Monday, May 23, 2005

Freaked out

We still see them in the news: conjoined twins at birth, that medical science is now able to separate, even if it's extremely risky. As rare as they are (1 in 200,000 births) there are other birth defects that are even rarer. Some can be detected in vitro, and the pregnancy terminated. (I'm not going to go into the pro-life, pro-choice debate, here)

In the past couple of centuries, people born with terrible defects were labeled freaks and exhibited in circuses as world wonders. Ratt's Freak Show is a comprehensive and well-documented site about many of these people, with a scientific --but easily understood-- explanation for each of the difformities or conditions, as well as some biographical information about each.

Amazing how human beings can cope even in the face of continuous reminders that they don't fit the mold. Yet some of them managed to have full, satisfying lives. It boggles the mind.

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