Sunday, October 17, 2010

It Looks Great

How Does It Smell?

Even molecules have a sense of smell. The chemical compounds that are the various odors we sense are one part of this miraculous process. The receptors that detect and identify the chemicals, and their significance are part of a complex system that ultimately delivers the goods to one cell that determines what the odor is.

Humans often view smell as an aesthetic sense, yet for most animals smell is the primal sense, one they rely on to identify food, predators and mates. Indeed, for many organisms, odors are their most efficient means of communicating with others and interpreting their surroundings. Innate behavior in response to smell is essential to these organisms' survival and most likely results from nonconscious perception of odors. (The Molecular Logic of the Sense Of Smell- Richard Axel). PDF HERE

, by examining DNA from a variety of mammals, including humans, we determined that around 1,000 genes encode 1,000 different odor receptors. (Each type of receptor is expressed in thousands of neurons.) Given that mammalian DNA probably contains around 100,000 genes, this finding indicates that 1 percent of all our genes are devoted to the detection of odors, making this the largest gene family thus far identified in mammals. The enormous amount of genetic information devoted to smell perhaps reflects the significance of this sensory system for the survival and reproduction of most mammalian species.

Did you know that sperm have a sense of smell?
Further reading HERE.

Magic Number Seven

Do Doctors prescribe antibiotics for 7 days because the number 7 is magic?

Scientific studies have shown that taking 7 days worth of antibiotics isn't any more effective than 3 days worth, but the number seven traditionally has more "mojo". The greatest benefit goes to the pharmaceutical company that sells the pills.


Toddlers With iPhones

Bella Giroux-Nix, 3, with her mother’s iPhone.

From the New York Times

THE bedroom door opened and a light went on, signaling an end to nap time. The toddler, tousle-haired and sleepy-eyed, clambered to a wobbly stand in his crib. He smiled, reached out to his father, and uttered what is fast becoming the cry of his generation: “iPhone!” 

When Apple says
it's products are easy to use, they aren't kidding. We have all heard parents talk about how their 8 year old knows more about using computers than they do, but babies are able to use iPhones, iPods, and iPads as soon as you put one in their tiny little hands.

Now my secret is out. Some people think I am some sort of computer wiz because can do so many different things with my laptop, but I have a lot of secret help. I have an Apple Macbook. It makes it easy for me to produce graphics, photographs, recordings, videos, CD's, DVD's, websites, electronic communications, and of course this blog. If I were using a PC with Windows 7, I wouldn't have time to do all the computer assisted things I do. I would be wasting my time trying to keep it working. Not to mention the distraction of all the fiddling, diddling, scanning for viruses, pop ups, glitches, unnecessary extra steps to do basic tasks, and the endless upgrade, update, security patch things that constantly interrupt everything.

I have considered getting a cheap laptop at Target and installing Linux, but by the time I find and install the Linux version of programs I need, fiddle around to get them working, find the right printer drivers, etc., I would be wasting as much time as if I had left the Windows system on the thing. Besides, if I had the money for a cheap laptop running Windows 7 at Target, I would rather spend it wisely and buy an iPad. (Available now at Target)

An iPad will do most anything laptops do, and it's magically easy to use. Just ask a toddler to show you.

Read the story HERE.

R.I.P. Barbara Billingsley

The "Beaver's Mom"
“We were the ideal parents because that’s the way he saw it,” she said, describing the show as the world seen through the eyes of a child. (The pearls, incidentally, covered up a hollow in her neck. In the beginning of the show, she wore flats; the heels were an attempt to stay taller than the growing boys.) More HERE.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;


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