Lobsters, jellyfish, and the foolish quest for immortality

Being mortal makes life so much sweeter.

Credit: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
  • Since the beginning of time, humans have fantasized over and quested for "eternal life."
  • Lobsters and a kind of jellyfish offer us clues about what immortality might look like in the natural world.
  • Evolution does not lend itself easily to longevity, and philosophy might suggest that life is more precious without immortality.
Keep reading Show less

Is Philanthropy Driven by the Human Desire to Cheat Death?

George Bernard Shaw quipped that a rich man ‘does not really care whether his money does good or not, provided he finds his conscience eased and his social status improved by giving it away’. Was he right?

Bill and Melinda Gates watch their daughter Jennifer perform during The Hollywood Reporter Trophy class at Longines Los Angeles Masters. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Masters Grand Slam Indoor)

In Socialism for Millionaires (1896), the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw quipped that a rich man ‘does not really care whether his money does good or not, provided he finds his conscience eased and his social status improved by giving it away’. Was he right to be so cynical?

Keep reading Show less

Supercentenarian DNA May Hold the Ultimate Secret to Longevity

Find the right genes and we’ll have a way to prolong life and good health, perhaps indefinitely.

Credit: Getty Images.

Better food, healthcare, working conditions, and safety protocols have allowed humans to live longer and healthier than ever before. In most developed countries today, the average lifespan is 80 years, while in 1906, a little more than 100 years ago, it was 48. Projections moving forward look so good that there’s a debate in the medical community on whether or not we can increase human longevity indefinitely.

Keep reading Show less

Science Is Starting to Explore the Gray Zone Between Life and Death

French researchers recently roused a patient out of a vegetative state. 

 

Getty images.

We used to think of death as a moment. We reel when a beloved person meets a tragic end, be it in real life or our favorite show. The reality is, death is often a long, drawn out process that has to do with treatment, hospitals, and in the end, hospice care. Of course, it can strike suddenly too and without warning. But medical science has progressed to the point where we aren’t thinking of death so much as a moment anymore, but a process.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast