How to age more slowly

Centenarians reach age 100 because they age more slowly. Genetics play a part in resisting damage that accumulates over time, but there are things anyone can do to slow the aging process and improve health.

According to Israeli physician Nir Barzilai of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York:

“There is no pattern. The usual recommendations for a healthy life — not smoking, not drinking, plenty of exercise, a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight down — they apply to us average people. But not to them. Centenarians are in a class of their own.” …

“Today’s changes in lifestyle do in fact contribute to whether someone dies at the age of 85 or before age 75.

But in order to reach the age of 100, you need a special genetic make-up. These people age differently. Slower. They end up dying of the same diseases that we do — but 30 years later and usually quicker, without languishing for long periods.”


We know people who live longer have genetic differences because, for example, the sibling of a centenarian is four times more likely to live past 90 than the general population. (Link)

“There’s a reasonably strong genetic component to becoming a centenarian, and we want to find out what that is,” said study researcher Stuart Kim, a professor in the Department of Developmental Biology and Genetics at Sanford University. “We’re beginning to unravel the mystery” of why some people age so successfully compared to the normal population…


Genes can predict lifespan, to a point.

Using a specific set of genetic markers, scientists predicted with 77-percent accuracy whether someone would live to a very old age.

… researchers compared the genomes of 1,055 centenarians (average age of 103) with those of non-centenarian controls.

They identified differences in the genetic code, known as genetic variants or markers, that were common in centenarians but not in the average population.

Using a computer model, they found 150 of these markers could predict 77 percent of the time whether a person lived into their late 90s and beyond.

Additionally, they saw 90 percent of the centenarians could be categorized into one of 19 groups based on which genetic variants they had. In other words, each group had a distinguishing “genetic signature” made up of certain genetic markers.

Differences in these genetic signatures may relate to differences in the way extreme longevity manifests itself. For instance, some genetic signatures were associated with extremely old age (living 110 years or more), while others were associated with a late onset of diseases such as dementia. …

This results suggests “that what makes people live very long lives is not a lack of genetic predisposition to diseases, but rather an arrangement of longevity associated variants that may be protective, it may even cancel the negative effect of disease-associated variants,” said study researcher Paola Sebastiani, of Boston University School of Public Health, who also spoke at the briefing.


Might a genetically altered human with ingredients from each of those 19 groups live a super long time? I like to believe that there was a real Methuselah population with 900 year lifespans. Perhaps today there are only scattered genetic remnants, manifesting in our oldest aged.

There are several “immortal” animals (link) on earth, like the jellyfish, Turritopsis dohrnii. There’s also that 500 year old clam:

Ming (c. 1499 – 2006) was a nickname given to a specimen of the ocean quahog clam (Arctica islandica, family Veneridae), that was dredged off the coast of Iceland in 2006 and whose age was calculated by counting annual growth lines in the shell. Ming was the oldest individual (non-colonial) animal ever discovered whose age could be accurately determined.


Closer to home, our own nerve cells do not divide and reproduce as our other cells do. They appear to be immortal, as long as they have the needed support system.

“Neurons do not have a fixed lifespan,” says Magrassi. “They may survive forever. It’s the body that contains them that die. If you put them in a longer-living body, they survive as long as the new body allows them to. It increases our hope that extending lifespan will not necessarily result in brain depleted of neurons.”


This makes the idea of having your brain transplanted into a new body more interesting.

Theoretically, a person with advanced organ failure could be given a new and functional body while keeping their own personality, memories, and consciousness through such a procedure.


It also gives a reason to examine the potential longevity of your current body. What genetics are associated with living past 100 years old?

Long-lived men … exhibited several biological markers indicative of greater insulin sensitivity and this was associated with homozygosity for the FOXO3A GG genotype.


You can find out if you have this with a simple $200 saliva test.

What good can this do you if you don’t have longevity genes? Can you age more slowly regardless of your genes? What is aging, anyway?

There are seven biological reasons we age:

  1. Loss of cells that we need.
  2. Accumulation of cells we don’t need.
  3. DNA mutations in the cell nucleus.
  4. DNA mutations in cell mitochondria
  5. Accumulation of “junk” in cells.
  6. Accumulation of “junk” outside of cells.
  7. Formation of cross-linked proteins outside cells

To age more slowly, do things to keep your system running clean and to improve your insulin sensitivity. Insulin takes sugar out of the blood and into the cells where it is used.

Insulin sensitivity is how effective the body is as using insulin to reduce elevated blood glucose levels, with a greater efficacy being more ‘sensitivity’ and poorer efficacy being more ‘resistant’. When the body becomes too poor at using insulin to reduce blood glucose levels, type II diabetes ensues.


You need to understand that sugar (glucose) doesn’t just make people fat and cause tooth decay. Your blood reaches and feeds nearly every part of your body and sugar in your blood causes oxidative damage over time.

Glucose or fructose in your blood will bond to fats or proteins in your body. This  is glycation, a haphazard process that impairs the functioning of biomolecules. The body does not use energy (ATP) for these bonds.

This forms advanced glycation end products (commonly shortened, appropriately, to AGEs), which cause protein fibers to become stiff and malformed. Much of what is known about glycation’s ill effects comes from diabetes research: The connective-tissue damage and chronic inflammation resulting from diabetics’ sustained high blood sugar can lead to debilitating conditions, such as cataracts, Alzheimer’s, vascular tightening, and diseases of the pancreas and liver.


Advanced glycation end products induce reactive oxygen species generation. (Link)

To deal with glycation, first stop consuming high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar. Daily strength training (such as weight lifting) will help sugar out of your blood and into your muscles. You could also take supplemental carnosine, but only the real thing works and there are fakes.

A Russian study on mice subsequently showed that mice given carnosine are twice as likely to reach their maximum lifespan as untreated mice. Carnosine also significantly reduces the outward “signs of old age.” … Glycation is the uncontrolled reaction of sugars with proteins. It’s kind of like what happens to sugars when you heat them and they caramelize.  … (Carnosine) works as an antioxidant to prevent the formation of oxidized sugars, also called Advanced Glycosylation End-products or AGEs for short. … Carnosine has been proven to reduce or completely prevent cell damage caused by beta-amyloid (AKA amyloid-beta, amyloid ß-protein, and Aß), one of the prime suspected protein risk factors for Alzheimer’s. … carnosine lowers elevated blood sugar levels, improves insulin production and sensitivity, and promotes the loss of weight and body fat. … treatment with L-carnosine enhanced wound healing significantly.


The better your insulin sensitivity, the slower your body will age.

I currently take carnitine (and coQ10), is carnitine the same as carnosine? No.

Carnitine and carnosine are both composed of amino acids, but from different ones. Carnitine is synthesized from lysine and methionine, while carnosine is made from alanine and histidine. The best sources for carnitine and carnosine are meat, dairy, poultry and fish, but they’re also available as supplements.

Carnitine burns fat by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria inside cells, where the fats are converted into energy. It also transports toxic wastes out of the mitochondria. Large concentrations of carnitine are found in skeletal and cardiac muscle. Carnitine may help lower the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy and reduce the symptoms of an overactive thyroid.

Carnosine functions as an antioxidant in the brain, nervous system and skeletal muscle. While they don’t know the exact way it works, it’s also a chelating agent that removes excess amounts of zinc and copper from the body. Studies suggest is helps cataracts and improves wound healing.

Carnitine and carnosine may help slow the progression of age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. A study in the March 2011 edition of “PLoS One” by Carlo Corona et al. indicates that carnosine reduces the accumulation of amyloid tangles that cause Alzheimer’s. Carnitine slows the progression of memory loss by enhancing memory-related proteins, according to researched published by Xia Jiang et al. in the June 2011 edition of the “Journal of Neurochemistry.” They also provide cardiovascular benefits, but in different ways. Evidence suggests that carnosine reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and lowers cholesterol, while carnitine relieves symptoms of angina and peripheral vascular disease.


Just watch out for low blood pressure symptoms from taking carnosine, especially if you already have low blood pressure.

Good luck.

Flying car predicted in three years (only $14M)

By 2020, we could finally have our flying car. A new drone created by the Israeli firm Urban Aeronautics can carry passengers, ferrying up to 1100 pounds at speeds of up to 115 miles per hour, according to Reuters.

Around the size of a regular car, the Cormorant AUV (named after the aquatic bird) completed its first solo flight in November – mostly successfully, although there were some issues with onboard sensors. Although it hasn’t yet met all FAA standards, Urban Aeronautics CEO Rafi Yoeli notes that, thanks to the 39 patents they’ve filed, they’re way ahead of the competition.

The vehicle has an estimated cost of about $14 million, and is scheduled for a 2020 release.

The drone uses internal rotors instead of propellers, so unlike a helicopter, it can fly between buildings and among power lines safely. It could potentially be used as a kind of drone ambulance, evacuating the wounded from conflicts or disasters where it might be dangerous to send pilots, or to deliver people into spaces too tight for a helicopter to navigate.


Would it fly just as well with a circular body? 


Regeneration of human skin, a step closer

Will gray hair and wrinkles be optional in our lifetime?

Doctors have found a way to manipulate wounds to heal as regenerated skin rather than scar tissue. The method involves transforming the most common type of cells found in wounds into fat cells – something that was previously thought to be impossible in humans. Researchers began this work at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, which led to a large-scale, multi-year study in connection with the Plikus Laboratory for Developmental and Regenerative Biology at the University of California, Irvine. They published their findings online in the journal Science on Thursday, January 5th, 2017.
Fat cells called adipocytes are normally found in the skin, but they’re lost when wounds heal as scars. The most common cells found in healing wounds are myofibroblasts, which were thought to only form a scar. Scar tissue also does not have any hair follicles associated with it, which is another factor that gives it an abnormal appearance from the rest of the skin. Researchers used these characteristics as the basis for their work – changing the already present myofibroblasts into fat cells that do not cause scarring.
“Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring,” said George Cotsarelis, MD, the chair of the Department of Dermatology and the Milton Bixler Hartzell Professor of Dermatology at Penn, and the principal investigator of the project. “The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.”
The study showed hair and fat develop separately but not independently. Hair follicles form first, and the Cotsarelis lab previously discovered factors necessary for their formation. Now they’ve discovered additional factors actually produced by the regenerating hair follicle to convert the surrounding myofibroblasts to regenerate as fat instead of forming a scar. That fat will not form without the new hairs, but once it does, the new cells are indistinguishable from the pre-existing fat cells, giving the healed wound a natural look instead of leaving a scar.

As they examined the question of what was sending the signal from the hair to the fat cells, researchers identified a factor called Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP). It instructs the myofibroblasts to become fat. This signaling was groundbreaking on its own, as it changed what was previously known about myofibroblasts.
“Typically, myofibroblasts were thought to be incapable of becoming a different type of cell,” Cotsarelis said. “But our work shows we have the ability to influence these cells, and that they can be efficiently and stably converted into adipocytes.” This was shown in both the mouse and in human keloid cells grown in culture.

… These discoveries have the potential to be revolutionary in the field of dermatology. The first and most obvious use would be to develop a therapy that signals myofibroblasts to convert into adipocytes – helping wounds heal without scarring.

… But the increase of fat cells in tissue can also be helpful for more than just wounds. Adipocyte loss is a common complication of other conditions… The cells are also lost naturally because of the aging process, especially in the face, which leads to permanent, deep wrinkles, something anti-aging treatments can’t fix in a cosmetically satisfactory way.

“Our findings can potentially move us toward a new strategy to regenerate adipocytes in wrinkled skin, which could lead us to brand new anti-aging treatments,” Cotsarelis said. …


Until we can go in for skin regeneration treatments, there is vitamin C.

Marcus S. Cooke and G. Don Jones found that a form of Vitamin C helped to promote wound healing and also helped protect the DNA damage of skin cells.

Previously, the group has published evidence that DNA repair is upregulated in people consuming vitamin C supplements. The researchers have now provided some mechanistic evidence for this, in cell culture, using techniques such as Affymetrix microarray, for looking at gene expression, and the ‘Comet’ assay to study DNA damage and repair.

Duarte said, “The exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation increases in summer, often resulting in a higher incidence of skin lesions. Ultraviolet radiation is also a genotoxic agent responsible for skin cancer, through the formation of free radicals and DNA damage.

“Our study analysed the effect of sustained exposure to a vitamin C derivative, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate (AA2P), in human dermal fibroblasts. We investigated which genes are activated by vitamin C in these cells, which are responsible for skin regeneration.

“The results demonstrated that vitamin C may improve wound healing by stimulating quiescent fibroblasts to divide and by promoting their migration into the wounded area. Vitamin C could also protect the skin by increasing the capacity of fibroblasts to repair potentially mutagenic DNA lesions.”


Why not have real wind up cars?

Think about the implications of spring stored energy scaled up to real cars. Is it possible? An aspiring aerospace engineer blogging at Astrochara, shared with Truestrange a video of a mousetrap powered model car that will travel 60 feet. The plans are available so you can make one:

In my AP Physics class we were required to create a mousetrap car that was able to roll 45 feet in order to obtain a 100 test grade. I was quite excited by this challenge, and created a car that rolled a total of 60 feet on the first test run, only taking a total of 3 hours to build! Here, I will be instructing you how to build a successful mousetrap car.

Read more, instructions here:


Here is a video of this design in action.

A mousetrap car is a small vehicle whose only source of motive power is a mousetrap. Variations include the use of multiple traps, or very big rat traps, for added power.

Mousetrap cars are often used in physics or other physical science classes to help students build problem-solving skills, develop spatial awareness, learn to budget time, and practice cooperative behavior.


Damninteresting has an article on wind up cars:

Many hybrid cars use an interesting system called “regenerative braking” to recapture some of the energy which is wasted with conventional braking systems. On a typical car, each wheel has a rotor disk, and braking is accomplished by causing the brake pads to squeeze the rotor and create friction which slows the car, converting the forward momentum into waste heat. But a hybrid doesn’t use the brake pads at all unless you hit the brakes hard… Instead, the car’s momentum is used to crank its electric motors, which slows the car while recharging the onboard batteries.

This brilliantly simple system is part of why hybrid cars are so fuel efficient in stop-and-go traffic. But hybrids have their downsides… For one, a modern hybrid’s batteries only last 8-10 years on average, and they are extremely expensive to replace, on the order of $3000-7000. Battery disposal is also a sticky problem, since Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries contain hazardous chemicals. In addition, although hybrids save some weight by including a smaller gas engine, they add it all back by including the heavy electrical components: two electric motors and the batteries.

Could there be a way of usefully recapturing a car’s kinetic energy on deceleration without adding so much weight, and without the expense and environmental impact of batteries? What about a wind-up automobile?

… Ultimately, the real question is whether torsion energy storage is any more efficient than it’s electric hybrid cousin. Data indicates most electric hybrid regenerative braking systems work at less than 50% efficiency by the time the kinetic energy is converted into electricity, then put back into propelling the vehicle… but it is difficult to say what a torsion hybrid’s efficiency might be once friction is accounted for.


The energy efficiency of a vehicle is the ratio of the output energy to the input energy. A mousetrap is powered by a helical torsion spring. The stored energy in joules can be calculated. 

One estimate is roughly 1.2 joules with a 66% loss of energy to friction for another design. Link (pdf)

What are your thoughts on the feasibility of a torsion drive? 

Glass penny sells for $70,500

We don’t usually think about R&D done by the U.S. mint, but there have been many experiments.

A rare experimental glass penny made during World War II has netted a pretty penny at auction – selling for $70,500.

Heritage Auctions announced Friday that the penny was sold during Thursday’s auction based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to an American buyer who wishes to remain anonymous. During the war, copper was needed for ammunition. The U.S. Mint authorized tests that included making uncirculated pennies from other metals, plastic and rubber. The Blue Ridge Glass Co. in Tennessee made experimental pennies using tempered glass. The penny’s former owner, Roger Burdette, says the coins’ impressions weren’t precise, their weight and size weren’t uniform and they developed sharp edges. He says they were likely destroyed. 

The penny is likely unique since Burdette says only one other glass penny exists and it is broken. The Mint made 1943 pennies from low-grade steel covered in zinc.



The other is expected to sell for $30,000 or more at a public auction in Ft. Lauderdale, hosted by Heritage Auctions, on Thursday, January 5th.

“The present 1942 glass experimental piece is the only intact example discovered in nearly 75 years since the experiments,” said Mark Borckardt, Senior Numismatist and Cataloger at Heritage Auctions. “Although glass was never used for emergency U.S. coinage, this piece represents a unique artifact of the ingenuity and determination of Mint officials and private industry.”
The rare coin is made of tempered, yellow-amber transparent glass. It was re-discovered in 2016 by Roger W. Burdette, author of the book United States Pattern and Experimental Pieces of World War II, but its history remains a mystery.

“We know that before doing any of the work, Blue Ridge Glass had some of the employees carry some of the blanks in their pockets for a few days as a test, but the blanks chipped and created sharp edges,” Burdette said. “I think it would have been tough for the public to accept them as money.”

By the time the glass coins were ready for distribution in December 1942, it was already too late for the U.S. Mint to consider them as a viable replacement for the penny.

Today, pennies are made of zinc and copper-plated, giving them the familiar look Americans are used to.


Is Mbah Gotho 146 years old?

A centenarian who claims to be the world’s oldest man says he recently celebrated his 146th birthday. According to his ID card, Mbah Gotho, from Indonesia, was born on 31 December 1870. If this is accurate, he is the oldest person to have ever lived, taking the title from French Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 in 1997. Gotho reportedly celebrated his birthday alongside his grandson, Suryanto, his wife, Suwarni, and his great-grandchildren Erika Kurniawati and Anisa Kurniawati.

According to The Independent, when asked the secret to his longevity, Gotho said: “The recipe is just patience.”

He has outlived all 10 of his siblings, four of his wives and all of his children. According to the MailOnline, the Indonesian records office has confirmed Gotho’s birthdate as 31st December 1870.

However, the paperwork for his Indonesian ID card has yet to be independently verified, so it is currently unclear whether or not he’ll appear in official record books as the world’s oldest person.


Interesting that he has two names and one sounds a bit like superman.

Saparman Sodimejo, known more commonly as Mbah Gotho (born, reportedly, 31 December 1870) is an Indonesian man who is claimed to be the oldest person ever recorded. In May 2010, Solopos reported that enumerators of that year’s census had recorded his age next birthday as 142, which would make him 19 years older than the official oldest recorded person, Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997. The Liputan 6 website reported that Mbah Gotho’s estimated age was 140, that he could not remember his date of birth but claimed to remember the construction of a sugar factory built in Sragen in 1880.

In August 2016, after a television report on Liputan 6, numerous international media outlets reported Mbah Gotho’s claim, including photographs of his ID card (issued in 2014), which displays his claimed birth date. Although Indonesian officials at the local record office confirm the birth date there is no independent, third-party verification of his claimed age, which is required for the longevity claim to be recognized by record authorities such as Guinness World Records.

Robert Young of the Gerontology Research Group said the claimed age was “fiction”, “unbelievable” and “in the same category as Sasquatch [“Bigfoot”], the Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster.” 

The 2010 Liputan 6 story noted others of a similar claimed age including a woman named Maemunah and known as Ambu Unah, supposedly born in 1867, in Cimanuk, Pandeglang Regency.


He’s been ready to die for a while. 

… If the documents are true, that makes him significantly older than the verified oldest person in the world ever – a title that belongs to French woman Jeanne Calment who lived to be 122.

The super senior citizen from Sragen, Central Java, was recently interviewed by Liputan 6, and he said he has been through it all and would not mind passing on.

“What I want is to die. My grandchildren are all independent,” he told Liputan 6 on Tuesday.

Suryanto, Mbah Gotho’s grandson, said his grandfather has been preparing for his death ever since he was 122, but it never seemed to come.

He said: “The gravestone there was made in 1992. That was 24 years ago.”

In addition, Suryanto said Mbah Gotho’s family has already prepared a grave site for him – near his children’s graves.

Staff at the Indonesian records office have confirmed Mbah Gotho’s birth date, which is specified on his Indonesian ID card as December 31, 1870.

Whether or not he will ever be listed as the world’s oldest man however is open to question, as the paperwork has so far not been independently verified.

Born in 1870, he bought his own gravestone 20 years ago

If so he will join others without verifiable records who are believed to be older than Mbah Gotho – 171-year-old James Olofintuyi from Nigeria and 163-year-old Dhaqabo Ebba from Ethiopia.

These days, his grandchildren say Mbah Gotho mostly sits listening to the radio because his eyesight is too poor to watch TV.

For the past three months, he has had to be spoon-fed and bathed as he has become more frail.

When asked what his secret to longevity is, Mbah Gotho replied: “The recipe is just patience.”


How do we know that Mbah Gotho is  the same person as Saparman Sodimejo in the ID? I hope someone will check this out and verify. Here is a higher resolution photo: 

Here is some video of him:

Further back in time, there is a Japanese folk tale about an acupressure/accupunture point call Stomach 36 which increases longevity and a farmer named Manpei who lived 243 years.

A Japanese folk tale from the Edo era (1603-1867) about Farmer Manpei tells that when Manpei was asked whether he had any secret to maintaining long life, he answered that he had no secret other than burning Moxa on St-36 every day, just as his ancestors had done. It is recorded that Manpei lived 243 years; his wife, Taku, lived 242 and their son, Mankichi, lived 196 years.
In recent records, it is well known that Doctor Shimetaro Hara used to burn Moxa on his St-36 every day and he lived to be over 100 years of age.


Besting Manpei was Li Ching-Yuen, the amazing 256 year old man, supposedly.

When the Chinese herbalist Li Ching-Yuen died in 1933, newspapers around the world reported the news of his passing. According to his own testimony, he was 197 years old.

An investigation, however, suggested Li had forgotten his actual birthday. Official government records recorded the birth year as 1677, making him 256

… Wu Pei-fu, the warlord, took Li into his house to learn the secret of living to 250. Another pupil said Li told him to “keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.”

Link | Link

Man stopped going to work, no one noticed for 6 years

Here’s a strange news story from 2016 that I missed: A man stopped going to work – and nobody noticed for six years. 

A Spanish civil servant who failed to turn up for work for “at least” six years has been caught after becoming eligible for a long service award.
Joaquin Garcia, 69, was fined €27,000 (£21,000; $30,000) after the award brought his long absence to light.

Mr Garcia, whose job was to supervise the building of a waste water treatment plant, has since retired.

He denies the allegations and his lawyer says he has gone into hiding after suffering a media “lynching”.

Mr Garcia said he had been a victim of political bullying in the job and moved to a post where there was no work to do.

He was paid €37,000 a year before tax by a water company run by local authorities in the south-western city of Cadiz. A court found in the authority’s favour and ordered him to pay the fine ,which is equivalent to one year’s salary after tax and was the most that the company could legally reclaim.

He has written to the mayor asking not to have to pay the fine, and will ask for a review of the judgement…

Spanish newspapers have dubbed him “el funcionario fantasma” – the phantom official.


Video on WordPress?

From the iPhone WordPress app, you can upload video just as you would a photo. Here’s a quick video test of me playing my new guitar in the new year, with my new purple fingers. WordPress video upload appears to delete the audio if you use the iPhone WordPress app, but if you view the post outside of the app, the sound is still there.

Some say you should never upload or host a video on WordPress. Upload to YouTube then embed instread.

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