The Null Device

Things Man was not meant to know

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.

There are 1 comments on "Things Man was not meant to know":

Posted by: toby http:// Thu Oct 20 23:23:34 2005

The contents of mitochondria are toxic to cells, and leakage (of cytochrome c, if I remember correctly) trigers cell apoptosis. There's no way that simply producing ATP is going to even provide the energy needed to animate a corpse, and even if you could add essentially all the genes from the mitochondrial genome to a virus, you still don't have a mitochondrial membrane, which is needed for supporting the proton pump which drives the syntesis of ATP.

While it's interesting to consider what death might be like, this article is bullshit on so many levels. Sorry.