Does Not Equal is a webcomic by Sarah Ennals – check out the pre-Futurismic archives, and the strips that have been published here previously.
[ Be sure to check out the Does Not Equal Cafepress store for webcomic merchandise featuring Canadians with geometrically-shaped heads! ]
To those of us with an interest in living long enough to live forever any indicator of exceptional longevity is of interest. Here researchers have identified particular personality traits associated with longevity:
Because personality traits have been shown to have substantial heritable components, the researchers hypothesized that certain personality features may be important to the healthy aging observed in the offspring of centenarians.
Both the male and female offspring of centenarians scored in the low range of published norms for neuroticism and in the high range for extraversion. The women also scored comparatively high in agreeableness. Otherwise, both sexes scored within normal range for conscientiousness and openness, and the men scored within normal range for agreeableness.
Obviously you can’t do much to change your personality, but the conclusions are interesting.
[from Physorg][image from kol on flickr]
The headline says it all – after ten years of research and testing, we have the first child born successfully after its mother received a full ovary transplant. The doctor who carried out the procedure is now suggesting that young girls have one of their ovaries removed and frozen in case they need it later in life. [both links via FuturePundit]
It amazing how quickly we’re adopting the idea of ‘banking’ parts of ourselves in case of future need; it implies an understanding of the body as a biological machine, which may be why some religions find it so morally repugnant.
But religion aside, the story above brings up another contentious question – if fertility is no longer a barrier to carrying a child to term, how old is too old for a woman to become a mother? Is it merely an issue of physical suitability, or are there psychological and social implications for a child raised by parents that we would currently consider to be of grandparenting age?
Over here in the UK the current big front-page story is Hannah Jones, a thirteen-year-old girl who has a hole in her heart as a result of childhood leukaemia medication. The actual news is the about-face made by her local healthcare authority, which was planning to force her to have a heart transplant against her own wishes; intervention by a child protection officer encouraged them to drop their court case and let Hannah stay with her family as she wished.
The “right to die” is still a very contentious issue (and will doubtless remain one for some time to come) but Hannah’s case is complicated by her age; I think it’s a safe assumption that had her parents not agreed with her decision, things might have gone very differently. Which brings us to the perennial question – at what age should the law permit you to make life-changing decisions like this for yourself? And to what degree should the religious beliefs of your family be taken into account, if at all?
In the latest instalment of Future Imperfect, Sven Johnson has been trying to unearth the roots of a creativity myth.
Why is it that we tend to see the creative professions as the province of the young, when there’s so much evidence to the contrary? Continue reading Theories of Creativity →