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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

THE 'GOD" MOLECULE: Heaven can wait. I'm going to live forever and ever.

As the story goes, a bottomless cup of coffee and Olive Garden's endless breadsticks got together to gloat about their immortality.

So now that coffee and breadsticks have it made, what about us? Well, the good news is that science and Silicon Valley with its billions and billions of dollars are working toward one of the grandest human feats of all time--immortality. For Real!

Progress so far: mice and certain worms in the lab can be treated to double their life spans and more with a breakthrough discovery of how the 'God molecule' found in mice and humans, can be used to bypass the typical aging process. Happy 200th birthday Mickey and Minnie! Sorry worm, you just got eaten by a bird.

But, you say, mice are not humans. Ah yes, I knew there was a catch.

This is true stuff however, taken seriously by many intelligent, moneyed people used to doing incredible things. The April 3, 2017 The New Yorker carries the story, SILLICON VALLEY'S QUEST TO LIVE FOREVER: Can billions' of dollars worth of high-tech research succeed in making death optional? And during a six-hour drive home from a visit with my daughter and family, I also listened to an NPR program discussing the broader issue. It was surreal and mind-blowing!

This whole thing got its jump-start because of NASA's search for a work-around so that future astronauts on a many-month journey to Mars may avoid the deadly potential of cancer-causing radiation en-route.

the article tells of a recent meeting of scientists and rich people that are into this, at T.V. producer Norman Lear's house. Immortality was the agenda. Actress Goldie Hawn kicked it off when she asked Liz Blackburn, a Nobel Prize winner for her work in genetics, this question: "I've been told about a molecule ... that helps the health of a cell.... Some in Hollywood call it 'the God molecule.' " 

A doctor who runs a health care hedge fund and is a big financial contributor to the immortality cause offered  "... the idea that aging is plastic, that it's encoded. If something is encoded, you can crack the code. If you can crack the code, you can hack the code!"

The founder of  a biotech firm which intends to grow new organs from people's DNA said "Clearly it is possible, through technology, to make death optional."

One attendee has already commissioned a backup version of his wife... a 'mindclone' robot named Bina48, so that should her enhanced aged body fail, her brain could be uploaded to 'the cloud' then downloaded to her avatar. (I already see an age old problem: Help! I've forgotten the password!)

Also noted is that by 2020, for the first time, there will be more people on Earth over the age of sixty-five than under the age of Five. But the unresolved question posed going forward: Is it "Death is optional" or "Death will just have to wait?"

So here's the take-away: If immortality or an elongated life is doable--and these very rich and able people believe it is--Silicon Valley culture and lots and lots of money will make it happen. We once thought TV's1970's Six Million Dollar Man--augmented with a body-full of robotic parts to keep him ageless and strong--to be sci-fi. Then we are actually far, far beyond that premise as something maybe possible.

That however does beg the questions: did Maude, of the movie Harold and Maude, waste a perfectly good body when she died herself in at a mere 80 and has Shirley MacLaine already been there
Shirley MacLaine
and back a handful of times?

But hey, if money and brains can get there, who are we to argue... except of course, the morality and spirituality of the whole thing. If you finally die at the age of 245, is there a heaven for avatars?

Godspeed... or not?

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