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Wednesday, October 15, 2008


posted by on October 15 at 14:31 PM

The organs without a body:

In late 2005, cardiac researcher Doris Taylor revived the dead. She rinsed rat hearts with detergent until the cells washed away and all that remained was a skeleton of tissue translucent as wax paper — a ghost heart, as Taylor calls it. She injected the scaffold with fresh heart cells from newborn rats. Then she waited.

What she witnessed four days later, once the cells had a chance to make themselves at home, was astonishing. “We could see these little areas that were beginning to beat,” says Taylor, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Cardiovascular Repair. “By eight days, we could see the whole heart beating. The first time that happened, it was like ‘yes!’”

We really are heading toward the twilight of two moments: the human (the dusk) and the post-human (the dawn). (In the far distance behind us is another twilight, between the god and the human.) We’re not post-humans yet, but soon our mode will arrive at that freaky land which was poetically described at the end of The Order of Things (the face on the beach), and also added a layer of anxiety in the middle of Grandmaster Melle Mel’s rap “The Message”:

They pushed that girl in front of the train/ Took her to the doctor, sewed her arm on again.

Stabbed that man right in his heart/
Gave him a transplant for a brand new start

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Posted by nos | October 15, 2008 2:50 PM

kurzweil, on schedule again.

Posted by Super Jesse | October 15, 2008 2:55 PM

Well, this is good news for Dick Cheney, isn't it?

A rat heart would be a vast improvement.

Posted by Mike in Olympia | October 15, 2008 3:14 PM

I'm trying not to lose my head.

Posted by Furious | October 15, 2008 3:15 PM

You've really gotta work on your copy/pasting skills there, Charles.

Posted by Levislade | October 15, 2008 3:17 PM

I don't like this forest! It's - it's dark and creepy!
Of course, I don't know, but I think it'll get darker before it gets lighter.

Posted by scarecrow | October 15, 2008 3:18 PM

that's amazing. i don't like the idea of allowing people to live longer and longer, but a friend of mine is 33 and slowing dying from being born with a shitty heart. it'd be nice if he was able to live to 70 or so.

Posted by konstantconsumer | October 15, 2008 3:31 PM

Charles- is it really necessary to turn everything into a comp lit essay?

Posted by Max | October 15, 2008 3:35 PM

We're already there. We just know know it yet, because we're living in it, and it looks normal to us.

Posted by Josh | October 15, 2008 5:08 PM

you can do this without the washed heart scaffold- it's simply a matter of getting the cells at the right developmental stage so they have already been told to grow into a heart, and then giving them what they need to survive.

Posted by ams | October 16, 2008 4:59 AM

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