Friday, April 17, 2015

A little Friday Fun Day

An animated political cartoon,

And a little mondo bizarro science, not just an every-day ordinary hair transplant, but the possible whole-head transplant onto a donor body.  Surgical candidate is Russian, with the surgery itself being touted as taking place either in China or the US.  It is appropriate that the donor of the head is Russian; because under Stalin, such weird things were done in animal experiments back in the 1950's.  Warning - this is graphic, this is disturbing, this is science unlimited by ethics.  There is also a Minnesota connection, to an American who took up the idea, Minnesotan Robert White.  From Stranger than Fiction:
One night in 1954, Demikhov undertook an experiment that stunned the world. He took two dogs, one fully grown, the other a puppy. He, and his team of surgeons, operated on them through the night. The following morning Demikhov unveiled his achievement. It was a creature straight out of science-fiction.

Two Headed Dog
A Very Blurry Two Headed Dog
He had stitched the head and upper-body of the puppy onto the neck of the larger dog, connecting their blood-vessels and windpipes. Soviet propaganda trumpeted his achievement. In America, this caught the attention of an ambitious young scientist: Robert White.
For an America in the grip of cold-war paranoia, the prospect of Russian two-headed dogs was too much to ignore. The United States would soon begin it's own head-transplant programme.

Robert White was born in Minnesota, in 1926. Like Demikhov, he was a veteran of World War 2. After the war, White attended Harvard Medical School, where he studied to be a brain surgeon.

Given the alleged trafficking in donor organs, including rumored surgical thefts of organs from prisoners, especially political prisoners, I'd bet on China as the location, if this ever takes place.  There might be too many medical ethics issues to overcome for this to take place in the United States.  Or at least, I hope there are.

Very reminiscent of some of the classic sci-fi.  Of course, in the story "I Will Fear No Evil" by Robert Heinlein, the surgery involved a brain transplant from a man into a woman, set in the early 21st century in which an aging rich  man's brain is transplanted into a young, beautiful, healthy body.   The IBTimes has excellent coverage for those who are not too squeamish.

Also not for the squeamish, the Heinlein novel "I Will Fear No Evil" was published in 1970, the same year a mad scientist did a monkey head transplant.  You can read about that here.

One of the several Zaphods brought to life
for the small screen, circa 1981
You can either consider it a novel conversation topic (pun on novel) for the weekend, or maybe just sufficiently macabre that you'll want to drink to get the notion out of your head.  If not that kind of escapism, then perhaps a happy retreat from the Gore (that's with an 'e') to the charms of A Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by the late, great Douglas Adams, featuring the inimitable Zaphod Beeblebrox?  As noted by wikipedia's entry for the character:
For the 2005 movie, it's hinted that Zaphod "created" the second head himself when shutting off the parts of his mind that contain portions of his personality that "are not presidential," but he wanted to keep these traits, so he hid his second head under his neck and wears a large collar or scarf to keep it hidden.

Great -- now every presidential candidate interview, every presidential debate in the next election cycle, I'll be thinking of Zaphod Beeblebrox, his two heads (and three arms),  transplanted monkey heads, classic UK sci-fi, and for no particular reason I would care to own in public, Bill Clinton. The entertainment possibilities are endless. Imagine any and all of the conservative whanna-bees with photoshopped monkey heads, for starters.  And of course, poo-flinging.  Lots of poo-flinging.

Yup, it's Friday Fun-day!  Or maybe freaky Friday? You decide.

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