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[Let's be clear again: Sarah Silverman does NOT suck. No, her nightclub act proves that she's a keen observer of all that sucks around us:]

like Knees and Backs.

Shouldn't evolution have taken care of our blown-out knees and aching backs? [Like we will see and hear in the SuperBowl tomorrow ??]

Instead, evolution may be to blame: chimps don't tear menisci or herniate their discs like we do.

It could be that our knees and backs are such a pain because we insist on standing up straight and tall [like MaryJane]. When our ancestors stood up on two feet, they stumbled upon a much more efficient way of walking that uses 75 percent less energy than knuckle-dragging. Over the next several million years, natural selection refined the structural modifications that keep our torso centered over our lower half as we put one foot in front of the other: longer legs, knobby knees, an elongated spine. But those adaptations can be a bit of a kludge.

By stacking the thigh bone directly on top of the shinbone, we've saddled our knees with more weight than they can handle: even when you're just strolling down the street, the pressure exerted on your knees is 3 to 5 times your total bodyweight. During more strenuous activity like running downfield to catch a pass, or climbing up a flight of stairs, it can be double that --- 6 to 10 times. So, by the time you hit 30, the cartilage systems that distribute all that weight across your knee joints have already begun to wear away. This may eventually lead to osteoarthritis, and your shin and thigh bones will begin to rub against each other --- and this sends 5.5 million people to doctors every year in the US. Whether they've played in any SuperBowls or not.

The same thing happens to our vertebrae, which were never designed to sit on top of one another in a single weight-beraring column. Once a disc begins to bulge out of place, you get pain, numbness, and spasms because the disc is now pressing on a nerve that connects your spinal cord to the rest of your body. More than 80% of us will at some time in our lives suffer back pain severe enough to miss work or other activities ...

Surgery is just a temporary fix, since after 10 years even replacement cartilage can wear away too. But we can't blame all our woes on design flaws; the fact that we spend so much time hunched over a keyboard --- Level 70 World of Warcraft players, are you listening ?? ---can't be good for us. It might help if we all got up off our highly evolved butts more often ...

[Carrie and Sarah have the right idea up there, they're sitting, lying, and rubbing each other comfortably in places where their bones and cartilages appear well-padded. Ditto the Petty cheerleaders below, even though they're standing while they slowdance. Temporarily.]


:Greta Lorge, 'Knees and Backs', in "Wired" Feb 2008 (c) The Conde Nast Corporation


kiota too late for the stars
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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