This open access PDF editorial is illustrative of the mainstream scientific examination of human longevity. Demographic studies lead to genetic studies - to identify long-lived populations and then the genetic roots that make them different: "It is now evident from various socio-demographic studies that a greater portion of the population survives into old age, above the seventh decade of life. Projections for Europe estimate that in 1995 13.3% of the population was over the age of 65, whereas by 2015 this figure is expected to rise to 16.3%. However, the factors that promote living after the seventh or eighth decade of life remain unknown. Therefore, a question may arise: what is the 'formula' that allows some elders to avoid chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease? ... Clearly, longevity is a complex attribute determined by factors, such as exposure to disease, variability in sleeping patterns, smoking habits, physical activity and diet, that have a direct effect on longevity, in addition to their indirect emotional and cognitive influence on physiological pathways." This sort of work will continue for many decades, with little sense of urgency and equally little effect upon our lives. It is a world removed from the engineering approach to extending life span advocated by the SENS Foundation, amongst others.