Friday, November 18, 2005

See A Real Live Dead Person Without Feeling Guilty

Children too young to be admitted to the latest Harry Potter movie can view sliced and diced human bodies.

These are real bodies of the destitute, unclaimed, and those who willed themselves to Gunther Von Hagens.

Arnie Geller somehow got his bodies from China, meaning that some of the corpses were probably purged political prisoners, people executed for slandering the state, and other acts that are crimes in China but not yet in the United States.

Geller's exhibit, "Bodies...The exhibition" is at South Street Seaport in New York City. Hagens has taken his "world of Bodies" around the world.

Calling them "bodies" may not be accurate. They once were people, true. After they died, Geller, Hagens and fellow ghouls dehydrated organs and muscles and filled them with plastic.

How they do this is a secret. Colors must apparently be introduced because the "plastication" process seems to leave the corpses white.

So, these are plastic versions of once real, live people. Hagen and Geller could present them conservatively and clinically, which would have educational value, but not much entertainment zing.

Instead, they take apart bodies in strange and whimsical ways and model them in fun positions. For instance, a "soccer player" who was not a soccer player in life, is posed in mid-air kick, sans skin.

There is something fascinating about these bodies. Adolescent boys want to know more about sex, minus personality and emotions, which is why they are drawn to pornography.

People who flock to see dissected, cleaned up, preserved corpses, are doing the same. They want to see "inside" without having to witness death and decomposition.

Hagens and Geller are either incrediblt cynical or bona fide pervents.

Or both.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Keeping Up with the Delusions

What on Earth is Steven E. Jones thinking?

Assuming he is thinking and not wrapped in wet sheets in a back ward somewhere.

Jones is one of the folks at Brigham Young University who brought the world "cold fusion," making him the P.T. Barnum of physics. This way to the egress.

At least his colleagues had the sense to fade into total obscurity.

Jones is now embarked on a campaign to convince paranoids and conspiracy nuts that the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center was merely a diversion to obscure a planned demolition.

He won't say who blew up the buildings, but it's bound to be bizarre. He apparently believes it was all a big plot to collect insurance money. By the time he's done the Elders of Zion will hold the blame.

As "evidence" Jones contends that no steel girder building has ever collapsed during or after a fire. This is highly questionable, considering the number of steel girder buildings in the world. Did he check them all?

Also, the Twin Towers were struck by big airplanes. The towers were more than 1,000 feet tall, which made the airplanes look small as we watched them crash endlessly on television.

The Boeing liner (full of innocent passengers) that slammed into Tower 2 was 178 feet long with a wingspan of 125 feet. The tail was as tall as a four-story building. It was carrying perhaps 11,000 gallons of jet fuel, weighed about 270,000 pounds, and was traveling at several hundred miles an hour.

Do the elementary physics. Energy equals one-half of the mass times the velocity multiplied by itself. The airplane sent about 11 trillion pounds of force into the structure before dumping 11,000 gallons of flaming fuel through the building.

No other buildings has ever been hit by airplanes like that and let's hope none ever are again. World Trade building 7 was not hit, but was set ablaze. It contained a large tank of diesel fuel.

Jones argues that none of these buildings should have collapsed, so therefore, they must have been brought down by previously placed explosives. It can't happen so therefore it didn't happen.

This is a common fallacy. It did happen. There is a first time for everything, no matter how small the chance.

Then there's the matter of "imploding" the buildings. Workmen with pneumatic hammers would have to expose the girders so that experts could drill holes into the steel and carefully insert tubes of high explosive. This couldn't be done overnight, or on weekends, or without anyone noticing.

BYU should have lifted his tenure and given him the boot after the cold fusion swindle. Now the university has another golden opportunity, unless it wants to be both a laughing stock and a slanderer of the dead.