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The First Human to Live for 1,000 Years Is Alive Today, Cambridge Scientist Says

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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.

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Awesome New Infrared Goggles Could Help Blind People ‘See’ Surroundings

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People who are blind or deal with low vision face a unique number of challenges in their daily lives, ranging from accessing published material to holding a job or living on one’s own.

However, emerging infrared technology under research could help the blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them using a pair of innovative goggles.

In new research recently published and yet to be peer-reviewed, Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan at Germany’s Technical University of Munich explored how their 3D camera and haptic feedback armband can assist people with low vision.

“Even in the present era, visually impaired people face a constant challenge of navigation,” the pair wrote. “The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away.”

The two students’ design deploys two infrared cameras placed in a 3D-printed goggles prototype to get a stereoscopic view that is transformed by a small computer into a map of the user’s surroundings. The infrared gear also works in the dark. The armband then uses 25 actuators arranged in a grid that vibrates when users come close to objects while also assisting them in their orientation. As users walk near obstacles, the vibration intensity of the actuators increases.

In tests, subjects enjoyed roughly 98 percent accuracy while getting through obstacle pathways, with all five participants completing the course in their first run. After two additional runs, the volunteers were able to navigate the obstacles more rapidly.

Zahn and Khan frequently cited Microsoft’s Kinect motion detection system for the Xbox in their study, but the pair are confident that their own setup will be far smaller, cheaper and less conspicuous than the gaming device.

The new headset could offer an interesting opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to clear the myriad obstacles they face when performing regular tasks or navigating the world around them.

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NASA Finds “Unusual” Signs of Life on Mars

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New research unveiled on Sunday by NASA could point to the existence of life on the Red Planet, as well as a range of other exciting possibilities.

On Sunday, the space agency generated buzz with a statement about the latest find by its Curiosity rover: rocks that contain organic carbon, which may indicate the existence of ancient bacteria or any other diverse examples of “complex organic molecules formed by life.”

While analyzing rocks and other sediment collected by the rover across the Red Planet, researchers found an ancient carbon cycle that could have a “biological basis” and resembles the types of fossilized remains of microbial life discovered in parts of our own planet that date back some 2.7 billion years.

A tell-tale sign could be found in the two stable isotopes – 12 and 13 – that were found in the Martian carbon.

While the find offers tantalizing hope that life may have existed on Mars, the researchers are holding out hope that they can find other indicators of what caused these carbon signatures.

“On Earth, processes that would produce the carbon signal we’re detecting on Mars are biological,” said Prof. Christopher House at Penn State University, the lead author of the study. “We have to understand whether the same explanation works for Mars, or if there are other explanations, because Mars is very different.”

Indeed, a complex range of different factors may make biological processes radically different on Mars than on Earth. The Red Planet, for example, is far smaller, colder, and has weaker gravity as well as different gases in its atmosphere. Likewise, Martian carbon could be circulating in the absence of any life, unlike here on Earth.

“There’s a huge chunk of the carbon cycle on Earth that involves life, and because of life, there is a chunk of the carbon cycle on Earth we can’t understand, because everywhere we look there is life,” noted Curiosity researcher Andrew Steele from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.

Researchers are looking into the widespread existence of the simple organic molecule methane as a potential telltale sign of microbial life, with the focus of exploration lying near the Gale Crater – a deep lake that is 3.5 billion years old and is said to store complex organic molecules and many of the key ingredients for the existence of ife.

“Defining the carbon cycle on Mars is absolutely key to trying to understand how life could fit into that cycle,” Steele noted. “We have done that really successfully on Earth, but we are just beginning to define that cycle for Mars.”  

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