Archive for: October, 2013

Plan to bathe in the blood of your enemies? Consider this...

Oct 31 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

It's tough out there for a supervillain-in-training.  Not only do we have to think-up overly elaborate methods to smote and humiliate our enemies, we have carefully consider if a particular method passes the Villainous Plan Test (VPT).

VPT

Clearly, all "yes" responses transition a plan to the implementation phase.   Why draft a plan where a "no" for either #1, #2, or #3 is an option?  Any "maybe" selections require additional paperwork pursuant to VPT clause 6.6.6.C

Each 'maybe' selection must be accompanied with an explanation as to how a 'maybe' will be transitioned to a 'yes'.  Failure to use the approved VPT Supplemental Information Form (SIF) will result in immediate assassination via ninja attack.

The trick, dear readers, is to draft a plan that does NOT invoke VPT clause 6.6.6.C.  This is actually a lot harder than it sounds.  Take, for instance, the relatively simple plan stated below.

I will bathe in the blood of my enemies.

Considering the VPT, the answers to #1 and #2 are clearly "yes".  It's #3 and #4 where this deceptively simple plan goes awry...      The bathe-in-blood (BIB) plan clearly assumes that one's enemies are already dead.  As such, we can focus on risks associated with vanquished* foes.  What should immediately leap to mind is the inherit risk in handling blood - or any bodily fluid, for that matter.

The body fluids of all persons should be considered to contain potentially infectious agents. The table below provides examples of infectious agents that may occur in body fluids and the respective transmission concerns. It must be emphasized that many of the body fluids with which one may come in contact contain microorganisms, some of which may cause disease. Individuals may be at various stages of infection: incubating disease, mildly infected without symptoms, or chronic carriers of certain infectious agents. In fact, transmission of communicable diseases is more likely to occur from contact with infected body fluids of unrecognized carriers than from contact with fluids from recognized individuals because simple precautions are not always used. [Universal Precautions: Handling Bodily Fluids]

See that "potentially" in the first sentence of the quote above?  That makes the answer to VPT #3 a dreaded 'maybe' and VPT clause 6.6.6.C kicks in.  Readers that are adept at handling bodily fluids are probably thinking "Just copy the blood handling procedures from any 'Handling Bodily Fluids' manual and paste into the SIF!"

True enough, savvy readers, true enough!  Strict adherence to safety procedures and the use of appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) would greatly minimize the risk to the supervillain, likely transitioning our 'maybe' for VPT #3 to a 'yes'.  One major problem, however...

Supervillains typically place their personal style above safety.  If you're standing over your fallen enemies while rocking embellished leather, holding an impressively sized weapon of some sort, with the wind blowing your bad-ass cape just right... you are NOT going to want to put on latex gloves, shoe booties, a hair cap, and a face shield.  A supervillain could argue that the right PPE for the BIB plan would change the assure the answer to VPT #2 is 'maybe'.  A supervillain could also argue that the right PPE and strict adherence to safety protocol makes the answer to VPT #4 a 'maybe' as well.  Actually...  just between us, dear readers... the training and PPE required to properly handle bodily fluids is beyond some villains and supervillains meaning the answer to VPT #4 could very well be 'no'.  Speaking of VPT #4...

Bathing in the blood of you enemies is not as easy as it sounds.  First of all, 'bathe' means to wash by immersing one's body.   Thus, a supervillain will either have to pack a portable bathtub or transport gallons of blood.    Hauling around a portable bathtub hardly seems practical or stealthy.  Neither is transporting 18 gallons† of blood.

Of course, a supervillain may go Old Testament...

The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. [Psalm 58:10]

If one is simply going to wash one's feet, the volume of blood required is much less.  While this makes the BIB plan easier to implement, it doesn't fix that proper-handling-of-bodily-fluids thing.  It also doesn't address an often overlooked BIB issue - blood coagulation.

The process by which the body prevents blood loss is referred to as coagulation. Coagulation involves the formation of a blood clot (thrombus) that prevents further blood loss from damaged tissues, blood vessels or organs. This is a complicated process... [How Blood Clots]

How complicated? More complicated than a supervillainous plot.  Like One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez complicated.

Just look at all the steps and chemicals involved.   Don't worry, dear readers, there won't be a quiz.

Why does coagulation matter to the BIB plan? Well, all the chemicals involved in blood clot formation are in drained blood.  Buckets of blood will clot.  Bathtubs of blood will clot. Foot basins of blood will clot.  Chunky blood.  Ewwwwwww, gross! I concur, dear readers, chunky blood is not aesthetically pleasing.  Luckily, there are ways to keep blood nice and liquidy.

If you ever donated blood or had medical blood work done, you've likely seen those test tubes with different colored caps some of your blood goes in.  You've probably noticed those tubes had stuff in them before they held your blood.  Some of those tubes contain anti-coagulant chemicals to prevent clots from forming.  One popular anti-coagulant is ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), a chemical with an affinity for binding calcium ion.  See all the spots in our complicated coagulation cascade where calcium ion is needed? EDTA makes calcium ion unavailable, putting the kibosh on the coagulation cascade.   No creepy chunky blood!  But....

Now we've got to integrate anticoagulants into our BIB plan?!  This once simple, yet menacing, plan is much more complicated upon careful consideration.

Looks like it's back to the villainous drawing board.  See, villainy isn't as easy as it looks.

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*I mean VANQUISHED. None of this I'm-pretty-sure-my-foe-is-dead-so-lemme-turn-my-back nonsense.

†An estimate based on the water usage of your typical environmentally conscious supervillain.   This estimate of 18 gallons also requires 12-18 enemies, if one assumes a single enemy is your average adult human.

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Loki wink image from here

Coagulation pathway image from here

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Oct 04 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

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