Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Follow Your Nose And See Where It Goes!

Last week I was reading "Surely, You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!", a wonderful autobiography of the curious and hilarious Nobel winning physicist Richard Feynman. I was struck by one of his curiosity kicks: he wanted to see how well the human nose could smell. Were our smelling powers stunted in comparison to those of other animals? Could we take a book off the bookshelf and be able to tell if someone has read it simply by smelling it? Could we tell if someone has merely held it in their hands? He found the answer to be YES! I however, was not so sure. Feynman, after all, was quite the joker. I wanted to try it out for myself. But first, we had to learn a bit about the nose and how it works.

How is it that we can smell the lovely scent of this flower?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Virus Attack!

This post contains the epic saga of the battle between a flu virus and the human immune system. It is highly recommended that people get the flu vaccine to help in the fight against the flu. To find a local vaccination supplier near you, follow this link to flu.gov (US).

This year's cold and flu season is in full swing around the country and unsurprisingly, many people are finding themselves sick with viral infections. I myself ended up bedridden for about a week with some sort of throat/chest/head infection. Once everything cleared up and I was watching my daughter for signs of infection, I began to wonder, how did we all get sick in the first place? What happened when the virus entered my body? How did I fend it off? I figured there was no better time to learn about viruses than in the middle of an outbreak, so let's get started!

Influenza Virus.
Photo Credit: MediMoon.com