Glancing at the Foreign English Language Press

The English language sections of oveseas newspapers and online news sites are ever an interesting mirror, for all the obvious reasons. It is often something akin to seeing the final product of a chain of poorly communicated instructions - several translations, a quite different approach to journalism, and people with little knowledge of the subject matter may be involved in the process. Or more so than is usual for local media, in any case - who are bad enough in their own way.

I've been keeping a weather eye on the appearance of topics relating to healthy life extension in the foreign press over the past few years: the slow migration of the overseas English language press towards a more accurate reflection of healthy life extension news is one measure of progress in advocacy and awareness.

Here are a couple of examples from the past few days; for all the errors, the quality of the content is somewhat improved over the median of past years.

Freeze, i’m not dead:

"Yes, it’s only a small chance but it’s a huge gamble,” said the institute’s media manager Chrissie de Rivaz (

And surprise, surprise! It has emerged that a Malaysian is among its 70-odd members, with the rest being Britons.

In all probability, the person could be the only Malaysian who has placed enormous faith in cryonics (the word derives from cryogenics, meaning the physics of extreme cold).

Like the other members, they were convinced that if they were frozen carefully and quickly soon after their deaths, their bodies could be maintained indefinitely until science found a cure for whatever illnesses that claimed their lives.

When that time comes, they hoped future generations would be able to take them out of cryogenic suspension, thaw them out, jump-start their brains, restore their memories and repair the damage the Cryonics team inflicted as they prepared their bodies to be frozen.

Eternity code: Never say die?

Immortality is the stuff of legends, but researchers are already working towards the next best thing: living to a ripe old age without having to grow old. Eventually, they say, there would come a time when ageing would become dispensable.

"Ageing is simply a side-effect of being alive. It would soon be possible to control the biological processes that lead to it," claims Dr Aubrey de Grey, who's been researching the human ageing process at Cambridge University.


This, however, doesn't mean we can eliminate ageing from our biological system altogether. Rather, there will be treatments that repair molecular and cellular damage periodically, say, after every decade or so it would be just like maintaining an old house or a vintage car, says de Grey.

In effect, it will be somewhat like always being one step ahead of death. "Average life spans in this scenario could be 1,000 years and more," says de Grey.


Will all this be the harbinger of eternal youth? "Indefinite youth, rather than infinite youth," corrects de Grey, "since, at this stage, our susceptibility to disease and other causes of mortality would be that of a young adult much lower than that of an elderly adult, but not zero."

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