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Hey everybody, it's us and we're here to talk to you about get this, our book. We have a stuff you should know book coming out this November and you're going to love it and you can preorder it now. That's right. It's called stuff you should know. Colen an incomplete compendium of mostly interesting things. And it's been a lot of fun to work on. And we're really, I mean, genuinely excited about how this thing has come together.
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Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, a production of I Radio's HowStuffWorks. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh Clark, there's Charles Doublecheck Brian over there. Jerry is a disembodied spirit, but she's still with us, haunting us. And we are now set up for achievement, which means this stuff we should set up for achievement.
Sounds like a very 80s Reagan era campaign. It does. It definitely does. Certainly not the kind of thing that would irritate you, whether it be in your nose or your brain or anywhere. Now, not the best Segway, huh?
I'm surprised you didn't try and work a stern imitation in there somehow. I love that word. Are you were you familiar with that word before? I don't think, you know, I'm 49 years old. I don't think I'd ever heard sneezing being called sanitation.
I got. Oh, man, I just remembered. I'm forty four now. So you you got me beat. But I'm in the same boat with you.
Yeah. I'd never heard that. But that is what if you're a scientist. Well if you're a scientist and you want to be a real stiff, you probably say sanitation. If you're a scientist that wants to be friends with people, you'll still probably say sneezing.
And I mean, it sounds super clinical, but it's actually really old. It's from I think the first appearance of it is in a text from 1076. It sounds old to me. It sounds clinical, but there's also a couple of derivative words. Stern putative or stern you to Tauri are things that make you sneeze.
And Howard Stern. Baba Booey.
Right, Chewy. So we're talking sneezing, obviously, because we just discoursed on Stern. You to Tatian. I'm adding an extra syllable. There aren't a stern mutation. That's the Josh Clark way. Why do I have to complicate why do I have to complicate things?
We're talking about this. It's the sneezing and sneezing is a really sort of and I hate it when people call things like this Elegante.
So I'm going to refrain.
But it's just a very efficient system that the human body has worked out to basically allow your your nose.
And we'll get into all the ins and outs of how it all happens.
But to allow your nose and your nasal passage in your brain to act as bouncers and just say, get out of my body fat cut off, pal, like real fast, you're cut off cigarette smoke, you're cut off Chanel number seven that nobody likes, you know.
Sure. That's yeah. That's pretty pretty good way to put it. I mean, it's an ancient ancient reflex, too. I mean, basically all mammals at least sneeze some more than others. I didn't realize this, but apparently iguanas sneeze the most because it's part of their digestion.
Yeah. And then I don't know what it's technically called, but, you know, when dogs do. But it's called the reverse sneeze.
Yeah. Momoh has that bad. It's so scary. It is. It is.
And we finally got her checked out and they verified she doesn't have a collapsed trachea, which is when it really is threatening. It's just something to do with her nasal passages. Yeah. Breakfast cephalic. Yeah. You ever had a dog that that has that.
I mean, I've, I've never had a dog that didn't do it occasionally. Huh.
But Niko I feel like goes and it's not often but it's like a you know, it's like can be prolonged like for like a minute and it just seems like are you about to die. Yeah. It's terrible. It's really bad. I think you're supposed to leave them alone too. Right. Just let them do it.
No, we help her out. We'll, we'll rubber throat just kind of stroke it. It seems to help. And then sometimes we'll just lightly plug her nostrils to kind of give her like a hitch to it. And that that frequently cures it too. Sometimes though. Yeah. She just has to work it out, but she gets it every time she gets excited, she gets excited a lot. So it's sad for her. Yeah.
But it's really not a sneeze actually because a sneeze is when you were you're trying to get something out of your nose and that nose is is a pretty amazing little system. It's it's an amazing filtration system, how it's designed with those narrow nasal passages. It's not like we have these big face holes, like they're narrow for a very good reason, and that is to create turbulence inside your nasal passages. And you know that turbulence shoves all that air that you're inhaling to the sides of your nasal passages.
Yeah, the nasal mucosa. And that's got tiny little hairs called cilia, and the cilia mainly is sort of like a pre Dauman just saying like, yeah, your yds good.
Why don't we just move you to the back of the throat and we'll flush you out that way. But if it's too much, that's when you need to call in the big bouncer to initiate that sneeze response. Yeah.
Sometimes they're just like, no, I'm staying here. I'm not leaving. You can't kick me out. They hate the back of the throat. Superdrug, right? Yeah. Yeah.
So I didn't realize that. But it makes sense that we swallow a lot of the particles that we inhale through our nose, which is gross but effective, or cough it up. We poop it out eventually, right? Yeah, but yeah, if they get if they get stuck in the nose then they do something magical, almost as magical as soap. But when it's when they're sticking to the sides and they're not going anywhere, it's clear they're not going anywhere.
They actually like irritate some specialized cells that are in that nasal mucosa, mast cells and. Uh, Iranian officials, I think, but basically they're they're there to look out for the little particles that decide they don't want to leave. And when those things get irritated, they realize histamines, which triggered this reaction like an allergic reaction, basically where your nose is runny and they also simultaneously start sending signals to your brain saying, hey, we we got one, we need some help.
Yeah, I know we talked about this a little bit with another pollen episode. Hmm. And I feel like we did another allergy centric one. I can't remember, but the whole thing takes about a second for the single sneeze and, you know, it's going to send that message, like he said, that chemical message to the Sunni center of the brain, which is in the lateral medulla. Yeah. And, you know, the lateral Majola gets like everything in the brain.
It gets that signal and says, you know, I got all I got to do is react fast whenever the body tells me to do something.
And in this case, it's to jet out whatever is in the nose as fast as possible.
Right. So I was looking this up. If you want to get super clinical, if you're the kind of person who uses words like stern mutation instead of sneezing, there's actually something called an afferent phase. And an efferent phase in an afferent phase is when you get ready to sneeze like your your nerves have been tickled and are triggered and are itching and they're sending messages to your brain in your sneeze center and then that the efferent phases when you sneeze center goes, OK, it's go time.
And that's actually pretty interesting stuff. And the way that that happens is basically, from what I can tell, through a system of nerves, olfactory nerve and moyal nerve, which is a terrible word, and then your trigeminal nerve, which is basically responsible for most of the sensation in your face and your ability to bite and chew. And when these nerves spring into action, they hit that message or the sneezing center in your brain and you're sneezing center sends it back over this this kind of same switchboard of nerves in your face.
And all this is happening and just, you know, a very short amount of time. Yeah.
I mean, like I said, the whole thing takes place in less than a second and it's got to reach, you know, in order for it to reach that sneeze center, it's got to be passed a certain threshold of irritation, basically. Right. And once it does reach that erit irritable point, which of which there's no going back, he's had too much to drink. Everybody in the bar knows it. That's when it finally sends that impulse down through the head and neck to initiate that response.
That involves a lot of muscle groups. You know, if you when you sneeze, it's a and especially with some people, it can be a pretty violent action for the body.
Like if you stop and take stock of what you're doing right, then you might find that you're hunched over. One of your legs is in the air like your knees kind of pulled up. You you your face is all scrunched up, your neck is tight. There's a lot of muscles involved. The reason why is because you're taking in a bunch of air and then you're expelling a bunch of air with a lot of force to to get that thing that won't leave out of your nose.
Like you can. And I've seen professional athletes that have been sidelined from sneezing. If you've got a bad back or something like you can, it can really hurt. Luckily, I don't have back problems, but occasionally I have and a sneeze can really tweak it to where you're right. That's when you know you're an old man territory. You have a sneeze and you're like, hold on, I can't get up.
Yeah, I'm going to lay down this weekend.
But your abdomen, your chest, your diaphragm, your vocal cords, you know, you mentioned that you take that deep inhalation.
That's that like right before you go. And that builds up a lot of pressure in your chest. And that happens because your vocal cords just initially clamped shut, right? Yeah.
So you're sucking in a bunch of air holding it. And so the pressure is building in your thorax.
And then when you release it, your your vocal cord openings open up to allow the air out. But then also your diaphragm is pushing that air out really violently.
So that's going out your mouth and your nose. I saw about 100 miles an hour. Is the speed that that can hit?
Yeah, easily around one hundred miles an hour. That is crazy to think about. Yeah, your eyes closed. But, you know, we can go ahead and dispel the old myth that. You can pop your eyes out if you keep your eyes open during a sneeze, right? Yeah, not true. And apparently there are some people who do keep their eyes open when they sneeze and they show quite clearly that your eyes don't pop out.
That's just that's just would be impossible. Plus, they usually close anyway. Just. Yeah. Yeah.
It's a very small group of people who sneeze with their eyes open. Most people just it's involuntary. It's part of the involuntary process of sneezing. I don't know if we said that or not. Sneezing is an involuntary reaction to an external stimuli in your nose.
Yeah. Like you can't I mean, you can try and trigger a sneeze and we'll talk about certain things that can trigger sneeze, but you definitely can't make yourself sneeze like full stop. Yeah, no, no.
I mean, yeah, there's definitely things you can do to make yourself sneeze like you're saying, but there are things you can do to keep yourself from sneezing. Whether you want to or not is a different question because, you know, sneezing can feel pretty good if you don't throw your back out, I.
Well we'll talk about my sneeze pattern later. I know we've talked about it before, but OK, I find it fascinating.
You you accidentally tap out, drink your Ovaltine in Morse code through your sneezes.
Is that your thing? Very nice. Thanks. So we take a break.
Let's take a break and then we'll come back and talk more about sneezing.
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Well, now you're on the road driving in your truck. Why not learn a thing or two from Josh and Chuck? It's stuff you should know. All right.
Hey, man, before we get back into it too far, I realized I didn't give a shout out to the guy who gave me the idea for this episode, Doctor.
And he's a lot. Yes. Doctor Todd just needs a lot. No. One of my neighbor friends, Wesley was like, hey, man, he actually listens. And he's like, hey, man, have you guys ever done one on sneezing? And I'm like, sure, of course we have. It's like, oh, because if you haven't, you know, you really should. That's a great one. And I went back and looked into my astound meant we had never done one on sneezing like never.
I just can't believe that that wasn't like one of the first ten, you know. Yeah.
That seems like it would be an early step. You should know for sure. And like, it kind of feels like one of those right now as we're doing it.
But, you know, my neighbors think I'm unemployed. It's great. Yeah, but hats off to the West for coming up with that one.
Thanks, Wes. Yeah, I'll leave Josh alone.
He's one he's the one that we got the the love your mom and dotcom stuff for. And he's like, oh, halfway done with our room spray. We need some more because we're using it so fast.
And you're the pusher man. Yeah. I was like, first of all, it's on me next are going to cost you. Yeah. I don't correct my neighbors. They think I'm down on my luck. So that's all good. Yeah.
You know, that's definitely the way to go. He's very nosy. So he, he found out I had to find finally to stop lying.
Oh, that's good stuff. So we're back to sneezing, we're talking, sneezing, and one of the things we mentioned was the sneezing center, which is this up until not too many years ago, a theoretical part of the brain that causes us to sneeze, that coordinates this involuntary response because you're not like your brain's not consciously saying, like, OK, now diaphragm expel the air. Like this is all, like we said, involuntary.
That's great. If you had a snake say that every time you want to sneeze, expel air.
So it makes sense that there would be a region that was responsible for this because we've already we'd already seen it. And cats don't ask how we know where it is in cats, but in in cats it's in the medulla. And so it was hypothesized that it was in the lateral medulla in humans, too.
And finally, I think around 2005, there's basically incontrovertible evidence that came in the form of this fisherman. I believe he might have been Spanish who had the sneezing fit one day of like about 20 really violent sneezes in a few minutes. And then all of a sudden he stopped sneezing and couldn't walk. Right. Like his gait was affected, almost like he had a stroke. And apparently either he caused a lesion on his lateral medulla from the sneezing or that violent sneezing was like an initial symptom of a lesion, kind of like here's your last sneeze as ever.
And he went to the doctor and they started testing them. And they would do things like put capsaicin in his nose, like red hot chili pepper in his nose, which makes everybody sneeze.
It's like a universal Sternad to Tory, right. Makes everyone sneeze. And it wouldn't make this guy sneeze. It would burn his nose and it would make his nose runny, but it wouldn't make him sneeze on the other side. It would make him sneeze the other nostril, but not the not the right, I think. And so they found this lesion on his lateral medulla and they said sneezing. Welcome to our understanding.
It's such a bad Red Hot Chili Peppers joke that I just sat on through that whole spiel that's very grown up of you, should I say it?
Whoever said we were grown ups now, I was just thinking the doctor would do the capsaicin and ask him how he feels. And he'd say, well, I don't know. Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner.
That's pretty good. Yeah. You know, it's better than to fight like a brave man. I don't know. I'm trying to think of Chili Peppers songs.
What if the doctor came in wearing nothing but one of those Reflektor headbands in a sock penis?
I saw that coming and that was it. Oh, that'd be great that, you know, you got the right doctor. Yeah, you do the party duck. So things that can make you sneeze, you know, you kind of rattle off some jokes about perfume and smoke earlier.
Oh, I wasn't joking. But those are all realities. The most common cause of a sneeze is and the collective term is rhinitis, rahni and itis. And that is just your sort of standard inflammation and swelling of your mucus membrane when you've got allergies, when pollens in the air, when you have a cold. But there are all kinds of other things that can cause a sneeze, too, that are all different types of rhinitis. Yeah.
Speaking of rhinitis too, I ran across a term that's the clinical term for a runny nose is Rhiner Reha Ikarus.
Yeah. And that crowdie like that makes it at least 12 or 15 times worse than runny nose, you know.
Yeah, we heard. Yeah.
So there's occupational rhinitis which is basically when stuff you're working around makes you sneeze or irritate your nose, things like cleaning supplies or, you know, flower I saw was a pretty common occupational rhinitis Sternad, dietary alternative, depending on your preference, cigarette smoke. If you work in a place where they let you smoke, like maybe a cigarette factory, although I heard that they don't allow smoking inside some cigarette factories now in North Carolina, in that just the end all be all what, you think they would allow you to do that while you're working?
They used to up until very recently. Really? Oh, yeah. I have the impression you can just pluck one off the line and light it up.
Wow. I guess if you're a smoker, that's a big perk.
It is. But then now they're like no smoking inside. Which leads you to the follow up question. Why?
Why would we. Because it kills you. And they go, yeah, what very dangerous, you dummy.
Let me see. You've also got the hormonal rhinitis, which is women might experience that when they have high estrogen levels. Maybe if you're pregnant or you're on the pill or you're going through puberty, you might. Have some sort of run on sneezing episodes, sure, there's drug induced rhinitis, there's certain drugs that are being identified. What do you say the hip is going, right? Yeah, mushrooms and make you sneeze. Apparently, I'm guessing that I didn't see this anywhere.
But this is an educated guess. Tell me if you think it sounds convincing, those drugs probably stimulate your mast cells to release histamines and that just basically almost like a phantom allergen. OK, that's what I'm going with. All right. But apparently NSAIDs beta blockers and some antihypertensive drugs are the ones that are known drug induced rhinitis during the Tataris.
If you are of advanced age, you might have what's called geriatric rhinitis, which is that's when those mucosal glands atrophy. And that means your nose can get really irritated and you might sneeze a lot.
Right. That is very sad to me if you think about it, because there's not much that can be done. I am sure you're there. You just put like maybe Vaseline or something in your nose. That's got to be the cure for that. But it's just sad because it's like your your body's, you know, running down. We should have a cure for that. Yeah. Like our medicine is not far enough along, in my opinion, for to for this to be 20-20.
It's kind of a disappointing 20-20. Everybody in my right.
So we've talked before, Chuck, multiple times about photic sneezing, which I am a photic sneezer and I don't remember if you are or not.
I feel like I have, but I don't it's not like roundly something that happens to me. I don't think so.
OK, I am a photic sneezer more than I'm a native born Toledo and even maybe they're tied.
So how does it get you?
Like, any time you like, turn on a light?
Very rarely light. It's almost always sunlight. And I think it's just because of the intensity of it. But yeah, like if I walk out, say, like if I go see a movie in the middle of the day, it a slacker. I miss those nights, come out in night and come out and it's very sunny. Sure it is guaranteed three sneezes in a row.
Hmm. Is that every usual pattern. Yeah, usually. And I've looked into that like why do we sneeze multiple times. Apparently there's a very simple answer for it and that's that your your brain has determined that the irritant hasn't been injected yet. But with photic sneezing, it's almost like it's mistaken identity, right?
Yeah. I actually did see some other things too about the patterns, because that's always fascinated me, because I always sneeze in threes. Oh yeah. OK. And I did see where some some places said that just once isn't enough. So it's like a setup. Get it to the front of your nose and then it get out. But I also saw where it could be genetic. Yeah. Like that. You inherit a sneeze pattern. Oh really.
And like double sneezers get to double sneezers.
It makes sense because there are like photic sneezing is one of a couple ways that you can inherit a genetic sneezing trait. So that would make sense.
Yeah that's right. For oh I'm sorry. Photic sneeze reflex is passed on by autosomal dominant inheritance. And it's and I love this.
This acronym, because this is one of those reverse engineered ones that we like so much. Do you like this one? I like this one. I hated the other one. Yeah. Man with a passion. Like, I wouldn't even I wasn't going to bring that one up to be OK.
We'll just pass it by and let everybody wonder for the rest of their lives.
But autosomal dominant, compelling helio up up outburst syndrome Achu. It's a little rough. It is, I mean, there's a whole the whole dominant in there that's missing, but OK, fine, well, go go with that. But that's the that is a term for photic sneezing that was coined at some some point by someone that riseley that.
Your biggest pet peeve, right. For acronyms is when they just sneak a word in there and don't use it for a letter.
Yeah, it's lazy. Although, I mean, I get where they're coming from. You don't want to be add to it's like, why even why even do it. But but you've got to figure it out, you know. I mean just take dominant out, just go with autosomal, you know.
Yeah. No one who would know. I wouldn't have noticed. So you were saying, was that it for the patterns and sneezing patterns? Yeah, I mean, they're just a couple of theories, either hereditary or that it just takes that much.
But I'm not I just don't know if I buy that for myself because it's always three and it's not like I have a weak sneeze. So it takes three. Mm. Man. And it feels ingrained somehow.
Yeah. Like if you only do two you notice and it does it feel incomplete. It does, but that almost never happens. Occasionally I'll do it for Bangar, but I don't I don't know that I ever sneeze once or twice. It's almost always three. Yeah.
And speaking of incomplete, if you actually go if you experience the afferent phase, but the efferent phase isn't triggered, but it's enough to drive you nuts. There's things you can do in. One of those things that's recommended is to look at a bright light or look kind of don't look directly at the sun, but look toward the sun. And that should help jumpstart that efferent phase, the second part where the actual sneeze takes place. Oh, OK, that makes sense.
But they think what's going on is that there's a crossover between the sneeze reflex arc and the pupillary light reflex arc, which basically is one nerve becoming so stimulated that it it it, it stimulates by proxy the the other nerve, the sneeze nerve. So you're getting so overloaded with bright light when you see that sunlight that it accidentally jumps on over to your sneeze reflex as well and makes you sneeze.
It's like, are you getting all this light? Are you getting to get a load of this? And I think they've landed on about between 23 and 25 percent generally of people have this photic sneeze reflex. Right.
So that's I mean, that's pretty substantial. There are some other like small identity groups of sneezers that are far smaller than that. Apparently, there are people who, um, there's a four families, not one in four people, four families, as far as anyone knows, who have something called initiation, which is where you if they eat too much and they feel overly full, it will trigger a sneezing attack.
Yeah, I would call that rare. Yeah. For families, for sure.
And we're just going to pass right on by. Right, Chuck. Yes. That acronym getting back to the photic sneezing, though they think it also could be a holdover and an evolutionary advantage from when we were little babies because little babies don't have they can't blow their nose.
They don't know what that even is. No. So the only thing they can't pick their nose. They can't they can't use any implement at all to clear out their nose except the sneeze. They rely on the sneeze to get that mucus out. Or, of course, parents who will suck that stuff out do it a little device. Yeah. Which is no fun but necessary.
Or you hold them on their side and you blow in their ear, usually clears up enough. But I should probably just go ahead and say don't do that. That was a joke. Can whisper sweet nothings. Sure. But don't. Yeah. Don't do that. But babies are pretty sensitive to that photic light reflex and they think that may be a reason that basically we just sort of a holdover from when we were babies.
It makes sense. It also makes sense to me that babies might have more active or kind of raw nerve pathways. So maybe they're just more sensitive to that, that jump over that crossover, maybe plucking nose hairs that ever happened to you. But every time so it doesn't make me sneeze, but it makes my eyes water like I've just seen every long-Distance commercial from the 90s all at once.
Yeah. And it's interesting because those you talked earlier about the trigeminal nerves that are all through the face, I think it's just all related. Like you you could pluck an eyebrow and it could make you sneeze and your eyes are watering. And that's part of your face. Like it's just all sort of one big nerve bundle. Mm hmm. That's all interrelated. And it could any of those could trigger either watering of eyes or or definitely sneezing, even if you'd like, pluck a hair out of your head that could do it.
That's never happened to me. But my nose hair and my eyebrow hair. Oh, me and my eyes start watering. It's not a pleasant experience for sure. I've never plucked an eyebrow hair.
Oh, every once in a while I'll get one. That's a big, fat, long go hair. It's just suddenly comes up overnight. Now I've seen I've got those too. Okay, well I pluck those. I just trim those. You know, it's maybe I should trim them. That's a good idea. Um, but have you ever noticed if you get one, there's almost invariably one on the other side too, like they come up in pairs.
Does that happen to you have not noticed that when you pull one one does the other one get shorter.
But that was wonderful to be great. Yeah. It's like pulling that spaghetti through your nose and out your mouth. Don't do that either. Can you do that now? I've never tried to do so. I've never tried either.
I don't want to know. There's also a group of people who sneeze when they become sexually aroused. Yeah, that's the thing, apparently. Or if you orgasm, like after you orgasm, it could trigger a sneezing fit.
Yeah, it's apparently a bigger group then than you would expect. Some researcher went around to Internet chat rooms and said, hey, does anybody sneeze when they become aroused or when they have an orgasm? And she found 17 people who sneeze from sexual ideation and three who sneeze from orgasm, which is that is way more than I would expect from just going around on Internet chat rooms and asking people, you know. Yeah.
And also, we should point out way not scientific. No, not at all. But yeah, anecdotally, it's still impressive. But I read an explanation for this. It's a terrible explanation, but it's an explanation by the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, the Indian Journal. Coincidentally enough, they suggest that it's because the nose contains erectile tissue, which it does, which erectile tissue is just tissue that can become larger, engorged by blood flow.
And yes, you have erectile tissue and your genitalia. Yes, you have it in your nose, but they're not they're not in any way related as far as anyone's ever even thought. Aside from the people in this journal and the most bizarre thing you've ever heard, it's pretty bizarre. Like your nose is becoming aroused is basically what they're saying. And so you sneeze. Yeah, fantastic.
There's also intractable sneezing or psychogenic. And that is something that's almost exclusive to young women, girls, adolescents basically going through puberty. And these are girls who may not suffer from allergies. They're not sick with a cold or anything, but can go on these big sneezing binges for days and days at a time.
Yes. And apparently the world. The world. Oh, my goodness. The world record holder is a girl named Donna Griffiths, who was 12 when she started. She started in 1981, January of nineteen eighty one, and her sneezing fit ended. Nine hundred and seventy seven days later, in September of 1983. I remember hearing about this one and as I mean, as it went on, I was way too young for this. But, you know, had I, had I been more aware, I would have felt very bad for this girl because as it went on, she could if she sneezed once in a day, it was considered part of the record.
And I think that that was kind of how it was towards the end. But that first year sounds like a bear. Yeah, no good. A million sneezes in the first three hundred and sixty five days, which is basically a sneeze a minute on average and Chuck. And it's impossible to sneeze in your sleep. You cannot sneeze in your sleep if you sneeze while you're sleeping, you wake up to sneeze. Your brain just isn't functioning correctly to sneeze while you're sleeping.
So that means this girl was averaging a sneeze a minute just during waking hours, but sneeze a minute over 24 hours compressed into, say, ten or 12 hours that she was awake that day or would she wake herself up sneezing?
I don't know if that's the case.
Then she had a really, really rough year because she was sneezing every minute and not getting any sleep.
Yeah, I mean, it's disruptive no matter what. No one. I mean, you can't hold down a job if you're sneezing every minute.
Well, luckily, she was twelve and this is after child labor laws were passed. I'm hoping she did all that cigarette factory. That's right. This is nimble little fingers sorting cigarette. Perfect. Uh, should we take another break?
Yeah, I think so. All right. We'll talk about these the travel in droplets right after this great band.
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Why not learn a thing or two from Josh Amchok? It's stuff you should know. All right.
All right. So this is pretty relevant now. And I know and I think this was put together before, I feel like we've been sitting on this one. Was this before coronavirus? And I think it was during. Was it during. OK, yeah. And this is a Dave helped us out. Dave Ruse helped us out with this one. Yeah. So and I think we've all seen these videos by now with everything that's going on. But in 2016, a researcher from MIT named Lydia.
Oh boy. Goodness me. But Rubia.
Sure Barabba I'm going with Bharu Burragubba but we believe it is. There's a couple of sounds in there that follow one another. It makes it very difficult. Yeah. Whenever you pick three vowels in a row, it's always sort of a dealer choice. So she published some slowmo two thousand frames per second film images of people sneezing and what that look like. That's where we get and other people have done this to and measured the sneeze. But that's one place where we get the 100 miles per hour stat.
Oh, from that study. Yeah. And other places. I mean, that's pretty common knowledge now, but up to twenty five thirty feet.
You can blow a sneeze, it can stay suspended in the air for a few minutes. And they likened it to if you would take a bucket of paint and just throw the paint out out of the can into the air. Yeah. Sort of is how a sneeze works. It's they call it sheets of fluids and you know, you get these big, big hunks of mucus and saliva that just sort of come out together and then break apart little by little until you get to the fine mist that sort of can hang in the air.
Yeah, it starts as a clump and then turns into ROOPI filaments and then into increasingly smaller particles. And those really small particles, that aerosolized stuff. That's the scary stuff. I saw Bristol study that said and this wasn't necessarily coronavirus, but that contagious germs can stay in the air, suspended in the air for weeks. Possibly that would have to be a very hardy contagious virus or bacteria. Yeah, it's like no airflow, right? Yeah. To just sit there.
But the that the 27 feet, which is kind of common knowledge these days in the era of coronavirus, that your sneeze can, can project those particles up to like twenty seven feet. There's little pockets of gas in turbulence that are in, in a room, even a room that seems still, but certainly one that has like the AC on or air flowing through it. And those little particles can hitch rides on those pockets and travel. I saw 200 times further than you expel them with just your sneeze.
Yeah. So you know what prevents that? Covering yourself, your mouth and your nose when you sneeze and or wearing a mask?
Yeah. I mean, they they teach. I mean, this has nothing to do with coronavirus, but it's especially important, but they teach little kids from the moment they can even understand things in preschool to always sneeze into your elbow and cough into your elbow, because that's something that kids can you know, you can't always get to a tissue. Right. Which is what they say is sort of the best thing to do. Yeah, but that elbow's pretty good.
It's a pretty good system. I think it's really cute to see a little kid do that, too. Yeah. Because they're doing the right thing. It's it's it is adorable. I agree.
But yeah, the ideal is to to sneeze into a tissue through your tissue away and wash your hands thoroughly.
That's what you're supposed to do after every time, every single time, every single time. And I don't sneeze a lot. Emily sneezes a lot. Oh yeah. You know, because she's got the allergies. Oh yeah. So she's got a lifelong persistent tickle in her nose. It's terrible.
I know this she have um. What's it called that kind of sneezing words. Uh oh. Psychogenic intractable sneezing.
Well no, because she's not a she's not 13 year old man now it's just allergy related, but lots of sneezing when it's when it's really bad. It's it's it's pretty tough to be around. Not to not tough for me, but, you know. Right.
Right. Yeah. It's really tough. So I did look up to find out where we stood as far as knowledge on sneezing and contagion outdoors goes. And from what I can tell, there was some study that was done by some engineers that sprayed an aerosol can running, walking and then on a bike. And the results showed that this stuff spreads really far and wide. But they didn't take into account a lot of different things, a lot of different factors, so that if you are outdoors, as long as somebody doesn't sneeze at you basically in your face or in your direction within, you know, 20 or 30 feet directly toward you, you're probably not going to catch enough of a viral load of something like coronavirus to become sick from it, especially if you're not in a crowded group, if you're just walking outside and somebody else is walking, you know, 15 feet ahead of you and they're just breathing and they're on the other side of the street, you're probably going to be fine just because that stuff's going to dissipate so much because of all the factors, the environmental factors that exist outdoors, rather, as opposed to indoors.
Indoors is a totally different ballgame. Outdoors, you're much safer. Yeah, I mean, I haven't I haven't been around a human that sneezed aside from my wife and, you know, four or five months. Right. Like I would even when I've gone to the store and like, I'm on the lookout for that stuff. Oh yeah. And like, I think we all are. But I haven't even been in a store, like on an aisle where someone's like, sneezed because I would and probably unreasonably, you know, freak out a little bit.
I think you're allowed to yell at that person, but I haven't even seen anyone been around anyone that sneezed. Yeah. So that's been a comfort level.
Yeah. You mean you went to the store and came back and said somebody sneezed twice in the whole store, just started looking around like where that came from. Yeah. It's weird, huh. Yeah. Yeah. It was basically like a stampede or something to get away from that thing. It's it is it's a weird, weird time to be alive. We're all going to be very, very weird even after things go back to normal, I think.
Yeah. You know, it's going to. I know. I will be. Yeah.
So should we talk a little bit about culture and, you know, sort of what people say all around the world. I know here in America it's sort of custom to say God bless you or bless you and that, you know, there's some different explanations. But one of them that seems to hold water, I think, dates back to the Middle Ages with the black plague. When Pope Gregory, seven, basically said, hey, everyone, you know, things are pretty bad.
We should just we should say God bless you if someone is sneezing because they might be dying. Yeah.
Which is a from what I saw, a big departure from earlier Christian teachings, which taught people to just totally ignore sneezes or say God is dead, which I.
Right. Which I find very weird. Like, why would you teach people? Do you ignore sneezes? I didn't get that. But I found this really awesome article called Romance and Tragedy of Sneezing by Dr Wilson Dee Wallace in Scientific Monthly from nineteen nineteen. And he cited that that earlier Christians were like, just ignore it, just pretend it didn't happen.
Yeah, I'm a I'm a, I'm a blessed guy. I don't do the gesundheit or salute which is Spanish to your health, that kind of thing. Yeah. It's also a toast. Yeah.
I say I don't, I don't say that ever really. Sometimes I'll say it when I toast. But I don't know I don't remember what I do it with anyone anymore, you know, I forgot to deal with people.
I always raise my glass and say it's time to get toop from the flow.
What I say made Jupiter bless you. Right. I saw another one from the Greeks, too. I love that one. Live zoos preserve you.
I think you and I should bring back both of those. OK, that's fantastic.
Can't you imagine everyone in Greece just like being like don't sneeze, don't sneeze is everyone's all twitchy and shaky from people yelling that at them?
Yeah. I mean, it's weird too, because it's a very kind thing to do to a stranger. It's this one. I guess they've just as an academic, but they called it a micro affection, which is nice. You know, it's just a little quick. Nice thing to say to a stranger. If and I always do it, we've we've done it during our live shows. When someone sneezes, it's and not to be funny, it gets a laugh, but it's just sort of a it's almost like an involuntary micro affection, I think, for most, you know, non monsters for sure.
Or people just kind of have a brief connection, right. Yeah. Yes. You know, they don't know each other, but now it's like you're being you're a human being. What is it now.
Well, just bless you and get please get very far away from God bless you over there.
So there's also a very common understanding that people thought that a demon was trying to get in or your soul was trying to get out. And I kept seeing like other cultures or old ancient cultures, that kind of thing. The closest one I could find that seemed like that was in Persia. Zoroaster believed that your body was fighting off a fiend that had invaded like an invading demon or spirit, and that a sneeze was basically your body's signaling that it had been victorious in fighting this fiend and getting this fiend out and that that that deserved a prayer.
And that if you ever heard somebody sneeze, you would say the same prayer with them. I couldn't find my prayer, though. Yeah, it seems to be a good luck thing in a lot of cultures throughout the years, according to the Talmud. It's a good omen if you sneeze when you're praying in China and Japan, if you sneeze, it means someone's sort of like your ears are burning. Someone's talking about you. Yeah. And one sneeze means they're saying nice things to two means they're spreading gossip.
I don't know what they would think about me with my three or three means you die, right? Would three mean?
I don't know. I mean, because there's only two ways people can talk about you. Right, exactly.
They might be saying something like, Chuck has a beard. Okay.
You know, that's as neutral as it gets. Exactly. So there's there's folklore and then there's what we think is true, which is a kind of folklore. But it's actually it's just folklore to urban legends. What we call them are old wives tales. And we talked about one where that you're your eyes will pop out of your head if you sneeze with your eyes up. And we debunk that one pretty clearly, I think don't you can't do it.
And then there's some other ones, too. There's one that you me told me about. I had no idea until she said this, but apparently some people believe that you basically die for a second while you're sneezing like your body just shuts down, including your heart, and that you're technically dead for that half second while the sneeze is going on.
I've never heard that stops. I never heard that before until a couple of days ago. And yeah, I looked it up and it's a thing, but no, that's not at all true. Like your heart rhythm might actually change and the volume of blood in your heart might decrease or increase because the pressure of the air in your chest or the release of pressure. But the electrical activity remains the same. And that's the key to whether your heart's alive or not.
Your heart does not stop. No, that's like playground stuff. It is. That that was very cute. Yeah. What about sneezing after sex, preventing pregnancy. Did you see this one.
Well I mean what you sneezing out of. Right. So I mean like that's the idea that if you sneeze you're expelling. Um, well there's really no other way to put it semen. And that that would keep you from getting pregnant.
Wow. It seems a little ridiculous. Yeah. It's another playground thing, I guess.
So what's what playground have you been hanging out. Pretty advanced playground activity. You got anything else? Oh, I've got one more thing, Chuck. Yeah. Yeah. Anything else. I got nothing else in twenty, sixteen or eighteen. A man in Leicester in the UK ruptured his throat from trying to stifle a sneeze. The pressure was so great it broke open his throat. Wow.
Yeah. Internally didn't break through the skin, but his, his throat internally was ruptured because that's what I pictured right. Like a throat explosion. It just blew his head completely off like the guy in scanner's. Well, I guess that's it for sneezing, everybody. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks again to West for the idea.
And since I said that, it's time for listener mail to call this Atlanta, Texas. Hey, guys, my name is Ben Lee, local Atlanta, Georgia. And my wife and I are a huge longtime fans.
And your recent episode on pirate radio, you briefly brought up Radio Atlanta, which was named after Atlanta, Texas, and you joked that no one knew that town exists, even the people that live there.
And that's pretty much true. My family is originally from Atlanta, Texas. It's pretty small, just about 5000 residents. So it's totally understandable. I was born in Texarkana, Texas, not too far from there, which is basically famous for being in the Smokey and the Bandit movie.
I thought that was the town that dreaded sundown, too, wasn't it? Hmm. I don't know about that. I definitely remember from Smokey and the Bandit, OK, because they were driving that beer from Texarkana to Atlanta. And Benjamín here says, I don't know why they didn't do Atlanta to Atlanta wasted opportunity. It really is.
It sounds like Benjamin moved from Atlanta to Atlanta, though, huh? Maybe. Kind of. I mean, he's in Atlanta, right? He teaches at Georgia State. That's pretty awesome. Hey, hats off to you for teaching these days, Benjamin. Yeah. He says there's a lot of towns in Texas, though, named that are also Georgia names. And there's an Athens, Texas, Douglasville or Columbus, Dallas, Georgia and Texas. And he said there's even a Georgia, Texas.
Well, that's just confusing.
And he said, thanks for all the great stuff. And that is from Benjamin Bowden Lee. Thanks a lot, Benjamin Bowden. That was a great email. We appreciate it. Any email references? Smokey and the Bandit. We're all right with you.
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