Another EMBO Reports paper for your reading pleasure today: "One of the greatest scientific mysteries, which has puzzled scientists for thousands of years, is what controls the length of life. At a time when human lifespan is increasing to previously unforeseen lengths, it is urgent that this ancient question is answered. Fortunately, recent progress suggests that the answers will soon be at hand. ... demographic trends over the past 2-3 decades have shown that, instead of reaching a plateau as most forecasters had predicted, human life expectancy has continued to increase and shows no sign of slowing. This has taken everyone by surprise, because the conventional view of ageing is that maximum life expectancy is somehow 'fixed'."