X-Message-Number: 33285
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2011 00:09:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: actuarial interpretation

I had written that, according to Social Security figures, mortality rates  
decline with advancing years, perhaps offering a glimmer of hope for "escape 
 velocity" for some now living. Mike Darwin responded with several  
negatives, including the fact that, for a specific individual, additional  
information could modify the numbers. 
Most of what he says is correct, but more or less irrelevant. Naturally you 
 will get better guesses if you know more about the person and if the 

database  reflects such variables. But the missing relevant information includes
both  positives and negatives. For example, I had an uncle who lived to 93 
despite  many years of congestive heart failure. Also, I take a lot of 
supplements, some  of which may be useful and none of which, after many years, 
appear to pose a  threat. Also, I have reached my present age despite many 

episodes--illnesses and  traumas--that almost killed me and that should (?) have
weakened me.
I am not an optimist for the short term and don't expect to reach the  
upper nineties. But a little speculation can be amusing. 
Robert Ettinger

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