odor and humans

tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu
Mon Dec 19 17:00:14 EST 1994

In article <AB17E8C5966843F8A at ae050.du.pipex.com>,
csteward at narration.cityscape.co.uk (Clive Steward) writes:
>It might be worth looking at the pendulums, though, since they can sync
>with arbitrarily small amounts of coupling, and maybe there's a similar
>biochemical 'balance point' arrangement which can explain how the tiny
>energy change in odor differentiation can influence rather larger
>biological happenings.
Dear Clive,
	My argument was simply that even a stopped watch is right twice a day.
That is, the pendulums, even if uncoupled, will eventually match phases (for
a while) if their frequencies are slightly different--and you know how dif-
ficult it is to produce two macroscopic identical pendulums.
	In the case of menstrual syncing, the frequency mechanism consists of
a generator whose period (yeah, I know) is longer than the menstrual period,
and a correcting mechanism, probably coupled to external factors.  This is
similar to the diurnal clock which usually has a free-wheeling period of about
25 hours or so and is corrected to 24 hours by daylight.  If one is isolated
from daily clues (you're in a cave with constant light, for example) the sleep
cycle, etc. will occur at the free-wheeling periodicity.  The phenomenon of
menstrual syncing arises from a different mechanism than does pendulum syncing,
so probably little can be learned from the one system which will apply to the
	BTW, how do you get your pendulums to swing if they're attached to the
floor?  I usually have to attach mine to the ceiling or to a frame. ;-)
				Bill Tivol

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