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TotD: How Science Will Change the 21st Century

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Thought of the Day | Posted on 22-04-2008

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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.”

Comments (2)

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.

[…] wrote a post titled: TotD: How Sci­ence Will Change the 21st Cen­tu­ry. I love this stuff and need to read one of Michio Kaku books some day. From the post: “We […]