Saturday, 6 February 2010

The best ideas always seem obvious afterwards

I've been trying not to mention things like this, but then I just stopped and thought... why?

I don't like blogs which seem to pimp other blogs in some kind of blog circle-jerk--which is an horrific image and I'm sorry to inflict it on you (erm, but apparently not sorry enough to go back an delete it)--but hey, when you've got a great resource, why keep it to yourself?

I'll just let the title and byline speak for itself:
How To Kill Your Imaginary Friends--a writer's guide to diseases and injuries, and how to use them effectively in fiction.

It's run by Dr Grasshopper, who is an actual real-life doctor earning his money saving lives.  That means he's got an amazingly hectic life and if you ask him a question, you might not get an answer before your deadline.  But hey, if it's a good question, you'll get an answer. 

As someone with an unhealthy addiction to research, I have to be careful:  His posts tend to be to me what crack is to crack addicts. 

I mean, look at this:
Heme has a good affinity for oxygen for the purposes of oxygen transport: It binds oxygen tightly enough to carry it around, but loosely enough to let it go when it arrives at its proper destination. (This “oxygen + hemoglobin” combination is called “oxyhemoglobin.)

Enter carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is made up of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. (The name tells you that, if you break it down.) Carbon monoxide also likes to bind to heme, in the same spot where oxygen likes to bind, right in the “pocket”.

Problem is, it binds WAY TOO TIGHTLY to the pocket, and is very difficult to release.

And that's why people die of carbon monoxide poisoning.  The molecules which make up our blood are able to hold onto oxygen just lose enough for us to exist.  And they hold onto other molecules far tighter.  Is there a more efficient system?  Could you use blood cells to transport tiny packets of molecules which hold data?  What would that feel like?  Why are our bodies seemingly looking for a chance to kill us?  Could you kill someone with carbon monoxide poisoning, and then oxygenate their blood to remove all traces of it?  What's so great about oxygen anyway--I mean, why do we need oxygen and not, I dunno, nitrogen?

One day, I'm just going to take a month of his posts and turn them into a story.  You know, just to get it out my system.

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