Sunday, February 10, 2013


The recent popularity of the up-goer five editor (check out the #upgoerfive hash on Twitter) pin-points an important point in writing: It's bloody hard to express a coherent thought in science without any specialised words. And I don't mean jargon or strange abbreviations but words like function, vessel, pressure, kidney and medicine (This point is made much better by the Center for plain language).

However, trying makes for a good bit of fun. The original fun was had by the brilliant Randall Munroe at when he reproduced a technical drawing of the Saturn V rocket with explanations that only included the 1000 most commonly used words. This excluded the use of "saturn" "V" and "rocket", so it was called the Up-goer five. Now, Theo Sanderson has created an editor that tells you when you have used a word that is not among the 1000 most used words. Here is my attempt to explain kidney function and the effect of hypertension induced injury on blood vessel and kidney function.
My job is to understand how the body parts that make piss work, and why they get hurt by the force that the heart makes when it forces the blood around in the body. In the body there are two blood-to-piss-body-parts. They work by making piss out of blood using many small blood-cell-catch-things so that the blood cells stay in the body. Then the blood-to-piss-body-parts take up most of the water again so that the piss becomes strong, and the body can save water. The blood-cell-catch-things use the force-of-the-heart to push water out of the blood. 
However, the smallest of the blood-roads and the blood-cell-catch-things are not strong, and can be hurt by the force-of-the-heart. In the long run this hurts the blood-to-piss-body-parts, and make them stop working. Before they stop working they work less well for a long time. During this time they are easier to hurt in other ways. One important way is when the force-of-the-heart becomes too low, often because of lost blood, and the blood-to-piss-body-parts get too little blood. Too little blood, and too low force-of-the-heart makes it hard to push water out of the blood to make piss. You then get too much piss in your blood which makes you sick. 
At the same time, air is carried by the red blood cells in the blood and used for doing work in the body. Too little blood to the blood-to-piss-body-parts gives them too little air, which they need in order to take back water from the piss. When the force-of-the-heart is low they need to take back even more water than usual to keep more water in the blood and keep the force-of-the-heart normal. This makes the blood-to-piss-body-parts use more air even though less comes to them. Since the cells that make up the blood-to-piss-body-parts need air to live, too little air hurts them and some of them die.

In a blood-to-piss-body-part that has been hurt by too high force-of-the-heart a sick with too low force-of-the-heart hurts more than in a well blood-to-piss-body-part. This means that for each earlier hurt the next hurt will hurt more and lead to blood-to-piss-body-parts that do not work at all faster and faster.

Too high force-of-the-heart hurts the blood-to-piss-body-parts by hurting the blood-roads first. This hurt changes how much blood passes the blood-cell-catch-things, and how much water is taken back to the body from the piss. Doctors can keep the blood-to-piss-body-parts from getting hurt by giving doctor-stuff that makes them work less hard and by keeping the force-of-the-heart normal. When the blood-roads have been hurt a lot it is hard to save the blood-to-piss-body-parts. Is important to keep the force-of-the-blood normal as much as possible.
If you want to read some other examples go to Ten Hundred Words of Science. Lots of fun for everyone.

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