Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When Is the Role of Ankle Muscles Reinforced?

It was back to the periodicals room for me today! This time I flipped through the JOURNAL OF FINANCIAL CRIME, THE JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, and MOTOR CONTROL: THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR THE MULTIDISCIPLINARY STUDY OF VOLUNTARY MOVEMENT. In that one, I was particularly taken with Patrice R. Rougier's article, "How Spreading the Forefeet Apart Influences Upright Standing Control," especially the section bearing this subhead: The Role of Ankle Muscles Is Reinforced When the Forefeet Are Spread Apart. Of the three magazines, THE JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY was the snazziest and the slickest, featuring a nicely designed glossy cover with a bat on it. And there were cartoons inside! Yes, cartoons lampooning the crazy world of experimental biology. One of them was about the sense of smell of spiny lobsters. In the punch line, one spiny lobster says to another, "Hold on, Dave, I'll have a sniff." There's a weird coincidence to tell: Chuck Steffen and I once found ourselves at an event where the guest speaker turned out to be an expert on the sense of smell of lobsters! I'm not kidding. And that's what his speech was about, though the event was a more general celebration and Chuck and I were surprised to find ourselves listening to a speech about the sense of smell of lobsters. It was not a lively speech. You know, I realize that in this "post" and past ones, I may come across as derisive toward people who study mud, or lobsters, or ankles. But the truth is - and I say this with absolutely no irony or trickiness of any kind; I mean it plain and simple - I think it is kind of cool and even thrilling that people study so many odd and fascinating things, and their work seems to me probably more interesting, useful, and pleasant to contemplate than, say, "blogging," or the construction of some exquisitely "crafted" short story about a faculty cocktail party or suburban family dinner where there's "more going on" than "meets the eye."