Daniel Lemire's blog

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My most popular posts in 2015 (part II)

3 thoughts on “My most popular posts in 2015 (part II)”

  1. Houston says:

    Interesting article on aging. Seems that the anti-aging community has been making a lot of progress over the past few years. Hopefully we have technology that can be applied to reverse / fix the damage of the aging process soon…so that our older loved ones will benefit in time. What no one really focuses on is the economic impact of NOT pursuing anti-aging technologies. As the demographics of most developed countries become older, there are not enough working / young people to sustain healthcare for the elderly. The only way to fix this problem is to allow people to live longer and consequently work longer too. Doesn’t make sense to spend 1/3 of one’s life working and the other 2/3 only consuming. I think most people would be glad to work an additional 5 or 10 years if they can have an extra 5 or 10 years of retirement and in better health. I never liked the idea of retirement anyway. I always saw retirement as preparing to die. I’d rather take a 10 year sabbatical, rest, maybe go back to school and do something else.

  2. I have been thinking about you aging blog, and your “best of” post bought it back to mind, and some clarity emerged.

    Nature is generally very efficient. Darwinism works well, and I suspect that even aging has value to the human race. The question (to my mind) is why – not whether aging has value. Of course I am only hypothesising.

    It is well know that people become more conservative as they age, and more risk averse. The old saw “how do you turn a liberal into a conservative – wait 40 years” generally holds true. It is also generally accepted that we learn faster at an early age. I suspect that some of this may be chemical and developmental (plasticity of the brain), but some of this may be “accumulated wisdom” – we become “wise” so we create psychological barriers to new information, which may appear to conflict with the already known.

    If we cause extreme longevity, it could be that the bulk of humanity becomes increasingly resistant to change, and innovation slows to a snails’ pace. Anyhow – just a theory – no easy way to test it.

    1. Aging is hardly limited to human beings. It is preserved (down to the genes) from worms to mammals.

      Josh Mitteldorf thinks that aging is preserved by evolution because it makes extinction events less likely. Think about what would happen if human beings cured aging tomorrow? There would be fewer deaths, more people… this could increase the risk of wars and, thus, of extinction events.