Go Ask Your Father: Iron, Hemoglobin, Quarks, and Far Out Man

Happy Ground Hog Day! Our groundhog saw his shadow so it’s 6 more weeks of winter for us.

I love the snow. I love the cold. For now, anyway. When winter is over I’ll be done with it, but for now, I’m enjoying it. However, Mother Nature is playing roulette with the weather. Tuesday we had 6 inches of snow that cancelled school. Wednesday we had a half inch of ice that cancelled school. Today it’s raining and 4 C. Tonight the temperature will drop to -15. Sunday it goes back up to 3. Maybe she’s not playing roulette. Maybe she’s on a trampoline. Up. Down. Up. Down….

Bang was read a book about rockets and he came to the word sub-orbital. He sounded it out perfectly. Sub. Orbital. However, when he put it all together it because suh borbital. No matter how much I tried to correct him, he just couldn’t get it right. We ended up in fits of laughter and I gave up the battle.

1. Why is your hemoglobin low?

I went to give blood back in January. It’s something I love doing it because provides me a chance to save someone’s life and it costs my nothing but little prick in my arm. Plus, I get juice and cookies afterwards, too. My university had blood drives twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall and I would give both times. Here, there is a drive 5 times a year and I try to give 4 of those times. The boys have been coming with me for a year now. Of course, they both fear needles like normal people fear falling out of airplanes, but they come for the cookies. Bang loves to watch them put the needle in and is full of questions for the nurses. However, this time, when they tested my hemoglobin, it was too low. For the first time ever, I was unable to give blood. My only guess as to why it was low is because I gave blood three times last year, two of which were in August and November. Having done that and being over 40 (aka not as young as I used to be) my iron hadn’t had time to replenish. Though, Google tells me it could be dehydration, lead poisoning, or kidney failure. Tip: don’t use Google to diagnose your body.

2. Why do we have iron in our blood?

It would take the iron from 450 people to make a sword. In our bodies, only 1 part in 10,000 is iron. Iron is a major component of hemoglobin. If my hemoglobin count is low, so is my iron. Hemoglobin and iron are important component in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. It also maintains healthy cells, skin, hair (just not my hair), and nails. Males have about 4 grams of iron while females have 3.5 grams. So never mind the gym, your blood is pumping iron 24/7.

3. What’s a quark?

It’s what a subatomic duck says! If you get it, welcome to nerd club. The name was chosen in 1964 from the novel “Finnigan’s Wake”.

Three quarks for Muster Mark.

If you think atoms are the smallest things on Earth, you’re wrong. Atoms’ nuclei are consist of protons and neutrons. Those protons and neutrons are made of quarks. There are 6 kinds of quarks (and antiquarks): up, down, top, bottom, strange, and charm.¬†Particles made of quarks are called hadrons. You may have heard that really big hadron smasher aptly named The Large Hadron Collider. It is the facility that is large (26.7 km circumference) and not the hadrons (about the size of a certain president’s common sense). Fun fact: When two quarks are pulled apart, their bond gets stronger until they are separated. Once separated they form two sets of quarks. I could go into more detail and explain their baryon and lepton numbers but I’d just be copying and pasting because the rest of it is so far over my head it’s suh borbital.

4. What’s the farthest people have been from Earth?

I, myself, have a tendency to drift away from Earth from time to time often enough. Lalaland is most definitely not a place on Earth. DW radios me back in; “Hello, Earth to Eric”. However, some people seem to be so far Earth they can’t return. Those people withstanding, the farthest humans have been from Earth were in orbit around the moon. That put them 248,655 miles away. This was accomplished by the Apollo 13 crew; Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert while passing over the far side of the moon 158 miles from the lunar surface. However, the farthest spacecraft from Earth is 119 times farther. Launched September 5, 1977 Voyager 1 is now 13,158,907,100 miles away. It was officially outside our solar system an in interstellar space in 2013. To see the 115 images and hear the music, sounds, and greetings on it’s Golden Disk, visit this NASA site.

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Body Like A Bugatti

I’m going to show you two vehicles and I want you to decide which one you want to drive to work. You’ll certainly get the boss’s attention with either of them, but which one would earn you an invite back to work? Especially if you took your boss for a spin. 

You probably picked the Bugatti Veyron. I sure as hell did. It’s a 2.6 million dollar vehicle. It’s oil change is $20,000. It’s set of tires is $30,000 and will need to be changed every 2500 miles. It’s a high performance machine that can reach 60 mph from a standstill in just over 2 seconds. This is a high maintenance vehicle if I ever saw one.

While that dump truck is powerfully strong, it’s certainly not high maintenance. It runs on dirty diesel fuel. It takes about 45 minutes and a downhill to reach 60 mph. It’s not a luxurious ride.

I want my body to work like a Bugatti.

Unfortunately, I’ve been driving it like a dumptruck. I’ve been fueling it with diesel instead of high octane. I haven’t gotten it up to speed, revved the engine, or treated it like the machine it could be. Sweets, and salty chips don’t make an engine or a body run well. Sitting on my butt doesn’t work either. It takes exercise and eating right to make our bodies like the well oiled machines others would be jealous to drive. 

You see, there may only be 40 bugattis in the world, but this is only body we’ve got. It’s even more rare, even more precious than a 2.6 million dollar car. The difference between our bodies and the cars is that our bodies get stronger when we run them hard. Our bodies run smoother, more efficiently. Whereas cars wear out, need oil changes, new tires and $21,000 routine maintenance to prevent them from breaking down while running hard. They don’t get strong with workouts. 

It’s time to eat right, time to exercise right, time to get this machine running better than a Bugatti.