Duck Butter’s Naima (Alia Shawkat) and Sergio (Laia Costa) fuck like the world is ending. They do it at Sergio’s house, they do it at Naima’s house, they do it outside within potential view of strangers. They finger bang on a piano bench and kiss in between slurps of mango. They recreate Sergio’s experience of learning to masturbate with pillows alongside her cousin. They enjoy a salutary fuck, and they engage in makeup sex.
After a stretch, Naima notes, “You know, we haven’t had sex in two hours.” She says this gravely, as if confronting Sergio with a rupture in their relationship. At this point, it’s been less than 36 hours since they made each other’s acquaintance.
In a step that could change the definition of death, researchers have restored circulation to the brains of decapitated pigs and kept the reanimated organs alive for as long as 36 hours.
The feat offers scientists a new way to study intact brains in the lab in stunning detail. But it also inaugurates a bizarre new possibility in life extension, should human brains ever be kept on life support outside the body.
The work was described on March 28 at a meeting held at the National Institutes of Health to investigate ethical issues arising as US neuroscience centers explore the limits of brain science.
During the event, Yale University neuroscientist Nenad Sestan disclosed that a team he leads had experimented on between 100 and 200 pig brains obtained from a slaughterhouse, restoring their circulation using a system of pumps, heaters, and bags of artificial blood warmed to body temperature.
There was no evidence that the disembodied pig brains regained consciousness. However, in what Sestan termed a “mind-boggling” and “unexpected” result, billions of individual cells in the brains were found to be healthy and capable of normal activity.
LONDON — The anti-vaccine movement has come for the pets.
A spreading fear of pet vaccines’ side effects has prompted the British Veterinary Association to issue a startling statement this week: Dogs cannot develop autism.
The implicit message was that dog owners should keep vaccinating their pets against diseases like distemper and canine hepatitis because any concerns that the animals would develop autism after the injections were unfounded.
Those who fear vaccine side effects in their dogs claim the animals could develop canine autism, thyroid disease and arthritis.
Then, on Monday, the television show “Good Morning Britain” on ITV put out a call on Twitter to hear from dog owners who believed their pets showed symptoms of autism after receiving vaccinations, and from others who had stopped getting their pets vaccinated against dangerous diseases.
The next day, the veterinary association put out a statement on Twitter.
“We are aware of an increase in anti-vaccination pet owners in the U.S. who have voiced concerns that vaccinations may lead to their dogs developing autism-like behavior. There’s currently no reliable scientific evidence to indicate autism in dogs (or its link to vaccines),” the association said in its tweet.
A group of students and researchers at Delft University of Technology are designing a starship capable of keeping generations of crew alive as they cross the gulf between stars – and they’ve turned to ESA for the starship’s life support.
DSTART, the TU Delft Starship Team, is bringing together a wide variety of disciplines to perform advanced concepts research for a resilient interstellar space vehicle, to be constructed from a hollowed-out asteroid. The aim is not just to focus on the necessary technology, but also to consider the biological and social factors involved in making such a gargantuan voyage feasible.
“We need self-sustaining and evolvable space technology capable of enduring the many decades needed to journey from our Solar System to another,” explains DSTART leader Angelo Vermeulen, currently studying for his systems engineering Ph.D. at TU Delft.
“As part of that, we are looking at the kind of regenerative life-support system pioneered by the ESA-led MELiSSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) programme.”
The 11-nation MELiSSA programme seeks to build a system, inspired by a natural aquatic ecosystem, to efficiently convert organic waste and carbon dioxide into oxygen, water and food.
A MELiSSA pilot plant in Spain’s Autonomous University of Barcelona hosts an airtight multi-compartment loop with a ‘bioreactor’ powered by light and oxygen-producing algae to keep ‘crews’ of rats alive and comfortable for months at a time. While the algae yield oxygen and trap carbon dioxide, the rats do exactly the reverse.