cryonics--embalming as low-cost alternative

Randy Gillespie nwibn at
Wed May 28 11:24:58 EST 1997


> Randy Gillespie (nwibn at wrote:
> : Subject:  embalming as low-cost and technically superior alternative to
> : cryo-freezing to preserve the deceased for subsequent reanimation  --
> : sorry, not up with local terminology --
> : ................
> : There's the basic idea.  Costwise and preservation-wise, my feeling is
> : that it's got freezing beat all to gonzo.
> :
>  With respect to costs I don't think there can be much doubt that chemical
> fixation is considerably less expensive than cryonics. However fixation by
> itself does not permanently preserve tissue structure. DNA in particular
> is rapidly degraded at room temperature, when formaldehyde is used as a
> fixative. Here's a quote from (Path. Res. Pract. 189: 66-72 1993):
> "Aldehyde fixatives resulted in degradation of DNA at room temperature but
> not at 4 C. The degradation also occurred in formalin when the pH or the
> salt concentration was low, or the formic acid level was high."
>   I like to suggest therefore that chemical preservation at a minumum
> needs to be combined with permafrost burial to be an effective alternative
> to cryonics. The Canadian Cryonics Society has assisted in arranging such
> burials in the past. If anyone is interested please contact either myself
> (oberon at or Ben Best at (benbest at
>   I should also mention that current embalming procedures do not properly
> fix human corpses since far too little formaldehyde is used for this. Thus
> special preparations are required for good tissue preservation to occur.
-----------------end quote-----------------

OK, permafrost (or some momma nature cheapo equiv refrigerator), yeah,
makes sense for sure, but it still ain't cheap if you live in a shabby
apartment in Los Angeles or Shanghai.  Grandpa in a baggy in the attic
or garage, possibly even six feet under trad-wise, that's at least a
deal in terms of initial transportation, 'cept for Eskimos.

Well, hey . . . 77.3 years hence, we decide to bring granpa back and see
what he's good for . . . and he was an early embalm job . . . DNA and
the rest in not-good shape . . . not even one intact DNA copy left . . .
NO PROBLEM . . . for several reasons!!!

    1)  A whole lot of rather randomly distorted DNA copies can be
"averaged" back into a pristine original (especially when the basic
human genome is a stock model, with some local customization . . . and
we got the plans for the stock model).

    2)  More importantly, it's significantly unlikely that grandpa would
want a pristine copy of his original specs---he was reaching for the
future, at least in part, to escape the tyranny of a genetic design he
had no choice over and a heck of a lot of consumer complaints about.
Instead, we upgrade his DNA while we're reanimating and rejuvenating
(growing his body young) him.  If he turns out to be a back-to-nature
freak of the bizarre intensity level, well, he can go to the trouble of
converting back to his stock specs later, on his own time, if we don't
burn the data collected during reani-rejuv prep.

But if granpa is gonna be granpa and not a related piece of hamburger
with a stranger inside, we gotta preserve a workable map of the nervous
system.  This means a two level map.  First level is general nerve
wiring.  Second is related to various substructure, such as the general
number of certain proteins at a given neural junction.  It doesn't
matter if the proteins themselves are dysfunctional.  Custom repair
enzymes can handle that, if they can recognize the protein (or whatever)
so they know what to build it back into and know where to leave it.
Unlike freezing, which causes highly random damage, room temperature
"rotting" is rather regular (especially if suitably embalmed and
protected from things that think we're just a jolly chunk of junk food)
. . . so our clever custom repair enzyme (one of quite a few . . . you
can see the list on the computer if you want) sees a standard-damage
xyz-sigma-wowserase with the typical extra oxygen here, the cross-link
there, the standard break at the left turn next to the 3'rd hydroxyl,
etc, and sez "Well, about this extra oxygen, now I gotta . . ." and on
into its program..

The main thing we gots to do is keep a statistically adequate map of
granpa's pieces for an adequate time.  I say "statistically" cause
that's all you are anyway.  Your moment to moment and minute to minute,
not to mention day to day, well, a walking average, kinda, you know?

If you want to go higher tech on this in latin or something, OK, but
it's kinda square and no more meaningful, though the polysyllabic horse
exhaust impresses the hoople out of the peasants and the pseuds.

So, in the words of the presumably already dead and burned or rotted
Stan Lee (sorry Stan, but I ain't been keeping notes),

'Nuff Said
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