November 3, 2009

People are living longer

Today is the first time I've ever seen the age of death on the New York Times' three featured obituaries average over 100 years old:

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


snorkle said...

I hope I'm not the only one surprised that Levi-Strauss was still alive.

Caligula Jones said...

OT: Sure the old fogies are interesting but, Steve, Obamamania got punched in the face tonight in Virginia, NJ and NY state.

Big GOP wins in blue and purple territory. I hate the GOP but whatever political force punches the Obama Machine in the face is OK by me.

Rahm Emanuel is not pleased tonight. Boo frickin' hoo.

Especially that result in New Jersey. A good liberal Goldman Sachs man and incumbent, John Corzine, went down hard in a deep blue state. Oh sh*t!!!

Anonymous said...

Steve, regarding the federal reserve data. Do you know if the brokers who made the loans to all those minorities were themselves minorities? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

I had no idea that Mr. Tsien, whom I learned about reading Arthur C. Clarke's "2010", had still been alive. If only he could have hung on for two more months.

rightsaidfred said...

I hope I'm not the only one surprised that Levi-Strauss was still alive.

I thought he was long dead 30 years ago when I snoozed through intro anthropology.

Anonymous said...

Three leftist heroes, according to the obits. Always runnin' from anti-commie oppression, aren't they?

(Meanwhile, Obummer blubbers softly in Michelle's well-toned embrace as the White House's windows turn yellow from cigarette tar.)

greenrivervalleyman said...

The Romans celebrated the Secular Games based upon a 110 year cycle called the saeculum, which was calibrated to be long enough so that no person would ever live to see 2 such games. The Old Testament also states that Moses's 120 years was the maximum allowed for man after the age of semi-mythical heroes such as Methuselah & Noah.

It is humbling to realize that despite our ability to put a man on the moon or split the atom, the maximum extent of human life has not budged at all. Life expectancy has of course dramatically increased thanks to improvements in child mortality, hygiene and disease control, however we are not living much longer than the Romans, who had typical Iron Age technology and somewhat atypically good public infrastructure (baths, sewers, and aqueducts). Look at the longevity of the first 15 or so Roman emperors, before disease started to wrack the Roman world. Those who died of natural causes regularly lived into their upper 70's, and I somehow doubt they'd greatly envy our ability to eke out a couple extra Alzheimer-dazed years at incredible cost.

Anonymous said...

Today, the average man lives to 85

An elite such as a Supreme Court Justice lives to 100

Citing a Roman Emporer against an average American is a poor comparison.

My father died at 54. I already have anjoyed one additional year of life. I'll bet not many Americans die younger than their father.

Anonymous said...

The Baby Boomers [and even some of the pre-Boomers - folks born in the 1930s and early 1940s] are getting so obese that there's no way in Hades they'll make it to 100.

I look at some of these fat kids nowadays - from elementary school on - and wonder whether they'll even make it to 50. [The girls at the local college are so fat that they're not even sexual objects anymore - they're just cows.]

TGGP said...

Greg Clark notes there an odd number of dead people whose ages was listed in the triple digits back in ancient times, because most people so innummerate they had no idea what their ages were. One rich Roman landowner listed his age jumping up 5 years within the space of a single year, then back down again the next year.

Black Sea said...

"Today, the average man lives to 85"

Source? Everybody else seems to say it's around 75.

greenrivervalleyman said...

Today, the average man lives to 85

An elite such as a Supreme Court Justice lives to 100

No, more like the average woman in one of the world's most top-shelf, diet -conscious countries (i.e. Japan). The current American male life expectancy is only around 77 (though of course this is depressed somewhat on account of NAM's). The idea that elites are now regularly living to the century mark is absurd, though.

Here are some examples from classical history which prove my point:

Euripides: 74
Sophocles: 90
Socrates*: 71
Plato: 82
Archimedes*: 75

I realize there is a bit of selection bias built in, as in order to have become famous enough to go down in history an ancient "worthy" would have had to live to at least 40 in order to produce those accomplishments for which they became famous. Which is why, now that I think about it, using the list of Roman Emperors is pretty good. Roman Emperors are known to us simply for the office they held, and there is no question of their selection based on potential longevity. So even though they were locked into a stressful, for-life job (basically world CEO) most lived to enviably ripe old ages:

Augustus: 75 (Livia, his wife: 87)
Tiberius: 77
Claudius***: 63
Galba*: 72
Vespasian: 69
Nerva: 67
Trajan**: 63
Hadrian: 62
Antonius Pius: 74
Marcus Aurelius**: 58

After Marcus Aurelius, the increased frequency of assassination and general social breakdown games the stats.

* died of unnatural causes- i.e. murdered
** strenuous military campaigning contributed to early demise
*** suffered from many congenital defects