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No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review. Best-selling in Fiction See all. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Collection - 12 Books Giraffes are perhaps the most natationally challenged mammals on account of their tendency to capsize. See Farber, On Water, Farber is quoting the Polish writer Jerzy Kosinski, in conversation with a Buddhist monk.
However, there are limits to our proficiency and our well-being in marine environments, and they are in fact rather low. Despite being less dense than water, there are plenty of humans who would unhesitatingly describe themselves as non-swimmers. Cultural and historical factors have here played an important part. From Late Antiquity on, Christianity broadly discouraged bathing, which it associated with the sinful dissolution of Romans and, later, Moors.
From the 14th century on, the Plague reinforced the view of water — especially when warm or hot — as an enemy, seen as opening the pores of the body and allowing death and disease to enter. More recently, industrialization has further ruptured our union with watery nature, reducing it to an adversary to be tamed and exploited.
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Yet while the western world has thus unlearnt the innate aquaphilia of its ancestors, there are other cultures said to maintain this unity. I am convinced that it is as natural for a human being to swim as it is for a duck, and yet in civilized communities how many able-bodied individuals die like so many drowning kittens from the occurrence of the most trivial accidents.
There is simply too much drag, and we are too inefficiently streamlined. Turtles swim five times faster than we do. The Greeks were serious swimmers. The historians Herodotus and Thucydides wrote of the importance of swimming, and swimming races were held in honour of the god Dionysus. Quoted in Deakin, This clearly includes whales, seals and dugongs, but leaves humans dog-paddling in their wake.
Mind you, turtles are hardly models of sinuousness. All this, of course, by no means disproves the Aquatic Ape Theory. The main problem for the AAT is the lack of direct fossil evidence. Opponents have attacked the theory vehemently as a fanciful conjecture.
Scientific disunity notwithstanding, it appears to be the case that some time over a million years ago there arose species such as Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis and Homo antecessor, hominids that gradually learnt to use fire and complex tools and to hunt animals, as well as tend the weak and infirm. And there is a reasonable degree of consensus that modern human beings — Homo sapiens sapiens — began to put in an appearance some time over the last hundred thousand years or so.
Whether our ape ancestors really went through an aquatic phase or not, however, our deeper origins are certainly water-based. To most On the diving reflex and its relatively poor development in humans, see Ecott, Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World, For a thorough attack on its lack of scientific rigour, see Gee, Deep Time, In terms of scientific minimalism, Gee is perhaps right. As part of our self-image, however, the AAT does seem to be endowed with a special resonance.
Like many of the bedtime stories we like to tell ourselves about ourselves, it is both instructive and stimu- lating. We can dress up a fish only so much without paying a price. In a perfectly designed world — one with no history — we would not have to suffer everything from hemorrhoids to cancer. Equally certain, moreover, is that human beings have what might be called their ontogenetic origins in an aqueous environment.
Shubin, Your Inner Fish, 90, On hiccoughing as a product of the history we share with fish and tad- poles, see ibid. According to such a view, the human embryo thus passes through fish, reptile and mammal stages.
ncof.co.uk/el-nuevo-sndrome-laboral-boreout-recupera.php Just as our individual unconscious goes back to the waters of the maternal womb, so too the collective unconscious is deeply aquatic. These waters, which by the twelfth week contain proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, also provide the foetus with buoyancy, absorb jolts like a cushion, and permit changes of posture. As parturition approaches, the growing foetus imbibes several litres of the waters each day.
The idea behind it is that since the foetus has just spent nine months in the watery liquid of the amniotic sac, giving birth into a similar environment is gentler and less stressful for the baby. As yet, there has been relatively little research done on possible risks. It has been both a medium and a nutrient. Spanish aguas and French eaux perform the same function, while Ger- man has the more graphic notion of Fruchtwasser or fruit waters. Its double nature as both medium and matter in a sense reflects its metaphorical duality as formlessness and fertility.
Irrespective of how far we consider ourselves to be aquatic, therefore, it is plain that we are also fundamentally aqueous in nature. Water is what our bodies are made of. It is the major constituent of all living matter, amounting to between 50 and 90 per cent of the weight of any living organism: newborn babies are almost 90 per cent water; adult human beings are roughly three quarters water; as venerable wrinklies we are still more than half water.
Even our brain, commonly considered the very core of our identity as thinking beings, can be as much as 85 per cent water. Our food likewise tends to be predominantly watery, watermelons averaging 97 per cent water, potatoes 80 per cent, steak 65 per cent, and even bread 35 per cent. While we can go for days without drinking water before our bodies start to fall apart at the seams, an absence of oxygen rapidly — within minutes — induces brain damage, coma and death.
Yet carbon atoms are much less plentiful in the human body than the hydrogen and oxygen atoms of water and amount to less than a tenth of the total.
Though the body is a naturally waterlogged vessel, it is considered vital that we should not leak, drip or overflow indiscriminately, See Fry, Glasgow and activities and processes associated with the expulsion or exudation of our liquids have tended to be carefully regulated by social norms and traditions and often considered taboo. One of the Chinese myths of creation told the story of Pan Gu, who was so worn out after 18, years spent separating the primal unity that he lay down and died, his vast body being transformed into the structural features of the world, and his blood into the rivers and streams that water it.
When the primeval giant of Norse mythology, Ymir, was slain by younger gods, his flesh was likewise turned into earth, his bones into rocks, his brains into clouds, and his flowing blood into lakes and seas.
Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks, Ginzberg, I. It conveys the oxygen and nutrients necessary for cellular metabolism and carries away the waste products. As a suspension of cells within a liquid matrix plasma , our blood clearly betrays its descent from the salty seawater that served as the source of vital nutrition for primitive organisms: the underlying chemical composition of plasma is remarkably similar to that of seawater.
In addition to its water and dissolved salts sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate ions , however, blood also contains the oxygen-bearing haemoglobin that gives it its ruddy colour, as well as other nutrients such as sugars and vitamins , wastes and hormones. We also contain lymph.
Derived from blood plasma but without the red blood cells, its primary components include lymphocytes a sort of white blood cell , which chemically neutralize invading microorganisms, and macrophages, which — as their name implies — eat them up. Lymph is an essential constituent of our immune system. No less vital is the cytoplasm, the watery fluid within each individual living cell, which makes up more than two thirds of our body water.