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4/12/06
Stiff

Have you ever read Mary Roach's "My Planet" in the Reader's Digest? She's a humor writer that writes about her encounters with her mechanic, lawn care, buying furniture, and whatnot. (You can do like I do and read them all at rd.com under humor.) Anyway, at the end of one of the articles, it mentioned that she had written some books, and I thought "Oh good! Humorous short stories like what she does in My Planet!" So I go the library, and I get her first book, and it's called "Stiff: The curious lives of human cadavers". And it's about what happens to human cadavers! It was actually really good. It's funny, but respectful, and most of it is not that gross. (The chapter entitled "Eat Me: Medicinal cannibalism and the case of the human dumplings" was a little disturbing, but the rest of it was neat). She talks about how they're using cadavers to test flak jackets for the army, and as crash test dummies in automobile tests, and of course, to train surgeons. She's done unbelievable amounts of research, and if you're not squeamish about the dead, read the book. I've included the excepts from the back of the book below:

"To learn the weight of the human soul, in 1907 a Massachusetts physician engineered a special bed-scale upon which he installed his dying patients. At the precise moment of their passing, he watched for a downward twitch of the needle. By his determination, the soul weighs three-quarters of an ounce-about the same as the big toe."

"For every cadaver used to test and develop airbags, 147 lives are saved."

"It is possible to eat oneself to death at Thanksgiving. In 1891, a German physician sat a cadaver in a chair and filled its stomach until it burst-at about a gallon."

See? Neat stuff about being dead. You'll get some weird looks carrying the book around, but I found it to be really cool.

2 comments:

Rosette said...

http://www.animals-superstars.com/photo-1547.html

sophia1212 said...

I just came across your blog and started reading from the beginning so I am delurking now to just say, I LOVE THIS BOOK! I've loaned it out to soo many people at this point, I don't know where it went. I think I am going to have to get me a new copy soon.