Between then and now, this is how we age

Monday, 18 March, 2013

London based photographer Ana Oliveira tracked down photos of people taken, in some cases, up to 60 years apart, for her Identidades II project.

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If I could keep time in a bottle I’d be forever young

Thursday, 8 September, 2011

Aside from being in limited supply, relative to our life spans at least, time is otherwise a far from simple concept to grasp, as some of the discussion at the Setting Time Aright conference, which was held in Norway last week, goes to show.

Aging can be reversed. We all grow old, part of the general trend toward growing disorder. But it’s only the universe as a whole that must increase in entropy, not every individual piece of it. (Otherwise it would be impossible to build a refrigerator.) Reversing the arrow of time for living organisms is a technological challenge, not a physical impossibility. And we’re making progress on a few fronts: stem cells, yeast, and even (with caveats) mice and human muscle tissue. As one biologist told me: “You and I won’t live forever. But as for our grandkids, I’m not placing any bets.”

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Living forever is one thing, but what to do when living forever?

Thursday, 29 July, 2010

While I’m not sure about living forever, the ability to remain fit and active to our final days is another matter, a state of affairs medical science may be able to bring about while trying to figure out to live eternally.

The researchers profiled by Stipp are seeking to master the mechanisms of our decline, so that we can frolic vigorously for eight or nine decades before dying in a brief and efficient fashion. Weiner’s muse is prophet, maverick, and crank Aubrey de Grey of Cambridge University, whose vision is more ambitious. A theoretician in the gerontology field, he challenges bench scientists to come up with the necessary biological fixes so humans can reach something close to immortality.

The main problem with immortality – as I see it – is trying to keep ourselves amused for, like, forever. It occurs to me that slow technology may be part of the solution though.

For instance, due to various technology failures this morning it’s taken two hours to churn out the last two posts here. Software therefore that hinders or throttles our progress, to the extent we end each day having taken two steps forward and one back, will ensure we always have something to do the next day.

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Celebrating your 1000th birthday, now there’s a milestone

Wednesday, 26 May, 2010

Medical technology and know-how that either exists, or is close to fruition, could allow people who are aged 60 today to live through to their 1000th birthday claims Aubrey de Grey, a geneticist at Cambridge University.

I think the first person to live to 1,000 might be 60 already. It is very complicated, because ageing is. There are seven major types of molecular and cellular damage that eventually become bad for us – including cells being lost without replacement and mutations in our chromosomes. Each of these things is potentially fixable by technology that either already exists or is in active development.

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Hold the Ferrari, there’s no such thing as a midlife crisis

Wednesday, 14 April, 2010

A new book, “The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain”, by Barbara Strauch, puts paid to the so-called midlife crisis:

For example, “empty nest syndrome” is based on flimsy research involving a mere 16 subjects, all of whom had married in their teens, had few or no friends and had no interests outside the home. No wonder they were depressed when their kids left.

A change is as good as a holiday then?

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If you could live forever how would you spend the time?

Thursday, 7 January, 2010

Biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey, who thinks we may one day be able to reverse – as opposed to merely slow down – aging, talks about how we might occupy the time afforded us by an extended lifespan while staving off boredom.

We have been progressively shifting to doing things like that multiple times in our lives rather than only once, and that shift will merely continue. And it hasn’t made life desultory so far, so I see no reason why it should do so in the future.

In other words there would be plenty of time to make numerous career changes, marry multiple times, have several families, travel to every corner of the Earth (and solar system if applicable), and write a book or two. All those things that we don’t have time for now.

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Up for retirement: superannuation payments

Wednesday, 1 July, 2009

Retirement, and superannuation payments, seem to rapidly be becoming an outdated concept.

Although the idea that “we are all getting older” is a truism, few governments, employers or individuals have yet come to terms with where longer retirement is heading: the end of the whole concept. Whether we like it or not, we are going back to the pre-Bismarckian world, where work had no formal stopping point. That reversion will not happen overnight, but preparations should start now – to ensure that when the inevitable happens it is a change for the better.

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