In the turmoil of inter galactic saber fighting protecting the bird head is critical. Although temporarily out of the limelight, Vader has suffered frequent concussions to the detriment of his dark force slipping away. This Angry Birder GNN reporter has managed an exclusive interview with DVader. Here is a brief summary as we caught up to Vader nursing his head.
GNN: You look dizzy does that affect your fighting?
DV: I lean to the side a lot so my timing is off. Sometimes inside the helmet I lean against the ventilation duct just to support my head. I’m always spinning. My eyes feel like they’re on springs.
GNN: That must make you feel galactic gorky all the time, does your helmet help ?
DV: Not really. The engineers have really improved things, they’re wizards but things are still hard. Like I said wielding the sword takes all my concentration but it’s like my body position has shifted, I’m not where I think I am.
GNN: Explain please !
DV: We all have a positional sense of where we are facing forward but its like I’m standing on a stage that’s tilted so when I run I feel like I’m going down hill all the time. Needless to say, in a light saber fight this makes things wonky. So I compensate.
GNN: How do you know you’re compensating?
DV: Well during our training sessions they shoot video of me. I use a GoPro camera on my helmet so that the trainers can break down my motion in 3D. I have a transparent screen in front of my eyes that projects what is going on around me even behind me it’s a hologram that’s kind of experimental. But it lets me take on Hans Bird that nemesis who keeps making my life miserable.
GNN: But getting back to your head, what about all these head hits aren’t they affecting your timing?
DV: Of course but like I said I compensate
DV: What other Birds don’t know is my special physiology that reduces the effects of concussion forces when I’m wearing my DV helmet. You don’t see my pretty pecker beak, you don’t see my red cheeks you just see that nasty black helmet.
GNN: What’s with your pecker eyes, I don’t understand.
DV: It’s the extra eyelid. When I strike Mother Bird Nature is so smart, she flicks up my 3rd eyelid one-millisecond before the head hits. I don’t have to worry about that timing it’s all automatic. That extra nictitating membrane, they’re like seat belts that hold my Bird eyes in place otherwise they fly all over the place stretching things that don’t like to get spandexed.
GNN: But you still got concussed how did they know ?
DV: It’s my balance that’s the critical part that went off. They picked it up on the Wobble Index. It’s a pressure plate platform that is linked up with eye infra-red position sensors that they strap onto my head. My eyes wobble extra when I’m looking at the horizon, it’s in the peripheral network that bogs down my inner calculations. Basically I’m not sure where I am.
GNN: Being in zero G must affect your balance , no?
DV: Well in the beginning we didn’t take gravity with us we thought we were tough birds but it didn’t work. We couldn’t even get standing up head flat on the ground everything was spinning. We tipped over. It took a couple of weeks to get back on our claws.
GNN: What’s this treatment for concussions I’m hearing about vestibular stimulation.
DV: Right now it’s all very hush-hush but it does seem to work. We never appreciated gravity until you lose it. Then everything goes down when there is no up sense.
GNN: So do you take gravity with you on the Death Star? Where do they keep it?
DV: Are you dense or what? Gravity is what makes us work it’s in all of us in every single cell in our birdbrain, don’t you know that?
GNN: How long will you be away from saber competition now that you’ve got these concussions?
DV: Not until the symptoms clear
Angry Birds©, currently the most popular game App in the world, The Disney© People and StarWars©/Lucas Arts © please permit me for using some of your characters to educate the trials and tribulations of this concussion education essay. Gravity is very important especially in our labyrinth/otolith system that senses balance. Within our heads we have multiples of accelerometers that sense how we are in terms of where our head is, how it turns how things are oriented. The entire system is crazy complicated since the design has multiple inputs that can compensate if things are not correct. Within the brain neuroaxis we have eyes that pivot inside their sockets and a brain that is elastic. When we are concussed everything moves. But all brain cells are tethered together inside a floating tension network that regulates things both at the membrane surface into the surroundings linking the entire structure. I call this space the Snelson floating tension network. As astronauts have shown very significant changes to their physiology as a result of space flight, this provides observers like myself to comment on these changes.
I posit that spaceflight is like a concussion but happening in slow motion as if you could slow down the concussive impact. During a millisecond by millisecond account of what changes inside our brain, physiological space flight even the parabolic flight simulation of micro-gravity versus hypergravity reveals changes that point us as observational reference frame to pay attention to. A concussion is foremost a vestibular event that is first sensed inside our otoliths on Nature’s accelerometers. At this very instant at the start ,things happen in a bewildering panoply of cascading biological changes. Our research painstakingly is trying millisecond by millisecond to catalogue following the changes as they happen. Concussions affect the growth hormones, they affect the pituitary axis, they affect the cardiovascular pacing signals, they affect bone metabolism, they affect the very shape of the eye, and, and and… All this is known from our brave astronauts and cosmonauts, having been documented in space research studies during the last fifty years. If you have enjoyed the Angry Birds foray into revealing some hard-won secrets from Nature so much the better.
I will leave with a last image. Racing drivers already have better head protection employing a helmet attached with straps to the H.A.N.S. Device which prevents major rotation of the head during massive deceleration as can happen during a racing shunt. Rotation within the brain is very destructive. I have also outlined in previous essays Yakovlevian torque, a brain anatomical asymmetry which cause our brain to twist on itself. The common presentation that our brains are like a bowl of jello that wobble back in force inside our head is a very poor summation of what happens. Nature has taken hundreds and hundreds of millions of years to design then build our brain. Our brain is definitely not a homogeneous blob of jello, our brain is an exquisite network of billions of cells in an elaborate structure designed following the rules of architecture of what NASA recognizes as a tensegrity entity with all individual cells suspended within a floating tension attachment maze that is only now becoming apparent. There are definitely zones of vulnerabilities within the brain due to its very design structure.