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Long Life #2 -- The Cryonics Institute Newsletter

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  • David Pascal
    * Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter - July 2000 – Issue 2 * Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics Institute. What s
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      Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter - July 2000 – Issue 2

      *

      Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics
      Institute. What's inside? Quick news updates, links, and information
      about the latest scientific, medical, health, anti-aging, and social
      developments that could help make your life longer, better, and
      better informed.

      *

      Contents:

      CI Offers Tissue Storage Services
      Human Genome Mapped
      Speed Of Light Broken
      Robocarp?
      Gene Therapy Breakthroughs
      Cryonics Science Advisor Dies
      Freitas Joins Merkle At Zyvex
      Nanonews
      Goodbye Chemotherapy?
      America Online
      Breaking Windows?
      Summer Reading
      Hard And Fast
      Are You Feeling Sheepish?
      Virtual Neighborhoods
      Who's Healthiest?
      Growing, Building, and Rebuilding Brains
      Breaking The Ice
      Gore on Cryo-Show, Clinton on Living Forever

      *

      CRYONICS INSTITUTE OFFER TISSUE STORAGE

      The Cryonics Institute, responding to member requests, has upgraded
      its services to provide DNA tissue storage for all members. CI
      members now can store samples of DNA (their own or family members or
      pets) perpetually at no maintenance charge whatsoever, making tissue
      storage for CI members the most affordable in the world. (There is a
      one-time-only fee of $49 for the DNA sampling Kit itself and
      instructions, and another $49 for shipping and preparations at the CI
      facility.)

      Why store samples? Tissue samples can serve to identify individuals
      (including lost and missing children). They've been used to establish
      innocence in trial cases. Geneticists have used them to test for
      diseases. Genetic information that might one day prove to be
      critically important to family or children or grandchildren can be
      saved if tissue is stored. Moreover, some scientists believe that
      DNA ages along with the body. By storing cells as early as possible,
      any future organs produced by cloning from the earlier, less damaged
      cells may prove far better.

      Why store just a few cells when CI membership means you can
      eventually store all the cells in your body? Because,
      unfortunately, none of us can be absolutely sure that will happen.
      Dying in a fire or a plane crash or at sea could easily leave no body
      to cryopreserve at all. And cell storage does offer at least the
      possibility of cloning – the chance of saving and preserving *a*
      life, at least; of giving life to the twin brother or sister you may
      never have had, or to a twin son or daughter if the only one you have
      should be irrevocably lost, or (should you preserve your own tissue),
      it could give your children the possibility of having at least
      someone reminiscent of their parent with them, should the worst
      occur. It seems a humane option to offer, and at prices this
      affordable, it seems a most reasonable thing to do.

      In addition, tissue storage provides for some an affordable option
      for cryopreserving pets. Although CI does perform pet suspensions at
      the most affordable prices available worldwide, prices do nonetheless
      begin at $5800, which is not insignificant. Tissue storage insures
      that at least your pet's DNA will survive, and at prices any member
      can easily afford.

      Find out more at our *updated* Comparing Policies and Procedures page
      on the CI web site at http://www.cryonics.org.


      HUMAN GENOME MAPPED

      As reported by Long Life in our previous newsletter, Celera Genomics
      announced Friday that it has mapped the human genome. The
      implications of that breakthrough for individual health - and all
      human history - are so large that no single link even begins to cover
      them: http://www.cnn.com and http://www.pbs.org carry extensive
      discussions. Celera has begun working more closely with The Human
      Genome Project, which simultaneously announced mapping the genome,
      and is now collaborating with the Geron Corporation, perhaps the
      leading corporation doing gerontology and anti-aging research:
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36949,00.html?
      tw=wn20000613.


      SPEED OF LIGHT BROKEN

      Dr Lijun Wang, of the NEC research institute in Princeton,
      transmitted a pulse of light towards a chamber filled with specially
      treated caesium gas, and demonstrated that light pulses can be
      accelerated to up to 300 times their normal velocity of 186,000 miles
      per second. In Italy, another group of physicists has also succeeded
      in breaking the light speed barrier. In a newly published paper,
      physicists at the Italian National Research Council describes
      propagating microwaves at 25% above normal light speed.

      The implications, as with the genome breakthrough, are mind-boggling.
      On one interpretation it means that light can arrive at its
      destination before it has started its journey. In effect, it is
      leaping backwards in time. And may be carrying information while
      doing so. This would breach one of the basic principles in physics --
      causality, which says that a cause must come before an effect. It
      would also shatter Einstein's theory of relativity, which depends in
      part on the speed of light being unbreachable, and arguably make
      interstellar travel possible.

      How does it effect cryonics? Dr Guenter Nimtz, of Cologne
      University, summed up one possible implication: "The most likely
      application for this is not in time travel but in speeding up the way
      signals move through computer circuits." Nano-based devices were
      said to be the coming method for staggering advances in computational
      ability needed to coordinate neural repair, but the recent
      breakthroughs in light speed may do the same from quite another
      direction - or in combination with nanotech-based computation.

      Also, separate experiments carried out by Dr Raymond Chiao, professor
      of physics at the University of California at Berkeley, showed that
      in certain circumstances photons - the particles of which light is
      made - could apparently jump between two points separated by a
      barrier in what appears to be zero time. The process, known as
      tunneling, has been used to make some of the most sensitive electron
      microscopes - one of the earliest and still common technologies
      enabling nanotechnology researchers to move and shape atoms and
      molecules

      Further developments seem likely. Long Life will keep readers
      updated with further information during the next few weeks - or, if
      research proceeds as anticipated, maybe during the last few weeks...


      ROBOCARP?

      The creation of a hybrid creature with a mechanical body controlled
      by the brain of a fish has brought the advent of cyborgs a giant step
      closer. Steve Grand, an expert in artificial life with Cyberlife
      Research in Somerset, described the breakthrough as "laudably
      perverse". Light sensors housed in the mechanical body feed the
      brain sensory information. The brain tissue then processes the
      information to generate command signals which tell the robot's motors
      which way to turn in response to its environment. The half-robot
      half-fish will help allow people requiring prosthetic devices in the
      near future to control them directly by their brain, and gain sensory
      input - perhaps greatly enhanced - as well.


      GENE THERAPY BREAKTHROUGHS

      While cracking the human genome will without doubt soon produce
      revolutionary advances in promoting human health, gene therapy
      breakthroughs right now are coming almost more quickly than it's
      possible to report:

      At Penn State researchers discover a gene that appears to slow down
      the spread of cancer tumors to other parts of the body:
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36770,00.html?
      tw=wn20000606.

      Scientists at the American Society for Gene Therapy report
      breakthrough results treating various diseases by injecting healthy
      genes: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36673,00.html?
      tw=wn20000602.

      GenStar Therapeutics' successes in gene therapy experiments for
      hemophilia and HIV has given their company stock a boost:
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36781,00.html?
      tw=wn20000606.

      Gene therapy for brain ailments has till now been hampered by what is
      known as 'blood-brain barrier.' Yet researchers have now developed an
      approach that promises to solve that problem:
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36776,00.html?
      tw=wn20000606.

      And lastly, in good news for hockey players, gene-based regeneration
      techniques may even beat nanotech in making it possible to regrow
      lost teeth: http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37056,00.html?
      tw=wn20000617.


      CRYONICS SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR DIES

      Dr. Malcolm Ramsay, -- a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of
      the Cryonics Society of Canada and a professor at the University of
      Saskatchewan, died recently in a helicopter crash in the high
      Canadian arctic near Resolute Bay. Dr. Ramsay left behind a wife and
      two young children, ages 11 and 3. At the insistence of his 11-year-
      old son, samples of Dr. Ramsay's tissues were cryopreserved in hope
      of possible future cloning. The Canadian National Post devoted a
      news story on Dr. Ramsay and his passing which mentions his role as
      Scientific Advisor to the Cryonics Society of Canada. This article
      is available online at: http://www.nationalpost.com/news.asp?
      s2=national&s3=coasttocoast&f=000523/296518.html.

      CI wishes to extend its condolences to the friends and family of what
      seemed to have been a much loved and most intelligent gentleman.


      FREITAS JOINS MERKLE AT ZYVEX

      Robert Frietas, the author of the ground-breaking three-volume
      study `Nanomedicine', and the first person to have a nanotech article
      published in a brokered mainstream medical journal, has announced
      that he is joining legendary nanotechnology resesearcher Dr. Ralph
      Merkle at Zyvex. The story is available at:
      http://www.foresight.org/Updates/Update40/Update40.1.html#FreitasZyvex
      .

      The Zyvex Corporation is known to be focusing on the creation of the
      first nanoassembler, the basis of cryonics patient restoration as
      envisioned by various nanotech scientists, and Frietas himself is on
      record as stating that he expects the first nano-based revival of
      cryonics patients could take place as early as 2040. His
      publisher, Landes Bioscience, has made the complete text of volume I
      of Nanomedicine available on the Web at http://www.nanomedicine.com.
      Links to Zyvex, nanomedicine.com, and Ralph Merkle's cryonics and
      other pages are available at CI's links page at our web site at
      http://www.cryonics.org.


      NANONEWS

      Breakthroughs and developments in nanotechnology are occurring so
      quickly that The Foresight Institute is sponsoring a combination
      daily online newspaper plus nanotechnology discussion web site at
      http://nanodot.org. For the latest nano-news, or have the headlines
      automatically emailed to you free, simply click over and sign up.

      Also, this June saw the enrollment of twelve Ph.D. nanobiotechnology
      candidates - not nanotechnology but nano-*bio*-technology Ph.D.
      candidates -- commence lab work at Cornell University. Which may
      help to make Robert Freitas' prediction come true even earlier than
      we think.


      GOODBYE CHEMOTHERAPY?

      A vaccine to treat cancer is about to go through its final FDA
      trials. If approved, it could replace chemotherapy, and all the side
      effects that go with it.
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36457,00.html?
      tw=wn20000522.


      AMERICA ONLINE

      A National Science Foundation report, Science and Engineering
      Indicators 2000, says that a 1999 survey of Americans found that 54%
      had access to a computer at home. Says Forrester Resarch, more than
      50% of U.S. households will have Internet access by 2001 and more
      than 1 in 3 will have purchased goods or services online. Meanwhile
      a new survey by Grunwald Associates revealed that 40% of American
      children 2 to 17 years old are online. Teenagers are online the
      most, with 70% accessing the Internet on a regular basis. The gender
      gap has disappeared among the young: for the first time, girls are
      on the Net in proportions equal to or greater than boys.

      How does web surfing break down among the sexes?
      http://www.virtualvegas.com, an online gaming and entertainment site,
      drew the largest percentage of female users while at work last week,
      according to Nielsen/NetRatings (NTRT). VirtualVegas.com's overall
      traffic grew 39 percent, with nearly 286,000 unique visitors, 91
      percent of whom were women. The site drawing the largest percentage
      of female visitors at-home was http://www.alloyonline.com, an online
      community site focusing on Generation Y. The highest percentage of
      men was were drawn to http://www.datek.com, an investment brokerage
      site. They accounted for 94 percent of visitors. The site drawing the
      largest percentage of male visitors at-home was
      http://www.pricewatch.com, a site for computer retailers to advertise
      products.


      BREAKING WINDOWS?

      In the midst of the continuing drama of Microsoft, Bill Gates'
      recently announced that Microsoft will market an entirely new web-
      oriented platform - 'dot net'. If so, Windows itself may finally be
      retiring from the scene, whatever Washington decides to do about its
      parent company. The departure of Windows should prove interesting,
      since over 90% of the world's computers use Windows as their
      Operating System.
      (Rumor also has it that Canada - which unlike the USA does not have
      antitrust legislation - may be wooing Microsoft to points north.)

      It is no longer merely a rumor that antitrust examiners at the
      Department of Justice, having taken Microsoft down a notch, are now
      scrutinizing eBay, Intel, and AOL:
      http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,37024,00.html?
      tw=wn20000619.)



      SUMMER READING

      Greg Burch, attorney and Vice President of the Extropy Institute
      recently posted an annotated bibligraphy of his science fiction
      reading at: http://users.aol.com/gburch3/booksfi.html, and of his
      science reading, period, at:
      http://users.aol.com/gburch3/booksci.html. Well worth a look, if
      you've exhausted CI's own recommendations on our web site's What To
      Read page on our web site at http://www.cryonics.org.


      HARD AND FAST

      In other developments, a new company called Pointera is developing
      technology to enable web searching to include not merely the millions
      of servers typically scanned in a normal web search, but every
      individual hard disk on it:
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36760,00.html?
      tw=wn20000606. Privacy advocates are not amused.

      Meanwhile Intel announced its new high-end Pentium 4 computer chip,
      which runs 50% faster than the company's fastest chip so far. The
      Pentium 4, which goes on sale this fall, runs at a "clock speed" of
      1.5 gigahertz, or 1.5 billion cycles per second. Not to be outdone,
      IBM announced the same day that it has built the most powerful
      supercomputer in the world, able to perform 12.3 trillion operations
      per second, three times faster than the next-fastest computer. An
      earlier version, Deep Blue, defeated Gary Kasparov in the famous 1997
      tournament. The latest machine is intended to continue the advance
      toward matching and eventually surpassing the computing capacity of
      the human brain. Called Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative
      White, or ASCI White, the mega-computer covers 9,920 square feet of
      floor space, equal to two NBA basketball courts, and weighs 106 tons.
      IBM will deliver ASCI White to the Energy Department's Lawrence
      Livermore National Laboratory this summer. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2567718649-e1d.

      A related story notes that this kind of computing power should be
      available for your desktop within a decade. See
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37285,00.html?
      tw=wn20000629.


      FEELING A BIT SHEEPISH?

      The company that produced Dolly has pulled off another first: two
      transgenetic lambs, a technique that until now had only been
      successful with mice, and could lead to successful animal-to-human
      organ transplants.
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37296,00.html?
      tw=wn20000629.

      And speaking of the animal world: Long Life has learned from CI
      Webmaster Trevina Lawrence that dogtoys.com has a excellent
      charitable promotion going on right now where they will match a toy
      that you buy and donate, with a toy of greater or equal value. Be
      kind to animals (and the children that love them) and check it out:
      http://www.dogtoys.com/individualtoys.html.


      VIRTUAL NEIGBORHOODS

      On a more human note: it's been said that one of the drawbacks of
      the Internet is that it can connect you to places halfway around the
      world, but connecting you next door is much trickier. That's
      changing. New broadband services could unite neighborhoods into
      virtual communities. Service providers will be able to issue weather
      warnings, provide school information, and warn neighbors of
      intruders:
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,36989,00.html?
      tw=wn20000615.

      Speaking of neighborhoods -- using patent-pending technology,
      ServiceLane at http://www.servicelane.com connects you with certified
      service professionals in your neighborhood. If you're looking for a
      roofer, for example, simply enter your zip code and email to receive
      a list of qualified roofers in your area. You'll also gain access to
      a glossary of roofing terms, a list of questions to ask roofers, and
      more. Consumers can even rate the services they receive on a public
      message board, and make money by referring local consumers to service
      professionals.


      WHO'S HEALTHIEST?

      The Japanese. So says the World Health Organization, according to a
      WHO study that measures "disability-adjusted" life expectancy,
      subtracting years according to the prevalence and severity of
      ailments ranging from malaria to lung disease. Japanese can expect 74
      years of healthy active life, while Americans lag behind because of
      miserable standards among the U.S. poor - who fare worse than many
      Africans. Australia, at 73.2 years, came second, followed by France,
      Sweden, Spain and Italy. The U.S., which spends the most on health,
      rated only 24th, with an expectancy of 70 years. The 23 lowest
      ranked countries among the 191 WHO members were all in sub-Saharan
      Africa, hit by the AIDS epidemic, malaria and other tropical
      diseases, poor nutrition and unsafe water. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2567090608-f06. UN
      life expectancy ratings are available at:
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2567090637-2f3.

      Medical reasons are not the only reason life is short,
      unfortunately. Almost two-thirds of the world's nations were accused
      of human rights abuses, Amnesty International said in its recent
      annual report Wednesday. Human rights violations occurred in at
      least 144 countries, cases of summary execution were recorded in at
      least 38, the detention of "prisoners of conscience" in 61 countries,
      and torture in 132. "For the majority of the world's population, 1999
      brought repression, poverty or war," said the Amnesty International
      report at: http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?
      id=2567332439-c57. Amnesty International's web site is online at
      http://www.amnesty.org.


      GROWING BRAINS, BUILDING BRAINS, REBUILDING BRAINS

      A paper, published today in the journal Nature by Dr. Jeffrey
      Macklis, Harvard Medical School associate professor of neurology at
      Children's Hospital, and his associates Sanjay Magavi and Blair
      Leavitt, suggests that brain cells or neurons can not only regenerate
      spontaneously but can be induced into regeneration and healing. The
      paper is the latest in a series of recent experimental proofs
      shattering previous dogmatic conviction that the human brain is
      incapable of healing itself. a dogma that a series of recent
      experiments
      has shaken.

      The Macklis group induced stem cells deep in the cerebral cortex of
      adult mice to replace damaged neurons. The new neurons grew from
      already present immature cells into fully formed, connected, mature
      replacements, demonstrating for the first time that the brain can
      heal itself from the inside out, without transplantation. Dr.
      Macklis stated that if the mechanisms at work here can be understood
      and controlled, it may open entirely new avenues for treatment of
      degenerative brain diseases and central nervous system injuries. Its
      potential applications to cryonics are clear.

      From the opposite direction: scientists, using the human brain as
      inspiration, have invented a new hybrid digital/analog circuit that
      may give machines more human-like capabilities:
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37029,00.html?
      tw=wn20000622.



      BREAKING THE ICE

      A recent research presentation by 21CM's Brian Wowk and Greg Fahy
      announced that ice formation inhibitor research has yielded yet
      another ice blocker that inhibits the formation of ice due to
      nucleation sites. The new ice formation inhibitor is a complement to
      X-1000. Dr. Fahy also presented the latest 21CM cryoprotectant which
      is said to be a significant improvement over his previous work. Some
      of the the material discussed by Dr. Fahy was based on research done
      by The Hippocampal Slice Cryopreservation Project. A recent
      experiment (not discussed in Dr. Fahy's presentation) showed
      viability for vitrified and rewarmed hippocampal slices to be as good
      as for the 53% CPA non-vitrified group.

      It should be noted, in passing, that much of the costs of research
      for the Project have been provided by dual Cryonics Institute and
      CryoCare member Ben Best. Ben's efforts and generosity deserve the
      applause of the entire cryonics community -- but those who would like
      to thank Ben with more than applause, and help further cryonics
      research directly, can do so following his example and making a send
      a tax-deductible (in the US and California) donation to The Institute
      for Neural Cryobiology whose address is available at
      http://neurocryo.org or by emailing the organization at
      wakfer@....


      GORE ON CRYO-SHOW, CLINTON ON LIVING FOREVER:

      Presidential candidate Al Gore was unusually animated recently during
      his appearance on the TV hit show 'Futurama' - on which he appeared
      as a cartoon. Producer David Cohen read that 'Futurama' was one of
      Gore's favorite shows and arranged for the vice president to play
      himself in the season finale. In the show, Fry, a 20th century pizza
      delivery guy trips into a cryostat and is cryogenically frozen and
      revives (along with the pizza) in the 30th century. Although the
      show is obviously not terribly informed about perfusion protocols,
      Gore's awareness of both nanotech and cryonics is a matter of record,
      as evidenced by his Congressional interview of Dr. Eric Drexler, the
      text of which is available online via the Cryonics Institute's Links
      Page at http://www.cryonics.org/links.html. Gore seems to share the
      sentiments of another Washington figure, President Clinton, who
      commented in public recently: "..we've treated the human genome
      project like a priority every year because we all want to live for
      ever. And that's good, I'm not minimizing that - we do. "

      You can read about Gore's 'Futurama' appearance at:
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2566564029-e81.

      *

      We hope you'll enjoy hearing from CI, and we'd like to hear from you
      too: so if there's a news item you think we ought to know about, or
      a feature you'd like to see, or any way you think our newsletter
      could be improved, just tell us about it by emailing
      long_life@egroups.com. We welcome your feedback, and encourage
      readers to forward issues to friends and interested parties.

      For more information about the cryonics or Cryonics Institute and how
      to become a member, visit our web site at http://www.cryonics.org.

      Long Life would like to thank Longevity Report, Wired News, Infobeat,
      The Foresight Institute, Cryonet, and various other sources, as well
      as various members of the Cryonics Institute for providing some of
      the public information and suggestions used in Long Life.

      (Disclaimer: CI does not necessarily guarantee nor the use of any
      products mentioned in its newsletter.)

      *
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