Tag Archives: heart

The Matter of the Heart

So here’s an interesting article.

It talks about a study that focused on comparing the hearts of chimps, gorillas, and humans (classed as one of the following: endurance athletes, football linemen, farmers, and inactive people). The researchers wanted to look further into human’s rather unique endurance ability – our ability to run/walk long distances.

For the gorillas and chimps, they spend a lot of time sleeping or just generally being inactive and have occasional quick bursts of energy and stress (such as quickly climbing trees or fighting). The researchers believed that these quick bursts caused spikes in blood pressure, but found that the shape of the gorilla and chimp hearts were suited well for these spikes. The hearts were round and had thick walls.

The human heart is different. It is larger than chimps’ hearts and less thick and also twists/rotates when it pumps blood (the gorilla and chimp hearts don’t). This allows for a more efficient blood delivery system and is ideal for endurance activities. The trade-off, though, is that the walls of the human heart aren’t as thick and thus are not as well-built for sudden blood pressure spikes.

Another interesting finding from the research is that if a person tends to live a sedentary life, their heart will “remodel” itself and become more like a chimp heart: less flexible with thicker walls. These hearts also appear to look like the hearts of people with chronic high blood pressure even before high blood pressure actually sets in.

They use this finding to emphasize the importance of regular exercise, noting that previous research showed that hunter-gatherers (in certain areas) tended to walk somewhere between six and nine miles a day. Physical activity, as we’ve all been told, is key to maintaining the flexibility and durability of the human heart.

I Can Has Intelligent Rhetoric?

I’m not one to argue against the evolution of language. I know languages are fluid beings, constantly being reshaped, parts of them being phased out while other parts grow with use.
But when the dictionary starts adding symbols (other than actual letters) as words, you know you’ve got issues.

You’ve possibly heard the news already, but the Oxford English Dictionary’s latest additions include such words/phrases/acronyms as rusticle, party-crasher, OMG, LOL, gnasher, and ♥.
Yup, that’s not a typo. ♥ is now apparently considered a word.

I can understand the addition of “OMG” and “LOL” and other such phrases, as they have permeated the language enough to mean something slightly different than “oh my god” and “I’m laughing out loud right now!” due to the way in which they’re utilized. My question, though, is this: why do we need the heart symbol, the actual symbol ♥, to be defined? When has ♥ EVER had to be defined? OED has it defined as the verb form of “heart,” as in “to heart,” a “colloquial synonym of ‘to love.’” How the hell else would you define it? How else would you even use it? When has anyone read “I ♥ New York!” as “I left ventricle New York!” or anything equally as wrong? The use of “I ♥ [insert object of affection here]” is certainly wide-spread enough to warrant some attention to the phrase, but why in the hell define the symbol? Why not just denote a new verb, “to heart,” and leave it at that?

What’s next, “I ♣ seals?” “David ♠?” “David ♠ ♣s seals?”