Background Information for Episode 201: The Prodigal Professor

Here is some of the background information we put into Episode 201. This includes elements of Bedouin Law, what death by dehydration is like and a bit about fabric and electricity.

Bedouin Law

We got our information from The Bedouin Way.  They have a section on Bedouin Law which starts with the quote, “It would be better to die with honour than to bring shame and dishonour upon yourself and your tribe.”

Bedouin try to solve problems in a Bedouin court, usually held within the tribe. Judges are respected men called sheikh’s and are versed in both Bedouin laws and the Qur’an.

When facing a Bedouin court, a defendant must have a ‘kafil’ or guarantor who will act in the defendant’s stead, should the defendant flee or be unable to pay the fine. Not anyone can be a ‘kafil.’ It must be someone the tribe trusts and has the blessing of the community.

There are several forms of punishment, but banishment is considered the worst, saved generally for repeat offenders. Offenders are expelled from the tribe in a ‘tashmees’ which literally means exposure. Death happens when exposed to the sun for extended periods in the desert. When an offender is banished, the tribe makes it known to the other tribes, the offender is not to be offered protection. They are left on their own “exposed” to the world, and basically left to die.

Their belief that there are worse things than death resonates with Dr Sage in her quest for science.  Bedouin have an interesting approach to lying and perjury. When someone is accused of lying, they are forced to endure the ‘bi’a’ –  a red hot metal spoon is placed on the person’s tongue three times. If the spoon burns their tongue, then they lied. If it did not burn their tongue, then they are virtuous and they were telling the truth.

Death by Dehydration

This information comes from Popular Science.

Dehydration comes in stages. Stage one being thirst.

Stage one is thirst. This happens when the body has lost 2% of body weight in water. Kidneys process less water, so the bladder doesn’t fill as quickly and urine turns a dark color.

Stage two is fainting. Body loss is at 4% of weight in water. The blood is concentrated resulting in decreased blood flood and may cause the skin to shrivel. Blood pressure drops and may result in fainting.

Stage three is organ damage. This is at 7% body weight loss. The body struggles to maintain blood pressure, cutting flow to non-vital organs (kidney and gut) causing organ failure. When the kidneys stop processing, toxins build up in the blood.

Stage four is death. Death occurs at roughly 10% body weight loss. Organs begin to overheat and toxins from the liver and kidneys build up to the point of lethal toxicity.

Fabric and Electricity

We found this information on Wikipedia.

It is possible to make fabric that conducts electricity. This is done by weaving metal into the fabric. Nickel, copper, gold, and silver are common metals used to create conductive fabric. Cotton, nylon and polyester are used as the part of the weave to help bind the metal into a fabric.

If you would like to know more about the science behind Sage and Savant, comment below.


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