Pulse Rate May 2012

The famous May 1869 “completion” of the first transcontinental railroad in Utah was a lie. An unbroken connection to both coasts was actually achieved without fanfare with the laying of track in Strasburg, Colorado in August 1870.

Engineer Harry Arminius Miller is considered by many to be the father of the modern race car. His engine designs regularly set speed records and, as early as 1917, Miller was designing some of the first aerodynamic motor vehicles.

Victoria Day, the Canadian holiday commemorating the birthday of the UK’s Queen Victoria, held on May 24 is also known as May “Two-Four”—Canadian slang for a case of 24 beers.

When anesthetized before surgery it is crucial to go from Stage 1 (just before unconsciousness) to Stage 3 (body completely relaxed) as quickly as possible, because Stage 2, the “excitement stage,” includes irregular heartbeat and breathing, vomiting and uncontrolled flailing.

The reason jockeys tend to be short has to do with weight limits. The Kentucky Derby rules state, for example, that the maximum weight of the jockey, plus equipment must not exceed 126 lbs (jockeys alone average 115 lbs). By comparison, a horse is about 1,200 lbs and moves at 40 mph.

Weird phobia miscellany: Pteridophobia (fear of ferns), Aurophobia (fear of gold), Aulophobia (fear of flutes), Scriptophobia (fear of writing in public), Porphyrophobia (fear of the color purple).

The first successful heart surgery was performed in September 1896 in Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Ludwig Rehn repaired the right ventricle of a stabbing victim without complications.

Two mnemonics to remember when assessing medical emergencies (this is not official medical advice): ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) and DOTS (Deformities, Open wounds, Tenderness, Swelling).

Interested in cryopreservation of your body to be revived thanks to future scientific breakthroughs? It won’t happen in the case of instantaneous or unexpected death. The “freezing” team has to be on standby, so they can go into action the moment the heart stops. A delay of even a few minutes will cause irreversible damage.

Hubritic Oath: Scholars assert that notable 16th century anatomist Jacques Dubois was a bit too devoted to Galen, an accomplished ancient Roman doctor, surgeon and writer. If the structures Dubois found in a corpse differed from Galen’s writings, he would declare the corpse was in error.

At the start of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, US forces conducted the first cavalry charge on horseback since 1942 in the Philippines.

Oprah Winfrey is a notable member of a movement advocating the enactment of Stepmother’s Day. The day hasn’t been decided; candidates are May 1 or 11.