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In which Hank confronts the fact that he is getting older and, instead of accepting it, talks about ten different ways that people are proposing to extend life, possibly indefinitely. Because immortality and eternal youth are so much more appealing than reality, which is that we all get old and DIE!!!


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A Bunny
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((') (')
Good morning, John.

So, obviously I just turned 30. And in general, I am realizing that I am no longer what you would call a young person. And besides the fact that I just received the best birthday present that anyone has ever received from people from Bosra to Ohio, there is a tiny bit of bitterness to this whole being 30 thing, and I ki-kinda wanted to talk about-see, what this is making me realize: I-I wouldn't mind being young forever.

So, you know. Immortality--I can haz it? So there's a bunch of different paths that you can take to get to immortality, and I'm going to talk about ten of them right now.

Path number one: Hoping for good medicine. I mean, let's be honest. There are tons of people.

Hard working, good people working their butts off to eliminate the diseases that kill people. So all they've got to do is cure heart disease and cancer and all that stuff, until life expectancy starts to go up more than one year per year. And then you're good.

All you got to do is make it to that point, and then they'll always be fixing whatever's wrong with you before it actually happens. Or at least before it kills you. Path number two: Travel for a long period of time at near the speed of light.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I understand why this is, but apparently, if you're traveling near the speed of light, time passes more slowly for you compared to the rest of the universe. So if I get in a space ship that goes the speed of light, I get in it and I go and then I come back, and then it takes me like two years. On Earth, many years will have passed.

And then, hopefully they will have cured whatever was wrong with me. Path number three: Cryonics. Basically the same thing as speed of light travel, except the freezing bit-it's a little less cool, honestly.

Path number four: Bathe in the blood of virgins. Just get it in your hair there. nahdesahdeaweh. It restores your youth.

At least that is what Elizabeth Bathory thought. So I don't know whether that works or not. I'm-I'm not saying it doesn't work but I'm probably steer clear of that one anyway.

Path number five: The, uh, the singularity. Futurist Ray Kurzweil believes that there is a point at which machines will be able to build machines that are smarter than themselves. And then from then on, they will just continue building smarter and smarter machines forever, and the explosion in intelligent machinery will change everything.

This includes, theoretically, the machines helping us save ourselves. Which is funny, because that's not how it happens in science fiction. Once the machines get smarter than us, no matter what, they-they're not like, "Oh, thanks for creating us!

Here's immortality!" No, generally they see you as less useful than a fly, and-and they swat you. Path number six: Be a jellyfish. There is one kind of jellyfish, it's called the 'Immortal' jellyfish which can shift back and forth between it's polyp stage and it's adult form, and it can do this perpetually meaning, basically, that it can just live forever.

It is literally immortal. Also, I'm probably not going to go this route because being a jellyfish doesn't sound very fun. Path number seven: Selective breeding.

This would take a very long time. Also, it would take a very dedicated and evil dictator. So some evil, immortality-crazed dictator was like, "You cannot have sex until you are 50!" Then all of the children born in that generation will be guaranteed to be stronger than children born of like 20 year olds because the 20 year olds would have had to have reached the age of 50.

Now, over thousands of years of doing this, you actually select for people who-who live longer. And then you start saying you can't have sex until you're 60, and then 70 and the 80 and then 90. It would work!

But it-it would be really evil. Path number eight: Telomerase. Telomeres are the things that cap our chromosomes.

They're at the end there. And scientists think that telomeres breaking down is the reason that we get older. All of the stuff, our skin getting saggy, our brains getting stupid, our bodies falling apart, all that stuff caused by telomeres breaking down.

Now there's an enzyme that repairs telomeres, and it's called telomerase, and mice that are genetically engineered to produce more of this stuff live 50% longer than other mice. Wh-Wh-Why aren't they putting that in vitamin water?! Path number eight: Let someone turn you into a-a robot.

Lots of futurists think that we'll either be putting our brains into robot bodies or we'll actually be downloading the thoughts and memories that comprise ourselves into computers, which I'm pretty sure and pretty happy that I'm not going to live to see. It sounds very interesting, but it does not sound like what I have come to think of as life. And finally, path number ten: Trees.

Here's how this one works. When you turn 30, you have to have an awesome enough brother to get a bunch of people to organize and plant trees and other plants so that when you die, there will be trees that were planted because of you. And you will be dead, but the trees will still be there being beautiful, and living their lives.

John, and everyone who helped out with my amazing birthday, thank you all so much.