Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Without wishing to create a "medical Elsewhere" section, here's a DVD series that should appeal to those with an interest in human physiology, the limits the body can pushed to and how our nuerons, muscle, tissue and tendons respond.
Using 3D imaging and remarkable computer graphics (which show the body as a mass of muscles and nerves, much like Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man), we are taken inside the body to see how it operates. And medical experts neatly fill in the detail.
Because it was originally made for television -- the series screened on the Documentary Channel -- it has a sense of high drama about it (the commentary sounds like Cops in places) and so the examples used look they were designed to appeal to the concentration span and interests of a teenager: it opens with a cop in a car chasing a suspected murderer through the streets of LA, later it is a fireman searching through a burning for possible occupants, there is a helicopter rescue of some boys trapped on a rock off the Oregon coast and (more impressive) a father and daughter who survived eight days in the Outback.
The cop, fireman and so on are also interviewed so there's a human face put on events as well, which somewhat detracts from the scientific information.
In each of the examples the graphics and the dramatic, hyperventilating commentary shows how the body instantly and intuitively responds to the situation. You also learn that it's a good idea to cover yourself in dirt in the desert to mitigate the effects of the 120 degree heat.
Perhaps too taken with the use of swirling camera and dramatic situations, this series nevertheless is useful in providing insight into what a remarkable machine and complex computer our body is.
And the image of how we would look if our senses were in proportion to our body size is very weird: we'd have hands like wheelbarrows, and our mouth, tongue and lips would be massive.
Such is the power of CGI.
Interesting too that this states repeatedly that the body has developed from millions of years of evolution -- and that prompted on-line discussion about evolution V "intelligent design".
Such is the power of television.