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Crude Matter

Crude Matter

Human physiology, weird animal biology, and the interface of science and culture.

"Life creates [the Force], makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter," Yoda explains in The Empire Strikes Back, gesturing to Luke's physical body. This quote is striking because of the apt juxtaposition of the wonder of life with its often disgusting vessel. Like many other animals, we secrete, excrete, expectorate, defecate, flatulate, regurgitate, urinate, circulate, masticate, menstruate, ejaculate, and ventilate. We are filled with gas and feces and blood and guts and mucus and any number of rude things. Life as we know it is possible because of the countless impolite things we do every day. Are we luminous beings? Perhaps, but that's neither here nor there. This blog is about the crude matter that keeps us alive.

Michelle Clement has a B.Sc. in zoology (with a minor in American culture studies) and a M.Sc. in organismal biology from The Ohio State University. Her thesis research was on the ecophysiology of epidermal lipids and water homeostasis in house sparrows. She now works as a technical editor for The American Chemical Society. Her broader interests include weird human and animal physiology, obesity and enteric physiology, endocrinology, sexual and reproductive health, personal genomics, anthropology (physical and cultural), sociology, and science education and communication. She lives in Ohio with her boyfriend and two cats.

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