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Stuff up your nose

Matthew Alice:

When you smell something, does that mean that little particles of what you smell are going up your nose, or is it gasses given off by the object that we smell?

Cindy, Mira Mesa

Technicallly speaking, those options amount to the same thing, if we can stretch �little particles� to an extreme. The answer to your either/or question is yes. So why doesn't granite stink like garlic? Well, a few conditions must be met in order for something to produce what we detect as an odor. First, the potential smell source must be made of volatile components; its molecules must be able to be released in the form of a gas. And the molecules must be released rapidly enough to become airborne and reach your nose. The faster the molecules are released, the more pungent the smell. And the molecules must be a type that can react with the mucous membranes in your nose and stimulate your scent detectors.

At the back of your nose you have a yellow, postage-stamp-sized membrane that contains many nerve endings connected directly to the smell center in your brain.. When you take in a good snort of air laden with smelly molecules (20 miles per hour, for the average sniff), the molecules bash into your olfactory cleft, and then you hear the faint sound of scientists arguing. Some say it�s molecular vibration that stimulates the nerve cells; some say it�s changes in electrical potential or chemical reactions. Others think the molecules fit into prescribed slots in your olfactory cleft. At present the exact method of interface is a mystery. But however it works, it really is vaporized microscopic bits of the smelly substance that you suck up your nose that make you stop and check your shoes.

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Matthew Alice:

When you smell something, does that mean that little particles of what you smell are going up your nose, or is it gasses given off by the object that we smell?

Cindy, Mira Mesa

Technicallly speaking, those options amount to the same thing, if we can stretch �little particles� to an extreme. The answer to your either/or question is yes. So why doesn't granite stink like garlic? Well, a few conditions must be met in order for something to produce what we detect as an odor. First, the potential smell source must be made of volatile components; its molecules must be able to be released in the form of a gas. And the molecules must be released rapidly enough to become airborne and reach your nose. The faster the molecules are released, the more pungent the smell. And the molecules must be a type that can react with the mucous membranes in your nose and stimulate your scent detectors.

At the back of your nose you have a yellow, postage-stamp-sized membrane that contains many nerve endings connected directly to the smell center in your brain.. When you take in a good snort of air laden with smelly molecules (20 miles per hour, for the average sniff), the molecules bash into your olfactory cleft, and then you hear the faint sound of scientists arguing. Some say it�s molecular vibration that stimulates the nerve cells; some say it�s changes in electrical potential or chemical reactions. Others think the molecules fit into prescribed slots in your olfactory cleft. At present the exact method of interface is a mystery. But however it works, it really is vaporized microscopic bits of the smelly substance that you suck up your nose that make you stop and check your shoes.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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