As she got ready to tell me what the problem was, I felt so compelled to ask her, "doc, will I be able to play the violin?" You know, the old joke? The doctor replies, "of course you will be able to." The patient then says, "wow, how about that!" And then adds, " because I don't know how to play the violin."
But, I did not. For once, I was "normal."
She put her gear down. "You have two eyelashes curving inward and they are poking your eye. I will pluck those two and you will be fine."
Imagine that! I could have gone to a beauty salon and gotten this taken care of for less than a tenth of the cost :(
After hearing this, a friend joked, "that's what you get for having long eyelashes." So, now I was the joke, instead of me kidding around.
Why do we have eyelashes anyway?
Surprisingly, the real reason eyelashes evolved has remained unknown. Research shows that those who lack lashes, which some people do, suffer higher than average rates of eye infection. That suggests they have some sort of protective function. But exactly what this is and how it works has been a mystery. Some people hypothesise that lashes protect eyes from falling dust. Others think that they act rather like an animal's whiskers—detecting foreign bodies before they can do harm, and triggering a protective blink.I can add one more--to poke me in my eye!
Oh well. So, anything new from the world of science?
David Hu of the Georgia Institute of Technology and his colleagues think they have cracked the problem. Eyelashes do not protect eyes directly, they believe. Rather, they change the flow of air around the eye in ways that stop dust and other irritants getting in, and moisture getting out.How does Hu know what? (yes, a lame joke!)
no matter what species of mammal he examined (and he studied 22 of them), the length of its lashes was on average a third of the width of its eye.So?
Nature has, it turns out, arrived at the optimum eyelash length to keep the cornea moist and dust-free. By reducing air flow over the cornea, eyelashes create a boundary layer of slow-moving air. That stops dust getting through, and also promotes water retention, since moisture is not blown away. Up to a point, the boundary layer grows thicker as the lashes grow longer. But long lashes also act as a funnel, channelling moving air into the eye and disrupting the protective layer.No kidding!
Eyelashes have, like many other bodily features, acquired a second function as a signal. But their main job, if Dr Hu is right, is to be a wind break.So, the next time a pretty young thing flashes her long eyelashes at me, I should decode that as she is breaking wind! muahahaha ;)
Speaking of women, what's up with the curves anyway? Why so different from men's bodies?
The simple answer, suggests Mr Bainbridge, a British reproductive biologist and veterinary anatomist, is that those curvy bums and boobs, the straight “enviable pins” that newspapers salivate over, ensure the future of humankind.Ah, yes, only the Economist will report about "curvy bums and boobs" when reviewing Bainbridge's book!
the book’s ultimate question, what does it mean to be a woman and to balance the “ancient conflicting demands of food, shape and success in a modern, unnatural world”, is one worth asking, even if Mr Bainbridge does not quite answer it.Now, does the title of this post make sense? ;)
|Of course, from there!|