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Long Life #7 -- the Cryonics Institute newsletter -- January 2001

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  • David Pascal
    * Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter January 2001 -- Volume 1, Number 7 * Welcome to Long Life -- the electronic newsletter of the Cryonics
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2001
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      Long Life: the Cryonics Institute newsletter
      January 2001 -- Volume 1, Number 7


      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



      Hey, Nanobot – Your Shoelace Is Untied
      When Merkle Speaks, Forbes Listens
      Comrade Lenin Leads The Masses Forward
      Comrade Jiang Leads The Masses Forward
      Spooks Think Small
      Hal And Farewell
      Clarke On Ice:
      You Can Make A Difference -- Free Of Charge
      Good Books
      Ahead Of The Rest
      The Last Mortal Generation
      Plausible Futures
      Small Investments & Large Profits
      That's Eight More Than Clint Eastwood!
      Killing Leukemia Right Back
      A Brush With NanoCare
      Mind Over Macintosh
      From Russia With Drugs
      `We Are The Hollow Men'
      Britain Approves Human Embryo Cloning
      Clones By 2003
      A Serious Note About CI And Cloning
      In The Can
      Nutrition Can Hurt You
      Vitrification Is Hot
      The Cryonics Institute In The News. And In The News. And In The


      Hey, Nanobot – Your Shoelace Is Untied

      A San Francisco Chronicle article at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-
      bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/01/20/MN185378.DTL later
      published in Nature says: 'Using some extraordinary camera tricks,
      scientists at the University of California at Davis have produced
      Lilliputian action shots of molecular "motors" unwinding strands of
      DNA...The images underscore recent dramatic advances in the field of
      nanotechnology, a discipline that scientists hope will allow precise
      control over the very fabric of matter.' The movie version may not
      show up at your local cinema, but don't worry: the story links to the
      2.4 Meg MPEG movie itself. Get some popcorn and click over.

      When Merkle Speaks, Forbes Listens

      Ralph Merkle (http://www.merkle.com), longtime cryonics activist and
      Principle Fellow at Zyvex (http://www.zyvex.com), perhaps the most
      advanced private nanotech development company in the United States,
      notes that Forbes has an article on the company at
      http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2001/0205/124.html. Describing the
      company's humble beginnings, the article notes of Zyvex CEO Jim Von
      Ehr: "Von Ehr started up in 1997, buying ten powerful microscopes—one
      for $350,000—and building a chemistry lab, machine shop and clean
      room in a 20,000-square-foot factory that hasn't shaken its new-car
      smell. Zyvex grew from 15 people in 1999 to 29 last year, and Von Ehr
      plans to double in size annually for the next several years. What
      started out as a plan to spend $2 million to $3 million a year for
      ten years has evolved into an ambitious effort to raise and spend
      $300 million over eight years." A small amount compared to the
      British Parliament report stated that an estimated more than $80
      Billion was being directed to nanotech research by the year 2000 –
      but it's nice to know funding's going up, isn't it?

      Incidentally, if you happen to be at UC Berkeley on May 5, a Yahoo
      press release at http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/010102/ca_uc_berk.html notes
      that courses open to the public that day include "Nanotechnology:
      Basic Concepts and Potential Applications -- Nanotechnology expert
      Dr. Ralph Merkle leads a stimulating discussion -- in terms the lay
      public can understand -- of this burgeoning field. Starting with
      fundamental principles, he moves on to potential applications of this
      technology in medical, aerospace, computer science, and military
      arenas." For enrollment information, see
      http://www.unex.berkeley.edu. Homebodies can just check out Dr.
      Merkle's latest article, "Nanotechnology: what will it mean?" (from
      the January 2001 issue of IEEE Spectrum) at http://www.zyvex.com.

      Comrade Lenin Leads The Masses Forward

      In the newly translated book, "Lenin's Enbalmers," Ilya Zbarsky, the
      son of the man who enbalmed founder of the Soviet Union Vladimir
      Ilych Lenin, tells an interesting story. After Lenin's death, rather
      than burying him, Zbarsky's father was commissioned by Felix
      Dzerzhinsky, architect of the Soviet Secret Police, to preserve
      Lenin's body so that the the future proletariat could have an
      undecaying icon to gaze upon for inspiration. The crash state-
      supported scientific research led to a solution utilizing glycerine,
      the principal solution used as a cryoprotective agent in many cryonic
      suspensions -- and, yup, Vladimir Ilych is still around.

      Comrade Jiang Leads The Masses Forward

      Haven't read any good Commie journalism since Pravda went down? Good
      news! An article in the chinese People's Daily at
      http://www.peopledaily.com.cn/ states 'China Sets up First Nanometer
      Technology Industrial Base in Tianjin'. Observes the article: "Its
      long-term focus is to develop and produce nanometer parts and
      nanometer machinery. Officials said in a joint effort of the State
      Administration of Petroleum and Chemical Industries, the Chinese
      Academy of Sciences, Qinghua University and Beijing University of
      Science and Engineering, the base would use the talented personnel
      and the existing labs in the universities, research institutions and
      enterprises to accelerate nanometer technology industrial development
      in the country."

      Spooks Think Small

      Various capitalist Running Dogs are not taking developments in China
      lying down and scratching. The CIA report `Global Trends 2015: A
      Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts' at
      says: "Discoveries in nanotechnology will lead to unprecedented
      understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all
      physical things. Developments in this emerging field are likely to
      change the way almost everything—from vaccines to computers to
      automobile tires to objects not yet imagined—is designed and made.
      Self-assembled nanomaterials, such as semiconductor 'quantum dots,'
      could by 2015 revolutionize chemical labeling and enable rapid
      processing for drug discovery, blood content analysis, genetic
      analysis, and other biological applications." Notes the International
      Herald Tribune at http://www.iht.com/articles/5889.htm : "The CIA's
      analytical work is sometimes breathtakingly mediocre, but this survey
      actually is worth reading. Compiled with help from prominent experts
      outside government, the study is blunt, provocative and full of
      surprising observations."

      China is not the only country in the Far East that's interested,
      either. The January 18 Far Eastern Economic Review has an article
      entitled `Designer Molecules: It's Time to Think Small' at
      http://www.feer.com/_0101_18/p034innov.html, on Asian companies
      seriously developing applications of nanotextured materials,
      nanotubes, and other nano-scale technology. From the
      article: "Asian companies are eager to master the minature. While
      the United States is the clear leader in nanotech science, industrial
      companies in Asia, notably Japan's Hitachi, NEC, Fujitsu and
      Mitsubishi and South Korea's Samsung, are fast realizing that making
      it big in the 21st century means mastering technology at the lowest
      end of the scale."

      Hal And Farewell

      Computers have in some ways surpassed Arthur C. Clarke's and Stanley
      Kubrick's vision of computing technology, says David G. Stork, editor
      of Hal's Legacy: 2001's Computer as Dream and Reality
      (http://mitpress.mit.edu/e-books/hal/). Murray F. Campbell, one of
      the creators of Deep Blue (http://www.chess.ibm.com) notes in Hal's
      Legacy that Deep Blue's overall chess style did not exhibit human
      qualities and therefore was not "intelligent." HAL would counter with
      a move that was not the best one possible, to draw astronaut Poole
      into a trap, unlike Deep Blue, which assumes that its opponent always
      makes the strongest move and therefore counters with an optimized

      The novel of 2001 explains how the HAL 9000 series developed out of
      work by father of American Artificial Intelligence and famed cryonics
      activist Marvin Minsky
      (http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/minsky/minsky.html) of the
      Massachusetts Institute of Technology (who served as an adviser to
      the filmmakers nearly got killed by a falling wrench on the set) .
      Minsky's work showed how "neural networks could be generated
      automatically--self-replicated--in accordance with an arbitrary
      learning program. Artificial brains could be grown by a process
      strikingly analogous to the development of the human brain."

      Clarke, 83, who suffers from a progressive neurological condition
      that prevents him from walking, but who was nonetheless preparing to
      don scuba gear as he was about to be interviewed for a Scientific
      American article, said of machine intelligence, "I think it's
      inevitable; it's just part of the evolutionary process," adding that
      errors in scientific prediction are often counterbalanced over time
      by advances more fantastic than the original predictions. "First our
      expectations of what occurs outrun what's actually happening, and
      then eventually what actually happens far exceeds our expectations."

      Quoting himself, Clarke remarks that "any sufficiently advanced
      technology is indistinguishable from magic; as technology advances it
      creates magic, and [AI is] going to be one of them." Areas of
      research that target the ultimate in miniaturization, he added, may
      be the key to making good minds. "When nanotechnology is fully
      developed, they're going to churn [artificial brains] out as fast as
      they like." Read the full Scientific American article at
      http://www.sciam.com/2001/0101issue/0101cyber.html and check out the
      Arthur C. Clarke Unoffical Home Page at

      Clarke On Ice:

      Speaking of Arthur C. Clarke: viewers of 2001 will recall the scene
      in which the astronauts are in a form of `cold sleep'; and readers of
      3001: The Final Odyssey may remember Clarke's description of
      astronaut Frank Poole being reanimated. What does Arthur C. Clarke
      have to say about cryonics? The following remarks of his were posted
      on the sci.nanotech archives: "...as far as the scientific issue is
      concerned, the statements (a) cryonics has no chance of working and
      (b) cryonics does not advance scientific or medical knowledge, are
      both obviously wrong, as is amply proved by expert testimony.
      Although no one can quantify the probability of cryonics working, I
      estimate it is at least 90% - and certainly nobody can say it is
      zero! The statement that it does not advance scientific knowledge is
      absolutely ridiculous, because whether it will work or not, research
      in this area will obviously be of great medical value." He
      added, "I would go so far as to say that anyone who maintains
      positions (a) and (b) is not only incompetent but guilty of doing
      grave damage to society - like the doctors who opposed anesthetics
      and even asceptics, in the last century, because they were 'against

      You Can Make A Difference -- Free Of Charge

      As Long Life subscribers know, we've previously mentioned the Hunger
      Site at http://www.thehungersite.com – a web site that allows you to
      contribute a cup of food daily to a hungry child, free of charge,
      merely by going to their web site and clicking on a button
      marked `Donate'. We mention this not because it has a direct impact
      on cryonics, but because it has an indirect one: if we want to wake
      up in a decent future, it helps if we do something now to make sure
      that future is a compassionate and humane one. Some readers wrote us
      to say thanks for mentioning the link and asked if there were any
      other similar ones out there. There are. Clicking on a button in
      the center of the http://www.thekidsAIDSsite.com, for instance, will
      give 23 hours of nursing care free to a child dying of AIDS.
      Clicking on a button at any one of the sites below will send free
      help at no cost to you to whichever cause you prefer. So why don't
      you? All you have to do is push a button.


      Good Books

      January's winter weather keeping you indoors? Time to curl up on
      the `ol sofa with a good hardcover and/or laptop and have a good
      read. Cryo-readers in particular may want to check out the following:

      The Prospect of Immortality - The full on-line text of Robert C. W.
      Ettinger's seminal and thought-provoking non-fiction book which
      started the cryonics movement, completely free at
      http://www.cryonics.org/book1.html. Also Robert Ettinger's Man Into
      Superman – arguably the founding text of contemporary transhumanism,
      with additional material on life extension and cryonics. Again, the
      full text is on line free of charge at

      Forever For All: Moral Philosophy, Cryonics, and the Scientific
      Prospects for Immortality is by R. Michael Perry, PhD. This book
      considers how the problems of death and the hereafter ought to be
      addressed in light of continuing scientific progress. Perry presents
      the cases for immortalism, cryonics, and even the possibility of
      resurrecting the dead through the creation of replicas. Read a
      sample at http://www.upublish.com/books/perry.htm.

      The web site Nanotechnology in Science Fiction at
      http://www.geocities.com/asnapier/nano/n-sf/ contains an updated
      bibliography of nanotechnology in Science Fiction, and includes
      listing of a vast number of books with cryonics themes as well.

      Ralph's Journey at http://www.ralphsjourney.com/ is the web site for
      a cryonics novel by cryonics member David S. Pizer. An ordinary
      businessman's life is cut short by illness, so the intelligent fellow
      takes an unordinary way to get around it -- being cooled future

      The Truth Machine at http://www.truthmachine.com is the web site for
      cryonics activist/novelist/general-all-around-good-guy James
      Halperin's first book, which includes cryonics as a plot element.
      The First Immortal is at
      http://www.randomhouse.com/features/thefirstimmortal/ is the web site
      for James Halperin's 1998 New York Times bestseller, which explores
      the future of cryonics and nanotechnology.

      Incidentally – how's that First Immortal TV mini-series project
      coming along? When asked, author Jim Halperin of Heritage Coin at
      http://www.heritagecoin.com recently replied, "The First Immortal is
      still in development as a Hallmark Hall of Fame miniseries. Robert
      Halmi (Lonesome Dove, Gulliver's Travels) is the producer. The script
      by Rospo Pallenberg (Excalibur, The Emerald Forest) was completed
      several months ago. As far as I know, no air date has been set, no
      actors have yet been signed, and I'm not sure if CBS has even
      approved Pallenberg's script. All three of these things might well
      have occurred, but in Hollywood they are very tight-lipped about such
      things in the pre-production stages, and generally don't tell
      novelists much."

      Ahead Of The Rest

      Lorina and Jennifer pop Walt Disney's frozen head in the ice cooler
      next to the Michelob and mosey across the globe at
      http://www.headoutonthehighway.com/. Yes, it's a comedy site. I

      The Last Mortal Generation

      Perhaps the finest science-fiction writer in Australia, Extropy List
      regular Damien Broderick has recently branched on into non-fiction
      hard-science meditations on mankind's near future. Broderick's The
      Spike takes on the Singularity, the impact on humanity of the advent
      of vastly more than human robotic intelligence, and his The Last
      Mortal Generation addresses the social implications of a society
      where aging and dying are a thing of the past. A fine interview with
      the author explores some of these ideas at
      http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ockham/stories/s25982.htm, and a
      special web site dedicated to the man and his work is available at

      Plausible Futures

      Crystal Ball dusty? Check out The Plausible Futures Newsletter:
      News and Analysis for Future Studies and Scenario Based Strategic
      Planning at www.plausiblefutures.com. This interesting and extensive
      site contains information on all sorts of likely happenings just
      around the corner, and, yup, under the Demographics section you will
      find a area called 'Aging, Life Extension and Cryonics'. (With a
      link to CI -- I said they were good, didn't I?)

      Small Investments & Large Profits

      CI Director John de Rivas has been good enough to put a list of
      companies at the cutting edge of technological development that (in
      his view) are most likely to turn the sage investor a profit as they
      incidentally revolutionize the world. Mr. de Rivaz' picks include
      both fresh young fillies like Celera Genomics, which recently
      deciphered the Human Genome, to stately old war horses like Eli Lilly
      and Xerox. Compare your own portfolio at
      http://www.geocities.com/longevityrpt/shares.htm. Those interested
      in smaller investing (ahem) should check out
      http://www.nanoinvestornews.com/. Biotech mavens might want to a
      glance at the Biotech Faves Of 2001, as selected by at J.P. Morgan H
      & Q Healthcare analysts at

      That's Eight More Than Clint Eastwood!

      Kismet, a robot developed at MIT, has been programmed to express nine
      emotions. Happy, sad, calm, disgust, surprise, anger, and interest
      are displayed on the Kismet home page, where the quivering lump of
      metallic sensitivity can be viewed emoting at
      group/kismet/kismet.html. The Humanoid Robotics Group Home link on
      the Kismet page will take the emotionally overcome visitor to a nice
      Retired Robots gallery, where full-color photos of stately robo-
      codgers like Genghis, Coco, Hannibal, Polly, Attila, Cog, Pebbles
      and Wheelesley, can be seen exuding the stoicism and reserve of an
      earlier robo-generation.

      Killing Leukemia Right Back

      Reuters reports that British scientists have developed immune system
      cells that can recognize and kill leukemia cells without damaging
      healthy ones. Read the good news at

      A Brush With NanoCare

      The MIT Media Lab's new health initiative points to a world of
      nanotechnology and bio-monitoring which not only promises to make
      individuals more capable of healing themselves, but trots out
      gadgetry from biological sensors in a pill to a personal health card
      that guarantees privacy to an oral health sensor on a toothbrush.
      Check out http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,40166,00.html?
      tw=wn20001114 and

      Mind Over Macintosh

      It has sometimes been feared that future technology might have
      machines controlling human thinking. But it looks like it may turn
      out exactly opposite. Researchers are testing wireless brain
      implants that allow a person to control a computer with their
      thoughts. Currently the technology is limited, it could have
      (literally) far-reaching consequences. Check out the ACM Conference
      on Assistive Technologies at


      Had a rough day? Need a laugh? Check out an article about
      SatireWire at http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,40038,00.html?
      tw=wn20001115. SW's founder and principal prankster Andrew Marlatt
      says laughter is the best medicine for dot-com gloom and doom, and
      strives manfully to provide some. Queen Victoria would not have
      been amused, but I personally have lower standards.

      From Russia With Drugs

      Pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms are winging eastwards --
      toward the former Soviet Union, where drug approval and development
      is easier and cheaper. Read about possible miracles and potential
      apocalyses at
      tw=wn20001120. And speaking of apocalypse: having heroically
      weathered over seventy years of totalitarianism, and then near social
      and economic collapse, the Russian people may now be facing their
      greatest challenge ever, as media mogul Ted Turner buys a stake in a
      stake in Russian TV station. Can even the Gulag-hardened ex-
      proletariat endure repeated screenings of Jane Fonda in Barbarella
      without blanching? Tune in tomorrow at

      `We Are The Hollow Men'

      Where did Life come from? No, not Life Magazine, silly: I mean that
      twitchy organic stuff you married. Scientists have now demonstrated
      that when simple chemicals are exposed to the harsh conditions of
      deep space, molecules spontaneously arrange themselves into hollow
      structures that look like – gulp! -- the cell membranes found in all
      living things. Do these `primitive cells' mean that life
      spontaneously began in space and was delivered to Earth, instead of
      spontaneously beginning on Earth and then just hanging around? Check
      out the unprovable speculation at
      and http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A62932-2001Jan29.html.

      Britain Approves Human Embryo Cloning

      The British House of Lords has voted to allow scientists to clone
      human embryos, for research purposes. Supporters argued that
      delaying research could harm people with genetic diseases such as
      Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Certain scientists believe these and
      other conditions could be cured if they can develop new ways to
      regenerate or replace damaged tissue, and human embryo tissue offers
      preferred experimental stock. (See
      tw=wn20010124.) By contrast, Lord Alton, who proposed a defeated
      amendment to delay the vote, told peers in a passionate debate that
      he questioned the morality of treating the human embryo as "just
      another accessory to be created, bartered, frozen or destroyed,"
      adding: "These are not trivial questions that preoccupy a few moral
      theologians. They are at the heart of our humanity." Junior health
      minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, on the other hand, warned peers
      against delaying vital research, saying, "We also owe a measure of
      respect to the millions of people living with these devastating
      illnesses and the millions who have yet to show signs of them."

      The House of Lords' approval makes Britain the first country to
      effectively legalize the creation of cloned human embryos. The new
      regulations take effect January 31. Full articles are available at:
      http://www.infobeat.com/fullArticle?article=405931121 and

      Clones By 2003

      A private consortium of scientists plans to clone a human being
      within the next two years. The group says it will use the technique
      only for helping infertile couples with no other opportunity to
      become parents. See

      A Serious Note About CI And Cloning

      In light of the last two bits of news, a comment seems in order.
      When the Cryonics Institute decided to offer members tissue freezing
      services, it did not expect human cloning to be legalized by a major
      Western nation for at least several years if not decades into the
      future. But more and more often the future seems to be arriving
      today. The British decision and the consortium's announcement does
      not mean that private citizens can simply have clones made now from
      their own tissue. But it does make that prospect all but
      inevitable. People interested in possibly having tissue stored for
      such purposes by CI -- a service we provide free of charge for
      members, after a $49 sample kit & shipping and $49 preparation fee --
      should see our web page at http://www.cryonics.org/dna.html for
      further information. But though we store tissue, we should
      specifically note that CI does not store human embryos. It is indeed
      possible that clones may be generated one day from tissue preserved
      at CI, but producing clones from hair or skin samples, as opposed to
      embryonic cloning, is not something that is on the immediate
      scientific horizon.)

      In The Can

      Full-body armor, absent on the battlefield since the 17th century, is
      making a comeback. The Department of Defense is soliciting proposals
      for a $50 million project to develop exoskeletons for the military.
      The DOD's extensive standard equipment list for the exoskeletons
      includes a visor that expands the field of vision, as well as devices
      to provide information about battlefield conditions, coordinate other
      soldiers and decrease friendly-fire casualties. Other possibilities
      are systems to monitor a soldier's health and wireless communications
      networks, helping soldiers march, lift and leap to extraordinary
      heights. There's even a chance that exoskeletons -- with their
      ability to increase carrying loads -- could help integrate women into
      combat situations. See
      tw=wn20010124. (By an interesting coincidence, one of the founding
      members of CI, Richard C. Davis, is also a developer of military body
      armor and also founded Second Chance, Inc., the premier supplier of
      body armor to police in this country, and is also a developer of
      military body armor.)

      Nutrition Can Hurt You

      The Institute of Medicine, a private science organization that sets
      the nation's RDA for nutrients, recently concluded a four-year study
      on the effects of nutrients. Most results were good. But not all.
      According to the study, a dose of 3,000 micrograms of Vitamin A can
      risk birth defects in the unborn and cause liver damage. A dose of
      more than 1,000 milligrams of Vitamin E can risk uncontrolled
      bleeding. Over 1 milligram a day of Folic Acid can result in nerve
      damage. Are you mega-dosing on something or other? Check out
      http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/ first.

      Vitrification Is Hot

      Vitrification -- the process of fixing organic tissues in a glass-
      like substance rather than ice for preservative purposes -- took
      another strong step forward as INC anounced that in its latest round
      of brain slice experiments, cell viability went up from 53% to 66%.
      It's a long way from reversible suspended animation, and there's some
      disagreement as to the precise definition of 'viability', but there
      ain't no question but that 66% is better than 53%. CI applauds all
      those involved in the research. Interested readers can read more
      about the subject at http://www.cryonics.org/comparisons.html.

      The Cryonics Institute In The News. And In The News. And In The

      "Correspondent", BBC Television's premiere current and foreign
      affairs series, is currently producing a special television program
      on the "Right to Life", and BBC journalist Alison Priestley and a
      film crew arrived at the Cryonics Institute facilities in Michigan to
      learn more about the ultimate 'right to life' movement -- cryonics.
      Ms. Priestley and her crew examined the facilities, filmed left and
      right, and spoke with Plant Manager Andrew Zawacki and others. The
      BBC visit is going to be followed up by another filming by a crew
      from the Odyssey Channel, and then yet another by Detroit TV, and now
      ABC TV will be doing a segment for the ABC Evening News With Peter
      Jennings. Get those VCR's ready, everyone! Not only is CI the
      fastest-growing cryonics organization in cryonics history – it's also
      the most photogenic.


      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

      Please send any suggestions or comments to Long Life by hitting Reply
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      Long Life would like to thank Longevity Report, Wired News, Infobeat,
      The International Herald Tribune, Science, Nature, Nanodot, members
      of the Extropian and Cryonet mailing lists, 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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