Tag Archives | immortality

Wealthy Entrepreneur Launches Company Aimed at Radically Expanding Human Lifespan

Pic: HLI (C)

Pic: HLI (C)

Sure, radically expanded lifespans sound great on paper, but just because the technology works it doesn’t mean that it will be affordable to anyone but the incredibly wealthy. Near-immortal Koch brothers, anyone? Rupert Murdoch the Undying?

Via The New York Times:

J. Craig Venter is the latest wealthy entrepreneur to think he can cheat aging and death. And he hopes to do so by resorting to his first love: sequencing genomes.

On Tuesday, Dr. Venter announced that he was starting a new company, Human Longevity, which will focus on figuring out how people can live longer and healthier lives.

To do that, the company will build what Dr. Venter says will be the largest human DNA sequencing operation in the world, capable of processing 40,000 human genomes a year.

The huge amount of DNA data will be combined with huge amounts of other data on the health and body composition of the people whose DNA is sequenced, in the hope of gleaning insights into the molecular causes of aging and age-related illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

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Are We Hard-Wired To Believe In Life After Death?

spaceface-RAScienceDaily on a study suggesting that the conviction that our souls will survive beyond death is a feeling that emerges intuitively:

Most people believe they are immortal. That is, that part of themselves-some indelible core, soul or essence-will transcend the body’s death and live forever. But why? And why is this belief so unshakable?

A new Boston University study published in Child Development  suggests that our bias toward immortality is a part of human intuition that naturally emerges early in life. And the part of us that is eternal, we believe, is our hopes, desires and emotions.

Researchers have long suspected that people develop ideas about the afterlife through cultural exposure, like television or movies, or through religious instruction. But perhaps, thought Emmons, these ideas of immortality actually emerge from our intuition. Just as children learn to talk without formal instruction, maybe they also intuit that part of their mind could exist apart from their body.

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Elderly In Florida Town Swear By Radioactive “Fountain Of Youth”

fountain of youthEternal life or no, drinking this water daily is bound to have some interesting results. Via National Geographic:

Thanks to the myth of Ponce de Leon’s trip, Florida—known for its large population of retirees—is now awash in “fountains of youth.” Only one, however, is known to be radioactive.

In Punta Gorda, a town on Charlotte Harbor, a blocky, green-tiled fountain abuts an empty lot near the harbor. A spigot juts out near the top to release water from the artesian well below.

On the side facing away from the street, a public health notice warns that the water “exceeds the maximum contaminant level for radioactivity.” The water from the well is also heavy in sulfates, which give it a smell of rotten eggs. This hasn’t stopped the locals from drinking from it regularly. “I drank out of that well every day,” said Gussie Baker, a resident of Punta Gorda for all of her 78 years.

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The 2045 Project: Cyborg Avatars Uploaded With Human Consciousness

milestones_small_enWhen you’re a tech multi-millionaire, this is the kind of project you come up with, at least in the case of 32-year-old Russian Dmitry Itskov. David Segal reports for the New York Times:

Get right up close to Dmitry Itskov and sniff all you like — you will not pick up even the faintest hint of crazy. He is soft-spoken and a bit shy, but expansive once he gets talking, and endearingly mild-mannered. He never seems ruffled, no matter what question you ask. Even if you ask the obvious one, which he has encountered more than a few times since 2011, when he started “this project,” as he sometimes calls it.

Namely: Are you insane?

“I hear that often,” he said with a smile, over lunch one recent afternoon in Manhattan. “There are quotes from people like Arthur C. Clarke and Gandhi saying that when people come up with new ideas they’re called ‘nuts.’ Then everybody starts believing in the idea and nobody can remember a time when it seemed strange.”

It is hard to imagine a day when the ideas championed by Mr.

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So Ray Kurzweil Wants To Live Forever…

Ray Kurzweil blue backgroundOk, so Ray Kurzweil is a man of above average intelligence and achievement, even if he only just got his first job (Google, of course), but is a desire to live forever a wise choice or foolish hubris? The Wall Street Journal reports on his quest for immortality:

Ray Kurzweil must encounter his share of interviewers whose first question is: What do you hope your obituary will say?

This is a trick question. Mr. Kurzweil famously hopes an obituary won’t be necessary. And in the event of his unexpected demise, he is widely reported to have signed a deal to have himself frozen so his intelligence can be revived when technology is equipped for the job.

Mr. Kurzweil is the closest thing to a Thomas Edison of our time, an inventor known for inventing. He first came to public attention in 1965, at age 17, appearing on Steve Allen’s TV show “I’ve Got a Secret” to demonstrate a homemade computer he built to compose original music in the style of the great masters.

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Program Uses Algorithms To Tweet As You After Your Death

If social media is what you did while alive, does this mean you are living forever? CNET News on the app Liveson, which continues to generate tweets based on your personality and syntax, in a sense preserving you into eternity:

You might think your online fans will lose interest when you kick the bucket, but an upcoming app says it will let you keep tweeting from beyond the grave.

LivesOn will host Twitter accounts that continue to post updates when users [die]. Developers claim the app’s artificial-intelligence engine will analyze your Twitter feed, learn your likes and syntax, and then post tweets in a similar vein when you’re gone. You’ll become an AI construct, a proverbial ghost in the machine.

The app will launch in March. People who sign up will be asked to appoint an executor who will have control of the account.

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Immortality is Not Covered by Your Insurance

The introduction of radical life extension technologies will only exacerbate current social and economic disparities already blindingly apparent to anyone willing to peek beyond the binders of the cult of unfettered capitalism. Like any other kind of health care, unlimited access to the best and most effective treatment is limited to the very rich, and what is virtual immortality if not the extremity of medical care?

Immortality by way of virtual existence (“brain upload” in all of its variants) or physical existence (slowing the biological clock to a near stop), will be – much like the very best in cancer treatment, or priority access to organ transplants, or a thousand other technological answers to the woes of the flesh – an option for the very wealthy and powerful first, and maybe the rest of us later – but only at an extremely high price.

Rise of a vampire nation:

Imagine if you will the economic bloodsuckers and bluebloods – the alpha predators of the American savannah – granted a hundred lifetimes to accumulate even more wealth and power: A family of aristocratic vampires that would leave Dracula trembling in fear.… Read the rest

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Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?

PSM V33 D765 TurritopsisSo there might just be something positive to say about jellyfish after all. Nathaniel reports for the New York Times:

After more than 4,000 years — almost since the dawn of recorded time, when Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh that the secret to immortality lay in a coral found on the ocean floor — man finally discovered eternal life in 1988. He found it, in fact, on the ocean floor. The discovery was made unwittingly by Christian Sommer, a German marine-biology student in his early 20s. He was spending the summer in Rapallo, a small city on the Italian Riviera, where exactly one century earlier Friedrich Nietzsche conceived “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”: “Everything goes, everything comes back; eternally rolls the wheel of being. Everything dies, everything blossoms again. . . .”

Sommer was conducting research on hydrozoans, small invertebrates that, depending on their stage in the life cycle, resemble either a jellyfish or a soft coral.

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Britain’s Oldest Man Attributes His Longevity To An Indian Magic Potion

The Daily Mail on the mysteries of long life:

Britain’s oldest man – who turns 110 tomorrow – says his longevity isn’t entirely down to his strict vegetarian diet or his favourite [drink], gin. The Reverend Reg Dean instead attributes it to a ‘mysterious brown-looking’ elixir of life given to him by a doctor when he was an army chaplain in India.

‘He said to me, “I have concocted a drink that will make you live for ever”, or something like that, and would I like to take it?’ he recalled yesterday. ‘Well I’m very naive, I can’t say no, so I drank it and here I am.’

TThe former teacher and church minister was born on November 4, 1902, in Tunstall, Staffordshire. He was ordained in the 1920s and later volunteered as an army chaplain in Burma and India during the Second World War.

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$5 Million Grant Awarded for Study of Immortality

Via UCR Today:

UC Riverside philosopher John Berkley has been awarded a $5 million grant by a private foundation to study immortality, near-death experiences and other related issues:

Anecdotal reports of glimpses of an afterlife abound, but there has been no comprehensive and rigorous, scientific study of global reports about near-death and other experiences, or of how belief in immortality influences human behavior. That will change with the award of a three-year, $5 million grant by the John Templeton Foundation to John Martin Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of California, Riverside, to undertake a rigorous examination of a wide range of issues related to immortality. It is the largest grant ever awarded to a humanities professor at UC Riverside, and one of the largest given to an individual at the university.

“People have been thinking about immortality throughout history. We have a deep human need to figure out what happens to us after death,” said Fischer, the principal investigator of The Immortality Project.

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