Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Paypal Co-Founder Backs Anti-Aging Research Prize 260

Baldrson writes, "Anti-aging researchers, via The Methuselah Mouse Prize or M-Prize, are receiving an additional $3 million incentive to stop and reverse aging. Researchers win M-Prize money in increments by breaking longevity records for mice or reversing their aging. The philanthropic donation comes from Peter Thiel, co-founder and former CEO of PayPal. Mr. Thiel has pledged to match each dollar donated to the M-Prize with his own 50 cent contributions up to $3 million." The M-Prize was created by Aubrey de Grey, a controversial biomedical gerontologist in Cambridge, England.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Paypal Co-Founder Backs Anti-Aging Research Prize

Comments Filter:
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:09AM (#16144624) Homepage Journal

    Pay the money to people with a family history of long lifespans if they breed with other qualifiers. Even if this prize leads to mice with long lifespans it may not deliver usable insights into human ageing

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Er, I'd guess it'd take a long time before such an experiment had any noticeable effect, even if the ideal subjects were willing to participate in it. Heinlein was a science fiction writer.
    • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:51AM (#16144715)
      How is this a better idea? It doesn't help me.

       
  • Hmmmm.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:12AM (#16144630)
    How much did the guy inventing the serial to USB converter get for expanding a mouse's lifespan?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhudson ( 43916 )

      "How much did the guy inventing the serial to USB converter get for expanding a mouse's lifespan?"

      ... he used his prize money to buy a wireless mouse with a drastically shortened lifespan.

  • You get to the age of 300, while still looking 21, and then someone initiates a chargeback.
    Instant death.
  • by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:17AM (#16144642) Homepage
    I am definitely buying one of those immortal mice to my daughter. That should teach her a valuable lesson about life.
  • Oh dear. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Funkcikle ( 630170 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:20AM (#16144648)
    "Mr. Thiel has pledged to match each dollar donated to the M-Prize with his own 50 cent contributions up to $3 million."
    No mention of the 3.75% service charge payable by the recipient of the prize, though.
  • Dawkins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arun_s ( 877518 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:30AM (#16144667) Homepage Journal
    I recollect reading in atleast 1 book of Richard Dawkins (not sure which), that ageing was evolutionarily inevitable.
    The reason being that parasitic genes in a host that usually end up killing or harming it will quickly be removed from the gene pool. So such genes are not evolutionarily successful.
    On the other hand, if their effect was triggered only after a certain number of years (when an animal has already performed its main purpose of reproduction), there is no drive for it to be removed from the gene pool. An animal with the parasite would be as successful in spreading its genes as one without it. So over the years, the early-acting bad stuff has been wiped out bit by bit by natural selection, while the latent ones have been accumulating all along.
    I'm sure someone with more knowledge in this will chip in.
    • Re:Dawkins (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak ( 773371 ) <obsessivemathsfr ... t minus math_god> on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:07AM (#16144752) Homepage Journal
      It's not even the case that one need consider an aging gene as a parasitic gene. Evolution does not work on individuals but rather on populations, and for the population, it is better to have individuals eventually die off to make room for the next generation of random mutations, to try and get a better fit this time around. The population is constantly optimising. The individual is simply static throughout its lifespan.
      • Evolution does not work on individuals but rather on populations, and for the population, it is better to have individuals eventually die off to make room for the next generation of random mutations

        Exactly. People tend to think too much in terms of the "survival of the fittest" individuals, but evolution depends on successful mutations achieving sufficient penetrance in the population to eventually (or even quickly) become dominant. There are also important "meta-genetic" traits (like the rate of mutation)
        • Old age and death may be good for the species, but it's not good for me. So while I don't expect evolution to provide immortality, that doesn't mean it can't be done, or even that it's terribly bad. It just doesn't provide for a means of improving the gene pool.
      • Evolution does not work on individuals but rather on populations, and for the population, it is better to have individuals eventually die off to make room for the next generation of random mutations

        Your comment seems to be a striking example of an all too common fallacy, namely the fallacy that evolution somehow "cares" about the general well-being of the population. This idea has been eradicated long ago, and "group selection" only survives in very limited circumstances. The reason is quite simple: explana
    • Re:Dawkins (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:09AM (#16144759) Homepage Journal
      I recollect reading in atleast 1 book of Richard Dawkins (not sure which), that ageing was evolutionarily inevitable.

      If evolution had meant us to fly it would have given us wings. It didn't, yet we do fly.

      Its called engineering and its as much a result of our evolution as anything else. We already live 2 or 3 times longer than we did "in the wild" because of our engineered environment. I don't see why we couldn't go further.

    • Re:Dawkins (Score:4, Funny)

      by kfg ( 145172 ) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:18AM (#16144782)
      An animal with the parasite would be as successful in spreading its genes as one without it.

      Who is the parasite, "me" or "my" mithochondria. It's not an easy question to answer.

      The question of whether or not I am a parasite is easier to answer. Yes, yes I am. A girl has to make a living somehow.

      KFG
      • A g....g.....g...irl?

        Sorry, couldn't resist.
        Just be glad I didn't start off a rant about girls and parasites. ;)
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by kfg ( 145172 ) *
          A g....g.....g...irl?

          It's just a figure of speach. My figure is male.

          However, when I say I am a parasite I mean that in the classical sense. I am, essentially, a male geshia, although spelling it "raconteur" carries more social standing. People invite me to their social functions (and sometimes even pay me for it) simply to have me at their social functions; as an assurance of having a certain amount of society guarunteed.

          I provide value by simply being around, so people are inclined to gather my food for m
    • You (or dawkins) forget that proximity of one gene to another gene has a huge effect. If a gene X is beneficial, then lots of genetic material around that gene are carried along with it (see the term 'selective sweep'). So, if you have a gene that causes some level of problems (but not outweighed by the 'good' gene - and I have no idea how this works - we mostly have the same genes, but there are mutations in the genes that change the proteins that are produced, or the levels of expression of the gene, or
    • I may be misremembering, but aren't there some species that simply don't seem to go into biological senescence? Like, certain species of turtles tend to live indefinitely, being taken out by injury or sickness, but they don't seem to degrade simply due to aging.

      I would think it isn't so much that aging is inevitable, just that, as long as something can live long and healthily enough to breed, there's no advantage to it. The only disadvantage to living forever and continuing to breed that I can think of woul
    • That argument doesn't work: the cost and risk of having an old organism reproduce once more is less than the cost of having offspring do it. All things being equal, it's evolutionarily better not to age.

      The real reason is likely that non-age related factors used to set an upper bound on lifespans: if almost everybody gets killed before age 40, there isn't much point for human bodies to evolve to last much longer than that. The fact that we live to age 80 or 90 is a testament to how well we have evolved to
  • Culture of Death (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CatWrangler ( 622292 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:37AM (#16144685) Journal
    Even with our "short" life spans now, people commit suicide, engage in risky sexual practices, talk on the cell phones while driving, eat fettucine alfredo, etc, etc. What indication is there for a great public need for extended lifetimes? All this will mean is more work. Retirement at 85 until you can get SS benefits? No thank you. Lifespan is pretty ok right now. We need better quality, not quantity of life.
    • Re:Culture of Death (Score:4, Interesting)

      by skurk ( 78980 ) * on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @05:51AM (#16144714) Homepage Journal
      I agree. I don't want to live an unnaturally long life, but I _would_ like to see the future...

      So the day it's possible to cryogenically freeze people, I'm in.

      Imagine being frozen for 50 years, then brought back so you could see the world for 1 year, then frozen for another 50, and so on until your natural death. You could witness the world thousands of years from now.

      THAT would be great.
      • Organ Doaner (Score:4, Interesting)

        by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @07:00AM (#16144928) Homepage Journal
        And of course, you will pay for the costs of freezing yourself, and maintaining the equipment, how, exactly?

        More than likely, it will be much like a couple of SF stories by different authors - the section of Larry Niven's "The Long A.R.M. of Gil Hamilton" wherein a law allowing corpsicles to be thawed and broken up for parts is being considered.

        However, I like a short story I read many years ago - a man has himself frozen, and is awakened. He wakes to find another, older man next to his bed. They strike up a conversation about what has changed - the young man asks about the older man's earrings, which he is informed are antenna. He is then told he is being prepped for heart surgery. "But I don't have a bad heart" the young man says. "No, but I do" says the older man.
        • While we're back on SF, let's not forget Heinlein's The Door Into Summer, published in 1956/1957, about a guy who is frozen from 1970 through 2000. Twice. :-) It's one of Heinlein's best, IMNSHO.
      • Imagine being frozen for 50 years, then brought back so you could see the world for 1 year, then frozen for another 50, and so on until your natural death. You could witness the world thousands of years from now.

        THAT would be great.


        It would be great if that company you hired to store you and revive you each time lasted for thousands of years.

        How many companies in history have survived for thousands of years?

        Do you really think that anyone will want to revive you when the guy you originally hired is dead, hi
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by l0cust ( 992700 )
        you really think that it will be a better life because you will be able to see different times and the lifestyle of people in those times ? Have you ever considered travelling to different places in our times ? I assure you that if you do not find the second option fun then you will not find the cryogenice freezing + waking every 10 years part fun either.

        just my 2c
      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
        Yeah. How great would it be to come out of your chamber, and look out at the cities destroyed by nuclear holocaust? Or into the street where you're implanted with a microchip and permenantly monitored by the World Government henceforth, and any breach of international law results in torture and death?

        Why do people assume the future will always be a wonderful place? This world needs more pessamists. :-)
        • Because any society willing and able to wake someone up from that would pretty much, by default, have to be pretty spiffy.

          All the old sci-fi saws of "They'd use you for spare parts!" or "They'd turn you into slave labor!" are pretty dumb - I mean, if they can repair a brain damaged by freezing, I'd imagine they'd have to be able to do something trivial like repair an ailing heart. If they can RAISE THE DEAD, I'd have to think they'd have enough technology to do other labor-type tasks without needing to get
      • Please reference Vernor Vinge's books:

        The Peace War
        Marooned In Realtime

        Also available in single book entitled:

        Across Realtime

        Instead of cryogenics, stasis fields called 'bobbles' allow 'flickering' into the future. Vinge develops this idea to the extreme and the whole story spans 50 million years. Cryogenics could serve as equivalent, with the drawbacks of maintenance of the frozen body for long periods of time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      school till 25, work till 85. retirement till sun blows up. Call me strange but that sound pretty good to me.

      note: assuming sun does not blow up within the next 4 billion years.
      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
        Um, no. Retirement until world fills up with more people than it can sustain, at which point mass death occurs, probably including you. Sorry.
        • I would assume that the tradeoff for being frozen and living forever would be mandatory sterilization; if you want to live forever, then there's no need for you to have children.

          I could imagine some point at which our understanding of neuroscience and neurology improves to the point where a living human brain could be transplanted from one body to another, or its contents uploaded to a new wetware container. Thus, you could have yourself repeatedly cloned and preserve your consiousness across the ages, barr
    • I'd like to know what the cristian/catholic/islamic/etc perspective on maximizing lifespain is. My understanding of catholic thought is that this life is just a test before you get to get to the good stuff (heaven). So it doesn't make sense to maximise "this life" beyond what is "natural".

      Apart from that, do you think God would approve?
      • Well, at least according to the Bible, no. The Bible describes quickly decaying lifespans from the first generation to each subsequent generative iteration. At the end of this decay, it is legislated divinely than no human would live past twelve decades.

        I'm an atheist, and don't put much stock in such things. Still, you gotta wonder why, biologically and medically, we've done a fantastic job of getting people to live to a hundred, and have been very frustrated not much past that. And interestingly, no

        • Trivial. Human lifespan is tailored to support grandparents, plus a bit of redundancy. Different systems will fail when you go past that age, because there is (evolutionary) no benefit to living longer.

          What beats me is that the effect is present for males as well as females. You'd think that living permanently would be a good idea for males (who stay reproductive, and have little strain from reproduction).

          Eivind.

    • All this will mean is more work. Retirement at 85 until you can get SS benefits? No thank you. Lifespan is pretty ok right now. We need better quality, not quantity of life.

      Have you heard about the coming problems with SS? To many people living too long, not enough kids(upcoming workers) consuming too much SS, driving it bankrupt. SS is a pyramid scheme that worked when there were 20 workers per retiree. It's approaching a 1-1. It's unsustainable.

      Think about this: It pretty much takes 18-26 years to tr
    • We need better quality, not quantity of life.

      That is the point of this type of research.

      You won't be 200 with the body of a 200 year old, but rather 200 with the body of a 21 year old. Hence the reason you had retirement in the first place goes out the window. If I could be 21 for the rest of my life, I wouldn't mind keeping a day job (Heck if you lived that long you could just put a sum of money in a bank and collect on interest in a hundred years.)

      Personally, I would like to avoid what happened to my gran
    • by NEW22 ( 137070 )
      I sort of don't get comments like this. "What indication is there for a great public need for extended lifetimes?" What does that even mean? Is there a great public need for us to exist at all? Or if you assign some value to our species, is there a need for us to exist after we've reared children? Have we extended life to the proper length just now in 2006, and before our lifetimes were too short? So now that we live to our 70s instead of our 30s, the job of life extention has reached its end goal, bu
  • It was supposed to be part of the standard y2k package along with my jetpack, hover car, and virtual reality system.
  • Bill Gates - genuinely philanthropic - his ego might like the fact that he is the man that's saving the world, but at least he's saving other people.
    The paypal guy has just looked in the mirror, realised he's getting older, and wants to live longer. He's worked out that if a few days' coding, some neat financial agreements and a bit of luck can make hundreds of millions of dollars; perhaps a few million dollars and some injecting of mice can lead to him living forever. The guy is more Frankenstien than phi
  • Better idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nigel999 ( 883244 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @06:19AM (#16144788)
    The guy's money is his to do as he likes, of course, but how about funding research into diseases that affect people at a young age - heart disease, obesity, depression - instead of keeping people alive longer than nature intends?
    • by makapuf ( 412290 )
      You mean over 25 which (I think I remember) was prehistoric life expectancy ? Not that what you suggest isn't a laudable goal nor that it wouldn't increase average life expectancy.
    • by Isao ( 153092 )
      Nature intends you to die off and not consume resources after producing children. Say, at about 20-25.

      Time to report to carosel [wikipedia.org].

      • Nature (or more accurately, evolution) doesn't intend for you to die off - in general it doesn't care what happens to you after you finish reproducing either way. There is some speculation that old age has been selected for in humanity due to the benefits that age and wisdom provide to the continued health (and therefore reproduction) of the post-reproductive people's descendants. So maybe we're already selected to live longer than the average mammal due to the benefits of having older people around provi
    • ...instead of keeping people alive longer than nature intends?

      Maybe nature intends for people to die of heart disease. And who is this "nature" anyway? God? There's a thorny question. I say any research into the understanding of the human body is good research, even if it doesn't seem to directly relate to something others deem more important. The miracle drug for my autoimmune disorder was discovered by accident while researching arthritis. Maybe their research will cure those children who age at a
    • Nature made people who want to live longer, and then gave them minds to set about it.
    • Re:Better idea (Score:5, Insightful)

      by caudron ( 466327 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:55AM (#16147000) Homepage
      how about funding research into diseases that affect people at a young age - heart disease, obesity, depression - instead of keeping people alive longer than nature intends?

      How about not criticizing people for failing to offer their charity in a way not approved by Your Holiness? I for one, would like the option of living for as long as I please to, thank you very much. Are the needs of the elderly less worthy than the needs of the young?

      And while we're at it, how about not suggesting that nature "intends" anything. That's just weird and lame.

      Tom Caudron
      http://tom.digitalelite.com/ [digitalelite.com]
  • First most influential lobby in US is American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) [findarticles.com]

    Those people are lobbying for wasting our money on the research that will make 70 years old people live longer (Alzheimer desease being the most ourtragious example) instead of spending it for the cause of deseases that devaste less fortunate of us. The rich want to live longer too.

    It is important to have respect to older people and provide them good care by their kids, but have a sense of balance, people!

    This is not philant
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cnettel ( 836611 )
      With good care, an Alzheimer patient will live for a very long time. The cause of death is frequently not even related to the disease, it could be anything that people generally die of, or even something quite curable (an infection, a moderately benign tumor, the list goes on), but where the unability to communicate with the patient, and the patient's own unability to realize what's going on, makes it go untreated. In fact, I would argue that Alzheimer is a prime example of the situation where treatment wil
  • On humans

    There are myriad social an economic issues that fall from this (like having to get government authorization to reproduce in order to control population for example) but let's leave those alone for now.

    What about body part wearing out? Broken bones, worn out teeth, other injuries that, given hundreds of years, are bound to happen?

    It seems to me that success in this field will necessarily create a need for engineering effective replacement body parts. Sounds like an interesting premise for a Sci-Fi
  • In our history, changes good or bad, have come when people in high positions have died. We all know which people will benefit from "imortallity", the rich and powerful.
    I don't like the idea of dictators living for 200 years...
  • If we really wish to grow that old, I have more faith in prohibiting people from having children before they are at age X. Set this age to 40, and many people will not be able to have children today. Increase X incrementially through generations, in order to make sure that only the ones that live long enough to reproduce will survive. Longer lives should arise. It's quite inhumane, though.
  • I've already got it all sorted out.
    I'll work till I'm 67, retire in poverty, and (based on my family's male longevity) die 4 years later.
    The last thing I need is some breakthrough that will keep me hanging around after that.
  • While living forever might sound neat, giving humans neigh immortality (excusing other causes of death) really doesn't sound like a good idea to me. Letting us live 200 years, sure, but forever? No.

    The mortality rate would drop drastically, but the infant rate would keep its steady rate of increase, and then we have a massive overpopulation crisis. We would reach a point where we wouldn't be able to produce enough food to support everyone, and then more people just start dying of starvation. (What a fun way
  • With a rising retired population, a strained pension system, and shortages of housing and employment, do we really need people living longer?

    This island's already cramped, we don't need people living another 20 years.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2006 @11:35AM (#16146830)
    The M-Prize was created by Aubrey de Grey, a controversial biomedical gerontologist in Cambridge, England.

    There's a painting of his cousin, Dorian Gray [wikipedia.org] in his attic.

There are never any bugs you haven't found yet.

Working...