The Six-Point Inspection: Can Science Make Dogs Live Longer?

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 6 2013 8:02 AM

The Six-Point Inspection: Can Science Make Dogs Live Longer?

Each month in “The Six-Point Inspection,” Future Tense and Zócalo Public Square take a quick look at new science and technology books that are changing the way we see our world.


The nutshell: Devastated by the death of his beloved dog Merle, the star of the best-selling Merle’s Door, nature writer Kerasote set out to find a successor who would live the longest, healthiest life possible—and to determine the reasons, from genes to food to veterinary care, why dogs live only a fraction of the years that humans do. 

Literary lovechild of: John Grogan’s Marley & Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog and Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell, and Colin Tudge’s The Second Creation: Dolly and the Age of Biological Control.

You’ll find it on your bookshelf if: You held a funeral for your dog, then had him stuffed and placed in the family room.

Cocktail party fodder: Many of the golden retrievers in the United States today can be traced back to three dogs from the 1970s. In 2010, one of them, champion show dog Misty Morn’s Sunset, had 95,359 registered descendants.

For optimal benefit: Make your kid read this before you agree to get him a puppy for Christmas. He needs more issues.

Snap judgment: Kerasote’s anthropomorphizing can be annoying, and his search for a canine Methuselah seems a little insane—but he’s saved by his extensive research and his genuine affection for animals.

The nutshell: After a string of bad dates courtesy of JDate, Match, and eHarmony, journalist and media consultant Webb decided to two-time the online matchmaking world. She created fake profiles of male daters in order to get a look at how her female competitors were presenting themselves, and she made herself a points scale to rate potential dates. In the end, she figured out what works with enough precision to meet her husband (or, as JDate would have it, beshert). Read an excerpt from Data, a Love Story on Slate.

You’ll find it on your bookshelf if: You’ve tried old-fashioned dating. It’s time to cut the crap.

Cocktail party fodder: The third most common way that couples now meet is via online dating sites (through work or school, or introduced by friends or relatives, are one and two).

For optimal benefit: Read before you play Cyrano Bergerac for your best friend’s JDate profile.

Snap judgment: Webb’s neuroses are hilarious—as are her interfering family members—and while some of ways she “gamed” the system seem obvious, her advice on dating is sound.   

The nutshell: Futurist David Houle argues that a new era has dawned on humanity, and it is going to—or rather, has already—changed everything. We’re leaving an age defined by information and entering one defined by consciousness—consciousness of the finite resources of our planet, of the interconnectedness of the globe, and of the power of technology.

Literary lovechild of: Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock and Tim Wu’s The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.

You’ll find it on your bookshelf if: You already own Houle’s Ending the Transformation Age: The New Shift of the Age Era and Transforming the Age Shift: The Information of the New Era Ending.

Cocktail party fodder: In 1985, the United States accounted for nearly 50 percent of all cellphones and 90 percent of all Internet users. In 2005, those numbers were 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively.

For optimal benefit: Crack this book open whenever globalization’s gotten you down. It won’t necessarily cheer you up, but you’ll look smart.

Snap judgment: Houle breaks down big ideas into easily digestible, entertaining small bites. So what if they’re sometimes a little too easy?

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Sarah Rothbard is managing and books editor of Zócalo Public Square.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 2:05 PM Paul Farmer Says Up to Ninety Percent of Those Infected Should Survive Ebola. Is He Right?
Business Insider
Oct. 22 2014 2:27 PM Facebook Made $595 Million in the U.K. Last Year. It Paid $0 in Taxes
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.