Category Archives: Living

Healthy Living: Can The Aging Process Be Halted?

Can the aging process be reversed – or even halted, altogether? If we manage to decode this final mystery of our human biology, we might soon be able to eradicate age-related illnesses like cancer, dementia and heart problems. The race to invent the miracle pill is well underway.

Today, international researchers are getting astonishingly close to realizing humanity’s dream of immortality. The hunt for immortality gained traction with the discovery of Costa Rica’s so-called “Blue Zone,” by Luis Rosero-Bixby. In the “Blue Zone,” on the Nicoya Peninsular, he found a remarkable number of centenarians.

Here, male life expectancy is the highest in the world. Their healthy lifestyle is one factor, but the promise of longevity is probably also because their telomeres – sections of DNA found at the end of chromosomes – are longer than those of the average person. It’s a field of research currently being explored by Maria Blasco in Madrid.

But this is just one of many possible factors influencing the process of aging. Senescent cells may also play a key role. Also known as “zombie cells”, these attack our body in old age and flood it with alarm signals until, at some point, we collapse under their weight. That’s a theory proposed by another researcher in Spain, Manuel Serrano. A billion-dollar industry is already knocking impatiently at the lab doors.

The first to market the miracle pill is guaranteed incredible wealth. That’s why investors are sponsoring young bio-startups in Hong Kong. Keen not be left out, US Big Tech is vying for the world’s best scientists. Alex Zhavoronkov has secured a slice of that pie, with a cash injection of more than 250 million dollars for his company’s work on aging research. Whereas some pioneers’ visions burst like bubbles, others rush to get other, rather more dubious products onto the market. But their efficacy is now measurable.

The epigenetic clock devised by Steve Horvath can measure our biological age, regardless of our actual age in years. With his research on the thymus gland, California’s Greg Fahy managed to not only decelerate the aging process, but reverse it. His initial study on humans showed that a particular drug cocktail took an average two-and-a-half years off their age.

Young biohackers like Nina Khera from Boston want everyone to benefit from this research. Together with friends, she’s working on the “epigenetic clock for all”. But while we’re busy trying to counter the aging process and all the illnesses it entails, fundamental questions arise: Should we be messing with nature like this? Are we about to overwhelm the planet with more and more people? Criminal biologist Mark Benecke in Cologne says that these questions are coming far too late.

Urban Living: Are U.S. Big Cities Still Worth It?

A cost-of-living crisis is unfolding in U.S. major cities. Inflation data shows that costs for items such as rent and groceries are increasing quickly across the Sun Belt and coastal superstar cities. Now years removed from the darkest days of the pandemic, people are asking: Is a return to the city worth it?

Metropolitan regions have sprawled in recent years, raising budget concerns and quality-of-life issues for the people who remain downtown. Meanwhile the absence of commuters is slowing the recovery in leisure and hospitality. Many renters believe that a cost-of-living crisis is brewing in America’s major cities.

New York City is showing up as a hotspot of rent inflation. The average rent for 1-bedroom apartments in Manhattan rose to $3,995 a month in May 2022 — a 41% increase from one year ago, according to Zumper. Sudden, double-digit rent spikes are hitting other hubs, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas. Zumper data shows that growth is particularly strong in Sun Belt cities such as Miami, where rents have risen to $2,700 a month in May 2022, a 64% increase from a year prior. During the pandemic, workers left the largest U.S. cities.

Two years in, renters have returned but many commuters haven’t as companies negotiate the particulars of a return to the office. Public officials are concerned about lagging transit ridership in cities such as New York. Ed Glaeser, an economist at Harvard University, says cities are becoming more important — not less — in the age of remote work. “When you Zoom to work, you miss the opportunity to watch the people who are older, to watch what they’ve done and to learn from them,” he told CNBC in an interview.

But for renters, a return to increasingly expensive cities might seem like a raw deal, especially if they can do their jobs from home. Researchers say remote work limits firms’ ability to train new workers. Data produced by Microsoft’s workforce suggests that it is more difficult to share in-depth information remotely, which can produce silos within companies’ rank and file.

“A lot of these tech companies, they’re saying you can work remotely,” said Andra Ghent, a professor of finance at the University of Utah. “But, you know, in many cases, they’re also saying, like, we’re not going to pay you quite the same amount.” Many renters believe that a cost-of-living crisis is brewing in America’s major cities. New York City is showing up as a hotspot of rent inflation. The average rent for 1-bedroom apartments in Manhattan rose to $3,995 a month in May 2022 — a 41% increase from one year ago, according to Zumper.

Sudden, double-digit rent spikes are hitting other hubs, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas. Zumper data shows that growth is particularly strong in Sun Belt cities such as Miami, where rents have risen to $2,700 a month in May 2022, a 64% increase from a year prior. During the pandemic, workers left the largest U.S. cities. Two years in, renters have returned but many commuters haven’t as companies negotiate the particulars of a return to the office.

Public officials are concerned about lagging transit ridership in cities such as New York. Ed Glaeser, an economist at Harvard University, says cities are becoming more important — not less — in the age of remote work. “When you Zoom to work, you miss the opportunity to watch the people who are older, to watch what they’ve done and to learn from them,” he told CNBC in an interview. But for renters, a return to increasingly expensive cities might seem like a raw deal, especially if they can do their jobs from home.

Researchers say remote work limits firms’ ability to train new workers. Data produced by Microsoft’s workforce suggests that it is more difficult to share in-depth information remotely, which can produce silos within companies’ rank and file. “A lot of these tech companies, they’re saying you can work remotely,” said Andra Ghent, a professor of finance at the University of Utah. “But, you know, in many cases, they’re also saying, like, we’re not going to pay you quite the same amount.”

Cover Preview: Monocle Magazine – February 2022

Issues - Magazine | Monocle

Architecture: Undulating Floor Plate Apartments In Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam-based architecture studio MoederscheimMoonen Architects has revealed design for a residential tower in the city centre of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Called Riva, the new tower will be a residential building built on top of the existing office block, retaining the iconic reconstruction architecture of this building. The office completed the final design of the building. 

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Tiny Home Design: A 484 SF, 3-Bedroom ‘SmartZendo’ Apartment In Hong Kong

Situated along the coast of Hong Kong, SmartZendo apartment was designed to bring Zen ideas into a small home. In redesigning the home, architect Patrick Lam converted a chaotic, awkward space into a mindful experience of modern living, using Zen’s focus to draw the scenery outside into the home.

Creating an open living area allowed the addition of a raised floor, containing additional storage hidden by hatches, as well as a raisable coffee table embedded in the floor. This also allowed the relocation of the kitchen from an irregularly shaped room into the living area, and the addition of a series of timber panels that can divide the living space into a sleeping area.

Smart hardware and appliances complete the home, reducing clutter and encouraging dual purpose use of furniture and cabinetry throughout.

Musical Views: “New York State Of Mind” Celebrates Reopening Of NYC (Video)

The organization NYCNext, dedicated to building New York City into a more equitable place for all, is honoring the city with a special performance of Billy Joel’s classic, “New York State of Mind.” The video features performances and cameos by Zeshan B, Sara Bareilles, Victoria Clark, Cautious Clay, Andy Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Chloe Flower, Alexa Ray Joel, Joseph Joubert, Tom Kitt, The Klezmatics, LaChanze, Anaïs Reno, Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brian Newman, Kelli O’Hara, Joan Osbourne, Peppermint, Angie Potani, Mark Rivera, David Rosenthal, Bobby Sanabria and Suzanne Vega.

Wisdom: Quotes By Ralph Waldo Emerson (Video)

Narrated by Shane Morris with Music by Solus by Life In Colour.

Quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson, who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

Views: Anthropologist Jane Goodall Still Has Hope For Humanity (NYT)

Infographic: Top Ten ‘Happiest Countries’

Covid-19: The Economist ‘Global Normalcy Index’

Across much of the world, covid-19 restrictions are starting to ease. The Economist has crunched the data to calculate how close countries are to pre-pandemic levels of normality—but will life ever be the same again? Read more here: https://econ.st/3AG9siz