Archive for December 3rd, 2005

The Final Frontier in Transplant Technology

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LYON,
France, Dec. 2 – The world’s first person to wear a new face awoke in
the northern city of Amiens, France,
on Monday – 24 hours after doctors put her to sleep – and looked in the
mirror.

The swollen nose, lips and chin she saw there were not her own – those
had been ripped from her head by her pet Labrador retriever in May –
but they were a blessing for a woman whose face had become a lipless
grimace.
She took a pen and paper and wrote for the doctors, "Merci."

Those doctors on Friday defended their rush to give the woman a new face,
despite the enormous risks of death and psychological difficulties posed
by the procedure, just months after her disfigurement. They dismissed assertions
that they were bent on glory at the patient’s expense.

from the
New York Times

As the accompanying diagram clearly shows, the mania
for transplants has reached the point where virtually every part of the
body is theoretically available for transplant replacement. A scary thought…

The problem is not the tricky surgical techniques necessary
to effect such operations.  With nano-technology, computer-assisted
scalpels and imaging, and fantastic new anti-rejection drugs (the Dowbrigade
has been using those since high school) the reality is that if anything
goes – it can be replaced.

No, the problem is where all of the replacement
parts are going to come from.  We had this debate – human cloning
for replacement parts – in class last week, and the conclusion was that
it
was a great idea, as long as you could grow the clones as a sort of brainless
sack of organs – no mind, no awareness, no soul, just a meat locker of
spare parts.

At the same time, we know that somewhere, in a magnificently
equipped bleeding edge high-tech laboratory buried under a mountain or
in a super-secure bunker on a black op military base in some third world
dictatorship, there is a crack team of transplant specialists working
on effecting the ultimate transplant – the Brain Transplant.

This is the Big Kahuna – the final frontier in transplant
technology.  Swapping brains – or complete heads – has been a science-fiction
fantasy since the times of the Greeks. Who would want a head transplant?
Well, duh – just every egomaniacal multi-Billionaire
who
is afraid of
dying,
wants
to
live forever, and is willing to spend every last ill-gotten dime accumulated
over a lifetime of avarice, manipulation and extortion to the cause of
cheating the big "D".

Imagine being able to grow unlimited replacement bodies,
young, strong and strapping, fit as fiddles and ready for action. One
complicated but scientifically feasible operation to swap the brainpans,
and you would be good to go – for another 40 or 50 years, easy. Who wouldn’t
want to live forever in a young, healthy, handsome body?

Unscrupulous and locally omnipotent leaders would not
even have to wait 16 years to grow a replacement body from their own
cloned cells – they could recruit prime physical "volunteers" from within
their
populations
and get them to swap bodies "for the good of the Republic." Benevolent
dictators might give the unfortunate donors a few short, sweet years
of continued existence in the leader’s old, worn-out bodies – complete
with 40 Virgins (which they probably won’t be able to do anything with
in those decrepit, used-up shells), unlimited luxury, medals and honors,
and the best pain-killing drugs.

Given the surfeit of suicide bombers, can anyone doubt
the potential availability of patriotic body donors?

This is the logical and inevitable endpoint of all of
the advances in transplant techniques over the past 60 years. It may
have already been attempted, or even perfected, although the parties
involved would understandably want to keep things under wraps until modern
morality catches up with medical advances. But think of the possibilities.  We
might still be dealing with President Bush in the 23rd century. Now that’s
a scary thought indeed….

New US Bills – More Color, US Values

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Washington D.C. (AHN) – On March 2, the
first of 800 million redesigned $500 bills will begin popping up at cash
registers and ATM machines across the country.

Government officials announced Thursday they have picked the March date
to begin distributing the colorful bills, which will feature shades of
red, yellow and orange added to the traditional green.

The new $500 note will feature the nation’s first Treasury secretary, Alexander
Hamilton, on one side, and astronomical symbols on the other.

Those two images will be joined by the Statue of Liberty’s torch, with
the phrase "We the People" written in red, with small yellow
10’s and a subtle orange background. All these changes are designed to
make counterfeiting tougher.

The new design was unveiled during a September ceremony in New York.

from All
Headline News

Hello Kitty – Old Money into New

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TOKYO – Coin importer Taisei Coins Corp
and Sanrio Co said Wednesday that they will jointly sell three euro coins
with images of the latter’s "Hello Kitty" character on them,
beginning on Dec 5.

A 1-ounce gold coin with a face value of 50 euros will cost 168,000 yen.
A quarter-ounce, 10-euro gold coin will cost 52,500 yen, and a 1.5-euro
silver coin will cost 8,400 yen. Images on the coins, made by the Monnaie
de Paris minting authority in France, depict "Hello Kitty" characters
enjoying life in Paris.

As economists have often noted, the preeminent position
of the dollar as a currency for international trade is a main factor
in the continued dominance of the US economy in the world economic system. Isn’t
it just like those sneaky Europeans to woo our little Asian brothers
from beneath our protective economic embrace by such an insidious tactic
as PUTTING A JAPANESE CULTURAL ICON ON EUROPEAN MONEY!

Look for the US to retaliate with "Great Wall of
China" fifties and a new Saudi King Abdullah thousand dollar bill. Actually,
for the latest redesign of US currency, see the very next story…

from Japan Today

Skiing Under the Big Top

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Temperatures never rise above freezing
and there is a fresh sprinkling of snow every day, but step outside and
you will find a sunbaked desert.

Complete with Alpine-style chalets, fir trees, chairlifts and ski runs
graded from green to black, the world’s largest indoor snow resort has
opened its doors in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.

Ski Dubai is the country’s latest extraordinary no-expense-spared project.
The emirate already has manmade islands shaped like a map of the world
and is building the world’s tallest tower. Beneath the Gulf it is building
the world’s first underwater hotel, with underwater opera.Article continues

Ski Dubai has more than 6,000 tonnes of snow. It boasts ski runs up to
400 metres long with a fall of more than 60 metres. A day pass costs 220
dirhams ($60).

Skiing in traditional Arab robes is not allowed. The snow – created by
spraying water under high pressure – is just the latest demand on scarce
water resources. Swimming pools, gardens and golf courses are others.

Whatever happened to the plan to tow icebergs from Antarctica to the Middle
East? 80% of the fresh water on the WORLD is frozen in the icecaps. They
could ski right on the iceberg en route, fly in on helicopters and start making
money before the berg even gets there! Now all we need to do is to interest
some venture capitalists…..

from the
Guardian