Tag Archives | immortality

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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Russian Project Offers Immortality To Billionaires

Interested in a second life as a robot? The goal is to achieve the ability to upload an individual’s mind into an artificial surrogate, and offer it as a service to the planet’s richest individuals in a decade or so. Via the Daily Mail:

A Russian entrepreneur who heads a hi-tech research project called ‘Avatar’ has contacted billionaires to offer them immortality. Dmitry Itskov claims he will personally oversee their immortality process, in exchange for an undisclosed fee. Itskov, a media entrepreneur, claims to have hired 30 scientists to reach this goal – and aims to transplant a human brain into a robot body within 10 years.

“You have the ability to finance the extension of your own life up to immortality. Our civilization has come very close to the creation of such technologies: it’s not a science fiction fantasy. It is in your power to make sure that this goal will be achieved in your lifetime,” says Itskov in a letter delivered to billionaires listed in Forbes magazine.

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Ray Kurzweil On How We Will Live Forever Beginning In Twenty Years

Don’t get hit by a bus before 2029 arrives. Interviewed via the Sun, is Ray Kurzweil’s optimistic two-decade time frame perhaps influenced by his own advancing age (61)? He says:

I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies’ stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, ageing. Then nano-technology will let us live for ever.

Already, blood cell-sized submarines called nanobots are being tested in animals. These will soon be used to destroy tumours, unblock clots and perform operations without scars. Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively.

These technologies should not seem at all fanciful. Our phones now perform tasks we wouldn’t have dreamed possible 20 years ago. When I was a student in 1965, my university’s only computer cost £7million and was huge. Today your mobile phone is a million times less expensive and a thousand times more powerful.

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Flatworms Could Hold Key To Immortality

flat-worm_2152792bIs this the most advanced creature on Earth? Via the Telegraph:

British researchers believe that the worms, which live in ponds and lakes, could live forever after examining their ability to repeatedly regenerate.

“Our data satisfy one of the predictions about what it would take for an animal to be potentially immortal,” Aziz Aboobaker, who led the research. “The next goals for us are to understand the mechanisms in more detail and to understand more about how you evolve an immortal animal.”

Flatworms, known as planarian worms, have long fascinated scientists because they have an extraordinary ability to regenerate. A planarian worm split lengthways or crossways will regenerate into two separate living worms. The researchers found that flatworms can continuously maintain the length of a crucial part of their DNA, known as telomeres, during regeneration.

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The Science of Immortality

There has always been an interest in remaining young: immortality in myths, the fountain of youth, plastic surgery. People have continued to search for a means of stopping the aging process to prolong life. Immortality may be impossible for humans, but there is a fresh water animal that does not seem to age.

Hydra

Photo: Hydra

Daniel Martinez was one of the first researchers to study hydras, of the phylum Cnidaria, at Pomona College. Martinez focused on the lack of senescence, “a deteriorative process that increases the probability of death of an organism with increasing chronological age.” Hydras undergo morphallaxis, tissue regeneration, which allows the genus to constantly renew its tissue.  Hydras’ tissue regenerates itself, copying the same cellular structure, allowing their cells to remain ageless.

With mortality rates low, caused often by environmental changes like food shortage or displacement, hydras are to be considered biologically immortal.

Click here to review Martinez’s initial case study on mortality in hydras.Read the rest

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