2001-08-29 - 6:13 p.m.
astronaut teeth and stiff upper lips
i saw this thing on the web yesterday where doctors are predicting that astronauts on a trip to mars would likely lose all their teeth. see, because spending a lot of time in zero-g would lead to loss of bone mass. and the teeth?
so i wonder if there are people out there in this great country of ours who feel passionately enough about pushing the bounds of human exploration, or more likely the personal glory, that hey would condemn themselves to a life-time of dentures for the chance to be the first human on mars?
now what if it was lose all your teeth *and* spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair?
i suppose there have always been people willing to take great risks for the sake of exploration and adventure. look at how many people died trying to get to the north pole. hell, look at the number of people who come back from everest sans a few fingers, toes and noses.
and get this. i heard somewhere (i don't know where, so maybe i'm just making it up -- you don't know, do you?) the origin of the phrase "stiff upper lip". back when england used press gangs to fill the ranks of their navy, desertion was a big issue. on a regular basis, sailors would feign death when the ship was passing near an island, in the hopes that when they were chucked overboard (the fancy term is "burial at sea" but really it was being chucked overboard) they could swim to the island and escape. to combat this clever desertion ploy, the ship's doctors started *sewing the lips together* on all the corpses before the aforementioned chucking. some plucky sailors went through with it anyway, but now to pull it off, they had to endure the pain and "keep a stiff upper lip" during the sewing.
nasty, aint it?
now, how the hell did i get in such a morbid mood?
anyway, i'm off to get some subway. mmmm...subway.