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Long Life #3 -- the Cryonics Institute newsletter

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  • David Pascal
    * Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter August 2000 -- Volume 1, Number 3 * Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 18 7:29 PM
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      *

      Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter
      August 2000 -- Volume 1, Number 3

      *

      Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics
      Institute, here to update you with brief cutting-edge news, updates,
      links, and information about the latest scientific, medical, health,
      anti-aging, and social developments relevant to CI's goal of saving,
      preserving, and extending human life. Long Life may also include news
      about Cryonics Institute events and member activities and opinion.

      We welcome your feedback, and encourage readers to forward issues to
      friends and interested parties

      *

      Contents:

      NANO TAKES A GIANT STEP
      DIGITAL ANGEL
      AUTHOR-SCHOLAR ENTERS SUSPENSION
      GENETIC BREAKTHROUGHS CONTINUE
      THE END OF WEB SEARCHING AS WE KNOW IT?
      AND DOES IT MATTER?
      SPEAKING OF SEARCHERS…
      DRUG BILLS RISE – BUT YOU HAVE MORE TIME TO PAY
      BIGGER & FASTER & FASTER & BIGGER
      BUT CAN SHE TYPE?
      SPEAKING OF SEARCHERS…
      GOOD NEWS FOR CLEARASIL USERS
      BIO MBA'S
      COMFY CULTURE COMING?
      OVERPRODUCTION BEATS OVERPOPULATION
      THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT
      INC MAY GET CI SUPPORT

      *

      NANO TAKES A GIANT STEP

      Scientists at Lucent Technologies' Bell Labs and the University of
      Oxford have created the first DNA motors.

      The devices are 100,000 times smaller than the head of a pin, and the
      techniques used to make them "may lead to computers that are 1,000
      times more powerful than today's machines," according to Bell Labs
      sources. The DNA motor research (described in the August 10 issue of
      the British journal Nature) uses DNA, which provides the molecular
      blueprints for all living cells, as material for making nanoscale
      devices. "We took advantage of how pieces of DNA - with its billions
      of possible variations - lock together in only one particular way,
      like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle," said Bell Labs physicist Bernard
      Yurke. The only necessary ingredients is the DNA itself, said
      Yurke. "Because DNA acts as the 'fuel' for these motors, they are
      completely self-sufficient and do not require other chemicals to
      operate. "

      The self-assembling aspect of the DNA motors is crucial for
      manufacturing nanodevices. "Given the size scale, no other approach
      appears to be practical," added Yurke, noting that he was inspired to
      devise DNA motors when he realized molecular-scale protein motors in
      living organisms are already responsible for moving substances around
      in cells. Bell Labs scientists are already working to attach DNA to
      electrically conducting molecules to assemble rudimentary molecular-
      scale electronic circuits. For more information visit
      http://www.lucent.com or http://www.bell-labs.com

      And in yet another big advance for small technology, researchers are
      creating organic wires for nanoscale devices-- a possible alternative
      method for creating transistors. See
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37923,00.html?
      tw=wn20000810


      DIGITAL ANGEL

      Your body could be online 24 hours a day -- and as a result, doctors
      and medical help could be on their way immediately, if you need it.
      The reason is Digital Angel: a miniature sensor device smaller than
      a grain of rice monitors and wirelessly transmits a person's vital
      body-function data, such as body temperature or pulse, to an Internet-
      integrated ground station.

      On top of this, information can be sent regarding the location of the
      individual. Medical information and location can then be wirelessly
      transmitted to the ground station and made available on Web-enabled
      desktop, laptop or wireless devices. Digital Angel co-developer Dr.
      Peter Zhou commented: "I'm particularly excited about Digital Angel's
      ability to save lives by remotely monitoring the medical conditions
      of at-risk patients and providing emergency rescue units with the
      person's exact location."

      A cryonics member's chance of avoiding sudden death and warm ischemia
      just got a lot better. For more information about For more
      information about Digital Angel, visit www.digitalangel.net or read
      about it at
      http://www.adsx.com/ADSX/CDA/News/news_index/0,1136,430,00.html


      AUTHOR-SCHOLAR ENTERS SUSPENSION

      F.M. Esfandiary has entered cryonic suspension at the age of 69. The
      tall, affable, soft-spoken philosopher, educator, novelist, lecturer
      and writer was born in Belgium, the son of an Iranian diplomat, and
      was educated in the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
      Esfandiary had lived in 11 countries by age 17, and spoke French,
      Arabic, Hebrew and English. Although he had competed on Iran's
      Olympic fencing team in 1948, and served from 1952 to 1954 as a
      member of the Conciliation Commission for Palestine, Esfandiary
      regarded his own citizenship as "universal." Nationality, he told
      The Los Angeles Times in 1989, "should be obsolete in a world of
      global telecommunications, global travel and global economy."

      Esfandiary was a visionary: what he called "teleshopping" and "tele-
      education" a quarter-century ago are now ordinary Internet
      activities. He predicted such medical and biological breakthroughs as
      fertilization and gestation outside the womb, the correcting of
      genetic flaws, and, of course, cryonics, for which he was an eloquent
      advocate.

      As a teacher, Esfandiary taught classes at New York's New School for
      Social Research, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, Florida
      International University, and futurist philosophy at UCLA Extension
      for many years. As an author, he was a frequent contributor to The
      New York Times and The Los Angeles Times. After writing a series of
      critically praised satirical novels in the 1960s -- Day of Sacrifice,
      The Beggar and Identity Card -- Esfandiary turned in the 1970s to
      serious futurist nonfiction, which he wrote under the pen name FM-
      2030. Among his non-fiction books were "Optimism One" and "Are You a
      Transhuman?" At the time of his suspension he had been working on
      two other books, Countdown To Immortality and The Coming Age of
      Abundance. "We are at the beginning of an age of limitless
      abundance," he often said. "There is no scarcity; there is only the
      psychology of scarcity."

      In recent years Esfandiary, an Alcor member, developed cancer of the
      pancreas, a body part for which no substitute exists. Should an
      artificial pancreas be developed, however, Esfandiary will be
      waiting. Said his friend of many years, Flora Schnall, "He believed
      scientific advances would lead to the revival of his body in the
      future."

      Esfandiary's suspension, perhaps owing to his ties to the
      journalistic and academic communities, was one of the most widely and
      sympathetically covered suspensions of recent years. It was also
      marked by a new and updated form of suspension protocol owing in part
      to work by Dr. Yuri Piguchin for the Institute for Neural
      Cryobiology. Esfandiary's books and writings can be ordered via the
      bookseller links at the Cryonics Institute's web page at
      http://www.cryonics.org/biblio.html.


      GENETIC BREAKTHROUGHS CONTINUE

      Researchers say they've isolated the gene that causes primary
      pulmonary hypertension, a condition that leaves sufferers short of
      breath and at risk of blackouts. See
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37858,00.html?
      tw=wn20000729

      Japanese researchers have genetically altered a molecule that causes
      chronic myelogenous leukemia cells to self-destruct. See
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37962,00.html?
      tw=wn20000803

      Researchers working with data from the human genome project discover
      genes that could explain why individuals have different reactions to
      skin cancer.
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37973,00.html?
      tw=wn20000803

      And last but not least, Celera Genomics, having mapped the human
      genome, announced through its CEO Craig Venter that his company is
      thinking about developing cancer
      vaccines. http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,37701,00.html?
      tw=wn20000721


      THE END OF WEB SEARCHING AS WE KNOW IT?

      In a much-followed court battle, EBay won an injunction against
      Bidder's Edge, forbidding the auction aggregator from crawling eBay's
      site in search of comparative prices.
      http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,37643,00.html?tw=wn20000731


      AND DOES IT MATTER?

      A 41-page research paper prepared by a South Dakota company estimates
      that the World Wide Web is at least 500 times larger than the areas
      covered by popular search engines like Yahoo, Altavista, and Google.
      So large, in fact, that no conventional search engine even scratches
      the surface. "The World Wide Web is getting so humungous that you
      need specialized engines. A centralized approach like this isn't
      going to be successful," predicted Carl Malamud of Invisible Worlds.
      See http://www.infobeat.com/stories.cgi?id=2568446616-9db.


      SPEAKING OF SEARCHERS…

      Yes, SETI is still hanging in there -- the SETI@home project will
      continue its search for extraterrestrial intelligence beyond next
      year, thanks to funding from a space interest group and a media
      startup backed by former USWeb CEO Joe Firmage. SETI also plans to
      deliver more data to the 2 million-plus people who've used it. See
      http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,38119,00.html?tw=wn20000809


      DRUG BILLS RISE – BUT YOU HAVE MORE TIME TO PAY

      In the past eight years, Americans age 65 and older have watched
      their prescription drug costs double, with prices expected to more
      than double again in the next 10 years, a health care advocacy group
      said. A study commissioned by Families USA said Americans 65 and
      older pay an average of $1,205 a year for prescriptions - up from
      $559 in 1992 - and will shell out $2,810 apiece by 2010.
      Prescription drugs now account for about 10% of seniors' health
      costs - and will likely rise to 13.3% in 2010, the report said. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2568561758-910

      On the other hand, elderly Americans (and everyone else) are managing
      to elude death noticeably longer. Life expectancy rose to a record
      76.7 years, according to the annual report on death rates, published
      by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National
      Center for Health Statistics showed rates dropping significantly for
      eight of the 15 leading causes of death. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2568388804-470


      BIGGER & FASTER & FASTER & BIGGER

      Intel Corporation introduced a Pentium III processor running faster
      than one gigahertz, thus producing the speediest computer chip on the
      market. Advanced Micro Devices earlier this year beat Intel to the
      market by a few days with the first chip to run at one gigahertz, but
      records in the field are not held very long any more. Intel's new
      Pentium runs at 1.13 gigahertz, or 1.13 billion cycles per second. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2568565976-fdc

      Meanwhile Compaq, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing
      Center, will build and manage the world's largest nonmilitary
      supercomputer. The PSC will manage the $36 million project for the
      National Science Foundation. 2,728 processors will allow the
      computer to perform more than 6 trillion operations per second. The
      system will allow the federal science foundation to establish a
      single high-powered resource for research in various fields
      specifically including drugs and health-related medicine. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2568646978-a92


      BUT CAN SHE TYPE?

      Scientists behind NASA's newest robot have given their latest
      creation a handy implement: namely, a hand. Where other robots have
      had to make do with mere grippers, Robonaut, the space agency's
      latest-generation robot, has four fingers, a thumb and a handshake to
      make George Bush and Al Gore envious. Robonaut's hands are nimble
      enough to pick up a small metal washer with tweezers or squeeze the
      trigger on a variable-speed drill. "A big leap for robotkind," says
      Red Whittaker, the founder of the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie
      Mellon University's Robotics Institute. Robonaut is drawing interest
      not merely from space but medical and prothetic and cyborg
      researchers. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2568355447-5eb


      GOOD NEWS FOR CLEARASIL USERS

      As well as others: bioengineers in Japan have now developed support
      materials that could help grow skin tissue, blood vessels and even
      vital organs. Currently, skin, grown in cultures, is the only
      laboratory-produced organic tissue currently available to patients,
      though heart valves and bone and liver tissue have all been grown in
      laboratories. But the new material developed by Guoping Chen and
      colleagues at Tokyo University, Japan, could offer a better way to
      make these synthetic body parts. Their product acts as a three-
      dimensional scaffold on which cells grow and organise themselves into
      the desired shape and tissue structure - just as the human skeleton
      provides support for our bodies. The scaffold then degrades, leaving
      the fully formed tissue behind. The possibility of creating full
      viable organs besides skin through this method may be in the offing
      and the development by Chen's group offers a step forward that "seems
      very novel, exciting and could be extremely useful", says Mathis
      Riehle, a bioengineer at Glasgow University's Centre for Cell
      Engineering, UK. See http://helix.nature.com/nsu/000727/000727-4.html


      BIO MBA'S

      The W.M. Keck Foundation, a major scientific research supporter, is
      funding a new Graduate Institute in Southern California to prepare
      biology and engineering students for careers in the corporate world
      of bioscience. They intend to train scientists to manage biotech
      firms. And for the first class of students, the education is free.
      See http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,37625,00.html?
      tw=wn20000724 and
      http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,37743,00.html?tw=wn20000725


      COMFY CULTURE COMING?

      Sci-fi author Gregory Benford (who wrote one of the classic cryonics
      novels, `Chiller', under the name Sterling Blake) predicts the advent
      of the "comfy culture", a coming world where everything is customized
      to match the preferences of users. Not everyone is completely
      comfortable, however, as Benford also predicts war will be replaced
      by marketing warfare between systems that try to build dossiers about
      consumers for customized sales pitches, and interface software
      attempting to protect consumers' privacy. See
      http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,37610,00.html


      OVERPRODUCTION BEATS OVERPOPULATION

      People around the world will be better fed by 2030 as food production
      outpaces population growth, said a U.N. food agency study. The Rome-
      based Food and Agricultural Organization reported that cereals will
      remain the world's staple food, and cereal production - half of which
      is for human consumption - is projected to increase by almost one
      billion tons by 2030 from the current level of 1.84 billion tons.
      Crop production in developing countries is expected to be 70% higher
      in 2030, thanks in part to higher yields per acre as well as the
      availability of more arable land. See
      http://www.infobeat.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=2568388840-016


      THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT

      Give some food to the hungry. Though things are getting better,
      there are still 800 million people in the world who are
      undernourished, and every 3.6 seconds one of them dies of hunger --
      75% of them children. http://www.thehungersite.com not only delivers
      free food to such people across the world, but if you visit their
      site and click on their home page button you can send one and a three-
      quarter cups of food, free, to someone for whom dieting is not an
      option. And you can do it every day. Check it out.


      INC MAY GET CI SUPPORT

      The hippocampal slice project being conducted by the Institute for
      Neural Cryobiology got a boost this week from CI President Robert
      C.W. Ettinger, who offered to personally contribute $10,000 to the
      INC, if necessary to prevent collapse of the hippocampal project.
      Should there be an urgent need, Mr. Ettinger also has said that he
      may also ask the board of directors of CI and IS for a donation. The
      project is currently funded throughout the end of the year, thanks in
      large part to the generosity of CI/CC member Ben Best, and has been
      looking for new sources of funding. Former CI researcher Dr. Yuri
      Piguchin, performing the research at INC in cooperation with Dr. Greg
      Fahy of 21CM, has reportedly contributed to significant advances in
      the process of virtrification, which were directly applied in the
      recent suspension of F. M. Esfandiary.

      *

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

      We encourage readers to forward issues to friends and interested
      parties.

      Please send any suggestions or comments to Long Life by using Reply
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      Long Life would like to thank Longevity Report, Wired News, Infobeat,
      The Los Angeles Times, Nature, Cryonet, Bell Labs, and various
      members of the Cryonics Institute and others for helping provide some
      of the free public information used in Long Life.

      (Disclaimer: CI does not necessarily encourage or advocate the use of
      any products or practices mentioned in its newsletter.)
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