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The Simplified Protocol David Pascal

All eggs in one mathematical basket? David Pizer

Nature doesn't give a damn.. George Smith

Psychological Survival & Values Robert Ettinger

Is Cryopreservation Wasting Resources? "Shiva"

Nanocryofab Robert Ettinger

2001: A Transhuman Odyssey Peter A. Merel

33rd and 34th Updates on Fly Longevity Experiments Doug Skrecky

The Form of First Contact With Superior Alien Intelligence Ken Meyering

As Others See us Tony Grist

The World's "Excess" People Lee Corbin

Population Issues Charles Platt

Omniscience, or "Are you God?" George Smith

Brain Speed Joseph Kehoe

Comparing Cryonics to Military Triage George Smith

The Simplified Protocol

by David Pascal < >

Preparing a body for freezing involves removing the blood -- which freezes and causes ice damage -- with a solution that reduces such damage. All cooling procedures cause some damage, alas, but CI's initial tests suggested that doing this replacement in one pass produced mildly less damaging results than pumping the solution in and out in gradually increased percentages. This has been controversial because of the charge that one-pass could produce osmotic shock and damage cells.

CI, however, ran tests, sent them out-of house for an objective evaluation, and got the report that one-pass actually produced somewhat less damage than the alternative. On publicly presenting these test results, the response of critics was, in essence, "Well, you must be bunglers and the evaluations must be a pack of lies!" This did not seem to the people at CI to be a terribly effective refutation.

Now if I can digress for just a moment -- when I joined CI, I found this disparity to be kind of interesting. See, in the real world of biological science, actual tests on biological subjects tend to produce somewhat varying results. Different results by different researchers is the norm, not the exception. Person A has a cigarette and develops lung cancer instantly; Person B smokes three packs a day for seventy years and dies jogging. There are always individual differences what tends to prevail is an eventual consensus over a large number of tests over time. Thus I was not so much surprised that CI and (say) BPI results differed in the few tests run. What did surprise me was the fact that the difference seemed to excite so much rancour and rigidity one-pass was flatly demonized and gradual ramping exalted, and -- well, that was that. End of discussion! CI s research was not disputed at all -- simply dismissed out of hand.

To be completely truthful, I should also say that I was privately informed that the really definitive reason CI's practices was so appallingly neanderthal because a competing organization (no conflict of interest there!) ran a test of CI procedures and got very bad results. This was daunting news indeed till I dug further and learned that the test was not one of actual CI procedures but rather of the researcher's best guess of CI procedures. The researcher in question publicly referred to these procedures on one occasion as B.S. (that's bull shit for you foreign readers) and in the course of applying his personal vision of B.S. procedures, the researcher in question got B.S. results. How very surprising, eh?

To get back to my story, however: what puzzled me was the fact that one-pass seemed to have a certain common-sense advisability about it. It is almost an axiom of cryonics that patients need to be cooled rapidly, lest ischemia and structural deterioration sets in. Well, one-pass is the most rapid method there is. Gradual ramping, according to Alcor's web page on the subject, takes several hours. Even granted the possibility that gradual ramping might be better in some respects, surely, I thought, maintaining patients at higher temperatures for longer times must produce at least some greater structural degradation. It could not be black/white: surely there had to be some level of trade-off. On asking around, however, I was told that gradual was best, period, that any actual tests run by CI ought to be ignored, and that one-pass was not merely not as good, but, quote, worthless that patients treated by one-pass were absolutely irrecoverable by any conceivable scientific method or development till the end of time. This seemed to me to be overstating things.

So I looked further. Why was there this difference? I next found out that CI and other organizations tended to apply their methods on rather different sorts of patients. When Alcor, for instance, does (or did) experiments on animals, they would take a perfectly healthy dog, anaesthetise it, and apply their procedures. CI, by contrast, would arrange to have a sheep decapitated at a slaughterhouse, pack the head in ice, take it to their facilities, and begin the process fifteen minutes to a half hour later. CI's reasoning, I learned, was that the latter method (alas) more closely approximated the conditions under which an actual cryonics member was likely to die. Of the former method, one can only say that no cryonics patient is ever going to be anaesthetised in perfect health, ramped with glycerol, and frozen. The one procedure was practical; the other abstract. But could that account for the difference? Certainly it would account for any apparently better dog head results as opposed to sheep head results.

That speculation did not answer my question though, so on I slogged, learning another interesting fact: apparently, the difference between ramping and one-pass is not so great at the high levels of cryoprotectant used in cryonics cases. In the November 1984 issue of theAmerican Journal of Physiology (page C384), we learn that granulocyte survival declines most rapidly between 0-0.5 Molar glycerol, and is steady at 20% survival above 1.0 Molar. Since 7 or greater molarity of glycerol is used in cryonics cases, the viability data for such low concentrations may not be terribly relevant.

(Incidentally, I might point out to readers, that after several weeks with a dictionary of biology terms and other works, I actually know what the above sentence means. Most people don't. When they read molar, they think teeth. Charles seems to have mild fits over the fact that great tracts of the CI web page are written in English for lay readers, as opposed to the purer form of sheets of incomprehensible cryobiologese accessible only to the vitro-elite, before whose cryptic pronouncements we the lowly hoi-polloi can only scrape and grovel. CI feels that when you are talking to everybody, you have to talk clearly and simply. That does not mean that more complex or critical material is ignored. CI links directly not merely to Alcor, to Open Directory's cryo pages, to 21CM, to the Cryonet Archives, to the BPI tech briefs, indeed to every criticism of CI, fair, absurd, and hare-brained, that there is. The charge that CI misinforms people is only true to the extent that we give people access even to misinformation about CI, trusting their judgment to see through obvious nonsense.)

Anyway, what all the above meant was that difference between one-pass and gradual in cryonic perfusion, while real, might perhaps best be characterized as not exactly radical. I forged on nonetheless, still determined to find on why even the small discrepancy that is there is there. But my quest for the truth was cut off at the knees by CI's quote-unquote research . You see, CI does not only test its procedures, but re-tests them, and upgrades them, and so on. It's a never-ending thing. CI also believes that the best people to evaluate procedures are not those that have a vested interest in supporting one protocol over the other. Thus CI tries to find qualified objective third party labs and universities to evaluate blind (unlabelled) samples. This it did, and in the latest round of tests it has so far turned out that stepped ramping has in fact produced a marginal but arguable improvement over one-pass. Noted the (university-based, non-CI, PhD) research scientist doing the evaluation: "My impression of [stepped] and [one-pass] is that the middle regions of the brain look the same. I think I could argue that [stepped] is subjectively slightly better on the inner-most and outer-most brain regions." This is not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it does lean toward gradual ramping, and CI goes by test results.

I should note in passing that this does not mean that CI intends to stop re-testing variations on this procedure. In the year 2000 abstracts from the December 2000 issue of the journalCryobiology, Dr. Greg Fahy describes a new vitrification solution in which propylene glycol is replaced with ethylene glycol a long-neglected cryoprotectant that the abstract indicates may very well be an improvement over glycerol when used on human patients. Does gradual ramping of ethylene glycol, as opposed to glycerol, produce better results than ramping it in one pass? Beats me. How would I know? But I expect that CI will be running tests to find out. Is it better to run tests based on discoveries from a world-famous cryobiologist published in the very latest issue of a mainstream cryobiological journal?

All I know is that at this point independent third-party evaluation of CI tests confirmed what common sense suggested all along, namely, that it wasn't the case that one procedure was effective and the other worthless B.S. What the findings indicate is that both approaches work in the sense that both reduce freezing damage, and that the actual results are somewhat different, rather mixed, and fairly slim.

All Eggs in One Mathematical Basket ?

By david pizer < ">>

Does the universe use math, or do we? Can anyone name a process that cannot be modelled by some math equation?

If this means we "base" our understanding of the universe on math, then we have no disagreement, and you need not read further. If this means there is some math the universe uses, then there is disagreement, and here is why I would disagree:

We base some of our understanding of the universe on math, the universe does not base anything on math. If to say the universe is "based" on math and logic is to say something about the universe, and not us, then I believe that is a mistaken definition.

I believe the universe is based on the existence of something vs nothing - and that's what it is based on - not math. In other words, "physical thing" is the basis, not abstract reasoning. If I am right, and I admit I am not certain, then there are the following problems for non-Pizerists:

Physical things exist.

Abstract reasoning does not exist, physically.

Math is abstract reasoning.

Physical things are not math, in reality. (We may use math to explain them, but their material parts are not abstract things, they are something that exists.)

We are physical things.

When we exist, we are not abstract things, abstract does not exist. A human to exist must be a physical thing.

An abstract human is a fiction - it does not and cannot exist in the real world.

In describing the relationship of humans to the universe, (but not the universe to humans), we can say math (which breaks down into logic and/or set theory) is one of the tools we base our understanding of it on. To say that we humans base our (feeble) understanding of the universe on math is not to say that the universe is based on math; nor, that the universe used math to come into existence, nor (if the universe has always existed) uses math to stay in existence. I doubt that the universe uses, or bases, or understands math (Unless Spinoza was right and the universe is God).

To say that math is a useful tool for us to try to understand part of the universe and part of the things in it, does not mean that there are not other ways to understand parts of the universe - most of which have not been discovered so early in human existence. I also think it is a mistake to think that math can tell you everything about the universe with any certainty, especially anything about self-aware beings.

For centuries, great thinkers have been trying to put the things that describe humans into mathematical terms. The reason for this, as you know, is then we would be able to objectively describe humans, existence, etc., and answer epistemological, moral, and metaphysical questions with certainty.

To date, with certainty, no one has gotten further than "I exist" with or without math.

We need new physics and new philosophy if we are to break out of our (slightly expanded) cave into the bright light of certainty. Or in other words, the math, physics, and philosophy we have now, can't tell one a fraction of 1% of anything, with certainty.

There are many things a math equation cannot tell you:

1. What a cup of coffee tastes like.

2. What it feels like to be in love.

3. What if feels like to be consciousness.

4. What if feels like to be self-aware.

5. What is art, in the absolute sense.

6. What is absolute beauty.

7. What is absolute morality.

(do they even exist?)

8. What is absolute space without regard to relative bodies.

9. What is absolute time (or even if it exists?).

10. The statement: "This statement is a lie."

If I am correct on all this, then a duplicate can never be the survival of a destroyed original. So, I hope I am wrong.

Meanwhile, don't get overconfident. Keep all options open. Don't die yet.

Nature Doesn't Give A Damn .

by George Smith

Philip Rhoades made some comments on Cryonet in regard to my loving analysis of the glorious and infinite beauties of this perfect planet we are graced to live upon, blessed in every way with the joys of death, the pleasures of grinding agony, the dependability of earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, and God's greatest gift to life: the ultimate perfection of the divinely designed human body!

Excuse me a moment while I clean my bifocals and shift my posture to accommodate my chronic lower back pain.

Phil, you are very welcome to take an optimistic view toward getting people to willingly abandon their big cars, air-conditioning, refrigeration and whatever else makes civilization civilized. I don't see how it can happen but I am partial to optimism as a general rule.

As shocking as it may seem, what I do not share with many "earth saving" people is the underlying presumption that this is the "best of all possible worlds". I think Rousseau was wrong and the return to nature is not a return to some higher or more noble state of being. Maybe that's because I have actually been there. (After military service you could not find enough money to pay me to "camp out", thank you!).

One of two points I was attempting to deliver in my earlier post, strictly as my personal opinion and not as a provable fact, is that the purely political manipulation of the masses through 40 years of imminent ecological doomsday predictions has worked quite well but does nothing to address the problem - if there is one. (Six billion lemmings can be wrong).

The second point was that technology will have to provide an answer because nothing else will. Nothing.

If you contend nanotechnology will never (an amazing word) be able to clean up the earth's pollution and supposed eco problems and that evolution must take billions of years to create elsewhere what we have on this little mud-ball right now, well I just can't imagine how that can be possible. People in the future will need to take a lot more stupid pills to not achieve then what we probably can hardly image as possible now.

But maybe you're right.

So then there is NO answer, correct?

If so then if does not matter how much so called personal pollution any one of us racks up, does it? (Let's rev up the 1957 Chevy with some leaded Mexican gas and cruise the desert for a few hours, okay?).

Look, let's be simple here. The authentic cause of the current claimed "problem" is too many human beings, who require too much fuel and create the consequent pollution. So reduce the earth's population by, say, 80% and you will see a reduction in your pollution. ("Kill people to save the earth." Now there's an interesting slogan I won'tsupport!).

But then there are those who would contend that it is specifically the higher consumption levels of the first world countries which create much more pollution than the rest of the world combined. So we must be certain to also reduce the available use of modern technology to "save the earth".

But this does nothing except urge human beings to return to a less "human" state of existence. Perhaps some people would get a thrill from living as serfs in medieval villages, but I would not. Even my cats think fleas are nothing to miss now that they can live flea free due to modern chemistry (a shameless testimonial to cat lovers forAdvantage - available from your vet!).

At the end of the cinema production of H.G. Wells' Things To Come, the protagonist scientist (Raymond Massey) spoke stirring words regarding two potential futures of humankind. On the one hand we may try to seek rest from solving our problems through technology here in this world, but rest comes "all too soon" anyway with the grave.

Or we can seek to rise from this cradle and seize the stars themselves. He concluded with, "It's either the entire universe or nothing at all. Which will it be?"

When my father heard those stirring words at a first public screening of Things To Come in 1927 (I believe that was the year), the lights came on and as he stood to leave, the man who had been seated next to him said, "What a load of crap!"

Yet my father lived to see the huge bombers dropping hundreds of paratroopers, the construction of superhighways, buildings hundreds of stories high, television, radio, the internet, an underground tunnel between Europe and Britain, the hydrogen bomb, the first artificial satellite and men landing on the moon - all reflected in Wells' film released long before World War II.

Human beings have a demonstrated historical track record of under estimating the changes of the future. That's a fact you can take to the bank. Gerard O'Neill designed orbiting space colonies using 1960s technology. We already can do better now. Politics (money) prevents it.

My wife's uncle worked as a NASA engineer on the nuclear rocket project NERVA in the 1960s. Even then it was capable of taking us to the stars due to time dilation at close to light speed. Now we can do even better. Politics (fear of nuclear power) stopped NERVA.

Robert Ettinger wrote two books and almost single-handedly popularized the concept of human cryonic suspension around the same time period. Work continues to improve this most reasonable of gambles. Politics (popular opinion) still resists cryonics as an option.

Phil, you had just better hope that technology can solve these pollution "problems" or at least permit a way off this sad little backwater planet by the time those of us who take the "cold sleep" rise to see a new tomorrow. We can't depend upon politics!

This last summer I went back to Mount Saint Helens where some twenty years ago that volcano tried to kill my wife and daughter. Even now, as I looked around me there was nothing but devastation from horizon to horizon. A dead moonscape. Unlike the lighthearted rendition granted in Disney's Fantasia 2000, the old killer mountain is not softened by a green carpet of new living things but instead still exudes the poisonous gases of death which waft across the gray landscape of blasted rock and bleak emptiness.

Mother Nature is a homicidal maniac lacking any sense of sympathy or caring for the creatures of her world.

Nature doesn't give a damn.

Think about that.

She won't afford any new or easy answers. She won't be kind nor sweet to us nor our children. She doesn't care.

No, it's up to us to find the answers.

Recycling tomato cans won't do it.

Technology CAN.

That's my opinion.

Psychological Survival & Values

by Robert Ettinger,

Criteria of identity and survival have never been agreed upon by philosophers, by cryonicists, or those few others who are interested.

Usually the suggested criteria centre on intuition, on what the writer or speaker thinks would satisfy him. But while intuition--what "feels" right--may be a reasonable starting point, it is only that. A rigorous set of criteria for identity or for survival demands much more; and we must be ready, if necessary, to reject intuition. Intuition, after all, is mostly just habit, and habits are often wrong or ill founded and counterproductive. Habits were formed in the past, when conditions were different--and they could have been the wrong habits even then.

A number of philosophers fix on "psychological connectedness" as the criterion of survival. If the revived (or copied!) person has largely the same memories and values and inclinations, they say, then he is the "same" person.

The main problem with this--as with the "all-is-information" stance of the uploaders--is that it is merely an assertion, with a certain amount of plausibility but nothing more. By no stretch of the imagination is it proven.

Some of the difficulties with the notion can be illuminated, as usual, by some simple thought experiments.

Who Wants Warts?

Suppose you are revived after cryopreservation, but contemporary technology could improve you in the process. It could also revive you as you were and improve you later. "Improvement" in this context we understand to mean replacing some of your habits and attitudes with better ones. (Yes, this glosses over the large problem of changing a person in an integrated way, making the changes consistent with each other and with the remainder of the persona--but then, changes in ordinary life often fail the consistency desideratum.)

It is difficult for me to imagine that I would not choose to be improved, if I were revived as my old self. But having said that, it is also difficult to see any strong reason for deferring the improvement; why not do it during the revival?

Accidental You

We start out shaped by a set of genes--which we did not choose. Our bodies and minds grow and change, partly in response to environmental influences--also initially imposed and not chosen. If the environment is suboptimal, the best potentialities of our genes cannot be realized. As an extreme example, someone raised by wolves will be an idiot; as a slightly less extreme example, someone abused or neglected as a child will be psychologically warped.

Suppose you had an unfortunate background--child abuse or neglect and all that, on top of genetically limited intelligence. (And don't all of us have both of those, in some degree?) You made a lot of bad choices. What is the "real" you? Is it the guilt-wracked wreck with the wretched memories and inferior capabilities? Is it the better and happier person you might have been, or could become after technological intervention? Even if you decide the "real" you is the historical one, is that the one you want revived and perpetuated?

Some would say yes: I want the truth. I want to change and improve--but not retroactively, not unconsciously, not without my knowledge and consent, and not suddenly. I don't want to keep on licking my wounds, but I want to remember them, or be able to remember them--otherwise there is no validity.

Again, this has a plausible ring, but little if anything more than that. Personally, I would just as soon be rid of my bad memories and traits and habits instantly, and "know" the history only as an archive that I can look up if I wish.

You Can't Go Home

The "connectedness" criterion is clearly related to poignant juvenile longing for the comfortable familiarity of early home and family. We want the comfort and security of habit and the memory of love and first awakenings. We don't want to be cast adrift. We may have trouble forming new habits, viewpoints, and values; subconsciously, we may even equate change with betrayal of the earlier self or selves.

Disturbing questions suggest themselves. If you discard what you were--then were you worthless? If your past self was discarded, will that also be the fate of your present self? If "you" will be discarded by some future "self," what becomes of your present self's confidence and pride and orientation?

The "conservative" mindset may be reinforced by the common-sense and observational fact that change can be destructive if it is too extreme, too sudden, or too poorly planned. But you can't run, you can't hide, and you can't go home again. Life goes on, and the past is out of reach.

You've Got to Know the Territory

You can't go home--so long as "home" means something fixed or something in the past or outside yourself. There are only two main questions here: (1) what is the self? (2) How can it best be satisfied?

These questions are basically biological/physical. They do not necessarily have answers that we will like, or any unequivocal answers at all. The universe is not necessarily user-friendly. Time may separate successive "selves" as decisively (or indecisively) as space separates twins or duplicates.

But unless we opt for the cow or ostrich "solutions" (stupid contentment or refusal to face unpleasant facts), we can only push on. We must mostly ignore Level Two at first, e.g. the "philosophical" questions involving paradoxes of continuity and so on, relating to time and quantum reality and similar matters presently beyond our reach. On Level One we ignore some of the subtleties and take first things first.

Assumptions, Level One

(1) The central self is that part of the brain or its functions (not necessarily localized, but possibly distributed in space and even in time), that constitutes the seat of feeling and hence the ground of being. I call this the "self circuit," and assume its basis is some kind of semihomeostatic feedback mechanism.

The self circuit is the condition precedent for LAWKI, life-as-we-know-it. Without it, there is no subjective condition. Without subjectivity, without feeling, there can be intelligence and goal directedness, but only robots or zombies, not people.

(2) Certain unknown physical parameters in the self circuit determine or define the conditions or sensations of pleasure/satisfaction and pain/dissatisfaction.

The only motivation that is valid, or even physically possible, is to please the self, i.e., to maximize pleasure or satisfaction and to minimize pain or dissatisfaction. This is the basis of value.

(3) It seems to follow that most of "you" is inessential--including your memories, habits, and personality. You could lose all that and still exist. Some think they would rather die than lose their connections; but the question is not what we want, but what we ought to want in light of ultimate reality. Admittedly, Level One here is only a starting point; but we do have to start.

Questions for the Laboratory

Can amateur philosophers help the experientialists? To get the right answers, it helps to ask the right questions, and conceivably we can contribute a little here.

First, we are not likely to find localized brain regions identifiable with the self by any of the currently known experiments. For example, we know that stimulation of certain points in the brain produces sensations--but so does stimulation of points on the skin and elsewhere. Those known points in the brain may be way-stations or switching points rather than parts of the central self.

Second, once we have located and identified the self circuit or aspects of it, we have to learn what constitutes pleasure/satisfaction and the opposite. Is it a single condition, state, or sequence of events? Or is there more than one kind? Can more than one kind coexist? If more than one kind can coexist, with different strategies favouring each, then life becomes even more complicated.

Who's in Charge? Short Circuits & Overrides

One of the most remarkable of all facts is the dominance of presumptively secondary or derivative satisfactions in practical motivation. Most of us, most of the time, would rather finish a game of tennis than go home early because of hunger. Much more bizarre, many of us will stake life itself on a fine point of politics or theology. Is this appropriate, or in some sense a tragic accident of development?

To hammer the point, it seems clear that the most primitive organisms with feeling and LAWKI had only "physical" pleasures and pains, not intellectual or "spiritual" ones. Intellectual satisfactions are of course ultimately just as physical as the primitive pleasures; but are they variations, intermediaries, or something new or different?

Not only can people choose "spiritual" values despite physical pain, but physical pain (or the signals that usually cause that sensation) may even be unnoticed by people caught up in battle, sports, religious martyrdom, or even just intense intellectual concentration. This suggests that the self circuit is not a mere register for physical sensations, even though it may have evolved for that purpose.

If "spiritual" values (perhaps including such things as music appreciation) can be imprinted onto or attached to the basic self circuit, becoming a physical part of your (current) biological nature, that would seem to imply that you are basically infinitely malleable. Then values--even the most "basic" of biological imperatives--are not permanent givens.

If we can want whatever we choose to want--if what we ought to want is a complex feedback function of current wants and calculations of the future probabilities associated with various strategies--then almost all current worldviews are by the board. The philosophical and political implications are beyond present reckoning.

Is Cryopreservation Wasting Resources ?

by "Shiva" < > Priests Of The Woodlands Nations

The root of this question is ethical and self-contained. "...not sensible to waste resources..." I suppose if it were shown at some point in the far future that present methods do not allow revival, in some sense it would be valid to say some resources were wasted. The second question is whether or not he who "wasted" the resources had a moral obligation to apply them to some more "worthwhile" endeavour.

1) What I have seen just from watching the newsgroup sci.cryonics is that a great deal of research is growing out of the notion we may be able to freeze people for a long time and then revive them. Some of this research is possible because of resources "wasted" by people who are planning to be frozen. There are useful results today; not two hundred years from now.

2) If you are personally wasting your financial resources to have yourself frozen and are not depriving your children of food by doing so... Something is real obvious: If you weren't wasting the resources that way you could probably dream up another. I don't see anybody with a right to determine how you waste your resources other than you. I guess we could arrive at the conclusion you have every right to be wasting away right in front of us. (There is that other thing about how some great scientific minds might be put to more urgent tasks but they, too, have a right to be wasting away.)

3) The oft made statement that "we should learn to crawl before we think about sprinting," is cute but, in this case, merely cute. The infant learning to crawl is not thinking about crawling. The infant learning to crawl is not thinking about sprinting. The infant learning to crawl is simply trying to go somewhere. As long as scientific minds are trying to go somewhere it really doesn't matter if they are thinking about crawling or sprinting. The child will not be able to walk until he both desires to go somewhere and his neural system matures sufficiently to allow it. If he has no desire to go somewhere and never tries to go somewhere he has no hope of learning to go somewhere. Going new places is one of the things science does.


by Robert Ettinger

Laymen think they are at a disadvantage in reading or thinking about "science," but this is partly wrong. In looking ahead, laymen can often do better than specialists, as the late famous pollster George Gallup found. This is attributed to the forest-and-trees phenomenon. The specialist knows too much about the immediate difficulties, and has a career time horizon at most--whereas the layman can step back, look at the big picture, and form a better judgment.

When I wrote the Prospect of Immortality in 1962, I was basically a layman in most of the disciplines related to what we now call nanotechnology. I had not even heard of Feynman's 1958 paper, Plenty of Room at the Bottom. Yet it was obvious to me that--to a near certainty--it would become possible, eventually, to make any repairs to a human body, if necessary on a cell-by-cell or even molecule-by-molecule basis.

(I was not smart enough to realize that the computers necessary for this could be tiny; I envisioned the atom-moving tools as tiny, but the computers controlling them as large. Mainly for this reason, I thought repair of a brain might take centuries, whereas now Drexler and Merkle and others have shown it should only take weeks at most, once we have a mature nanotechnology.)

My reasoning was based on generalities, such as the fact that our bodies--even though evolved by accident and representing only a minute fraction of the possibilities, even working without the wheel--could nevertheless fabricate and repair down to the nano scale on many types of biological system. If blind and purposeless Nature could do so much, surely we can do much more, and on a vastly accelerated time scale.

With this ponderous preliminary, let me now offer, to new readers especially, another quick bird's eye view of reasons to be optimistic about revival of cryonics patients--even those frozen by the crudest techniques. (And yet again, no, this is not complacency nor a reason to neglect research or relax our efforts to improve cryopreservation.)

First, we can virtually guarantee that a person much like you could eventually (in the relatively near future, centuries at most) be fabricated from scratch. By using your DNA, or/and that of your relatives, your remains if any, your personal records including the memories of those who knew you, and our future detailed understanding of the workings of the brain and how to "read in" memories and personality, future technicians could build a person to specifications, including someone very similar to yourself as you are now.

Furthermore, the construct would not have to be born and develop in the ordinary way; it could be assembled and activated as an adult with a mental history--although of course in practice that would be ruled out on humanitarian grounds; we are not going to create people with false memories or use them as laboratory animals. This is merely a preliminary thought experiment.

No doubt you have anticipated the next step, which is simple. If someone very like you could in future be built from scratch, then repairing or rebuilding you from frozen remains will certainly be much easier. You could be repaired while still frozen, and then thawed and activated. (Repair in the liquid state is not ruled out either, but repair while frozen is conceptually easier.)

The caveats are obvious. We don't yet know which parts/aspects of the brain are the "vital" ones, so we don't yet know how to tell for sure if the revived patient is "really" the "same" as the person who was frozen, or the person before deteriorating during terminal illness or during a post mortem warm ischemic period.

But we live with similar--or worse--uncertainties all the time. The point is that success--or some degree of success--is not only a reasonable expectation, but almost certain.

2001 : A Transhuman Odyssey.

Copyright (C) 2000 by Peter A. Merel < >

The movie confuses at least in part because Kubrick and Clarke couldn't agree on its message. Kubrick, an ardent theist, aimed to show that technology, no matter how advanced, cannot elevate humanity to godhood. Clarke was simply illustrating Clarke's Law, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The movie is a debate between the two.

Clarke's meaning is plain. The supreme human technology, HAL, is not different in kind from the bloody club that was its origin. Kubrick's meaning is more subtle, but triumphant; though it is Clarke's narrative, Kubrick's form dominates.

The AE-35-unit sequence demonstrates this clearly. In our first experience of HAL, the wonder of which is lost on modern viewers, he is presented as an automated chess player. In 60's pop culture, chess was equivalent with intelligence, and social behaviour not thought different from game-playing. Chess establishes HAL's sentience.

The fight between the proto-humans in the opening sequence is itself chess-like, and this provides the logic that explains the AE-35 sequence. In the same way it searches for a "win" in chess, HAL searches for a "win" on the Discovery mission to Jupiter. HAL believes humans are fallible, and that no HAL computer has ever failed except through human error. It follows that HAL must improve its chances of "winning" by pruning human fallibility from the mission's game tree. HAL is not bent on murder or revenge - it's simply playing "Minimax" in a social setting.

In order to win, HAL has to manipulate Bowman and Poole in such a way that they are unable to enter the ship. Otherwise it can't defend itself from disconnection. In Chess terms it is in check, and this is why HAL predicts the failure in the AE-35 unit - to get Bowman and Poole to go EVA together: checkmate.

When Bowman manages to re-enter Discovery, HAL realises his own fallibility for the first time, and this realization provides HAL with the pathetic humanity he displays as he himself is murdered by Bowman.

The final sequence of the film, reminiscent of Robert Heinlein's classic short story, In The Bowl, is analogous to Bowman's struggle with HAL. We see Bowman disconnected under the control of the monolith, but rather than destroyed, Bowman is matured into godhood, reborn as a luminous being, returned to grace, shorn of human fallibility. Chess again, of course; the pawn reaches the final rank and becomes a queen.

What is most significant here is that the CosmicTwoByFour itself is HAL's god, not Bowman's. HAL is in its image - the HAL red-eye panel has precisely the same proportions as the monolith:

When Bowman disconnects HAL we see that each of HAL's components has this same form.

So the monolith is technology, not god. As HAL is the creation of man, the relationship between monolith and StarChild is transformed by Kubrick to one of chicken and egg, genome and phenome. The film is a cycle. The final image places Bowman in the same luminous pantheon we witness before his transformation. Mankind is finally made fit for the company of gods. Replying to Clarke's Law, in Kubrick's vision technology is progenitor, not imitation, of magic.

33rd and 34th Updates

on Fly Longevity Experiments

Doug Skrecky

This is the 33rd update on my fly longevity experiments. In Run #33 I look at a variety of Stash herbal teas. No strong effects were detected this time on average survival, though some increases in maximum lifespan seemed to occur.
Run #33 Percent Survival on Day
supplement 11 20 24 27 31 34 39 42 45 49 52 55 58 61 66 70 74 79 83
control 85 85 85 85 70 70 50 40 35 30 15 5 5 5 0 - - - -
apple 80 80 76 76 64 56 52 48 48 36 24 24 16 16 8 4 4 0 -
chamomile 82 82 76 76 65 71 59 47 41 29 29 29 24 12 6 0 - - -
licorice 94 75 81 81 56 56 56 50 38 38 38 31 19 13 6 6 0 - -
lemon 89 89 89 89 83 67 67 56 28 28 28 22 17 11 11 11 6 6 6
peppermint 95 68 63 58 42 42 37 32 16 16 11 11 5 5 0 - - - -
ruby mist 84 84 79 68 68 68 68 68 47 42 26 26 26 21 21 16 5 0 -
sandman 94 100 94 78 78 67 50 50 44 44 39 39 33 33 22 17 17 6 6

In Freezer Run #5, I try testing polyethylene glycol again. This time the flies were transferred from the PEG bottles to bottles containing ordinary fly food immediately before storage in my freezer. The good news is that this time no flies drowned because of fluid released from frozen/thawed fly food. The bad news is that none of flies survived 90 minutes of storage in my freezer.

Freezer Run #5

Percent Survival After minutes
supplement 0 90
pycnogenol 300 mg 96 0
+ PEG 200 14% 62 0
+ PEG 200 40% 17 0

Three conclusions:

#1: 90 minutes is too long a storage period.

#2: Feeding flies cryoprotectants looks to be useless.

#3: PEG being generally recognized as safe is baloney.

34th update

This is the 34th update on my fly longevity experiments. Prior to Run #34 I had some hopes in particular that either antioxidant rich Raspberry Cocktail juice, or Egret River's Antihypertensive tea might prove to be beneficial. Alas it was not to be. In this run no supplement increased longevity. On the contrary both Earl Grey black tea, and Stash Wintermint herbal tea reduced survival.

On the plus side, in comparison to fly longevities reported in medical journals, a 50 day average lifespan for my control flies is quite respectable. The 1/4 tsp citric acid added to the 20 gm of 4-24 fly food used in each bottle may account for this. There was no visible evidence of pathogen growth in any bottle, despite there being no changes in the fly food, once the experiment was started.

Run #34

Percent Survival on Day

supplement 14 19 22 25 29 32 35 38 41 46 50 54 59 63 69 73 78 82
control 81 77 77 77 71 68 68 61 55 52 48 45 39 19 10 10 10 0
antihypertensive tea 83 79 79 79 79 75 67 54 38 33 21 4 4 0 - - - -
earl grey tea 69 58 50 46 42 42 35 27 27 19 19 8 8 4 4 4 0 -
glutathione 50 mg 74 65 65 62 56 56 53 47 41 32 21 15 9 6 0 - - -
health herb tea 83 78 78 65 56 56 56 52 48 43 43 30 26 17 9 4 0 -
raspberry cocktail j 82 76 76 76 76 71 71 71 71 53 47 35 6 6 6 6 6 6
raspberry leaf tea 85 65 60 60 55 55 55 50 40 40 35 35 25 5 0 0 - -
wintermint tea 75 56 38 38 38 31 31 19 13 13 6 6 6 6 0 - - -

In Freezer Run #6, I test cryoprotectant adjuncts, which increase cellular survival at concentrations too low to reduce ice formation. I was fascinated to learn that 0.15 M theonine offered the greatest protection against freezing damage to cell membranes in one old report. (Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta 241: 578-592 1971). This result has never to my knowledge been replicated. Over 20 years later a much smaller amount (0.02 M) threonine was found to increase cell freezing survival by 26%. (Cryobiology 29: 291-295 1992) I decided to give threonine a try, as well as test glutamine, which is a commonly used adjunct.
Freezer Run #6

Percent Survival After minutes

supplement 0 30 60
control 100 65 18
glutamine 2 gm 100 72 11
threonine 3.4 gm 100 50 21

Alas, the results were a bust. Considering high doses of the antioxidant pine bark mixture pynogenol had earlier been quite beneficial, it looks like further work will have to focus on antioxidants.

The Form of First Contact

With Superior Alien Intelligence

by Ken Meyering < >

When nanotechnology and quantum computing arrive (if they have not already), the super-intelligent form of communication with society may not be the "English language". Rather, it would likely be "Body Language." Rather than machine super-intelligence "talking to us", it seems more likely that it would begin "talking through us", using methods of storytelling and puppeteering that find us in perhaps strange coincidences with each other or living out educational vignettes.

The "right brain" language of play-acting and theater seems a more likely form of advanced communication than "left brain" linear symbol sequences. What better syntax than total orchestration? There was a recent movie calledPleasantville in which characters lived in a black and white world. Outsiders infiltrated the world and color began arriving as citizens began thinking "outside the script."

I wonder if first contact with superior alien intelligence might take the form of suddenly feeling oneself as a character in a sitcom, surrounded by caricatures of social archtypes. If I were an extropian gray alien from the year 2110 popping back in time to communicate with my human ancestors, I'd probably just take control of the situation and do puppet shows in order to allow the creatures to become enlightened through experience rather than making some limited attempt to communicate in a linear fashion through spoken language.

If I were Feynman or Von Neuman and orchestrating a peaceful "Coup d'etat" (oxymoron, I know), I'd probably fashion it as a mass automated script orchestrated over a whole generation, giving each individual plausible deniability, so the obvious conclusion would be that something on a scale suggestive of an "act of god" had occurred which left all with the tacit consensus that the old play was over and a new play had begun.

As Others See Us

New Hope International Review - http ://

NHI Review, 20 Werneth Avenue, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 5NL

Longevity Report #80

This 20 page newsletter contains miscellaneous articles on cryonics and related subjects. Speculative pieces on human identity and the friendliness (or not) of extra-terrestials {sic} sit alongside a report on experiments to produce longevity in flies by feeding them various fruit juices and a useful introduction to the weird 19th century philosopher, N.F. FYODOROV.

The magazine is attractively produced (on an inkjet printer I think) with colour illustrations, but could do with more rigorous editing and proof-reading.

reviewer: Tony Grist.


This review consisted of 76 words, 10 of which commented on the editing and proof reading. This is 13% of the review devoted to that. The word total was 76, and extra-"terrestials" was spelt wrong in the review - extra-terrestrials is correct. Therefore the review itself is 1.32% in the same error. I am not sure what the ratio was for that issue of LR, and does it really matter. But what is disappointing is that so much effort was devoted to trivial matters, and little was said about the actual ideas of, for example, NF Fyodorov. If he turned out to be correct in his predictions, then his ideas are much more important than whether someone can spell "terrestrial" or not. Yet they get just one comment "weird". I was actually looking forward to what New Hope Internationalwould say about this article, and all that came back was one single word.

Unfortunately this reviewer is doing a service - he is demonstrating how a lot of people approach new ideas. Try and get the originators and publishers to spend more time on trivia and less time on promoting their new ideas. If the originators spend more time on trivia, then they will be less mentally challenging. After all, everyone can spell "terrestrial" if the put in a little effort. How many can come up with radical new ideas like NF Fyodorov, and thengo on to do all the hard work to produce literature, give lectures , debates and so on to promote them?

The World's "Excess" People

by Lee Corbin < >

Mike Perry wrote on Cryonet: But people, especially at this stage in history, should not feel guilty if their focus is not on making more people but doing what will benefit those that others have made.

I agree with what Mike wrote; feeling guilty is in so many cases like this is pointless. But let me take the opportunity to further explain my claim that it's untrue in at least two ways that the world has too many people.

In the first place, there is simply a technical disagreement about the world's current capacity. Ray Bradbury once calculated that California could feed the United States, and that the United States could feed the world. If this was once true, say a decade or two ago, then perhaps it's not true any longer. Nonetheless, it is certain that in many parts of the world, the latest agricultural techniques are not being utilized. Moreover, in many of the world's most agriculturally advanced regions, much land could be used far more productively than it is presently being used (in terms of calorie production). Probably we should all agree that this is technically in dispute; still, I would like to hear persuasive arguments that hunger and starvation around the world are not due more to politics and distribution, than to capacity.

What the world really suffers from, I think, is an unequal distribution of capitalism. Areas of the world such as Africa simply do not have in place the kinds of economic infrastructure that is needed. There were just too many experiments in socialism, and also too few decades (or centuries) to properly develop the right kinds of markets.

But in this article I wish to comment on the moral desirability of having fewer people. (The words almost stick in my throat.) It's axiomatic that the world cannot have fewer people without there being fewer particular people. So let us imagine an alternate world in which some small region of Africa or India (the usual target) which, while heavily populated in our world, happens to be vacant of people in this alternate world. One may imagine that centuries ago, some disease or something prevented the births of many people in that region, the demographic effects of which, say, are still felt.

Now some will say that this is good, because then the food that could be grown here could be used to make everyone else less hungry. For reasons given above, I really doubt it. But even if so, let's concentrate on the reality that this implies. (I think that academic discussions are frequently impacted by people not having the imagination to really foresee the consequences of their beliefs. It's for this reason that I am writing.)

If we closely examine this region, we may see several thousand families. Let us look even closer, and come to understand the reality of the daily life that actually goes on there. Suppose in fact that we become very familiar with the particular people. We understand their joys and laughter, the jokes, the celebrations, and the rituals. To be fair, we also come to understand all of the tears and resentments---all the same things that of course animate our own lives.

Now having gotten very close---that is, very close to the truth of the situation, let us now look back at the world where these people did not exist. Look closely at the barren fields. Hear only in your memory the people's laughter and see only in your memory the smiles on their faces and the children playing. And remember: you now know all of them by name, and understood as only God really can, their individual lives. Now, you cannot possibly tell me that the world is a better place where those lives are absent!

The conclusion is even stronger: even if people are only half-fed, you simply cannot deny the richness and meaningfulness of their lives. If you don't believe me, please, please read Dominique LaPierre's The City of Joy. And so it follows that even if people had to be less materialistically well-off than the people who are reading this are, it's still far better for them to exist than not.

Of course, this has produced unpleasant sensations in some of you who are reading this. That's because you are comfortably seated in front of your computer terminals, with full stomachs, plenty of food in the refrigerator, abundant entertainment in your books, email, television, social activities and so on, and it really does pain you to realize the particulars of those who are less well off. But isn't this a little self-centred? What happens if you go to Calcutta, or go to any small village in Africa that you look down on, and talk to the people? You know very well what happens: they don't think that their lives are meaningless or completely destitute. And if they knew what you were thinking, that the world would be a better place without them, they would be utterly baffled at your lack of understanding.

Population Issues

by Charles Platt < >

Many people regard aboriginal and "native" cultures as being somehow "natural" and better than modern, technically advanced civilisations. But it is foolish to laud aboriginal cultures uncritically. The spread of primitive people through the Americas coincided with the extinction of several species. Slash-and-burn policies are inflicted primarily by peasants rather than large corporations. There is every evidence that primitive people would cause more environmental devastation if they were empowered to do so, and one of the world's worst polluters, the old Soviet Union, did it under a regime of centralized social planning. While the capitalist system has racked up its own score of environmental disasters, large corporations today are kept in check by the knowledge that they can be sued. Such powerful checks and balances to not apply to large government agencies.

It is often said that the population of the United States is more environmentally damaging than the population of less developed countries. However the United States produces a higher ratio of oxygen to carbon dioxide than the global average, largely because its managed forests are a more efficient generator of oxygen than rain forests - known as "jungles" before they were romanticized - where decay processes cause oxidation. The US is in fact doing more than most nations to reduce global warming, purely as a result of its topography.

As for the population issue, a high birth rate is always a more powerful determinant of population growth than a lower death rate, because when people have more children, those children have children, tending to create an exponential growth rate. For Shift magazine last year I wrote a piece describing my interactions with population groups, none of which had ever considered the possible effects of a lengthened maximum lifespan. In fact, so far as I could determine, no population scientist has ever modelled a future in which maximum lifespan exceeds its current level. Since a population simulation is a fairly easy program to write, I did it myself, using the cohort-component method. I found that the net growth caused by a gradual doubling in maximum lifespan could be balanced easily by a continuation of the trend toward lower birth rates.

All over Europe, the number of children per female lifetime has fallen well below replacement level (as low as 1.2 in some nations). No centralized system was required to enforce this. People have chosen freely to have fewer children as their economic situation has improved in conjunction with lower child mortality rates--often enabled by capitalist regimes. Third-world nations also have seen sudden reductions in birth rates, as they pass through the "demographic transition" toward smaller families.

For life extensionists, most of whom live in nations where birth rates are low, population is not an issue. For cryonicists, it has never been an issue. The maintenance of a cryo-patient for many decades costs less than, say, the maintenance of a terminal cancer patient for one week, and uses resources that are relatively plentiful.

Omniscience , or "Are you God?"

by George Smith < >

I must admit here to a firm prejudice. Everyone in my family is signed up for cryonics and has been for about ten years. I support cryonics and I support those who support cryonics.

I do not support those who oppose cryonics because they must claim to know with certainty that it can never work. (When I worked as a therapist at Western State Psychiatric Hospital the term applied to similar grandiose assumptions of omniscience was "delusional").

The opinions of "scientists" in 2001 regarding what is possible or impossible in, say, 2101 is the height of ego maniacal self delusion in my humble opinion based on the entire trend of such predictions throughout history. They are usually not a little wrong, but incredibly wrong ... particularly when stating what cannot happen in the future. Examples include aircraft, spacecraft, telephones, radio, computers, organ transplants, electric lights, radar - the list is almost as endless as the number of scientists who said this or that will never happen and then were completely wrong (and usually dead and gone by the time the events transpired).

Let me be clear.

If I die I want my body to be physically preserved. Any part of me. Any way it can be done. A "straight freeze" with no cryoprotectants is better than nothing. Chemical fixation is better than nothing. Anything is better than nothing. This view is shared by all members of my family. We view cryonics as potential conscious reincarnation. We hope it will work but can't be certain until it does. (Ask us again later after we're on the other side of the ice).

If I die I believe that someday I will be able to be brought back to physical life because itmightbe possible, and the mechanisms for accomplishing this already seem likely to be created in the relatively near future.

In the meantime if new doodads come along which seem to do a better overall job, I'm all for the new doodads.

But if you are today convinced that what is available can't work, I congratulate you and stand in awe of you for you must be God since God is held to be all knowing and you are claiming that same trait of omniscience. If you know something can't happen, especially something like resuscitation of cryonics patients through a future technology, well, I am truly amazed! It must be great to know what can't happen in the future!

Frankly those who say they favour cryonics for themselves, and then state that they don't think it can work as it is now, are attributing God like omniscience to themselves. They are implicitly claiming that they absolutely knowthe future. (Even psychics on tv don't claim to be able to do that!).

Everyone can (and usually does) have rational blind spots. The above one seems amazingly obvious to me, however. (Next in line is the clinging to mechanistic views of science based on disproved concepts of 19th century physics, but that's another issue definitely off topic here!).

There is no wiggle room for error if you lay claim to certainty about what can't happen when it comes to the future of cryonics. If you die now or anytime soon you will leave something behind for future technologists to restore to life or you won't.

I have often said that most people make their decisions emotionally and then use their intellect to rationalize their decisions. Or to put it more simply, most people would rather be dead right and buried six feet under than to be wrong.

So here is my question to those who are attacking the current state of cryonics as inadequate:

"Are you God?"

Brain Speed

by Joseph Kehoe <>

The thesis is anything that can be done by a Turing machine is a computable algorithm AND any computable algorithm can be implemented as a Turing machine.

Turing machines do not mention timing at all because the amount of time required to do a calculation plays no part in determining if it can be implemented by an algorithm. For practical uses timing is very important but that is not what Turing machines are about. They are a model of "computable algorithms".

From a theoretic perspective all timing is a non issue as to whether Turing machines can simulate us. If TM's can simulate us it means we are computable algorithms and this would be the discovery of the millennium if proved. Whether we can ever get computers to work fast enough to do so in real time is a separate practical issue.

So we have two problems

If we restrict ourselves to 2, we assume we are computable, but some say that the computation is so complex we will never do it in real time. For this to be the case the computation is NP-complete (or better yet NP-hard if I remember my terminology correctly) and the computation speed required is X. We will never reach X, ever, ever.

Now for this to be the case X would have to be extremely high and Moore's Law would have to meet some universal law that stopped it in its tracks. This universal law would prob. involve the speed of light c and Shannon's Information Theory.

To see whether the computation can be done in real time, you need to find:

However assume 3 is True. But in my cranium I have a computation machine runs at X, as does everyone on this list. Therefore either 3 is not true or our assumption was wrong. Our only assumption is that we are computable. Therefore if we are computable speed is not an issue.

If you only wish to argue that it will never be done on a single processor then I won't argue as it is irrelevant howwe actually do it as long as we can do it. Remember a Turing machine is not a single processor, it is not even a processor just a model of algorithmic computation.

With this in mind the only question is: Are we Turing computable? If we are not then either

We are unable to model neurons

We are unable to model neuron connections

I cannot see how either of those could be true unless

Comparing Cryonics to Military Triage

by George Smith < >

CI member, former US Army 10th Med Lab, Pathology, Landstuhl, Germany,

in technical consultation with

Ruth Smith, RN (retired), CI member, former US Army 2nd General Hospital, Landstuhl, Germany.

Cryonics parallels the use of medivac - loading the hopefully recoverable bodies on board the helicopter to be ferried to the future hospital where they can be hopefully healed.

The concept of triage is not really appropriate here as we are only bickering over how to best to "treat" (prepare) the bodies before loading them on the cryonics "helicopter" OR which kind of cryonics "helicopter" to use to ferry the bodies to that future hospital.

These cryonics choppers fly through TIME not space. The hospital we fly to is in the FUTURE, not Saigon.

My personal view has always been to first decide to get the bodies to that future hospital PERIOD. I personally suspect that when we get to that future hospital the doctors there will shake their heads at the beliefs we harboured here about what was important. Hindsight is always 100%.

There is simply too much reliance on present day scientific assumptions in my opinion. These guesses should be viewed as just that - extrapolations based on our current limited understanding and assumptions about the future.

Those who claim that this is "waiting for the future to save us" are exactly right. The PRESENT science is entirely incapable of saving anyone who dies now (let us say dead for more than 6 hours to rule out the children who drown in ice water and recover after about an hour). So we cool our bodies down to liquid nitrogen levels in the calculated hope that in the FUTURE there WILL be ways to reverse all the damages.

All the rest is supposition in my opinion.

So if you are trying to understand what cryonics is all about - DON'T. You can read right here the clashing opinions of people who have spent years doing so and obviously THEY don't agree! If you wait for that degree of agreement you may miss the chopper entirely!

(Some of these folks are so certain they are right they refuse to believe that ANY of the choppers today CAN reach the future. They believe they KNOW what CAN'T work in the future. Think about that! Please don't base your decision for cryonics on those claiming they possess a perfect knowledge of the future. I consider that like drinking KoolAid at a Jim Jones memorial reunion - it may look good but what are the possible consequences if you're wrong?).

First arrange to get your OWN body and the bodies of those you love signed up for that helicopter ride to a hospital in the future.

Then, if you are so inclined argue yourself blue in the face about which procedures may or may not be better for loading the bodies on board the chopper.

But if you don't sign up for cryonics medivac because of your beliefs, you may be dead right or dead wrong but the important word to attract your attention here should be "DEAD".

Choose life first. Then argue.

It's cheaper.

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