The Null Device


Flickr stencil-art photo of the day:

Ah, North Fitzroy...

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A fascinating, if macabre, article hypothesising on the subjects of reanimating the dead and creating various kinds of zombies and golems:

On the other hand, while many higher brain functions are irretrievably damaged after just minutes of cardiac arrest, most of the actual tissue remains "metabolically active and responsive" for at least 24 hours after death, and the hard wiring between neurons probably doesn't change until actual decay sets in. This raises an interesting and somewhat chilling question: What's the subjective experience inside a "dead" brain that continues showing low-level electrical activity for hours or days afterward? This is more than idle daydreaming (or idle nightmaring), because there are also neural pacemakers—intended mainly to treat epilepsy—that introduce small electrical shocks into the brain. A dozen of those would get some interesting currents flowing through the dearly departed neural tissue, and if you networked them with a bit of computing power, and connected them to electrodes on the arm and leg muscles, you might even get something that could "think" and "feel" enough to drag itself along the ground.
The article goes on to speculate about the possibility of a modified version of Rocky Mountain spotted fever that can kill hosts whilst producing enough ATP to keep their bodies sufficiently functional to resemble horror-movie zombies.

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Jon Lech Johansen, the Norwegian hacker who cracked DVD encryption, iTunes DRM and several other things, has accepted a job in California. How much do you want to bet that the FBI will be waiting for him at the airport?

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