Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Methuselah by Any Other Name Is Still a Vampire

I'm watching Castle on Hulu right now. (Hurray for Captain Tightpants!)  If you've watched much Hulu, then  you know the ads tend to run toward out-dated, poorly produced PSA's.  There's one with a man-pig to teach us all to save our pennies.  Ugh.  I sort of want to go out and blow all my money just to spite that creature.  Well, tonight's commercial was a new one.  It started with geeks of the past, like Marie Curie, moved on to geeks of the present, like Bill Gates, and ended with geeks of the future.  I didn't recognize the future geeks because their greatness is yet to come, but they did all look appropriately geeky with a slightly frazzled, overworked vibe.

The ad ended with a reference to something called  the Mprize and suggested a visit to their website.  Since these guys chose not to use a creepy man-pig to get their point across, I popped open my handy dandy netbook (Ah, I do miss Blue's Clues) and headed over to http://www.mprize.org/.  Do you know the first thing I noticed?  Not the rows of test tubes, or the picture of Albert Einstein and other assorted geeks, but the name of the group that is sponsoring the Mprize.  It's called the Methuselah Foundation, and as anyone who has ever played Vampire: The Masquerade knows, the Methuselahs are super powerful, manipulative vampires who are best avoided.  Who the heck picked that name?!

I read up on the Mprize and found out that it's a big chunk of change that will be awarded to ubergeeks who can prove their mouse has lived longer than any other mouse on the planet.  It seems to involve messing with genetics to help humans live longer.  Great idea.  Definitely reward worthy.  Still, the whole vampire thing makes me suspicous.  What could they be planning?  The methuselahs have plans within plans within plans...   So, here's my own personal PSA for those of you looking to start a fancy, shmancy foundation with a big prize for some insanely difficult task.

Do your reserach before you pick a name.  Thoroughly.  Otherwise, you run the risk of naming your group after a bunch of ancient vampires whose sole goal is to rule the human race, treating us like cattle who are here only for their amusement and perhaps a light snack.  Unless, of course, you really are running a corporation for a secret society of actual vampires whose real interest is not our longevity, but mastery of our genetics so they can make us more susceptible to their influence and fill the world with mindless slaves to do their bidding.  In which case, I should be running and hiding right about now.....

5 comments:

  1. I suspect it's actually a reference to the Robert Heinlein novel Methuselah's Children. It was about a family that had offspring that lived for several hundreds of years after a history of selective breeding. It's a very good book, you should check it out. :-)

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  2. I'll have to check that one out because I do like Heinlein. There really are lots of references to Methuselahs, some recent, some taken from biblical references to a person who lived to be almost 1000 years old. I can't help but think of The Masquerade,though....

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  3. Awesome post!
    I'd have to agree with your previous poster though, methuselah(s) has existed for a lot longer than it has been featured in V:tM (pun intended ;).

    I love the idea of that prize though, I can just see someone sitting in their basement, white coat and bubbling, coloured glassware cackling as their mice live longer and longer.... fade into the future and the scientist is a skeleton still in white coat who has been outlived by his mice.

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  4. We're glad you thought the PSA different enough to give us a look.

    I'm the culprit who named the Methuselah Foundation. It was selected because it refers to a man in the Bible who was listed as having lived 969 years. I am also a fan of Heinlein's Methuselah's Children, so it seemed an appropriate choice, since the Foundation's goal is to act against aging by extending the healthy human lifespan - emphasis on the healthy part. My choice had/has nothing whatever to do with mythically long lived but definitely unhealthy vampires ;-)

    Thanks,
    Dave Gobel

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  5. Hello Dave!

    I am very tempted to believe your story. In your bio you even appear to be standing outside in the sun. However, given the whole science-genius thing, you guys may have overcome that obstacle. I envision a tall, pale man looming above you with a very firm hand on your shoulder, encouraging you to write your response. :)

    Vampires aside, the Mprize really does sound like a fascinating project. I had never heard of it until the Hulu ad ran, and the parade of geeks from history made it impossible for me not to head to your site. Hope you can get the same level of publicity that the Xprize received.

    Just promise me you'll keep tabs on all the mice. If super, strong, mutant mice suddenly attack the human race, I am going to point my finger squarely at you and your "human" backers.

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