Odors of the Unsmellable

nose

For most of us, the sense of smell has always been underrated amongst our five senses. This is plainly because it has been limited by the planet in which we live on as…

 

We watch the stars through telescopes, but cannot smell them…

 

We listen to music, hear thunders, songs of birds or the sound of flowing water, but cannot pick up any odor associated with them…

 

We feel love, anger, fear, jealousy which seem to have no smell…

 

It’s all clear that we can’t make use of our olfactory sense underwater, or in our dreams, or when it comes to ancient history like the recognizing the scent of a dinosaur, or when describing our emotions or on any celestial body discovered until now that we’ve been seeing pictures of (except the moon)…

 

But, what would these smell like if we could? Let’s put some science into the mix and speculate on what would the unsmellable smell like:

 

Celestial Bodies:

 

1. The Moon: The moon has been reported to smell like spent gunpowder by the astronauts who ever made it there. Apparently moon dust got into the space shuttles and was described as having that peculiar smell…
Here arises the question of what the Earth smells like… but it really depends on where we physically are for our planet… it can smell roses or shit depending on your position. That’s the beauty of our planet.

 

2. Venus and Mars:
The atmospheres of these neighbouring two planers contain high levels of sulfur, which would make them stink like rotten eggs without oxygen in the mix. Yuck!

 

3.  Jupiter:
Jupiter’s atmosphere has different layers with unique scents… The outer layers contain ammonia which would smell like a bad brand of a window cleaner or urine while the inner layers have hydrogen cyanide in abundance making it smell like bitter almonds… If you ever thinking of moving there, stick to the vicinity of the surface..

 

4.  Titan (Saturn’s moon):
NASA scientists have recreated Titan’s atmosphere and discovered that it had a mystery element which gave the same readings as benzene…so, it’s safe to say that Titan smells like gasoline. Yay! for people who like the smell but still do not strike a match if you ever make it there.

 

5. The sun and Uranus:
Sadly, hydrogen and helium combined does not have a scent that we can pick up, so these two celestial bodies don’t smell at all. You’ll probably pick up the scent of your unwashed space suit once you’re there but keep in mind that’s not the native smell of the place. Be careful not to get your nostrils burnt trying to sniff the sun.

 

 

6. Deep Space:
It has been reported by astronauts after taking space walks that space smells like “seared steak”. Perhaps, somebody is making a barbecue out there.

 

Other unsmellable stuff

 

7. Cancer:
Diseases like cancer have to have distinct odors as the cancerous cells are indeed transforming into lethal organic components. Dogs can sense these as they have about 220 million smell receptors in their noses which is roughly about 50 times more than an average human has. In one specific case in 1989, a dog was repeatedly trying to bite off a colored lesion on its owner’s leg. When the owner got diagnosed, the lesion turned out to be a malignant melanoma. So, the dog was trying to save its owner’s life but if the smell had been so bad, would it just try to rip it off? Perhaps, cancerous tumours smell like bones! Woof!

 

 

8. Sadness:
One friend told me that a friend of her friend could smell prolonged sadness (not depression though) clinging onto people. It did not have a pleasant smell and even though the person suffering from sadness bathed several times a day, the scent was still detectable. It was like “a damp basement where expired food items had been stored for several years”. It’s been getting more and more difficult to smell sadness nowadays as the products of the perfume industry works wonders to mask the scent.

 

9. Colors:
People with synesthesia (a rare condition that links one of the five senses to something unrelated) can see music, taste numbers or even smell colors. There have also been numerous research and tests conducted on ordinary people without synesthesia and the results were surprising. The odor-color connection seems to exist on a neurological level and it’s not related to culture, age or gender. So, pink and red have fruity scents, while orange and brown have a musty odor. You can read more about the research here:

 

 

10. Fear:
Paralyzing fear smells like urine… perhaps because we can’t control our bladders when we fear too much!

The Overuse of Lexical Items in Describing Emotions

stop saying like

Language has never stopped evolving as more new words are added to the lexical pool every passing day. We are now using more words than ever, to express ourselves fully to one another. But, is it all necessary? Or are we simply dulling our senses and devolving ourselves, restricted by the limits of language itself?

In face-to-face encounters, language loses most of its function as actions take over the role of wordly structures. We never describe our actions in wordly forms when what we are doing at any given moment is so obvious. Imagine you’re in a cafe with someone, do you ever need the urge to make sentences like: “I’m now holding the cup of coffee with my left hand, preparing to take a sip.”?

Of course not, as each person is equipped with a behavioral decoder of their own. But, then again, why do we use words to describe our emotions to the other person accross the same table; saying we are happy, upset, depressed or scared… Have we disconnected and devolved so much that we can’t decode emotions without the aid of words anymore?

The joy of hugging someone and transferring our emotions in a silent harmony is what we should have been doing all along. “Wordless” does not mean it’s “worthless”, it’s just more. It’s actually feeling for each other.

We are taught to “apologize”, “praise”, “confront”, “encourage” and “congratulate” each other even before we start school… but even the words picked for such actions are random letters in tiresome, long sequences, …. difficult even to pronounce let alone understand each other’s feelings.

In writing good fiction, there’s one fundamental rule: “Show, don’t tell.” How come “showing” is more appreciated than “telling in words” at a medium where the reader and the writer is almost never in the same place?
Showing, not telling adds great value to writing, so,  perhaps, we should implement this rule to our daily lives for a change to enhance our personal relationships.

Finally,

Who is the culprit for demoting our emotions, then?

Is it the gibberish rules of society we are dictated since birth?

Is it the technological advancements causing the daily rush we find ourselves in, to get pointless things done in little time?

Is it because we are becoming more and more selfish and ignorant?

Whatever the cause, it is never late to share our feelings in an entangling bundle of limbs, enclosing two hearts within…

Subliminal Messages: Selling to the subconscious

Subliminal Messages: Selling to the subconscious

Let’s say that you want to buy a good wrist watch, so you google for options and check the images associated for a good design. While checking all the watch photos, you notice something weird about the time…

The hands on different watches from different brands are showing exactly 10:10… There are occasional images of watches, displaying different times but you don’t seem to like them as much as the ones indicating the time as ten past ten. But, why?

watches
“Oh! All the watches seemed to have stopped at 10:10”

It is most probably because the position of hands when time is 10:10 looks either like a “check mark” which suggests “approval” or a “smile” which represents “happiness” that you will get if you buy that watch.

That’s not all! The number 10 (that appears twice in 10:10) is also the top number when we are grading something, like “Wow! The new Avengers movie is 10 out of 10″…

When all these bits of tiny subliminal messages come to play, you will probably end up buying a watch that you may loathe later in your life…

Still not convinced?

Check the Amazon logo housing a wide grin that goes all the way from “A” to “Z” or the Nike logo design containing nothing more than a check mark. “Happiness” and “Approval” are once more wedged into our minds…

amazon-logo-transparent   nike-logo-png

Apart from subliminal “smiles” and “approvals”, “sex” is another great seller for products that have nothing to do with sex.

The “SFX” magazine, which is a sci-fi/fantasy magazine from the UK, have used this message cleverly on their covers when featuring a pretty girl or a handsome guy on the foreground of the cover page, covering just the lower tip of the “F” in the background, thus the title of the magazine is often subconsciously perceived as “SEX”…

sfx-issues1
Who can resist these characters?

It can be a different story and a new cover design when the featured characters are not very alluring as seen below:

sfx-issues2

Surely, there are exceptions to this mind trick in some issues, but most of the time, it’s as described above. By the way, SFX is a great magazine.

The subliminal message of “Sex” surfaces even in unrelated products.

skittles
The red “S” skittle and “Explosion”… Hmmm!

 

gilbeys
Notice anything strange in the ice cubes?

We do not have to look into these pictures for a prolonged time to get the subliminal message, our subconscious gets it even at the slightest glance…

We are only human after all…