The Methuselah Foundation Needs a Smart, Reliable Technical Volunteer: Linux, PHP, MySQL

The Methuselah Foundation, founded back in 2003, aims to promote and support scientific progress towards defeating age-related disease, repairing the damage of aging, and greatly extending the healthy human life span. To that end the Foundation has raised more than $10 million in funding pledges, and their initiatives include the Mprize for longevity science, the recently launched NewOrgan Prize, investment in tissue engineering startups such as Organovo, and - prior to the establishment of the SENS Foundation as a separate entity - the funding of Aubrey de Grey's research program for rejuvenation biotechnology.

These activities, and the networking to support them behind the scenes, have had a great impact upon the state of the aging research community, media treatment of longevity science, and public perception of the plausibility of medical research aimed at reversing aging. Thanks to the efforts of the Foundation volunteers and thousands of supporters, the environment for longevity science today is far improved over that of ten years ago. That in turn means that our chances of seeing working rejuvenation medicine within our lifetimes are also improved.

When you stop to think about it, there is no more important work a person could be undertaking in this day and age. What else could you possibly find to do that will save as many lives and change the world for the better as greatly? This is the age of biotechnology, and there is no higher use for biotechnology than to grant everyone more youth, more life, more health, more vigor.

As some of you may know, I have volunteered with the Methuselah Foundation as a technical resource for a while now. A brief inspection of the website will tell you that the Foundation runs on a LAMP stack - Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. What you won't see is the largely invisible bulk of packaged code, integrations, mail, archives, and other systems required to run a distributed volunteer non-profit organization. Add that to the newer online projects in the works or on the drawing board, and keeping things running as well as moving forward begins to require a considerable amount of time from people who know how to code or maintain a server.

Sadly, I have less time to give to the Foundation at present than I have in the past - and fully recognize the irony of this state of affairs, given my comments on importance above. From a practical standpoint, this means is that the Foundation needs a reliable, smart volunteer programmer: someone who is comfortable building their own websites from scratch, working independently as a part of a geographically distributed team, can contribute to the process of developing plans and designs, and confidently touch every part of the LAMP stack in the doing of it.

That said, reliability is the key, central value needed for a technical volunteer. In any non-profit, volunteers come and volunteers go, but it is very challenging to find people who follow through on a commitment to stay for a given project, or to act as support for a non-profit site for the necessary months and years to build up familiarity with the systems used. When it comes to technology, those rare few are absolutely necessary, however - you simply can't run a tight ship if developers flake out on a regular basis. This is especially true when it comes to projects wherein the team is scattered across the US or the world, and rarely meets in person.

But the open source community has plenty of experience with these issues, and there are some great teams out there - hundreds or thousands of developers willing to put in time over the long term to help advance good causes with their skills.

If you think you can be the reliable, tech-savvy volunteer needed here - someone who can help me keep the Foundation technology running, and build the new initiatives that are the best foot forward for longevity science advocacy in the 2010s - then you should head on over to the Methuselah Foundation website and send them an email.

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