Dov asked:

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Carl Hempel Could be, the book of Genesis before the story of Noah says: "So the LORD said: “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days shall be 120 years.” - Genesis 6:3

After that men stop living as long and fairly quickly arrive at living about 120 years.
Pep Dov's obvious typo is the reason for the question not making sense. "20" should be "120".
Lauren I hadn't caught the 120 years thing, but there's a definite Judaic theme running through the book. It might just be a reference to the Jews in Hollywood stereotype, but for a book largely lacking personal description or identifiers, I felt like Jewish things kept popping up. In Coda 3 Samantha goes on a date with a guy who got married under a chuppah, Weinstein is traditionally a very Jewish name, and I swear some character mentioned his bar mitzvah, though I can't remember where. Anyway, point is I wouldn't be surprised if the 120 was intentional.
Theocassionalreader Possibly. Not sure if Scalzi is Jewish, or if he has had a deep education in the Jewish religion, but he did study under Nobel Prize winning writer Saul Bellow, who happens to be Jewish and has a deep roots in the Jewish traditions. Maybe he picked up something from there?
Ivy_359 What? This question does not make sence.
Marius S I have never seen, heard, or read anywhere that in the Jewish religion, man and woman can only live for twenty years. If so, it appears everyone broke that 'rule.' Do you have your history slightly mixed up?
Laura L. Van Dam maybe it is a reference, but i think it refers to the fact that most scientists nowadays believe that human existence has a limit of about 120 years, due to medical reasons. The oldest person recorded in human history died at 122.
Jennifer Lee Rossman I understood it simply as people live a little longer in the future.
J. Just a nit-pick... You have 120 twice, and 20 a third time. Your question makes perfect sense if you mean 120 the tree times.
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by John Scalzi (Goodreads Author)
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