At the end of the Aztecs’ sporting tournaments at Chichen Itza, the magnificent pyramid near Tulum in Mexico, the captain of the winning team would have his head ceremonially severed. You got that right – not the losing captain, but the winning one would have decapitation as the reward for victory, the chance to get closer to the Aztec god Kulkulkan for eternity.

I’m in Mountain View, San Francisco, for the new season of our BBC Radio 4 show FutureProofing, sitting opposite Aubrey de Grey, a neuroscientist who is also actively planning decapitation. His goal, though, is eternal life amid ...


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