Image Image

  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Sunday, 22 July, 2018
Image

Comparing Apples, Bananas & the Prickly Pear

Date: 16 January, 1999

By: Chief and N.C.

Imagehat is what it is all about. The apple, banana and the prickly pear. What do these three famous and delicious fruit have in common with us? On the surface, other than the fact that we humans tend to consume a large quantity of each, not very much. But, when one looks past the surface quite a bit comes to light.

Pertaining to the apple, its claim to fame or infamy as the case may be lies on the ground — as in falling down, not up, from a tree and bopping Sir Isaac Newton on the gourd. The rest is history.

The banana, on the other hand, is famous for subtlety. The fruit itself is soft and can be mashed, bruised or destroyed quite easily. Hence, the fruit is surrounded by a tougher, albeit not indestructible, shell or skin. The skin is able to absorb some of shock, thus protecting, to a small degree, the tasty fruit contained within. Sound familiar? Sound sort of like the human skull and brain? Yes, there are differences, but there are also quite a lot of similarities.

Of the differences, the biggest and by far most important is the fact that the banana fruit is fully encased within the skin. The fruit cannot move. The brain, however, floats within the inner skull surrounded by Cerebro-Spinal Fluid or CSF for short. The brain, in other words, moves. It is a body within a body and, as such, is subject to gravity and its effects.

Background

That, my friends, is what completely destroys any and all attempts by anyone or any organization to claim — helmets are safe! It is physically impossible, irrefutably impossible, to prevent the brain from coming into contact with the inner skull by the wearing of a helmet.

There are doctors, economists, government agencies, AAA and now the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, (and the list could go on for days) all claiming that helmets are the greatest safety device for bikers since the invention of the brake! Everyone of them claims helmets reduce brain injuries. Each of them claims helmets do not increase neck injuries, and lastly everyone of them makes the claim wearing a helmet reduces medical costs to the taxpayer. Poppycock. Additionally, the words 'study' and 'statistical fact' keep popping up. What is fascinating is nowhere do the words 'gravity', 'physical law' or 'physics' come into to play. I wonder why that is? Could it be that what is being spewed forth by these organizations is simply not true — a lie perhaps?

Before we examine these issues one by one let us take a quick glance at air bags and what changes the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has put in place. Initially NHTSA, by regulation, required that all vehicles manufactured after 1984 be equipped with self-deploying air bags. The reason was to reduce head injuries caused by frontal impacts (head-on collision) of the operators involved in a crash. By 1996, all new vehicles were required to not only have air bags for the driver but for the passenger as well. This regulation resulted in the deaths and maiming of men, women and children. Finally, after 61 people had died, and by exerting a high degree of political pressure, NHTSA finally rewrote its regulation allowing for air-bags to be turned on or turned off by a switch of some sort operated by the driver. Indeed, air bags have been shown to be so dangerous that a father of a small child was recently convicted of involuntary manslaughter for failing, that's right - failing, to turn off the air bag, which deployed and killed his son.

The sole reason that air bags are inherently dangerous is, believe it or not, opposing force — no more, no less. Stated another way, the effects of gravity. Quite literally, a 'head-on' collision. The head, neck and torso are moving forward (toward the dashboard at the same rate of speed as the vehicle), the air bag deploys (toward the operator or passenger at speeds upward of 160 miles per hour) and the two impact. The speeds are additive. Hence, if the vehicle was moving at 60 mph, the driver or passenger was also moving at 60 mph. The air bag deploys at 160 mph, the sum impact speed is a staggering 220 miles per hour. It is no wonder air bags have killed people — duh.

Physics, that is all there is to it. You, I, nobody can overcome the laws of physics. However, there are legislators, bureaucrats, do gooder organizations who tend to think they can overcome physics by merely putting pen to paper and passing this disinformation to the public at large. Unfortunately, and to the detriment of people (those injured, maimed or killed courtesy of 'safety devices'), this campaign of disinformation has to a large degree been successful. In order to overcome this disinformation campaign, these lies, we must return to the basics — to the irrefutable fact.

Gravity versus the brain and spinal cord

It would be fair to say that we are some how attached to the planet. Though there are no chains about our legs, no anchor pinned to the ground, we are none the less quite firmly anchored to the Earth. The immediate question is how? In turn, the immediate answer, from a 5 year old on up, is gravity. Indeed, another way to look at it is if gravity did not exist there would be no use what so ever for airplanes, rockets, the shuttle and so on. In short, each of us would be able to fly without the aid of artificial means of propulsion (jet engine, etc.).

For those few 'Doubting Thomases', I suggest the following experiment: hold an ink pen up and at arm's length away from your body, at any angle, release the pen and watch what happens. You should have noticed 5 separate actions:

Now, let us examine each of those 5 separate actions. First, the pen fell downward. Do you suppose that had anything to do with gravity? I'd say so. Second, as the pen fell toward the ground, actually toward the center of the Earth (gravitational pull), the pen accelerated due to the 'pull' of the Earth's gravity. Third, when the pen was released, at any angle, the pen traveled downward, gaining speed, yet falling at a uniform rate, until impact. In other words, the angle of dissent and the angle of initial impact were the same. Gravity did not 'pull' more on one part of the pen than the other. Fourth, when the pen initially impacted the floor, or ground, or whatever, it did not just instantly stop. No, it bounced and then stopped. Indeed, there was a 'reaction' of the pen coming into contact with the floor or ground (impact). Fifth, the pen stopped. The two forces, action and reaction, equal as they are, canceled each other out. This could also be called force dissipation. What we have just gone through is, according to Newton, the law of universal gravity.

One cannot emphasize enough the angle of dissent. The pen or person or whatever will fall at the same angle as when the pen or person or whatever was released. The only exception to this is when the angle of dissent is changed by an external force. To bring this point closer to home, the only way a biker will land on his or her head is if: (a) he or she is thrown off the bike head first or (b) he or she is thrown off the bike and a separate, external force tips or changes the angle of dissent. That's it. There is no other way.

So, now comes the question: in light of the irrefutable fact of gravity and the effects of gravity how can a helmet reduce, let alone prevent, brain or spinal cord injuries? Indeed, the two are mutually exclusive. If, as we have shown, the brain (1) floats within the inner skull in Cerebro-Spinal Fluid and (2) the brain, due to being 'encased' within CSF moves within the inner skull, the brain will act in concert with and be subject to the full force of gravity and all its effects. This, too, affects the spinal cord. It is called 'inertia' — the tendency of a moving object to keep moving or the tendency of an object at rest (not moving) to remain at rest. A perfect example of this is being in a bus. Have you ever been standing in a bus when it lurched forward? Your body at rest has inertia. It tends to remain in place. But when the bus moves forward you are inclined to fall backward. When the bus suddenly stops you tend to move forward. The same holds true with the brain and the body in relation to the spinal cord. I.e., if the body, during a wreck, is moving in one direction and the helmeted head, due to the chinstrap or jaw crash bar, hangs up on something the body will still continue to move ... but the head and neck, sadly, will not. A broken neck is quite likely the result. Again, the question becomes: how can a helmet reduce, let alone prevent, brain or spinal cord injuries? I submit that helmets cannot reduce, let alone prevent, brain or spinal cord injuries unless, of course, gravity does not exist (now there is a no-brainer). Moreover, I submit that helmets — increase — injuries to the brain and/or spinal cord.

The neck

It is interesting that whatever 'we' tell our individual bodies to do — i.e., wave, talk, walk, etc. — we take for granted our bodies will obey. We do it all the time. In fact, we tell our bodies to do things so often that we honestly don't think about the how. How, when we wave at a friend, does our body do — exactly — what is required of it. I know the answer to that one — the brain. Well yes, that is true. But the brain tells, more accurately sends signals, to various specific body parts what to do, how to do it and when to do what. Now, once again, comes the question of how does the brain send those nifty signals? Through the spinal cord, that's how. Yet, it is the weakest part of the body, the neck (wouldn't you know it), which the entire spinal cord must pass through, unimpeded, to enable the brain to send those signals to the various body parts. If something happens to the neck which causes damage to just a part of the spinal cord a part or parts of the body will cease to function, or at a bare minimum, some part or parts of the body will not function correctly.

There are two 'types' of nerve functions; voluntary and involuntary. A voluntary or conscious nerve function is the wave of the hand to a friend or some other gesture. Bear in mind that is just a single example. An example of involuntary or unconscious nerve function is heartbeat. Thus, different nerves affect different parts and organs of the body differently. Some are wholly more important than others. I, for one, would rather lose the ability to wave at a friend than lose my heartbeat, though I intend to keep both fully functional. That said, let us look at two forms of execution - the guillotine and hanging. Both methods accomplish the same goal the same way. Death by disconnecting or severing the brain from the spinal cord.

With the guillotine we know the head is literally cut off from the rest of the body. The head falls into a basket (there's that gravity in action again) and the body is strapped to a wooden plank. Severage is total and fatal. Though messy, it does work. Hanging, on the other hand, performs the same basic function without the mess if done correctly. When the trap is sprung the person falls. When the rope goes taut it tightens about the bottom of the skull and follows the lower jawline to the 'C0' or atlas/axis vertebrae. The knotted section moves upward on the right side of the head, snapping it to the left, and due to the person continuing to fall (gravity) at 32 feet per second squared, and due to inertia, the severage of the spinal cord takes place at the 'C0' vertebrae. Or, if the knot is placed under the jaw, a cervical hyperextension takes place. Either way, it is instant and always fatal.

When one looks at it from a physical law perspective, the cause of death is gravity. The effect of gravity was beheading or hyperextension of the neck. The point of that sordid paragraph is twofold. First, damage to spinal cord results in permanent loss of use of one or more actions of the body. There is a direct correspondence between the severity of the injury and the increase in disability and loss of body actions. Secondly, gravity and its effects play the lead role, if you will, in both of the foregoing examples and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, which can be done to 'prevent' it.

Think about it. If gravity and its effects were not present the blade wouldn't fall (and accelerate to a speed sufficient to severe the head from the neck), and the person wouldn't fall through the trap (again, gathering sufficient speed to induce the rope to snap the neck by the opposing force). Hence, death by guillotine or hanging would not work — period.

But how does the guillotine or hanging relate to wearing helmets? Think about this: where does the 'chinstrap', when fastened, fit on the body? How about on the bottom and rear of the lower jawline. Now, take a 3/4 face or full face helmet. When placed on your head, where does the back of the helmet stop? Dependant upon size and fit, somewhere between the 'C0' and the 'C5' vertebrae. Sound familiar to a rope around one's neck? It should. Accordingly, a biker wearing a helmet who is involved in a crash is placed, by virtue of wearing a helmet, at a higher degree of risk for permanent injury or death due to spinal cord injury or severage caused by the effects of, you got it, gravity. Again, it is fact and more importantly it is irrefutable fact.

Cost to the taxpayer

This is an area ripe for debate. It is also the area which Congress and some state legislatures have used in order to place helmets on our heads whether we like it or not, moreover, whether there is fact sufficient enough to support the governmental intrusion. It is also the area which some state legislatures and governors have used to either block a bill repealing or amending a helmet law or vetoing a like measure. All in the name of saving money. Okay, so where is the fact or facts that legislators have used, and will attempt to continue to use, against us? The fact is — there ain't no fact. And that is — a fact. Each and every one of the helmet laws in place today, be it motorcycle or bicycle, can be attributed not to the presentation of fact but merely to the presentation of studies. Not fact, but supposition. In other words, every helmet law currently on the books is based on hearsay. No more, no less. The initial study which got the ball rolling was the infamous Hurt Report. This study was commissioned by NHTSA in an attempt to manipulate Congress and state legislatures to enact mandatory helmet laws. Needless to say, it worked. Since the Hurt Report there have been numerous studies completed, all being paid for directly or indirectly by us — the taxpayer. These studies almost without fail say the same thing: the use of helmets will reduce head injuries and reduce costs to the taxpayer because motorcyclists, by and large, don't carry insurance.

It is interesting to note that each of these safety studies being used as a basis to enact the 'mandatory' use of helmets carry two fatal flaws. The first and by far most important is the complete and utter disregard of gravity and its effects. The second is that each of the studies rely on — hearsay. Hence, by outright ignoring irrefutable fact and the acceptance and inclusion of hearsay the results were easily predicted. As Mr. Justice Holmes wrote:

"If you have no doubt of your premises or your power and want a result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition."

Which is exactly what has happened and I dare say will continue to happen until the truth, the irrefutable fact, is spotlighted for all to see.

Now, let's use a neck injury as an example to show costs incurred by and to the taxpayer. A lady suffered, as a result of a car wreck, crushing of the 'C5/C6' vertebrae. Indeed, the vehicle she was riding in flipped end for end three times collapsing the roof and literally pushing her head and neck down between her shoulders. She was operated on — twice — to remove bone fragments from her spinal cord. She is what is known in the medical world as a 'C5/C6 quad'. As such, she is bed-bound and receives daily home health visits. One visit by a registered nurse and the other by a home health aide. All costs are borne by Medicare. The federal government (Medicare) is billed at $167.00 per nurse's visit and at $75.00 per home health aide visit. Additionally, all durable medical equipment (DME) such as a hospital bed, specialized 'lay flat' wheel chair, etc., is paid for by Medicare. As Medicare does not cover the cost for medications she pays for that, albeit through her social security check. Her entire monthly 'income' is from Social Security and Veterans' Administration disability indemnity compensation coverage. Further, she receives meals-on-wheels which is federally funded.

As you can easily determine, with the sole exception of medication (technically not even that), the federal government, We the People, pick up the tab. And what an expensive tab it is. You see, the wreck this lady was involved in happened 32 years ago. That is just one example. There are thousands of similar examples which could be just as easily utilized. All one need do is go to the local law library and perform a search of personal injury law suits settled in court. Yet helmet usage reduces costs? I think not. It is most assuredly a cost multiplier. But have the number of motorcycle accidents, fatalities and injuries been reduced by the mandatory use of the helmet? Yes. Well, then how? My dear Watson, the answer is readily available from your state motor vehicle department. Using California for an example, prior to the enactment of the mandatory helmet law the number of registered motorcycles was 639,388. Since the enactment of the helmet law that number has decreased to 434,000. Gee, ya suppose that the fewer number of registered motorcycles means fewer motorcycles on the road, hence fewer motorcycles on the road equates to fewer motorcycle accidents, injuries and deaths? No kidding, Sherlock. As one can see, it was not the helmet per se, which reduced the carnage. It was the riders themselves when faced with either wearing a helmet, which increases the danger, or giving up motorcycling, chose the latter. It is equally obvious that studies will only reflect what the sponsors and authors want the studies to reflect. Thus, studies are, at best, mere marketing tools for one side — or the other.

The Prickly Pear

Now the prickly pear is a very sweet, delectable fruit. But, you had better be careful when you pick and peel the prickly pear, because if you are not ... it'll bite you.

This is our final issue to cover. This could also be known as, for states that have enacted mandatory helmet laws, 'Are States Culpable'? Not responsible mind you, culpable. Another way to put it is: can a state be held liable under civil tort laws if said state enacted a mandatory helmet law and a motorcyclist wearing a now state mandated helmet is involved in a wreck and suffers brain and/or spinal cord injuries? Dependant upon each state's civil tort laws, I say yes, a state and others can be held liable and should be.

In order to be victorious in a civil procedure it is incumbent upon the plaintiff to convincingly have the 'preponderance of evidence'. That evidence must 'out weigh' the evidence presented in opposition to it. In a case involving a motorcyclist wearing a helmet in a mandatory helmet law state who is involved in a wreck and suffers brain and/or spinal cord injuries, the preponderance of evidence is quite simple. It is irrefutable fact. Gravity and its effects. Then suing the state, in turn suing the doctors, organizations, etc., who have created the illusion that helmets reduce injuries and theoretically the costs passed on to the taxpayers is quite feasible.

Now there is a cost to the taxpayers. The cost of a state losing a multi-million dollar civil suit because of a law enacted to 'protect us'. I have yet to see any study where that cost is mentioned — at all. That is not even discussing the 'research' people losing their shirts or the organizations which sponsored the studies or promote the use of helmets. They, each and every one, are equally culpable for monetary damages to be levied against them. Without doubt, this kind of litigation would take years and cost a bundle. However, if successful the pay back, both monetary and as a point of law, would be tremendous.

Conclusion

In order to close the book on the effects of gravity we propose the following experiment:

For those who remain 'Doubting Thomases', are you willing to place your neck on the guillotine? If gravity and its effects are either inconsistent or irrelevant we challenge you to place your neck on the block. We will trip the lever to release the blade. If gravity and its effects are either inconsistent or irrelevant you will be just fine ... but, if gravity and its effects are relevant and consistent you will end up — headless. Any takers?

In closing, it would indeed appear that those who would perform the purported research, those who espouse the use of helmets and those who enact such laws are, at best, acting as the three monkeys — hear no fact, see no fact, speak no fact.

Give 'em a banana.

(Return to the top)