Wednesday, June 9
The Straight Dope: Does the head remain briefly conscious after decapitation?: "In one early series of experiments, an anatomist claimed that decapitated heads reacted to stimuli, with one victim turning his eyes toward a speaker 15 minutes after having been beheaded. (Today we know brain death would have occurred long before.) In 1836 the murderer Lacenaire agreed to wink after execution. He didn't. Attempts to elicit a reaction from the head of the murderer Prunier in 1879 were also fruitless. The following year a doctor pumped blood from a living dog into the head of the murderer and rapist Menesclou three hours after execution. The lips trembled, the eyelids twitched, and the head seemed about to speak, although no words emerged. In 1905 another doctor claimed that when he called the name of the murderer Languille just after decapitation, the head opened its eyes and focused on him."
Wednesday, June 2
"Interestingly, when I went to graduate school and, toward the end of my first year at Virginia, started playing with Michael Dean and Todd Wilson in a band called Baby Opaque, I never felt a moment's anxiety about performing; I was so consumed with graduate-school anxiety that I didn't have any anxiety left over for music. I would show up for gigs, set up, sound check, play, pack up, and go home, all as if I were fixing sinks or something. Then when Nick was born, when I was 24, I was so consumed with new-parent-anxiety that I didn't have any anxiety left over for my dissertation, and . . . you get the idea. By the same logic, surely one of the reasons that I didn't have too many assistant-professor tenure-track anxieties in the early 1990s was that I was far more worried about how to take care of a newborn with Down syndrome.
Blog anxiety . . . what a silly thing. Maybe I'll go play some music instead."