urgent? We assembled a panel of experts from industry, research and policy-making to consider the dangers—if any—that lie ahead. Read the rest of this entry »


Senator Sessions: Zuckerberg Spent $30 Million on Four Houses to Secure HIS Borders

mark-zuckerberg-HT

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) blasted pro-amnesty billionaires whose fondness for open borders ends at the doors of their “gated compounds and fenced-off communities,” noting how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought other four houses surrounding his own just because he wanted “a little privacy.”

“Well, the ‘masters of the universe’ are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their gated compounds and fenced-off estates.”

Sessions began by rebuking Zuckerberg – one of the billionaire elites he has dubbed “Masters of the Universe” – for going to Mexico City and giving a speech claiming that America’s immigration policy is “strange” and “unfit for today’s world.”

“Well, the ‘masters of the universe’ are very fond of open borders as long as these open borders don’t extend to their gated compounds and fenced-off estates,” Sessions said.

zuckerberg_aerial-3b16c1

As an example of the hypocrisy of these “Masters,” Sessions then recalled how Zuckerberg bought four houses surrounding his own to keep people from crossing his borders and secure “a little privacy”:  Read the rest of this entry »


Happy 64th, George Orwells 1984!

Shepard Faires Obama-Poster to fit PRISM.

What’s this stuff in German say? Beats me. But what a great poster. — The Butcher

Ich habe heute jede Menge Sachen zum Überwachungsmonster PRISM gelesen, heute, am 64. Geburtstag von George Orwells 1984 (!), das am 8. Juni 1949 zum ersten mal veröffentlicht wurde. Und weil ich ja heute sehr viel Zeit hatte, da dank eines größeren Ausfalls bei Host Europe die Seite down war, habe ich Shepard Fairys Obama-Poster für das Jahr 2013 aktualisiert. Ich hab’ sogar ein Allsehendes Auge an Stelle von Obey Giants Signet in die linke untere Ecke gepackt, damit das auch wirklich stimmig ist. Hier das Original zum Vergleich, hier das Baby in HighRes. Der Post hier ist ein bisschen länger und hat am Ende jede Menge Links zum Thema, da sind auch jede Menge obskure Sachen dabei, wie PRISM-Designkritik und sowas.

Mark Zuckerberg und Larry Page streiten selbstverständlich alles ab, der eine auf Facebook,der andere auf Google Bloggingplattform, und beide benutzen auffällig gleiche Formulierungen. Von Anwälten glattgerührte, oberflächliche Ausflüchte oder anders formuliert: Bullshit. Von Techcrunch:

The New York Times says you knowingly participated in the NSA’s data monitoring program. In some cases, you were asked to create ”a locked mailbox and give the government the key”, to allow it to peer into private communications and web activity. Even if the exact words of your denials were accurate, they seemed to obscure the scope of your involvement with PRISM. Outlining as clearly as possible exactly what kind of data the government could attain would have gone a long way.

But you were probably cornered by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act restrictions about what you could say about PRISM. And in fact, you might have beeen subtly trying to fight back by asking the government for more transparency. When you decode Mark’s statement “We strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe”, I hear “Our hands are cuffed. Only the government can reveal that we participated. We wish they would.”

More via Nerdcore 


Where Did That Stimulus Money Go?

Contrary to his rhetoric, Obama is very friendly to the wealthy — as long as they are Democrats. Billionaire Democrat donors receiving a lot of stimulus money include: Solyndra owner George Kaiser; Tesla Motors owners Leon Musk, Larry Page and Sergey Brin; NRG Energy owners Warren Buffett, Steven Cohen, and Carl Icahn; Abound Solar Manufacturing’s Pat Stryker; and Siga Technologies’ Ronald Perelman. Among other wealthy Democrat winners were former Vice President Al Gore, whose investment in Fisker Automotive was rewarded with a $529 million loan guarantee. Taken all together, about 75 percent of stimulus loans and grants have been doled out to companies run by Obama supporters…

More >> via >>  Four ways Romney must hold Obama accountable for the economy