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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.

Environment

Florida Set to Release a Billion Genetically Modified Mosquitoes in “Nightmare” Experiment

Jake Johnson

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Environmentalists and Florida residents voiced concern and outrage Monday as state government officials and the biotechnology giant Oxitec announced plans to move ahead this week with a pilot project that involves releasing up to a billion genetically engineered mosquitoes in Monroe County over a two-year period.

Presented by local authorities as an effort to control the population of Aedes aegypti—a mosquito species that can carry both the dengue and yellow fever virus—critics warn that the effort’s supposed benefits and its potential negative consequences have not been sufficiently studied.

Responding to news that the first boxes of genetically modified mosquitos are set to be placed in six locations in Monroe County this week, Friends of the Earth noted in a press release that “scientists have raised concerns that GE mosquitoes could create hybrid wild mosquitoes which could worsen the spread of mosquito-borne diseases and could be more resistant to insecticides than the original wild mosquitoes.”

Dana Perls, food and technology program manager at Friends of the Earth, called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—which approved the project last May—to “halt this live experiment immediately.”

“This is a dark moment in history,” said Perls. “The release of genetically engineered mosquitoes puts Floridians, the environment, and endangered species at risk in the midst of a pandemic. This release is about maximizing Oxitec’s profits, not about the pressing need to address mosquito-borne diseases.”

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District and Oxitec said late last week that “less than 12,000 mosquitoes are expected to emerge each week” in Monroe Country over a duration of around three months, the initial phase of the experiment.

The stated goal of the project is for Oxitec’s genetically altered, non-biting male mosquitos to mate with the local biting female population, producing female offspring that die in the larval stage before they can spread disease.

As the Miami Herald explained earlier this year: “A ‘death mechanism’ designed into mosquitoes is meant to ensure no viable female offspring will result from the mating, according to Oxitec. The male offspring will pass on the ‘self-limiting gene’ to half of their offspring, said company spokesman Ross Bethell.”

While Oxitec’s CEO claims “strong public support” from Florida Keys communities, the project has sparked protests and pushback from local residents since the proposal was first floated.

“My family’s bodies, blood, and private property are being used in this trial without human safety studies or my consent,” Mara Daly, a resident and local business owner in Key Largo, Florida, said in a statement Monday.

Barry Wray, executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, added that the “EPA has set the lowest possible bar for approving genetically engineered insects and has opened Pandora’s Box for future experiments that will slide through with little investigation.”

“Everyone should be writing the White House to stop this release until there are regulations and standards that truly protect us,” Wray said.

Republished from CommonDreams.org under Creative Commons

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News

SpaceX Starship Had “Near Collision” With Unknown Flying Object, NASA Confirms

Elias Marat

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On Friday, NASA was able to successfully deliver four astronauts into orbit on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon starship, marking the first time that a manned mission took place using a reused rocket and spacecraft.

While the launch was a historical success, with the four astronauts from the United States, Japan and France reaching the International Space Station without any complications, there was a tense moment when they were warned of a potential collision with an unidentified flying object, or literal “UFO.”

While there was no time to perform an avoidance maneuver to avoid colliding with an object, the crew was informed that they should get into their pressurized suits to mitigate any harm in case of a collision, reports Futurism.

“The NASA/SpaceX team was informed of the possible conjunction by US Space Command,” said NASA spokesperson Kelly Humphries. “The object being tracked is classified as ‘unknown.’

“The possibility of the conjunction came so close to the closest approach time that there wasn’t time to compute and execute a debris avoidance maneuver with confidence, so the SpaceX team elected to have the crew don their pressure suits out of an abundance of caution,” Humphries added.

The space agency was notified by the Pentagon about the potential collision roughly seven hours after the launch of the spacecraft, according to U.S. Space Command spokesman Erin Dick.

“After further analysis, the 18th Space Control Squadron quickly determined there was no conjunction threat, all aboard are safe and the spacecraft was not at risk,” Dick said.

While the “UFO” hasn’t been precisely identified, the most likely explanation was that it was a piece of space junk – or one of a growing number of human-made pieces of junk like chunks of rockets and dead satellites that have been the subject of increasing concern over the years, with the European Space Agency hosting a major conference on space debris just last week.

Humphries notes that the object only came as close as 45 kilometers from the spacecraft, posing “no real danger to the crew or the spacecraft.”

Nevertheless, the small scare illustrates the potential havoc that could be caused by the increasingly litter-strewn low-Earth orbital space.

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Bizarre

Scientists Create First-Ever Embryos With Monkey and Human Cells

Elias Marat

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For the first time, scientists have created embryos in a lab that contain the cells of both humans and monkeys.

Scientists hope that by creating chimeric embryos – embryos containing cells from two distinct species – they might be able to create organs for people who desperately need transplants.

Over 100,000 people in the United States lone are currently on a waiting list for organ transplants crucial to saving their lives, but the supply of donor organs has dropped significantly since the pandemic began unfolding.

Researchers have attempted to inject human stem cells into the embryos of pigs and sheep in recent years in hopes of growing organs for transplants, but this hasn’t yielded positive results. Scientists are hoping that by turning to macaque monkeys, which share a greater genetic similarity to humans, they may have more success.

In a study published Thursday in the journal Cell, researchers in the U.S. and China injected 25  pluripotent stem cells from humans into embryos from macaque monkeys.

After one day, the researchers detected human cells beginning to grow in 132 of the embryos. They embryos ultimately survived for 19 days.

However, bioethicists have raised concerns about the potential for abusing medical regulations that currently govern the treatment of animal and human subjects, as well as the possibility that a rogue scientists might potentially spike living creatures with human cells.

“My first question is: Why?” Kirstin Matthews, a science and technology fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute, told NPR. “I think the public is going to be concerned, and I am as well, that we’re just kind of pushing forward with science without having a proper conversation about what we should or should not do.”

Researchers insist that the study serves purely humanitarian goals that could save countless lives in the future.

“This work is an important step that provides very compelling evidence that someday when we understand fully what the process is we could make them develop into a heart or a kidney or lungs,” said University of Michigan professor Jeffrey Platt, who was not involved in the study.

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