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Peter Thiel Is Interested In Harvesting The Blood Of The Young (gawker.com) 373

Presto Vivace writes: [Gawker reports:] "Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire-turned-Trump delegate who successfully bankrupted Gawker Media, has long been obsessed with anti-aging technologies. He believes people have been conned by 'the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual,' and has funded startups dedicated to extending the human lifespan. According to Jeff Bercovici of Inc. magazine, Thiel is so afraid of dying that he has begun exploring a novel, and fairly unsettling, technique: Harvesting, and injecting himself with, the blood of younger people." Vampire capitalism is real. In an unpublished interview with Bercovici last year, Thiel said: "I'm looking into parabiosis stuff [...] where they [infected] the young blood into older mice and they found that had a massive rejuvenating effect. [...] I think there are a lot of these things that have been strangely under-explored." When asked if he meant parabiosis was "really interesting" as a business opportunity or a personal-health treatment, Thiel suggested the latter: "That would be one where it's more just, do we think the science works? Some of these it's not clear there's actually a great company to start around it. [...]"
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Peter Thiel Is Interested In Harvesting The Blood Of The Young

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  • And when does the cleansing begin?
  • Bathory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rfengr ( 910026 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @08:49PM (#52625279)
    Might as well go full on Elizabeth Bathory.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wikipedia says Elizabeth Bathory [wikipedia.org] did not actually bathe in the blood of virgins, so Peter Thiel may be able to take the lead on this one.

  • Slashdot Smear? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Roger Wilcox ( 776904 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @08:51PM (#52625283)

    Seriously, Slashdot, how low will you go? This is a straight smear and as much as I dislike how Thiel has chosen to wield his power, this paints you pretty desperate.

    • Re:Slashdot Smear? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lgw ( 121541 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @08:56PM (#52625321) Journal

      Seriously, Slashdot, how low will you go? This is a straight smear and as much as I dislike how Thiel has chosen to wield his power, this paints you pretty desperate.

      Quoting a Gawker story on Thiel, no less! I mean, sure, it's interesting that Gawker is going out the way it lived, writing hit-pieces, learning nothing, but really, the content of those hit pieces isn't interesting.

    • Re:Slashdot Smear? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chalnoth ( 1334923 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @09:04PM (#52625347)

      Because it's both hilarious and disturbing?

      That there are a number of rich people into junk science like this isn't too surprising to me, but this is particularly bizarre.

      • Aside from his foray into hedge funds, which went...poorly.... Thiel has a pretty decent track record as a VC; but if he weren't a real person I'd assume that he was a ham-fisted parody of a randroid libertarian written by somebody setting up a strawman.
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        They mistake the ability to make money for the ability to understand how things actually work. Pretty pathetic and sometimes deadly.

      • Re:Slashdot Smear? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 02, 2016 @08:36AM (#52627459)

        Because it's both hilarious and disturbing?

        That there are a number of rich people into junk science like this isn't too surprising to me, but this is particularly bizarre.

        Then clearly you're reading into Gawker's attempt to sensationalize it to make Thiel seem like a creature of the night, and not looking at the article itself which discusses the science.

        There is a study ongoing right now looking into the 2 year effects of transferring blood from a under 25 year old to an over 35 year old and see if there are any positive effects. Blood contains millions upon millions of biomarkers in it, and so instead of grabbing every single one and identifying it's properties (which can be years of research for just one), they're throwing in the whole bag to see what happens to those older folks.

        Here is the site of the study: https://clinicaltrials.gov/show/NCT02803554

        However, this would not result in a treatment involving a "harvesting" of blood from young folk. Instead it would indicate that something in there is useful and that further analysis is needed to find the useful pieces, which can then be made synthetically and taken as a pill.

        But the truth does not portray Thiel in a negative light as Gawker would hope, so the summary and Gawker article are jazzed up to make Thiel seem to be a modern day Elizabeth Bathory.

        • Re:Slashdot Smear? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Immerman ( 2627577 ) on Tuesday August 02, 2016 @10:56AM (#52628431)

          Come now - if they actually managed to show a significant rejuvenating effect for young blood transfusions, do you really think anyone with wealth, power, and a fear of death would wait several decades for researchers to isolate and synthesize the key components, when a simple well-understood blood transfusion procedure would start getting them the benefits tomorrow?

          Wouldn't even need to be anything particularly ghoulish - regularly selling reasonable-sized donations of your kid's blood to the wealthy could be a wonderful way to build up their college fund. People donate blood all the time to save lives, at the right price I'm sure plenty would be willing to sell it to some evil tyrant. (Okay, you don't necessarily have to be evil or powerful to accumulate lots of wealth in today's world, but that's the way to bet...)

    • Re:Slashdot Smear? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @11:15PM (#52625919)
      While it is written as a smear, I don't find it to be a very effective smear. It may be weird, but it's not like Gawker is saying "He SUCKS THE BLOOD OF CHILDREN FOR SEXUAL GRATIFICATION." It's not superstition or witchcraft [nature.com] or obviously morally wrong despite gawker's spin on it.

      "Peter Thiel wants to live longer? OH DEAR GOD, WHAT A MONSTER! He should be content with living as long as God intended, a ripe old 45!"

      I'm a biologist, and I think it's great that someone in silicone valley is funding something which could actually add years and health to my life rather than another app for sharing pictures people making duck faces. So maybe you're just not the right type of nerd, but I find it VERY germane here and interesting, and not a smear.
    • Re:Slashdot Smear? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@worf.nCOUGARet minus cat> on Tuesday August 02, 2016 @01:54AM (#52626359)

      Seriously, Slashdot, how low will you go? This is a straight smear and as much as I dislike how Thiel has chosen to wield his power, this paints you pretty desperate.

      Look at the source. Gawker.

      Read any Gawker web site and they're all be posting the same drivel in an attempt to remain relevant and portray themselves as an "honest web site providing news with integrity".

      I'm serious - after the court case every Gawker site was running news articles that show all the "positive things" that Gawker has done, or heavily slanted versions of such. Likewise, every little piece of dirt, rumors, innuendo they can bring up about the court case, Hulk Hogan, Peter Thiel, they posted, true or not.

      And yes, they completely "forget" the fact that they actively defied a court order to take down the video that started it all - every other site took it down, but Gawker not only kept it up, but admitted to defying it on purpose "for the public interest".

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr@ m a c . com> on Monday August 01, 2016 @08:52PM (#52625291) Journal

    I'm sure Gawker has every intention of taking all the cheap shots they can at Thiel before they get locked out of their offices.

    -jcr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Sounds like bullshit to me. I'm sure Gawker has every intention of taking all the cheap shots they can at Thiel before they get locked out of their offices.

      Possibly. But he wouldn't be the first guy to get obsessed with the fact that they're going to die like the rest of us. A bunch get religious but you also have cryonics, uploading your brain to a computer and so on which is way into sci-fantasy land for the time being. Heck you even have people who think a caveman diet will do it. With all due respect to the scientific progress we are making, all we can cure of disease and injury we haven't even scratched the surface on reversing aging.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @09:37PM (#52625487)

        he wouldn't be the first guy to get obsessed with the fact that they're going to die like the rest of us.

        People getting obsessed with solving a problem is what drives science and technology forward. Would you rather that Peter spent his time playing golf?

        Disclaimer: I have "baby blood", meaning I am CMV negative [wikipedia.org], so instead of receiving blood from the young, I donate to babies. A pint every 8 weeks, totalling to 10 gallons so far, and I have a t-shirt from the Red Cross to prove it.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          People getting obsessed with solving a problem is what drives science and technology forward.

          Can work to some level for the people that actually work on a problem, but even there obsession usually does more damage than it helps. Not a factor when you look to people that have nothing to contribute besides money, as they usually just end up financing con-men.

          Science is not done by people with money and real scientists are not primarily motivated by money.

        • by dargaud ( 518470 )
          I also give blood regularly, but let me be clear: if I learn that my blood would be used to prolong the life of rich oligarchs, I wouldn't give another drop and damn the consequences.
        • by Jesrad ( 716567 )

          How does one go get tested for CMV ? Do I just ask my GP, or directly at the blood bank ?

          • How does one go get tested for CMV ? Do I just ask my GP, or directly at the blood bank ?

            Just check to see if you've been having fun. If you have, it's probably too late

        • Disclaimer: I have "baby blood", meaning I am CMV negative [wikipedia.org], so instead of receiving blood from the young, I donate to babies. A pint every 8 weeks, totalling to 10 gallons so far, and I have a t-shirt from the Red Cross to prove it.

          Why don't you sell it to this guy? Baby blood? He'll fucking love it and probably pay a lot more than some crummy t-shirt!

      • With all due respect to the scientific progress we are making, all we can cure of disease and injury we haven't even scratched the surface on reversing aging.

        It's not at all a matter of reversing aging. Every cell in every organ eventually stops dividing at a fast enough rate to sustain itself. Your skin, which is an organ, tends to be the easiest to observe doing this. However there's no reason why they MUST slow down, they just do because of the way our telomeres work (which may be an evolutionary response to cancer. Plants, which also get cancer, never die from it, which may be why they live much longer than animals.)

        Likewise, if you can cause your cells to c

  • in retrospect... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by steak ( 145650 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @08:52PM (#52625293) Homepage Journal

    "Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire-turned-Trump delegate who successfully bankrupted Gawker Media"

    outing him was probably a tactical error.

    • by plopez ( 54068 )

      When you have nothing more to lose is when you go for it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Gawker Media was all about hate and hypocrisy. They were bound to end up like this eventually. They got their $140 million worth of entertainment out of harming people. What makes me angry is all the people defending Gawker claiming First Amendment or some other crap.
    • In future retrospect, blood transfusions carry various risks, and doing massive numbers of blood transfusions is probably going to kill him faster than old age.

      • by skids ( 119237 )

        Eventually it might be stem-cell-grown blood from the patient themselves, with alterations, and less risky. Same for tissues.
        For those that are still young, blood and tissue may be stored early in life for later use which might obviate the need for DNA manipulation.

        Really I take a dimmer view of his Trumpkinism than his curiosity about investigative anti-senescence therapy research.

      • In future retrospect, blood transfusions carry various risks, and doing massive numbers of blood transfusions is probably going to kill him faster than old age.

        Not if he raises his donors from birth and keeps them in a state of perfect health while judiciously harvesting their young blood.

  • This is straight out of Bug Jack Barron [amazon.com], by Norman Spinrad, published in 1969.

  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @08:56PM (#52625323) Homepage Journal
    ...there will be a lot of money flowing into anti-aging malarky now that the super-rich tech executives are hitting their late 40s. They are getting scared because they know they are going to die just like everyone else, and all their money won't another minute buy.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by veriti ( 903165 )
      Back in 80s only really rich could get cell phones. They started the trend. Now you and I can enjoy it too. Yes, it took some time, but they are cheap and everybody can afford them. The rich lead the way. Same with curing aging. It must be billionaires leading the way. You and I can not afford spending millions on biomedical research. Or can you? I say few dozen years from now, our kids will wonder why we all did not invest in our future and make our 80s and 90s to be healthy living time instead we died s
      • A human body is not a cellphone. It is not a understood technology. In fact we know that cell reproduction in a human body is limited to a certain number of cell divisions before this cannot be done again. Therefore, all these tricks will not work in the end. But this story perfectly suits Thiel as he thinks in himself as a better or the best human and all other are lesser subjects.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        That is bullshit. Cellphones back then were only for technical users, i.e. people that needed it to do their work. Sure, some rich people could get them too, but that was never what drove the development.

    • Yep. They finally figured out they *weren't* going to upload their consciousness to a computer and these kinds of things are their pants shitting.
    • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

      all their money won't another minute buy

      Actually more money can provide a better level of medical care, which does on average provide more minutes.

      • by jpatters ( 883 )

        Yes, but there is an upper bound that can only be approached asymptotically, even with arbitrarily large amounts of money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Rich and powerful people for millennia have tried to extend their lives. Quite a few even convinced themselves and their retinues that they were immortal, all-powerful gods.

      They were all wrong. Thiel will be the latest to learn this lesson.

      The best you can do is to keep yourself healthy, which might add a couple of (hopefully good) years to your life. "Keeping yourself healthy" involves the boring old advice to exercise, eat a balanced diet, keep a partner, and stay interested in the world. Apparently b

      • Rich and powerful people for millennia have tried to extend their lives.

        For millenia they tried to fly, too. And they tried to turn other metals into gold. Both of which we can now do. The fact that some endeavor has a long history of failure doesn't mean it will always be so. In the case of longevity, there's quite a lot of reason to suppose that this time may be different, as our understanding of the deep structure and operation of our bodies leaps forward.

    • In fact rich people have a longer lifespan. However, in the end they die. There is no exception and science will not help them. Not in the next 100 years anyway.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        In fact rich people have a longer lifespan. However, in the end they die. There is no exception and science will not help them. Not in the next 100 years anyway.

        If that is enough time. This is not like putting a new battery into an aging device. We still discover lots and lots of things about biology, medicine and there are vast unknown areas.

    • all their money won't another minute buy.

      I'm not so sure about that.

      We're making very rapid -- increasingly so -- strides in understanding the fundamental mechanisms of our bodies, including how and why aging occurs. It's not in the slightest bit unreasonable to believe that deeper understanding of these processes may result in therapies that do extend life, perhaps considerably. My suspicion is that if there's a limit at all it's our brains and how long they can continue functioning well, since "functioning well" in the case of the brain means

  • Colleg fund (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @09:25PM (#52625425) Homepage Journal
    If you were 18 and could fund college by selling blood, would you? The downside is that if people were allowed to sell blood on the open market, the price of blood bank blood would likely go up significantly. Right now they get it for free. OTOH if you had to be healthy to sell blood, that would be an incentive for kids to eat better, not abuse drugs, and stay VD free. This to me is more akin to pr0n than selling organs. Blood is simply a renewable resource that needs to be regulated.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      If you were 18 and could fund college by selling blood, would you

      Back then I gave it away. Having a price on it seems a bit perverse but I suppose some places do not have their health system up to scratch or don't have people willing to donate and have to pay for it.

    • You are aware that blood getting a price tag means that a lot of people will die because they need that blood but will not get it, right?

      That would probably be the most direct way some selfish rich bastards prolonging their own life at the expense of killing others.

      • Re:Colleg fund (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday August 02, 2016 @08:08AM (#52627323) Homepage Journal

        You are aware that blood getting a price tag means that a lot of people will die because they need that blood but will not get it, right?

        I think that's unlikely, and inconsistent with pretty much everything else we've learned from economics. Competitive markets and unregulated pricing are, in fact, the best way we've ever found to ensure that a commodity is available in abundance. Artificial restrictions are what produce scarcity. In addition, it's hard to see how, of all the emergency medical procedures a dying person needs to save their life, that the price of blood could ever be what causes someone to die. There are fairly few circumstances in which *all* a dying person needs is blood; usually there's also surgery and other vastly more expensive medical work involved.

        My guess is that if blood were bought and sold as a commodity, the price would be pretty low because the potential supply greatly exceeds demand. You might get some reduction in supply from people who don't need the money but donate because they feel it's a good cause, but I think that would be more than offset by the number of young people who do need money who would donate as often as they safely could (there would need to be restrictions on donation frequency; I'm not sure a market would impose those and if not then some artificial regulation would be necessary).

        Alternatively, it's entirely possible that if blood were bought and sold there would be sufficient motivation for the development of an artificial alternative that might be so inexpensive to manufacture that blood donation would be a thing of the past.

        All in all, I really wonder if we're best served by the current restriction on the selling of blood. Restricting transactions in organs that don't grow back makes sense, but a healthy body will make more blood indefinitely.

    • As long as the logistics isn't an issue, it's rather easy to solve this problem -- require a tax of 10-20% of all donated blood to go into blood banks. Now you'll have more blood in blood banks than what you know to do with.

  • by smeg for brains ( 449532 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @09:25PM (#52625429)

    "I tried every tincture and poultice and tonic and patent medicine there is, and all I really needed was the blood of a young boy" - C.M. Burns

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @09:26PM (#52625431)
    about this sort of thing. The slightest crime was punished by death to fill the organ banks. It's gonna get really ugly, really fast if we solve organ rejection before we can make organs. Already some horror stories coming out of China... Dick Cheney's got an artificial heart, and I can't think of anyone less deserving...

    And it's been pretty well proven that blood transfusions from young to old improve quality of life so long as nothing goes wrong with the transfusion.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      The Canadian-German TV series "Lexx" had that as well in the first episode, but in that case the perverted meme was perverted even more when the harvested organs were not used for implants but fed to an organic machine.
      Dick Cheney kind of reminds me of the villain running the ATF in a parallel Earth near the end of the series, played by Malcolm McDowell.
    • by Nethead ( 1563 )

      You're talking about Organlegging. [wikipedia.org]

      Organlegging is the name of a fictional crime in the Known Space universe created by Larry Niven. It is the illicit trade of black market human organs for transplant. The term organlegging is a portmanteau combining the words "organ" and "bootlegging", literally the piracy and smuggling of organs.

      • Organlegging is the name of a fictional crime in the Known Space universe created by Larry Niven.

        It's also a good name for what they do to people who don't pay their taxes in China.

  • by gslj ( 214011 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @09:35PM (#52625475)

    I have to say that I'm against life extension research. My one comfort, when some bad person gets the firmest of grips on a suffering country, is that the bad person will die, and someone else with different views will take over. Imagine Stalin remaining in power till 1978 (he'd be only a hundred) instead of dying in 1953. Or Mao Zedong in power till 2045. Does anyone think the world will be better off? I don't like what President Erdogan's doing to Turkey. I honestly take some comfort in the fact he was born in 1954, and he's unlikely to be on the scene in ten years' time.

    -Gareth

    • You literally can't think of a better solution to dictatorship than condemning everyone you ever know and yourself to eternal oblivion of death?

      Has it ever occurred to you that in a world where most people expect to be around in a few centuries, and for the foreseeable future unless a big war or planetary scale disaster happens, might be a world where wiser, more long sighted decisions generally are made?

      How much of these poor decisions now are due to decaying brains in people who still have voting power?

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        You literally can't think of a better solution to dictatorship than condemning everyone you ever know and yourself to eternal oblivion of death?

        It's actually pretty damned good to have people who think they are God incarnate have someone whisper in their ear to remind them that they too are mortal. Do you have any better ideas?

        Has it ever occurred to you that in a world where most people expect to be around in a few centuries, and for the foreseeable future unless a big war or planetary scale disaster happ

      • You literally can't think of a better solution to dictatorship than condemning everyone you ever know and yourself to eternal oblivion of death?

        Unless you figure out how to rejuvenate brain plasticity of youth periodically or something, which will probably lead to massive changes in personality and mental shifts, no... Not and maintain things like social progress. Thomas Kuhn and other historians of science has shown that sometimes the only way major changes happen is when an older generation can die off... Because older folks just sometimes are incapable of seeing things in a new way with the fluency of someone who grows up in a new paradigm. Ol

    • Admit it. You just want people you don't like to die, and you don't mind millions of bystanders dying too if that's what it takes.

      • Who doesn't? It's fun to sing "Ding Dong the witch is dead" at a funeral.

        Oddly, I'm usually the only one dancing.

      • Admit it. You just want people you don't like to die, and you don't mind millions of bystanders dying too if that's what it takes.

        I'm pretty sure that's almost exactly what he said. And I'm right there with him. What I want most is for everyone to be good to each other. Failing that, I just want assholes to eventually die, and yeah, I'm willing to break all the eggs for that omelet.

  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Monday August 01, 2016 @10:03PM (#52625613) Journal
    Transfusions are inherently risky with possibilities for life threatening immune reactions or infection by pathogens that went undetected. It is unlikely that Thiel or anyone else is seriously considering using Transfusions as a rejuvenation treatment. There is a lot of promise thou in trying to figure out exactly what about young blood gives this rejuvenating effect. It is entirely possible that the rejuvinating effect could be induced with the use of a drug, one that would most certainly be a blockbuster drug for anyone that can develop it
  • I understand fully that is sounds creepy...but is it really that odd?

    We replace dying organs with functioning ones. We use stem cells from healthy adults to cure a variety of ailments in sick people. Is it really that odd that the blood from a healthy, young person may have positive affects on the aged?

    I have not done any research on this technique nor would I endorse it but I am a bit confused why it is being so roundly dismissed.
    • "I understand fully that is sounds creepy...but is it really that odd?"

      To Gawker it is. This is like asking the Rev. Phelps of Westboro Baptist about quantum physics.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      I have not done any research on this technique

      Neither has he which makes is a creepy belief in sympathetic magic (look it up if you don't get how aptly this term describes the situation).
      It's also a bit of a worry that so many people are using the word "research" to describe looking something up that has actually been researched by others but I suppose that's the new common usage.

      There are too many variables in what this guy is doing to consider it in the same room as science or even logic. If he lives lo

  • When I read stuff like this it makes me happy that we all have a use-by date and will be replaced with others with different faults instead of the same old idiots ruling forever.
  • So as Peter Thiel is harvesting the blood of the young, who's in charge of playing the spooky organ music?

  • This far without a Jonathan Swift reference [wikipedia.org]?

  • There is a risk of blood poisoning (septicemia) with each transfusion.

    It's how my mom died.

    It's very hard to cure and it can kill you quickly.

    http://www.transfusion.com.au/... [transfusion.com.au]

    http://www.bloodjournal.org/co... [bloodjournal.org]
    Transfusion-related sepsis: a silent epidemic

  • Most likely the mice from the experiment were inbred. So no trouble mixing blood.

    After transfusion of 10 human donors you are likely going to develop antibodies.

  • In case the story is true Thiel is nuts beyond repair. Someone should be appointed to be his custodian. In case this is rubbish, he is still nuts for all the fascist stuff he recently circulated.

  • Given everything I learned about the man in the past couple of months, I am not surprised that Peter Thiel would go there.

    There are some people who'd deserve to live forever. He is nowhere near that list.

  • What's not to like about this?

    Plenty and if you read this article in Science you'll gain some insight as to what many scientists think about it. http://www.sciencemag.org/news... [sciencemag.org].

  • Remember? He got Bart's blood, and became super energetic. Then he gave the Simpson's a "big ugly head" as a thank you.

  • "Rejoice in thine aids."

    As it couldn't happen to a nicer guy (other than Larry Ellison).

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