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Subject:smellovision
Time:12:13 pm
I dreampt I took a jewish girl from a toy store out to lunch on her break. I could smell her, and it was a new smell... never before smelled by me, maybe never before smelled by humanity. When I said "oh my god" regarding the smell, she got angry. To be expected, I suppose. I took her to an ancient, fancy, expensive part of town, several stories up, with lots of green metal sculpture/architecture.

I am not suprised my brain invented a beautiful ancient city, with history that I could remember. I am not suprised my brain invented a history of me going to visit the toy store, scoping her out several times before asking her to lunch. My brain is a supercomputer, with history revision capabilities, and it can create almost any impression. I am just suprised at the smell. I am nearly certain complex smells are composed of simple variables... but I have not studied smells like I have colors, I don't know what those variables are, or how they're arranged. The girl's smell resembled fruit (of an unknown variety), but like her body produced it. What part of the smell indicates human-glandular manufacture? I don't know. Maybe it's just an implication, like it was implied that I'd been to the toy store before... but it smelled like part of the smell.

I hope to dream of a new color someday. I know all the colors composed of variables my standard vision system can assimilate... my brain would have to invent a new variable... I believe it can. If so, I'll se a whole range of new colors... but I'd need a new set of eyes for these colors to be useful for waking perception. Whatever, irrelivant. The dream was very pleasant and detailed, and I wish I could share it.
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aleph
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Time:2006-01-08 10:55 pm (UTC)
Actually olfaction is the most complicated of the sensory systems we have. There are several thousand different receptor types on the olfactory epithelium, and while they don't respond to everything, they're hardly specialized either. Each responds to a range of chemicals that don't necessarily have very much in common. In fact for some of these receptors it's still not clear what it is that actually makes them fire? Individual smells are indicated by distinct combinations of hundreds to thousands of different types of receptors firing. And it's not just which receptors are firing, but how often they're firing with relation to each other.

The reason our color vision has such richness based on only a few simple variables is that photoreceptors are ridiculously sensitive, so our brains are able to make distinctions based on fairly small changes. Smell has variety for quite a different set of reasons.
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