Maybe We Could Hibernate Until The Covid-19 Pandemic's End

Tired of social distancing? Weary of sheltering in place? Wish it was all over? How about Hibernation in the Age of Covid-19?

“It’s very possible that humans could hibernate,” says Kelly Drew, a professor at the University of Alaska’s Institute of Arctic Biology. Drew studies arctic ground squirrels, chunky little creatures that disappear into burrows for eight months of the year. When she and I spoke, it was 35 degrees Fahrenheit below zero (without wind chill) at her lab in Fairbanks, at 2:00 in the afternoon (just before sunset). Suddenly my case for hibernation felt trivial.

The essence of hibernation, Drew explains, is body-temperature regulation. Dropping the body’s core temperature induces a low-metabolic state of “torpor,” in which animals require almost no food. Most of the calories we “warm-blooded” animals burn go into maintaining our body temperatures—our basal metabolic rate. The squirrels Drew studies, for example, curl up into little balls and plummet from 99 degrees to 27. This drops their basal metabolic rate by about 99 percent.

(Via You Could Probably Hibernate.)

Sounds wonderful. How about it, science fiction writers? Robert Heinlein writing in his terrific 1941 novel Methuselah's Children thought that it was the perfect answer to boredom on long space flights; he called it cold-rest:

The ship slipped back into the same monotonous routine that had obtained during the weary years of the first jump. Most of the Members went into cold-rest; the others tended them, tended the ship, tended the hydroponds. Among the somnolents was Slayton Ford; cold-rest was a common last resort therapy for functional psychoses.

Perhaps a few months in the old hibernaculum, from Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Sometimes Bowman, as First Captain of Discovery, envied his three unconscious colleagues in the frozen peace of the Hibernaculum. They were free from all boredom and all responsibility; until they reached Saturn, the external world did not exist...

Most fascinating of all were the EEG displays - the electronic signatures of three personalities that had once existed, and would one day exist again. They were almost free from the spikes and valleys, the electrical explosions that marked the activity of the waking brain - or even of the brain in normal sleep. If there was any wisp of consciousness remaining, it was beyond the reach of instruments, and of memory...

When the electrodes had been attached to his forehead, and the sleep-generator had started to pulse, he had seen a brief display of kaleidoscopic patterns and drifting stars. Then they had faded, and darkness had engulfed him...

Sounds perfect. Bring it on.

(Via You Could Probably Hibernate.)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/15/2020)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...' - James Blish, 1957.

News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

Maybe We Could Hibernate Until The Covid-19 Pandemic's End
'Cold-rest was a common last resort therapy for functional psychoses.' - Robert Heinlein, 1941.

reLive Memorial Come Back As A Tree
'It was time - time to go again. She touched the leaf. She was wanted.' - Philip K. Dick, 1954.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

I Want My 1928 Telestereo Hologram Now
'Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man...'

Memes Now Come From Neural Nets
'Your order said for him to be able to be able to work out twists on the gags in the file...'

Robot Dog Learns To Be Doggy From Real Dogs
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets, and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
'On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks...'

Sono Sion Electric Car Charges As You Drive
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

News Mood Filter Web Extension
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'

Fetal Lamb Rests In Artificial Womb
'... stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the foetuses grew and grew...'

MIT Wants To Catch Interstellar Visitors
'INVESTIGATE MYSTERIOUS OBJECT ENTERING NEW CALEDONIA SYSTEM FROM NORMAL SPACE'

AutoX Sets Up Asia's Largest Robotaxi Center
'The robot cab seemed to know where it was going and, no doubt, the master machine from which it received its signals knew.'

E - Ink's Automatic Self Styling Color-Changing Dress
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Soft Robots Use Kirigami Piezoelectric Sensor Skin
'A worthy opponent was the golem.'

Bosch Smartglasses Laser Paints AR Image On Your Retina
'Soon we'll be testing a system that projects directly on the retina of the eye.'

Maybe We Could Hibernate Until The Covid-19 Pandemic's End
'Cold-rest was a common last resort therapy for functional psychoses.'

Workplace Monitoring Hell, I Mean, Tool For Safe Distancing
'And here is the weirdest part -- I never see another employee the entire day.'

Patent Office Says AIs Cannot Be Inventors
'The real smart ones are as smart as the Turing heat is willing to let 'em get.'

Starlink Orbital Network Like Coruscant Traffic Jam
Vermin of the Sky? Or Internet access for all?

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.