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The Fight To End Aging Gains Legitimacy, Funding 569

Posted by timothy
from the gentleman-scientist dept.
oddwick11 writes "Aubrey de Grey and other leading scientists and thinkers in stem cell research and regenerative medicine will gather in Los Angeles at UCLA for Aging 2008 to explain how their work can combat human aging, and the sociological implications of developing rejuvenation therapies. From an article today in WIRED Magazine 'Now, though, some scientists are beginning to view his approach — looking at aging as a disease and bringing in more disciplines into gerontology — as worthwhile, even if they still look askance at his claims of permanent reversible aging within a lifespan. The Methuselah Foundation now has an annual research funding budget of several million dollars, de Grey says, and it's beginning to show lab results that he thinks will turn scientists' heads.'" The conference is free, though registration is required; L.A. area readers who can attend are encouraged to post their thoughts. Update: 06/27 05:18 GMT by T : Dr. de Grey notes that you can also simply show up and register on-site. Look forward to a Slashdot interview with de Grey in the near future.
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The Fight To End Aging Gains Legitimacy, Funding

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  • No no (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rascargil (1313175) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:02AM (#23962399)
    Aging is not a disease. Imagine contesting with our own offspring if everybody decides to live forever.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:03AM (#23962407) Journal

    The life-extension movement has been asking for this approach for at LEAST a half-century.

    By the way: Watch for the government to try to restrict this research, or use of its results, to "save social security".

    Which shouldn't really be an issue: A good set of treatments for aging would lead to people of larger calendar age not just hanging in there in a sickly state consuming large amounts of medical treatment - but retaining (or being restored to) good health and able to return to work and create the resources needed to support them (and in style).

  • by Trogre (513942) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:09AM (#23962455) Homepage

    ...being a direct result of human overpopulation...

    [citation needed]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:09AM (#23962461)

    Saying you can stop aging soon could be an easy line on old rich men beginning to fear death.

    No difficult questions on progress or specifics; investors that came to you. There's your millions.

    (No, not saying anything at all about whether or not this whole thing is a good or bad idea)

  • by duckInferno (1275100) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:22AM (#23962555) Journal
    Beats dying early due to disease. I'd much rather be given the choice of when to end my own life. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea then kindly stand aside for those who long for this.
  • by Aphoxema (1088507) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:31AM (#23962627) Homepage Journal

    If we could increase the health of everyone, we could help maintain resources and shelter and everything for everyone.

    I've been back and forth across the US quite a bit and I've been to a few other countries, there's a lot of empty space between here and there and the only overpopulation I've seen are in the big cities that people incessantly cling to or migrate to for reasons beyond my understanding, probably because I was raised in a big city and hated it.

    The dirty truth of it is that overall, humans are in comparatively poor health to what they could be if everyone ate right and had the best health care available and actually made use of it.

    When was the last time you washed your hands? When was the last time you washed your hands even though they didn't look like they had anything on them? When was the last time you washed your keyboard?

    Death is not necessary, it's just a cliche everyone falls for eventually.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mazarin5 (309432) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:34AM (#23962655) Journal

    Actually, all silliness aside, that raises an interesting point. If aging is no longer a killer and supposing people aren't automatically neutered, would the fact that human life is devalued make homicide less of a crime?

    I do believe you're begging the question.

    Grammar Nazis, you may bookmark this comment for reference.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aphoxema (1088507) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:36AM (#23962675) Homepage Journal

    I don't see how extending human life would work to devalue it. I don't play a violin for every person that dies in far off countries but I do feel personally hurt when people are dying for no good reason.

    Stupidity will of course rise with the population increase, and that's the real killer, of both other stupid people and the innocent sensible people watching where they're going.

  • by Aphoxema (1088507) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:51AM (#23962795) Homepage Journal

    I like the way you talk.

    If people were in better health, if their bodies needed less to go on because they were getting just what they needed and not the other crap, then those finite resources could go a little further.

    Most people only have about 20 years, between ~20 years old and ~40 years old, where they're at their best to really go out and do their part for society. Growing up there's not a whole lot a person can do and age takes it's toll as early as 25 for some people.

    If people had more time to do the best with themselves, we could have more people working on getting those resources and improving on them.

    I'm getting tired, I hope I'm making sense.

  • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aphoxema (1088507) on Friday June 27, 2008 @12:53AM (#23962809) Homepage Journal

    There's nothing ridiculous about trying to fight off the same thing we fight our whole lives.

  • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:05AM (#23962891)

    "Yes...I DO want to live for ever."

    I wonder if this means at some point politics and religion will have to go obsolete, I can't see immortals who are idealogically charged getting along with each other, will this lead to immortal wars, or will age and maturity see idealogy as nonsense?

  • by corbettw (214229) <corbettwNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:05AM (#23962895) Journal

    Malthus published his famous two centuries ago. If he had been even close to being right, Western civilization would not currently exist. The fact that you and are here, having this discussion, shows that he wrong in nearly all his assumptions.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bnenning (58349) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:06AM (#23962901)

    Can you actually imagine out of touch elderly people who are fit enough to actually implement their old fashioned, crotchety notions?

    That assumes that if aging were cured, "old" people would still be "old fashioned", which is far from clear. Why do the elderly often resist new ideas today? I figure it's either due to physical changes in the brain, or it's a rational decision that the time invested in learning new stuff wouldn't be worth it since they don't expect to be around much longer. Anti-aging treatments would address both those points.

    If aging is no longer a killer and supposing people aren't automatically neutered, would the fact that human life is devalued

    Huh? If anything it becomes more valuable. It would mean that a murderer had deprived his victim of centuries of life or more, instead of decades.

  • Re:No no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lobiusmoop (305328) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:09AM (#23962923) Homepage

    "Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. " - Susan Ertz

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:18AM (#23962997) Homepage Journal

    A lot of science fiction has explored life extension.. of course, a lot of people don't read, and a lot less read science fiction, so I expect that we'll rehash everything as the technology becomes available.

  • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Merusdraconis (730732) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:32AM (#23963067) Homepage

    I'm not sure I'm up for supporting research that would make Rupert Murdoch or Fred Phelps live forever.

    In all seriousness, if humanity lived forever we'd be screwed. We're not built, physically or mentally, to be able to survive more than a hundred years of changes, and we're terribly poor at letting go of things that don't match the facts unless they physically hurt us. Bad ideas would never die. Bigotry would never fade. Bad people would never go away unless they crossed the line and had an 'accident'. How many people who undergo this procedure would end up trying to change the world to reflect the way it was when they were kids, being too unwilling to accept the world changing underfoot?

  • by osu-neko (2604) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:36AM (#23963105)

    If human lifespans are ever extended to a significant degree, there will be significant repercussions as governments attempt to deal with what would inevitably become a very serious overpopulation crisis. ...

    Ignoring everything you wrote past that point, since it seems to proceed from a highly doubtful premise.

    Anyone who's looked seriously at population trends around the world as education and standard of living rises would know that one of the most serious long-term consequences of our present course is the eventual extinction of the human race, simply because as we become education and affluent, our population growth rate trends into the negative.

    Given this, it's far from "inevitable" that an end to aging would cause "a very serious overpopulation crisis". In fact, it may ultimately be what saves our species from extinction due to an apparent lack of desire to actually reproduce. We like having sex, yes, but we're apparently not to keen on reproducing, given the option not to, or at best, doing it in small numbers (numbers so small that we fail to even replace ourselves).

    With any luck, an end to aging will prevent the population from shrinking to nothing, assuming we still reproduce enough to replace deaths by accident or suicide, which is really impossible to say at this point...

  • by IHC Navistar (967161) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:40AM (#23963131)

    Has anybody realized that people need to die?

    Put the "Happy" thoughts aside and realize the DYING AND AGING ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LIFE.

    Sometimes people just NEED to die. Get over it.

  • Re:No no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Virtual_Raider (52165) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:40AM (#23963135) Homepage

    The big question is how it would affect us psychologically: If death was no longer inevitable, would we give life more value? Would men still march to war? Would terrorism become a far more compelling tool? Would we spend eternity cowering inside private fortresses, fearing the slightest risks to our fragile immortality?

    We already do —and don't do— this, in industrialized countries life expectancy is already twice as much as 200 years ago and 20+ years more than 30 years ago [No citation, Google is your friend] and because of this we are already cowering in our living rooms afraid of the dark, of the darks, of the unknown, of the different...

    Terrorism is already a very effective tool. It's used by those on power to scare those outside the elites into submission. We're already sue and lock up parents because they fail to protect their children from stuff that we did when we were kids. There are already booming industries that feed on our fear of getting sick to sell us everything from pills, to methods to simple comforters (such as food, toys, drugs).

    So, while we're not immortal, life is much more valuable now so on the one hand we value it more and are more afraid of losing it to the point of being afraid of living; and on the other humanity continues to kill, maim and destroy as it always has. I would like the opportunity to live longer while in use of my mental capacity and physical might (?) but I don't think it's a great idea just now. I'd personally rather die "young" if that meant that more people on the current undeveloped countries got a better shot at enjoying some of the stuff that I do.

    Redistributing/spreading wealth and health is not as sexy or popular because is harder to care about Petey J. Random dying of malnutrition or dysentery in Africa/Asia/the Sprawl than it is to care about ourselves. Not criticizing, just my opinion.

  • by osu-neko (2604) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:47AM (#23963191)

    I really don't want to live forever. If it were possible, I think eventually everything would become mundane. ...

    I think it's quite entirely possible that if we find a cure for aging, we'll eventually discover people don't really want to live forever. But it would still be better to let people live as long as they want to, and choose the time and manner of their own passing, rather than forcing it upon them against their will.

    If you're right, we'll just eventually see legalized, rational suicide. Probably simple drugs you can get from your doctor when you decide it's time to move on. People being executors of their own wills before they throw a farewell party and take that fatal drink at the end, surrounded by their still living friends to see them off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:52AM (#23963219)

    Then don't think of it as extending life expectancy. Think of it as making people healthy right up until they die at age 90, or whatever.

    Aging is more than just a way to die. It's a way to suffer. I'd fight to end aging if only to help remove that suffering from the world.

    Also, most overpopulation problems are the result of having 3+ kids per couple. A number of studies have shown a direct correlation between quality of life, expected lifespan, and (fewer) number of children per mother.

  • Re:Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rossifer (581396) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:56AM (#23963243) Journal

    Because it's going to be hard. Damned Hard. We have picked the low lying fruit (clean water, decent nutrition, vaccination, appropriate lifestyle)

    Actually, I think we still have a long way to go on nutrition and lifestyle.

    Low fat foods tend to trade carbs for fat, leading to all sorts of chronic dysfunction. People are gradually becoming aware that low-fat dietary advice is likely responsible for the obesity epidemic it correlates with, but it will probably take decades before the authorities finally get around to checking Ancel Keys's work and realizing that he fudged his results.

    On lifestyle, we're playing the Red Queen's game and we're losing. Running faster and faster just to stay in place. In the US, we work longer hours than any other country for a lifestyle that's less satisfying than that found in most other developed countries (only partly because of the poor work/life balance). That stress has a cost on our bodies and only a few will be able to be above the churning competition if biological immortality really occurs.

    IMHO, immortality will be disastrous for humanity. The arrival of immortality will signal the last generation with upward mobility as the wealthy will move quickly to secure themselves a future they can depend on. The only hope is a selfish one: already be one of the wealthy when the rules change.

  • Re:Hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSambassador (1134253) on Friday June 27, 2008 @01:57AM (#23963249)
    Just because we don't age doesn't mean we can't die.

    Bullets will still kill us.
  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:03AM (#23963291) Journal
    I am not a geneticist etc, but I think it's going to be pretty hard, AFAIK the DNA of your cells will accumulate errors/mutations as time goes along.

    So when the doctors are "restoring" you, how do they know what is good and what is bad? Is it patina to be kept or crap to be thrown away?

    I bet by the time you're 50 if something killed all the cells that weren't 100% correct, you'd be dead - because you'd have lost a significant part of your body that though faulty still "kinda works". If they replaced the cells with "original copies", you'd probably have a "civil war" in your body - say if your immune system goes, and they built you a new pristine one from your backup cells 20 years ago, how sure are you that your new immune system won't say "Hey 20% of the cells are abnormal and should be killed"? So you could keep fixing those who are still relatively young, but the already old ones would be a big challenge.

    The way the DNA degradation problem is currently solved is where you have millions of sperm and a good enough sperm cell successfully combines with a good enough egg cell, then they build on that "hopefully good enough DNA" (if it's not good enough, it doesn't get to live long enough to reproduce).

    Bacteria (and other single celled creatures) are fine because they don't have to cooperate as much - they can keep splitting and drift genetically for millions of years, and if 50% die it's not a big deal to the other 50%.
  • I'll take it, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:03AM (#23963299)
    and you can take my fertility with it; no interest in children, thank you. On the other hand, I'll take 20 years (or more!) of my life back, thank you very much! It's grossly unfair that you spend half of your life learning to live it properly, then you start to (potentially) decline so that you can't enjoy it as much. I want to train for the Tour de France!
  • Why?? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TheSambassador (1134253) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:10AM (#23963333)
    Why the hell are people so afraid of death? Because it's unknown? Or because they believe in hell and aren't confident they're not going to end up there? And even in the event that you simply stop existing, would that be so bad? It's not like you'd be around to experience it.

    That said, why could anybody possibly think that this is going to be a good idea? Our population is already skyrocketing with people dying of "natural causes," what do people think is going to happen if they eliminate those deaths? Even if they forced sterilization of the "immortals" you'd still have youth having unplanned pregnancies, and you'd have a constantly increasing population with a much smaller death rate. Plus you have all the people who believe that God decreed that people should "go forth and multiply," and it's doubtful that they're going to stop doing that.

    Likely, this will end up being an extremely expensive procedure that's given to the top elites, giving us even more of a gap between the rich and the poor.

    Can we please start working on making the quality of life good for everyone rather than concentrating on improving it for the minuscule part of the population that already has amazing opportunities?
  • by Bones3D_mac (324952) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:15AM (#23963351)

    Consider for a moment that we do somehow manage to eliminate (or significantly limit) the aging process in humans. Based on trends in our current culture, it's very likely this would lead to sharp declines in child birth for a huge number of personal, social and legal reasons. This poses a serious problem when you start looking at things occurring on the microbiological level.

    First off, this leaves us wide open for a plague-like epidemic the further into the future we go. As child birth declines, our genetic diversity will begin to stagnate. This means the human race could face extinction at the hands of a super-virus or antibiotic-resistant infection. (Not unlike what we're already seeing in certain types of food crops, such as bananas.)

    Next, it's possible that our collective intelligence could also become stagnant. Humans seem to have a strange knack for ignoring and overlooking new concepts that contradict stuff they've been conditioned into believing is true for significant portions of their lives. (Anyone who's ever gotten themselves wrapped up into an "intelligent design vs evolution" debate, or has tried to convince a senior citizen that they're "too old to drive" knows this all too well.)

    Finally, we face the possibility of society and government entering a static state. As the rich and powerful cease to age, the more likely they will retain their positions of power. This means anything about these people that impedes social progress (grudges, stereotypes, general stupidity, etc...) will never go away until something really major forces such a change to occur. (Imagine a world where the current president and his administration would never be replaced until it literally ended up killing everyone...)

  • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symbolset (646467) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:20AM (#23963375) Homepage Journal

    I would recommend you read Methusela's Children [wikipedia.org]. The point there is that immortality for the few will not be accepted by the common man, and it's true. If you find yourself one of the favored few we will have the secret from you even if disassembly is required -- even if it's not a secret but an accident of birth. Who are you to say who is deserving?

  • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arethan (223197) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:30AM (#23963433) Journal

    "Yes...I DO want to live for ever."

    As do I. The 'natural' order of things, the 'circle of life', whatever bullshit label you want to stick on it, is lofty, naive, short-sighted, and obsolete. To those that claim the existence of a higher power, perhaps you're right. But did you ever stop and think that one of the major steps your deity intended for humanity to take was the leap to immortality? Suddenly all of the problems that we've been handing off to other generations, shady business practices and volatile economies, dependence on fossil fuels, deforestation, global warming, destruction of ecosystems, they all suddenly fall right back into our own lap. Having to live with your decisions forever certainly changes your perspective on matters.

    Not to mention the scientific gains to be had if we stopped losing the top researchers. Hell, given enough time, we'd all be a hell of a lot wiser. A few hundred years of slacking off and you'll find yourself ready to start doing something more useful. Learn to play the piano, write some dissertations on quantum physics, learn a new language, get a structural engineering degree, explore the world, finally finish that piece of software you started writing 50 years ago...

    With the right perspective, this world would suck a lot less. As for the religious fanatics that want the opportunity to meet their maker, no one said you would be forced into the program. Go ahead and die. The rest of us will probably be happier without hearing you spouting off in public about how we're all sinners for cheating death.

  • Re:Hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eugene ts wong (231154) on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:34AM (#23963453) Homepage Journal

    That's exactly right. Unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, and smoking could kill us. I'm sure that cancer, and brain problems could too.

  • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @02:39AM (#23963483)

    I disagree here. While anti-aging-solutions for individuals might be already not so far, anti-aging for the masses will take us pretty long, and I think that's good - not everyone deserves immortality, and some may even lead a better life without.

    Heil Hitler, my friend, the Master Race strikes back.

    Seriously, I couldn't disagree more. Saying that somebody does not deserve to live (long, healthy, or just live) is such an 33-45ism. If it's just the money that decides who can afford some medications, this will only lead to some minor ... social problems. But if the question is who deserves to live, this is righteously offending.

    No, thanks.

  • by hidannik (1085061) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:11AM (#23963695) Homepage

    Accidents, murder and disease will kill off those who don't age. Even if we solve aging, there are plenty of other diseases that can get you and other ways to die.

    Hans

  • by Virtual_Raider (52165) on Friday June 27, 2008 @03:15AM (#23963717) Homepage

    Put the "Happy" thoughts aside and realize the DYING AND AGING ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF LIFE.

    Not to rain on your parade but, how many immortal people do you know of to be able to claim that it is an essential part of life? What were the side effects of not ever dying? How did not dying affect their environment?

    It is a part of life because we don't know of anything that has *never* died, so we concluded that everything does. No evidence on why it must be so.

    Boy, today I woke up on the ranting side of the bed :)

  • Births, mutation, and death are all critical to a species survival. If people don't die & get replaced by offspring, the human-species will be endangering its ability to adapt.

    A species which has become static and forgoes any new genetic variation is somehow not going to get wiped out by a pandemic at some point? Yeah right.

    Even with good genetic variation, viruses have managed to kill significant portions of human populations. You're not going to exterminate these viruses, ever. Even if you did, nature would cook up more at some point.

    And I've seen concerns over the idea of overpopulation poo-poo'd by people saying "we'll take-away/limit their ability to reproduce". What happens if for some reason the whole immortality thing stops working? Maybe an oversight, but maybe some anti-immortality jerks genetically engineer a retrovirus that makes everyone mortal again (contagious disease that kills over a period of about 70 years). Without the baby-making option, guess who gets to determine what traits make the species?

    And all the talk here about how the body is just machine, and we can repair it to perfection seem to have forgotten that there are plenty of toxins out there, natural & anthropogenic, which don't leave the body once they get in. This is the entire basis behind biomagnification/bioaccumulation. How would "immortal" people avoid the accumulation of heavy-metals over long periods of time? How many years of trace-amounts of mercury do you think it takes to damage your brain?

    It's also worth noting that the human societies have evolved in a sense as well, and would likely be much slower without replacing people with those able to offer fresh ideas & let go of the old without resistance. I can tell you that ethnic/national/political grudges would probably endure for much longer in the event that everyone can recall the reasons for their conflicts in a very personal way. If you think the middle east is a mess now, just wait until they're all immortal.

    From my humble point of view, the desire for immortality comes off as an amazingly selfish quest which would certainly enhance the risks for the survival of the species. It can be argued that by the act of dying, humans behave as team players and increase the speed of progress (biological & intellectual).

  • Re:Hope (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2008 @04:45AM (#23964229)

    Yes, you're right. We must kill these people. Er - I mean "let them die by natural causes". Billions and billions of them. It's the only way forward.

  • Re:Hope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:17AM (#23964387)

    ...In all seriousness, if humanity lived forever we'd be screwed. We're not built, physically or mentally, to be able to survive more than a hundred years of changes...

    We were not "built" to live till 70 and go senile, but we managed to do that by adaptation. Things change, we change things, and we adapt - none of us are "built" according to particular specs. I fail to see why people insist on dragging in their moral/religious belief onto everything.

  • Re:Hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by L33THa0R69 (610556) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:25AM (#23964425)

    In Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga, rejuvination therapy and worm hole travel are perfected around the same time, without worm hole travel to habitable planets I don't think that the people living forever thing would go very smoothly.

  • Re:Hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sky Cry (872584) on Friday June 27, 2008 @05:42AM (#23964511)

    We're not built, physically or mentally, to be able to survive more than a hundred years of changes, and we're terribly poor at letting go of things that don't match the facts unless they physically hurt us.

    Then we would have to change.

  • After about 18 months in L.A., you begin to understand the more serious problems. The L.A. culture is even more disfunctional than the culture where you lived before. It gets seriously lonely, living in Los Angeles, even though there are people all around you.

    I think that's true of every major city. It certainly is in London.

    Remember all the publicity about sequencing the human genome? A lot of taxpayers paid a lot of money for that. Then, it was revealed, that, so sorry, the epigenome [wired.com] is a lot more complex, very influential, and almost completely unknown.

    To be fair, there's no way they could have known that without all the genetic work that was done. Until the sequencing was done and the number of human genes found to be much much lower than expected, there was no reason to discount the one-gene-per-function paradigm, since it does work pretty well in simpler organisms.

    Every time you play a video game, you are spending time learning about a fantasy world, when you could be learning about the real world. If you study the real world, you can discover that "anti-aging" is a HUGE business, funded largely by people who have more money than scientific knowledge, and hope not to die.

    You're bascially right, but there is a discipline which IMO is worthwhile, and that is trying to promote successful ageing. This means learning what you can do to age with less disability and impairment, and exploring how best to use the new lifespan we're all going to have. Human lifespan is going up by two years every decade with no sign of a natural limit and we need to be trying to make those extra years as worthwhile as possible.

    Yes, I know how to spell disfunctional. I just don't like that spelling, and I made my own.

    And I know how to spell ag(e)ing.

  • (Abandon All)Hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plasmacutter (901737) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:00AM (#23964949)

    Some disturbing issues with this:

    1 - the current generation which is in power will never pass on. they will continue to subsist, cling to their power, impede progress, and, freed from the inevitable struggle against disease, will be able to dedicate more energy toward bringing about a police state.. (MAFIAA, ACTA, "we dont need no stinking new business model, we have a RIGHT to profit how we always have")

    2 - the propensity for "turds to float" will mean legions of GW's maintaining the capacity to have yet more stupid children, contributing to the DEvolution of our species by bombing our genetic pool with yet more "stupid".

    3 - the continued reproduction of all subsequent generations exceeding the already artificially elevated carrying capacity of our planet, causing all manner of maladies associated with extreme overpopulation... Bacteria in a dish will reproduce.. and reproduce.. until they use up all resources, then they ALL die.

  • Re:Hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:05AM (#23964975) Homepage Journal

    There is when it's only an external thing. To use an obvious car analogy, you can sand and paste a rusty chassis every few weeks so that it looks okay, but if the rust is eating away at the inside then it's all just for appearance's sake, and the thing will fall apart eventually. I think that aiming to indefinitely prolong life is a good goal, but things like face lifts and botox are just sad..

  • Re:Hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Friday June 27, 2008 @07:26AM (#23965107)

    You would feel bad purchasing human blood?

  • Re:Hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Afecks (899057) on Friday June 27, 2008 @08:45AM (#23965753)

    Either religious people will shun this technique as ungodly and go into extinction or they will do what they've always done and suddenly receive a revelation that allows them to adapt and survive. It's awfully suspicious how demon possession is so rare these days when just a few thousand years ago even Jesus was battling demons (sent them into a herd of pigs which then drowned themselves, cute religion, crazy as bat shit though).

  • Re:Wow... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dasunt (249686) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:03AM (#23965937)

    The rich can only horde wealth if the amount of wealth in the world is fixed.

    I don't believe that. The amount of potential wealth in the world is probably directly related to energy and raw materials. While some raw materials and energy sources may be becoming more scarce, as a whole, humanity has only begun to tap the potential, even if we limit our field to this one planet. For example, a random bit of earth's crust is about 16% aluminum oxide, 7% iron oxide, and 5% magnesium oxide, with slightly under 1% titanium oxide. Given enough energy, that's a valid source of 4 rather commonly used metals. For energy, in addition to breeder reactors that we currently have, thorium-cycle breeders should work without a large technological leap.

    And who honestly believes that in 1000 years, we'll be using the same energy sources as today? Solar energy becomes a lot more practical in space, for example, and transmitting energy wirelessly is possible. Once we're in space, the raw material issue becomes much less of a non-issue as well, due to the ability to mine other bodies in the solar system.

  • Re:Hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tikkun (992269) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:18AM (#23966113) Homepage
    Honestly. most people barely have it together from 18-35. Once they get past that they are so hopelessly lost that they actively make the world a more dangerous place for the next generation (computers, global warming, bad mass transit, crappy Internet access, wars in countries they can't find on a map without assistance).

    So yes, I have been fighting old people my whole life ;)
  • Re:Hope (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday June 27, 2008 @09:24AM (#23966197) Journal

    Does retirement look far away? I assume it will look further away when retirement age rises to 450, with annual increases.

    Why on earth would I want or need to retire at 65, if I lived to over 500 years? This is a common argument I hear against combating aging, based on the straw man argument that people are demanding hundreds of years of retirement.

    But if I still put away the same money as I do now, I could still have the choice of having a twenty year break every few decades, and given that I'll pay of my mortgage in a fraction of my lifespan, I'll be far better off financially, and be able to have longer retirement periods than we currently do.

    And under your system, 66 years of retirement? Yes please!

    In fact, it's under our current system that the retirement system is going to collapse, because there won't be enough workers to fund all the old people in a few decades' time.

  • Re:Hope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sckeener (137243) <sterling@te[ ]keeners.org ['xas' in gap]> on Friday June 27, 2008 @10:25AM (#23966971)

    The part that scares me is the lack of change.

    I've known several high level managers that stepped down only because they were getting age related health problems.

    Toss in, from your example, mindsets of earlier generations and you could get cultural stagnation in addition to age related caste systems.

    The supreme court in the US would have to change...currently appointing a young judge to the supreme court would mean stabilizing the cultural fluxes for the next couple of generations. Now if they lived near forever, you'd be talking about cultural stagnation...

    Imagine congress without term limits too...as the concept of term limits is new. Would women get the right to vote? Would jim crow laws still exits?

    If living near forever ever comes to pass, I predict revolutions rather than the democratic process are going to shape the future. After all, the elderly vote....

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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