Archive for February, 2008

Video Storyboard

Here’s our complete video storyboard. It gives you an idea of how the animations will work with the audio script in terms of pacing and sequence.


* there are a ton of different coloured screens in this video, but it’s just to see how they look, our final will have a much less extensive colour palette.

* also, in a couple of spots the animation doesn’t match up with the audio cause we’ve made some changes to our script.


February 28, 2008 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Final Story Boards

Here’s some visualizations of how the animation will work with the script:



















click to expand

***more to follow***

February 22, 2008 at 8:05 pm Leave a comment

Design Ideas

We’ve started thinking about what we want our final project to look like in terms of colours and so on…

Colour Tests

The black and white type represents the contrasting opinions in the argument – white representing pro life extension, black representing the opposition.

We thought some striking background colours would enhance the liveliness of the debate.


February 21, 2008 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

Life Extension Debate: SCRIPT RECORDING

Here’s a pretty-much-straightened-out recording of our audio script.

February 21, 2008 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

Life Extension Audio Script (alternate idea)

This idea focuses on simply the arguments for and against life extension. I imagine the graphics for this being typographic, similar to that Nick The Greek video, with a lot of visual puns.


Ms. Against: [Sigh…tut.] You’re crazy.

Ms. For : [Laugh.] What? No I’m not! Look, the notion of eternal life has captured the imagination of our species for generations. You’ve got Peter Pan, The Highlander, Vampires, they all live forever.

Ms. Against: Just because humanity is obsessed, doesn’t make it right! Just look at the whole cosmetic surgery phenomena, the obsession with looking younger. We plump, enhance, reduce, remove and stretch our bodies into unnatural proportions just so we can try to look 21 again. We don’t even know what harm all that stuff does to us!

Ms. For : Yeah, but that stuff is only superficial and most of those procedures are temporary. I’m talking about the inner-workings of our bodies – our cells molecules and organs.

Ms. Against: Well I just don’t think that doubling or tripling our lifespans will solve anything I mean, what about, like, war and poverty, aren’t those problems more important?

Ms. For : But I think it could solve some problems! An extended lifespan would give us a chance to recover from our mistakes and reduce health care costs by delaying or even preventing expensive diseases!

Ms. Against: That’s all well and good, but our earth can only support so many people. As cruel as it may sound, aging keeps the population down. How the heck would we control populations if everyone started living till they were 2, 3, 4 hundred years old!?

Ms. For : I dunno, we could… we could like mass emigrate into space [laughs] or restrict births like they do in China.

Ms. Against: Ok then “Ms. Ihaveananswerforeverything”, answer me this, isn’t 80 years of life enough?! I mean, when an elderly person dies, it’s sad, but it’s not as tragic as like, the death of a child because that elderly person has lived a good long life.

Ms. For : well yeah, of course but…

Ms. Against: [cuts her off] and anyway, one of the characteristics of mortality is the desire to make our limited days count.

Ms. For : Look, we live longer now than we did say… a century ago, but that doesn’t mean we take life any less seriously. And do you really go around thinking “I have 80 years to live so I’m going to make the most of today”? No. It’s not the knowledge that we will die at a certain time that motivates us, but the awareness that life is fragile and that we could die at any moment, in like an accident.

Ms. Against: If that’s really what motivated me through life, I’d be too afraid to leave my house!

Ms. For : [sigh] whatever, I think a longer life would invigorate people to do the things they’ve always wanted to do.

Ms. Against: hmm… I highly doubt that. If someone doesn’t do those things within a normal 70-80 year lifespan I don’t think giving them extra time on top of that would help them. In fact, I think that a longer life would mean more time for boredom to creep in, which could result in prolonged unhappiness or suicide.

Ms. For : You wanna talk unhappiness? How does becoming frail and dependent sound to you? Cause that’s what happens when you grow old! Research into aging isn’t just about creating an elixir of youth, it could also help us to be healthier in our old age. We already save so many lives and isn’t saving a life and prolonging it the same thing?

Ms. Against: Ha! Not when you’re talking about a couple hundred years it isn’t!!!

Ms. For : [laughs] So what are you going to get me for my 200th birthday?

Ms. Against: [sigh] You’re crazy…

February 17, 2008 at 6:50 pm Leave a comment

Life Extension Audio Script (second draft)


The story is told through the eyes of two labs rats and their conversation and correspondence with each other.
they are owned by a team of scientists trying to find a cure for aging.

one scientist believes in traditional methods of anti aging while the other believes in the real methods of anti aging. the lab rats argue over

which of the scientists they believe is correct. one day the scientists realize they will never reach an agreement so they decided to part ways and see which of them can conquer aging first on their own. one rat goes with the first scientist- he is creamed, injected, lifted and sculpted- he writes a whole letter to the other lab rat saying how good he looks and how much younger he feels. the second lab rat doesn’t have much happen to him just a few blood tests and admits he is a bit skeptical of his owners methods to the other rat. This goes on and on until one day cosmetic r

at starts sagging and the second rat by way of synthetic biology is made stronger and stronger. Eventually cosmetic rat writes synthetic rat a letter from his death bed admitting looks aren’t everything and your scientists was right all along to look at the cellular level.
the rats can even be named synth and cosmo





S: Did you hear what they want to do to us now?
C: Yea! They want to make us live forever! I wonder how they will do it?
S: Those scientists, such overactive imaginations. Who do they think I am Peter Pan?
C: Well I’m not complaining, living longer means more time to eat cheese!
S: Shhhh quiet you! I hear Dr. McDougall and Dr. Herrmann coming! We don’t want them to know we can talk, that will only mean more experiments for us and personally I am happy just running around in the maze all day.

Dr. M: I’m not sure about these ideas of yours, I mean if we make them live forever we will soon have a million rats. The mazes will be overcrowded and soon we’ll have to release them into the sewers.
Dr. H: Yes, but at the end of the day its a choice between a high birth rate or a low death rate and we may as well focus on those of us who are already living.
Dr. M: But wont it get boring after a while? Extended boredom could mean prolonged unhappiness and maybe even higher instances of suicide.
Dr. H: Well there’s your population control then. Just joking! Longer life means living without regret, what’s boring about that?!
Dr. M: I say we just focus on improving the quality of human life.
Dr. H: Well, I am certainly not against that, but why not try to make it longer as well?

S: All this ethical mumbo jumbo, nothing ever gets done in here!
C: I want to live longer already! Or at least look better. I mean who cares if I don’t live forever as long as I have a long life with a lustrous coat.
S: You are always so quick to believe everything you hear. Even if they do figure out how to do all this stuff it wont be for years.

Click- screen goes dark as one of the scientists turns the light off- key turned in lock

C: Those scientists, always turning the lights off on us before we are ready for bed.
S: Goodnight Cosmo
C: Goodnight Synth

The Next Day the two scientists walk in arguing:

Dr. H: I’m telling you, as scientists we have the moral duty to extend human life as far as it will go!
Dr. M: And I am telling you that extending our life spans will not solve any of our current social problems. It may even make them worse! Evil dictators could live forever, competition for jobs would be fierce and without the constant infusion of new and youthful talent everything will grind to a halt!
Dr. H: Fine! if that is how you feel I will take my rat and begin the search for immortality on my own. (reaches into cage and grabs synth) You can have fun You can have fun pumping your rat full of botox and steroids and “improving” its quality of life.

S: Goodbye cosmo! Keep in touch! Don’t forget to write and let me know how things go…
C: Goodbye Synth, the maze wont be the same without you, I hope I can find my way out on my own.

S writes:
“Dear Cosmo,
Life in here in the new lab isn’t bad, it’s just a little boring. Dr. Herrmann pretty much ignores me, she is always busy playing with her test tubes and beakers. Sometimes she stops to draw a little blood. I don’t really mind because so far she has not done anything to hurt me, plus I get plenty of exercise and good healthy food. Tomorrow she wants to count my cells to see how much cell loss I am experiencing. What’s a cell? Is that like a cage? How is that going to make me live longer? I still find this hard to believe!
Write back soon. Love,

C writes:
“Dear Syth,
I was so excited to read your letter! I miss you so much. Fortunatly Dr. McDougall doesn’t leave much time for me to be bored. I have a rigourous schedule of injections, pills and beauty routines. You should see me! I am fit as a fiddle and pretty than ever. My muscles are bulging out of my fur. Dr. M wasn’t kidding when she said I would have an improved quality of life! This botox stuff is amazing and I don’t know why no one has ever tried to give me steroids before. Dr. M tells me it is still important to eat right and exercise, but I haven’t touched my wheel in weeks and I feel great and look better than ever. Enclosed find my new head shot (I’m looking for an agent!) I miss you and won’t forget you when I am famous. I hope that your cells are all still here.
Love, Cosmo

Synth pulls out the picture and laughs

Four years later…

Final scene is synth standing over a gravestone- looking young as always and on the gravestone it says ” 2008-2010 here lies cosmo, he may have a short life, but was good looking till the end. He will be missed”

February 12, 2008 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

Life Extension Audio Script (first draft)


1. As human beings we are obsessive creatures and there is one goal so old and so elusive, it has captured our attention for centuries. IMMORTALITY. In popular culture, we can see numerous examples of this desire to look and feel young forever with such characters as Peter Pan, Vampires, The Highlander and movies concerning quests for the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth.

2. In the west this obsession has manifested itself in an abundance of products, surgeries and pills that promise a more youthful outward appearance. So we inject, enhance, dye, pop (pills), r r remove, implant, lift, tuck and plump our poor bodies in the hope that we will retain the aesthetic vigor of our youth. In 2003 Ontarians alone spent 180 million dollars on cosmetic surgery and that was 5 years ago!

3. But these treatments are just that – cosmetic – they don’t really deal with our vital inner workings, and thus do nothing to prolong our lives. In fact a lot of these procedures are probably detrimental to our health. BUT NEVER FEAR! Recent advancements in the anti-aging field have scientists saying that we are finally close to achieving lifetimes that are at least several decades longer.

4. Due to increased understanding of how aging affects our bodies at a cellular and molecular level, we now know that metabolism plays a key role in the aging process. Metabolism ongoingly causes “damage” and that “damage” eventually results in death. A genetic-engineering approach to anti-aging would be to periodically repair damage so that it doesn’t reach the point that causes death.

5. We also now know that there are only 7 areas of “damage” to be fixed:
* cell loss/atrophy
* death resistant cells
* nuclear mutations
* mtDNA mutations
* protein cross-links
* junk inside cells
* junk outside cells
Several of these damages, we already know how to fix and it is predicted that we will know how to fix all of these things in mice within the next 10 years.

– But where to begin? It is not simply a matter of giving everyone Advil and Band-aides, we need to make changes at the cellular level. Synthetic biology takes the basic techniques behind genetic engineering and builds on them by employing automated construction, standards and abstraction. In other words instead of the long complicated processes used by genetic engineers, new processes that are faster, cheaper and simpler begin to emerge. These methods have already allowed scientists to create a microbe’s genome from raw chemical components. The next step for these scientists is to actually place this DNA in a cell and see if they can create an actual synthetic life form. While that may not seem like much at this time, think of the future implications. Once scientists can create synthetic cells they have a way to combat all 7 areas of damage listed above.

-Eventually, synthetic biologists may be able to do more than just create cells. They may be able to create new organs and new body parts. This would be simpler than replacing cells and probably be simpler than traditional organ transplants and there would be no need to wait for donors plus the organs could be created to have the same DNA squence as the patient eliminating the problem of the organ being rejected. What would it mean for our lifestyle if body parts suddenly became replaceable? No more exercise, and dieting because hey I could just get a new heart. Alcohol poisoning is ok, because my liver is replaceable too.

-We don’t have to worry about anything this radical just yet. For now they haven’t even created a synthetic cell, but they working on other ways to extend the life of a mouse.

6. According to scientists, the key for getting to the first moderate life extension is to acquire the ability to bestow 2 extra healthy years on mice that are already 2 years old (on mice that normally only live until they’re 3)

7. Of course the notion of biologically extending our lives is highly controversial and hotly debated. Advocates, such as Cambridge researcher Aubrey de Gray, and objectors voicing astute arguments for and against the issue.

8. However, despite strong opposition, it appears as though he arguments for living longer outnumber and outweigh those against it.

9. There are still important questions to think about in this debate…
* Will everyone have en equal chance at an extended life?
* If people live longer but are miserable for decades will views on suicide and euthanasia change?
* In an immortal society, how would you allow for new generations?
* It is one thing to ask should we make people immortal but it is quite another to ask whether we should make people immune to heart disease, cancer, dementia etc. (which would inevitable increase our life spans)
* What is aging? A disease to be cured or a natural part of life? If it is natural, is it necessarily good for us?
* Does the fact that we’re going to die really make us think more seriously about life?

10. Aubrey de Grey, computer scientist, biogerontologist, researcher and strong advocate for life extension, says that these scientific breakthroughs will happen, most likely in an incremental fashion increasing our lives by 50, then 100, then maybe even 1,000 years.
” if we get to work now, humans alive today could live to be 1,000″ de Grey proposes that the first human beings who will live to 1,000 years old have already been born.

11. But until these breakthroughs happen, here are some current life extension tips:
* Eat Less: consumption of calories has been scientifically proven to increase life expectancy.
* Love More: according to research, happy couples tend to live longer than single individuals.

12. Though, don’t forget to ask yourself: “What will I wish for on my 200th birthday?”

February 5, 2008 at 2:47 pm Leave a comment

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