Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Brain Damage

I had a great idea to comment on discussions I had this weekend with family and friends. Having discussed some potentially down-heartening social and environmental difficulties some of the folks I was talking with weren't aware of the number of things that can be done (like buying carbon credits to offset the carbon used in your driving/flying/etc. While not always "solutions" they are remedies of a sort and valuable when people are making decisions about how to live their lives. For that reason, I thought a "did you know?" post was in order. Sadly, I "don't know". I've managed to lose track of some of the things that I was going to post about. So "did you know?" will have to wait 'til I fix my brain.

Instead, I spent my day off yesterday at the Ontario Science Centre checking-out Body Worlds 2. If you aren't familiar and are too lazy to click on the link I've so kindly provided you, the exhibit is made up of bodies and parts donated, "plastinated" and used to inform visitors. Perhaps a weak description but I'm tired so sod off. That being said, I imagine it would be difficult to walk in there and not think "that was someone who lived a life, who had friends and family". As I said, people willingly donated their bodies for this purpose but it is a challenge to the treatment of death that I am more accustomed to. I wasn't aware until I looked back at the experience that I gradually stopped considering the objects exhibited as former humans. What I didn't stop considering was the intricacies of the human body (so too with other creatures like the Camel). There are undoubtedly many people whose bodies don't operate as they were designed but it is still a wonder that the innumerable interactions that are required, even just for me to type, take place at all. Next time someone tells you they're complicated, believe them.

By the way, I felt the exhibit was also trying to influence people to live healthier lives. There were a few tar-blackened lungs of smokers. They did a good job of cutting through some of the crap with which we wrap our bad habits. In this case, rather than just give the total number of millilitres of tar that would end up in your lungs if you smoked 20 cigarettes a day for one year they made it more accessible. Instead they describe it as a coffee cup full of tar. Think about that. Sitting down for a chat with a friend at a local café and downing a cup of tar while they swill their double tall caramel macchiato or some such thing. Nice mental picture, eh?

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