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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

So much for the obesity claims

The Centers for Disease Control released new life expectancy figures for the USA today. Average life expectancy is up to 77.6 years, up three tenths in a mere two years. Also remarkable is the rapidly closing gap between the life expectancies of men and women. It was a 7.8 year gap in 1978 and is now down to 5.3 years.

When I was in my twenties I told friends my life’s goal was to go downhill skiing on Ganymede at age 120. If the technological exponential keeps going as I expect — and I am ‘lucky’ enough not to draw the Ace of Spades — I might just do it.

See you on the slopes!

For more information, see Space.com’s Live Science article.

11 comments to So much for the obesity claims

  • I’m not superstitious (really), but Dale, please don’t tempt fate like this. You’re making me nervous.

  • Dale Amon

    Yeah, I know what you mean – fractional G methane ice skiiing in a space suit is really tempting fate.

  • It’s often said that your true genetic outlook is dominated by your grandparents, in which case I’m stuffed (only one made it past 55, and they didn’t make 70). Consequently, I feel your ambition. If you’re right, see you on the slopes. If you’re wrong, you’ll be skiing, and I’ll have been dead for seventy years. Either way, I’m cheering you on. Life is too short – just that.

  • You know by that time downhill skying on Ganymede will be so passé, everybody who is anybody will by that time be doing cross-country on Europe (this reminds me – has the EU made any claims on that piece of real estate?)

  • Brock

    Link is broken. Add an ‘h’ at the beginning, lose the ” at the end.

    Just imagine how much the lifespan would have gone up if we weren’t so damn obese. Keep at the treadmill, and you’ll be better than average! – especially you James. My family is not particularly long-lived either, but I know what killed them, so I’m going the other way. No poor diet, hard labor, and smoking for me! 😉

  • veryretired

    It’s clear we are approaching a biological revolution that will make the industrial revolution’s impact on our lives seem mild by comparison. It is to be expected that luddites and collectivists will attempt to control, stifle, and derail any significant developments as dangerous, exploitive, or elitist.

    Still, the tumultuous gowth of new industries like autos in the early 20th and computers in our own age gives us some hope that the sheer speed of developments may leave the potential roadblockers behind the curve.

    I keep telling my kids that they might very well live past 100 without the ravages currently associated with that age. Of course, that observation is part of my parental lecture about making good decisions now because they have a long potential life to either enjoy or endure the consequences.

    On a side note, these figures certainly refute that part of the Litany which claims that modern culture, food, and technology are all so very hazardous to our health. It would seem rather difficult to make a case that we were better off in the pre-tech days of subsistence farming, even if all our food was so natural, and the chickens all free-range.

  • I am more modest than you in my ambtions I think Dale, but I have promised Alex Singleton that I will buy him a beer on Mars at the earliest possible opportunity.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    I have a strong inkling that veryretired is a good chap. I hope he makes it down Oz way some time in the future – I’d be happy to have a drink with him.


  • Robert Schwartz

    Good Luck on your quest:
    Gerontology Sleuths Search For ‘Supercentenarians’

    …Gerontology Research Group’s 40 volunteers — a loose, international network of demographers, gerontologists, epidemiologists and self-styled “hobbyists” — are dedicated to verifying the ages of the world’s oldest people, and to learning the secrets of their longevity… Because almost no one who reaches age 114 ever sees 115, the group is skeptical of any claims to ages higher than that… GRG counts just 12 undisputed cases of people ever reaching 115…

    Susie Brunson, a child of freed slaves, got a call from President Reagan on what she claimed as her 115th birthday in 1986. When she died in 1994, media reports put her age at 123. But GRG research into early Social Security records now indicates she was probably 105 when she died. Before he died in Mississippi in 2002, Edward Bankhead claimed he was born in 1883, making him 119. GRG found his World War I draft card, which said he was born in 1899…
    The oldest human ever certified was a French woman who died at age 122 in 1997…

    Having spent four decades studying aging issues, Dr. Coles, 63, is among those who see 115 as a barrier that almost nobody can cross. Since 2001, a dozen 114-year-olds died before turning 115. “We’ve seen it in every culture and civilization we track,” says Dr. Coles. According to the GRG, the oldest person alive today — a woman in the Netherlands — is 114 years 241 days old.

    By accumulating data on Supercentenarians, GRG researchers have found many shared characteristics. Though these people are usually hard of hearing and nearly blind, with very thin skin and limited senses of smell and taste, most of them rarely saw a doctor before age 90. Throughout their lives, most made no conscious effort to eat nutritiously, exercise, or avoid drinking and smoking. None were fat at any time in their lives. Almost all had long-lived relatives, suggesting that the secret is in their genes, not their lifestyle.

    Dr. Coles…recently conducted an autopsy of a woman who died at 112. “I held her heart in my hands, her brain in my hands,” he says. “We looked at every organ under a microscope.” The autopsy showed she likely died of a chemical imbalance in her immune system. Dr. Coles believes that if doctors find answers about superlongevity, the pharmaceutical industry will develop drugs to help the oldest of us survive longer…

  • veryretired

    Ta, suffering. Being thought of as a good chap is probably the nicest compliment this grouchy old fart has had in a long while.

  • Matt O'Halloran

    It would be amusing to dig up the CDC predictions for average life expectancy in the mid-1980s, when it was assuring the entire American public that a pandemic of sexually transmitted disease was about to sweep the land, and don’t get complacent if you’re straight, non-drug-using and continent, because “AIDS doesn’t discriminate”.

    Oh yes it did, and does.