Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Contest To Sequence Centenarians Kicks Off

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the mining-our-old-people-for-boosterspice dept.

Biotech 74

ananyo writes "The first competitor has swaggered up to the starting line for a contest that aims to push the limits of genome-sequencing technology. The X Prize Foundation of Playa Vista, California, is offering a US$10 million prize to the first team to accurately sequence the genomes of 100 people aged 100 or older, for $1,000 or less apiece and within 30 days. Ion Torrent, part of Life Technologies of Carlsbad, California, believes that its semiconductor-based technology gives it a shot, and on 23 July it announced that it will compete. The Archon Genomics X Prize competition, to be held in September 2013, is intended to spur technology, boost accuracy and drive down costs — currently $3,000–5,000 per genome. Peter Diamandis, the X Prize Foundation's chief executive, says that the contest will help to establish a standard for a 'medical grade' genome, with the high accuracy needed to diagnose or treat a patient. This time, the X prize Foundation has relaxed the time frame, allowing competitors 30 days — rather than the 10 specified by the 2006 contest — and focused on centenarians, who might carry gene variants promoting longevity. The winning team will be the first to sequence all 100 genomes to 98% completion, with less than one error per million base pairs, and to determine which variants appear on which of the paired chromosomes."

cancel ×

74 comments

HOW THEY ARE ALL SO OLD ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762015)

Too many old people in this thing !!

But but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762059)

How dare we try to figure out aging! We might figure out it's just a process and not some innate property of matter! We might even figure out how to prolong youth! Can you imagine what we could do as a species if we spent less money on healthcare? What could the species do with all that extra money?

Re:But but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762089)

"What could the species do with all that extra money?"

Buy a dog and strap it to the roof of the car, like rich people?

Re:But but but (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40763073)

How dare we try to figure out aging! We might figure out it's just a process and not some innate property of matter! We might even figure out how to prolong youth! Can you imagine what we could do as a species if we spent less money on healthcare? What could the species do with all that extra money?

The harsh truth about old people is that supply exceeds demand. For example in the US there are now only about 2 workers paying into Social Security for each retiree, much lower than what was intended for the system to work. There was a time when surviving to be elderly meant you had some sense and some wisdom because lots of people didn't live that long. Now with medical advances and the decline of tobacco use the elderly population exploded with the Baby Boomers. If you live in an area that retirees consider very attractive (low crime, low cost of living, lots of churches, "family oriented" communities) then you feel the burden one way or another, in a way you wouldn't if they were more evenly distributed.

It's good that some of them want to do something useful that may benefit everyone else. Honestly this generation of old people tend to be just plain selfish. Politicians love it because they can promise some prescription drug benefits or whatever and get guaranteed votes, because the votes are basically for sale, they just don't call it that. No thought is given to how the spending will affect future generations because no one cares. Young people don't vote anyway so they don't matter apparently. Honestly it's scary, and I hope I don't turn out like that if I live to be really old.

I know, I know. Old people are like "for the children" and such. You're supposed to feel sorry for them and never say anything negative about them, else you're branded "offensive" and modded down to oblivion by people who cannot dispute a word you're saying. We don't want honest opinions here, just feel-good fluff. I knew that when I wrote this. But if you live in an area with a very high population of old people you know exactly how self-important and entitled they think they are. They're better than you and by God they want you to know it. They "paid their dues" (definitely not to you) and now "you owe them" somehow. That worked when they tried to be wise and respectable. It falls apart when they act so selfish and stopped thinking about future generations.

Re:But but but (2)

darthdavid (835069) | about 2 years ago | (#40765469)

The harsh truth about old people is that supply exceeds demand. For example in the US there are now only about 2 workers paying into Social Security for each retiree, much lower than what was intended for the system to work.

The system would almost certainly have remained solvent while this structural issue sorted itself out (read:the baby boomers all died off) if the congress-critters were able to resist keeping their greedy little fingers out of it's fund for more than five minutes.

In any event though, anti-senescence research could actually fix this in the long term. If we can start eliminating the negative effects of aging people won't need to retire as early.

Margin of Error (3, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40762079)

Hopefully, they all told truth about their age [museumofhoaxes.com] and their age was double-checked, triple-checked, and quadruple-checked in different ways before they were selected for this study.

Re:Margin of Error (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762107)

"Hopefully, they all told truth about their age..."

That's what this thing is for.To heal the mythomania of old people.
Then, we get off their lawns.

Re:Margin of Error (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40762177)

Hopefully, they all told truth about their age [museumofhoaxes.com] ...

Assuming they were telling the truth, it would mean that people in that village actually age at a much faster rate than non-residents. One man from that village was 122 years old in 1971, and three year later, he was already 134! So yes, you die much older there, but your clock is going to be ticking really fast down there. Better hurry!

Re:Margin of Error (4, Funny)

dcsmith (137996) | about 2 years ago | (#40762569)

Hopefully, they all told truth about their age [museumofhoaxes.com] ...

Assuming they were telling the truth, it would mean that people in that village actually age at a much faster rate than non-residents. One man from that village was 122 years old in 1971, and three year later, he was already 134! So yes, you die much older there, but your clock is going to be ticking really fast down there. Better hurry!

Human overclocking! That's what this project is all about!

Re:Margin of Error (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#40765041)

Id prefer to underclock, extend the usage

Re:Margin of Error (1)

dcsmith (137996) | about 2 years ago | (#40765883)

Id prefer to underclock, extend the usage

Remember what the Kurgon said in Highlander [imdb.com] - "It's better to burn out than to fade away!"

Re:Margin of Error (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40766285)

Thought that was Neil Young.

Re:Margin of Error (1)

dcsmith (137996) | about 2 years ago | (#40766429)

Thought that was Neil Young.

Yeah, but this is Slashdot... Who do you think the denizens are more likely to remember?

Re:Margin of Error (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 2 years ago | (#40768457)

this is a pretty easy thing to do, just acquire a thyroid infection that leads to a hypothyroidism. that's underclocking for humans.

Re:Margin of Error (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40766267)

They are actually dog people so the 134 year old guy was really a sprightly 19 year old poodle.

Re:Margin of Error (1)

Thundaaa Struk (1375331) | about 2 years ago | (#40763177)

Forget their ages, will the equipment used in this challenge smell like old people when it's done?

Re:Margin of Error (1)

Chemisor (97276) | about 2 years ago | (#40763937)

I guess we can't sequence any women then...

Re:Margin of Error (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40764343)

Just count their rings.

Re:Margin of Error (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40766221)

They could have avoided all of that nonsense with a basic scientific experiment that every schoolboy knows! Simply amputate one of the purported centenarians legs and count the rings. Really, scientists can be so dim!

Gene variants promoting longevity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762159)

In the US, that would manifest a dodging the bullet

Why's this a good thing? (1, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#40762161)

From a societal standpoint, it's not good to have elderly around, draining resources and hogging housing. In the UK recently, the elderly are "selfishly" (not my words, the government's) continuing to occupy family homes judged to be too large for them. There has been a drive to confiscate old people's houses as they have too many bedrooms, and multiple families could be housed in the same place. It's only the old people's selfishness that makes them want to live in such extravagant surroundings. The government pays fair market price for the dwelling, evicts the occupant into more suitably sized housing, and society benefits. The elderly consume fantastically large amounts of healthcare to allow them to live to such an advanced age. The best thing for society as a whole is for people to pass on just after they cease contributing taxes to the system. That way, much money is saved on pensions, social welfare, hospital care, and so on. In fact, in many cases, euthanasia is a preferable solution to old age, as is done routinely in The Netherlands.

Given all this, why is increasing longevity a good thing? How does it help society? Taxes cannot be paid by people who don't work.

Before you click that "-1 Troll" button, think about it for a moment. Attempt to formulate a thinking response. This isn't a troll, this is how many rational, educated people in government think about the elderly problem. Let's have some real discussion instead of burying real-world opinions with which we disagree.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (4, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#40762213)

Increasing longevity would presumably increase the useful working life of a person too. That increases taxes. Every year you get out of a person before they retire is another nine months they can "live for free" once they do retire (think about it - you work for, say, 45 years and you're retired for, what? 20-30?). Assuming that longevity also brings increase in health and working ages (which historically it has done - people used to die before they reached 30, now 65 is the retirement age!)

As people get live longer, they also feel less need to breed immediately. This means fewer children, more widely spaced. This is why women are now putting off having children until into their thirties while a few generations ago that was impossible and they were more likely pregnant before 20. This, however, means that not only are there fewer children to support, but fewer working adults to support the generation about them later on (so it's 50-50).

But there are numerous unquantifiable side-benefits. Living longer as an individual means that things like scientific research can go on for longer. We don't lose talent just through old-age. We keep geniuses around who have 50+ years experience of quantum physics, who can teach the next generation. This also means better education, better research, but comes at the cost of longer-held positions, less job opportunities, and longer time spent in education.

So, basically, it's not an all-lose situation. Longevity has been increasing for centuries, if not millennia. It has advantages and disadvantages that, on the whole, balance out and even provide "profit".

The problem we have is not longevity, per se - it's failing to adequately save for that retirement when working, and stopping working too early because we've hit an arbitrary age. The UK health system is also set up to encourage people to not save for private healthcare, which can be a problem when it comes to an ageing population (but I wouldn't give it up for the world, despite all the problems with it!) - other systems fare better under this sort of strain.

Longer lives do not mean longer retirements, necessarily. If it works out, it means longer working life, shorter retirements, better pension coverage and MORE tax, not less.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#40762395)

"Increasing longevity would presumably increase the useful working life of a person too."

65 year old: Doctor, I'm here for my pre-retirement check.
Doctor: One moment, I have to give you this shot first. (gives him the needle)
65 year old: What was that for?
Doctor: Well, it's good news and bad news.
65 year old: How come?
Doctor: Well, the good news is that you will now live to a ripe age of 500 years!
65 year old: And the bad news?
Doctor: Well, you have to go back to work for the next 420 years!

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#40762945)

Well, some people would consider that twice the good news. I know I would.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762981)

It isn't a bad news if your life is generally positive. Remember, you can always jump off a bridge if you had enough.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#40764979)

Where should I sign ?

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2)

slashmojo (818930) | about 2 years ago | (#40762757)

Also of course living (much) longer means long space journeys and ultimately colonization becomes more likely.

Being able to take a much longer view for big projects could open up all sorts of new opportunities that don't get much attention these days since people generally like to live long enough to see the fruits of their labours.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

dak664 (1992350) | about 2 years ago | (#40763515)

That assumes there are jobs available whereby those people can produce more than they consume. But if there are a decreasing number of productive jobs, more workers means more unemployed or doing work that is ultimately a drain on the economy like taking in other people's washing. Productive jobs are limited by resources, and most of the world is well past the point where more workers would allow more resource extraction.

At some point humans will have to come to grips with a sustainable population and economy. It won't be pretty.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

virg_mattes (230616) | about 2 years ago | (#40841947)

Productive jobs are limited by resources, and most of the world is well past the point where more workers would allow more resource extraction.

Where'd you pick up this gem? It's not true, so it blows you idea to pieces. There are lots of jobs that don't involve resource extraction. Accounting is a great example, where the job is to maximize efficiency in the use of resources, or teaching, which is only resource-driven if you're small-minded enough to think that any given person is interchangeable with another (which is also where the "produce more than they consume" canard springs from).

Virg

Re:Why's this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40764973)

Increasing longevity would presumably increase the useful working life of a person too.

It's not clear to me that's the case. People are living longer today, and also working longer. Arguably they're healthier. But do they really have the energy to keep usefully working past traditional retirement age? Or are they clinging on to earn enough money to make it through retirement?

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | about 2 years ago | (#40762225)

Yes, on reaching a certain age everyone should enter a competition on some carousel-like thing...

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#40769049)

You never know, you may win the lottery!

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | about 2 years ago | (#40762227)

From a societal standpoint, it's not good to have elderly around, draining resources and hogging housing. In the UK recently, the elderly are "selfishly" (not my words, the government's) continuing to occupy family homes judged to be too large for them. There has been a drive to confiscate old people's houses as they have too many bedrooms, and multiple families could be housed in the same place. It's only the old people's selfishness that makes them want to live in such extravagant surroundings. The government pays fair market price for the dwelling, evicts the occupant into more suitably sized housing, and society benefits. The elderly consume fantastically large amounts of healthcare to allow them to live to such an advanced age. The best thing for society as a whole is for people to pass on just after they cease contributing taxes to the system. That way, much money is saved on pensions, social welfare, hospital care, and so on. In fact, in many cases, euthanasia is a preferable solution to old age, as is done routinely in The Netherlands.

Given all this, why is increasing longevity a good thing? How does it help society? Taxes cannot be paid by people who don't work.

Before you click that "-1 Troll" button, think about it for a moment. Attempt to formulate a thinking response. This isn't a troll, this is how many rational, educated people in government think about the elderly problem. Let's have some real discussion instead of burying real-world opinions with which we disagree.

Let's see how you personally feel about what you just stated... when you get to be in your 70s. I'm there and I have neither health problems nor the desire to kill myself.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762433)

The best thing for society as a whole is for people to pass on just after they cease contributing taxes to the system.

That is an infringement of whoever holds the rights to the "Logan's Run" franchise.

This isn't a troll, this is how many rational, educated people in government think about the elderly problem.

Why does It take at least 5000km of saltwater for a person to recognize that (s)he is an INDIVIDUAL, not some cog in a machine.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#40762633)

Nobody's talking about that. You're talking about yourself - much like the elderly in the UK, you can't see societal problems and can only think on a selfish basis. We're talking about society as a whole - and how society can best achieve goals laid out by the government. If you're living in a 5 bedroom house with your wife and people are living in tents elsewhere, it benefits more people for you to move to an apartment and allow the government to apportion the vacant housing to more deserving members of society.

Likewise, it's selfish to consume healthcare resources like a privileged person when so many go without. Do a search on "bed blockers" to see the problems that the elderly cause. [google.com] Can you really say that few deserve to live at tremendous cost, only to allow many others to suffer due to the fact that resources are not available for their care? People with high dependency indices, low cognitive function, and high rates of disease? How would you best allocate healthcare resources if you worked for the government?

Again, not my thinking, not a -1 Troll, these are the conclusions that highly qualified government workers - people with Ph.Ds - have reached. Ignore them at your peril. Do you honestly think you have the qualifications to argue, much less contradict them? Indeed, your entire post seems to be entirely selfish, as it refers to your own situation and totally ignores the less fortunate. In America, healthcare depends on ability to pay, which you seem to have. In other civilized countries, healthcare is apportioned fairly.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2)

arobatino (46791) | about 2 years ago | (#40762229)

Given all this, why is increasing longevity a good thing? How does it help society? Taxes cannot be paid by people who don't work.

It should actually be possible to save money, since people would need to spend a smaller fraction of their life in formal education, as opposed to paid work. This only requires 1) an increase in healthy life expectancy, and 2) the retirement age is increased accordingly.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2)

fleeped (1945926) | about 2 years ago | (#40762357)

This isn't a troll, this is how many rational, educated people in government think about the elderly problem. Let's have some real discussion instead of burying real-world opinions with which we disagree.

So I assume these rational and educated people, after they retire, they would live in a small flat for a few years and would happily give their lives away to save money for the goverment? I don't think that's the case dude. Working for the better part of your life, and when you can't work you should die? Well if you support that, start with your parents. Let us know how that goes :)

Re:Why's this a good thing? (3, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40762379)

In the UK recently, the elderly are "selfishly" (not my words, the government's) continuing to occupy family homes judged to be too large for them. There has been a drive to confiscate old people's houses as they have too many bedrooms, and multiple families could be housed in the same place.

Isn't that what real estate property tax is for? To drive out the elderly from property that has increased in value?

Of course, if you live in California with proposition 13, that's no longer how it works anymore.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#40762401)

Solving a societal problem by the death of people who are causing the problem is contrary to what our society is about.

This is the less trollish and flamebait answer I can find. If our social model does not allow for older people who want to live to survive longer, it is a sign that we must change our social model. I agree that higher longevity will cause troubles, but these are solvable problems. If we didn't accept to change our societies to improve them, we would still have slaves, routine torture of prisoners, death penalty (sorry if you live in US) and no labor laws.

I know that my grandfather would have happily given all his belongings to get a few more years with his new friends, so surely, there is a solution.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762675)

Well, with the same logic, why not kill all those who are unemployed, sick, in prison, not contributing anything worthwhile to society, ....
Instead of spending money on shitty countries in Africa, why not kill them all? Less HIV, less famine, less pollution, less immigrants, ...
Would solve a lot of problems, wouldn't it?
Or we could also kill all the Mexicans. After all, that would solve the drug wars.
Or kill all the Arabs or the Israelis. Either one would solve most if not all the problems in the Middle East.
You've definitely convinced me. That's certainly how rational, educated people in government think.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762857)

I can certainly see where you are coming from, but just like the age of retirement and puberty problem, none of those are the same for everybody.
Some reach puberty and an age where they can't work long before or long after the averages. In fact, those edge cases are growing in numbers massively in both the earlier and later ages, respectively.

Hell, my grandfather is 81 and he is only just now starting to feel the effects of age, memory problems, sore joints at that. These are typically the first to go.
I'm sure I remember seeing some guy a while back who was 92 and in pretty much fantastic health, besides the always present decayed skin surface and hairs. (I'm 25 and have gray hairs, so it isn't exactly something out of the ordinary, hair appears to be damaged so easily with age)

Not everyone at those ages are decrepit and broken. Not all of them are confused by the difference between 1 and blue. And not all of them forgot they just took a step.

The biggest problem with society is AGE OF RETIREMENT. It is the biggest drain causer.
It shouldn't be age of retirement, it should be age of retiring from high risk jobs.
So many people after that age are PERFECTLY capable of doing things.
But they just force people to retire unless they are of exceptional value to a profession that isn't high risk. (teaching in particular, my physics teacher was 82, perfectly capable guy and damn smart, if only a little shaky in moving)
Averages don't work well with biology. It is basic biology and essentially one of the biggest main points you learn. But so many cases of society are based on averages like this.
Worse, being forced to retire typically actually makes people WORSE off because it gives them nothing to do and they literally vegetate in their own home till they die. Even just removing a standard walking around job can absolutely wreck a persons body if they end up stuck in a home all day doing nothing.
Society is the main problem with old age. Not old age.

Also yes, euthanasia should be made legal in the UK.
So many people suffer horrible lives due to illness.
I'm not sure how that case is going for the guy in the wheelchair who is almost all but paralyzed, similar to Stephen Hawking.
If it goes ahead, it could change everything

Re:Why's this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762899)

If we judge people on their simply ability to pay taxes, we have failed.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 2 years ago | (#40763839)

You are assuming that the only value of a person is the work you can get out of them.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40770759)

You are assuming that the only value of a person is the work you can get out of them.

Welcome to government. Yes that is how they think. Work (taxes) and votes. We're just semi-useful furniture to them. Have been ever since the statesman gave way to the career politician.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#40764237)

From a rational standpoint, yes, the elderly don't produce much and consume a great deal.

On the other hand, what price would you accept to kill your grandmother or mother (depending on your age) if there were no legal consequences for doing so? Because that's ultimately what you're talking about is a situation where Grandma is dead, and you get more money. Us humans have a strong moral aversion to killing people, especially blood relatives, and for most of us profit isn't motivation enough.

A few other reasons to not kill people once they retire:
1. Some people continue to work professionally even if they're officially semi-retired. For instance, my 86-year-old grandmother is still doing research as a professor emeritas that's well regarded in her field. Retired Supreme Court Justices often fill in for lower court judges. Retired CEOs will frequently serve on corporate boards.

2. Even those who don't work professionally often help out in the community in other ways. They help take care of their grandkids, or volunteer for charitable and religious groups, or get involved in neighborhood improvement.

3. The prospect of retirement motivates people to work towards the end of their careers.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40765167)

From a societal standpoint, it's not good to have elderly around

Evolution proves you wrong. The elderly are a store of knowledge and wisdom that the young can't possibly have, except when imparted by the elderly.

For example, they'll tell you things that the history books neglect. Example: the RoaringTwenties. The history books say it was a prosperous decade. My grandmother, who was born in 1903, disagreed. It was indeed a boom time -- for the rich. Everyone else was struggling.

When you get older you see the tides change and the pendulum swing. Those in their twenties would think that we're on the edge of doom, but things always change. The tides go up, the tides go down.

It's only the old people's selfishness that makes them want to live in such extravagant surroundings

Yet it's ok for a young rich couple to live in a mansion? Sounds hypocritical to me.

The elderly consume fantastically large amounts of healthcare to allow them to live to such an advanced age

I'm 60 and haven't been to a doctor in five years. My dad's 80, and he's been only a few times in the last decade. Health care doesn't keep one alive until age 100, good genes do. Note the Frederick Pohl is still writing, in his nineties. What about the young man who gets a bullet in the spine in Afghanistan? Just kill him, too? Sorry, son, but you sound like a heartless bastard, and not very bright, either, and completely lacking in wisdom.

When you approach my age, be assured that your opinion will change. Maybe... there are old fools, after all. But most fools die young.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40771135)

Evolution proves you wrong. The elderly are a store of knowledge and wisdom that the young can't possibly have, except when imparted by the elderly.

I work in retail. I deal with the general public, a diverse group, black, white, asian, young, old, you name it.

It's a big store, part of a well known national chain. There are lots of different products. I diligently assist anyone who wants assistance. That's part of my job. I try my best to do a good job. If I don't know something, I find somebody who does.

It's a rare that anyone under the age of 50 wants assistance. For the ones over 50, I only occasionally get a "good question". By "good question" I mean that the answer to it is non-obvious and I can understand how someone who does not work there wouldn't automatically know it. Even if I am more than generous with how that definition is applied, a good question from the over-50 crowd is still a rare event.

The overwhelming majority of the time, old people ask me where something is when they are standing right in front of it. The sign for the display is larger than any symbol, writing, or other identifier on my uniform or name tag. Often the item they are looking for is also more visible. They just don't notice.

I am merely reporting my repeatable, predictable, everyday experience. Now, I try to be fair-minded about people. I don't believe the over-50 people are stupid. I know the ones I deal with are not visually impaired because they can single me out and flag me down from quite a distance. I think they are perfectly capable of noticing large, clearly labelled, brightly colored objects that are right in front of them. The fact that most of them drove a car to get there is consistent with this. Most of these people are not feeble old grandmas with walkers. Most of them are quite able-bodied. So how to explain the behavior?

Simply put, servitude is like an addictive drug to them. It's not that they could not notice something obvious. They could. It's that they enjoy burdening the staff needlessly because they get some kind of thrill from having a captive audience. It makes them feel special or important. It validates the sense of entitlement they tend to have. The more absurd the request, the more superior they feel knowing that the staff are not allowed to refuse. The ones who don't make us perform some kind of absurdly simple task for them just find something to complain about and will happily take up lots of time doing that, even when they can see that other customers are waiting.

The staff are like a subservient underclass that they enjoy taking advantage of. It really does get absurd and this is an everyday event. Now here is my question for you: how am I supposed to see this kind of selfishness and inability to show the slightest kindness or compassion to others, and then consider these people to be wise?

I do care about how my actions affect other people. When I am the customer, I regard the staff as equals. If I genuinely need something, I ask for help, but if my need is not genuine, if it is in fact frivolous and trivial, then I take care of it myself out of compassion for other people. I don't want to needlessly waste someone else's time if there is no reason for it. They are not my slaves or my butlers. They are people providing a service. I felt that way long before I took a job in retail. I consider it a minimum standard of basic decency. It's not something anyone had to tell me to do.

I don't feel like I am going out on a limb at all when I say, the vast majority of old people I deal with have less wisdom than I do. They don't want respect. They want submission. They are so meek and quiet out on the street and so haughty and proud when I am their captive audience because they don't seem to know how to deal with anybody without some kind of advantage. There are exceptions, and I cherish those. I really respect those people. I think you may be one of those, so nothing I am saying here is intended to describe you. But can you understand what I am saying here?

I really do believe the Baby Boomers will be rememberd by posterity as the single most selfish generation we've seen in centuries. Bankrupting the nation their grandchildren will inhereit is only the easily measurable financial side of it. Above I describe the less quantifiable aspects of the same mentality. If you can say something, anything, that might change my mind about this, or put it into a perspective that makes it less ... contemptible ... well, I would really be grateful.

Re:Why's this a good thing? (1)

ckaminski (82854) | about 2 years ago | (#40767381)

Who the fuck cares if they pay taxes or not. By your metric, anyone who's poor should off themselves too, since they don't pay any taxes (appreciable per capita, anyway).

Fuck off Troll.

Right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762185)

Okay, sounds good. Oh by the way, I'm personally offering a $10 billion prize to the first team to send 100 people aged 100 or older to colonize Mars at a cost of $1,000 a piece.

Judging accuracy (1)

WSOGMM (1460481) | about 2 years ago | (#40762243)

From TFA:

Clifford Reid, chief executive of Complete Genomics, worries that it will be difficult for the judges to assess the accuracy of the newly sequenced genomes. “The technologies participating in the competition are the only technologies for judging the competition,” he says, adding that he is hopeful that contest organizers can come up with “a clever solution that makes everyone happy”.

Couldn't they just give all of the teams a set of identical DNA (for instance, the teams unknowingly share the DNA of 10 individuals) and compare the sequenced genomes to get an idea of how accurate they are?

Re:Judging accuracy (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40762377)

Couldn't they just give all of the teams a set of identical DNA (for instance, the teams unknowingly share the DNA of 10 individuals) and compare the sequenced genomes to get an idea of how accurate they are?

They could, but I don't think the point of the "competition" is to find the most worthy winner, but to get research and algorithms for near free.

Re:Judging accuracy (1)

Iron (III) Chloride (922186) | about 2 years ago | (#40762513)

We already would've gotten the research (and possibly the algorithms, the assemblers for some of the commercial instruments are open-source, if I recall correctly) for free since the companies would've been published their results either way (or for whatever the cost is for you to access the publications), so I don't think that was the motivation for having the competition.

Re:Judging accuracy (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40762613)

We already would've gotten the research

Read the rules. Two genomes will be publicized, 110 will not.

Re:Judging accuracy (1)

Iron (III) Chloride (922186) | about 2 years ago | (#40771127)

I'm actually having some trouble finding anything along the lines of "two genomes will be publicized, 110 will not" in the rules and guidelines (obtained from http://genomics.xprize.org/sites/genomics.xprize.org/files/docs/AGXP_Competition_Guidelines.pdf [xprize.org] ). In addition, I don't see why there would be any restriction on publication once the genomes have been de-anonymized, regardless of whether a competition was organized. While the technology behind the instrumentation may be proprietary, the resulting sequences most certainly will not be, given that they were not previously invented.

epigenetic data may be more important (3, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | about 2 years ago | (#40762247)

inherited state (Lamarck wasn't totally wrong, it seems) and life history changes to the gene expression may matter as much, or more, than the raw nuclear and mitochondrial sequence.

anyone know of a low-cost tool to capture that data?

Re:epigenetic data may be more important (3, Informative)

Iron (III) Chloride (922186) | about 2 years ago | (#40762487)

ChIP-seq and bisulfite sequencing are used to capture histone modifications and 5-methylcytosines, two of the most heavily-studied epigenetic marks. Being that they're variations of "vanilla" sequencing (even though raising good antibodies can be moderately expensive), I'd say they're fairly low-cost.

Loopholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762361)

While I'm sure that the X Prize Foundation has the best intentions in mind, it's important to notice that there is are least two rather glaring loopholes in their guidelines (http://genomics.xprize.org/sites/genomics.xprize.org/files/docs/AGXP_Competition_Guidelines.pdf). That is, one could easily reduce the cost to completely sequence those 100 competition genomes by contracting, e.g., with Illumina or Complete Genomics, to run a much larger order, say, 2000+ test subject samples, to significantly lower the cost. A second option would be to procure, through nefarious means, the CMOS/PCB designs to an existing machine, e.g., the Ion Photon I, then produce enough units so that the dominating price in the genome sequencing is simply that of the reagents and the bare manufacturing costs of the device.

Re:Loopholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40766687)

While I'm sure that the X Prize Foundation has the best intentions in mind, it's important to notice that there is are least two rather glaring loopholes in their guidelines (http://genomics.xprize.org/sites/genomics.xprize.org/files/docs/AGXP_Competition_Guidelines.pdf). That is, one could easily reduce the cost to completely sequence those 100 competition genomes by contracting, e.g., with Illumina or Complete Genomics, to run a much larger order, say, 2000+ test subject samples, to significantly lower the cost.

Economies of scale have reduced the cost of sequencing a genome, but not to $1000 with any technology currently for sale. And the idea of one of the competitors contracting with another (potential) competitor is just bizarre. You don't enter a footrace and then hire one of your competitors to run the race for you.

A second option would be to procure, through nefarious means, the CMOS/PCB designs to an existing machine, e.g., the Ion Photon I, then produce enough units so that the dominating price in the genome sequencing is simply that of the reagents and the bare manufacturing costs of the device.

You mean the Ion Proton. And good luck with your plan. Assuming you can even procure or reverse-engineer the design of a technology like this, it is another thing entirely to go through all the trials of manufacturing and testing to the point where you have something as reliable as the real thing. You really think you can do that by September 2013?

Disclosure: I work for a company that makes genetic-sequencing technologies.

Re:Loopholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40766855)

A second option would be to procure, through nefarious means, the CMOS/PCB designs to an existing machine, e.g., the Ion Photon I, then produce enough units so that the dominating price in the genome sequencing is simply that of the reagents and the bare manufacturing costs of the device.

You mean the Ion Proton. And good luck with your plan. Assuming you can even procure or reverse-engineer the design of a technology like this, it is another thing entirely to go through all the trials of manufacturing and testing to the point where you have something as reliable as the real thing. You really think you can do that by September 2013?

I forgot to mention that patent issues would make your plan a non-starter anyway.

Gold-backed Dollar meant less stress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762393)

In the USA, these people worked when work paid because the dollar was backed by gold. The retired before the Nixon Shock. More likely than not, these were union members that fought for everything that made the middle class possible. More likely than not, these people served in WW2 and/or Korea, so there are VA benefits come into play.

* Gold-backed US Dollar in their working years
* Union membership
* Military service (conscription or enlistment) benefits
* Medical care improvements throughout their retirement years meant Medicare paid for all the technological advancements during that period

These made longevity possible. The succeeding generation may not live that long by reason of globalism making people work harder for less.

Good way to fund applied science (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 2 years ago | (#40762429)

Get it done, or no money. I kinda like that actually.

Obviously, this won't work for fundamental sciences, but more applied sciences can be funded this way. I'm thinking of practical engineering and design types of research, which all too often get side tracked by unsolved fundamental questions.

when the fug is mountain lion hitting the appstore (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762447)

it's mother fucking 7 am already where the fuck is this shit, i've been waiting all morning for the bitch

Re:when the fug is mountain lion hitting the appst (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40763193)

Finally, the long awaited argument for decreasing the human life span. Well done!

Long Foundation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40762583)

R.A.H. would be pleased.

Re:Long Foundation (1)

VAXcat (674775) | about 2 years ago | (#40764687)

He would be...but not of your memory. It's the Howard Foundation, not the Long Foundation. Lazarus Long was a member of the Howard families, and Lazarus Long wasn't even his real name, just one he adopted during the Masquerade. His real name was Woodrow Wilson Smith. it's funny this is starting in 2012, because, in the assorted Lazarus Long based books, the Howard Family members often mention the mysterious goings-on that happened at the Howard Families annual meeting in 2012.

adv (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40763389)

what Michelle said I'm blown away that you able to profit $6099 in 1 month on the internet. did you see this web page makecash16.com

Coming soon... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 2 years ago | (#40763463)

A pretty young girl whose business card reads "The Howard Foundation" shows up at the bedside of several male subjects and says with a wink, "Have I got a deal for you."

Lazarus Long hides today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40764089)

Also, they are far more likely to sequence a whole bunch of mutations, as the older you get, the more mutations you acquire.
But at least they won't be deadly, cancerous mutations.

P.S. Lazarus Long is a Robert Heinlein character that was basically immortal, in part because he was the result of a foundation's attempt to breed long lived people. Despite being born in the 20th century, he lived long enough for medical technology to advance to the point where they could cure old age.

Re:Lazarus Long hides today. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40767843)

P.S. Lazarus Long is a Robert Heinlein character that was basically immortal, in part because he was the result of a foundation's attempt to breed long lived people. Despite being born in the 20th century, he lived long enough for medical technology to advance to the point where they could cure old age.

Even amongst the Howard Families, he was a freak. He did not get any treatment until he was several hundred years old as I recall, and his children far outlasted any of their peers. He even got to screw his mom, GO RAH!

sequence soma or germ cells? (1)

peter303 (12292) | about 2 years ago | (#40765393)

After a century the soma cells are going to accumulate a significant number of mutation errors. The bad mutation become cancer or sencenence cells.

Think of the Children! (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | about 2 years ago | (#40765957)

With all of these old people around what will happen to future generations of young people? Where will they play? The entire surface of the earth will be carpeted with lawns choked with past generations frisbees and balls. Think of the children!

I heart old people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40766603)

They will identify genes that correlate with:
1. an outsize sense of rational living: some exercise, balanced food, but not too extreme on either
2. a pleasant personality that facilitates the creation and maintenance of long-term social activities and relationships.

I operate on a lot of centagenerians and that is what they have in common.

Re:I heart old people (1)

Thundaaa Struk (1375331) | about 2 years ago | (#40767089)

Everyday before going to work, I tell gammy she needs to mine ore, gold, diamonds and wood for me in MineCraft while I am away. I better see some full chests or else I'm breaking hips!!!!! Who said old people can't be useful.

"kicks off"? (1)

Speare (84249) | about 2 years ago | (#40767221)

Was I the only person who thought the phrase "kicks off" was a bit ambiguous when talking about centenarians?
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...