Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Brain in Jar? A Bodiless Star!

Wiley posted part of an article about the preservation of brains after death:


I have been read­ing about the Brain Preser­va­tion Foun­da­tion (BPF), which hopes that chem­i­cal and other meth­ods, includ­ing a refined ver­sion of plas­ti­na­tion, will enable brains to be pre­served with such fidelity that mem­o­ries, per­son­al­ity, and even iden­tity can be preserved.

This may well seem rem­i­nis­cent of the older cryo­genic preser­va­tion projects which have not always had a good press over recent years, though they still con­tinue to oper­ate and indeed have refined their processes some­what. But although the BPF also has a vision of bring­ing peo­ple back to life after their nat­ural death, it is in many ways a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish. It does not itself offer any kind of ser­vice but merely seeks to pro­mote research, and it does not expect to see a prac­ti­cal sys­tem for many years



Traditionally, attempts to preserve brains have been portrayed as sinister plots to prolong the depredations of evil dictators both terrestrial:





and intergalactic:





Sure, if you put an evil brain in a jar, you have an evil brain in a jar. Not a lot of good guys seem to get the treatment, with a memorable exception, and even then, he was just used as a glorified building superintendent:




Why wouldn't having your brain preserved outside of your body actually be a good thing? If the aliens want to put your brain in a jar and take it around to have interplanetary adventures, why fight it? Sure, it would suck to have your brain stuck in some facility on a remote planet running the sewer system, but it wouldn't be bad to have your brain taken along on jaunts to thirty-seven different celestial bodies—planets, dark stars, and less definable objects—including eight outside our galaxy and two outside the curved cosmos of space and time. Even better, maybe the Brain Preservation Foundation can preserve Taylor Swift's brain, so she can keep breaking up with dudes for millennia and writing songs about said breakups. Even better, Taylor Swift's preserved brain can be placed in a space probe so she could break up with every dude in the universe.

17 comments:

Aunt Snow said...

"Abby Normal....yes, that's it, Abby Normal."

Seriously, there was an amazing story on This American Life about a guy trying to operate a cryogenics business, and while harrowing, it was also hilarious and touching.

It's been a long time since I've listened to it, but it's a good story.
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/354/mistakes-were-made?act=1

mikey said...

It certainly seems reasonable that if we can figure out the brain's data storage protocol (and it works more like persistent storage than RAM and retains data after the "power" is turned off) then, with the proper preservation and extraction methodologies we should be able to at least "play it back". It seems less certain that it could be harnessed to a platform with sensors and a speech synthesizer and emulate the original personality.

But it's a LOT more likely that we'll accomplish that at some point than we (or anyone) will manage interstellar travel - at least in any timeframe shorter than millennia...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Seriously, there was an amazing story on This American Life about a guy trying to operate a cryogenics business, and while harrowing, it was also hilarious and touching.

Thanks for the link!

But it's a LOT more likely that we'll accomplish that at some point than we (or anyone) will manage interstellar travel - at least in any timeframe shorter than millennia...

Don't worry, immortal Taylor Swift will still have time to break up with every sentient male being in the universe.

Ya know, "Taylor Swift IN SPAAACE" would be hilarious.

Sirius Lunacy said...

The Brain That Wouldn't Die

Sirius Lunacy said...

The Brain That Wouldn't Die

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

i prefer my brains free-range and preservative-free.

Laura said...

Sorry.. I've still got the He-Man "HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA" song going through MY brain.

Can't think, brain dumb.
Inspiration won't come.

And with that...
I shall leave you. ;)

((hugs))
Laura

Patricia said...

I would like it if aliens took Taylor Swift's brain, put it in a jar and make her look at it, while playing "We Are Never Getting Back Together" ad nauseum. That girl needs help. She is emotionally unavailable. Lol

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Wow.

zrm turns his nose (IF he has one still!) up at sausage brains?
~

Smut Clyde said...

Did someone mention the Brain Preservation Foundation?

Sure, it would suck to have your brain stuck in some facility on a remote planet running the sewer system

A lot of alien cultures use human brains as convenient bio-computers for menial tasks, but most prefer to keep them physically encased in the original bodies, to save on duplicating the life-support equipment.

The "two bodies per processing unit" design is popular, to support functionality while keeping the sleep / wake cycle, but then there is the eight-body design for distributed multi-processor power.

Brains themselves are more likely to end up writing pulp novels in an age when the craft of narrative has been forgotten.

M. Bouffant said...

A BRAIN IN A GLOBE shares.

Substance McGravitas said...

Sure, if you put an evil brain in a jar

WHO IS THE SNITCH?

Smut Clyde said...

Did someone say The Brain that Wouldn't Die?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

No I didn't.

[url=http://youtu.be/I71OlRUDCQQ]Oh wait, yes I did.[/url]

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

fecking tags. I blame thunder, and through him, Obama.

mikey said...

That HTML right there is a real drone's breakfast...

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Fire up the bassoons!