Friday, December 08, 2006

It is a Muscle, After All

Sometimes I like to play little mind games to keep myself amused. In the past, this has included adding up the numbers in telephone numbers, addresses or whatever to see what the sum would be (I always hoped for a multiple of five), or I would add, subtract or multiply the numbers to get a multiple of five. Also, when I was younger, I was strongly encouraged not to read at the breakfast (or lunch or dinner) table, so I was reduced to rearranging the letters of the words on the cereal box (or anything that mercifully had words on it) to make new words. I got in the habit of doing this quite often throughout the day, and eventually it lead to me winning (by an embarrassingly huge amount—apparently this is not a popular activity) a little competition held around Christmas time in my Home Ec. class my freshman year of high school.

Anyway, last night in my anatomy and physiology class, we were talking about the special senses (hearing, seeing smelling, etc.). Our teacher was talking about how when you're smelling something, your brain is reacting to molecules that actually get inside your nose. We all had a hearty laugh when he said that was something we could think about the next time someone, ahem, passed gas. Well, I seem to still be running this through my head today. I was thinking about how people generally do not like the scent of others' body odors, and then I got to thinking about adaptation. So what I concluded is that there must have been people thousands of years ago who, due to genetics, actually liked the smell of other people's gasses. And then I begin to think about exactly how this trait would be an evolutional disadvantage.

Except when I'm thinking about the day when we do run out of fossil fuels and looking around to inventory everything in sight that requires petroleum in its manufacture (which especially includes the wonderful contacts that allow me to see all kinds of distances without the librarian look), it's fun to be inside my brain.