Science Potpourri—The Blame Goes To WordPress

I’ve never once used a writing prompt.  Perhaps that’s obvious, but I’ll ignore the insinuation and move right along, because one of WordPress’s daily prompts recently caught my attention.

Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.

Oh my, oh my, oh my. Ain’t we got fun?

Folks, I think you know where I’m headed. Get out while you can, because we’re trekking to old people, ear wax, and poo land. All in the name of science.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Oh, My Nose!

Ever wonder why Tommy Lee Jones has ears the size of Texas? Well, although our bones stop growing after puberty, our cartilage most certainly does not. Those hardy little cells keep right on dividing, blessing us with over-sized noses and ears. And as if that weren’t cruel enough, like breasts and scrota, gravity leads to droopage, until eventually every quadrant of our body is sweeping the floor. Thanks, Mother Nature; you’re sweet.

Zoomin’ Cerumen

Ear wax. Fun stuff, isn’t it?

In the body’s protective attempt to keep debris away from our eardrums, it manages to fill the ear canal with debris. Say what? The wax-producing sebaceous and apocrine glands are housed within the skin of the ear canal, and together they efficiently pump out cerumen. Toss in a bit of discarded skin, and voilà! A nice collection of ear wax awaits. If you’re lucky, this self-made paraffin will work its way out. If you’re not, well, hello petrified driftwood, especially if you carry the recessive gene for dry wax.

“So tell me, Doc, did I inherit the gene for dry wax or wet wax?” (Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art)

Poopity-Doopity

What’s that stuff made of?

Like the earth, fecal matter comprises mostly water. But unlike the oceans, that water isn’t for swimming. With all the dead and living bacteria, undigested food residue (fiber), leftover junk from the junk food our bodies refuse, cellular debris, fats, minerals, mucus, and liver-detoxified crap, it’s best to stay shore side.

Why’s it brown?

The iron in our poo shacks up with the yellow-orange pigment of bilirubin, which travels to the intestines after our red blood cells die. But don’t mourn their passing; those little hematologic discs didn’t die in vain. After all, once this iron-bilirubin fusion combines with our crap, they’ve helped form a nice chocolate package.

Image credit: Microsoft Clip Art

But why’s it so smelly?

Those intestinal bacteria harbor most of the blame. Their generated gasses just plain stink. Especially when we tempt them with spices their wee parts aren’t used to or expose them to artificial junk and chemicals. So go ahead, enjoy that spicy frozen burrito in a box. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Oh, come on, did you really need to go there?

One more tidbit before I depart, and I apologize in advance. But hey, no secrets between us, right? There are some in this world for whom feces triggers sexual excitement. Coprophilia it’s called. Take that word and run with it, why don’t you? It might just be WordPress’s next prompt of the day…

Do you use writing prompts? Do you think WordPress will ever let me use one of theirs again? Have I ruined your appetite for the day? 

References: doctoroz.com and medfriendly.com.

200 Responses to “Science Potpourri—The Blame Goes To WordPress”

  1. Margie

    I never use WordPresses (or is it WordPress’s) writing prompts. I will, though, if I ever run out of ideas – which doesn’t seem likely anytime soon.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      It’s funny because ever since I did this prompt, other WP prompts are catching my eye. I guess I’ll save them for a rainy day.
      :)

      Like

  2. Kourtney Heintz

    I’ve never used a writer’s prompt, and I’ve never seen one used in such a unique fashion. ;) WordPress will either revoke your usage or freshly press you again! ;)

    Like

  3. Le Clown

    Carrie,
    Love me some Daily Prompts, especially when it’s about nuggets… Now imagine if you would lose a writing gig because some potential employers would say your site ranks well with keywords “poopity-doopity”?
    Le Clown

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      You are so right; it would be very sad. But I refuse to censor my poo-words. I have science to back me up…

      By the way, I’m about to post today’s entries. It’s about my own Facebook ‘friending’ experience and boundaries. You might be interested.

      Like

      • Le Clown

        Carrie,
        You have all my attention. Looking forward to it.
        Le Clown

        Like

  4. Pat

    I do occasionally use the WordPress prompt, and don’t always use it in the way they probably think it should. However, your post takes the – I was going to say ‘biscuit’, but I reckon anything food related is going to have consequences on this post.
    The Coprophilia thing is just disgusting, but it did remind me that coprolite is fossilised dinosaur poo and I know a few children who think that’s pretty wonderful. (Agree that children find much to do with poo pretty wonderful).
    And you can buy coprolite in those shops that sell bits of amber and quartz in little square plastic cubes lined with velvet. :-)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Coprolite–now that’s a sophisticated name for a less-than sophisticated product. Then again, fossilized dinosaur poo IS pretty cool. Much more so than, say, dog poo.
      ;)

      Thanks for the comment!

      Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I so wanted to name one of my children Billy, but my husband wasn’t keen on it. But I thought it would be very clever. Those who knew what bilirubin was would catch on; those that didn’t, wouldn’t. No harm done.
      :)

      Like

  5. Archon's Den

    Having been led further and further astray, blogologically, by the Weebly Woman and Angle-y Man, I have come to rest here a few times. I am in absolute awe of your linguistic precision. Which brings me to your book! Apparently it must be about terrorism, because the likes of Chapters/Indigo, and even Amazon.ca have no listing for it. It’s not allowed north of the 49th parallel, even though I’m south of that. I may try downloading it through Amazon.com.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Hmm, I was not aware of that. That’s one of the drawbacks of going with a publisher vs. self-publishing–since I chose the former, listing my book on various sites was not in my control (and still isn’t). Good to know though. Thanks for passing that info on. And thanks so much for stopping by. I appreciate that, as do I appreciate your very kind words of “linguistic precision.” What a lovely compliment.
      :)

      Like

  6. Diane Henders

    I’m not sure whether I’m proud or disturbed to admit that none of your post was news to me. And I’m probably closer to coprolalia than coprophilia.

    But on another note, hey, congratulations – you might not know it, but The Seneca Scourge was at the top of my Amazon recommended list this morning! I’ll send you a screen shot. :-)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Well, better to have coprolalia than coprophilia. More pleasant smelling, too…

      Thanks for letting me know about the Amazon recommendation. That’s pretty cool.
      :)

      Like

  7. Marylin Warner

    This is a great post, Carrie. It REALLY shows your talent as a writer. Seriously. To cover these topics intelligently–and make them interesting, too–WOW! Good job.
    If you’d just told about what happens to beans snorted high up into children’s nasal passages (and left there), you’d be in line for a Pulitzer Prize!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Haha. I’ll be sure to tackle that next time. Thanks for the kind words. This was a fun post to write, even if I did ask myself, “Should I really go here?”
      :)

      Like

  8. Ashley Austrew

    “Like the earth, fecal matter comprises mostly water. But unlike the oceans, that water isn’t for swimming.” That totally made me laugh out loud. Also, I will never look at chocolate chips the same way again. lol

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Glad I could make you laugh out loud, but sorry to ruin the positive images you had of chocolate chips. I was really hoping for a tootsie roll for the image, but Microsoft Clip Art couldn’t deliver.
      :)

      Like

  9. Jen and Tonic

    This was right up my alley! I am totally fascinated by random stuff like this, and you didn’t disappoint. The thought of dry skin being hardened in my ear made me shiver. I need to make an appointment at the doctor and have that looked at.

    Like

  10. 4amWriter

    This was exactly what I needed for a “Hurricane Day”! No school for 2 days because of Sandy. All moms dread too many school closings because we run out of ideas to entertain our wily children. Well, I am all set now. I’m just going to corral my youngins’ and entertain them with your pearls of wisdom. You have saved me, Carrie. :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Poo tales are always entertaining for children. Too bad I didn’t throw in some boogie facts as well. Next time, I guess…

      I’m in Ohio, but even here, schools were closed because of the storm. Having two boys home today wasn’t quite what I planned on. We’ll see how much actual work I get done.

      Like

  11. starlaschat

    Dry or wet ear wax, smelly farts and Coprophilia on My! I remember when I heard the word necrophiliac on the News one evening and asked my dad what that ment. :+) Oh boy.

    Like

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