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Tech Q&A

Jonathan Weiner

Describe your latest project.
I'm working on a book about human longevity — and the indefinite postponement of aging. This has to be one of the oldest and newest obsessions in the history of science. It's also a subject that stirs strong feelings, positive and negative. I want to write a book that does some justice to all of this, including our very mixed human feelings about the possibilities.

What inspires you to sit down and write?
So many things. I have only to step outside my new office here on Broadway near Columbia to see a continuous river of human faces. Every one a story. And collectively the whole crowd of us dressed-up hominids is a story. And where are we going? So I want to write. I don't know any better way of exploring all this — and responding to the sense of wonder and mystery that I feel as part of the crowd.

Have you ever taken the Geek Test? How did you rate?
Never heard of it, but I'm sure I'd rank pretty high. One of my favorite living creatures is the slime mold, or social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum. I think anybody who actually thinks about slime molds while walking up Broadway would have to score high on the Geek Test.

Chess or video games?
Chess, yes; video games, no. Chess strictly as an amateur with my kids. First I taught them, then I beat them regularly, now they beat me all the time. It's a sad and happy ride.

What do you do for relaxation?
Well, the chess, and music (I'm a happy iTunes customer, very eclectic). Walks and talks. I'm a lapsed jogger and hope to start getting back in shape any day now. Someday I hope to learn to cook a good meal.

What was your favorite book as a kid?
I had a zillion but one of my favorite series, which should be better known, was the Mushroom Planet books by Eleanor Cameron. Great geek reading.

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