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More than all the oceans. There isn't enough water in the world to account for the flood. And have you considered that if you emptied the oceans to flood the land, the water would just run back in? But, again, we are getting off topic. And there's not really much point in arguing with someone who refuses to let those pesky facts get in the way.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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What also puzzles me is why some plants can live longer than animals.
I guess sequoas a couple of 1000 years and a turtle some 160 years are the record holders in both categories. Don't know the exact data.

Votes + Comments
There are some fish with no known life spans - they live until they are killed by predators.
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The easiest way to understand animals vs plants in longevity is to consider what the organisms have to spend their resources on.

Plants only need to have some leaves for the sun to fall on and a few roots to gather water & nutrients from the soil and some way to transport in both directions. So they can be much less centralized than animals - eg. plants don't have internal organs. This means they are also much more robust. A plant can easily survive have much of their branches or roots being removed but if you damage the heart of an animal it will die. Plants also need far less energy to stay alive than animals because they can be so much simpler so they can dedicate more to repair & regeneration & protection.

In contrast animals need to support much more complex interacting systems (circulatory system, nervous system, digestion, etc..) and if any one of them fails the animal dies. They require lots more energy to keep all these systems running so they have less to dedicate to repair & regeneration & protection. Plus there are a lot more things to maintain.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Some very simple animals (corals & sponges) may be of similar age to the oldest trees. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_long-living_organisms

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1000 years from now? I'd love to, but I suspect that one would become useless after about 100. The world would become so alien, beyond recognition. That leaves the future Methuselah adrift, a disconnected autist in the world, destined to spend 900-odd years as an outcast or weirdo. Seeing as the body would need to be re-gene'd, you'd have to be rich. Holding down a job for 970 years is going to be tough. Or does one retire and live off a meagre pension (or scrounge off descendants) for about 930?

Edited by diafol

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I think I'd rather just die a natural death now then wake up 1000 years from now, or be reincarnated with my current memory. Or be instantly transported to 1000 years from now Les Visiteurs comes to mind :)

Edited by Ancient Dragon

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I like the thought of AD's hop, skip and jump through time, but without too much memory. Reincarnation or memory-wipe would obviate immortality (or 1000 years) IMO - as you wouldn't be able to appreciate the reality of your position. Too much memory would overload your pretty little head and you'd end up grieving for loved ones for ther majority of the time. Unless, that is they came along with you. But a 1000-year tie could prove as distressing to some. A middle-ground degree of memory would also mess you up. You'd spend the whole time trying to regain your past and find out 'who you are/were'. So, in the end, I think my natural life span, if it's decent by modern standards and I enjoy good health, should suffice.

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When you consider the conditions under which the vast majority of humanity lives I consider myself very fortunate to be living the life I was given. If I were to be reincarnated, the odds of my ending up in an unendurable (compared to my current situation) life are almost guaranteed. I'd just as soon not take the chance.

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Time travel sound interesting!

To live 10 times longer than you should sounds boring. The Earth would be hopelessly overgrowded and polluted.

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There is a quote by a French author that states that the average person does not know what to do with their life yet wants another one which will last forever

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@<M/> : why not, that would even be more boring I guess.

About time travel:
What if you went back in time and you killed your grandfathers and grandmothers when they were kids?

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Another solution to the "Grandfather paradox" proposed in a book I read was that any time traveller who alters history too much is spit out at the end of time when everyone has technology giving them the power of gods and live forever -> they basically become totally superficial and just play make believe with their technology all the time to stave off boredom.

Votes + Comments
Dancers at the end of time - yes?
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Are we allowed to live for an eternity?

were it possible, no doubt there'd be laws mandating euthenasia for anyone who's not paying more in taxes than they get in government benefits...

Votes + Comments
Of course that is the only thing you would think of
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no doubt there'd be laws mandating euthenasia for anyone who's not paying more in taxes than they get in government benefits

If only it was that simple....
How do you cope with people employed by the gov't? clearly they must be getting more from the gov't than they pay back in taxes. Yet without them the gov't won't beable to provide any benefits...

Plus there is the ethical issues since you would be euthanizing all the mentally or physically disabled (included tons of war/military vets and people with acquired disability due to illness/accident).

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no. to many things to consider. firstly, whereas a lot of people are afraid to die, my "don't want to die" thoughts are more related to not knowing all the things I'll miss in the future.

let's say there is this one song, a perfect song, great melody, lyrics, thoughts, ... what about everybody who died before that song existed? kind of ... well, sucks. they missed out.
if you live for so long, you get to experience a lot more than now, but you would also realize, that there 'll be a lot yet to come, more than you'll ever experience. (in case nobody drops the bomb, that is), so I don't think I would like that very much.

next, would I alone live for so long, or everybody I care for. would only they, or also the people they care for, or, would just everybody live that long?

fact is, the planet can't possbly support everybody to live that long. so if it would be everybody, then no.
would it be only me? that would be a terrible lonely existence, so no.
would it be me and those I care about? well, they'll probably constant grieve over those they lost, so ... guess not.

I don't really see a very positive scenario in it. not to mention life would become a serious drag if it lasted that long.

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Impotent at 50, forgetful at 60. At least you wouldn't worry about the last time you had sex.

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Well, scientists recently found a clam that was over 500 years old (too bad they had to kill it to find out how old it was). There are some species of lizard that do not die of old age and a fish; not a coeleocanth but another of the cartilegenous fish that live over 300 years. Koi fish live over 200 years.

I bring these up because for such species to live a long time, they have to compete for food during the entire time; I just wanted to make sure that having a long life span does not necessarily means spending most of your life in senecense. In order for someone to live for hundreds of years, it would probably have to be by reversing the normal entropy at the cellular level.

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A 1000 year span would probably mean totally flushing out the system of toxins and a build up of plaques. Gene therapy of some description to restore all those fragile telomeres. An endless supply of anti-cancer medication and stem cells. You'd rattle walking down the street thinking about the number of pills you'd have to take.

Votes + Comments
Yup -
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There have been interesting speculative fiction on living long: AE VAn Voght's Weaponsmaster, Heinlein's Methusela's children, and so on. The current research seems to aimed more at why do we age rather than how do we extend our lives. IIRC, DNA replication snips the ends off of certain chromosomes (???); pieces that are snipped start out being junk DNA but once the junk is all snipped off, actual important information is snipped and this is what they consider the aging process. Sorry, I don't have all the research to hand (and it is too late for me to start googling right now).

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I think that eventually, "eternal" life will end up being our only way to cross the stars. It might be more feasible to make the species live forever than to find a way to travel faster than light.

Generation ships are too risky as you may end up losing the definition of the species after several generations. Look at how much people have changed over the last 2 or 3 generations. Additionally, extra-solar colonisation will alleviate the potential over-crowding problem. Or like China, introduce a policy of one child per family. The "accidental death" count should offset the newborn population count.

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Aging is immensly complicated and not well understood and the obvious manifestation of this is the number of theories/hypotheses that are still being debated in the scientific community.

Briefly the main theories are:
1) Wearing Out -> DNA damage accumulates through time, this causes even increasing numbers of cells to stop working properly and/or die causing degeneration & death.
2) Garbage Accumulation -> From an evolutionary point of view once an individual stops having children they may as well be dead (they are no longer contributing to the next generation) as a result mutations & genes which cause negative effects in old age (aka aging) are not purged from the population by natural selection so gradually accumulate over millions of years. Version 2 of this theory says that since until very recently human life expectancy was ~40 years of age genes that cause aging were not purged from the population because almost everyone died from something else before the aging genes had negative effects.
3) Protective Effects -> Aging might actually be beneficial. Shutting down the body's regenerative capacity in old age helps prevent cancer.

There are a bunch of others too but I can't be bothered to look them up & explain them. The take home message of them all is that to eliminate aging would require large scale genetic manipulation of humans to the extent that it is a very valid question whether what you got at the end would still be Homo sapiens or a new species.

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DNA replication is like making a copy of a sheet of text. You then make a copy of the copy. After 1000000 or more of such copies, I guess you can't read the text anymore.

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DNA replication is like making a copy of a sheet of text. You then make a copy of the copy. After 1000000 or more of such copies, I guess you can't read the text anymore.

I think you need to get a better scanner... ;)

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I think you need to get a better scanner... ;)

I agree! But even with the best scanner available, you cannot avoid little particles of dust creeping in. They will make a major difference after N (very big number) copies of copies.
One of the reasons you could get cancer from smoking, is that Nicotine resembles very close, the DNA bases A,G,C and U, and takes places in during the replication process. So deforming the newly produced DNA.

Edited by ddanbe: addition

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It's also the reason why I don't think that you can use scanner copying as an analagy for DNA copying. Typically you get an exact copy, minus some of the telomeric sequences. If the replication doesn't go correctly, there's actually a process of DNA repair that it goes under.

Otherwise we'd all be dead pretty quickly :P But typically if you get an incorrect DNA sequence, you end up with all sorts of syndromes and genetic disorders and cancers. The human body is miraculous itself.

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Otherwise we'd all be dead pretty quickly :P But typically if you get an incorrect DNA sequence, you end up with all sorts of syndromes and genetic disorders and cancers. The human body is miraculous itself.

Actually the human body is really really miraculous because on average every human being has a few hundred protein coding genes which are completely broken. Plus a few hundred where you have the wrong number of copies of the gene (should have exactly 2 copies of each one -> one from mother, one from father). Even more astounding is the fact that most people have a 1-2 broken genes which based on the medical literature should cause a horrible disease when they are broken but somehow their body or environment has compensated and they are more-or-less normal.

Many cancer cells which still manage to stay alive and divide (although are pretty messed up) are a complete fucking mess genetically with whole chromosomes completely missing, or chromosomes which basically were torn to shreds then hastily glued back together again (called chromothripsis).

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Great! At last some real stimulating conversation. :)

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