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Month: April 2013

On Costs and Opportunity Costs of Aging – Article by Reason

On Costs and Opportunity Costs of Aging – Article by Reason

The New Renaissance Hat
Reason
April 7, 2013
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Originally published on the Fight Aging! website.

Few people seem terribly interested in noting the opportunity costs of aging, for all that a great deal of work goes into trying to build models for the direct costs. Insurers, government program administrators, and so forth, are all eager to put numbers to their potential future outlays – but they have fewer incentives to work on better numbers for the lost ability to earn that comes with advancing age. Here are some figures from a recent paper on dementia in the US, for example:

The estimated prevalence of dementia among persons older than 70 years of age in the United States in 2010 was 14.7%. The yearly monetary cost per person that was attributable to dementia was either $56,290 (95% confidence interval [CI], $42,746 to $69,834) or $41,689 (95% CI, $31,017 to $52,362), depending on the method used to value informal care. These individual costs suggest that the total monetary cost of dementia in 2010 was between $157 billion and $215 billion. Dementia represents a substantial financial burden on society, one that is similar to the financial burden of heart disease and cancer.

If you go digging around in US census data on income, or the quick summaries thereof, you’ll see that median income sits somewhere a little under $40,000/year in the prime earning years of life. It tapers off to a little more than half of that for surviving members of the 75 and older demographic. So while one of seven completely median older people incurs costs of roughly $40,000/year for dementia, all seven completely median older people suffer an opportunity cost of roughly $20,000/year as a result of becoming old. A range of income that might have been earned if still healthy and vigorous is no longer within reach.

These are very rough and ready comparisons, but you can see that even piling in a bunch of other direct medical costs for the rest of the population – cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and the other common foes – the opportunity costs of being old still look sizable in comparison. In another study that gives average medical costs over time for people in Japan aged between 40 and 80 followed over 13 years, the average yearly expenditure was in the ~$3,500 range, rising to more like ~$25,000 in the last year prior to death. The error bars for casual use of any of the numbers mentioned in this post are large – probably a factor of two, given all of the oddities and politics that goes into medical expenditures and recording of income, and especially when comparing data between different regions on the world. But you can still draw very rough conclusions about relative sizes.

Lastly, I should note that all of the above only considers the living. Once you get to the age 75 demographic in the US, half of the original population is dead, give or take. The dead accrue even higher opportunity costs than those mentioned above, as they have (for the most part) lost all ability to earn or contribute to building new things.

So aging causes a largely unseen cost to go along with what is seen, the cost of what might have been but for disability and death. As is often the case, the cost of research and development to build the means of rejuvenation is small in comparison to what is lost to aging – and also in comparison to what is spent in coping with the aftermath of loss rather than trying to prevent it.

Reason is the founder of The Longevity Meme (now Fight Aging!). He saw the need for The Longevity Meme in late 2000, after spending a number of years searching for the most useful contribution he could make to the future of healthy life extension. When not advancing the Longevity Meme or Fight Aging!, Reason works as a technologist in a variety of industries.  

This work is reproduced here in accord with a Creative Commons Attribution license.  It was originally published on FightAging.org.

Strategies for Hastening the Arrival of Indefinite Life Extension – Article by G. Stolyarov II

Strategies for Hastening the Arrival of Indefinite Life Extension – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
April 3, 2013
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We are still several decades away from a time when medical technology will be able keep senescence and death at bay. What can we do until then to hasten the arrival of radical extension and to improve our own chances of benefiting from it? I recently offered my thoughts on this matter on an Immortal Life debate/discussion thread. My proposed approach is versatile and can be distilled into five essential points.

1. Personal Good Health. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should try to personally remain in good health as long as possible. This mostly involves common-sense practices (exercise, moderation in food, as well as avoidance of harmful substances, dangerous habits, and risky pleasures).

2. Utilization of Comparative Advantage. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should work to advance it in the areas where he/she has a comparative advantage. I am sympathetic to Peter Wicks’s statements in this regard – with the caveat that finding what one is best at is an iterative process that requires trying out many approaches and pursuits to discover one’s strengths and the best ways of actualizing them. Moreover, an individual may have multiple areas of strength, and in that case should discover how best to synthesize those areas and use them complementarily. But, crucially, one should not feel constrained to personally follow specific career paths, such as biogerontological research. Rather, one could make a more substantial contribution by maximally utilizing one’s areas of strength, knowledge, and expertise – and contributing some of the proceeds to research on and advocacy of indefinite life extension.

3. Advocacy. As Aubrey de Grey has put it, insufficient funding is a major obstacle to the progress of life-extension research at present. The scientists who are capable of carrying out the research are already here, and they are motivated. They need more support in the form of donations, which can be achieved with enough advocacy and persuasion of the general public (as well as wealthy philanthropists). In this respect, I agree with Franco Cortese that an additional promoter today may make more of a difference than an additional researcher, because the work of the promoters may ensure steady employment for the researchers in the field of anti-aging interventions. My Resources on Indefinite Life Extension (RILE) page catalogues a sampling of the major advances in fighting disease and developing new promising technologies that have occurred in the past several years. If only more people knew… The Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) attempts to raise this awareness and has been gaining support and recognition at an encouraging pace. You can add to this progress by exploring and liking the MILE Facebook page.

4. Forthrightness. It is important for all advocates of indefinite life extension to be open about their views and to be ready to justify them – even casually and in passing. The idea needs to be made sufficiently commonplace that most people will not only take it seriously but will consider it to be a respectable position within public discourse. At that point, increased funding for research will come.

5. Innovative Education. As my previous points imply, education is key. But education on indefinite life extension needs to be made appealing not just in terms of content, but in terms of the learning process. This is where creativity should be utilized to create an engaging, entertaining, and addictive open curriculum of reading materials and digital certifications, compatible with an Open Badge infrastructure. I have begun to do this with several multiple-choice quizzes pertaining to some of my articles, and I welcome and encourage any similar efforts by others.

The Myth of Crumbling Highways – Article by David Hartgen

The Myth of Crumbling Highways – Article by David Hartgen

The New Renaissance Hat
David Hartgen
April 2, 2013
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Crumbling infrastructure has a direct impact on our personal and economic health, and the nation’s infrastructure crisis is endangering our future prosperity.

—D. Wayne Klotz, former president of the Society of Civil Engineers

Ah, spring. The snow melts and orange barrels return to the nation’s roads. We hear the usual calls for repairs of “crumbling infrastructure.” Authors of several national studies cite overwhelming needs. President Obama calls for fixing structurally deficient bridges. There are tales of woe in nearly all of these plaintive accounts of America’s highways, and most are used to justify yet more government stimulus spending.

So we decided to look.

Far from crumbling highways, our new Reason Foundation report finds that America’s state-owned highways have actually improved on key measures of road performance. There’s no doubt state governments can do better. In many ways, they’re inefficient, and state transportation dollars are a trough for cronies. But the crumbling-infrastructure meme is just a myth.

The Reason study tracks seven measures: urban and rural interstate condition, deficient bridges, congestion, fatalities, rural primary road condition, and narrow rural roads. We compile data from the states’ reports to the federal government from 1989 through 2008 (the last year available). We also track spending and compare each state with national averages.

Perhaps surprisingly, the U.S. highway system actually improved on all seven measures over the last two decades:

  • The percentage of rural interstates rated “poor” declined by two-thirds, from 6.6 percent to 1.9 percent.
  • Urban interstates with poor pavement dropped from 6.6 percent to 5.4 percent.
  • Rural primary poor pavement improved from 2.8 percent to 0.5 percent.
  • Deficient bridges improved from 37.8 percent to 23.7 percent.
  • Fatality rates improved from 2.16 to 1.25 per 100 million miles driven.

Even urban interstate congestion declined, from 52.6 percent to 48.6 percent, although some of that may be recession-related. During the same period, expenditures for state-owned highways increased by more than 181 percent. Spending per mile increased 177 percent in nominal terms and 60 percent adjusted for inflation.

State-Owned Highways

Most states saw substantial improvements.

All 50 states lowered their highway fatality rates between 1989 and 2008, saving about 150,000 lives. New Mexico, Nevada, and Mississippi saw the biggest decreases in fatality rates. Even if you don’t like the idea of government funding road construction, this fact should be celebrated.

Overall, 40 states reduced their number of deficient bridges from 1989 to 2008. In 1989, over half of Mississippi’s bridges were deficient, but by 2008 only 24.7 percent were rated deficient. Nebraska went from 55.1 percent deficient to 23.6 percent deficient. The numbers rose in 10 states: Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Idaho, Arizona, Utah, Ohio, South Carolina, and Oregon.

Thirty-seven states improved the condition of rural interstates, but that progress was made mostly in the 1990s and has slowed since then. Five states (Missouri, Rhode Island, Idaho, Nevada, and Wisconsin) reduced their percentage of poor rural interstates from over 20 percent to near zero. But two states, New York and California, reported rural interstate condition worsening by more than five percentage points.

Twenty-seven states improved the condition of urban interstates—indeed, Nevada and Missouri made remarkable turnarounds. In 1989, 47.8 percent of Nevada’s urban interstates were in poor condition, but by 2008, it was just 1.6 percent. Missouri’s urban interstate mileage in poor condition decreased from 46.7 percent in 1989 to 1.3 percent in 2008.

Seven states, however, reported more than 10 percent of their urban interstates in poor condition in 2008. A quarter of Hawaii’s interstates rated poor. In 1989, just 4.1 percent of California’s urban interstates were in poor condition, but by 2008 that number had ballooned to 24.7 percent. Vermont went from 2.9 percent of urban interstates in poor condition in 1989 to 17.5 percent in 2008. New Jersey, Oklahoma, New York, and Louisiana also reported more than 10 percent of urban interstates in poor condition in 2008.

Overall, twenty-nine states reduced urban interstate congestion between 1989 and 2008. Six states—Delaware, Massachusetts, Virginia, Alaska, Missouri, and South Carolina—reported improvements greater than 20 percentage points. But 18 states reported a worsening of urban interstate congestion. The greatest increase in congestion, 36.2 percentage points, was in Minnesota.

Overall, 11 states—North Dakota, Virginia, Missouri, Nebraska, Maine, Montana, Tennessee, Kansas, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Florida—improved on all seven performance measures. Eleven more improved on six measures and 15 improved on five measures. So, 37 states improved in at least five of the seven metrics.

Disbursements_per_mile

In another surprising finding, the study notes road spending seems to be only loosely related to performance.

Of the 22 states that improved on six or seven measures, only one (Florida) spent more than the U.S. average per mile, and several large states (notably Virginia, Missouri, Oregon, Minnesota, and Texas) spent less than half the national average. The study suggests a widening gap between most states making progress and a few spending much more but still performing poorly. It also suggests that the higher road systems, particularly the interstates, are performing better than lower-level systems that are locally owned.

So, if resources are not the problem, what is?

Some of the poor performers have older systems, lots of traffic, and hard winters, but so do some good performers. More likely, the cause is high unit costs—policies that push funds to low-priority projects and “ribbon cuts,” draw attention away from maintenance, and use available revenues inefficiently.

So there are still plenty of problems to fix, but our roads and bridges aren’t crumbling. The overall condition of most state-owned road systems is actually getting better, and you could make a case that they have never been in better shape. The key is to target spending where it will do the most good. If your state is not on our “Top 22” list or is spending more than the U.S. average, ask why.

David T. Hartgen is Emeritus Professor of Transportation at UNC Charlotte, president of The Hartgen Group, and adjunct scholar at the Reason Foundation. This study was sponsored by the Reason Foundation and is available at www.reason.org.

This article was published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution United States License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

Bitcoin for Beginners – Article by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Bitcoin for Beginners – Article by Jeffrey A. Tucker

The New Renaissance Hat
Jeffrey A. Tucker
April 2, 2013
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Understanding Bitcoin requires that we understand the limits of our ability to imagine the future that the market can create for us.

Thirty years ago, for example, if someone had said that electronic text—digits flying through the air and landing in personalized inboxes owned by us all that we check at will at any time of the day or night—would eventually displace first class mail, you might have said it was impossible.

After all, not even the Jetsons cartoon imagined email. Elroy brought notes home from his teacher on pieces of paper. Still, email has largely displaced first-class mail, just as texting, social networking, private messaging, and even digital vmail via voice-over-Internet are replacing the traditional telephone.

It turns out that the future is really hard to imagine, especially when entrepreneurs specialize in surprising us with innovations. The markets are always outsmarting even the most wild-eyed dreamers, and they are certainly smarter than the intellectual who keeps saying: such and such cannot happen.

It’s the same today. What if I suggested that digital money could eventually come to replace government paper money? Heaven knows we need a replacement.

Solving Problems a Byte at a Time

Money started in modern times as gold and silver, and it was controlled by its owners and users. Then the politicians got hold of it—a controlling interest in half of every transaction—and look what they did. Today money is rooted in nothing at all and its value is subject to the whims of central planners, politicians, and monetary bureaucrats. This system is not very modern when we consider a world in which the market is driving innovations in other aspects of our daily lives.

Maybe it was just a matter of time. The practicality is impossible to deny: Gamers needed tokens they could trade. Digital real estate needed to be bought and sold. Money was also becoming more and more notional, with wire transfers, bank computer systems, and card networks serving to move “money” around. The whole world was gradually migrating to the digital sphere, but conventional money was attached to the ground, to vaults owned or controlled by governments.

The geeks went to work on it in the 1990s and developed a number of prototypes—Ecash, bit gold, RPOW, b-money—but they all faltered for the same reason: their supply could not be limited and no one could figure out how to make them impossible to double and triple spend. Normally, reproducibility is a wonderful thing. You can send me an image and still keep it. You can send me a song and not lose control of yours. The Internet made possible infinite copying, which is a great thing for media and texts and—with 3-D printing—even objects. But reproducibility is not a feature that benefits a medium of exchange.

After all, a currency is useless unless it is scarce and its replication is carefully controlled. Think of the gold standard. There is a fixed amount of gold in the world, and it enters into economic life only through hard work and real expenditure. Gold has to be mined. All gold is interchangeable with all other gold, but when I own an ounce, you can’t own it at the same time. How can such a system be replicated in the digital sphere? How can you assign titles to a fungible digital good and makes sure that these titles are absolutely sticky to the property in question?

Follow the Money

Finally it happened. In 2008, a person called “Satoshi Nakamoto” created Bitcoin. He wasn’t the first to solve the problem of double spending. A currency called e-gold did that, but the flaw was that there was a central entity in charge that users had to trust. Bitcoin removed this central point of failure, enabling miners themselves constantly to validate the transaction record. He had each user download the full ledger of all existing Bitcoins so that each could be checked for its title and not used more than once at the same time. With his system, every coin had an owner, and the system could not be gamed.

Further, Nakamoto built in a system of mining that attempts to replicate the experience of the gold standard. The math equations you have to solve get harder over time. The early creators had it easy, just like the early miners of gold could pan it out of the river, though later they had to dig into the mountain. Nakamoto put a limit on the number of coins that can be mined (21 million by 2140). (A new coin is currently mined every 20 seconds or so, and a transaction occurs every second.)

He made his code completely open-source and available to all so that it could be trusted. And the payment system used the most advanced form of encryption, with public keys visible to all and a scrambling system that makes its connection to the private key impossible to discover.

No one would be in charge of the system; everyone would be in charge of the system. This is what it means to be open source, and it’s the same dynamic that has made WordPress a powerhouse in the software community. There would be no need for an Audit Bitcoin movement. Trust, anonymity, speed, strict property rights, and the possibility that applications could be built on top of the infrastructure made it perfect.

Bitcoin went live on November 1, 2008. To really appreciate why this matters, consider the times. The entire political and financial establishment was in full-scale panic meltdown. The real estate markets had collapsed, pulling down the balance sheets of the major banks. The investment banks were unloading mortgage-backed securities at an unprecedented pace. Boats delivering goods couldn’t leave shore because they could find no backers for their insurance bonds. For a moment, it seemed like the world was ending. The Republicans held the White House, but the unthinkable still happened: Government and the central banks decided to attempt a full-scale rescue of the whole system, spending and creating trillions in new paper tickets to fill bank vaults.

Clearly government paper was failing. A digital alternative had to exist. But what gave Bitcoin its value? There were several factors. It was not fixed to any existing currency, so it could float according to human valuation. It was made from real stuff: the very 1s and 0s that were driving forward the global market economy. And while 1s and 0s can be reproduced unto infinity, the new coins could not, thanks to a system in which the coin and its public key were strictly controlled and the ledger updated for every transaction. Its soundness could be checked constantly through instantaneous conversion to other currencies as well as to goods and services. The model seemed impenetrable, the first digital currency that really addressed all the problems that had doomed previous attempts.

A Bitcoin of One’s Own

Let’s fast forward in time to March 2013. I had become the proud owner of my first Bitcoin. My wallet lived on my smartphone. Only three years ago, some wonderful applications had already developed around the currency unit. Although I’m a bit techy, I’m not a rocket scientist and I’m quite certain that I would have been out of my league. But this is how digital institutions develop to become ever more user friendly. At the same event at which I became a Bitcoin owner, I also used a Bitcoin ATM. I put in the green stuff, held my digital wallet up to the scanner, and then I felt the buzz on my smartphone. Physical became digital. Beautiful.

But still I wondered what exactly I could do with these things. That’s when the consumer world of Bitcoin products appeared before me. We aren’t just talking about the Silk Road—a website that became notorious for enabling the easy, anonymous buying and selling of drugs. There are Bitcoin stores everywhere. And there are services in which you can buy from any website with a Bitcoin interface. There was growing talk of Bitcoin futures markets. Some companies were rumored to be going public with Bitcoins, and thereby bypassing the whole of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The implications are mind-blowing.

Sacred Pliers

Still, I’m a tactile kind of guy. I need to experience things. So I went to one of these sites. I brought the first product I saw (why, I do not know). It was a pair of pliers for crimping electric cables. I put in my shipping address and up came a note that said it was time to pay. This was the moment I had been waiting for. A QR code—that funny square design that looks like a 3-D bar code—popped up onscreen. I held up my “wallet” and scanned. In less than 2 seconds, the deed was done. It was easier than Amazon’s one-click ordering system. My heart raced. I jumped out of my chair and did a quick song and dance around the room. Somehow I had seen it thoroughly for the first time: this is the future.

The pliers arrived two days later, and even though I have no use for them, I still treasure them.

Bitcoin had already taken off when the surprising Cyprus crisis hit in a big way. The government was talking about seizing bank deposits as a way of bailing out the whole system. During this period, Bitcoin essentially doubled in value. Press reports said that people were pulling out government currency and converting it, not only in Cyprus but also in Spain and Italy and elsewhere. The price of Bitcoin in terms of dollars soared. Another way to put this is that the price of goods and services in terms of Bitcoin was going down. Yes, this is the much-dreaded system that mainstream economists decry as “deflation.” The famed Keynesian Paul Krugman has even gone so far as to say that the worst thing about Bitcoin is that people hoard them instead of spending them, thereby replicating the feature of the gold standard that he hates the most! He might as well have given a ringing endorsement, as far as I’m concerned.

Obsession and Resentment

My own experience with Bitcoin during this time intensified. I began to call friends on Skype and scan their QR codes and trade currencies. I began to rope other people into the obsession based on my experience: you have to own to believe. After one full day of buying, selling, and using Bitcoins, I had the strange experience of resenting that I had to pay a cab fare in plain old U.S. dollars.

How do you obtain Bitcoins? This process can be a bit tricky. You can look up localbitcoins.com and find a local person to meet you to trade cash for Bitcoins. Usually, this exchange takes place at high premiums of anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent depending on how competitive the local market is. It is understandable why people are reluctant to do this, no matter how safe it is. There is just something that seems sketchy about meeting a stranger in an all-night cafe to do some unusual digital currency exchange.

A more conventional route is to go to one of many online sellers and link up your bank account and buy. This process can take a few days. And then when you set out to transfer the funds, you might be surprised at the limits in the market that exist these days. Sites are rationing Bitcoin selling based on availability, just given the high demand. It could be 10 days or more to go from non-owner to real owner. But once you have them, you are off to the races. Sending and receiving money has never been easier.

Doubts?

As of this writing, a Bitcoin is trading for $88.249.  Just three years ago, it hovered at 0.14 cents. Many people look at the current market and think, surely this is a speculative bubble. That could be true, but it might not be. People are exchanging an unstable, fiat paper for something with a real title that cannot be duplicated. Everyone knows precisely how many Bitcoins exist at any time. Anyone can observe the transactions taking place in real time. A Bitcoin’s price can go up and down, and that’s fine, but there is no real speculation going on here that is endogenous to the Bitcoin market itself.

Is it a pyramid scheme? The defining mark of a pyramid scheme is that more than one person has an equal claim on the same money or good. This is physically impossible with Bitcoin. The way the program is set up, it is a strict property rights regime with no exceptions. In fact, in early March, there was a brief hiccup in the system when some new coins were approved by one group of developers but not approved by another. A “fork” appeared in the system. The price began to fall. Developers worked fast to resolve the dispute and eventually the system—and the price—returned to normal. This is the advantage of the open-source system.

But what about the vague sense some people have that a handful of coders cannot, on their own, cause a new currency to come in existence? Well, if you look back at what Austrian monetary theorist Carl Menger says, he points out that a similar process is precisely how gold became money. Every new currency is not at first used by everyone. It is at first used only “by the most discerning and most capable economizing individuals.” Their successful behaviors are then emulated by others. In other words, the emergence of money involves entrepreneurship—that is, being alert to opportunities to discover and provide something new.

Leviathan Leers

But what about a government crackdown? No doubt that attempt will be made. Already, some national government agencies are expressing some degree of annoyance at what could be. But governments haven’t been able to control the cash economy. It would be infinitely more difficult to control a virtual currency with no central bank, with encryption, and with millions of users per day. Controlling that would be unthinkable.

There was a time when the idea that ebooks would replace physical books was an absurd notion. When I first took a look at the early generation of ereaders, I laughed and scoffed. It will never happen. Now I find myself looking for a home for my physical books and loading up on ebooks by the hundreds. Such is the way markets surprise us. Technology without central planners makes dreams come true.

It’s possible that Bitcoin will flop. Maybe it is just the first generation. Maybe thousands of people will lose their shirts in this first go-round. But is the digitization of money coming? Absolutely. Will there always be skeptics out there? Absolutely. But in this case, they are not in charge. Markets will do what they do, building the future whether we approve or understand it fully or not. The future will not be stopped.

Jeffrey Tucker is executive editor and publisher at Laissez Faire Books

This article was published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution United States License, which requires that credit be given to the author.

Join the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension: The Most Forward-Thinking Minds Are Not Alone – Article by G. Stolyarov II

Join the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension: The Most Forward-Thinking Minds Are Not Alone – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
March 31, 2013
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Support for indefinite human life extension is a powerful, intellectually compelling, intuitive position. The best minds will arrive at it on their own, often quite early in life. The sheer injustice of a forced termination of life for a person who has committed no crime and harmed no fellow humans is enough to make a person of intelligence and decency recoil and resist.

Yet the society immediately surrounding the thoughtful proponent of indefinite life extension often does not agree. Culturally ingrained acceptance of “natural” death – be it the result of religion, tradition, Malthusianism, status quo bias or plain resignation – still has a hold on the majority of people. Often this leaves the forward-thinking critic of senescence and death feeling isolated and discouraged.

MILE_graphic

But it does not have to be this way. With the Internet, geographic separation no longer implies a separation of contact. Thinkers from around the world, who have independently come to the same realization regarding the supreme injustice of mandatory death for all, can find one another, share ideas, and cooperate toward achieving radical life extension in our lifetimes.

But to cooperate effectively, we need an effective way of knowing how many of us there are, what our fellow friends of long life are able to do and have accomplished already, what discoveries and breakthroughs scientists are releasing into the world, and where we can invest our own talents to accelerate the arrival of a time when increasing life expectancy will outpace the advent of senescence.

This is where the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) comes in. The MILE Facebook page offers a way to gauge awareness of and support for indefinite life extension. One of the easiest and most important ways you can begin to make a difference in helping bring indefinite life extension about is to (1) go to the MILE Facebook page, (2) like the MILE on Facebook, (3) read and share the many informational, scientific, and philosophical pieces made available daily on the MILE page, and (4) spread the word to your friends and acquaintances who are already sympathetic to indefinite life extension.

The MILE aims to identify how many of us throughout the world already support indefinite life extension. Once this base of supporters is established, it will become easier to expand it by reaching out to others and spreading awareness that medical science may put the greatest triumph of all within our personal grasp. The MILE seeks to increase its supporters by an order of magnitude every year. The July 1, 2012, goal of 80 supporters was easily met. By July 1, 2013, the goal is to accumulate 800 supporters. By July 1, 2017, if the MILE can achieve 8 million supporters, we will have a critical mass of people to catalyze massive societal change – from investment into life-saving, life-extending research to political reforms that ensure that obsolete restrictions and special-interest privileges do not stand in the way of medical progress.

The MILE has fewer than 300 supporters left to reach its proximate goal. If you have not already spent five seconds going to the MILE Facebook page and clicking the “Like” button, I encourage you to do so at the earliest opportunity. If you have done so, you have my thanks and the thanks of all of us whose eventual long-term survival may be bolstered by your increment of support. We welcome and encourage your support in spreading the word to others who have already arrived at the realization that achieving radically longer lives is an urgent moral imperative. Surely, there are more than 800 of us out there already.  We want to find out about and empower every person who has ever discovered the importance of indefinite life extension, so that the brilliant spark of aspiration will never be extinguished in any such thinker from lack of fuel.

There is more that you can do to show your support for indefinite life extension.

er of Indefinite Life Extension
Badge awarded for being a supporter of extending human lifespans beyond any fixed limit.

* Get the free Supporter of Indefinite Life Extension Open Badge.

* Read and watch an abundance of Resources on Indefinite Life Extension.

* Write articles, create videos, and engage in regular discussions on this vital subject.

* Run a distributed computing project, such as Rosetta@home, Folding@home, and World Community Grid.

* Come up with opportunities for education and activism that will help spread awareness of indefinite life extension and encourage widespread support.

No matter who you are, or how new the ideas of indefinite life extension are to you, we would be delighted by your participation in the MILE and look forward to welcoming you as a valuable ally.