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Medicine Science

Why People Don't Live Past 114 916

Posted by timothy
from the mostly-it's-because-of-tax-benefits dept.
kkleiner writes "Average life expectancy has nearly doubled in developed countries over the 20th century. But a puzzling part to the equation has emerged. While humans are in fact living longer lives on average, the oldest age that the oldest people reach seems to be stubbornly and oddly precisely cemented right at 114. What will it take for humans to live beyond this limit?"
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Why People Don't Live Past 114

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  • by zarlino (985890) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:58AM (#39058881) Homepage

    Even if medicine could keep me alive that long, I'd rather just live a normal lifespan and make space for my sons.

  • Obviously... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geogob (569250) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @09:59AM (#39058891)

    ...God plays with the same modus operandi than most corporations built to his image; It simply planned obsolescence.

  • by concealment (2447304) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:07AM (#39059001) Homepage Journal

    No one likes the idea of dying, but I think we might be less traumatized by it if we felt our time on earth meant something. Let's face it, working a McJob, fighting with an unfaithful spouse, buying lots of crap on and cheering for corporate football teams just doesn't make us "feel alive."

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:17AM (#39059101)
    as an aside, euthanasia and predetermined lifespans are recurring themes in sci-fi. Usually it's a story where people are only allowed to live x years and the protagonist rebels reaffirming that people want to live! It's a good story because it's true about humanity. I don't think i've ever seen a story where society has decided not that it will kill you after x years, but instead that after x years, it becomes your duty to humanity to start doing more and more dangerous things for the benefit of the race. Youd do stuff like going to habitable worlds and other grand adventures where you'll likely be killed by alien monsters.
  • Re:Should we? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikael_j (106439) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:23AM (#39059169)

    Should we even live past that age - from a practical perspective?

    I'd rather take population control and live to be a thousand years old. The trick here being, of course, to make sure that when you age you don't spend the first 50 of those years healthy and then spend 950 years old and weak.

    I suspect most others would feel the same way. I'd gladly sign a contract stating that I would not procreate irresponsibly if it meant I could lead an extremely long and healthy life.

  • Re:Genesis 6:3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g0bshiTe (596213) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:24AM (#39059185)
    -1000 pts for mentioning "rational thought" in a place were a flame war can start over using a CLI vs a GUI.
  • Re:Genesis 6:3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:28AM (#39059267) Homepage

    Bible verse by Anonymous Coward modded Informative... Obviously the Jehovah's Witnesses won the Wheel of Mod spin today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:42AM (#39059483)

    Personally, I would happily be immortal.
    To want to die is insanely stupid IMHO.

    As for suffering, I suffer every day. I'd still rather live forever suffering those pains, than die.

    Even the sort of fairy-tale immortal where I cannot die. Even if I were sucked in to a blackhole and left there for millions of years till it evaporated, I'd still rather exist than UNexist. To become infinitely nothing, lesser even, is the most frightening thing in existence.

  • by neyla (2455118) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:49AM (#39059601)

    Yeah. "more like", and the statistical data are tiny, given that the population of people above say 112, is *tiny*.

    It makes sense that the odds of living another year, dwindle with mounting age. A 10-year old in the first world has more than 99.9% chance of turning 11, but the same cannot be said about a 110 year olds chances of living to 111.

    The question is if there's a "knee" in the curve around 114. Maybe, but I don't think we've even got enough data to say for sure.

    That the curve is squarer makes sense; it just means it's (on the average) easier to prevent young people from dying, than it is to prevent old people from dying. It's easier to come up with some treatment that'll make a person who'd otherwise die at 30 live for 4-5 more decades, than it is to do the same for a person who is 80 to begin with.

    That's because there's *many* things it's "normal" to die of at 80, and *few* (relatively speaking) at 30. Thus if you've got (say) HIV and are 30, *only* removing HIV (not that we can), would add decades to your life-expectancy.

    But if you remove HIV from a 80-year-old, you're left with "something else will still probably kill him soon".

    It's nothing magic, and the same for cars. If a single thing is broken in an otherwise new and good car, odds are that fixing that single thing will make the car work for a significant period. Fix the single thing that stops a old-and-worn-down car from working, and odds are *another* problem will show up in short order.

  •     You sir, have managed to master the art of numerology. And what an art it is. It can find anything relates to any number, and those numbers can relate to other things, to positively prove that any two completely unrelated things are equal and tied through destiny, predetermination, or that some deity has made himself known through an image of a dead guy on your grilled cheese sandwich.

        That's also why I stopped eating grilled cheese sandwiches. But they did sell nicely on eBay to religious nuts.

  • Re:Genesis 6:3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdrianKemp (1988748) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @10:53AM (#39059675)

    Sold being the key word.

  • by hitmark (640295) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:07AM (#39059927) Journal

    Indeed. One truly need either a thick skin or a dark sense of humor to keep on going these days. And that is for the western world. Hell if i understand how someone in famine or war zone manage to keep going.

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:13AM (#39060029)

    Me too, it's a great fantasy book if you can overlook the many plot holes.

  • by josh609 (1224272) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:14AM (#39060049)
    God never said he would die the moment he/she ate it(Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3:3). Death was something that didn't exist in the garden of Eden, before the fall of man. Sin and death came after they ate of the fruit in the garden. :)
  • by batquux (323697) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:18AM (#39060125)

    I see. So he might as well have warned them that they would be given a ride in a helicopter if they ate the fruit, for all their understanding of the matter.

  • Re:Genesis 6:3 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:23AM (#39060209) Journal

    Sorry, signed late-1800s birth certificate > ancient texts of obscure origin.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:30AM (#39060345)

    Actually, he traded immortality for the knowledge of good and evil. Essentially for a loss of innocence. Pretty crappy trade if you ask me.

    Also, it is fairly certain that Adam and Eve were banging regularly already. (They were both naked, physically mature, and had all the functional bits as far as we know.)

  • by DC2088 (2343764) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:36AM (#39060453)
    The real question is this: If the fruit of knowledge is how Adam gained the understanding of what is good and what is evil, how on earth was he supposed to know that disobeying the big guy was wrong? And my understanding isn't that he was banished as punishment, but rather, as a pre-emptive strike so that he didn't think too hard about what the "Tree of Life" would mean. Wait a minute - tree of life - the tree that granted immortality? Guess Adam wasn't going to live forever to begin with after all, or else the big guy wouldn't have put that tree there or cared! ... Why the hell did he put either tree in the garden? What was the purpose? To catch someone who doesn't know the difference between right and wrong doing something wrong? What the hell kind of Poseidon-as-a-horse-copulating-with-a-Nereid nonsense is this??
  • by Tastecicles (1153671) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @11:37AM (#39060477)

    No, this is;

    Roy Batty: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die. :)

    Has to be watched again. I'm always just utterly gobsmacked when he lets the dove go, then dies on the roof.

  • by operagost (62405) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @12:19PM (#39061297) Homepage Journal
    These are things that can be figured out in a few minutes of actually reading the bible, but people are more interested in making snarky comments on the internet.
  • Re:Genesis 6:3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peristaltic (650487) * on Thursday February 16, 2012 @12:33PM (#39061543)
    Don't dump it all on religion- while religion is and has been a very popular excuse used for legitimizing brutality and stupidity, I would say that if Mankind didn't have religion as an excuse for brainwashing, fighting wars and brutalizing itself, it would have (and has) found something else... Nationalism, wealth (someone else's), race, you name it. Parts of humanity have always rationalized some justification for shitting on other parts of humanity. Religion just happens to be one of the more convenient vehicles.
  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @12:42PM (#39061689)

    Umm.. No. you've got that all pretty much wrong.

    1. It was the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil", not the "Tree of Life."

    2. He knew it was wrong because God told him so. To Paraphrase: "You can eat anything that grows here in the garden except the fruit from that tree over there. If you eat that fruit you'll die, so don't eat it." Not a good/evil thing so much as a "Hey that's bad stuff, if you're smart you'll obey my instructions and not eat it" kind of thing.

    3. Adam and Eve were kicked out AFTER they ate from the tree and were corrupted by sin. It was as punishment for disobeying his instructions. Also, they then started to age and die.

    4. He put the tree there as a basic test of obedience. He wanted to be obeyed, but he also wanted people to have the free choice to do it. Not that making the wrong choice would be without consequences, but the choice had to be there or it wasn't ever REALLY a free will. (If you have only one choice, is it really free will to choose it?)

    Adam and Eve chose to go their own way, as have most of humanity since that day. Thus we have sin, the fallen state of man, and the need for redemption through Christ. Of course, it is all still free will. You don't HAVE to believe in and obey God, but that doesn't mean there won't be consequences for choosing not to. Every choice has consequences. What sense would it make if they didn't?

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @01:38PM (#39062449)

    2/3 / 1/2 = 4/3 = 1/3 increase.

    I think we can safely attribute the 33% increase in the chance of dying this year to:

    1) The fact that the sample size is so low. Not very many 114 year olds to run data on, and many of them aren't actually 114. A lot of people that old don't have a reliable record of their birth.

    2) The fact that they're 114 fucking years old.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2012 @03:21PM (#39064155)

    Remember how horrible non-existance was before you were born? No? Then let go of that fear. You fear, literally, nothing.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.