July 15, 2008

Pseudocopulation and proprioception.

Just 2 new words I ran into in articles I happened to read consecutively that have nothing to do with each other. Pseudocopulation is something man-wasps do with orchids that remind them of lady-wasps. And proprioception is your sense of position, which needs to match up with the input from your eyes and inner ears or you'll feel dizzy, which is why reading in a car can make you sick.

By the way, I used to get nauseated immediately if I tried to read in a car, but now it's no problem at all. It's one of the advantages of growing old, I think, along with being able to take naps and feeling pretty happy for no particular reason.


ron st.amant said...

Last weekend I fell asleep on the couch downstairs, face down on my left side facing the back of the couch...my wife woke me up Sunday morning and startled me from a dream. I rolled over rather quickly and suddenly the room was spinning. It would slow down then any time I moved it would start again. She looked a few things up online about vertigo and sure enough they described the very scenario. I wound up taking a nausea medicine and laying back down for an hour and it was gone. My doctor told me about proprioception and how easily it lead into vertigo episodes. Very scary stuff. I've been fine since, but when I want bed spins I'll get them the old fashing way- gin!

ricpic said...

Who hasn't experienced the miseries of pseudocopulation?

kjbe said...

I must not be old (yet), because I still can't read in the car. I'm so glad to know, though, that there's more to look forward to.

chuck b. said...

I already knew both of those words.

Rich Beckman said...

And I must have been old my whole life. I've always been able to read in the car (well, since the time I could read).

I still can read in the car, but nowadays it often puts me to sleep

George M. Spencer said...


A common condition.

Jeff Vaca said...

Oliver Sacks has some great pieces (or maybe it's only one, it's been a long time since I read it) about the importance of proprioception A(and how bad things can get if you lose it) in his book "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat."

Susan said...

I remember a C-SPAN Brian Lamb Booknotes interview where he was talking to an author who was a college professor. He had taken students on a semester-long bus trip around the US to study and experience firsthand US history. When asked what was his biggest surprise, he had replied that he was surprised at how many people couldn't read while riding in a moving vehicle. He had planned for his students to read assigned material while on the bus traveling from one historic place to another but those plans had to be altered.

vbspurs said...

feeling pretty happy for no particular reason.

As I age (and I'm not in my mid-30s yet), I have been noticing a trend: already born a fairly happy person, I am nevertheless getting happier and happier with the years.

One of the components of Conservatism is seeing the world in more serene terms than those who wish to foment revolt and therefore desire change.

I wonder if this article reveals a little nuance of why one grows more conservative as one ages.

OTOH, the flamboyant Queen of Romania once observed:

"Why are the ends of lives always so sad?"

In my reading of history, I've found this all too true.


Terrence Berres said...

"It's good to be here. At 98, it's good to be anywhere. "
--attributed to George Burns

Omaha1 said...

Actually, proprioception is the awareness of the position or location of your various body parts in relation to each other. Motion sickness is caused by a conflict between your vision and your sense of equilibrioception, which is the awareness of motion or acceleration. The NYT did not explain this very well.