BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Is That?

I've always enjoyed learning and have an insatiable curiosity. If something grabs my interest, I'll read up on it and I've done this for years. When I was in junior high, I remember checking out every book the library had on sharks and reading them. A few months later, it was Mars.

While I was unaware of it at the time, college encouraged this dabbling in subjects. The School of Journalism only allowed us 45 credits inside the program, the rest of our credits needed to come from a diverse swath of disciplines. This suited me fine. I'd go from Astronomy class, to Theater, to History, to Biology, to Far Eastern Art, to Oceanography, to... You get the idea. I was basically all over the campus.

It makes sense actually. I was an ad copy major, but there were also print and broadcast journalism as well as public relations inside the school. I believe the theory was we'd never know what we'd be required to work on. A journalist could cover a city hall one day and a flower show the next. A PR person never knew what industry their firm might represent and with advertising, the agency could work on very diverse accounts. If the student knew a little bit about a wide variety of topics, they'd at least have a background to draw from.

I might have taken this to extremes. Just slightly. When I graduated, I was 60 credits over the required number. I had 1 major and 0 minors. Um, yeah.

I've never stopped learning. I've continued to take assorted classes since then. Online, in community education, workshops, seminars and only some of them were directly writing related. I also continue to research anything that sounds interesting. If you've read The Power of Two you know nanotechnology played a huge role in that book. About five or so years before I wrote that story, I'd done a major study of nanotechnology. Not with any intention of using it, but because I found it fascinating.

All this leads me to this morning. I picked up a cold--I woke up Saturday sick--and this morning I wondered: Why do the sinuses clog up and make it so hard to breathe?

So I researched that. I don't think this is normal behavior, but I was curious.

For the record, the information I found said that the sinuses are lined with membranes that secrete mucus when they're irritated. The purpose is to keep bacteria and viruses from entering the respiratory tract. That made sense, but then my next question was: In that case, why does it take 3 days after getting sick for the sinuses to react? Wouldn't it make more sense to respond immediately rather than this delayed reaction?

I didn't have time to research that question.