A man, a van, a GPS tracker: This Brit is writing 'STOP BREXIT' across Europe
Englishman Andy Pardy is traveling 18,000 miles (30,000 km) across Europe this summer to make a continent-sized political statement
On 29 March 2019, the UK is leaving the European Union. Which means that this summer may be the last in which British citizens can travel restrictions-free across much of Europe, Andy Pardy realized.
So the 28-year-old from Exeter quit his job as a digital consultant and mapped out a tour that would take him from the Arctic Circle to the south of Spain, and from Ireland's Atlantic coast to Estonia's border with Russia.
Mr. Pardy is calling it, perhaps a bit hyperbolically, 'The Last European Tour'. But it's more than a farewell trip, it's also a political statement—it's a call to halt Britain's seemingly inexorable slide towards its exit from the EU.
Mr. Pardy is bringing his GPS tracker, and he's using it to spell out a continent-sized message across the map of Europe: STOP BREXIT. It's a statement short on words but big in size—in fact, a good candidate for the largest political slogan in history.
The trip began on 16 July at Loch Lomond in Scotland. Hopping over on the ferry from the Port of Stranraer to Northern Ireland, Mr. Pardy drove his van south into the Republic of Ireland, then east towards Dublin, crossing over to Wales in order to reach Trebarwith Strand in Cornwall. After 846 miles (1,522 km) and 30 hours on the road, that was the 'S' done.
A rare white reindeer on the road near Arvidsjaur in Swedish Lapland, while completing the letter 'O'.
With a parcours of 2,250 miles (3,621 km) to complete over mountainous terrain, the second letter was a bit tougher than the first. But on July 31, in the Norwegian town of Snåsa, Mr. Pardy finished the 'T'.
Following a circular trip with start and finish in Mosjøen (also in Norway), Mr. Pardy at the time of this writing had just finished the 'P' in Leipivaara, Finland. That's a lot of effort for just four letters, but the point of the trip is the journey itself as much as the message Mr. Pardy is splashing across the map.
"Freedom of movement is something I'm passionate about (…) I'm making the most of our last summer inside the EU by embracing the concept of free movement and embarking on a farewell tour," he told Sky News.
Coming soon: the 'B' in Brexit, or a drive around the Iberian peninsula starting and stopping in Bilbao. The 'R' will be mainly in France, while the 'E' will see Mr. Pardy also visit the Benelux countries, Germany, Italy and Austria. At 3,200 miles (5,150 km), the 'X' will be the longest trip, from Albania north to Berlin and then from Lodz in Poland south again to Nin Beach in Croatia. The 'I' will also take in a number of countries in Eastern Europe, and the final 'T' will be crossed in the Baltic states.
A rainbow on the way to Storjord, Norway.
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Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
- A huge segment of America's population — the Baby Boom generation — is aging and will live longer than any American generation in history.
- The story we read about in the news? Their drain on social services like Social Security and Medicare.
- But increased longevity is a cause for celebration, says Ashton Applewhite, not doom and gloom.
Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.
Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?
Researchers hope the technology will further our understanding of the brain, but lawmakers may not be ready for the ethical challenges.
- Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine successfully restored some functions to pig brains that had been dead for hours.
- They hope the technology will advance our understanding of the brain, potentially developing new treatments for debilitating diseases and disorders.
- The research raises many ethical questions and puts to the test our current understanding of death.
The image of an undead brain coming back to live again is the stuff of science fiction. Not just any science fiction, specifically B-grade sci fi. What instantly springs to mind is the black-and-white horrors of films like Fiend Without a Face. Bad acting. Plastic monstrosities. Visible strings. And a spinal cord that, for some reason, is also a tentacle?
But like any good science fiction, it's only a matter of time before some manner of it seeps into our reality. This week's Nature published the findings of researchers who managed to restore function to pigs' brains that were clinically dead. At least, what we once thought of as dead.
What's dead may never die, it seems
The researchers did not hail from House Greyjoy — "What is dead may never die" — but came largely from the Yale School of Medicine. They connected 32 pig brains to a system called BrainEx. BrainEx is an artificial perfusion system — that is, a system that takes over the functions normally regulated by the organ. The pigs had been killed four hours earlier at a U.S. Department of Agriculture slaughterhouse; their brains completely removed from the skulls.
BrainEx pumped an experiment solution into the brain that essentially mimic blood flow. It brought oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, giving brain cells the resources to begin many normal functions. The cells began consuming and metabolizing sugars. The brains' immune systems kicked in. Neuron samples could carry an electrical signal. Some brain cells even responded to drugs.
The researchers have managed to keep some brains alive for up to 36 hours, and currently do not know if BrainEx can have sustained the brains longer. "It is conceivable we are just preventing the inevitable, and the brain won't be able to recover," said Nenad Sestan, Yale neuroscientist and the lead researcher.
As a control, other brains received either a fake solution or no solution at all. None revived brain activity and deteriorated as normal.
The researchers hope the technology can enhance our ability to study the brain and its cellular functions. One of the main avenues of such studies would be brain disorders and diseases. This could point the way to developing new of treatments for the likes of brain injuries, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and neurodegenerative conditions.
"This is an extraordinary and very promising breakthrough for neuroscience. It immediately offers a much better model for studying the human brain, which is extraordinarily important, given the vast amount of human suffering from diseases of the mind [and] brain," Nita Farahany, the bioethicists at the Duke University School of Law who wrote the study's commentary, told National Geographic.
An ethical gray matter
Before anyone gets an Island of Dr. Moreau vibe, it's worth noting that the brains did not approach neural activity anywhere near consciousness.
The BrainEx solution contained chemicals that prevented neurons from firing. To be extra cautious, the researchers also monitored the brains for any such activity and were prepared to administer an anesthetic should they have seen signs of consciousness.
Even so, the research signals a massive debate to come regarding medical ethics and our definition of death.
Most countries define death, clinically speaking, as the irreversible loss of brain or circulatory function. This definition was already at odds with some folk- and value-centric understandings, but where do we go if it becomes possible to reverse clinical death with artificial perfusion?
"This is wild," Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, told the New York Times. "If ever there was an issue that merited big public deliberation on the ethics of science and medicine, this is one."
One possible consequence involves organ donations. Some European countries require emergency responders to use a process that preserves organs when they cannot resuscitate a person. They continue to pump blood throughout the body, but use a "thoracic aortic occlusion balloon" to prevent that blood from reaching the brain.
The system is already controversial because it raises concerns about what caused the patient's death. But what happens when brain death becomes readily reversible? Stuart Younger, a bioethicist at Case Western Reserve University, told Nature that if BrainEx were to become widely available, it could shrink the pool of eligible donors.
"There's a potential conflict here between the interests of potential donors — who might not even be donors — and people who are waiting for organs," he said.
It will be a while before such experiments go anywhere near human subjects. A more immediate ethical question relates to how such experiments harm animal subjects.
Ethical review boards evaluate research protocols and can reject any that causes undue pain, suffering, or distress. Since dead animals feel no pain, suffer no trauma, they are typically approved as subjects. But how do such boards make a judgement regarding the suffering of a "cellularly active" brain? The distress of a partially alive brain?
The dilemma is unprecedented.
Setting new boundaries
Another science fiction story that comes to mind when discussing this story is, of course, Frankenstein. As Farahany told National Geographic: "It is definitely has [sic] a good science-fiction element to it, and it is restoring cellular function where we previously thought impossible. But to have Frankenstein, you need some degree of consciousness, some 'there' there. [The researchers] did not recover any form of consciousness in this study, and it is still unclear if we ever could. But we are one step closer to that possibility."
She's right. The researchers undertook their research for the betterment of humanity, and we may one day reap some unimaginable medical benefits from it. The ethical questions, however, remain as unsettling as the stories they remind us of.
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