X-Message-Number: 19973
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2002 14:54:11 -0700 (PDT)
From: Randall Burns <>
Subject: Options for success in life extension

Randall Burns wrote:

>>"I personally suspect though that life extension
>>technology will not be allowed unless accompanied by
>>subsantial improvements in technology to expand the
>>range of human habitat(i.e. space migration) and
>>increase of human intelligence."

Scott Badger replied:
>Are you referring to the U.S. government; all
I'm thinking it would be something that would involve
many governments-enought to significantly constrain
how such activities could be pursued.

>Are you suggesting that even though
>substantial increases in lifespan are made possible
>science, it will be outlawed or kept secret? 
Kary Mullis said that the responses to a major
scientific advancement include:
it can't be real.
it is morally suspect.
we invented it.

Human biology is an area of incredible noise. Look at
how many different dietary regimes there are out there
for example.

>Boomers want to live longer and the Boomers have a
>knack for getting their way. 
Well, as a late boomer, I question that assertion. You
might want to look at the work of Prof. Tim Taylor of
the University of Minnesota. There is a pretty
profound difference in the experence of those born
before 1950 and those born after 1955 in terms of
things like the amount of wealth accumulated at
various points in their life(i.e. the folks born
before 1950 typically had substantial real estate
wealth those born after 1955 didn't have). Basically,
older generations historically got a lot more back in
government services than they paid for and those born
between 1955 and 1970 were "cash cows" that paid a lot
more into the system than they can reasonably expect
to get back(this situation appears to be moderating
for folks born after 1970 BTW).

Now, what I think may drive this stuff is the simple
fact that the US government is in such horrible
financial shape these days that it will be necessary
for the Boomers born later in the curve to keep on
working much longer than did their parents-this could
drive a lot of technologies aimed more at prolonging
youthful characteristics--and less emphasis on simply
keeping people alive. 

My sense is that the current technologies that keeps
people alive has outstripped the technology that
minimizing the effects of aging--and that will change
if only for reasons of economics.

>Maybe that sounds naive or pollyannish, but
>how will anyone be able to keep a cure for aging down
>for very long?
My guess it will involve a lot of questionable
technologies that have some effects but don't work
well in the long run. Life extension technologies are
unusual in that their testing takes fairly long
periods of time to really establish how well they

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