Jan. 9th, 2007

xiphias: (Default)
I wonder if anyone, in any culture, ever worked out "diagnosis by smell."

I mean, certain dogs appear to be able to smell certain cancers. And it seems reasonable to assume that diseases cause biochemical changes in a person, and that those changes would lead to their body odors changing.

In its most blatant form, I think "the smell of sickness", in high enough concentrations, is one of those smells, like, "decomposition", which seems hard-coded into our brains. It's just one of those smells that you know what it is when you smell it.

But in much smaller terms, you've probably noticed how the people you're close to change smells when they're sick -- and I'm not just talking about "not showering/not brushing teeth" stuff -- someone who's sick who doesn't do that will smell different than the same person simply being a disgusting slob but otherwise healthy.

And, of course, at a certain stage of pregnancy, you can smell it. Or at least, my father can.

But I wonder if it could be taken further than that.

As I was just now getting ready for bed, and washing my face and arms, I noticed that the sweat on my forearms smelled different than it usually does. I could detect my normal scent, but I also detected a sort of charcoal-y, ashy overtone. Along with a sort of "grass" note.

And I wonder if this sort of thing could be used as a diagnostic aid, or if it ever HAS been in any culture. I mean, if you had a tribal healer who had a good sense of smell, who knew the people in the tribe very well, and who had a lifetime of experience doing this, I can imagine him or her picking some of this by experience.

But how would you pass the knowledge on to another generation? I mean, for common things, sure. "Okay, this is what a basic fever smells like." But that's not really THAT useful.

I mean, I guess it could be useful in a "Hey, Johnny -- you're probably gonna come down with something in a couple days -- why don't you go sleep in the sick tent on the outside of camp so you don't pass it along to the rest of us, and why don't you skip out on this hunting trip where we'll be gone for most of a week" way.

Anyway, this has been another in my ongoing series on "Olfactory Prowess: What Can Smell Do For You?" Brought to you by the Council On Getting People To Respect Our Most Under-Utilized Sense.
xiphias: (Default)
So, there's this guy on my friendslist, [livejournal.com profile] deathboy. And there's this meme going around, with "what's your major malfunction" and pictures of robots and stuff. And I first saw that meme on Deathboy's LJ, and I vaguely knew that he was in a band, and that the meme was something like a promo for his new record.

So I finally went and did that meme, and it plays his music while you're taking the quiz.

Damn, his music's good.
xiphias: (Default)
Is there a process for challenging or appealing an LJ abuse team instruction?

A poster made a post in a community, which caused a great deal of discussion. Hundreds of comments worth, a lot of valuable back-and-forth stuff. As well as a great deal of humor and all sorts of other stuff.

The original poster wanted the post deleted, but the moderator explained that a post to a community belongs to the community, especially after people have started discussing it. The community is deliberately set up that way.

The original poster contacted the LJ abuse team and they instructed the moderator to delete the post by Friday.

Is there a way to appeal this? The post, as I see it, ought to stay up.

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