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Aptitude erroneously thinks many packages are unused and wants to remove them.

Inspired by the advice on this group and the -s option, I'm trying out
aptitude.  But I'm surprised by this:

$ aptitude -s upgrade
Reading Package Lists... Done
Building Dependency Tree       
Reading extended state information      
Initializing package states... Done
Reading task descriptions... Done  
The following packages are unused and will be REMOVED:

followed by a long list of packages, some of which I'm running right now. 
How does aptitude determine this list, and what's the best way to correct

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