Friday, December 11, 2009

Darpa's Dark Arts

Darpa, the U.S. military's shadowy cabal of mad scientists and frustrated science fiction writers with sociopathic tendencies, is researching new ways to keep injured soldiers alive on the battlefield while medical help is dispatched. Their solution? Turn them into the undead. Or, more specifically, the almost dead. Two competing teams of researchers are looking into how they can suspend a bleeding soldier's life while he waits for a medic. Half of all troop fatalities are caused by massive blood loss after an injury is sustained. One team is trying to simulate squirrel hibernation in humans by manipulating a pancreatic enzyme. The idea is to stop the bleeding by putting the wounded soldier in a kind of suspended animation. The other team is trying to lengthen near-death experiences by using hydrogen sulfide to block the body's need for oxygen absorption. As long as organs and tissues don't need oxygen, there's no need for blood either. The only downside is that this kind of treatment would turn our best and brightest into bloodless zombies while they're waiting for medical treatment. And after that, it's only a matter of time before they develop a taste for delicious brains. But, in fairness, it's probably only a matter of time before we all develop a taste for delicious brains. They're just so damned delicious. So tender and juicy. You're not going to eat that brain, are you? More details here.