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posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday January 13 2015, @04:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the ought-to-be-enough-for-anybody dept.

The Guardian has an interesting article on the current quest sweeping Silicon Valley to disrupt death and the $1m prize challenging scientists to “hack the code of life” and push human lifespan past its apparent maximum of about 120 years. Hedge Fund Manager Joon Yun's Palo Alto Longevity Prize, which 15 scientific teams have so far entered, will be awarded in the first instance for restoring vitality and extending lifespan in mice by 50%:

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”. Though much mystery surrounds the new biotech company, it seems to be looking in part to develop age-defying drugs. 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. “Calico has the money to do almost anything it wants,” says Tom Johnson, an earlier pioneer of the field now at the University of Colorado who was the first to find a genetic effect on longevity in a worm.

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” ageing? “Coupled to this is the idea that if you have made your billions in an industrial sector that is based on precise careful control of 0s and 1s, why not imagine you could extend this to the control of atoms and molecules?,” he says.

 
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  • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Tuesday January 13 2015, @05:54PM

    by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday January 13 2015, @05:54PM (#134464) Journal

    I challenge you to structure that as a rigorously testable hypothesis.

    And to reconsider your beliefs if such works are not published according to your predictions.

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  • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Tuesday January 13 2015, @06:41PM

    by jmorris (4844) on Tuesday January 13 2015, @06:41PM (#134479)

    I made a specific prediction. When results begin to actually appear that extend life, if they are so expensive that only the rich can afford them (and that is likely since most new tech works that way and works its way down to the masses through economies of scale) then there will be laws passed to regulate/ban it or there won't.

    Much like the AGW crowd published specific predictions twenty years ago and none of them came to pass. But that discussion is better had a couple of articles down.

    • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Tuesday January 13 2015, @07:19PM

      by ikanreed (3164) on Tuesday January 13 2015, @07:19PM (#134493) Journal

      Oh, so much bullshit [skepticalscience.com].

      • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Tuesday January 13 2015, @11:09PM

        by jmorris (4844) on Tuesday January 13 2015, @11:09PM (#134569)

        Ok, help a poor neoreactionary out here. I'm saying the predictions from the Warmists twenty years ago were uniformly wrong. You claim, as I predict, that all results confirm AGW, the experts were perfectly right and there is nothing to see here. Now look at the current article here on Soylent "Volcanoes Are (Mildly) Damping Effects of Global Warming" wherein it is admitted that warming has been in a 'pause' for fifteen years, thus confirming my assertion that earlier predictions were WRONG. Wrong is a dirty word nowadays, but screw that. Predictions outside the error bars is WRONG in science. Can you explain this?

        Isn't it clear that AGW is non-falsifiable, a faith based belief system? No matter what happens it is always taken as confirmation. Kinda like whatever happens was 'God's Will', even when cute puppies die horribly. Same with Warmists. It's hot? AGW. Colder? Climate Change. Wetter, dryer, more hurricanes, fewer hurricanes, more tornadoes or fewer, drought, flood, more sea ice as well as less, all AGW and all solvable by the same prescription: give more control of the economy to global elites and transfer more wealth from successful economies to failed ones.

        • (Score: 2) by ikanreed on Wednesday January 14 2015, @02:33PM

          by ikanreed (3164) on Wednesday January 14 2015, @02:33PM (#134743) Journal

          No, "non falsible faithbased" is pretty far separated from "natural experiment demonstrated, theoretical model supported".

          You know: there's no contributing compontent to global warming as a theory that hasn't been validated in a lab numerous times. It's a bit like saying "you only have faith that stars are objects similar to the sun."

          Just because there's only one sky, and we've only been observing it directly, not through controlled experiments, doesn't mean we don't have so much fucking evidence that it's true. Just because there's only one earth and we mostly observe evolution only through natural experiment and extant evidence also doesn't render it "faith based".

          The mass of the moon, theoretically modeled, observationally validated: no experiments.
          Plate techtonics: theoretically modeled, validated through natural experiment: just like global warming.

          At some point, you're going to have to accept that what you are is a science denier, with a tragically narrow view of science. If that's more comfortable to you than changing your mind: go ahead. Can't stop you. But you really should reconsider exactly how far you're willing to chase this untrue ideal of science you've created. And this bizarre and unsettling view of "faith".