May 2008

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"There’s no way the global economic system can keep several billion people alive over the age of 100."

Yes there is.

When Social Security was established, most people barely lived long enough to collect it; there were six workers for every retiree. If you'd told people then we'd eventually have three workers for every two retirees, they'd have said that society would collapse long before that.

Cumulative productivity improvement mean we, as a society, can support a lot more leisure than back in those days. The same will be true in the future, only more so.

Tanya G

Living to 140 would be good for me. At the rate I'm going, by the time I reach 60 I might be almost ready to start putting money away for retirement.


Why are people in a hurry to get to hell? You'll regret it folks as you don't get a second chance.



We'll have China's one birth per couple rule first.


Living beyond the genetic-max 120 is meaningless unless you can be:

1. Healthy
2. Active
3. Useful

People who live to 100+ today all did so because they felt they still had something to give, and did so daily. 21st century tech may let me live to 200+ and still look 30-something. You think I'm gonna just sit on my ass in a retirement village for 100+ years? Hell no! I'll start another business. Write a book. Climb Everest. Move to Mars. Whatever.

If you're adding value to the world instead of just sucking up resources, there is nothing society should fear from vastly extended lifespans. (OTOH, I've seen a lot of 20-somethings just sucking up air and junk food and being useless. Why are we keeping them around?)

You want to cull the herd a little? Just repeal every law designed to protect humans from themselves - seatbelts, helmets, warning labels, drug laws, gun laws. Things will sort themselves out soon enough.


Two words - Switzerland and Holland.

Nice airports. Switzerland has chocolate and scenery. Holland has legal marijuana and hookers.

What are you waiting for? You're over 50 already... ;-)


After I read your entry, I immediately searched "Vonnegut" in my browser search bar and true enough, there was one comment. (Only one?!)

2 B R 0 2 B


We just need to make it accessible for those without the physical ability to do it.
My friend the GP complained of the number of patients with DNR or DWD (do not resuscitate or death with dignity) on their charts who weren't allowed to die. Apparently hospitals are averse to that sort of thing. The crash cart would be wheeled in and some keen young doctor would jump on the patient's chest and zap it with voltage until the heart started beating again.

In honour of Rita Mae's impending retirement, I hereby resolve to use the word 'penis' in every post for the next 19 days.


What a coincidence! I was exactly thinking about this today. If people stop dying, I think we will start taking procreation seriously. Hefty license fee for having babies or near impossible qualification criteria to be allowed to copulate. Suicides will become legal and welcome.


I had this idea to cure overpopulation and get rid of the dumbest people first without ever actually *murdering* anyone. It goes like this:

You make an ATM machine, except the money is free, $20 at a time, all you have to do is follow a simple instruction like "Don't Push the Red Button!" or "Push the Green Button!". Underneath them is a trap-door that drops them into a grinder that feeds directly to a fish farm if the fail to follow the simple instruction.

Nobody holds a gun to anyone's head to make them use it, so it's all voluntary, and all they have to do is not screw up a simple instruction.

It's driven by greed, and works on overconfidence, so I wouldn't be surprised if Donald Trump was one of the first to feed the fish. It wouldn't target any sector of the economy, it would just trim the part of the population who are greedy and stupid and don't realize their own incompetence. I'd rather have them gone than the geezers who mind their own business and live as long as they can.

I'll bet you can think of at least a half-dozen people who'd end up fish food. Would you really miss them?


The way the news is looking these days? I'd say we're headed for a cross between "Logan's Run" and "Soylent Green". But on the bright side, life would be a whole lot less complicated for everyone if most folks could be a bit more rational about "quality of life", and take care of business before "assistance" becomes necessary.

Billy Arvia

A little late on this comment but it has always puzzled me why, when a pet we love gets sick and we are emotionally torn about what to do, the kind and merciful thing to do is to put them out of their misery. However, when a person that we love more than we could ever love a pet gets terminally ill, we are required to watch them suffer til the bitter end...


Just think what the movies would be like. Actors would look completely different from the rest us us - like they aren't now. But imagine Raquel Welch at 122 if she keeps on visitin the plastic surgeon! On the opposing side Mick Jagger. What would be worse - surgical intervention or no surgical intervention. Mick could be trippin' on his lips at 122. Think about it - a Stones tour in 40 years! Might be amusing.


Medical science already can keep people alive indefinitely. This has always been the case.

Into my Timecube!

There's no way the global economic system can keep us alive as it is. We're running out of oil, arable land, coal, rare metals, phosphates for fertilizer, and quite a lot else; and 2 billion Asian peasants joining the middle class is going to make it get a lot worse a lot faster.

Basically, you shouldn't plan to stay alive to 110 unless you're willing to resort to cannibalism.


Here's how I see it unfolding.
Right now the Greatest Generation is elderly and dying slow painful deaths as the cancers eat away at them the deformed proteins destroy their brains and various body parts turn against them. Their kids, the Baby Boomers, are selfish little brats who would rather see their parents suffer than have to suffer the grief of losing them.
In another 20 or 30 years the Baby Boomers will be elderly and dying slow painful deaths as etc. etc. etc. They'll vote to make assisted suicide legal with all kinds of caveats to make sure Junior can't push them into it just to get the inheritance.

A N Wart

Solve the energy problem, use matrix technology keep them alive but just use up thier energy do not feed them. Old wrinkles they may be but still full of useful energy. Stick them on treadmills until they die of exhaustion (obviously labotomise or hypnotise them first to think they are top athletes). When they are dead do not burn thats a waste of carbon stick them in a big pile and use the gas from rotting corpses. Or solve the food crisis with soylent green.
Efficient use of assets.


Death is inevita...........................................


I've had experience of this in the UK, where assisted suicide is illegal. One of my elderly relatives decided she'd had enough of taking 30 pills a day and feeling like crap. The medical staff respected her decision to decline a life-extending blood transfusion, allowing her to die comfortably and with dignity.

This 'back door' solution is weak on the part of law-makers, and forces the moral dilemma onto medical staff.


If most people are helpless pink robots, by now it is clear our programming includes the drive to survive and reproduce. Why would even the most elderly of us 'want to check out early'? Between anti-aging drugs and viagra, we would be able to fulfill both of those drives for... well, as long as possible. What pink-robot argument could possibly exist for checking out before our maximum live-breed allotment?

ADHD librarian


(is that enough of a comment? Lets see if I can make it longer)

Yes it is inevitable.



Don't worry, World War 3 will solve that problem.


Why do they have to make a new drug to kill someone????

Can't they just use the out of date, illegal or superfluous ones until they either die or get better from all the medicine?



If this life is indeed that holographic-computer-simulation idea of yours, then the assisted suicide must become legal, if medical science gets that good. It's probably coded as a security instruction to prevent the system to run itself out of memory... ;-)

But, seriously... the human body may living longer but that's not necessarily the case of the human mind... The 'hardware' can be fixed and maintained by doctors, however the 'software' deteriorates anyway... Unless we can copy our minds in a computer... oh! that's the holographic-computer-simulation idea again!


On a different note, Scott, i thought you would have enough for your progeny to idle away their lives. it worries me that you need to check on your "retirement plan" irrespective of how long you live.

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