Round Trips to Never-Never Land Coming Soon…


Kian Pfannenstiel, Editor

Last year, researchers at Yale managed to reinvigorate some small functions in a deceased pig’s brain.

Take a moment to let that sink in. A dead pig had slight function returned to its brain through deliberate human action.

That statement has a whole lot to unpack, but let’s start with the obvious. What did they do? How did they do it? Why did they do it? Can I count on this to affect my entertainment? And why in the name of god did we not hear about this when it happened? Why didn’t this make headlines like cloning did in the late ’90s?

Of course, all of the information can be found on Yale’s website.

Beginning with how they did it, I’ll give you a rudimentary image. The pig was dead for only a few hours, which is crucial because it didn’t have enough time to decompose too much, and they took the brain out and essentially flooded it with oxygen and sugar. There are two visuals I have that I like quite a lot, despite their probability of being very, very wrong: the brain is setting in a jar of oxygenated sugar water, or there are a bunch of tubes (think┬áNeo leaving the Matrix for the first time) pumping sugary air into the brain. Neither is correct, but now they’re stuck in your head. Have fun with that.

The thing is, this isn’t like a full resurrection Gandalf-style, with the new wardrobe and enhanced superpowers, it isn’t even an undeath zombie-style. It just had the brain continue absorbing oxygen and sugar for at most six hours, preserving it slightly longer.

No one knows quite why they did this. Most people, even most biologists, wouldn’t think “Hey, lets flood a freshly dead pig’s brain with sugar and oxygen, see if it starts kicking again.” When asked, all that the lead scientist said was “I just miss him is all.^1”

But why didn’t we hear about this in the news back when it happened? I don’t know, probably just missed it or something. Not really worth looking into, don’t bother, that mystery will stay unanswered thank you and have a good day.

As per usual, you can count on me to tell you how this will affect your precious science fiction, and I am glad to inform you that I am here to tell you that it won’t. Dude, resurrections have been in sci-fi since it began. Literally. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is usually considered the first work of science fiction, and the entire story is centered on the consequences of reanimating dead tissue. The fact that it is barely becoming a reality has no bearing on science fiction. Besides, though the precedent is there, sci-fi isn’t the one fixated on reanimating dead tissue, it’s fantasy.

^1: This was not said and is not true.

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