Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We've got one, two, three, four, five senses working overtime ...

Oscillatory Thoughts: We are all inattentive superheroes

(Frank Miller. Daredevil(c) Marvel Comics via Drawing Files)

We're used to thinking of our senses as being pretty shite: we can't see as well as eagles, we can't hear as well as bats, and we can't smell as well as dogs. 
Or so we're used to thinking. 
It turns out that humans can, in fact, detect as few as 2 photons entering the retina. Two. As in, one-plus-one, 
It is often said that, under ideal conditions, a young, healthy person can see a candle flame from 30 miles away. That's like being able to see a candle in Times Square from Stamford, Connecticut. Or seeing a candle in Candlestick Park from Napa Valley. 
Similarly, it appears that the limits to our threshold of hearing may actually be Brownian motion. That means that we can almost hear the random movements of atoms. 
We can also smell as few as 30 molecules of certain substances. 
I mean, we're talking serious Daredevil-level detection here!
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