Further reading: here, here, and here"
"Billionaires and companies are bullish about what they can achieve. In September 2013 Google announced the creation of Calico, short for the California Life Company. Its mission is to reverse engineer the biology that controls lifespan and "devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives." ... In April 2014 it recruited Cynthia Kenyon, a scientist acclaimed for work that included genetically engineering roundworms to live up to six times longer than normal, and who has spoken of dreaming of applying her discoveries to people.
Why might tech zillionaires choose to fund life extension research? Three reasons reckons Patrick McCray, a historian of modern technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. First, if you had that much money wouldn't you want to live longer to enjoy it? Then there is money to be made in them there hills. But last, and what he thinks is the heart of the matter, is ideology. If your business and social world is oriented around the premise of "disruptive technologies", what could be more disruptive than slowing down or "defeating" aging?
That’s why Small’s memory study used a highly concentrated powder prepared exclusively for research by Mars Inc., the chocolate company, which also partially funded the study. ... There are lots of foods that contain potentially healthy flavanols, along with other bioactive compounds in complex combinations. So the question is: Would academic scientists in publicly funded institutions be so interested in the cocoa bean if the chocolate industry wasn't supporting so much of the research?"
- Edward Snowden, for the impact his leaks (though they began in 2013) have continued to make? (Or William Binney, for similar reasons?)
- Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzay, who fought a difficult battle for children's right to an education?
- Telescope popularizer John Dobson, who died earlier this year at the age of 98, after bringing space a little more down to earth for many thousands of people?
- May-Britt Moser, her husband Edvard Moser, and John O'Keefe for their discoveries about how the brain navigates through the world?
- Eben Upton, whose little educational hardware project has bloomed into millions and millions of cheap, hackable Linux computers?
- How about Maryam Mirazkhani, the first woman to become a Fields medalist?
- Theo de Raadt, who stepped in with replacement project LibreSSL soon after cracks appeared in OpenSSL, and who's been helming the OpenBSD project since 1995?
- The ESA team that landed a probe on a comet, or the ISRO engineers who managed to send a probe to Mars on a shoestring budget?
- Anita Sarkeesian, for helping draw attention to undue harassment faced by women in the video game world?
- Someone relatively quiet or obscure who's nonetheless made the world better through some kind of interesting innovation or contribution?
Read on below to see how you can take part, and then nominate your favorite in the comments below.