Archive for July 3rd, 2019

Brain Death Not As Fast and Irrevocable As Previously Thought. Quandaries.

July 3, 2019

Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong?

In experiments on pig organs, scientists at Yale made a discovery that could someday challenge our understanding of what it means to die.

If one can restore activity to individual post-mortem brain cells, what stops from restoring activity to entire slices of post-mortem brain?

This led to the revival of pigs’ brains, hours after their death. So far the revival has been deliberately kept at a low level, with a number of tricks. The long and fascinating article is in the New York Times.

There is an even worse ethical quagmire: HUMAN mini-brains. A (partial) solution there maybe NON-human mini-brains… But HUMAN cancer is one thing one can study well in human mini brains… Some of these cancers no doubt caused by the 180,000 untested human made chemicals out there. Verily, we are in a human made scifi swamp of thorny possibilities…

Once the fluid — the present form of which includes antibiotics, several brain activity reducers, and nine different types of cytoprotective agents — is ready, the brain is lowered into a plastic case the scientists have nicknamed “the football” and connected via the carotids. A small thermal unit (a miniature air-conditioner and heater) sits under the football, controlling the temperature of the organ; the pressure and speed of the perfusate, meanwhile, are governed by a type of pump. With a dull whir, the fluid begins to circulate across the arteries, capillaries and veins of the brain in a loop, exiting on each circuit through a dialysis unit that “cleans” any waste products and through a filter that removes any naturally occurring bubbles… with an automated “pulse generator,” a device that replicates the heartbeat’s pulsatility in the organs… attached to a number of custom sensors.

On 17 April 2019, Nature said: Part-revived pig brains raise slew of ethical quandaries. Researchers need guidance on animal use and the many issues opened up by a new study on whole-brain restoration…”

Yes, well, who is to provide that guidance? Professional academics, without debate outside of their closed hushed societies?

How do we know who is the wisest?

180,000 untested chemicals out there, devastating life and humans… And we worry about pig brains, dead four (4) hours prior? Here is what I sent to the New York Times:

Progress is good: it augments happiness, reduces pain. For example anesthetics have revolutionized the management of pain. no ethics board is going to come and complain that pain has been hurt by anesthetics.

Life extension is good. Life extension is even necessary, because life extension means also widom extension, ultimately. 

Hence there is a very good civilizational reason for fostering ll and any research on life extension, from life of a little finger, to life of an entire brain. Without more advanced wisdom, civilization, let alone society as we know it, will not survive. 

Once some of this brain reanimation techniques are more advanced, practical and at the ready, they will be used after accidental, or battlefield, death. There are no ethics in the way.

And, as I said, there are very good ethical reason to fight for older brains, which have seen more. Some will whine at all imaginable problems it could cause. But any progress brings problems not seen before, and the more progress, the more problems, because the more brainwork. 

The fact remains that brain resuscitation, when it becomes practical will, and should be used, and further advanced. It’s not just excellent science, it’s excellent ethics and philosophy. By fostering it we demonstrate, not just that we are smart, but ethical in the most human way: that of survival and advancing curiosity. We also demonstrate we are attached to human minds, cherish and value them, and we spite a fate we have not chosen.

Cherish souls, but then demonstrate it with great efforts to save them!

Patrice Ayme

 

Growing Hatred: Brexit Turning Its Back To Europe’s Best. While EU To Be Led By (Super) Women.

July 3, 2019

Suppose one has a strong positive feeling, such as loving the music and words of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. This is the European anthem. As an orchestra played it in the European Parliament, 29 British Members of The European Parliament turned their backs. They wanted to show how much they despised the following words, the 9th Symphony, and the idea of a European Union. Or maybe they just hate peace, a written constitution, true democracy? (The present selection of the clown Boris Johnson for UK Prime Minister by 160,000 people is hardly something democratic in a country of 66 millions…) Ludwig:

Joy, beautiful spark of Divinity
We enter, drunk with fire,
Heavenly One, thy sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What convention strictly divided;*
All people become siblings,
Where your gentle wing abides.

Who has succeeded in the great attempt,
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a lovely woman,
Add his to the jubilation!
Indeed, who even just has one soul
To call his own in this world!…

All creatures drink of joy
At the nature’s breasts.
All Just Ones, all Evil Ones
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us and grapevines,
A friend, proven in death.
Lust was given to the worm 
And the cherub stands before God.

Gladly, like His suns fly
through the heavens’ grand plan 
Go on, brothers, your way,
Joyful, like a hero to victory.

Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss to all the world!
….

Members of the Brexit Party turn their back to the assembly as the European anthem is played during the first plenary session of the newly elected European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent KesslerWhat do they want? Disunion, the opposite of Union? Could war be far? Oh, many will say, this has nothing to do with war. However, after the Franks led by the “prince and duke, count of Normandy” (Princeps, Dux, Comes) conquered England in 1066 CE, France and England were united for generations. Little things led to great separations, and war between siblings. The wars between England and France, until the Sixteenth Century, were all Franco-French affairs. Nearly five centuries of Franco-French wars… which turned devastating inside France, after a while.

The show above has no meaning, but to stoke that greatest of human strengths: unbounded hatred, where small differences are turned into the most aggressive postures.

Meanwhile the European Council, that is the heads of the state of the 27 EU members (minus crazed Britain), finally decided to name two women to lead the European Union: Ursula Von Den Leyen, to head the European Commission, and Lagarde, to head the European Central Bank. Leyen was once seen as Merkel’s successor, and is long serving German defense minister. An MD with seven children, she speaks perfect German, English and French. Lagarde is the long serving head of the IMF (she put herself on leave immediately). The Council’s nominations happened after lots of haggling; an early candidate the Dutch Timmermans was viewed as anti-East European by East Europeans, for pushing for sanctions against perceived non-democratic-enough Eastern European countries; also Italy rightly condemned his anti-“populism”; thus he was rejected.

Young French Monkey-In-Chief Macron then got the great idea to propose Von Leyen (Notice: a French selects and launches a great German…) Von Leyen introduced improved maternity and paternity benefits as Germany’s family affairs minister and drove forward boardroom gender quotas. She is one of Europe’s most popular politicians (after degrees in economic and medicine, she started politics in her 40s).

Lagarde and Ursula von der Leyen, have to be confirmed by the European Parliament (suspense! But they should please everybody… but for the sad clowns above)

No doubt the British haters represented above, will have nothing intelligent to say. Britain, in truth, has no Constitution, just habits. And this is going to bring a constitutional crisis.

The United States of Europe already exists… In America. The USA has a constitution, and that Federal ensemble was created by Europeans, and their descendants, using mostly Franco-British ideas (Montesquieu, Locke, etc.) … However, individual US states have lots of freedom. In the OK Corral confrontation between California and Trump, Trump is not winning: he mostly prefers to do other things than to take California head-on.

Hence to create a federal state inside geographical Europe is just learning from the European experience in America. Said Federal State, the European Union, is federalizing ever more. Macron wants to deepen the Union before new countries join. He is right.

Having Lagarde as ECB chief is a great advance: she managed the IMF very well, and she is for easy money, or, at least enough to let the economy work (differently from the Germans, whose hypocritical lying on tight money has been exposed here… this is going to change). She is demonstrating this presently with the near catastrophic situation in Argentina… And has in general insisted that countries given IMF loans not been squeezed in vital social services.

Anyway, happily surprised by these two top choices…

Patrice Ayme

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(The Brexit team stays in place…)