Death by Vacuum

For sci-fi writers, courtesy of Gizmodo, here’s how your characters should die when booted out of an airlock. If you were going to write it honestly,

You only get fifteen seconds, because that is roughly how long it takes deoxygenated blood to circulate from your lungs to your brain. See, when you’re placed in a vacuum, the gas exchange process works in reverse—your lungs actually pull oxygen out of the body and dump it back into the lungs where it’s exhaled, which only serves to hasten the onset of hypoxia.

In addition to your body actively expelling the one thing it needs most, various other maladies begin to onset at the ten second mark. Exposed skin begins to burn (sunburn, not catch on fire), and your dermal tissues begin to swell due to water in your muscles spontaneously evaporating, causing minor bruising. Moisture in the nose, eyes, and mouth evaporates, causing localized frostbite. The onset of hypoxia has its own set of issues, including loss of vision (and wits), followed by convulsions, loss of consciousness, and cyanosis (when your skin turns blue). At this point, you’re not “dead” dead, just “mostly” dead—your brain is still functional and your heart is still going. You can still be revived, surprisingly with minimal permanent injury, if you are immediately returned to an atmosphere. However, this savior window only lasts 90 seconds. After that, your blood pressure drops low enough that it does begin to boil, which damages your heart and nixes any chance of resuscitation.

So now you know.

Take-Down of the Summer

In a bit on TV Binges Andrew Sullivan just posted one of the best written take-downs of reality television, and the Real Housewives franchise in particular. It completely sums up my discomfort with Bravo’s Andy Cohen, how he perkily revels in the lowest, emptiest, vainest, and greediest of human female behavior and then packages it back to us like these are just housewives, these are just what all women are or aspire to be, affluent and living lives of ugly, petty whim. The fact that Cohen makes his living this way puts him at a level no better than depraved women he’s claiming represent the real New Jersey, New York, DC, OC, Beverly Hills, and Atlanta. Sullivan quote with my emphasis:

If I watched all of the Real Housewives of New Jersey in one sitting, for example, I think I would sink into the oblivion that happens to all those who watch their souls being torn slowly, shred by shred, into nothingness. That show’s emptiness, hollowness, vacuousness, its transformation of children into products for a self-sustaining celebrity industry, its revelling in human manipulation in the midst of wanton greed, its venomous vulgarity and moral cesspit: it’s truly the most appalling, cynical and morally disgusting display of doucherie on the box, which is saying something. And, yes, at its core it is a form of pornography of female spite for gay male misogynists. In this Millennium, some gay men don’t need to invent the dialogue of vicious, hateful networks of women (that would require some creative effort); they dangle celebrity in front of the faces of the desperately needy and then tape their every pettiness to squeals of Bravo delight.

There’s a reason Sullivan heads one of the most-read blogs on the net.

What Excites Me This 4th

Spiral cut hot dogs and friends, tequila-based cocktails, and fireworks on the Hudson!