Would you like to live forever?
I’m not sure if I want to, but at the same time, I’m not one of those people who think humans are better off dying at the average age of 70. There are too many books in my home that I need to read and too many places to go! What if I told you that science may have found a way to extend human life expectancy?
Aubrey de Grey, Cambridge University geneticist, believes that anyone under the age of 40 has the potential to live for a thousand years – that is, of course, if they don’t commit suicide or have an accident. This theory only applies to those who would otherwise die of natural causes. Aging is seen as a disease!
De Grey says,
“I think we’re in striking distance of keeping people so healthy, that at 90 they’ll carry on waking up in the same physical state as they were at the age of 30.”
And, of course, de Grey would encounter opposition in his ambitious claims. Sherwin Nuland, former Yale School of Medicine, surgeon, doesn’t think it’s possible for humans to live this long.
Nuland says in reference to de Grey,
“His plan will not succeed. Were it to do so, it would undermine what it means to be human.”
Despite doubts, de Grey is not alone in his beliefs.
There are many people who desire for immortality, including numerous geneticists, nanotech experts, doctors and scientists. It is theoretically possible to slow down or even stop the aging process, according to scientists, and a goal we can hope to attain in order to benefit those who are alive today.
Immortality, it seems, is important to many people. Even the U.S. Government donates millions to the National Institute of Aging, part of the National Institute of Health. Funds go toward “the biology of aging”, not including cancer treatments or cardiac research.
Robert Freitas of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing said,
“There are many different components of aging and we are chipping away at all of them.”
And Freitas believes we are close to the answer, the definite strategy for immortality. In fact, in two to four decades, the disease called “aging”, may be cured! Isn’t that wonderful?
In a way, yes. But there’s something you may be forgetting… overpopulation.
Nuland made a realization when dispelling immortality. I think even he knows it’s possible, just not feasible. While scientists are racing for the definite answer, I hope they are considering the obvious issue of overpopulation. After all, in some cities, there is no more room left, literally.
On the other hand, those who advocate for immortality and the science baking it, think a solution for overpopulation will come easy – say colonization of the moon, for instance.
And the government, as it always does, flips and flops on the issues, in that, while funding the research, some politicians fight to eliminate this same research. During Bush’s presidency, stem cell research was a sensitive topic, and funding was restricted in this area. Most believe this is another move to stop the search for the fountain of youth.
So, why do we want to live forever?
There are so many reasons why we might want to live forever, or even just another thousand years. As I said, there are so many things to explore and lessons to learn, not to mention the overall horror of death. Each and every one of us, if left alone with our thoughts, thinks about our end. No one truly wants to die, in the basic sense of the word. No one want to feel pain and finality. I just don’t believe there is ultimate peace in that.
Chinese Military Satellite Smashed by Russian Rocket in “Major Confirmed Orbital Collision”
In an incident that is likely illustrative of things to come, Chinese military satellite 1-02 was smashed after it appears to have collided into the debris from a disintegrating Russian rocket.
The collision, which occurred earlier this year, shows the increasing danger of space junk such as satellite parts and other miscellaneous jetsam littering the Earth’s orbit. An estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris pose the risk of destroying functional equipment such as weather forecasting systems, telecoms and GPS systems – and even manned space travel missions – if the problem isn’t reined in.
The fate of the Chinese satellite was uncovered by Harvard astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.
The breakup of Yunhai 1-02 was initially reported by the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS). However, it wasn’t until recently that McDowell found out what caused the breakup.
The astrophysicist soon found that it was destroyed by space junk that originated from a Russian Zenit-2 rocket that had launched a spy satellite in 1996. On Aug. 14, McDowell found a strange entry in a database on Space-Track.org: “Collided with satellite.”
“This is a new kind of comment entry — haven’t seen such a comment for any other satellites before,” McDowell tweeted.
“A quick analysis of the TLEs show that Yunhai 1-02 (44547) and [the debris object] passed within 1 km of each other (so within the uncertainty of the TLEs) at 0741 UTC Mar 18, exactly when 18SPCS reports Yunhai broke up,” he added, noting that this “looks to be the first major confirmed orbital collision in a decade.”
However, the Yunhai satellite still remains functional and is transmitting radio signals, notes Space.com.
The incident shows the growing likelihood of such collisions in the high-traffic, littered near-Earth orbital zone.
“Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit,” McDowell explained. “That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you’re going to get 100 times as many collisions.”
He added: “So, as the traffic density goes up, collisions are going to go from being a minor constituent of the space junk problem to being the major constituent. That’s just math.”
A worst-case scenario of such collisions is known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” and describes the possibility of one collision setting in motion a chain of collisions. Such a disaster was the premise of the 2013 film “Gravity.”
One hopes that things don’t reach that point.
In the meantime, however, there have been a number of initiatives meant to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as the ELSA-d spacecraft launched in a demonstration mission earlier this year.
Boston Dynamics Drops New Video Of 5-Foot Atlas Humanoid Robot Effortlessly Doing Parkour
Robot maker Boston Dynamics has released new video of its two-legged Atlas robot effortlessly completing a parkour obstacle course, offering a new display of its humanoid machines’ unsettling repertoire.
In the video, a pair of Atlas robots can be seen leaping over large gaps, vaulting beams, and even performing backflips. The robot can even be seen jumping over a board while using its arm to remain steady.
While the display seems like anything but “free” running – as the original developers of parkour had envisioned – the routine does seem like an impressive, if terrifying, display of effective coding that took months to perfect, according to the Hyundai-owned robotics firm.
“It’s not the robot just magically deciding to do parkour, it’s kind of a choreographed routine, much like a skateboard video or a parkour video,” said Atlas control lead Benjamin Stephens.
See for yourself:
Unlike its robotic dog Spot, which controversially hit New York City streets last year before being pulled, Atlas isn’t a production robot. Instead, it’s a research model meant to see how far the limits of robotics can be pushed.
In the past, Boston Dynamics has displayed the robot’s feats with videos of Atlas jogging and even busting out some cool dance moves.
Team lead Scott Kuindersma said in a statement that in about two decades, we can expect to coexist with robots that move “with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives.”
Until then, some of us will continue to reserve our right to feel a bit queasy about the prospect of people being chased down by these skilled free-running (and dancing) machines.
South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash
What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?
It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.
The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.
The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.
“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”
The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.
Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.
Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.