Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

‘People Who Think Life Is a Pretty Good Thing and That More Life Is Better’

with one comment

Hixon leads me through the cryonics process. Once your body has been safely transported to Alcor, it is perfused with antifreeze-like cryoprotectants, and you are cooled to -230 degrees Fahrenheit. In preparation for your long-term suspension, your temperature is gradually brought farther down, to that of liquid nitrogen, -320 degrees (chilled too quickly, you’d shatter like an NBA backboard). Finally, you are moved into one of Alcor’s dewars, the reinforced stainless-steel tanks named after Sir James Dewar of the scotch-producing dynasty. There you will wait out the years until the glorious flowering of science brings you back.

Who wants to live forever?

As I make my way to the stark white operating theater, I stumble upon a room with a large machine that bears a big saw-toothed wheel, the teeth pointing up and down in a fairly ragged and aggressive display of tear-apart force. Is this the decapitator, I wonder? No. It’s a huge mixer, a kind of gargantuan Hamilton Beach they use to blend the cryoprotectant. When I ask Hixon to show me the cephalic isolator, he smiles and sighs gently, used to the media’s fixation on the “yuck factor.” He takes me into a supply room, opens a cabinet and takes out an ordinary handsaw wrapped in blue surgical paper and labeled with a handwritten note: AMPUTATION SAW. It all comes down to this, after all. The back-and-forth motion of a preindustrial tool, powered by that most primitive of devices: the human arm.

“But a scalpel’s just as good,” he tells me

To be honest I’m having second thoughts.

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  1. […] the MetaFilter thread about the Alcor Life Extension Foundation: Transmetropolitan #8 “Another Cold […]


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