Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Psychology of Comb-Overs

The comb-over is a hair-grooming practice in which a balding man brushes a few strands of hair over a wide expanse of his bald head, usually starting with an unnatural part. Sometimes he cements the hair in place with oil or a styling product. The hallmark of a comb-over is that the combed-over hair covers only a small portion of the available scalp area. Much as a piece of avant-garde music might call attention to the silences between successive notes, a comb-over directs your helpless attention to the hair that is no longer there.

Comb-overs are a somewhat mysterious phenomenon. Although most men find them distasteful, many still end up adopting them in later years of baldness. Sociological thinkers (and people with a great deal of extra time on their hands) suggest that combover practitioners fall prey to the sorites paradox. Essentially, the sorites paradox describes how small steps that seem sensible on their own can lead to an absurd outcome. In the case of comb-overs, the victim may begin moving the part of his hair by a small amount to add fullness to a region of thinning hair. Only as the process of baldness accelerates does this become a futile attempt to hide a glaring patch of skin under the last few stragglers of hair. Incidentally, the Japanese call men with comb-overs barcode men, because the lines of neatly aligned hair resemble barcode symbols.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual (08-2009)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

How Much Heat Do You Lose Through Your Head?

It’s an often-repeated, slightly wonky story. Cover your head on a cold day, because 40 percent of your body heat exits through your cranium. Or 60 percent. Or 80 percent. Sure, the explanations are a bit dubious—the skin on your scalp is extremely thin, heat rises, and if you’re wearing clothes the heat has nowhere else to go—but who can question such an enduring yarn?

Serious-minded scientists have pointed out that if the 60 percent figure were true, you’d be more comfortable on an Alaskan cruise with nothing on but a ski hat than if you were fully dressed but bare-headed. So perhaps it’s no surprise to find that the true figure is somewhat less than 10 percent. In fact, you lose little more heat out of your head than you lose from any similarly sized part of your body, although your face, head, and chest are more sensitive to temperature changes, which may give you the impression that you’re colder.

This confusion might have resulted from a flawed interpretation of a military study that examined heat loss in fully dressed soldiers. The soldiers were bundled up in survival suits, but hatless, so their heads did account for about half of the heat they lost. (If they war-gamed naked, the equation would change.) In any case, a hat remains a sensible addition to any cold-weather ensemble.

Source of Information : Oreilly - Your Body Missing Manual