of the heart

I was going to write something a bit more expansive today, but I heard something remarkable on the radio this morning, and thought I’d share that instead. The below piece is called 800 million heartbeats and was composed by Stuart Greenbaum. I believe this recording – by NZTrio – is the same one I heard this morning.

What is more, or at least equally remarkable is that the title of the song comes from the purported fact that most mammals have lifespans of 800-million heartbeats. The example given by the radio presenter (who I think was paraphrasing an “analysis by the composer”, which you can find online) was that hummingbirds have very rapid heart rates, and live relatively short lives. Sloths, on the other hand, have much slower heart rates, and live longer.

But humans are the exception: 800-million heartbeats would only take us into our twenties.

I think it’s cool that someone, somewhere, has measured and calculated all this. It doesn’t really matter if this is a very useful fact or not. Maybe it doesn’t even really matter if it’s actually true or not. There’s still something romantic in it, no?