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TotD: How Science Will Change the 21st Century

From Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize The 21st Century by Michio Kaku:

Generations of high school children gasp when they read VisionsShakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, for they are amazed to discover that Juliet was only thirteen years old. We sometimes forget that, for most of human existence, our lives were short, miserable, and brutish. Sadly, for most of human history, we repeated the same wretched cycle: as soon as we reached puberty, we were expected to toil or hunt with our elders, find a mate and produce children. We would then have a large number of them, with most of them dying at childbirth. As Leonard Hayflick says, "It is astonishing to realize that the human species survived hundreds of thousands of years, more than 99% of its time on this planet, with a life expectancy of only 18 years." Since the industrial revolution, thanks to increased sanitation, sewage systems, better food supplies, labor-saving machines, the germ theory, and modern medicine, our life expectancy has risen dramatically. At the turn of the century, the average life expectancy in the United States was 49. Now, it is around 76, a 55% increase in a century. As Joshua Lederberg notes, "In the U.S., greater life expectancy…can be attributed almost entirely to this mastery of infection, this annihilation of the bugs." And today, the fastest-growing segment of our population is the group that is over a hundred years old."

2 comments

  1. Trisha says:

    Thanks for post­ing this! Its one of those things that real­ly makes you look at life dif­fer­ent­ly.

    In the back of my mind for years I thought I should read one of Michio Kaku’s books, but nev­er have. May­be I should get this one.

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