Thursday, July 25, 2013

You Can Live Forever

Is immortality plausible? Or is it quack science? Two experts face off.  

Walter Bortz and Aubrey de Grey are both sights to behold. It’s a Friday morning—opening time—at The Tied House Brewery and Café in Mountain View, California. Flags emblazoned with the logos of local sports teams (San Francisco Giants, San Jose Sharks) dangle from the rafters, and colorful signs for house-made ales (New World Wheat Beer, Hoptopia IPA) adorn the yellow cinder-block walls, in typical microbrewery fashion.

Bortz appears first: tall, lean, tanned, in a white polo shirt and brown sport coat, with a shock of white hair. Three months ago, Bortz participated in his 10th Boston Marathon, and 43rd marathon overall. He is 83 years old. 

De Grey, 50, materializes next. He looks like some sort of steampunk shaman: long russet-gray hair, pulled back in a ponytail; equally long beard, with a footlong mustache to match; lavender striped shirt unbuttoned past his sternum; dark jeans; and what appear to be black Dr. Martens boots. De Grey is six feet, 150 pounds or so. Wraithlike. He has saved us a table near the window.

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