Print 26 comment(s) - last by realist2000.. on Jul 30 at 4:30 PM

Robert Ettinger  (Source:
Ettinger died on July 23 of poor health in his home in Clinton Township, Mich.

For anyone who has seen the movie "Austin Powers," one of the most memorable scenes was Mike Myers being brought back to life after 30 years of being cryogenically frozen. Many people, especially Robert Ettinger, have wondered if this could actually happen at some point in the future. 

Ettinger, also known as the "father of cryonics," died July 23, 2011 at the age of 92. He had spent much of his life advocating the freezing of the dead in hopes of bringing them back to life one day.

His passion for cryonics began after he was severely wounded during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II. Ettinger spent a lot of time in hospitals, where a bone graft surgery saved his legs. This sparked his enthusiasm for preserving life through technology. 

In 1964, Ettinger wrote a book called "The Prospect of Immortality," which introduced the idea of cryonics. Then, in 1976, he founded the Cryonics Institute. His mother, Rhea Ettinger, was the first to be frozen in the institute in 1977. He has also frozen his two wives, Elaine and Mae. 

"If civilization endures, medical science should eventually be able to repair almost any damage to the human body, including freezing damage and senile debility or other cause of death," wrote Ettinger. "No matter what kills us, whether old age or disease, and even if freezing techniques are still crude when we die, sooner or later our friends of the future should be equal to the task of reviving and curing us."

The Cryonics Institute has 900 members, and it charges $28,000 to prepare a body and store it in liquid nitrogen at minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Despite ridicule, Ettinger continued devoting his life to cryonics and its possibilities. 

Ettinger died after weeks of poor health in his home in Clinton Township, Michigan, which is a suburb of Detroit. His body became the 106th to be placed in the Cryonics Institute. 

"My father devoted himself to doing what he could to enable his family, his friends and others to come back and live again," said David Ettinger. "Whether he will achieve that, nobody knows at this point, but we think he has a good shot."

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Yeah... but...
By Iaiken on 7/27/2011 11:59:55 AM , Rating: 2
"No matter what kills us, whether old age or disease, and even if freezing techniques are still crude when we die, sooner or later our friends of the future should be equal to the task of reviving and curing us."

What's in it for them?

RE: Yeah... but...
By ShaolinSoccer on 7/27/2011 12:06:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, if you stay dead for too long before being frozen, your brain loses memory so if and when you do get unfrozen, you're basically a vegetable...

RE: Yeah... but...
By Brandon Hill on 7/27/2011 12:19:53 PM , Rating: 4
A vegetable with freezer burn on your wang.

RE: Yeah... but...
By delphinus100 on 7/27/2011 7:46:59 PM , Rating: 2
True. Best case is an anticipated death in a hospital or hospice (and even then, you could find yourself waiting an unexpectedly long's happened) with your suspension team flown in and standing by...

Worst case...something like being on one of the 9/11 planes, where they might not find so much as a fingernail of you.

Only a condemned man typically gets to know exactly when he's going to die, and aside from the ethics of even trying to preserve someone convicted of a capital crime, most forms of execution are too destructive to brain and body as well. Your best bet would be execution where lethal injection is the preferred method.

RE: Yeah... but...
By jkostans on 7/27/2011 10:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
The cryonics people are like the Egyptians of old. Preserving their bodies in hopes to be immortal. Too bad it will never work. Maybe they could eventually bring back brain dead zombies? That would be pretty funny...

RE: Yeah... but...
By advancedatheist on 7/27/2011 1:29:36 PM , Rating: 3
People in Future World might have higher levels of empathy as part of their basic endowment, so they would attempt revivals of cryonauts out of compassion. Last year people of our current makes and models put out an extraordinary effort to rescue those trapped miners in Chile, for example, when those blue collar guys couldn't have paid the costs for their rescue with their lifetime earnings.

RE: Yeah... but...
By Solandri on 7/27/2011 5:52:42 PM , Rating: 2
Last year people of our current makes and models put out an extraordinary effort to rescue those trapped miners in Chile, for example, when those blue collar guys couldn't have paid the costs for their rescue with their lifetime earnings.

That's not really a fair comparison. People understood that that bad event happened to those miners through no fault of their own - they got unlucky. While the cost per miner was higher than the miners could have ever afforded, people realized that this was a rare event. The ~$1 per citizen it cost the country to rescue those miners was like an insurance premium. By paying it, everyone in Chile knew that if a similar rare misfortune befell them personally, the nation would work its butt off to rescue them.

In contrast, freezing yourself in hopes of future revival is a voluntary act. You choose to put yourself in that situation. I doubt any future generations would feel obligated to revive these "cryonauts" except possibly out of historical curiosity. Their fate rests in the hands of the company they paid to maintain and revive them.

RE: Yeah... but...
By realist2000 on 7/30/2011 4:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on how economic conditions are in the future. What is extremely difficult now may be trivial then. I'm more concerned with the loss of neural pathways and information if the wait until freezing is too long. But again, this is an insoluble problem now but may be possible in the future. It's somewhat optimistic but not just speculation to suppose that the standard of living and the technically feasible will increase dramatically.

RE: Yeah... but...
By Reclaimer77 on 7/27/2011 4:57:46 PM , Rating: 1
Dude we go out and dig up worthless bones and artifacts all the time. You don't think 100+ years from now future scientists and scholars would welcome the opportunity to study and get a perspective from a real live person from the past?

Or are you just using this to make some silly anti-Capitalist statement? I hope not.

Hell awaits if he ever "wakes up"
By Brandon Hill on 7/27/2011 12:06:09 PM , Rating: 5
He has also frozen his two wives, Elaine and Mae.

Good luck with that buddy if you're ever "reanimated"

RE: Hell awaits if he ever "wakes up"
By Cypherdude1 on 7/27/2011 12:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
Good luck with that buddy if you're ever "reanimated"
"Reanimated", LOL.

By AMDftw on 7/27/2011 12:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
All I picture is old school cartoons.

By MrBlastman on 7/27/2011 12:36:51 PM , Rating: 3
Doctor Herbert West is not laughing with you... Nor is his cat. :)

By NellyFromMA on 7/27/2011 4:53:24 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like he just likes to collect frozen people to me.

By delphinus100 on 7/27/2011 7:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, he was fortunate to have even found two wives that were supportive of cryonics (perhaps through that mutual interest?) It isn't always so...

...but will they?
By sorry dog on 7/27/2011 12:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
What if he is right and in the future the tech will exist to reverse fatal ailments, but the bigger question is will they want to?
I mean maybe they would do one or three for historical study or something, but I mean if we could defrost a few thousand people from the 1600's would we want to? Just more people taking space that would have to re-learn how to live and work in the future.

RE: ...but will they?
By ryanbrancel on 7/27/2011 12:42:11 PM , Rating: 1
Sure all this will fall in to place. And then the conservatives will be in power and it will never happen due to political / ethical issues.

RE: ...but will they?
By Kurz on 7/27/2011 12:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
Really you had to make a political Statement?
Even one that is so far from the truth regardless?

Besides I highly believe the people who are frozen have a savings account quietly earning interest for the one day to pay whoever will reanimate them.

RE: ...but will they?
By PReiger99 on 7/27/2011 12:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
They don't do this for free. They get paid to freeze, preserve and restore you back to life once the technology is able to cure you.

RE: ...but will they?
By invidious on 7/27/2011 2:02:31 PM , Rating: 2
There are plenrty of reasons: slavery, medical experimentation, deep space colonization, liberal guilt,

Or they could just end up discovering/harnessing an infinately renewable energy source in which case the question really becomes why wouldn't they?

RE: ...but will they?
By delphinus100 on 7/27/2011 7:39:25 PM , Rating: 2
...slavery, medical experimentation...

There are easier, historically proven ways to get people for those ends...

Cheap than Rent
By Cypherdude1 on 7/27/2011 11:55:01 AM , Rating: 2
If you're frozen at their Cryonics Institute, the cost for your stay is only $100 per year. That's a pretty good deal, considering rent costs at least $1000 per year. B^D

"Costs for liquid nitrogen in the newest and most efficient cryostats was below $100 per human body per year in May 2006."

RE: Cheap than Rent
By SilthDraeth on 7/27/2011 4:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
Rent only a thousand per year where?

I want to pay that rent. Try 12k a year or more in a lot of places. My place is fairly affordable and it is 4k a year. So ya, $100 per year is a really good price. Of course you aren't eating or breathing, or producing waste any more.

RE: Cheap than Rent
By Strunf on 7/28/2011 8:47:44 AM , Rating: 2
Depends how you see it, there it's $100 for like 1m^2, better yet if the guys are smart they could pack everyone up in a big blob and reduce the footprint in half!

Hell freezes over
By carniver on 7/27/2011 7:19:58 PM , Rating: 2
For those who can afford their frozen hell!

Upon reviving...
By herbstemple on 7/28/2011 2:25:04 AM , Rating: 2
Kill John Spartan!

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