Monday, September 04, 2006

Imploding and Exploding Organs

Imploding and Exploding Organs is the subtitle of a chapter called Life Under Pressure in a book called Life at the extremes: the science of survival. I haven't read this chapter yet but I'm filled with very graphic imaginary images of organs imploding and exploding. This useful tome - the kind of book it's essential to read if you plan to be an underwater oil rig maintenance person or are travelling to the moon any time soon - also mentions nitrogen intoxication, which happens when you dive beyond a certain depth in the ocean.

"...christened 'the rapture of the deep' by Jacques Cousteau." (I love that phrase)

Basically like alcohol intoxication - the author goes on to say that scientific tests on the effects of nitrogen intoxication have been done and one normally serious scientist who volunteered as a subject cheated on his dexterity test. (I'd love to know how you can cheat on a dexterity test...)

"Such studies sufficed to show that divers suffering from nitrogen narcosis could not be expected to behave responsibly and might react in ways that threatened their own or others' lives. Indeed, some intoxicated scuba-divers have been known to offer their mouth-pieces to the passing fish..."

Apparently people recover very quickly from nitrogen intoxication.

"The typical reaction was,'My God, I'm sober.'

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