Tuesday 11 May 2010

Working in Montréal today --Olfactory Musings

Ignore the first email, too itchy with my trigger finger.
Good morning folks,
A bit of a delay this A.M. as Air Canada's check-in system checked out for an hour or so.  The only annoying part was the P.A. announcement that routinely reminded us that because of a network issue and there was 'reduced' check-in capability.
By categorizing it as merely 'reduced' they created this anxious aire amongst the panicky public that they were standing in the slow moving line, and they may miss their flight if they didn't try the kiosk or their BlackBerry or look at the counters again.
Just once a company should come clean.  Something like, "folks, we're damn sorry but despite raid arrays, and redundant power supplies and error correcting ram, we think we have a bad ethernet cable somewhere and we can't find the keys to the IT closet.  Grab a coffee, relax and we'll get you going as soon as Jim's uncle gets here with a crowbar".
Would that be so hard?
Onto the main feature.  This is from the "I bet you hadn't ever thought about this" department.  
Most of you have thought about the distinct advantage having two eyes gives us in determining distance of viewed objects, seems to it is referred to as the parallax principal.   And no doubt a smaller yet still substantial number of you have also thought about the auditory tracking benefit of having two ears, although I can't recall the term for the principal, it is not dissimilar to the visual.
So what about smell --the advantage of having two olfactory organs?
I read this A.M. that a team of researchers at Rockefeller University genetically manipulated flies to express odorant receptors in one of the fly's olfactory organ or both.
The researchers have shown that the brains of Drosophila Melanogaster larvae not only make use of stereo cues to locate odors but also to navigate toward them --a behavior called chemotaxis.
Isn't science fun?
Have a good day and smell good :)
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld -- Envoyé de mon sans fil portatif BlackBerry

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