Re: [IWAR] BIO cell life extension

From: Mark Hedges (hedgesat_private)
Date: Fri Jan 16 1998 - 18:06:06 PST

  • Next message: enelsonat_private: "Re: [IWAR] BIO cell life extension"

    OpEd piece posted to iwar and g2i:
    This fountain of youth on the human odyssey long enslaved the soul of
    adventurers and treasure seekers, and now we may actually find it in the
    laboratory. Everything in this day and age seems to exponentiate --
    longevity of life included. The birth rate's finally showing signs of
    dropping as third world nations enter superindustrialization. Most
    projections -- of necessity inaccurate -- predict the top off population
    level at 12 to 20 billion humans by about 2040 or so (U.N., WHO, etc.). The
    projections do not, however, take into account the exponentiation of
    increasing longevity, for which biotechnology aims, and which it might
    actually enable.
    The message must be carried across the world: stop breeding, and start
    taking care of the rest of life here. We've done so much damage. If we live
    to be 200, or 2000, we might actually learn something. Maybe we humans will
    try to do some good work for the neighbors, instead.
    In the current real world, several interesting science projects will have
    astounding implications. The ECHO project and other artificial life and
    intelligence experiments may spawn intelligences beyond our own, who
    replicate and evolve their essences a billion times faster than our
    molecular DNA. The physics crew are hard at work on wormholes and spooky
    action -- that bit a while ago about transferring a particle across a
    distance with no relativistic time lag really caught my eye. There's
    teleomeres, cloning, and most notably, straight up genetic engineering.
    There's nanotechnology and superconductors. There's fusion and future
    subatomic power sources. They finally got a sustainable fusion reaction
    going, though with negative power output. Fusion, as opposed to nuclear
    fission power, produces low radiation, uses sea water as fuel (50 gallons
    could theoretically power New York City for a year), and sustains a
    reaction that doesn't chain when uncontained but instead almost immediately
    shuts itself down.
    Free electricity, free food, free material goods of most kinds -- yes,
    technology will change the "political economy". If you feel you've got to
    stop these things because then you'll be out of a job, you need to get with
    it; stop destroying and start moving forward. Use your imagination. There
    will be new things to trade, and new things to think about. It's essential
    we develop peace coexistant with personal freedoms of thought and
    communication, to help ensure the continuing progress of the builders'
    projects. It started before the Temple of Solomon. Occasionally some army
    of ignorant savages burns part of it down, but overall, it doesn't look
    like it can be stopped...whatever it is....
    Longevity technology like the teleomere work mentioned below may make
    standard humans live several hundred years, but what happens to the more
    adventurous among us? Read a science fiction tale, Hyperion, and its
    sequels, by Dan Simmons. They are better than dear John's Revelation, in my
    humble opinion. Hyperion calls the adventurous ones the "Ousters". In the
    21st and 22nd centuries, say the books, the Ousters engineer their DNA and
    RNA and use robotic and biotic nanotechnology to enhance and change their
    form of life down into the sub-molecular level. They decide not to populate
    other earth-type planets, but to populate the darkness of space itself.
    They engineer themselves to adapt to extremely harsh conditions. Some have
    great angel wings and live in zero gravity; others take into them parts of
    plants and use photosynthesis to survive on barren worlds. They are
    persecuted by the "normal humans" as mutants and abominations, to the point
    of interstellar war, but they are beautiful, and they represent the
    continuation of changing life.
    Their philosophy contrasts with that of the parasitic artificial
    intelligence and the stagnant human population under their insidious
    control. The regular humans go on doing what they've always done -- invade
    someone else's land, take over, kill off most of the existing species and
    import their own world to assuage with carnal violence their neurotic and
    irrational fear of the unknown. The Ousters of Simmons' novels do not
    assault life where it already thrives; they instead bring life to where it
    does not yet exist. There are some A.I.s who side with them, too.
    They moved on. I want to move on. The real world is much bigger than the
    form of the human ape and our conceited drive to destroy anything not like
    The interesting idea sourcing in some of the ancient buddhism and kabbalah
    scripts we even need technology to do all this stuff? Maybe we just
    don't have any idea of the kinds of things we can do just by thinking.
    Maybe, thought Socrates, we just need to remember the things we knew before
    we arrived.
    Mark Hedges
    >This has long-term societal implications, one of those breakthroughs
    >that if carried forward will radically change the political economy.
    >   Tuesday January 13 6:30 PM EST
    >Human Cell Lifespan Extended
    >   NEW YORK (Reuters) -- For the first time, researchers have confirmed
    >   that the "clock" thought to control aging in human cells does indeed
    >   dictate that process. What's more, they have found a way to circumvent
    >   the process -- extending the lifespan of normal, healthy human cells,
    >   according to a report in Science.
    >   The finding has "profound" implications for the study of cancer, which
    >   may use the same process to escape the aging process, according to an
    >   editorial accompanying the study.
    >   And it may lead to treatment for human disease caused by worn out cells,
    >   such as macular degeneration -- the leading cause of blindness in those
    >   over 65.
    >   "This research raises the possibility that we could take a patient's own
    >   cells, rejuvenate them, then modify the cells as needed and give them
    >   back to the patient to treat a variety of genetic and other diseases,"
    >   said senior investigator Dr. Woodring E. Wright in a statement released
    >   by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "The
    >   potential long-term applications are simply staggering," said Wright, a
    >   professor of cell biology and neuroscience. The study was a
    >   collaborative effort involving researchers at the medical center and at
    >   Geron Corp., in Menlo Park, California.
    >   Most cells will divide roughly 50 times in the laboratory before
    >   entering a resting state known as senescence, a process that also occurs
    >   in the body. For more than a decade, researchers have suspected that
    >   telomeres, sections of DNA at the tips of chromosomes, control that
    >   process.
    >   Like minutes ticking on a clock, a piece of telomere is lost each time
    >   the cell divides. But some cells contain an enzyme, called telomerase,
    >   that can re-build the telomere after cell division.
    >   In the new study, the gene for telomerase was inserted inside three
    >   types of cells that don't normally carry the enzyme -- retinal pigment
    >   epithelial cells, foreskin fibroblasts, and the vascular endothelial
    >   cells -- or those lining blood vessels. In contrast with cultured cells
    >   that have telomere shortening, the genetically engineered cells
    >   continued to vigorously divide and have long telomeres.
    >   The treated cell population doubled at least 20 more times than normal
    >   and continues to grow, according to the report. The new findings confirm
    >   that telomeres are the "clock" that keeps cells from growing out of
    >   control, according to an editorial by Titia de Lange, of the Laboratory
    >   for Cell Biology and Genetics at The Rockefeller University in New York.
    >   And that mechanism has all "the makings of a powerful tumor suppressor
    >   system," de Lange wrote.
    >   "The results should strengthen the determination of those who are
    >   searching for telomerase inhibitors as potential anti-cancer agents."
    >   SOURCE: Science (1998;279:349-352, 334-335)

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