What is the Opportunity Cost of Climate Waste?

Mouse

Mouse. By George Shuklin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

What do we miss out on because the world wastes so much money and attention on climate? Imagine if some of that squandered money was spent on other fields such as medical research, such as the following accidental discovery, which if developed offers the possibility of longer life and superhuman athletic prowess.

Born to run; the story of the PEPCK-Cmus mouse

Richard W. Hanson and Parvin Hakimi

In order to study the role of the cytosolic form of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (GTP) (EC 4.1.1.32) (PEPCK-C) in skeletal muscle, PEPCK-Cmus mice were created by introducing the cDNA for the enzyme, linked to the human α-skeletal actin gene promoter, into their germ line. Two founder lines generated by this procedure were bred together, creating a line of mice that have 9.0 units/g skeletal muscle, as compared to 0.080 units/g in muscle from control animals. The mice were more active than controls in their cages and could run for up to 5 km, at a speed of 20 m/min without stopping (control mice run for 0.2 km at the same speed). Male PEPCK-Cmus mice are extremely aggressive, as well as hyperactive. During strenuous exercise, they use fatty acids as a fuel more efficiently than do controls and produce far less lactate than do control animals, perhaps due to the greatly increased number of mitochondria in their skeletal muscle. PEPCK-Cmus mice also store up to five-times more triglyceride in their skeletal muscle, but have only marginal amounts of triglyceride in their adipose tissue depots, despite eating 60% more than controls. The concentration of leptin and insulin the blood of 8 to 12 month of PEPCK-Cmus mice is far lower than noted in the blood of control animals of the same age. These mice live longer than controls and the females remain reproductively active for as long as 35 months. The possible reasons for the profound alteration in activity and longevity caused the introduction of a simple metabolic enzyme into the skeletal muscle of the mice will be discussed.

Read more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2491496/

One undesirable side effect was the mice were more aggressive. This was a major concern for the scientists who conducted the study. But the study mice were seriously souped up. The researchers wanted to understand the effect of the PEPCK-C modification, so they didn’t mess about, they increased levels of PEPCK-C to over 100x natural levels.

There are obvious questions – for example, would 10x natural levels, or even 2x natural levels, produce health benefits without the aggression?

This startling discovery occurred in 2008. Since then, as far as I know it has remained a laboratory curiosity. I’m not aware of any effort to find a way to turn this startling discovery into a therapeutic treatment, for people suffering the effects of old age.

The researchers point out some difficulties with turning this metabolic tweak into a therapeutic treatment, for example they don’t think that current gene therapies would be effective in modifying adult cells, currently the modification has to be applied in-vitro to embryos. But these are surely problems to be solved, we shouldn’t simply accept them as insurmountable obstacles.

Because if this modification could be realised as a treatment which could be applied to humans, it could have a remarkable effect on human health. Eat as much as you want, live like an athletic 20 year old until the very end of your life, a lifespan many decades longer than we currently enjoy.

All this from one small change. How many other small beneficial changes to metabolism are potentially available, just waiting for some researcher to stumble across them?

The answer to the question, what is the opportunity cost of climate waste? The answer is it costs us our life – decades of healthy, active life we could have had, if the money squandered on climate was directed towards something useful.

The following video shows just how dramatic the impact of the PEPCK-C modified metabolism is – two mice on a treadmill, one with the modification, one without.

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110 thoughts on “What is the Opportunity Cost of Climate Waste?

  1. Just what we need……really angry mice!

    If they would put the money into food…they could shut the —- up about running out of food…….

    • there is one thing that doesn’t add up and that is the 20m/min adding up to 5k in 20 min. 20m/min x 20 min = 400m/20min. 400m – 20 min is 1.2K – hr. The mouse would need to be running for 4 hours straignt to cover 5k as indicated in the video

    • “There are obvious questions – for example, would 10x natural levels, or even 2x natural levels, produce health benefits without the aggression?”
      Soooo, perhaps this is what maybe is wrong with some overly aggressive humans, that just maybe need gene repair???

    • Really angry supermice!

      Thanks, science. Now we’ll have to soup up the cats.

      And then we really will be doomed.

      • …then super dogs to control the cats, then super lions to control the dogs, followed by super elephants to control the lions, then simply bring back the super mice to close the loop.
        I remember reading my children this story…as a precautionary tale.
        As I’ve always said, “The easiest problems to solve are the ones you DON’T create.”

    • I have no interest in super human athletic prowess; and especially that generated by drugs.

      In my view, any aid to human prowess (athleticism) besides purely natural is undesirable.

      To me there is no difference between putting drugs into your body, including this angry mouse drug, and hooking yourself up to a machine to mechanically create unnatural body structure.

      Just look at the grotesque result of Schwarzenegger body building regimes; specially when they get old. And the BB women end up looking even worse than the men.

      I pay NO attention to the Olympic Games any more; ever since they went professional.

      That’s ok with me if that’s what they want to do (the promoters and contestants), but that makes them just another business, I don’t need to patronize.
      I pay no heed to baseball, basketball, or NFL football. Just businesses I don’t need. Fine by me if others do.

      Pretty much the same reason I almost never go to the movies. A computer can write all of those movies these days, and get rid of all the self-aggrandized nobodies that ” act ” in them.

      And never lose sight of the fact that they are trained liars designed to hoodwink you, into believing they actually know anything.

      But yes always; it’s a free country; especially for EBT card holders, so others are free to do what they please, to and by themselves, so long as they don’t try to charge me for it. As they say; “Rats” to you.

      G

      • george e smith says, “so long as they don’t try to charge me for it. As they say; “Rats” to you.”

        That is the whole point of the article. This article argues that you don’t get a choice in the matter. Since so much money is being collected from Americans and American businesses, why not sponsor a eugenics program with all that money? (Now besides collecting vast sums of money, there is another hurdle to eugenics in America: we have existing laws. — And as a self-governing people I expect we will have a little more to say about this. So I think right now you will have to do this over in some basement in some Kaiser Fuh rer Institute in Germany. That is probably where this historically came from any way.)

        But the real lesson of history is that the money should not be collected in the first place. It should be in the hands of the people that earned that money. And the businesses should once again be allowed to make products and offer services that other Americans want. So the taxes and regulations should be cut, and the innovation and entrepreneurial energies of Americans will be unleashed.

        Here is Historian Burton W. Folsom, Jr. to explain. I start at 9 minutes.

        Pres. Donald Trump is going to cut spending, government employment and he is going to cut taxes.

      • “I pay no heed to baseball, basketball, or NFL football. Just businesses I don’t need. Fine by me if others do.”
        Wow George. I thought I was the only one.

      • Zeke,

        Now besides collecting vast sums of money, there is another hurdle to eugenics in America: we have existing laws. — And as a self-governing people I expect we will have a little more to say about this. So I think right now you will have to do this over in some basement in some Kaiser Fuh rer Institute in Germany. That is probably where this historically came from any way.

        It is worth noting that the US scientists were pretty well into eugenics in the 30’s. They were jealous of the German scientists who were much further ahead in the field.

      • Jer0me says, “US scientists were pretty well into eugenics in the 30’s. They were jealous of the German scientists who were much further ahead in the field.”

        The entire world saw the results of eugenics programs after WWII. This included sterilizations, killing and breeding programs.

        The world has rejected eugenics — that is, breeding humans for improvements and “better” racial genetic characteristics. Naturally the German sympathizers and social Darwinists you mention here in the US have only concealed themselves until a more favorable time when people would seem to have forgotten.

        Those US scientists also imported as many of the Third R1ech they could, into the Universities and other institutions in the US, ie NASA and the CIA.

        https://www.britannica.com/topic/Central-Intelligence-Agency
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2810258/AT-1-000-ex-Nazis-hired-U-S-spies-Cold-War-CIA-helped-America.html#ixzz3HYWG1I24

      • We reject eugenics not because it wouldn’t work, but because to make it work we would have to first become something less then human.

      • The Howard foundation, and specifically Ira Howard, moved forward with an innovative form of eugenics that was voluntary and successful; and without causing loss of humanity for the family/participants.

  2. We have to stop playing around with genes. Think of the poor cats. Millions of them will starve, die from exhaustion or commit suicide – 10 times ’cause the first nine won’t count.

  3. Well for one thing we could have done much more to tackle Malaria which still blights lives throughout the world especially in very poor countries like Cambodia. A while back I saw an estimate by War on Want that it would cost £17 billion pounds (annually?) to eradicate world poverty. That was their figure but let us be generous and say we spent double . I suspect nearly everyone on WUWT would be happy to see that spent if we really could end real poverty throughout the world, irrespective of individual political viewpoint. Compare that figure to climate “fixes ” whic have so far run up figures in the trillions for no discernible benefit except lining the pockets of the unscrupulous.
    Is it me or is anyone else slight uncertain about the mouse bit?

    • We had a cure for the problem of malaria years ago. But the goodie busybodies outlawed it.

      G

    • Poverty is not an economic problem, it is a political and social problem. Throwing money at it won’t fix it.

  4. Here he comes to save the day! That means that Mighty Mouse is on the way!
    If you are under 50 you probably did n’t get much from that……well, times have changed.

  5. Very true, but isn’t this true of all government spending? Do we need planes that cost hundreds of millions and ships that cost billions?

    • I can think of several examples where better tactics or superior numbers enabled inferior weapons to be effective:
      1 – Brewster Buffalo, Finns vs. Soviets, Finnish mechanics turned a lemon into a decent fighter. Finns developed better tactics.
      2 – Thach weave, a tactic that allowed American aircraft to cope with superior Japanese planes.
      3 – India-Pakistan 1965, Despite being seriously outnumbered and with oldish aircraft, Pakistan’s air force seems to have held its own because of better pilot training and experience.
      4 – Sherman Tank, worse than most German tanks and yet highly effective.
      4 – Soviet T-34 vs. German Panther, a whole bunch of not-so-good Soviet tanks is better than a few superior, but hard to maintain, German tanks.

      We are facing a situation with North Korea where they intend to overwhelm the excellent THAAD missile defence system by launching a whole bunch of missiles. Given nuclear warheads, only one has to get through. link

      Sometimes more is better than better is better … or something like that. :-)

      • Sounds like NK needs to be facing the imminent probablilty of 10,000 to 50,000 conventional missiles being vollied into their midst if just 1 missile goes up, and an additional volley of 50 per each Korean missile they fire to ensure they don’t leave Korean airspace

    • Brad

      “Do we need planes that cost hundreds of millions and ships that cost billions?“

      Only if:

      1) You don’t want ISIS (or who ever comes next) in your immediate future; or
      2) You think expensive modern planes are more effective than the old cheap planes (eg WWII version); or
      3) All of the above.

      Example: 1943 US & UK bombing raids on Schweinfurt to cripple German aircraft manufacturing (good, meaty strategic objective):

      • 376 B-17 bombers (60 destroyed + 58-95 heavily damaged)
      • 268 P47 sorties (3 destroyed)
      • 191 Spitfire sorties (2 destroyed)
      • Casualties: 7 KIA, 21 WIA, 557 MIA or POW
      • Bomb damage: negligible (1-3% hit target); mission judged a failure

      Today, we’d send a couple $140M F22 Raptors and 100% of their bombs would hit & destroy the factories.

      Expensive weapons (mocked as Star Wars) were the way the USA financially ruined the USSR and ended communism in 1987 – not a shot was fired.

      I’m not saying all expensive weapons are worthwhile, but simply comparing individual airframe-to-airframe costs is highly misleading.

      • Waaaaay back as a pre-teenager in the Vietnam War, I used to wonder why they used “modern jets” (A-1, A-6, etc) instead of building lots of the “cheaper” WWII B-17’s and B-24’s like I used to make as model airplanes.

        Until I looked at the A-10 vs B-17.
        B-17, 10 men. 287 max speed (unloaded essentially).
        The Memphis Belle was one of the first to finish 25 missions, flying 29 combat missions between 7 Nov 42 and 19 May 43. 194 days, 6.6 days per mission.
        Assume that would be the maximum rate they could fly at the time of the war – given repairing engines, bad weather (VFR only and bad takeoffs killed many thousands anyway!), crew time, guns, ammo, bomb reloading, etc for massed missions. And massed missions were the only ones they could fly.
        So, one mission every week. (More or less.)
        12,800 maximum bomb load mission at 170 speed, 8 hour flight, 689 combat range.
        10,000 maximum speed mission at 214 speed, 5.81 hour flight, 589 combat range.
        10 men.
        And less than 20% of the bombs fell within 2 miles of their target!

        A-10.
        1 pilot. Refueled in air when needed. 8 hour missions still possible,
        16,000 lb bomb load. 30 mm cannon always carried.
        Precision-guided ammo = 80% hit rate. For EVERY precision bomb or rocket carried.
        450 knot speed for 2240 mile range.
        Up to 2-3 missions per day, AVERAGING 1.4 missions per day based on 144 aircraft and pilots flying 8100 missions in 39 days in Desert Storm.

        A single A-10 costs much more than a single B-17 – that requires a crew of 10 dropping bombs that miss 90% of their targets. A single A-10 will not win a high-altitude air-air missile fight against a Mig 29, 30, 0r 31. But not all combat is against the enemy top-line jets. You need some top-line jets. Some dirty, near-the-ground slower jets (A-10 or Harrier). Sometimes helicopters. But you cannot fight a war with flamable M-3 Sherman either.

        Equally, if the enemy can get you to use a $150,000.00 drone shooting a $50,000.00 guided missile against a $500.00 1992 Nissan pickup truck holding two suicide bombers armed with a 1965 Soviet-era AK-47, the enemy is “winning”, isn’t he?

      • Two Boeing 767’s and 19 men valued at about $200 million took down $4.5 billion worth of real estate. Not to mention that the 19 men didnt have to buy the $200 million worth of aircraft.

      • One Fairey Swordfish, a very very slow torpedo biplane crippled the mighty Bismark, and left it a sitting duck.

        G

      • All of that gunnery on the ” Flying Fortress ” is what slowed the thing down and made it so vulnerable.

        If those German 88s had known about proximity Fuzes, it would have been sheer carnage.

        What the hell am I talking about; it WAS sheer carnage. The American B17 and B 24 crew losses were frightful. I’m told that they averaged 5,000 rounds of 88 ammo for each plane downed by flak.

        G

      • “One Fairey Swordfish, a very very slow torpedo biplane…”

        The Swordfish was an amazing airplane, I read the memoirs of one of the pilots who flew that mission.

        When they went into attack and saw all the guns – and there were very large numbers of them – commence firing, they believed they were dead. Then they realised that all the shot was falling in the sea some distance in front of them, and it continued to do so throughout the run.

        All the triple A was centrally controlled, and the director gear didn’t have a setting slow enough to cope with the Swordfish.

        Despite being obsolete even before the start of WWII, the astonishing Swordfish flew throughout the entire period and was credited with sinking more tonnage of enemy shipping than any other WWII torpedo bomber.

  6. North Korea wants this for their soldiers……. and ISIS….
    We’re dooomed ! /sarc…..( I hope )

  7. Prof. Bjorn Lomborg is ‘strong’ on this line of thinking (“Let’s cool It!”) …. and others?
    Does anyone have a ‘fix’ on what the AGW Wild Goose Chase has cost in toto? There’s your quantum of ‘Opportunity Cost’ at a first-cut.

    • Ross

      I don’t know, but I have high hopes for this Fri-Sat’s G20 Finance Minister meeting discussing global warming funding.

  8. Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Makes you think.

    Ending world poverty sounds like something even the contemptible Greenpeace would applaud?

    I won’t hold my breath.

    • Wolsten

      Agreed. Anti-GMO stance condemns many to malnourishment.

      GreenPeace solution seems to be to eliminate (so to speak) demand, not increase supply.

  9. Warmists don’t want us to live better or longer. They want to splatter us all like those kids in the 10-10.org “No Pressure” video.

  10. “My colleagues and I fight tooth and nail for research funding. Thousands of scientists are in the same boat around the world.”

    Too bloody true. They should be teaching. We need to return to basic three, or preferably four, year degrees and MScs largely by course work.
    We could do this with a fraction of the staff and the politics would go out of the window. We might even get near free university education again.

    • Get a colony of these mice and release them in your collegues office.
      Problem solved.
      You could name the alpha mouse Ben.

    • So where in this thread did you find that above quote ? I can find it nowhere, nor in the story.

      Why do some people think that it is up to others to fund THEIR activities.

      I would like to go and play on a beach on some remote tropical island, and have somebody else pay for me to sit and watch all the little green turtle hatchlings getting eaten by crabs, and frigate birds or sea gulls, before they can make it to the water.

      Now if I made some movies of the crab grabbing the turtlette, and dragging it down the hole, I could sell those videos to National Geographic or some other media, Then I wouldn’t need to cadge “research funding” from somebody else.

      I now have 60 years of full time “research funding” provided by other people.

      These folks have paid me to play around with the most amazing things, which have thrilled and amazed me for those six decades.

      And I get fully taxed on my “research funding” that others provide, because every government operation insists that those “research funders” are actually EMPLOYING me to do something that THEY WANT me to do for them.

      Perhaps if those other scientists who are searching the globe for research funding, actually asked those philanthropists what they would like to see them do research on; they might find that all kinds of people are willing to fund their research.

      If they can’t, perhaps that is a signal to try and learn how to do something that somebody else is WILLING to pay you to do research on.

      G

      • George”

        “Why do some people think that it is up to others to fund THEIR activities.”

        Ummm, ahhh…because over the last 50 years politicians in the United States have put about 47% of the population on government support. That’s pretty strong confirmation of the existence existence theorem.

  11. Yea, but those wasting the money are also the ones that want to eliminate 95% of the people. Having them live longer and healthier is not part of the over all plan.

  12. We might have an informed discussion of deforestation in the Amazon for the first time in a long time. We might even have a lucid discussion on the benefits of growth for sustaining huge debt underlying all aspects of over spending on many programs including health and welfare. You know little things like that.

  13. Now imagine what we could have accomplished if the hundreds of trillions spent on the military and waging endless wars around the globe was used for research. Suddenly wasteful climate spending doesn’t seem that important.

    • Yes Buffwoof. Look how well that kind of thinking worked out for Poland. They were able to fight off the German and Russian army’s just fine with those horses and rifles.

    • Buffwoof

      Yup. Works right up until the day it doesn’t.

      Then everybody runs around wanting to lunch the leaders who left the country defenseless.

    • either Hitler or Stalin’s successor would have had you working in a field somewhere instead of spouting Utopian nonsense here …

  14. When all is said and done, the costs to humanity of the climate folly will be in the $trillions. Dunno about opportunity costs, but suffice it to say, when we are busy concentrating on a giant faux issue, others are certainly going to get short shrift.

  15. According to all the model work that has been performed, the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Even if we could stop the climate from changing, extreme weather events and sea level rise are part of the current climate so stopping the climate from changing would provide no benefits.

    According to Al Gore, the science is settled. Hence there is no reason to be spending any more money on it.

    After more than two decades of effort the IPCC has been unable to narrow their range of guesses as to the climate sensivity of CO2, one iota. Because of a total lack of success, it is time to defund the IPCC.

    The AGW conjecture is based on the concept of a radiant greenhouse effect caused by the LWIR absorption properties of some trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in the Earth’s climate system or on any planet in the solar system with a thick atmosphere. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction. Hence the AGW conjecture is science fiction. We should not be waisting our money on sceince fiction.

  16. Mis-investment is a serious problem. It happens and will continue to happen but rent seeking behaviour allows it an extended life. The wood pellets and ethenol scandals would be prime examples. Solyndra, Fisker, etc. What could be have done with those dollars? We will never know the answer but keep in mind that we continue to borrow hundreds of billions every year. Waste on this scale is not sustainable.

  17. Longer life is one of the most problematic ambitions of people. Death is necessary to make way for new life. Death is essential for evolution and progress in general. Death is so essential that even lengthening life causes myriad and hard to predict consequences. For example, longer lived people will have children later. We already have a crisis of fertility in much of the world. Sometimes that may be simply due to the difficulty that older people have conceiving, which might be solved by further medical miracles. However, a large part of infertility is related to disease. The later people have children, the more likely they are to be exposed to fertility destroying disease (e.g. chlamydia) Disease has proven itself capable of evolving every bit as quickly as technology. In theory all the technological problems (and there are many, many more) of longer life could be solved, but to what end. Would that end be so that we can have the pleasure of the same scintillating people being around for two hundred years? Who wants 200 years of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton (take your pick)?

    Then there is my old favorite of the shrinking human brain (http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking). If we want people to get better, not worse- as they are getting now, then we need selection pressures that favor better. In developed countries, the only obvious selection pressure currently at work is fecundity, that is, parents who choose to and can have more viable offspring, will have more viable offspring. In the developed world we are selecting for fecundity and not much else. Sadly, fecundity does not correlate with many other desirable traits. Of course this is a horrible problem and fears of eugenics quickly surface. Moronically simplistic proposals like eugenics are not a solution, but neither is pretending that evolution (unlike God) is dead. Welcome to the real problems facing humanity (opposed to “fake” problems like CAGW).

    This rant could go on for a long time, but I will end it by saying that it is time to rein in the medical Frankensteins who are working on longevity and immortality. Immortality is contrary to the foundation of life and longevity is a complex double edged sword that pinhead medical technologists are ill-equipped to sort out. Threescore and ten is much more time than is needed to live a good life and more time won’t make it turn out any better. Threescore and ten is much more than many of us deserve. Time to grow up. “Time to die”. Long Live Blade Runner!

    • Few want to live longer in a debilitated unhealthy condition and most bring that condition on themselves by being too lazy to take proper care of themselves. As for “three score and ten”, the lifespan charts for males are about 75 or so, and that means by that age about half of those you knew have bit the dust. My thinking is that you are welcome to volunteer to be in that half. As for me (and others like Eschenbach), I enjoy life too much to give up that easily.

      • You don’t need medical intervention to live past 75. In the Domesday Book there are lots of people of very great age recorded in 1086. As with Jer0me below people often seem to think that that the average lifespan somehow means that nobody lived past the mean. By far the most deaths occurred in infancy which seriously drags the average age down. Women have a peak of die-off in child bearing years but they tend to be pretty robust after that and even men can live for a long time if some despotic sovereign doesn’t send them off on a quest to conquer more land. But for all the people who like to go on about logical fallacies on this page, I have to point out that you are erecting a straw man. It is one thing for us aging baby boomers to cling desperately to the remnants of life. It is another thing entirely for us to go on for another 200 years denying the millennials a good paying job and a home of their own all the while droning on incessantly about how great the 60s were.

      • “denying the millennials a good paying job”
        The average millennial lives in ze, hir, hirs, and xe, xem, xyr, parents basement and may have a job commensurate with “their” gender studies degree. Those that do rarely have the mental ability to manage money properly to own a home (re silicon valley $100,00+ yr complaints about being broke). I don’t “cling” but have passion in liking my life (sorry if you don’t have the same) and me living longer to hopefully help deny most of these younger losers a place in politics/leadership seems reasonable to me (has nothing to do with ’60’s). Infant death is no longer a major concern and does not affect actuarial comps to a major degree in the West. The table’s male additional life span at “three score and ten” is another ~15 years but one’s odds of getting there are less than 50%. Straw man my #ss.

    • Dear BCBill. So you would also rein in the medical Frankensteins who go against ”The natural order of things” (as you apparently see them) when they would interfere with your body by providing the medicines, not found in nature, to treat any deadly growths that would not let you live this three score and ten? How about the vaccines, the antibiotics, the chemotherapies? The list is long. From your confessed rant, no doubt you believe that the interfering busybodies who came up with these things should be hung,drawn and quartered!

      • And presumably we should all be put down at 25 or so, that being our typical ‘natural’ lifespan.

      • James Fosser
        Well, it is tempting to just be cavalier about it and say that we should let nature run its course as that would be the best for humanity in the long run. But of course, everybody including me and BFL above clings to life. We are hard wired to do it. That is why “medicine” was the original con. If the witch doctor shook the rattle and you got better, he could claim credit and if you died he could blame the evil spirits. But no matter how suspect the witch doctor’s record, there were always more desperate people willing to buy hope. And that willingness to pay for hope still drives medical and patent medicine profits today. The questions around how much intervention is enough do not have easy answers. You seem to want to put me into the box labelled “He who questions the sanctity of physicians must forgo all medications”. Should technoweenies splicing genes be making decisions by opening Pandora’s box or should we all be engaged in deciding how to handle near immortality?

        Contrary to what physicians would have you believe, engineers who designed sanitary sewer systems have done more to increase life expectancy than the medical profession. Work in antibiotics was initially done by botanists (Fleming) and soil scientists (Waksman) Good diet is one of the single most important factors in quality of life and longevity. I am all for the discovery of new antibiotics, sanitation and adequate nutrition. Does that mean I am against the natural order of things? As long as “healing” has existed as an occupation, it has had an unhealthy habit of feeding off of the fear of death instead of recognizing death as a natural part of the cycle of life. Since I am against the natural phenomenon of people exploiting the fear of death for their own gain, I guess I am against the natural order of things. Now that scientists are actually creating the possibility of seriously prolonged life it is time to have some serious discussions.

    • Death is essential for evolution and progress in general.

      Not for a culturally obligate species (us).

      • I am not sure what culturally obligate means but here are 2 cents anyway. Even as our brains shrink, we continue to produce more incredible technology through specialization. The “progressive media” have taken to telling us how great cooperation is and that all great things are achieved through cooperation. One could argue that the most successful macrofauna on the earth are cooperative hive animals like ants. I think that if we want to continue to be more social, then there is no limit to what we can achieve but I am not sure that socialization qualifies as progress. I value one great mind like Newton above all the gene splicers sticking potato eyes on cucumbers through the miracle of incremental advances in technology. What constitutes the noble in humanity and can it be achieved through another terabyte of storage?

    • Bill- people are living longer and staying healthier until they are older. Many of these are people who eat healthy diets, exercise, keep their minds active, use healthcare to take care of small problems before they get out of control such as type II diabetes.

      :Humans now have smaller brains- I can think of a couple of reasons. Most people, even in the poorest countries don’t face the kind of problems that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon peoples did during the last glaciation. So we may be evolving smaller brains because we don’t need as large a one. The brain is a huge drain on the body’s resources. It is always active and metabolizing at a high rate and there is no way to dial it back.
      Another reason might be society. People have been developing societies for ~ 30,000 years. A social organization takes(a good one anyway) takes some of the burden off individuals. They don’t need to know as much, although they may know more about a smaller subset, and they don’t need to do everything. Specialization benefits everyone and makes everyone better off. They may not need as much brain power.

      Fecundity goes down as societies become more wealthy. It happens everywhere, and has now worked its way down to the least developed countries. When a woman doesn’t need to have 10 children to make sure at least 2 or three make it to old age they don’t. Birthrates in the less developed countries are dropping fairly rapidly, just as they did in the more developed countries as they got wealthier.

      There is one long term prediction I can make with 100% certainty- WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! A corollary to that is that there is very likely that many people alive today, especiallly children, will live until they choose to die and fewer and fewer people will die strictly because of old age,.

    • This “death is necessary to make way for new life” idea is popular but is a red herring. It imagines death as some sort of altruistic act. That is not how nature works. Individuals that “selfishly” refuse to “altruistically” die would procreate more, and their offspring would therefore displace the short-lived good citizens.

      Nature should therefore select for longer lifespans. Why, then, is our life span so limited — and why is that of mice so much shorter than ours? The reason is that immortality cannot be achieved in the real world. There is always some predator, germ, or famine that ends the “eternal” life. Over time, these external causes of death will progressively diminish the real benefit of potential immortality. If the odds of a mouse of being caught by a cat are 50% within 3 weeks, and 90% within 3 months, then figuring out how to “live longer” is a lot less useful than how to procreate right here, right now. Thus, the mouse is optimized for rapid procreation above all else (including foreplay).

      Species will gain longer lifespans in proportion to their ability to evade environmental death. To wit, turtles tend to have very long lifespans; they have a good chance to avoid being eaten, and therefore to realize the advantage of procreating longer.

      Humans have a longer lifespan than any of the great apes, but they still fall short of the longest-lived mammals. Still, chances are that most of the easy genetic tweaks that would extend the lifespan of a mouse have already been applied to the human genome by natural selection. The mouse is an extraordinarily poor model for studying human longevity.

  18. “What do we miss out on because the world wastes so much money and attention on climate?”

    Answer:

    World economic downturn. which means in marginal countries, Starvation and death, poor countries a trend towards marginal, in western countries unemployment and poverty and in rich countries invasion by poor countries AKA refugees and economic migrants.

    Can anyone disagree with me on that?

    Cheers

    Roger

    http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

  19. ”One small change”. As a biotechnologist the first thing that came to mind was,”Why hasn’t this small change been selected for during evolution”?

    • Because it is not useful. The mouse will still not outrun a cat; and if the cat will catch it anyway next week, then the mouse better get on with making babies rather than running marathons. Also note that the mouse stores little fat – it will more easily succumb to famine.

      Kind of like Schwarzenegger’s muscles. Not that useful.

    • Increased calorie burn may be a disadvantage in purely natural setting. The change appears to open a new path for metabolic burning of fat, so the modified mice had hardly any body fat, and had to eat a lot more than normal mice. If the food supply is interrupted the natural mice might last longer.

    • Aye!

      I was thinking that this is how the Klingons came into being during the first Star Trek.

      But Khan and ilk are also a possibility.

  20. So mice that can comfortably move far further than others are more aggressive when constrained in the same area?

    That may not be a direct result of the gene therapy.

  21. The cat is out of the bag, as they say. Expect much, much more of the same in the coming years.
    There will be a cheap CRISPR like appliance available within a decade.
    And then the gene wars will start.

  22. It is all a matter of perspective. I handed in the results of a project for a Master of Neuroscience degree (Degree was 50% course work and 50% a unique designed project by the student related to the brain) and was told to pull my socks up because other people ‘’Had made an effort’’. My research project’s future direction was to deliver, intranasally, a treatment for glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer (I had killed 80% of the cancers cancer stem cells in culture with my de novo treatment ). I agreed with my professor as I was tremendously impressed when he showed me another student’s project where they had attached probes to neurons in a fruit fly’s brain and had it cavort around in circles, up and down, hither and dither at the students dictates. What is a potential cure for a deadly cancer compared to that?

    • Why would you want to cure brain cancer by “intranasal delivery?” The local concentrations of the poison, whatever it may be, in the nasal mucous membranes would be extraordinarily high. You would probably have to supply a fresh nose after every application.

      Also, killing cancer cells in vitro is not a useful metric. The problem of cancer treatment is not how to kill cancer cells; just throwing them down the stairs will do that. Instead, the problem is how to kill them while at the same time leaving the non-cancerous cells live — in a word, selective toxicity.

  23. Any odds on what future generations of Olympic competitors from communist countries will base their new levels of performance?

  24. The opportunity cost of this global warming nonsense is astronomical, measured in multiples of the Appolo Program. The following article puts in perspective what could have been done with the money being wasted on this nonsense. The other articles demonstrate that it is pure nonsense.

    Just How Much Does 1 Degree C Cost?
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/just-how-much-does-1-degree-c-cost/

    Climate “Science” on Trial; Temperature Records Don’t Support NASA GISS
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/climate-science-on-trial-temperature-records-dont-support-nasa-giss/

    Climate “Science” on Trial; How Does Ice Melt In Sub-Zero Temperatures?
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/03/05/climate-science-on-trial-how-does-ice-melt-in-sub-zero-temperatures/

    Climate “Science” on Trial; The Criminal Case Against the Alarmists
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/climate-science-on-trial-the-criminal-case-against-the-alarmists/

  25. You make some good points, Mr. Worrall, but this . . .

    ‘The answer to the question, what is the opportunity cost of climate waste? The answer is it costs us our life – decades of healthy, active life we could have had, if the money squandered on climate was directed towards something useful.’

    . . . is a Red Herring fallacy. Money has been squandered on climate research. Leave at that. There is no linkage to mice research, or anything else.

  26. Hmmm… messing with Mother Nature’s design, we’d end up living 500 years and wouldn’t have better lives, perhaps? Or we’d be like Kathryn Kerr’s Elves in the Westlands novels? They stay young until one day, they’re suddenly old and they know death is near. Sad. Am I the only one who remembers that TV commercial ‘Don’t try to fool Mother Nature’? (ZAPPPP!)

  27. Lots of comments on living longer but that’s not the issue – Cancer has been suspected as being linked to faulty mitochondrial ATP production, that is – it’s not the cells that are bad it’s the cells within the cells – the mitochondria that defines cancer. There are cancer “Stem Cells” that originate cancer cells. So if we are able to alter the cancer stem cells without killing them and cause them to start making cells with normal mitochondria then perhaps this constitutes a viable – non toxic cancer therapy.

    You never know, but if we spend all the dosh on Climate Change then millions die because we didn’t have a look – That’s opportunity cost.

    One more point too, the favoured greenie power station is an environmental energy scavenging machine that takes hectares of land to produce useful power, and that area needs to be detreed – Nobody in calculating carbon budgets ever counts the fact that the land the windmill or solar farm is on could have been forested and irrigated to absorb over 500Tonnes of CO2 per Hectare. The area occupied by a single megawatt windmill could sink over 2500 Tonnes of CO2 a year and the loss of this potential is never accounted properly as an opportunity cost.

  28. Opportunity costs of the climate obsession social mania:
    Clean water- money wasted on wind and solar could have been diverted to clean water worldwide
    Death from dirty water borne diseases
    International treaty on clean burning coal tech
    higher food prices (food to fuel created shortages)
    slower economic growth in 3rd world- cheap and abundant industrial levels of energy could fuel boom of solid growth in poorest countries
    slower growth means reduced improvement of health care
    reduced quality of academic research- pressuring nearly all research to genuflect to “climate change” means other areas of study are under funded…
    for starters

    • In Australia, Jack, the government cut back on Palliative care for Cancer Sufferers in order to fund the Green Slush fund – now tell me that cancer patients were not sacrificed on the Altar of Global Warming.

    • That’s a crazy argument, the areas of study are discrete and one does not preclude the other. But you knew that!

      False logic. This is true in a infinite resources world. This is not OUR world, especially when resources are tax!

  29. none of the climate research is waste… and much of it would be being done even without the current level of climate change: the research bodies which conduct it have been researching snow, ice, temps, climate since the middle of or start of the last century or even earlier (NSIDC, Met Office, DMI, etc, etc)

    • none of the climate research is waste…

      You are right. Al Gore like scientist have a new house, work for many people, etcetera.
      It’s waste for climate it self.

    • So you think all those salaries paid to liars to fiddle the temperature databases to maintain the CAGW illusion and the billions spent on worthless computer games that haven’t a hope of telling us anything useful about future climate haven’t been wasted?

      But you consider mincing millions of birds and bats plus tens of thousands of sick and elderly dying of energy poverty a fair price to pay so a load of spivs like “Sir” Reg Sheffield, Chris Huhne, John Gummer, Mrs. Nick Clegg and Ed Davey can fatten their bank accounts is perfectly acceptable too, right?

      Ah, but those spivs pay your wages, don’t they?

      Have you apologised to Dr. Crockford for lying to try to discredit her yet, Skanky?

  30. Personally I think the geneticists are working on preventing adulthood.

    I see most of the attacks on clear gender in this culture as an attempt to create eternal juveniles and “intermediate sexuality,” so that people do not experience conjugial love, or raising young. These individuals would always be juveniles that do not care for any mate or offspring. Only their own cohort.

    The geneticists know that many genes are expressed according to gender, and they think they can confuse this and delay it.

    I mean juvenile in the sense of the metamorphic state you see in amphibians or other creatures. They cannot mate or raise young. Humans pass through this state and become adults because of love for the mate. Attachments then allow the brain to develop in an organized manner. Stable, loving attachments are the basis of human intelligence, not genetics.

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