Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Seal

John McPhee, The Control of Nature1989, "Cooling the Lava"

"A year or so later, doctors at the London Hospital Medical College put him in a large tank - he is six feet four and weighs two hundred and seventy-five pounds - and hovered about with miscellaneous sensors while Gudlaugur reposed in water refrigerated to forty-one Fahrenheit degrees.  After an hour, Gudlaugur was bored, and asked for television.  The physiologists concluded that his subcutaneous fat closely resembled a seal's.  In Iceland, where swimming is the national sport, Gudlaugur is not regarded as much of a swimmer.  'He was fat,' said Magnus Magnusson, as he finished his story.  'He was no special swimmer.'"

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