Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's November; don't forget to breathe!


Diatomic oxygen, you double-edged bastard. (Image credit: autismspot.com)

OK, kids, it's November. The second to the last month of the year. That means it's almost Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and New Year's. Then there are these other things for November, and why I'm not participating in any of them:

Movember - I'm certainly not growing a moustache for charity, and I don't know anyone who is.

NaNoWriMo - I don't write nearly well enough to spew out a novel in a month.

NaKniSweMo - After I finish the sweater I started in late September, I have a ton of lace shawls (OK, two) to knit.

Another chance for NaBloPoMo - Ha! What? Me? Blog every day for an entire month? Yeah, right!

NaBloPoMo got me thinking, though, that perhaps I should try to increase my blogging output just a tad. In that spirit, here's my thought for the day:

The biggest risk factor for cancer is breathing oxygen.

Try as one might to optimize exposure to chemicals, radioactivity, ultraviolet light, human papillomavirus, and genetic predisposition, one still has to breathe. Yet the same stuff rusts metal and turns cut apples and avocados brown is the same stuff that keeps us moving and shaking. That's why we're all so stuck on antioxidants; all those electrons on life-giving oxygen can generate free radicals and really muck up a system. Aerobic living is quite the delicate balance between respiration and free radicals running amok.

How did this all come to pass? Plants evolved first, using sunlight and carbon dioxide for energy, and releasing diatomic oxygen as a waste product. As oxygen built up in the atmosphere, oxygen-breathing beings evolved. Then the primates started walking upright, and the rest--as they say--is history.

Creationists, take heed: there's nothing intelligent about that design. It kinda sucks, actually.

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