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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

We are not made equal...

...and never will be — hopefully.

There is no such thing as a level playing field. There will always be individuals born with natural advantages. Instead of being envious (even jealous), the rest of us should look to them as sources of inspiration, wonder, even awe.

The average male has a VO2 max of 3.5 liters per minute. British Olympic gold medalist rower Matthew Clive Pinsent has a genetic mutation which gave him a VO2 max of 8.5 liters per minute.

Lance Armstrong is another individual armed with genetic gifts: at 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m), the seven-time Tour de France winner has a heart proportional to a 6' 6" (1.98 m) man. An average male's heart pumps 5 gallons of blood per minute. Lance's heart, 30 percent larger than the average man's, pumps 9 gallons per minute.

Armstrong's lungs absorb twice as much oxygen from each breath. His muscles produce half as much latic acid and his body expels it faster than the average individual. The average human turns 20 percent of the oxygen he breathes into muscle power. Lance uses 23 percent. His body is literally one in a million.

American Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps is blessed with the ideal swimmer's body. He has broad shoulders, a sinewy, whip-like body, and a long torso, which enables him to slide through the water with "a vigorous dolphin kick that surges from his head to his toes in a high-amplitude wave."

While most humans have a 1:1 ratio between their height and arm span (measured from fingertip to fingertip, across the chest), Phelps, at 6' 4" (1.931 m), has an arm span of 6' 6.75" (2.007 m).

Together with his large hands and size 14 (US) feet, he is all but unbeatable in the water.

Look at his latissimus dorsi! All this man lacks now are gills.

This is a photograph of a 5-year-old German boy. He can hold seven-pound (3.2 kg) weights out with arms extended. He has muscles twice the size of kids his age. His body also possesses half the body fat for a 5-year-old. The boy is born with a mutant DNA segment which blocks production of myostatin. Myostatin is a protein which limits muscle growth.

The mutation is very rare in people. The boy's muscular mother, a former professional sprinter, possesses one copy of the mutated gene; the other is normal. She married a man who is also unusually strong. The boy ended up with two mutated copies of this "myostatin-blocking" gene.

There is no such thing as equality. Even communist countries select the best for international sports, special forces, space flight, etc. We are born different; perform different; achieve different. Those who can't — admire.

The alternative is Vonnegut's dystopian horror of Harrison Bergeron:

The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal...


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