Tag Archives | Longevity

Death Should be Optional

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

Max von Sydow and Bengt Ekerot in “The Seventh Seal”

via H+ Magazine:

Now more than ever, the topic of death is marked by no shortage of diverging opinions.

On the one hand, there are serious thinkers — Ray Kurzweil, Hans Moravec, Michio Kaku, Marshall Brain, Aubrey de Grey and others — who foresee that technology may enable humans to defeat death. There are also dissenters who argue that this is exceedingly unlikely. And there are those like Bill Joy who think that such technologies are technologically feasible but morally reprehensible.

As a non-scientist I am not qualified to evaluate scientific claims about what science can and cannot do. What I can say is that plausible scenarios for overcoming death have now appeared. This leads to the following questions: If individuals could choose immortality, should they? Should societies fund and promote research to defeat death?

The question regarding individuals has a straightforward answer: We should respect the right of autonomous individuals to choose for themselves.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

XMED: Craig Venter Estimates 5 Million Complete Human Genomes Sequenced by 2020

venter-xmed

via Singularity Hub:

Researchers finished the first draft of the human genome in the year 2000. Although the decreasing cost of the technology has far outpaced Moore’s Law since then, we have yet to fully leverage all that new information, to make it really useful.

In a wide ranging talk on his work, from transcribing the first complete human genome to building synthetic life forms, genomics pioneer Craig Venter, confessed he was disappointed that genomics has taken as long as it has to scale up.

“We just got to the starting line,” Venter said, speaking at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine conference. “Hopefully it won’t take as long to get through it as it took to get started.”

What’s changed? Earlier this year, genomic sequencing company, Illumina, announced a new sequencing system that can produce 18,000 high quality human genomes per year at $1,000 per genome—a mark dreamed of for over a decade.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Hollywood Must Turn Its Head to Personalized Longevity Science instead of Anti-Aging Pseudoremedies

may2014054894afd

I think Konovalenko hits the nail on the head when she says that celebrities are looking for quick solutions, but she fails to understand that that’s precisely why celebs don’t look to “personalized science” for answers. Our society is predicated on a fast, easy, and cheap mentality – a mentality that seems to be perpetuated by Western celebrity culture.

By Maria Konovalenko via The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

This attention-worthy article in The Hollywood Reporter signals that Hollywood people are ready and willing to do something about their longevity. The article mentions hormone replacement therapy, different check-ups and other things available in California, however completely misses 99% of what actually can be done about aging – science.

Why doesn’t the author talk about the work done at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, USC, UCLA and Stanford University?

People are looking for a ready solution, something that they can do today, and mistakenly dismiss science completely, because they think it is too far away for being applied to them.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What People Who Don’t Age Can Teach Us

File-Oocyte_granulosa_cellsInteresting story, but those who wish for eternal youth should consider the implications for society as a whole. I believe that life-extending technology will not be evenly or fairly distributed; no more than good health care or equal justice under the law is now. I can easily imagine a long-lived moneyed elite whose lifespans stretch well over a century ruling over a short-lived plebeian working class: A vampiric neo-aristocracy.

Perhaps you’ve seen them on Dateline, or Good Morning America. Gabrielle Williams and Brooke Greenberg are girls who don’t seem to age at the same rate as the rest of us. Nine-year-old Williams weighs just 12 pounds and needs care like an infant does. By the time she was 16, Greenberg weighed 16 pounds, was 30 inches tall, still had baby teeth, and didn’t speak. She died last year, at age 20.

Now a new feature in the online magazine Mosaic takes a longer look at the Williams family… and at the scientific hypotheses about Gabby’s condition that have put them in the spotlight.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Transhumanist Spirituality – A New Religion for the Modern Age?

Giulio Prisco

Giulio Prisco

Pascal’s Wager demonstrated a certain rationality to a belief in god. The seventeenth century philosopher, Pascal, argued that if one believes, yet god does not exist, nothing is lost in death. But, if god exists, the reward is eternal happiness.

For the transhumanist thinker, Giulio Prisco, if god doesn’t exist, he believes we will create him. Or her. Or, more accurately, perhaps – them. Prisco’s reasoning results not so much in a wager as an expectation.

Speaking to The Eternities podcast, he said, “Richard Dawkins … the atheist mastermind … writes in The God Delusion [that he] finds it very plausible in the universe that there may be very powerful beings like gods. He thinks these beings are a product of natural evolution like ourselves. That’s exactly what I think myself. I don’t place any artificial limits on the achievements that will be possible to intelligent life in the future.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

123-Year-Old Bolivian Man Says Coca, Quinoa, And Mushrooms Gave Him Long Life

coca

This diet is, of course, illegal in the United States. Via NBC News:

Bolivian indigenous farmer Carmelo Flores, who could be the oldest person to have ever lived, attributes his longevity to quinoa grains, riverside mushrooms and around-the-clock chewing of coca leaves.

Speaking in the 4,000-meter high hamlet where he lives in a straw-roofed hut, Flores says the traditional Andean diet has kept him alive for 123 years. “Potatoes with quinoa are delicious,” said Flores in Aymara, the only language the nearly deaf man speaks.

It is impossible to verify Flores’ age as the poor, landlocked South American country only started issuing official birth certificates in 1940. But he says his baptism certificate lists his birthday as July 16, 1890 and he has national identity documents based on the certificate.

The title of oldest human being ever to have lived belongs to France’s Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 in 1997, according to the Guinness World Records organization.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Do You Want To Live Forever?

That old chestnut “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind, but nevertheless there are those who are convinced that massive leaps in longevity are upon us. Andrew Romano reports for Newsweek on a face-off between two competing experts, Walter Bortz and Aubrey de Grey:

NEWSWEEK: My inspiration for embarking on this story was, strangely enough, a Prudential insurance billboard. “The first person to live to 150,” it reads, “is alive today.” Have you seen it?

Bortz: You can’t miss it.

De Grey: It’s all over.

prudential ad

NW: And what was your reaction to it?

Bortz: I’m sure they varied.

De Grey: Go on, Walter. You first.

Bortz: I didn’t believe it. Maybe a couple thousand years from now it might happen. One of my reference points is the International Supercentenarian Registry. It’s a list of people who are 110 or older. We know there are about 80 supercentenarians out there.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Sequenced Genome Of Sacred Lotus May Yield Anti-Aging Secrets

sacred lotusContemporary science meets ancient wisdom via redOrbit:

A team of international scientists report today that they have sequenced and annotated the genome of the sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera). The research was co-led by Ray Ming, a plant biology professor at University of Illinois’ Institute for Genomic Biology; Jane Shen-Miller, a plant biology professor at UCLA; and Shaohua Li, director of the Wuhan Botanical Garden at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The team have sequenced nearly 90 percent of the plant’s 27,000 genes.

The sacred lotus has the ability to repair genetic defects, and may hold a key to the secrets of aging; the seeds of the lotus can survive up to 1,300 years. The sacred lotus is known from the geologic record as early as 135 million years ago. The plant has been grown in China for at least the last 4,000 years, and has long been used there for food and medicine.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest

Continue Reading