#18: Blood. Also, hair care.

The Question


So this might be a dumb question, but I’m asking anyway. Your heart pumps the blood, your liver cleans the blood (I think), your veins & arteries are little blood tubes – what organ in the body actually MAKES the blood? Where does it COME from?

I also have a followup question regarding my earlier Smith-College-water one. When I take a shower at Smith and let my hair dry naturally, it dries in perfect, smooth, shiny ringlets. When I take a shower at home and let my hair dry naturally, it dries in frizzy, kinky, uncooperative curls. But the water at home has been softened, filtered, cleansed, etc., while the water at Smith smells funny and is certainly nothing special. I use the same shampoo both places. Is bad/hard water good for my hair? Or is it just good for my hair’s appearance? Or is my hair just CRAZY?

Your sister,


Comment by Meghan McQuaid — 1/11/2005 @ 6:54 pm

The Answer

Time to leave the craziness of “The Beep” behind and answer other people’s questions. I’ve loved the debate that “The Beep” has engendered; may every question cause such an uproar! But it wouldn’t be fair if I left “The Beep” as the ruler of The Answers any longer.

What makes blood, you ask? The answer is MARROW. That’s right, the goop inside your bones is responsible for turning out blood cells. There are three types of blood cells, all made by the bone marrow:

1. Red blood cells. These guys are the ones carrying around a freight of oxygen around. Poor little buggers do nothing but cart O2 around for all of their 120 days of duty.

2. White blood cells. In the battle for control of your body, these guys are on the front line. They kill viruses and bacteria and “other toxic substances” like Velveeta. Because they are on the front lines, they live only about 10 hours.

3. Platelets. These guys have only one job; clog up a cut so all your blood doesn’t leak out. This process is known as “clotting” – which could be (in my world) a contraction of “clogging a cut”. I like to think of these guys as the Maytag repair man: they sit around a lot and only spring into action when there is an emergency. They only live for 5-10 days.

All of these dudes are made by bone marrow.

Now, your hair question – here’s the deal. You have hard water at Smith and softened water at home. With the softened water, shampoo leaves less money (or “deposits”) in your hair. However, the softened water makes the shampoo much more difficult to rinse out.

At Smith, the hard water is more likely to leave “deposits” on your hair. BUT it is also easier to rinse out.

My guess is that at home, you have to rinse longer (which makes the hair a little more “active” and there are less “deposits” on the hairs, which makes them want to get up and party. Thus, the frizz. At Smith, you have to rinse less and your hair gets a little more “deposits”. This weights the hairs down and they don’t want to party any more. Thus, the non-frizz.

Either that or your hair is just CRAZY!!!

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