Wednesday, April 3, 2019

the last book I ever read (The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis, excerpt seven)

from The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis:

It was an open question as to which was more mysterious to a male NASA engineer: outer space or the American female. They appeared to have better data on outer space. They had prepared makeup kits for their space shuttles, for instance, even though Kathy and a couple of the other women didn’t wear makeup. They set out to design flame-retardant one-size-fits-all bras and underpants, until the women explained that the one-size-fits-all approach used for men’s underwear wasn’t going to work with women’s underwear. In the end, the women won the right to buy their own flame-retardant underwear. And how would a woman urinate in space? The engineers worried about that one for a while. The male astronauts had been fitted with condom catheters, but these were always threatening to leak or even burst and obviously wouldn’t work for women. To everyone’s relief, a NASA engineer created an extra-absorbent polymer and worked it into a diaper that could be worn by all. (In the bargain he’d anticipated the baby diapers of the future.)

And of course, the male engineers were seriously worried about what might ensue if a woman had her period in space. “The idea that women might menstruate in orbit drove the whole place up a wall,” said Kathy. “The male world’s response was, Oh, that’s ok. We’ll just suppress their periods. We all looked at each other and said, ‘You and what other army, buddy?’” The engineers finally agreed to pack tampons in the supply kits.The first time Kathy opened her kit she saw that each tampon had been removed from its paper wrapper and sealed in a plastic fireproof case. Heat-sealed tampons. Each plastic case was connected to another. She pulled on the top one and out pops this great long chain of little red plastic cases, like a string of firecrackers. Hundreds of tampons, for one woman to survive for a few days in space. “It was like a bad stage act,” she said. “There just seemed this endless unfurling of Lord only knows how many tampons.”

No comments:

Post a Comment