KFCholesterolLook at those chunks of chicken warming so innocently in the bain-marie.

All the while inside them sleep groups of atoms arranged into long chains of trans fats, missing hydrogen in various spots making them kinked and unwieldy molecules.

Gathered like armies in that delicious, crunchy skin, they are set to tumble through your arteries, the sticky ends of their molecule chain groping blindly in the dark of your bloodstream, latching onto water, other fats, or the blood vessel wall.

There they’ll wait, accumulating more of their kinky comrades to form megamolecules, until one day they dislodge and tumble along your wine-dark river, fording the tributaries of arteries, rafting into the arteriole runs, only to lodge at the branching mouth of a stream of capillaries deep inside your brain.

Dammed, the red river piles up. The blood vessel quivers like a over-filled water balloon, and bursts its banks.

This is a picture of death. Delicious, crunchy death.

Rough Science: LIFE!

This year’s An Evening of Rough Science is all about the origin of life.

But before then, I am raising money on Pozible to make the stage show possible.

We have a bunch of props to make, posters and other paraphernalia to print, and would also like to hire an Auslan interpreter for the final night.

If you’d like to pledge to Rough Science: LIFE!, you will also get fabulous rewards!

Check out the Rough Science: LIFE! Pozible campaign page for more details.

It would be awesome if you helped out!

Game of Tendons (and other viscera)

I like to think I have a pretty good sense of how I learn new things these days. Still, I love it when I find something new that rings my bell.

If you’ve seen me in the wider world, you may notice that I have a stooped posture, and have done since primary school. What may have started by large school bags then got exacerbated by hours hunched in front of a computer.

Over the years I’ve had exercises, and tried yoga and Pilates. One issue is that to me my back is a mass of muscles, and I have no idea what needs to be relaxed and what needs to be built up.

My beautiful and insightful girlfriend Cobi Smith came up with an alternative. She visualised my back as countries in some imaginary land, Seanstorso, and wrote me a story. I used the Human Anatomy Atlas (which, by-the-bye, is an awesome app for the iPad) to illustrate some maps of these fantastical lands.

The following becomes my homework.

North and South Trapezius

Once upon a time there was a faraway land called Seanstorso. Generations ago all the people of the land of Seantorso lived happily together, working together to keep their land in balance. However the people of North Trapezius grew arrogant and greedy, even turning on their own kind in the South to get more power. The land of Seanstorso became unbalanced.

The Rhomboids

As the people of North Trapezius waged war, other people lost strength, cowering under North Trapezius’s tyranny. The Rhomboids, who had worked so well with the people of South Trapezius, were almost paralysed with fear as they witnessed their southern neighbours being destroyed by their northern kindred.

The lands of Seanstorso, once beautiful and balanced, began to change. The mountains and valleys the people had worked in harmony with for generations began to shift. People’s work from which they drew strength was taken away, and so they became weak and despondent. The North Trapezius used this as justification for their dominance. The people of North Trapezius eventually wrought full control over the lands, considering the other people as worthless serfs. The time when all the people lived in balance had nearly been forgotten.

Levata Scapula

As the people of the south cowered under the force of the North Trapezius, the downtrodden Levata Scapula decided to take action. The Levata Scapula lived alongside the people of North Trapezius in the time of harmony, but they had been among the first to suffer when the North Trapezius hunger for power was awoken. Unlike those in the south who were deemed weak serfs, the North Trapezius forced the Levata Scapula to labour for them. The Levata Scapula become slaves carrying the loads of the southern lands that were being shifted north. But it became too much. The Levata Scapula were the first to see how the land was shifting, and they were sick of slavery.

The peoples of Levata Scapula need to entreaty the king who sits on his throne in the capital of Cerebellum that Levata Scapula, who must intervene lest the Lord of North Trapezius destroy the land and bring the entire kingdom to its knees (or rounded posture.) And winter is coming.

Not only am I now picturing the muscles involved, but I also know which ones are the problems, and which ones are the solution, all wrapped up in a story worthy of a HBO television series.