My Life With Humans

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Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a "throw away" culture which is now spreading.

It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society's underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised — they are no longer even a part of it.

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The excluded are not the "exploited" but the outcast, the "leftovers". Human personhood must be respected with a reverence that is religious.

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Mk That is necessarily so, for men are by nature social beings. A few days later I met him at his office here in Mumbai. He also funded our venture! I left for my masters soon after, but I promised him that once I finished, I would dedicate my life working for the Tata Trust Would you like to be my assistant?

People my age have a hard time finding the right set of friends, the right mentor and the right kind of boss.

Your Life in Weeks

Ratan Tata. For a week after we got married, we stayed at a hotel in a nearby town. But then, luckily my dad accepted us and wanted us to start our life together, at home. Even then, her parents refused to accept us, or talk to her.

My family ran a small vada pav stall, so my wife and I started helping there. Life was slowly going back to normal, and soon she even got pregnant! Finally, when Kshitija was born -- it felt like the house just lit up with laughter and happiness again. She grew up to be such a kind and caring child. When she was 3, she saw the TV coverage on the Sangli floods -- she felt so bad about what happened to the victims that she suggested that we send a box of chocolates to them. She broke her piggy bank, and actually sent the chocolates. As parents we felt so proud, and could only dream about a bright future for our daughter.

But it all changed soon. One morning, my father was preparing the materials for the vada pav stall in the kitchen and kept the boiling oil aside to cool. While she extended her hand to him, she touched the vessel that had hot oil in it, and the whole thing fell on her. When she moved, she slipped and fell on the spilled oil. She was screaming in pain. Both my father and I rushed to save her, and got burnt ourselves. There, they immediately started treating her -- but they told us that we needed to take her to the hospital in the city.

I begged and borrowed from relatives and friends. Only after 6 days could I pay for an ambulance to take her to the city. She is currently in isolation in the hospital burn ward -- her body is burnt all over, except her face. We have exhausted all our savings. Yun finds the prospect tantalising and even believable. But Yun has deep pockets and expects to put up more money for progressively greater feats. He says this is a moral rather than personal quest. Our lives and society are troubled by growing numbers of loved ones lost to age-related disease and suffering extended periods of decrepitude, which is costing economies.

Billionaires and companies are bullish about what they can achieve. Though much mystery surrounds the new biotech company, it seems to be looking in part to develop age-defying drugs.

We spend about one-third of our life either sleeping or attempting to do so.

In April it recruited Cynthia Kenyon , a scientist acclaimed for work that included genetically engineering roundworms to live up to six times longer than normal, and who has spoken of dreaming of applying her discoveries to people. But it plans to create a giant database of 1 million human genome sequences by , including from supercentenarians.

Student Voices

Venter says that data should shed important new light on what makes for a longer, healthier life, and expects others working on life extension to use his database. For more than a decade, he has been on a crusade to inspire the world to embark on a scientific quest to eliminate ageing and extend healthy lifespan indefinitely he is on the Palo Alto Longevity Prize board. We are, after all, biological machines, he says. His claims about the possibilities he has said the first person who will live to 1, years is probably already alive , and some unconventional and unproven ideas about the science behind ageing, have long made de Grey unpopular with mainstream academics studying ageing.

But the appearance of Calico and others suggests the world might be coming around to his side, he says. Since , de Grey has been chief scientific officer at his own charity, the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence Sens Research Foundation. Some is done in-house, the rest sponsored at outside institutions. Even his critics say he funds some good science.

Does the scale of the universe make human life pointless?

Although funding pledges have been low compared to early hopes, billionaires — not just from the technology industry — have long supported research into the biology of ageing. Whereas much biomedical research concentrates on trying to cure individual diseases, say cancer, scientists in this small field hunt something larger. They investigate the details of the ageing process with a view to finding ways to prevent it at its root, thereby fending off the whole slew of diseases that come along with ageing. Life expectancy has risen in developed countries from about 47 in to about 80 today, largely due to advances in curing childhood diseases.

The essential question Of life

But those longer lives come with their share of misery. The standard medical approach — curing one disease at a time — only makes that worse, says Jay Olshansky, a sociologist at the University of Chicago School of Public Health who runs a project called the Longevity Dividend Initiative, which makes the case for funding ageing research to increase healthspan on health and economic grounds.

By tackling ageing at the root they could be dealt with as one, reducing frailty and disability by lowering all age-related disease risks simultaneously, says Olshansky.

Evidence is now building that this bolder, age-delaying approach could work. Scientists have already successfully intervened in ageing in a variety of animal species and researchers say there is reason to believe it could be achieved in people. Reason for optimism comes after several different approaches have yielded promising results.