Aubrey De Grey on Colbert Report

Aubrey de Grey, founder of the Methuselah Foundation ("dedicated to the defeat of human aging") did a nice job of explaining rejuvenation research on the Colbert Report last night. (Via Gerry Canavan)


  1. That was a good interview.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Colbert but usually his interviews are Stephen talking 60% of the time.

  2. This was a good interview because, unlike the majority of Colbert interviews, the interviewee was allowed to complete some sentences and told jokes of his own.

  3. … I wonder how long it will be before Cheney black-bags Dr. de Grey and makes him work his magic for the VP and his cronies … 1000 year of Dick Cheney …

  4. what an awesome beard!

    but i dont know, if we stopped “ageing” it would change human society so much so quickly, i think it could be a bad thing. only the rich would have access etc, i’m not saying don’t research it but if it comes to a stage were a real breakthrough seems likely i’m thinking the issue would be so explosive as to make “the abortion issue” seem insignificant.

  5. I’ve met this fellow once, and he is a genuinely odd duck. Ferociously smart, and exceptionally odd. His beard is very impressive in person.

  6. “I want to be young and wild, and then I want to be middle-aged and rich, and then I want to be old and annoy people by pretending that I’m deaf.” -Edmund Blackadder III

  7. The main problem with the world it’s precisely the lack of ‘ageing’.

    With so many born, and so few dying (of old age, for example), the world is growing more overpopulated day by day.

    And I don’t say it because I’m young and I want them oldies to sleep with the worms. Although I’m 26yo, my father is 80 and I don’t want him to die.

    But sometimes you’ve to say the truth.

  8. Anyone else (from Canada I’m guessing) having trouble seeing these ComedyCentral clips?

    Is this one of those ultra-annoying regional blockers (which especially in this case make absolutely no sense because the show is bought and broadcast in Canada)?

    Any idea how to easily get around this?

    Thanks in advance.


  9. I hear ya other Canada person! Just plays the commercial then flicks through all the clips, not doing anything! Bunk.

  10. I agree with #9, I saw this last night and thought he came off very poorly. Stephen would ask him about what it meant to cure aging, and he would say well we’re talking about people not getting decrepit anymore. Great, but maybe next time you could mention what you’re doing other than talking about it. There was no mention of what research was being done, no mention of any type of success that had made him think that this was possible, nothing. It came off exactly like his interview with the BBC a few years ago; he started a group that wants to cure aging, and that’s it. He should really consider holding off on the interviews until the group has produced something, because until then there’s nothing that distinguishes him from Ponce de Leon or anyone else. I can see it now: “Well Stephen, we’re talking about finding a fountain near Florida that stops aging”.



    I have to go to the crummy comedy network website(

    It’s a horrible and bloated site using the very very buggy Silverlight software to stream the clips.
    (note: it works like crap on nforce mobos and tends to lock up the computer for a few secs…I found that lowering the browser’s process priority in Task Mangler helps…not sure how well this works on Linux)

  12. I’m in Canada as well, and can’t view the video either. I’m glad that others are making the same observation, because even last night I spent too long a time trying to get Comedy Central clips to work on my home computer (at school, the browser just locks up going to the Daily Show homepage). After installing Firefox and every up-to-date pluggin I could think of (all on a new Vista machine) they still wouldn’t work – so I came to the same conclusion, and knew it had to be a regional blocker.

    All this wouldn’t be so bad if the site Canadians are redirected to would work – the viewer is so messed up that clips can’t be selected properly, and play-back is terribly slow. It’s a shame I had to give up trying to watch anything, because God knows I really want to. This is incredibly frustrating.

  13. I hate to be a downer, but “curing” aging just isn’t feasible. Aging is a multi-faceted failure of the body, so there’s nothing to target for a cure. Without getting uber-technical-nerdy, natural selection just isn’t good at filtering out bad genes in old organisms. (Few organisms survive to old age in the real world.) On the other hand, mutation is always supplying nasty genes of many different flavors. As a result, bad genes with age-specific effects experience little selection and so they pile up in our genomes. Unfortunately, this means we can only put out some of the little fires along the way, but we’re ultimately fighting a losing battle.

    So I’m just looking forward to getting old so I have an excuse for the way I already dress.

  14. Jitterbug Perfume is one of my favorite Tom Robbins books. It deals with the same kind of topic: the main character, Alobar, doesn’t want to die. Not because he is afraid, but because he thinks it’s bogus that we have to. It’s a pretty good read. I’d actually consider following the plan Robbins sets out, just for shits and grins, but I don’t currently have anyone to have frequent sex with. Or any sex, for that matter… :(

  15. Thanks Freddy and Brian:

    “Theres no time for us
    Theres no place for us
    What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips away
    From us

    Who wants to live forever
    Who wants to live forever….?

    Theres no chance for us
    Its all decided for us
    This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us

    Who wants to live forever
    Who wants to live forever?

    Who dares to love forever?
    When love must die

    But touch my tears with your lips
    Touch my world with your fingertips
    And we can have forever
    And we can love forever
    Forever is our today
    Who wants to live forever
    Who wants to live forever?
    Forever is our today”

  16. @phreatic: Thanks for the YouTube link – at least YouTube buffers ahead when you press “pause”, so if your link is running slow, you just give it a bit of a start. Whatever the thing is embedded here, it insists on stuttering no matter what you do.

  17. I don’t want to live forever, as that word is meaningless to humans. But I want to live for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. And I want to look good and have super powers. Why not?

  18. did anybody see the colbert report with the psychology professor zimbardo. i always thought he was interesting… his psychology videos were “wack” to me in high school. anyway colbert i guess you could say “defeated him with his bible knowledge”. pretty lame i would say. check it out if you are into pyschology and wanna see colbert piss me off

  19. Aubrey is a really entertaining guy to talk to, especially when he is drinking his not-so-friendly-to-life-extensionists pints of beer. One of those people who just exudes intelligence faster than most people can even hope to keep pace. I hope his research continues and is wildly successful.

    I can only imagine what his beard will look like when he reaches a truly advanced age.

  20. For all of the people who ‘don’t want to live forever’ – thats fine. The real question though, is “do you want to die tomorrow?” As long as the answer to that is no, then why impose a limit on lifespan?

  21. @ #4 Ok, sure only the rich will have access at first. Thats a given with any new technology. Cars, Aviation, Television, Computers, Cell phones… Eventually, all these technologies (including rejuv if it turns out to be feasible) become available to nearly everyone given enough time.

    The other problem, overpopulation, is not really a problem. Just look at Japan, overcrowded maybe, but I’m a firm believer in the fact that people can adjust to any situation given the enough motivation. As for food and resources… Well, lets just hope for that magic button that sci-fi writers love so much and hope for the best.

    All that said, if Aubrey succeeds, count me in!

  22. There has actually been success in his general field. Basically hes trying to stop age related diseases. Living longer just happens to be what he calls a “side affect”. Quite a bit of it has been based on Stem Cell research and practice. A few countries that have not been so harsh on using stem cells have created some very amazing breakthroughs. For example curing a blind person. The cells are smart and they form cells that have been damaged or destroyed through out the body. They are also looking into a “Red Dwarf” like programmable viruses.

  23. I guess Mr. Aubrey de Grey is unaware of the laws of highschool physics, that make the existence of any kind of perpetuum mobile IMPOSSIBLE. Maybe people will live for a few millennia instead of a few decades, but nobody will ever become IMMORTAL, because an immortal biological organism would literally be a PERPETUUM MOBILE, and that is completely ruled out by the laws of physics.
    The laws of physics are clear : The human quest for immortality WILL FAIL !

    Anyway, there is now a black humour joke on Aubrey de Grey :

    “Hello, Mr. Carlos the Jackal ?”
    “Yes, this is him speaking.”
    “Would you be interested in doing a hit for 200,000,000 dollars ?”
    “It depends on who the target is…”
    “An English scientist named Aubrey de Grey. For the past few years he has been working on a medical procedure that would allow people to become biologically immortal…”
    “But in that case, why do you want him terminated ?”
    “Well, you see, Mr. Carlos, I am the big boss of the undertakers’ mafia …”

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