Monday, June 19, 2006

Smells Like a Very Little Known Fact

Everyone knows that smell is the sense most closely associated with memory of previous smells. But were you aware that the nose is the largest and most complex organ on your body? Here are some more fragrant Very Little Known Facts:

  • THAT STINKS: With years of practice, some vinophiles can detect the subtle but distinct difference between rare wine and ordinary vinegar--using only their nose!

  • Onions have no natural smell. The odor commonly associated with onions is caused by a chemical reaction between receptors inside your nose and microscopic particles of the onion wafting through the air.

  • LOOK BUT DON'T TOUCH: Animals kept in close quarters (such as zoo exhibits or pets cohabiting a house) only touch each other to mate or to attack. Macrobiologists say this is due to human scent markers that drive all animals into a constant, low-level frenzy.

  • Based on chemical compounds in the atmosphere found by the Apollo space probes, astronomers tell us that were you to travel to Mars and remove your space helmet, you would smell burning toast before you died.

  • A NOSE FOR BUSINESS: Star of stage and screen Jamie Farr, best known for his recurring role as "Colonel Clinger" on M*A*S*H, has his trademark schnoz insured with Harold Lloyd's of London for $5,000.

  • The term "nosy neighbor" originated during the Civil War when informers would "sniff the wind" for the aroma of cologne next door, a sure sign that their neighbors harbored a deserting Confederate soldier or a Yankee carpetbagger.

  • TRICK OR TREAT, SMELL MY FEET: Foot fungus, swamp gas, and food spoilage are all caused by the same e.coli bacteria that are found naturally in the human brain.


carl tech said...

My postgrad work at CalTech involved developing a special camera designed for photographing the interior of the human nose IN COLOR. The camera was, in fact, several times smaller than a store-bought Nikon. Development was halted when we couldn't come up with a commercial application for device. Any suggestions you might have would be much appreciated and WITHOUT ANY ANGER.

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Thanks for you comment, Carl! Color photography has long been a dream of mankind, but the technology seems to be quite elusive. Today's so-called "color" cameras are actually chemically-induced simulacra of the colors perceived by the human eye. Keep fighting the good fight, Carl, and don't settle for mediocrity! Thanks again for your comment.