Comments on "The Long Tomorrow"

I have not yet found the time to read evolutionary biologist Michael Rose's "The Long Tomorrow" - my reading list is backed up by years even in the slowest of work months, sad to say.

The conquest of aging is now within our grasp. It hasn't arrived yet, writes Michael R. Rose, but a scientific juggernaut has started rolling and is picking up speed. A long tomorrow is coming. In The Long Tomorrow, Rose offers us a delightfully written account of the modern science of aging, spiced with intriguing stories of his own career and leavened with the author's engaging sense of humor and rare ability to make contemporary research understandable to nonscientists.

My commentary to date has been limited to "here it is, check it out" and a reminder that you'll find more of Rose's writing in the first Immortality Institute book of essays. Fortunately, there are always others who will take up the slack; Ben Goertzel offers a few words, for example (you may have to scroll down to find the post, depending on your browser):

The book is easy to read by anyone who understands high school biology, yet presents and describes important research without significant dumbing-down. It also does a pretty good job of getting across the flavor of modern experimental biology research ... and of emphasizing the point that a lot more progress toward curing aging could be made if society chose to devote resources toward this goal. Many very good scientists, such as Rose himself and Aubrey de Grey and many others, have promising ideas regarding how to better understand and potentially alleviate the aging process, but our society is more interested in spending money blowing people up and inventing new forms of fabric softener. Bummer, huh.

Goertzel goes on to give just one example - from personal knowledge - of the many, many aging research projects that could be undertaken immediately if the funding materialized. Funding, of course, never just materializes; any sort of large-scale funding for medical science is the end result of a long process of public support, patient advocacy, activism, education, preliminary work, advocacy within the scientific community, and so forth. It's a great deal of work, and we're still in the earliest stages when it comes to drumming up funding for research aimed directly at extending the healthy human life span.

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