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Nova Science Now: Can We Live Forever

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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(Mar 08, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson tackles one of science's major challenges in each episode of Can We Live Forever? He will guide us as he explores dramatic discoveries and the frontiers of research that connect each central, provocative mystery. Program episodes include: Short Story - Can My car Live Forever--; Body Shop for Body Parts; Can We Slow Down Aging--; Human Hibernation; and Profile: Jason Leigh.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • 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: #53,358 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top 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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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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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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