By Roger Highfield
Can reindeer fly? Why is Santa Claus fats? may possibly scientists clone the appropriate Christmas tree? used to be the megastar of Bethlehem relatively a comet? Why is Rudolph's nostril purple? How does Santa be able to convey provides to an anticipated 842 million families in one evening? What might we do to assure a white Christmas each year? those are one of the questions explored in an irresistibly witty publication that illuminates the adored rituals, legends, and icons of Christmas from a distinct and interesting point of view: technology.
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Additional info for The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey
1996), has resulted in a renaissance in research on olfaction and to the surprising and occasionally controversial suggestion that the rodent olfactory system could serve as a model for neurobiological studies of cognition (Reid and Morris, 1993; Slotnick, 1994). (p. 216) An inherent problem with the pheromone concept when applied to mammals is that, by implication and deﬁnition, it obfuscates or excludes from consideration the possibility that cognitive processes are involved in the mediation of chemically induced behavioral and endocrine responses.
3 In an introduction to a bibliography on mammalian pheromones, Whitten and Champlin (1972) provide a state-of-the-art description of what pheromones were believed to be in the early 1970s and add the observation that chemicals that are truly pheromones are most likely found in only one sex. They also suggest that some chemicals are “copheromones” and replace the term releaser pheromone with behavioral pheromone. [Pheromones are] substances, produced by one member of a species, which inﬂuence other members of the same species.
As noted by Porter and Winberg (1999), “The role of maternal olfactory signals in the mediation of early breast-feeding is functionally analogous to that of nipple-search pheromone as described in nonhuman mammals. To some extent, the chemical proﬁle of breast secretions overlaps with that of amniotic ﬂuid. Therefore, early postnatal attraction to odors associated with the nipple/areola may reﬂect prenatal exposure and famil- 38 T H E G R E AT P H E R O M O N E M Y T H iarization” (p. 439). , 1995), as well as affect the ﬂavor of the mother’s milk.
The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey by Roger Highfield