weekly blog--one for the ages
The market for age-related disease and aging is estimated to be a trillion dollars, and it's no surprise that Silicon Valley's ultra-wealthy are investing money in companies trying to reverse aging. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel have invested in South San Francisco-based Unity Biotechnology, a company whose mission is to extend human healthspan, the period in one’s life unburdened by the disease of aging. In 2013, Google formed aging research company Calico, and Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to aging research.
Meanwhile, as one ages, you are more likely to find yourself spending more time in the bathroom, and when it comes to toilets, the ones in the US are effectively bedpans with a drain, according to an industry expert. Then there are Japanese toilets, which are marvels of technological innovation. Consider those with integrated bidets, which squirt water to clean your private parts, or the ones with dryers and heated seats. Japanese toilets also use water efficiently, clean themselves and deodorize the air, so bathrooms smell good.
Further, some feature white noise machines so you can fill your stall with the sound of rain for relaxation and privacy, and others have built-in night lights and music players that’s customizable and controlled by electronic buttons on a panel next to your seat. Most of the toilets in Japan are made by a company called Toto, which started the high-tech toilet revolution in 1980 when it unveiled the Washlet, a first-of-its-kind electric toilet seat with an integrated bidet.
Putting a hold on the presidential debates for a moment, there is another debate taking place right now to ruffle your feathers: Which is better, changing the time to summer hours or standard time?
Retailers, chambers of commerce and recreational industries have historically wanted the sunny evenings that allow more time to shop and play. Researchers on human biological rhythms come down squarely on the side of the standard, wintertime hours referred to as “God’s time” by angry farmers who objected to daylight saving time when it was first widely adopted during World War I.
The measures getting the most traction right now are for permanent daylight saving time, which makes more sun available for after-work activities. In 2018, Florida passed a bill and California voters backed a ballot measure to do so. Maine, Delaware, Tennessee, Oregon and Washington joined in 2019, passing permanent daylight saving bills.
A German study of autopsies from 2006 to 2015, however, showed a significant uptick just after the spring switch in deaths caused by cardiac disease, traffic accidents and suicides. Researchers have also noted a significant increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. According to the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, messing with the body’s relationship to the sun can negatively affect not only sleep but also cardiac function, weight and cancer risk. One prominent study on different health outcomes within the same time zones concluded that each 20 minutes of later sunrise corresponded to an increase in certain cancers by 4% to 12%.
Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers begin their days in different ways, and some of the differences can be attributed to age.
Baby Boomers are increasingly retiring, so they tend to wake up later than the working population. Nearly a third of them wake up after 7 am, compared to 15% of those aged below 65. Older age also correlates with healthier mornings. Those aged 65 and up tend to exercise and eat breakfast--two recommended components of any morning routine.
Some discrepancies are also unsurprising, considering generational trends. Millennials are the most likely to get their news online, while 13% of Baby Boomers read the paper every morning. Just 1% of 20-somethings say they read the morning paper.
During his State of the Union address earlier this week, President Trump said that he would always protect Medicare and Social Security, despite saying last month at the World Economic Forum that he would be open to cutting their entitlement programs. According to an article in The Motley Fool, should Trump win a second term, there are three factors to suggest he would look to reduce Social Security's expenditures.
First, there's the core proposal of the Republican Party to fix Social Security by gradually increasing the full retirement age to as high as age 70.
Second, in March, the president's federal budget proposal called for a $26 billion cut (in aggregate) to Social Security between 2020 and 2029. A good portion of this reduction was to come from the Social Security Disability program, with a proposed adjustment that would reduce retroactive pay to six months from the current 12 months.
Third, Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget and one of the president’s top advisors, is a fiscal hard-liner, and he strongly believes that entitlement reform, perhaps including cuts, should be on the table.