Friday, May 30, 2008

P is for 'Pricey'.

This is one of those 'Too much information posts'. So if you're one of those who prefer to pretend that certain bodily functions do not actually occur, move on to someone else's blog now. Regular readers of this blog will know of my brush with a surgeon's knife five years ago, when he performed what's called a 'lower bowel re-section' to remove a colorectal tumour. A residual little problem is that occasionally, when I need a p**, I need one pretty much immediately. So I know a bit about that sinking feeling that comes with being further away from the nearest urinal than is required. Generally, its not a problem for someone who spent the first few years of working life on the family farm. But of course some are of more delicate temperament.

So I had much sympathy with the astronauts who live on the International Space Station, when their one and only urinal broke down this week, and they had nowhere to boldly go. As a short term measure they used the Soyus escape craft which is attached to the International Space Station, but the limited capacity of this tank was soon used up. The Telegraph reports that the astronauts have rigged up a 'urine by-pass' back up system. My imagination is running wild. Perhaps anyone who is still with me can make suggestions how such a thing could work. Anyway, there are some repair parts being flown in by the shuttle Discovery, and a new Russian built toilet system is to be provided costing £10 million. And you thought all this space travel stuff was glamorous!

1 comment:

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

In fact it might surprise you to learn that the urea molecule looks wonderful when displayed on a super-graphic workstation; two amide groups linked to a central carbonyl group enables urea to mix exceeding well with water because of urea’s ability to hydrogen bond and by virtue of its relative small dimensions able to pass through small pores/openings otherwise able to block larger molecules like sugar (at a given osmotic pressure, too much osmotic pressure and sugar molecules will be forced through too) – hence the structure and functionality of good working kidneys which sieve urea (and some electrolytes, but in a controlled way) out of our bodies. Just as well for us that ‘life’ (I would say God) has made it so that this particular product of protein breakdown (urea) can be flushed so easily from our bodies via the blood stream and then out into a toilet bowl or via a 'urine by-pass' back up system if you are on a space station in orbit permanent falling to planet Earth.