Showing posts from April, 2011

A guinea pig couldn't become a dentist

This morning, I was at the dentist. Whilst in the chair, with my mouth numb, and one woman scraping at my teeth whilst another held a small hoover in my mouth I had some time to think. And I started to think about mirrors. Today I had a filling in one of my upper right molars. In order to see what she was doing, the dentist had to hold one of those little mirrors on a stick in my mouth and looking in that to see where she was poking. We tend to take looking in mirrors for granted. Doing up a tie or buttoning up a shirt in a mirror is normal( * ). If we have a bit of food around our mouth and look in the mirror, it's obvious what we need to do with our hands to achieve what we want, taking into account that we're looking at a reflection. But not all animals can do that. There've been several experiments over the years which attempt to ascertain whether certain animals realise that seeing something in a mirror puts everything the other way around. The experiment, in its simpl

Rounded corners

I stay in a lot of hotels. Well, more specifically, I stay in the same few hotels quite often. It's an artefact of my job, and I don't mind it as much as sometimes I may protest. Until recently, whenever business brought me to Manchester, I would stay in the Palace Hotel in the centre of Manchester. It's a lovely, big imposing hotel with an enormous lobby which gives a great impression. My first stay at The Palace was great. The time before last I was in a room which had a great view of the trains going in and out of Oxford Road station. So great a view, that I could see which newspaper the commuters were reading as they went past on the morning trains. And freight trains can be noisy things... My last stay at The Palace wasn't particularly nice. A fire alarm going off just after I'd got into bed, and then a horrible bout of food poisoning overnight didn't give me confidence in the hotel restaurant, so I decided not to stay there again. So I'm stayin