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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: 1) by khallow on Wednesday January 14 2015, @05:37PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 14 2015, @05:37PM (#134800) Journal

    If you consider what we have "socialized medicine"

    I don't consider it a bit you set. US medical insurance and care is definitely more socialized now than it was in 2009.

    What the USA got stuck with is NOT Obamacare, its ROMNEYCARE, damned near down to the last paragraph its a copy of Mittens MA plan and wadda ya know, its a love letter to big insurance and big pharma, surprise surprise. Obamacare had a single payer option and caps on the amount of profits the corps could make on drugs, did we get that? Nope.

    And once again, we need a sudden interest in retconning history when Obamacare turns out to be less than advertised. This baby isn't Romney's, no matter what he did in Massachusetts.

    But it does perfectly illustrate my point on why we MUST have high taxes on the 1%, because what happened with Romneycare happens across the board, classic regulatory capture and lobbying $$$ insuring those at the top simply cannot lose. The most prosperous eras of American history? Taxes on the rich were above 80%, Reagan gutted those laws and now look at us, do you honestly think this country is better off? 40 years of decay, THAT is what the insanely low taxes on the rich have brought us friend, a crumbling infrastructure, broadband even worse than Romania, a country falling apart. Its simple economics friend, the poor and middle class spend, the rich hoard, and as more and more is hoarded there is less and less circulating and it all falls apart.

    Well, only if you ignore the huge economic growth of Reagan's second term and both Clinton terms. That happened despite the complete absence of high taxes on the wealthy.

    Its simple economics friend, the poor and middle class spend, the rich hoard, and as more and more is hoarded there is less and less circulating and it all falls apart.

    You display profound ignorance of economics, "friend". The rich don't become rich by hoarding nor do they stay rich by hoarding. Instead they would lose wealth via the mechanism of inflation. For example, $100 in 1973 was equivalent to over $500 in 2013 (see this calculator [], for example). But instead, the wealthiest portion of the US grew in their fraction of wealth. They invest obtained wealth. Or stole it from the taxpayer. There's that approach to building wealth and one that is becomes easier to accomplish in today's more socialized US.

  • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday January 14 2015, @10:01PM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <reversethis-{moc ... {8691tsaebssab}> on Wednesday January 14 2015, @10:01PM (#134906) Journal

    OMFG somebody who actually believes the "job creators" myth! LOL I haven't seen one of those outside a "prosperity gospel" AKA the church of supply side Jesus [] in years!

    BTW I'm only too happy to back mine up with citations and figures [] because its not exactly a secret. The rich spend a piddling amount of their wealth, their "investments" are also a piddling amount and always in the same things over and over (no point being risky when you are a billionaire, after all 9% gains on 50 million is still nice) and the rest is hoarded in offshore accounts and tax dodges so they don't even have to pay the frankly joke of a tax bill they have now. For examples see Apple paying only 2% taxes on 36 billion profits [] which is frankly better than a good chunk of the fortune 50 which pay nothing at all [] and many of them get money BACK while paying nothing in! I bet YOU don't get that luxury, do you?

    But I can wallpaper this page with facts and figures all day, this isn't exactly a secret, yet when I usually debate somebody on the right what does it usually come down to? Supply Side Jesus, a BELIEF that what they have been sold is true, the whole "job creators" myth, the "workers pay the taxes" myth (which combined isn't a drop in the bucket compared to capital gains) when reality is as Warren Buffet pointed out, he pays less of a percentage in taxes than his secretary. THAT is reality sir and THAT is why this country is turning into just another failed business.

    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 15 2015, @05:42PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 15 2015, @05:42PM (#135178) Journal

      OMFG somebody who actually believes the "job creators" myth!

      You appear even more ignorant now.

      BTW I'm only too happy to back mine up with citations and figures because its not exactly a secret.

      Your citations and figures are deeply in error because the rich never pay the top margin tax rate - not then, not now. Having said that, it is worth noting that both Reagan and Clinton eras probably resulted in a modest increase in the real top marginal tax rate due to the elimination of complex tax loopholes and other simplifications of the tax code.

      and the rest is hoarded in offshore accounts and tax dodges

      Again, you are ignoring the effects of inflation. If I were a billionaire hoarding my billion dollars over the period 1973-2013, it will have dropped in value by just over 80%. Instead, real world wealthy people greatly increased their wealth. They did so by investing the great majority of it rather than "hoarding" it.

      But I can wallpaper this page with facts and figures all day

      Erroneous "facts and figures" are completely irrelevant. Reasoned argument goes a lot further with me.

      Here's the problems with your arguments as I see them. First, you completely miss the dominant economic problem for the US and the rest of the developed world, labor competition from the rest of the world. Because the supply of labor increased dramatically due to the ability to ship goods from anywhere in the world, labor has less pricing power in the developed world than it used to have. Capital on the other hand is an input that hasn't changed all that much. So the end result is that people in the developed world who generate their wealth via labor have a tougher time than if they generate their wealth via capital. This situation obviously favors wealthy people.

      Second, there are natural ways for wealth to move from the wealthy to those who are not. Three in particular are employment, purchase of luxury goods, and charity. While charities currently run relatively unimpeded (though there are the occasional threats to close the "loophole" of tax deductible charity donation), the other two have been massively interfered with. The developed world has tossed all sorts of constraints and costs on top of employing people (and unpopular industries which used to employ a lot of people). It should come as no surprise that this has discouraged employment and the transfer of wealth from the wealthy to the rest of society. Instead this wealth is transferred [] to the rest of the world.

      Why should we punitively tax the wealthy? I think we should rather fix what we broke in our developed world societies. Similarly, we should accept that labor value is going to continue to decline for a few decades rather than stick it to the wealthy for a problem they didn't create and don't have much to do with.