Metavalent Stigmergy

How New Default Consensus Realities Instantiate

Beyond When Pigs Fly

[Experimental pig number] 78-6 is, in fact, only mostly dead – the common term for her state is, believe it or not, suspended animation. Long the domain of transhumanist nut-jobs [like metavalent], cryogenic suspension may be just two years away from clinical trials on humans (presuming someone can solve the sticky ethical problems). Trauma surgeons can’t wait – saving people with serious wounds, like gunshots, is always a race against the effects of blood loss. When blood flow drops, toxins accumulate; just five minutes of low oxygen levels causes brain death.

Chill a body, though, and you change the equation. Metabolism slows, oxygen demand dives, and the time available to treat the injury stretches. “With the pig essentially dead,” Alam says, “we’ve got hours to fix it and play around.” By noon the team has stitched up the arteries and gone to lunch. It has become ­routine: Alam has suspended 200 pigs for an hour each, and although experimental protocol calls for different levels of care for each pig, the ones that got optimal treatment all survived.”

Written on July 15, 2006