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Nova Science Now: Can We Live Forever

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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: March 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004D7SB8O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,073 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson will tackle one of science's major challenges in each episode framed as a simple question that ordinary people wonder and worry about. Neil will guide us as he explores dramatic discoveries and the frontiers of research that connect each central provocative mystery. Episode includes: 1) SHORT STORY - CAN MY CAR LIVE FOREVER? - Irv Gordon a retired science teacher from East Patchogue NY has managed to keep his 1966 Volvo P1800 going for four decades and over 2.7 MILLION miles. 2) BODY SHOP FOR BODY PARTS - Scientists are learning how to grow custom-made body parts - so they can help grow a new you when the old you - and your vital organs - start falling apart. University of Minnesota's Doris Taylor strips organs of their cells uses stem cells to reseed the organ "skeletons" and watches as they start working right in front of her eyes. She has been able to do this with pretty much every organ in the body - in rats pigs and now even humans! Bob Langer's lab at MIT is using a cotton candy machine to make synthetic skeletons" for blood vessels and other researchers are implanting tiny chips into dysfunctional retinas to help the blind see. 3) CAN WE SLOW DOWN AGING? - A gene discovered to prolong the lives of microscopic worms turns up in a group of exceptionally healthy elderly Hawaiian men. These remarkable 90-somethings repair clocks go bowling and even run track and field well into their tenth decade. This amazing discovery seems poised to take new biological theories about aging out of the lab and into our daily lives perhaps even facilitating the development of new life-extending therapies and drugs. 4) HUMAN HIBERNATION

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Neil deGrasse Tyson does his usual excellent job of narrating and arranging excellent visualizations, and the new technologies depicted are incredible. He starts with a Volvo that had been running for 2.7 million miles (since crossed the 3 million-mile mark) as a simplified illustration of what is needed to be accomplished. Then its on to man-made body parts - lungs, hearts, and kidneys that start with creating a framework from an existing part (possibly even from a pig) by stripping off its cells and then growing new started from the intended recipient - no rejection issues. Then we learn of people who've been brought back from extended periods of very-low metabolism (eg. cooled down after a heart-attack, underwater in cold water), the FOXO gene that doubles the lives of experimental worms and is present in 90+ year-old humans, and end with computer scientist Jason Leigh who creates immortality through making a lifelike avatar of himself. Then just when viewers start believing immortality is possible, Tyson points out this would quickly create a situation a standing-room-only Earth - impossible, without space travel.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeffery Mingo on February 9, 2011
This was really like four news segments in one program. The question "Can we live forever?" gets broken down: can we just replace failing parts? can we make avatars of ourselves? can we hibernate and slow down or reverse the dying process? The work tries to be very user-friendly by having computer graphics, cartoons, and movie references.

The work begins by speaking of a car owner that replaces parts on his car, cares for it, and it's now been usable for 4 decades. I thought the analogy took too long. Many James Cameron fans may love when this speaks about avatars. A scholar is working on saving one's facial expressions, thoughts, and motions. To me that wasn't living forever! It seemed no different than being able to read a late ancestor's diary. You are not going to get endless info on a dead person via this method. Also, what if the computer holding your avatar breaks? What if a virus erases it? My great-grandmother was a sweet person, but a computer recording of her for me to watch endlessly is not her being alive forever.

I appreciate how the work ended. DeGrasse says we're already at 7 billion humans and at this rate there may be a time when there are more humans on Earth than land on the planet. He then opens the door to interplanetary travel. I would say we humans are going to have to choose between reproducing as much or living forever. A professor once said you can't have both comparative worth and affirmative action as equality-inducing measures. We humans might not be able to have our cake and eat it too.

Since everyone knows how PC I am, don't be surprised about the following comment. The work had diverse speakers. It had a Black guy, an Asian woman, an Asian guy, and several others.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Henry H. Knapp on August 16, 2011
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This documentary presents recent developments in genetics and organ replacement technology that hint at the possibility of extending human life almost indefinitely. It explains its subject clearly, and poses provocative questions about the implications of the developments it describes.
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