Dumb Flight Surgeon Tricks

A website dedicated to some opinions from flight surgeons during the early days of the manned space program. Here are a few of my favorites:


  • Doctors worried that humans might not be able to drink fluids in weightlessness. Schirra countered that in 1948 he had seen Commander Armistead Smith drink a martini while standing on his head at the Quonset Point Officers Club, proving that humans could successfully take fluids at minus-one G, a more demanding task than drinking at zero-G
  • Apollo 7 was going to be the first spaceflight after the disastrous Apollo 1 fire that had killed Grissom, White, and Chaffee. In order to decrease the risk of fire, mission planners wanted the Apollo 7 crew to shave all the hair from their bodies. Mission commander Wally Schirra responded “I argued that the hair would grow back in the course of the [11-day] mission, and the new hair would be just as flammable as what had been shaved off. I also intimated that if the danger was such that hair was a hazard, then maybe I’d rather not fly the machine at all. The powers that be relented.
  • Dr. Harry Armstrong (? Hubertus Strughold) opined that, before sending humans to Mars, they should probably have their appendix and gallbladder removed.

A Brief History of the “Clenched Fist” Image

05_1227_003.jpg

A persistent symbol of resistance and unity, the clenched fist (or raised fist) is part of the broader genre of “hand” symbols that include the peace “V,” the forward-thrust-fist, and the clasped hands. The clenched fist usually appears in full frontal display showing all fingers and is occasionally integrated with other images such as a peace symbol or tool.


The human hand has been used in art from the very beginnings, with some stunning examples in Neolithic cave paintings. Early examples of the fist in graphic art can be found at least as far back as 1917 [1], with another example from Mexico in 1948 [2].Fists, in some form, were used in numerous political graphic genres, including the French and Soviet revolutions and the United States Communist Party. However, these all followed an iconographic convention. The fist was always part of something – holding a tool or other symbol, part of an arm or human figure, or shown in action (smashing, etc.). But graphic artists from the New Left changed that in 1968, with an entirely new treatment. This “new” fist stood out with its stark simplicity, coupled with an popularly understood meaning of rebellion and militance.

The 1919 Edition of La Bandera de las Estrellas

0001p.jpg

Better known as “The Star Spangled Banner” for anglocentric monolinguists. Boing Boing also found a link to four other Spanish versions of the anthem here at the State Department’s website.

Think Progress has a post about how Bush may have been against the idea of the anthem being sung in Spanish last week, however he had no qualms about Jon Secada performing it in Spanish during his campaign and inaugaration back in 2001.