Friday, May 1, 2009

Cryogenic Leeching

Death is the one inevitability every soul on this planet faces.  It's the one thing that terrorizes into panic, contemplates to completion, and modernizes to today's fashion stylings.  It looks us straight in the face, as if the other side of the mirror could truly trap a shadow, and when doomsday finally arrives, we learn the ultimate lesson of a lifetime.  

It is without doubt, the most controversial subject matter at any one's kitchen dinner table - the passing of a loved one, the mourning of a friend - the regrets of your history's mistakes.  The sorrow of grief is typically wrapped up in a turkey and cranberry cocktail, as we are told to digest the unknown mystery of life and death.  And it is never easy to do.  For eons and multitudes of combinations, we search for this answer to ease our suffering curiosity of the next step - resorting to silent prayer, unanswered questions, and transcendent misgivings.  And finally, there are those that leech.  

Suckling Soles
Leechers can be described as annelids in the subclass Hirudinea, and are most definitely hermaphroditic.  They feed on the spineless - suckling at the juicy fleshes of the prey until the trunk is tapped of syrupy sustenance.   They hide in the wallows of dark water waiting for the next victim - as spineless as their invertebrate brethren, but as selfish as a Hyena... Leechers find any poor sapling and drain the innocence from genius, and the shine from the sun...  

Leechers, in the terminology of eternal search for life, have arguably evolved into modern day lifestyles, suckling their way into cryogenic freezers and storing cells in a state of perpetual suspended animation.  It was once rumored that Walt Disney instigated this fad by utilizing his love of suspended photo cell animation in the storage of his own suspended body cell animation - and although these rumors were quickly disputed by his tombstone and grave, followers soon caught wind of this icy breeze and hopped on the bandwagon faster than an alcoholic falls off on a bumpy road...

Chronos Killers
Cryonics involves the speculative stabilization of a viable brain from a patient who is legally deceased (Cryonics Website -  Under more simple terms, those that freeze themselves hope their cells structures, neurons, atoms all remain suspended and isolated from the outside environment.  The hopes of all this, as you can guess, is to reach immortality, as the argument states, that at some point in the near or distant future, medicinal advancements will be able to cure all that ends all.  

The stabilization of parts of living organisms, such as livers, kidneys, hearts and other transplants, require the material to be stored in a chilled environment.  Chilling technologies today rely on large amounts of energy input, where electrical energy is used to drive compressors and pumps in the compression-cooling-expansion loop utilized in producing sub-zero temperatures.  In order to reach cryogenic levels, temperatures must be reduced to 77.15 Kelvin (or -320.53 degrees Fahrenheit).

Allied Atheists Alliance
One of my favorite all-time episodes of South Park was when Cartman froze himself on a mountain top (with the help of Butters) in order not have to wait for the release of the Nintendo Wii.  As I can truly relate to the anxiousness of waiting for the release of a video game, the story took a twist when Cartman awoke 300 years later to find a society of Atheists at war over atheism (along with Mrs. Garrison scissoring Richard Dawkins).  Anyways, the episode took a glimpse of future society - one of my favorite day dreaming activities.  

Companies like Alcor and other 'Institutes' that pitch everlasting hope for under $200,000 are a complete sham.  It steps on so many of my 'shants' and 'cant's' that the notions of selfish leeching deserves to suckle on my chocolate salty balls... 

First off, the notion that one's life is worth preserving, is in the realm of complete totalitarianism - the idea that a life is worth any more than another is egoism at it's worst - an ism that definitely is in my top 3 worst categorisms... 

Secondly, the state of medicine technology is one so tightly wound up in profitability, who do you think is going to pay to have the medical procedure complete on your dead, frozen, shit-filled suspended animated body?  I hope you had an Aenima on the way out, cause you'll shit yourself when you find out that the generations past won't give a damn how much you've asked them to pay...  The number of years in frozen captivity will drain away the pocket books of your 'investment' spewing out hot gases of CO2 as the accelerated heat your body is expelling is cooled, and is spewed into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases - you're polluting yourself away into the futures.  As the investment money runs out, I'm sure the company is fine casting your frozen dead body into the ocean as fish feed.

Finally, there's my take on returning to the Earth.  Upon death, humans have come to bury their dead, a way of 'returning' to the Earth.  This method, of course, has been capitalized, and a funeral/burial can now run in the range of $25,000+.  In a cryogenic state, this will ensure that no atom of a body's make-up will ever infiltrate a plant, an animal, or another body.  The body will remain yours - as tightly wound as you would dream it to be...

Melting Away
If this fad ever takes off, for example marketing campaigns begin airing on network TV, Britney decides to do it, or Martha Stewart's head ever does end up on a animatronic robot, imagine the population swell and leeching impact this would have on a futuramic society.  I've been able to come to grips with my mortality, it will some day come - but at the same time, I've always been afraid of a closed casket.  If doomsday were to ever knock on my door, I think I would like to pass back to the Earth in the mud, buried in a biodegradable blanket wrapped in an earth worm's digestive dreams... leaching my way back into the mix, spreading bits of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur along the way...


  1. Yes, cryogenics is a scam all right - living cells have a built-in self-destruct mechanism which makes freezing a waste of time. I thought the mechanism was called 'cellular hysterisis' but a Google doesn't generate any matches for that, so it seems I've forgotten the term ... oh well!

    Anyway, the gist of it is that cells can only reliably reproduce for so many generations, and each generation is slightly less viable than the previous one. So for example, a liver cell may replicate, but the new liver cell is not so effective at it's function as it's parent ... likewise it's successor. After 17 generations (or something like that) the cumulative effects of this process results in homogeneity, and cells just turn into nondescript blobs that don't do anything particularly well.

    PS: It might be that what I'm thinking of is the "Hayflick Limit" ... can't remember now, my brain cell's degenerated! ;)

    Good to see you blogging again after your break!

  2. Thanks for the lead on the 'hayflick limit' - quite a bit of interesting material there, including the Leach's Storm-petrel... producers of the 'immortal' cells - perhaps the next big fad could be a bowl of leach storm stew...

  3. Haha, well I'll state the obvious and say "Hmm, there's a cute convergence, your ..."

    leech > cryogenics >

    collides with

    < Leach petrel < Hayflick limit

    Now, that's lookin' like a very tricky set of poles to *pop!* ;)