Stickball | Choctaw Nation
Choctaw stickball have been described as the father of all field sports. With its use of a soft ball, rackets, referees, goal posts, and a jump ball to start the game, this ancient sport has parallels with a number of more recently developed games.
While, Choctaw stickball equipment has changed a little bit with each new generation of players, certain basics remain the same. The ball is round and covered in leather. The sticks are made of hardwood (often hickory), and laced with strips of leather. The equipment shown on the following pages represents some of the earliest surviving examples. You will find that Choctaw stickball sticks haven’t always had square handles, and that not all balls have been covered with a woven lacing. You will also see the roots of today’s game in the objects made by some of the ancestors who helped develop the sport into what it is today.
NMNH 1930 Sticks
Item’s Choctaw Name: Kapucha
Item’s English Name: Stickball Sticks
Age: early 1900s ?
Material: light colored hardwood, lacing is light colored brain tan hide
Stick 1 (male): Length=84cm, Cup Length=20cm, Cup Max Width=7cm wide. Handle D=22.8mm, Cup Strip Max Width=22.9 and =6.2mm thick. Handle base=24.4mm x 20.0mm.
Stick 2 (female): Length=79cm, Cup Length=15cm, Cup Max Width=6cm wide, Handle D=22.2mm, Cup Strip Max Width=30.2 and =6.2 thick. Handle base=23.2mm x 20.0mm.
Origin: collected, Philadelphia, MS, 1930s
Current Owner: National Museum of Natural History # E380089
Location: Smithsonian Museum Support Center
Notes: These sticks were shaped with a flat-edged metal blade, such as a drawknife. The base of the handle was cut with a saw; no rasp marks are evident. The lacing holes been have been burned from outside in. Handles have spiral negative designs, that might have been created by loosely wrapping them in some type of material, and then scorching the exposed wood in between the wraps. The lacing and all wraps are made from braintanned hide.
NMNH 1830 Sticks
Item’s Choctaw Name: Kapucha
Item’s English Name: Stickball Sticks
Material: Light Colored Hardwood (possibly hickory)
Stick 1: Length=66.5 cm, Cup length=25 cm, Max. cup width= 8.5 cm, Handle D=21.4mm
Stick 2: Cloth repair on lacing, Length=64.5 cm, Cup length=24 cm, Max. cup width= 8.0 cm, Handle D=21.8mm
Origin: These sticks were collected by George Catlin in Oklahoma, probably in 1834.
Current Owner: National Museum of Natural History, #E073303-0.
Location: Smithsonian Museum Support Center
Notes: These sticks are of a very early Choctaw style, different from those played with today. Each of these sticks is made from one strip of wood that begins at the base of the handle, wraps around the cup, and then back down to the base of the handle. This wooden strip is widest at the tip of the cup.
Lacing holes in the cup were made while wood was green, by pushing or burning from outside in. The lacing string is made from the rawhide from a small animal. On one stick, the ties on the handle and cup are made from cloth-like material that may have been added later.
Tool marks indicate that the sticks were made using a wraps, and a sharp, flat metal blade. The sticks have been smoothed and polished.
Item’s Choctaw Name: Towa
Item’s English Name: Stickball Ball
Age: early 1900s
Material: Cloth covered interior (possibly cotton), lacing is light colored brain tan hide
Ball Length 46.8mm
Ball Width 46.2mm
Thong Width 3.3mm
Origin: collected, Philadelphia, MS, 1930s
Current Owner: National Museum of Natural History, #E380088
Location: Smithsonian Museum Support Center
Notes: This ball, covered by a woven leather thong, is of a style still commonly used in Choctaw stickball games today.
NMAI Ball 1
Item’s Choctaw Name: Towa
Item’s English Name: stickball ball
Age: early 1900s?
Material: Wetscrape braintan and lacing
Dimensions: Average diameter = 5.0 cm
Origin: collected Scott / Neshoba Co, Ms, 1908
Current Owner: National Museum of the American Indian, #018849.000
Location: Smithsonian Cultural Resource Center
Notes: The covering and lacing on this ball are made of lightly tanned hide, with the grain layer still adhering. The ball was made by sewing together two circular pieces of this leather using a baseball stitch. A running stitch was laced through the baseball stitch. An additional running stitch was placed on each side of the baseball stitch. The ball was then turned 90 degrees and yet another running stitch run around the ball.
NMAI Ball 2
Item’s Choctaw Name: Towa
Item’s English Name: Stickball ball
Age: early 1900s?
Material: Braintan hide, with the grain on. Braintan lacing
Dimensions: Diameter = 4.2cm x 4.8cm
Origin: collected Philadelphia, MS, 1964
Current Owner: National Museum of the American Indian, #234886.000
Location: Smithsonian Cultural Resource Center
Notes: This ball is made from two pieces of lightly tanned leather, sewn together along their edges. The interior appear to be wound up store-bought thread.
Atoka Museum Ball
Item’s Choctaw Name: Towa
Item’s English Name: Stickball Ball
Age: ca 1900
Material: Commercial leather, orange cloth, black commercial thread
Diameter:variable, 6.2 cm average
Max. Length = 13 cm
Origin: Found at Boggy Depot, Atoka Co., OK
Current Owner: Atoka Confederate War Museum
Location: Atoka, OK
Notes: This is a “tailed” stickball. The ball itself is woven from a commercial leather, using an unusual technique. At the turn of the 20th century, a stickball ground was located on the line between western Atoka and eastern Pontotoc County. Hotly contested games were played here between the Choctaw and Chickasaw residents of the counties twice a year. This ball could well have seen action at the field.
NMAI Stickball Hat
Item’s Choctaw Name: Shvpo
Item’s English Name: Stickball Hat
Age: ca. 1900
Material: Red, yellow, gray, and white cloth, thread, crane feather
Dimensions: Diameter = roughly 22cm. Height = 19.5cm
Origin: collected Scott / Neshoba Co, Ms, 1908
Current Owner: National Museum of the American Indian, #018873.000
Location: Smithsonian Cultural Resource Center
Notes: Hats such as this, were worn by Choctaw stickball players (particularly captains), around the turn of the century. This piece was made using different colors of cloth and store-bought thread.
NMAI Stickball Cap
Item’s Choctaw Name: Shvpo
Item’s English Name: Stickball Hat
Age: ca. 1900
Material: Denham, red cloth, beads, thread
Dimensions: Length 25.5cm, Width 17.5cm. Height
Origin: collected Scott / Neshoba Co, Ms, 1908
Current Owner: National Museum of the American Indian, #018853.000
Location: Smithsonian Cultural Resource Center
Notes: This modern-looking hat was made by a Choctaw person over 100 years ago.
[Men Playing the Native American Game of Stickball]
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[Men Playing the Native American Game of Stickball],
accessed July 29, 2021),
University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu;
crediting UT San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.
Stickball is age-old Native tradition still played in WNC
Teams in stickball include anywhere from nine to 22 players on each side, and parents decide how old their children need to be to learn and play the game. Photography by visitcherokeenc.com
Deena C. Bouknight
Each player in stickball carries one or two sticks, which are often made of hickory, with one end featuring a scoop that is made of leather or some sort of sinew webbing.
In “Last of the Mohicans,” a 1992-released movie filmed partly in Western North Carolina, “Hawkeye,” played by Daniel Day-Lewis, jumps in on a game of stickball. In the best-selling book, “Cold Mountain,” written by Charles Frazier – who for a while was a resident of Franklin – there is reference to the main character, “Inman,” playing stickball with his Cherokee friends.
And, on Sept. 28, stickball was played to a crowd of onlookers at Western Carolina University’s annual Mountain Heritage Day event. Stickball, or Indian Ball, as it is also referred, has ancient roots, but is still alive and well in this area – especially in Cherokee during festivals and at various activities throughout the year.
According to Jessica Siegele, Ph.D., and Natalie Welch, Ph.D., who recently presented “Making Her Story: Cherokee Women’s Stickball,” the game holds historic and traditional significance and, contrary to misconceptions, is also played by females.
In stickball, players can and do tackle at any time as shown here during September’s Mountain Heritage Day game at Western Carolina University.
“I was encouraged to focus on stickball by my (and Jessica’s) advisor,” said Dr. Welch, explaining the reason for the presentation. “I am an enrolled tribal member [with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians] and grew up on the Qualla Boundary [in Cherokee]. I remember stickball being a big part of our culture – especially at the annual Indian Fair. The women played when I was in middle school and it was very intimidating. I think it’s important to do research with (not on) the native community and tell modern stories of our athletes and sports.”
Stickball is referred to in the Cherokee language as anesto. While it developed originally as ceremonial competitiveness among natives, it has survived modernity for three main reasons:
– Cultural preservation
– Sense of community
– Ethnic identity affirmation
According to Dr. Siegele and Dr. Welch, both college professors, stickball is a forerunner of lacrosse. Besides fun and play, stickball was sometimes used as a way to settle tribal disputes.
The basics of the game, according to visitcherokeenc.com are: “… played on a field with two goal posts set on either end. Two opposing teams line up against each other in a game. Whichever team scores 12 points first wins. No time-outs are allowed. The ‘drivers’ are the referees of the game, and each team brings their own drivers. Drivers work together to determine and set the rules of play before the first ball is tossed up. They watch closely to make sure that the game is being played according to the rules they agreed upon.”
Some Cherokee stickball rules include: no padding or protective gear, no shirts (when men play), tackling can occur at any time, and, most importantly, it is illegal to catch a tossed ball or to pick it up off the ground with hands. After a player has used the stick to lift the ball above their knees, then he or she can transfer the ball to their hands.
A video snippet that conveys the intensity of the game is available on the visitcherokeenc.com site, which points out that rules for stickball are often somewhat different depending on the tribe. Even local rules may vary.
“It is always a different game when you play it,” said Patrick Hill, a player for the Big Cove team. “It is never the same. I’m always going to be able to keep learning something new out there.”
“Young children are allowed to play at their parents’ discretion,” said Dr. Welch. “Many of the parents I talked to said they instinctually know when it’s ‘their time’ for them to play. One mother had a son still in diapers get out on the field. There’s a very tight community feeling to the teams and they look after their youngest players.”
She added, “Most communities in Cherokee have their own team (Wolftown, Birdtown, Big Cove, etc.) and they have their own formal practices, meetings, and other gatherings. There are usually a couple of veteran players that are the closest things to coaches. And I think a lot of them use Facebook groups now. But I would say it’s still not as formal as football/baseball or other colonial sports.”
While men are known for playing the game, the first recorded instance of women playing occurred in 1762. Dr. Siegele and Dr. Welch’s lecture on the subject included this account by a Lt. Henry Timberlake: “I was not a little pleased likewise with their ball-plays (in which they show great dexterity) especially when the women played, who played one another about, to the no small amusement of a European spectator.”
Because one historic account mentions a woman almost being killed while playing stickball, and another becoming so injured she could no longer bear children, women were discouraged and/or forbidden to play after 1870. However, in the fall of 2000, women began playing again, though not as consistently. The decision was not without controversy, however, because many deem stickball a man’s sport.
Currently, Dr. Welch is working on a documentary that includes “the voices of” women who played stickball together in the early 2000s, as well as footage of the game played by children, men, and women. A “teaser” is included at https://vimeo.com/264535901 “We’re hoping to release the full doc (about 20 minutes long) in early 2020,” she said.
Comeback From COVID: Fair Again Celebrates Choctaw Culture, Hosts Stickball World Series
- By Roger Amos
Summer was one of my favorite times of the year as a child, not just for summer vacation from school, but for me it meant that the fair was coming to the Choctaw Reservation. Our fair, in Neshoba County, means different things to each of us, but collectively, it is a time to get together as a tribe and showcase our rich culture and openly invite the public to visit us and learn about us in our homeland that my ancestors refused to leave during the removal period of the 1820s and 1830s.
Today’s Choctaw Indian Fair looks much different than its very simple, humble beginnings. Tribal members exhibited their garden produce at the time, just as our ancestors did during harvest season when the gathering in the old days was known as the New Corn Ceremony or the Green Corn Festival. A princess pageant wasn’t part of the Fair until 1955, and the country-music concerts started a decade later.
[NOTE: This article was originally published by the Mississippi Free Press.]
Since my parents worked day jobs in the Pearl River Community, I got to enjoy the fair mainly in the evenings, when the country-music concerts were in full swing. In fact, our fair has been immortalized in a song recorded by a country-music professional who later became our tribal historian, Bob Ferguson. He was a beloved figure on the reservation for writing “Choctaw Saturday Night”—heard every year during the fair.
Also, Marty Stuart (from nearby Philadelphia) wrote a country song describing his meeting his future wife Connie Smith in the song “Met My Baby at the Choctaw Fair.” Stuart has brought along tribal dancers to perform on his nationally syndicated television show as well as headlined himself at the Choctaw Indian Fair.
Despite not being a personal fan of country music, hearing those sounds by big acts at the fair always bring certain fond memories that, while growing up Choctaw, I am still a southern American and a Mississippian as well, and many people do love country music in these parts. It is one of the biggest draws to the Choctaw Indian Fair and helps make it so successful. Our fair was named one of the 10 Best Summer Events in Mississippi, along with our neighboring Neshoba County Fair that happens nearby a few weeks later.
Part of that success is the country music, which we Choctaw kids grew up associating with the modern version of our culture’s New Corn Ceremony.
Country music reminds me of my paternal grandmother in an odd way: I wouldn’t say she was a fan of the genre, either, but it was always background music when I spent time at her house in the Bogue Chitto community while she babysat me and my cousins as our parents worked at the only jobs available in the Pearl River Community in the early 1990s. Her aging TV would usually be off, but the radio would always be tuned to Meridian’s country-music station, 97 OKK.
As I mentioned in a previous column in the Mississippi Free Press, my grandmother didn’t speak very much English so I doubt she could relate to lyrics sung by Billy Ray Cyrus, much less understand the words he was singing.
These days, my cousins and I reminisce about our beloved grandma and country music while we shelled peas or snapped green beans by hand, despite her being a strict disciplinarian who definitely made sure we were all well behaved. She was an elder known throughout the community and highly respected, and we miss her very much.
Rooting for ‘Million Man’ Stickball Team
One year we had a blanket spread out on the hill above the amphitheater and ate our supper while we enjoyed the concert. Usually, we’d then look around at the arts and crafts vendors, community culture booths, and 4-H prize-winning fruits and vegetables. Then, around 10 p.m., the concerts would be over, and the crowds usually headed up the hill to Warrior Stadium at Choctaw Central High School across the street as the sound of drum beats brought in the next two teams up for play in the World Series of Stickball tournament.
I loved that I got to stay up way past my bedtime during the fair. The game would go on for about an hour or so, and the midway didn’t close until 1 or 2 a.m. As a child, I’d bargain for one more ride as we walked about a half-mile from the stadium, just past the midway and to the waiting shuttle buses to take us back to our cars. These days, the far end of the Golden Moon Casino is used for fair parking; in the 1990s, it was the old Choctaw Industrial Park.
I really appreciate the community pride generated during fair season. Some people associate with more than one community, but I associate totally with the Bogue Chitto “Big Creek” community because both my parents are from there. I have cousins I would visit in Pearl River and Conehatta (in Newton County) on occasion, but when it came to stickball games during the fair, I was a Bok Cito team fan from the start.
I especially loved spotting Grandma Amos on the hill by the stadium in her lawn chair and white team shirt while supporting our “Million Man” team (nicknamed due to the large number of players on the roster), watching her cheering them on and exclaiming anytime a score was made. Even though she would be sitting far from the playing field, she would know that someone scored not just from the sounds of the stadium crowd, but by listening to the drumbeat.
The Choctaw drum beats while the game is in play, and takes on a different rhythm when a player scores a point—by striking an upright pole with a leather-woven ball. This is a centuries-old tradition that we still practice today. The old games would have hundreds of players, and the field would be miles long, so that anyone listening to the drums would know if there was a winning goal. These days, you can watch our games miles away at a distance from the fair’s YouTube channel.
After Pandemic Losses, A Welcome Reunion
My community has plenty to love and to instill pride in our culture. The development club was often successful at winning first prize in the community booth displays, often rivaling the largest community of Pearl River. Bogue Chitto also won the stickball championship, as they did in 2019, before COVID hit this region and shut everything down and caused the cancellation of last year’s fair.
This last week has been real exciting on the reservation, as crowds continued to come and enjoy the casinos, water park and resort amenities, such as the Fourth of July fireworks and now, starting July 8, the 2021 edition of the World Series of Stickball is now underway, while things are cautiously returning back to normal.
Even the midway rides arrived early ahead of the “official” fair dates of July 14-17 and can take advantage of the families who gather for the early rounds of the games. Small reminders do remain that COVID was here just a year ago as some fair concession stands now in operation have signs that remind patrons to separate 6 feet apart. This year, the fair added a health fair booth with a vaccination station available on the fairgrounds.
As an adult, I enjoy the fair differently now. I enjoy it mainly for the family reunion, as I have out-of-state relatives in metro Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, and friends of the family in Alabama and South Dakota. We all come together and experience the fair. It will be that much more fulfilling this year as we haven’t seen most of our family and friends due to the virus and last year’s cancellation. I cannot wait.
Furthermore, there is reason for optimism: the latest statistics from our tribal health officials indicate no current positive cases of COVID as of last week. That promises that this year will be one of the most memorable fairs yet, even as everyone needs to take precautions due to the Delta variant spreading in Mississippi.
A year ago, many drummers set out to beat the drum at a specific time in solidarity from the safety of their homes and front yards, during what was declared as “Virtual” Fair Week 2020 on social media. This year, we get to march with them in person, honor the many lives we have lost due to the virus and continue our traditions as we have been doing since before Mississippi became a state—and before our tribal government was re-established here in 1945.
If you ever get to visit our fair, there’s no telling who you might meet: I personally got to get a selfie with Native actress Elaine Miles, known mostly for her role in “Northern Exposure,” but most natives recognize her from other native themed films such as “Smoke Signals.” To my surprise, she is a fan of Bok Cito!
As they say in Mississippi, “all y’all are welcome!”
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The Southeastern Ball Game | Native American Netroots
Among the Indian nations of the Southeast (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, Natchez, Seminole), there were two basic ball games which were played. These games had both social and ceremonial meaning.
Stickball was played with two sticks per player. The ball sticks, made from hickory or pecan, were about two feet long and were bent at one end to form a racket. The balls were made from deerskin which was stuffed with deer or squirrel hair. Players would catch the ball between the nettings of their sticks and then throw it. They were not allowed to strike or catch the ball with their hands. The players, however, could tackle, block, or use any reasonable method to interfere with the other team’s movement of the ball.
A Choctaw stickball player is shown above.
Points were scored when a player hit the opposing team’s goal post with the ball. Among the Cherokee, a team had to be the first to score 12 points in order to win. The Creek, however, required 20 points in order to win.
The field for the game might be as long as 500 yards or as short as 100 yards. The object of the game was to get the ball between two goal posts or to strike one of the poles with the ball.
Stickball was often used to settle issues between Choctaw communities. This approach to settling internal issues reduced the possibility of civil war. In these instances, the goal posts might be located within each opposing team’s village which meant that the goal posts would be several miles apart.
Among the Choctaw, the players were not allowed to wear moccasins or any clothing other than a breechclout. On the night prior to a game, there would be a dance in which the players would dance in their ballplay outfits and rattle their ballsticks together.
Among some of the tribes, players would not eat rabbit prior to a game as it was felt that this might cause them to become frightened and confused. They also avoided eating frogs because this would make them susceptible to broken bones. Players would generally fast before the game.
The number of players varied greatly. Sometimes there were games with as few as nine players per side, while other times there were games with several hundred players on the field. A game might last several days. Play was rough and it was not uncommon for the players to suffer severe bruises and even broken bones.
The Southeastern nations also have a single pole ball game which is played in ritual context. Like stickball, the single pole game is played with sticks and a small ball. In this game there is a single pole, about 25 feet high, with a wooden effigy of a fish at the top. Seven points are scored when a player manages to strike the fish with the ball. Striking the pole scores two points.
This game has been played for more than 1,000 years. The game is often played in association with the Busk (or Green Corn Ceremony). The game, which is played on sacred ground, brings a sense of balance and harmony by bringing the secular and sacred together.
Tunica-Biloxi Tribe to hold Native American stickball clinic, exhibition Saturday
The Tunica-Biloxi Language & Culture Revitalization Program (LCRP) will host a Stickball Clinic & Exhibition for boys and girls ages 10-16 this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chief Joseph A. Pierite Pow Wow Grounds on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation in Marksville.
Troy and Krista Langley. accompanied by other players from the Alabama-Coushatta stickball team of Livingston, Texas, will lead a clinic teaching stickball basic skills, rules and safety.
The Alabama-Coushatta Team will play an exhibition game and then support workshop participants in scrimmage games. Participants will be grouped by size for the scrimmage games.
The workshop is open to the general public and members of regional tribal communities in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi for a $10 registration fee. Registration fee is waived for Tunica-Biloxi children. All interested parties are encouraged to register to play or join the viewing party.
Following the stickball clinic and exhibition games, LCRP will host a cookout for participants. Space is limited. Participants must pre-register. Parent(s) must accompany children to the clinic.
To register or obtain additional information, contact Ryan Lopez at [email protected] or (800) 272-9767, ext. 6433.
AMERICA’S OLDEST TEAM SPORT
Native American stickball is one of the oldest team sports in North America. Stickball and lacrosse are similar. Lacrosse, which is the more familiar version, was played by tribes in Canada and the northern U.S. Stickball was and still is played in Oklahoma and the southeastern states where the game originated.
Although the first recorded writing on the topic of stickball was not until the mid-17th century, there is evidence that the game had been developed and played hundreds of years before that.
Stickball was especially popular among Southeastern Indian tribes, including the Tunica-Biloxi. Stickball was played by tribal members regularly through the mid- 20th century and gradually disappeared.
Choctaw communities in Mississippi, Coushatta in Louisiana, and the Alabama-Coushatta of Texas still have active stickball programs.
Stickball was more than just a game to the tribes. It was used to build both the body and spirit through exercise and was played by all age groups.
Many games have roots in ancestral tests of strength and sport that reinforced group cooperation and sharpened survival skills in often hostile environments.
For warriors, the games helped maintain their readiness and combat skills between times of war.
One of the reasons the Tunica-Biloxi are holding the clinic is to reawaken interest in physical activity, especially among Native American youth by promoting stickball as part of improving the health and well-being of the Tunica-Biloxi people.
As the Tunica-Biloxi strive to preserve and revitalize traditional life-ways, it is necessary to provide community educational forums that will perpetuate knowledge and usage of these cultural elements.
The Stickball Clinic & Exhibition provides an opportunity to explore traditions that are both unique and shared by neighboring indigenous communities.
Muscogee citizen and his inter-tribal team competes in the “World Series of Stickball” – NDNSPORTS
By Darren DeLaune, MNN Sports Writer
Daniel “Supaktv” Roberts (Photo courtesy MNN/Darren DeLaune)
PHILADELPHIA, Miss. — Daniel “Supaktv” Roberts started playing stickball in March 2011. Since that time, Roberts has turned it into a game he absolutely loves. Native American tribes used stickball as a way to settle intertribal disputes without going resorting to war. This is how the sport received its name, “Little Brother of War.”
There are different styles of stickball play, according to tribe, including the “Choctaw” and “Mvskoke” or “East and West.” “Choctaw style is played when you go to the different tournaments throughout the season,” Roberts said. “With Choctaw style, you can not hit with sticks, you can only use your body. With Mvskoke style, you can only hit with the sticks, and there are no body hits. Both are violent. With Choctaw style, you can get more broken bones, with Mvskoke style, you get more cuts that will open up. Mvskoke style is more for ceremonial grounds and Choctaw is tournament. With both there are a lot of injuries.”
Both teams have 30 people on the field at all times,” Roberts said. “They consist of shooters, centers, defenders. Centers will control the middle of the field and their job is to get the ball to the shooters. The defenders’ job is to protect the goal and to help centers move ball down the field to shooters. The shooters job is to score and get the points. The shooters are the ones that the opponents are trying to hit and trying to stop.”
Roberts is a shooter on his team. “As a shooter, you are going to get hit,” Roberts said. “And you are going to get hit hard, but it is our
job to stay focused and score the points for our team.”Roberts plays for a team called “6town,” which he considers an inter-tribal team.
“My team is a lot like me; we are a very young team,” Roberts said. “I have been playing for a little bit over a year. My cousin Jake Roberts was the one who got me involved with 6town. We have more than one tribe that represents our team. Our team has members of Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee.”
Roberts and his team recently returned from the “World Series of Stickball” held annually in Philadelphia, Miss. “Stickball in Mississippi is a lot like football here on Friday nights,” Roberts said. “If you are a stickball player there, you are the top dog. There is no other feeling like it. Walking out into the field and hearing everybody either cheering or booing you and your team, it is crazy. It is an unreal feeling. When you hit that field you are walking into the biggest game in the world,” Roberts said.
Although the series didn’t turn out the way 6town wanted, they know what the competition is like and will be ready next year.
“We have a few tournaments that are coming up, around here in Oklahoma,” Roberts said. Until then, we will practice and continue getting better. We will be ready and prepared for next year.”
Roberts is Creek, Choctaw and Aleut. His parents are Danny and Janelle Roberts. His Tribal Town is Nuyaka and his Clan is Hotvle
(Story courtesy of the Muscogee Nation News department, to read this story and others please visit [email protected] http://www.muscogeenation-nsn.gov/images/stories/pdf/MNN/aug01_2012.pdf)
Basketball Games Play Online
This one of the most popular sports dates back to 1891. At that time, gymnastic exercises were popular in schools, which were considered the only way of the physical development of young people. Students found such activities monotonous and boring, which prompted the creator of this beautiful game, teacher James Naismith, to his brilliant invention. He equipped the room by hanging two fruit baskets from the balcony railing.Players had to aim at them, passing the ball between themselves and touching it only with their hands. After hearing the original rules, which then consisted of only 13 points, the students enthusiastically began to play basketball.
This kind of entertainment has gained overwhelming popularity. Increasingly, he could be found in educational institutions. Similar games were spread throughout the countries of the entire globe. The first associations appeared, federations were created. Since then, various competitions have been held, including the famous Olympic Games.Gradually basketball gained more and more fans, becoming a real spectacle. And now millions of people are actively following the results of the championships, looking forward to meeting their favorite clubs on the site.
Basketball is the basis of many legendary films and wonderful books. Excellent basketball games owe their appearance to him, which you can find in this section online and completely free of charge. Enjoy an unforgettable drive and a sea of positive emotions, competing with the best rivals from all over the world!
First of all, I would like to note the basketball games, where you have to participate in tournaments, fighting for the honor of your native team.You should play by controlling individual characters and switching between them if necessary. Try to gain control of the situation without leaving your opponent a chance to win. In this way, go around all competitors and get to the top of the standings.
It happens that athletes are faced with the task of getting into the ring from a certain point or line of the field. Here you need to collect all the dexterity, accurately choosing the strength and angle of the throw. Try to get the maximum amount of points. Act quickly and confidently, because you need to keep within the given couple of minutes.Don’t miss the opportunity to change the outcome of the fight and prove that basketball is your calling!
It is easy to stumble upon basketball games in which the characters have strange appearances. They are devoid of a body, only a huge head is visible. Initially, playing is unusual, but after half an hour the gameplay seems very convenient and enjoyable. Make the most of the unusual physique of your charges. Do not forget to collect a variety of bonuses that will help you during the passage. Find out if you will be able to bypass all opponents and get the long-awaited title online and completely free!
The sun was shining, I had nothing else to do, and I wanted to drink coffee.The whole. And for the first time in two years, running through my veins, caffeine did not immediately give me a premonition of imminent death. Three weeks ago, before I went offline in Cuba, he would have succeeded.
In fact, this story is not about my panic attacks or the various half-measures that I have taken, the compromises that I have made for the last two years in order not to let my body tell me that I will inevitably pass out. It is not about that, but about disconnection, about leaving the Internet, about pitfalls and the constant anxiety associated with a constant connection.It’s about oppression, point of view, free thought and self-determination. Perhaps it is a little about feeling stagnant.
A few weeks before I left for Cuba, millions of people grabbed a digital pitchfork and pointed them right at the dentist who killed lion . Gendir Reddit has just been forced out of the company, at least in part thanks to that long-term misogyny and racist campaign that has become part of the most popular content on site .In part, Donald Trump was, and still is, afloat thanks to the combined power of clicks and momentum.
This is why most of the world has decided to use the Internet. The ability to connect with any other person, instantly send and receive information from any number of devices, in addition to many good purposes, is also used in order to destroy lives on social networks, retire in bubbles of hate filters , for hacking, theft and torture, to create and consume lists and other viral content, in order to plug your ears and yell at the Internet with your fingers.
There is no wi-fi here. Talk to each other. If you are here, it is only because you were supposed to be here. Photo: Jason Koebler
And then I went offline for three weeks. This is not trying to romanticize the difficult situation in which Cubans were systematically kept offline by an authoritarian dictator. In fact, I had a unique opportunity, without throwing my phone into the river and without becoming a forest hermit, to somehow travel back to the past, to an era where the Internet was not a constant feature of our lives.
At home, when I am awake, every second I am acutely aware of what is happening on the Internet. Partly because I am a journalist who publishes online, partly because I am a 21st century person in a developed country, I get bombarded with text messages, Twitter alerts, emails and headlines. When I’m not overwhelmed with alerts, I hunt for them on an almost imperceptible urge to check Reddit, Facebook, or (at times of weakness) Chartbeat, a tool that measures real-time traffic on news websites.
I do it whether I am alone or with someone, in the middle of the night, when I wake up to urinate, when I stand in line or sit in a taxi. I do this when I am and when I am not, when I am happy and when I am sad, when I am anxious and when I am calm.
It is necessary to transfer this decision to people and give them the opportunity to decide on their own .
All new studies show that Facebook turns us into nerve wrecks , that “likes” and 90,021 notifications trigger a dopamine reaction in our brain , which is insignificant, at first glance, distracting us checking email, mail distracting our attention is more than 20 minutes at a time.These conclusions suggest that we, humans, did not have time to adapt to the requirements that, improving exponentially, technology puts forward to our brain, the stability of our attention, our psyche. We are fortunate enough to have the ability to permanently connect, but what does that actually do to us?
“Technique-induced anxiety should not be underestimated at all,” Natalie Nahai, a London-based web psychologist, told me. “Panic attacks are crippling.A particularly striking incident can unsettle you. If you are otherwise consistently online, your level of anxiety can rise, which you will not notice immediately and which can lead to many problems. ”
Last month I got on a plane and flew to an island where many people dream of a connection like mine. More than once I caught myself thinking: “Why would anyone want to be constantly on the Internet?”
Cubans are not technical savages. They have smartphones, computers, pirated films, TV shows, and music.However, they do not have easy, free or open access to the Internet. It was the choice of the Cuban regime, but not the Cuban people.
This must and will change, leading to long-overdue improvements in almost every aspect of Cuban life. The right to the Internet is a human right, and not paying attention to it and at the same time actively denying it to their citizens, the Castro brothers denied people freedom.
The easiest way for a Cuban to get online is by spending 10 percent of the country’s average monthly salary on an hourly scratch card to access a censored and monitored insecure network in a public space filled with CCTV cameras.Most don’t care. For three weeks it didn’t bother me either; I went online solely to experience this process in person (for journalistic purposes) and to tell a select few that I was okay.
The author plays stickball. Photo: David Osit
Cubans lack the largest repository of information ever created by mankind. They lack economic opportunities, and they also lack friendships, and many of them do not speak with relatives living in exile for years: the cost of a Skype call and access to it remains unrealistic.The editors of the illegal Cuban magazine have to cooperate, in the conditions of transporting flash drives from city to city, they have to publish the magazine, buying illegal ink and illegal paper on the illegal black market.
But on the other hand, Cubans are not dealing with some of the nasty things we are dealing with. There are no Twitter insults, few text messaging protocols, no personal #brands to manage. Tinder is thankfully out of fashion, and checking your email once a month is pretty cool from a social point of view.No cycles of artificial resentment, no donkey commentators, no misunderstandings on Gchat.
Their attention has never yet been scattered across a dozen sides across multiple screens and apps. On the long evenings after sunset, I sat outside with the locals, chatting about everything in the world. I watched friends enter into lively restaurant discussions without stopping to glance at the screens. I stood in line for a bus ticket for two hours, talking to a guy looking forward to a trip to the beach instead of complaining about the delay to his Twitter followers.
We were given a Pandora’s box and it was an AOL disc that turned into a cable modem turned into an iPhone .
People without headphones appear to be responsive. Dating isn’t interrupted by dating apps. I drove around the country without the help of GPS, GoogleMaps or even road signs, stopping dozens of times along the way to ask for help and ask for directions from people who gladly helped. More than once I caught myself thinking: “This is how it feels to be human.That’s what means to be human. ”
No one of my acquaintances could contact me for a long time, and I could not contact anyone, but I rarely felt lonely, because the locals really wanted to talk. In the end, a friend from my hometown met me, and we were there together, unable to contact anyone, except perhaps our bartender, if we managed to get his attention. The silence between us really was silence, a time to ponder or notice the interaction of strangers, not a time to like something on Facebook or send a few quick text messages.
This does not mean that everything is perfect with social interaction in Cuba – just the lack of screens is striking, and for a person who stares at the screen for days on end, it is also refreshing.
When Cubans are using the Internet, they are 90 059 indeed are using the Internet. They pay per hour, and only at this hour do Cubans stop paying attention to each other and stare at the screens. They don’t spend time aimlessly scrolling through Reddit, YouTube, or Pinterest. If they talk to a person who is not physically next to them, it is only for the reason that their loved one is talking to a distant relative or friend on Skype.At the same time, the rules for accessing the Internet and security warnings set by the Cuban government require special attention.
This is, of course, not the real Internet, not as we know it. There is little googling, little study or research, no idle conversations, chats, or wasting time, which is undoubtedly an important part of becoming a global citizen using the Internet. I suspect there are few Cuban YouTube commentators, few Cubans at Gamergate, few Cuban social media stars.
It was in this world of almost complete disconnection that I felt more peaceful, more focused.
I have to admit that my first panic was not technical. In fact, I was herded into the intensive care unit by a completely stupid amount of alcohol and iced coffee and dehydration at a music festival, and I began to separate the real world from what was going on in my head at that time.
It was unpleasant, and this feeling has quietly overtook me in the last two years, when the constant tension associated with alerts, emails and everything that makes people feel like a possible heart attack hit me in a wave on the days when I could not disable any of this.Mainly it got better through exercise, therapy, and just getting used to the feeling of my heart popping out of my chest.
And what’s interesting: in Cuba, my work has not gone anywhere, but the alerts have disappeared. Gone is the feeling of being online. And I sat down at the restaurant, ordered coffee and felt, well … .. okay. Even amazing. Three weeks later, things are the same. Panic and anxiety have completely disappeared and do not return.
This may have been, in part, a standard reaction to the first long vacation in two years.But it was also important, and maybe absolutely necessary, to get out of the Internet, to be just a person, and not a dozen digital avatars and profiles on social networks. Not a day, but a long time.
Photo: Jason Koebler
The difference is that most of the world has a choice, even if it may be false. I think that nothing prevents me from moving away from the modern world, although using the Internet seems to be absolutely necessary in order to be an adult professional and especially an employee of a company that works with new media.The Cubans, on the other hand, were provided with disconnect by a series of targeted actions by the despotic dictator.
“If the Cuban people could make a decision and say,“ We don’t want to connect, ”and say that we don’t want to connect, or will just use the Internet when we need information, was a democratic decision, it was would be great, ”José Luis Martinez, director of communications for the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, told me. “It is necessary to make sure that this decision is made by the people themselves.”
We were given a Pandora’s box and it was an AOL disc that turned into a cable modem that turned into an iPhone that would one day inevitably turn into devices implanted in our bodies. The Cubans will inevitably be given the same box, and they will open it. They have no other choice.
Life on the Edge. Chapter from book
Chapter 5. Finding Nemo’s Home
This nose, for example, about which no philosopher has yet spoken with respect and gratitude, is, meanwhile, even the most delicate instrument at our disposal: it can still detect minimal differences in motion, which even a spectroscope cannot detect.
Friedrich Nietzsche. Twilight of Idols (1889)
They seem to be giving us some kind of message from material reality.
Gaston Bachelard. “The Formation of the Scientific Spirit: Notes on the Psychoanalysis of Objective Cognition” (1938)
Among the tentacles of a dangerous sea anemone that lives on a coral reef near the Philippine island of Verde, two small fish have hidden. These are striped orange-white clown fish, or, more precisely, amphiprions, or more precisely, Amphiprion ocellaris .The life of one of them – a female – was much more interesting than the life of most vertebrates, since this fish was not always a female. Like all amphiprions, the fish was at first a male, who obeyed the only female in the school of fish that inhabited this anemones. A rigid social structure was established in the amphiprion flock, and this male competed with other males until he finally became dominant and won the right to mate with the only female in the flock. Once the female was eaten by a moray eel swimming by, and after that, the dominant male began to develop ovaries, which did not function for several years, and the testes, on the contrary, ceased to function.So the male amphiprion turned into a female queen, ready to mate with the next male in the hierarchy of the flock.
Amphiprions are typical inhabitants of the coral reefs of the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. They feed on plants, algae, plankton, as well as molluscs and small crustaceans. Due to their small size, bright color and the absence of thorns, sharp fins, antennae and teeth, the amphiprions themselves become easy prey for moray eels, sharks and other predators scurrying along the reefs in search of food.Sensing a threat, they save themselves by quickly hiding in the tentacles of their anemones. From the poisonous sting of anemones, the fish are protected by a dense layer of mucus covering their scales. In turn, the sea anemones also benefit from the protection of their colorful inhabitants, which scare away unwanted guests, such as butterfly fish that feed on coral polyps.
These features of the clown fish lifestyle became widely known after the release of the animated film Finding Nemo. In the story, a clown fish named Marlin goes in search of his son Nemo, who inevitably found himself far from home – the Great Barrier Reef – and made it to Sydney itself.But an even more difficult test for amphipryos is finding the way home.
Each anemone can be home to a whole colony of amphipryos, in which there is necessarily a dominant pair – a male and a female. In addition, in the colony, several young males compete with each other for the right to become a partner of the female in the future. The amphiprion’s protandric hermaphroditism (the unusual ability of the dominant male to change sex after the death of the female) is most likely a form of adaptation to life on a dangerous reef.Thanks to this ability, the colony protects itself from extinction after the death of the only female with reproductive function. Moreover, fish do not even need to leave their native anemones in search of a new home. The same colony of amphiprions usually lives on anemones for many years, but the offspring still sometimes leave a safe home and sooner or later face a test – finding a way back.
The full moon is a signal to start spawning for most coral fish.When the moon over the ocean begins to wane, the female clownfish lays eggs, which are subsequently fertilized by the dominant male. This completes the work of the female, but the male is engaged in protecting the eggs, driving away predatory fish that live on the reef from them. Paternal care for eggs lasts about a week. After that, hundreds of tadpoles are born. Currents carry them into adult life as a fish.
Amphipryo tadpoles are only a few millimeters long. Moreover, they are almost completely transparent.For a week or so, they swim in the ocean feeding on zooplankton. As experienced divers who have dived to depths in the area of coral reefs more than once know, the current very quickly carries you away from the place where you dived under the water; so amphiprion tadpoles are carried from their native reef for many kilometers. Most of them fall prey to predatory fish, but some survive. After another week, the lucky survivors sink to the bottom, where during the day they turn (like the frog tadpole, which we described in Chapter 3) into fry – small copies of adult fish.Without the protection of the poisonous sea anemone, brightly colored fry become easy prey for predatory fish hunting in the near-bottom waters. To survive, the amphiprion fry must very quickly find a coral reef, and therefore protection.
It has always been believed that coral fish tadpoles are carried away by the ocean current and that they can only rely on a lucky chance to be carried by this current to a suitable coral for life. However, there was something illogical here: it was always known that tadpoles are strong enough and can swim perfectly, but there is no point in swimming to no one knows where.In 2006, Gabriele Gerlach, a researcher at the renowned Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, genomically identified fish that inhabit reefs 3 to 23 kilometers away. The study was carried out at one of the sections of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. It turned out that fish inhabiting a separate reef are more closely related to each other than to fish inhabiting distant reefs. Since the current carries all the tadpoles away from their native reef for many kilometers, the result of the study can only be explained by the fact that most adult fish subsequently return to the reef where they were born.The coral fish fry must have some sort of mark to indicate where they were born on the reef.
So how do tadpoles or amphiprion fry, which are carried so far from home by the current, determine in which direction to swim? The ocean floor does not provide any visible clues. There are few landmarks at the bottom, it looks the same in all directions: a sandy desert, dotted with large and small stones, among which here and there various arthropods scurry about. It is unlikely that a distant coral reef sends out some kind of sound signal that spreads in the water for several kilometers.Currents in themselves are a problem, because their directions are constantly changing depending on the depth and sometimes it is difficult to determine whether the body of water is moving or is at rest. There is no evidence that amphipryos have a mechanism like a magnetic compass that helps robins navigate space during migrations. So how do coral fish fry find their way home?
The sense of smell is well developed in fish. It is known that sharks, whose sense of smell is responsible for two-thirds of the brain, can smell one drop of blood at a distance of more than a kilometer.Perhaps coral fish are sniffing their way home? To test this assumption, in 2007 Gabriele Gerlach conducted a “two-channel experiment to select a watercourse based on odor.” The coral fish fry were faced with a choice – to swim with the current in one of two streams. The water of the first was collected on the reef where the fish were born, and the water of the second was transferred from a distant reef, foreign to the fry. The researcher observed which watercourse the fry would choose – with their own or someone else’s water.
The fry invariably swam along the watercourse formed from the water of the native reef. They were able to determine exactly where the water is from that reef, where they were born, and where is the water from someone else’s reef. This is presumably due to the fact that these waters smell differently for the fry. Michael Arvedland, a scientist at James Cook University (Queensland, Australia), conducted a similar experiment, during which it was confirmed that amphiprions are able to distinguish the species of their native anemon from all other species inhabited by other colonies by smell.Moreover, Danielle Dixon of the same James Cook University has shown that amphipryos can distinguish water taken from their habitat – from reefs located near the green islands – from water taken from reefs far from the coast. It seems that Nemo, like the rest of the clown fish living in the coral reefs, really could find his way home by smell.
The ability of animals to make their way, relying on the sense of smell, has long been known. Every year, around the world, millions of salmon congregate in large flocks off the coast of the ocean near the mouth of a large river and swim to spawning grounds, overcoming currents, rapids, waterfalls and sandbanks.As with amphipryos, scientists have long believed that salmon choose the right river for spawning by chance. However, in 1939, Canadian Wilbert Clemens tagged about 470,000 juvenile salmon caught in one of the tributaries of the Fraser River. A few years later, he caught in the same tributary almost 11 thousand tagged fish that returned to their native waters. No tagged fish were caught in other tributaries of the Fraser River. Not a single fish lost its way, returning from the ocean to its native river.For many years, the ability of fish to navigate the ocean and river flows remained unexplained. Professor Arthur Hasler of the University of Wisconsin at Madison suggested that young fish find their way to their native river by smell, and in 1954 tested his hypothesis. He caught several hundred fish returning upstream of the Issaqua River near Seattle, where two large streams merge, and carried them downstream. All the fish returned to the same stream in which they were caught. Then the professor plugged their nostrils with cotton and released them again in an unfamiliar place.The fish swam upstream again, however, in search of their stream, they rushed in one direction, then in the other and could not decide where to swim – to the right or to the left.
On land, the role of smell is even more noticeable, since the volume of air in which odors dissolve is much larger than the volume of the ocean. Atmospheric currents are also subject to turbulence due to changing weather, so gas molecules dissipate in air much faster than in water. The sense of smell is the most important sense for most land animals, on which their survival depends.They use their sense of smell not only to find their way home, but also to catch prey, escape from a predator, find a mate, signal an alarm to relatives, mark territory, stimulate physiological changes in the body, and also for communication. Of course, such opportunities are not available to the human sense of smell, so people often use the stronger sense of smell of their smaller brothers, for example, in order to unravel some of the signals and signs of animals. It is known, for example, how much smells excite dogs.Thus, the Bloodhound Hound, whose olfactory epithelium (more on this later) is 40 times thicker than a human, is able to find a person by smell. We have all seen, at least in the movies, how a bloodhound dog needs to sniff the thrown clothes of an escaped criminal and she immediately takes his trail and finds the villain, chasing him through swamps, forests and along streams. In the movies, of course, there are fictional stories, but the unique sense of smell inherent in hounds is a reliable fact. Dogs are able to determine by smell which way a person was going, and which – an animal, as well as attack a trail by smell left a few days ago.
The amazing possibilities of smelling animals can be demonstrated by examples of the feats that a bloodhound dog or clown fish performs on a daily basis. Let’s talk first about the Bloodhound: he has such a delicate nose that he is able to distinguish in the smell of a person or an animal even a very small amount of organic substances, such as butyric acid. The dog’s sense of smell is amazing. If you spray one gram of butyric acid in a room, then a person would feel its sweetish-rancid smell.However, the dog would smell butyric acid if only one gram were sprayed over an entire city, and at an altitude of 100 meters. Now remember that a clown fish or salmon can smell their native places at a distance of several kilometers in the vast expanses of the ocean.
The sense of smell of animals impresses not only with its sharpness, but also with its well-developed discriminatory ability. Dogs help customs officials on a daily basis to detect by smell a range of illegal substances (usually carefully packed and hidden in a suitcase), from drugs like marijuana and cocaine to explosive components like C-4.Dogs are also able to distinguish people by smell, even identical twins. How do they do it? After all, butyric acid secreted by one of us is the same butyric acid that is secreted by any other person. This is certainly true. However, in addition to butyric acid, any organism produces a fine and complex mixture of hundreds of organic molecules, which is a unique odor that, like fingerprints, is not repeated by anyone. Dogs sense this individual scent as easily as we, for example, distinguish the color of a T-shirt.In the same way, a clown fish or salmon can just as easily distinguish the smell of their native waters, as we recognize our home street or determine the color of the front door.
Yet dogs, salmon, and amphiprions are not the most acute sense of smell. For example, a bear’s sense of smell is seven times sharper than that of a bloodhound: it can sense a living creature at a distance of 20 kilometers. The mole senses another individual at a distance of 10 kilometers; rats are able to perceive smells in stereo mode, and snakes – with their tongues.All these olfactory abilities are important for animals, which must constantly find food for themselves, find partners, and avoid encounters with predators. They have developed a sensitivity to subtle hints that can reduce the risk of danger in the air or in the water. Smell is so important to animal survival that behavioral responses to odors are innate in some species. During experiments with voles from the Orkney Islands, rodents avoided the traps with the odor (secret) of the ermine predator, despite the fact that ermines have not been found in the Orkney Islands for five thousand years!
It is believed that a person’s sense of smell is less acute than the sense of smell of his ancestors.Several million years ago, Homo erectus tore off its upper limbs from the ground and became erect. At the same time, his nose also moved away from the ground – a rich source of various odors. Over time, vision and hearing became the main sources of information for our ancestors, which gradually improved with a more favorable body position for the eyes and ears. The human nose has become shorter, the nostrils have narrowed, and mutations have accumulated in most of the genes (our ancestors had about a thousand of them in total) encoding the properties of olfactory receptors (more on this later).Unfortunately, we also lost the additional olfactory ability found in other animals, for which the vomeronasal organ (Jacobson’s organ) is responsible. The vomer’s function is to capture sex pheromones.
And yet, despite the scarce, compared to our ancestors, set of three hundred genes responsible for olfactory receptors, and some anatomical changes, we have retained a surprisingly good sense of smell. We cannot smell a person or food at a distance of several kilometers, but we are able to distinguish about ten thousand odors and, as Nietzsche noted, even perform a “spectral analysis” of odorous substances.Our ability to smell has been a source of inspiration for great poets (“A rose smells like a rose, call it a rose or not”) and is of great importance to our well-being and satisfaction.
In the history of mankind, the sense of smell has also been surprisingly important. The oldest texts speak of a person’s reverence for pleasant smells. Unpleasant odors were disgusting. Incense was always sprayed in sacred places. There is an episode in the Bible in which God instructs Moses to build a temple and tells him: “Take for yourself some fragrant substances: stuckti, onikha, halvan of fragrant and pure Lebanon, only half, and make of them the art of making up a smoking composition, erased, clean, holy “.The ancient Egyptians even had a god of incense – Nefertum, who was also revered as a god of healing, a kind of mythical aromatherapist.
Because of the persistent associations of health with pleasant smells and, conversely, disease and decline – with unpleasant ones, many people believed that it was smells that caused health or disease, and not vice versa. For example, the ancient Roman surgeon Galen believed that foul-smelling underwear – sheets, blankets, mattresses – caused infection of blood and other body fluids. The sickening odors (miasms) emanating from sewers, crypts, cesspools, and swamps were believed to be the source of many deadly diseases.People believed that pleasant smells were able to ward off illness and protect against it. That is why the doctors of medieval Europe, before entering a house where there is a plague patient, demanded that the room first be ventilated, and then they would smoke incense in it, for example, incense, myrrh, rose oil, cloves and other aromatic herbs. Thus, initially, the profession of a perfumer was associated with disinfection rather than caring for the human body.
The importance of smell in human life is not limited only to the recognition of smells inhaled by the nose.You might be surprised, but our sense of taste is believed to be 90% the same sense of smell. When we taste food, taste receptors located on the tongue and palate recognize chemicals dissolved in saliva. However, humans have only five types of taste receptors that can distinguish combinations of five basic tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami (translated from Japanese as “pleasant spicy taste”). At the same time, the smells of food and drinks travel from the throat to the nasal cavity, where hundreds of olfactory receptors are activated.Compared to the taste receptors, the olfactory receptors give us much more power to distinguish between thousands of different smells and enjoy the aromas of good wine, odorous foods, condiments, herbs or coffee. Despite the fact that we have lost the vomeronasal sense of smell, preserved in most mammals, the widespread perfume industry suggests that smells still play an important role in human relationships, especially sexual ones. Freud even saw a connection between the suppression of sexual desires and the sublimation of the sense of smell in most people, but at the same time he wrote that “there are entire peoples, even in Europe, in whose sexual culture a strong smell of genitals is highly valued.”
So how do humans, dogs, bears, snakes, moths, sharks, rats, and amphiprios decipher these messages of “material reality”? How are we able to distinguish such a variety of smells?
The nature of odors
Unlike sight and hearing, which receive information not directly, but through electromagnetic or sound waves emitted by an object, the organs of taste and smell receive information by directly contacting an object (molecule) carrying a message of “material reality”.The mechanisms of both senses (taste and smell) work on a very similar principle. The molecules that are recognized by the organs of taste and smell are either dissolved in saliva or spread through the air and then enter receptors on the tongue (taste receptors) or on the olfactory epithelium of the superior nasal concha of the nasal cavity. The volatility of odors suggests that most of them are nothing more than tiny molecules.
The nose itself does not play an important role in the process of smell.It only promotes the movement of air to the place where the olfactory epithelium is located, namely to the back of the nasal cavity (Fig.5.1). The tissue of the olfactory epithelium occupies a small area (in humans it is only 3 cubic centimeters, which is the size of a small postage stamp), but it is permeated with secreting cells and millions of olfactory neurons – nerve cells that perform the same function in the sense of smell as rods and the cones in the retina are for vision.The anterior tip of the olfactory nerve resembles a panicle – a multi-ray head, on which the cell membrane diverges into a set of fleecy cilia . This panicle, consisting of thin cilia, protrudes from the cell and catches odor molecules flying by. The posterior tip of the cell resembles the handle of a panicle and is the axon of the cell, or nerve, which extends through a small bone in the back of the nasal cavity directly into the brain, more specifically into a section of the brain called the olfactory bulb .
We would advise you to finish reading the rest of this chapter with an orange in front of you. It is best to cut it into wedges so that the pungent aroma of the fruit reaches your olfactory epithelium. You can even put one lobule in your mouth – then its scent will enter the epithelial tissue through the retronasal pathways. Like all natural scents, orange scent is a complex mixture of hundreds of volatile components, the most aromatic of which is limonene. We will talk about this substance in detail and trace the path from the limonene molecule to the smell of orange.
Limonene, as its name suggests, is found in large quantities in citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons, and forms their strong aroma and taste. This substance belongs to a class of hydrocarbons called “terpenes” . Terpenes are found in essential oils and have a strong scent that is found in pine, rose, grapes and cones. If you want, place a glass of beer or wine in front of you instead of an orange. Limonene is found in various parts of citrus plants, including the leaves, but the highest concentration is found in the peel of the fruit, from which it can be literally squeezed.
Limonene is a volatile liquid that gradually evaporates at room temperature. So, millions of limonene molecules are flying out of your orange into the air. Most of them will leave the room through the door and windows, and some molecules will end up near your nose. As you breathe, the citrus scent – that is, the limonene molecules – will enter your nostrils and reach the nasal epithelium, which is penetrated by about ten million olfactory neurons.
When limonene molecules fly past the brushes of the olfactory epithelium, some of them are bound to fall into the trap of the olfactory neurons.Even one limonene molecule is enough to open a tiny channel in the neuron membrane through which positively charged calcium ions begin to penetrate into the cell. If about 35 limonene molecules are trapped in the epithelium, the subsequent flow of ions into the cell is comparable to a weak electric current of about 1 pA. A stream of this force acts as a stimulus for a wave of electrical signal known as an action potential (we’ll talk more about this in Chapter 8), propagating along the handle of the panicle, that is, the axon of the cell.This signal reaches the olfactory bulb inside the brain. Then the signal is processed in neural networks, and then you finally receive a “message of material reality” in the form of a sharp citrus aroma.
The key moment of this process is, of course, the capture of the molecule by the olfactory neuron. So how does this happen? By analogy with the mechanism of vision and the light-sensitive cones and rods of the retina (which, by the way, are a kind of neurons), it was assumed that the sense of smell is also carried out by some surface receptors of the olfactory epithelium.However, back in the 1970s, scientists knew nothing about the nature and properties of olfactory receptors.
Richard Axel was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1948. He was the first child of a refugee family from Nazi-occupied Poland. His childhood was no different from the childhood of any Brooklyn boy of that time: between stickball games (a type of street baseball in which sewer manholes serve as cushion bases, and broomsticks as bats) and basketball on the streets and in the yards, Richard ran on behalf of his father -portable.At the age of 11, he got his first job as a courier – delivering faulty false jaws to dentists for repair. At the age of 12, he laid carpets, at 13 he served corned beef and smoked meats at a local eatery. The owner of the diner was a Russian who often quoted Shakespeare as he sliced cabbage and introduced Richard to the world of great culture that lay somewhere outside the eatery and basketball courts. This is how Richard became a lover of literature. His intellectual abilities were noticed by one of the high school teachers, who subsequently inspired Excel, and successfully, to enter the literary department at Columbia University.
From the early days of his studies, Excel plunged into the intellectual whirlpool of university life in the 1960s. In order for him to have enough for an active lifestyle, which implied attending numerous parties, he got a job in a molecular genetic laboratory as a laboratory glass washer. Excel was very interested in a new and interesting science and soon resigned from the hopeless position of a dishwasher, getting a job in the same laboratory as an assistant. He was faced with a choice between literature and science, and Axel eventually decided to pursue his studies in genetics, but was soon forced to move to medical school to avoid being drafted to Vietnam.Medicine was given to him as badly as washing glass. He could not hear the heart murmur, could not see and describe the retina of the eye; once during an operation, his glasses fell into the incised abdomen and he somehow managed to sew a surgeon’s finger onto a patient. In the end, he received his diploma, but it was taken from him that he would never practice medicine on living patients. He returned to the Department of Pathological Anatomy at Columbia University, but a year later the head of the department forbade Excel to work with the dead as well.
Realizing that medicine was not his vocation, Axel decided to return to research at Columbia University. He soon achieved success and even invented a new technology for introducing foreign DNA into mammalian cells, which became the starting point of the genetic engineering and biotechnological revolution of the late 20th century. It also earned Columbia University hundreds of millions of dollars from licensing agreements – a good return on student scholarships.
By the 1980s, Axel was increasingly wondering if molecular biology could help unravel the most mysterious of all scientific mysteries: how the human brain works. He left the study of gene behavior and focused on the study of behavior genes with the aim of “identifying how the higher centers of the brain generate a ‘perception’ (mental image), say, the smell of lilac, or coffee, or a skunk …” His first step in neuroscience was to study behavior of a sea snail during egg-laying. Around the same time, the talented researcher Linda Buck came to work in his laboratory.An immunologist by training (University of Dallas), Buck became interested in the new direction of molecular neuroscience and came to work in Excel’s laboratory, where they conducted cutting-edge research in this new field. Together, Excel and Buck conducted a series of remarkable experiments to study the molecular mechanism of smell. Their first challenge was to identify receptor molecules that were supposed to be on the surface of olfactory neurons, capture and identify various odor molecules.Based on what was known about other sensory cells, Excel and Buck guessed that olfactory receptors work on the basis of some proteins that emerge from the cell membrane and bind odor molecules flying by. However, at that time, odor receptors had not yet been isolated, so scientists did not know what these receptors look like, much less how they work. The team of researchers proceeded from the assumption that these mysterious receptors belong to the group of receptors coupled to the G-protein, since it is known that this group of receptors also reacts to chemical signals, for example, is activated by hormones.
Linda Buck discovered a new family of genes encoding proteins that are expressed in olfactory receptor neurons. Moreover, Buck was able to prove that these genes encode subtle receptors that distinguish smells. Further studies showed that the rat genome encodes about a thousand of these receptors, each of which, at least slightly, but differs from the others, and, presumably, serves to recognize one odor. The human genome contains about the same number of genes encoding olfactory receptors, but two-thirds of them have degraded to pseudogenes – a kind of fossil genes that have accumulated so many mutations that they are no longer able to function normally.
Not so important, 300 genes code for our olfactory receptors or a thousand, it still does not converge with the ten thousand odors that a person is able to distinguish. Obviously, the number of types of olfactory receptors does not coincide with the number of odors that they distinguish. The mechanism of transformation of the signal received by the olfactory receptor into smell remained a mystery. It was also unclear how the various cells distributed among themselves the function of recognizing various odor molecules.The genome of each cell contains a complete set of genes encoding olfactory receptors, so any of them is theoretically capable of identifying all possible odors. Or is there some kind of division of labor among them? To answer these questions, a team of scientists at Columbia University conducted an even more sophisticated experiment. They changed the genome of the mouse so that all olfactory neurons responsible for a particular receptor for one odor turned blue. If blue spots appeared in all cells, this would mean that this receptor is expressed in all cells.Everything became clear when the researchers checked the olfactory cells of experimental mice: the blue spot was observed in about one cell in a thousand. This indicated that the olfactory neuron is not a broad specialist, but a narrow one.
Soon, Linda Buck left Columbia University and headed a laboratory at Harvard. Teams of scientists led by Excel and Buck continued parallel research, in the course of which many of the mysteries of smell were solved. For example, a technology was invented to isolate individual olfactory neurons and determine their sensitivity to specific odors, such as limonene.Scientists have found that any odorous substance activates not one, but several neurons, and each neuron responds not to one, but to several odors. Thanks to these discoveries, it became clear how 300 olfactory receptors recognize ten thousand odors. Just as a huge number of words and texts are composed of several dozen letters of the alphabet, so several hundred olfactory receptors are activated in trillions of combinations, allowing to distinguish a huge number of smells.
Richard Axel and Linda Buck won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering research on “olfactory receptors and the organization of the olfactory system.”
Penetrating the secret of smell
The initial event in the definition of smell – be it the smell of an orange, a coral reef, a mate, a predator, or a prey – is, as is now understood, the binding of one odor molecule to the olfactory receptor, which occurs at the branched end of one of the olfactory neurons, similar to a panicle.However, how does each receptor recognize its own set of molecules, say the limonene molecule, without capturing others, without binding with any other molecule from the vast ocean of possible odors reaching the olfactory epithelium?
This is the most important secret of the smell.
The traditional explanation for this mechanism has always been a comparison with a lock and a key. Smell molecules are thought to fit into the olfactory receptor like a key to a lock, for example limonene is tightly embedded in a suitable olfactory receptor.Further, in a process that is still unclear, such a tight binding turns the lock and triggers the release mechanism of the G-protein, which is usually located on the inner surface of the receptor, like a projectile attached to the hull of a ship. When a projectile is launched into a cell, it makes a path to the cell membrane, where it opens a channel that allows electrically charged molecules to enter the cell. This electrical charge, which penetrates the cell through the membrane, causes the neuron to send a signal (more on this in Chapter 9) from the olfactory epithelium to the brain.
If we talk about the mechanism of smell in terms of a lock and a key, this means that the molecules of the receptor and the molecules of smell complement each other’s shape, so the latter are, as it were, built into the former. A simple analogy is the jigsaw puzzles that kids love to put together: holes of a certain shape (say, a circle, square or triangle) are cut on a wooden board, into which suitable figures of the same shape and size are inserted. You can imagine molecules of different aromas in the form of such figures: for example, the orange scent molecule, that is, the limonene molecule, is round, the apple scent molecule is square, the banana scent molecule is triangular.Thus, in each olfactory receptor there are corresponding holes – binding pockets , where a molecule of a certain smell will ideally enter.
Of course, in reality, the molecules do not have such regular shapes, so the binding pockets of the receptor proteins are much more complex so that molecules of intricate shapes can enter them as tightly as possible. Most of the pockets are probably very complex in shape, reminiscent of the active sites of enzymes that, as you recall from Chapter 3, bind substrate molecules.By the way, it is believed that the interaction of odor molecules with binding receptor pockets follows the same scheme as the interaction of substrates with the active centers of the enzyme (see Fig. 3.4) and even the interaction of drugs and enzymes. By the way, scientists have suggested that understanding the role of quantum mechanics in the interaction of odor molecules with receptors could improve the drug development process.
In any case, the following assumption follows from the hypothesis about the shapes of molecules and receptors: there is probably a correlation between the shape of a molecule of a substance and its smell.In other words, molecules that are similar in shape should have similar odors, and molecules with very different shapes, quite possibly, sharply differ in odors.
Perhaps one of the most ominous smells in human history was the smell of mustard or rotten hay in the trenches of the First World War. Invisible gases spread unhindered over the neutral zone. There was a faint smell of mustard (mustard gas) or stale hay (phosgene) in the air – and the soldier had a few precious seconds to pull on the mask until the deadly substance entered his lungs.Chemist Malcolm Dyson survived a mustard gas attack. Perhaps due to the fact that it was his sense of smell that saved him from death, he subsequently decided to devote himself to unraveling the nature of smells. After the war, he was engaged in the industrial synthesis of many substances and often used his sense of smell, analyzing the smells of the products of synthesis reactions. Dyson was struck by the apparent lack of any connection between the shape of the molecules and their smells. So, many molecules that differ in shape (substances in Fig. 5.2, a – d ) smell the same, in this case, musk.Conversely, substances with a similar molecular structure ( d and e in Fig.5.2) have different odors, in this case, substance e has a urine odor, and substance d has no odor at all.
The lack of a direct relationship between the shape and smell of molecules has always been – and continues to be – one of the main problems of manufacturers of perfumes and fragrances. Instead of creating a scent in the same way as a bottle – just choosing the shape of the molecule, perfumers are forced to rely on chemical synthesis, which usually takes many stages of trial and error, during which chemists like Dyson have to sniff out countless smells. …Yet Dyson noticed that substances that smelled the same usually contained components with the same chemical groups, such as an oxygen atom bonded to a carbon atom by a C = O double bond, in all substances that smell like musk (see Figure 5.2). These chemical groups are part of any large molecule and determine many of their properties, including, as Dyson noted, the smell of a substance. Another large group of substances with a similar odor includes substances in the molecules of which the hydrogen sulfide group (S – H) is found.If there is a hydrogen atom in the structure of a molecule associated with a sulfur atom, the substance has a characteristic rotten egg smell. Dyson suggested that our noses do not capture the shape of the entire molecule of a substance, but a completely different physical property, namely the frequency of vibrations of molecular bonds between atoms.
Dyson made his assumptions in the late 1920s, when no one had the slightest idea how to detect and record molecular vibrations. However, in the early 1920s, while traveling to Europe, Indian physicist Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman was delighted with the “wonderful blue tints of the Mediterranean Sea” and suggested that “this phenomenon owes its origin to the scattering of light by water molecules.”Usually, light is bounced off an atom or molecule “elastically,” that is, without losing energy, like a hard rubber ball from a hard surface. Raman suggested that on rare occasions, light can scatter “inelastically”, like a hard ball hitting a baseball bat, while transmitting some energy to both the bat and the player (remember how in the cartoon Bugs Bunny hits a fast flying ball, then vibrates and bit, and the rabbit itself). In the case of “inelastic” scattering, protons also lose energy “in favor” of the molecular bonds with which they collide and which begin to vibrate.The scattered light, therefore, loses energy, which leads to a change in its frequency and, accordingly, color (closer to the blue end of the spectrum), creating the effect of the “wonderful blue tints” that Raman was fascinated with.
Chemists apply this principle to study the structure of molecules. A beam of light is passed through a sample of the substance under investigation, and the difference between the color and frequency (i.e. energy) of the incoming and outgoing light is recorded as the Raman spectrum of the substance, which is a kind of imprints of its chemical bonds.The method for detecting this spectrum – Raman spectroscopy – is named after an Indian physicist. For the development of this method, Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Hearing about the results of Raman’s research, Dyson realized that they may also explain the mechanism by which the olfactory organs identify the vibrations of odor molecules. He suggested that the nose “is a kind of spectroscope” capable of picking up the frequency of vibrations of various chemical bonds. He even identified some frequencies in the Raman spectrum for substances with a similar odor.Thus, the frequency of the peak of Raman scattering of all mercaptans (substances whose molecules contain a terminal hydrogen sulfide bond) is in the range of 2567–2580. All these substances are characterized by the smell of rotten eggs.
Dyson’s theory could at least explain the analytical nature of odors, but no one could even imagine how something like Raman spectroscopy is used in the olfactory system to form an image of a smell.To do this, we would need more than an internal biological spectroscope that would capture and analyze the scattered light. First of all, when we perceive the smell, we would need a light source.
Another serious flaw in Dyson’s theory was discovered when it became clear that our olfactory organs are able to easily distinguish molecules that have the same chemical structure and identical Raman spectrum, but at the same time they are mirror images of each other. For example, the limonene molecule that forms the scent of an orange lying in front of you can be called a right-handed molecule.However, there is an almost identical dipentene molecule in structure – a left-sided (mirror) copy of the limonene molecule (Fig.5.3, in which the sharp, darkened areas at the bottom of each diagram indicate a carbon-carbon bond directed in the first case down, and in the other up).
Dipentene has the same molecular bonds as limonene, and, accordingly, coincides with it in terms of the Raman spectrum, but it is very different from limonene in its pungent turpentine odor.Molecules with specular reflections are called chiral . In most cases, they have different smells. The chirality property is also possessed by carvone, a natural substance contained in the seeds of dill and caraway. Carvone has a caraway scent, and its mirror isomer is a spicy mint scent. These two isomers cannot be distinguished by Raman spectroscopy, but they are easily identified by odor. Understandably, the sense of smell cannot rely solely on detecting molecular vibrations.
All these seemingly inevitable shortcomings of the theory of oscillations explaining the mechanism of smell, led to the fact that it was overshadowed for a long time – practically for the entire second half of the twentieth century – by the theory of a lock and a key. Even the diligent efforts of the few supporters of the theory of molecular vibrations to correct the shortcomings did not dispose the scientific community to her. One of the proponents of the theory of vibrations, Canadian chemist Robert Wright, even proposed a potential solution to the puzzle of mirror isomers with different odors.He suggested that the olfactory receptors themselves have the property of chirality (they have left- and right-sided forms). An odor molecule can be captured by a receptor with a left- or right-handed structure, and, depending on this, vibrations of molecular bonds will be perceived differently. Let’s look at an analogy from the world of music. It is known that left-handed Jimi Hendrix (let it symbolize the olfactory receptor) used to play the right-handed guitar (compare it to a chiral odor molecule), the neck of which was directed to the right.Right-hander Eric Clapton played a regular guitar (mirror image of a molecule), the neck of which was designed for the left hand. Both musicians could play the same riff (produce the same vibrations) on mirrored guitars, but the sound picked up by a microphone (which in our analogy represents a vibration detector – part of the olfactory receptor) installed, say, to the left of the musicians will be different. The differences will be due to the fact that the strings of the two guitars (that is, the molecular bonds) are located differently relative to the microphone.Wright suggested that chiral olfactory receptors respond to the frequency of vibrations of chemical bonds only if the chemical bonds are in a suitable position for the receptor: he argued that receptors are left-handed and right-handed, like guitarists. And yet the theory of oscillations remained on the periphery of science, without explaining the mechanism of operation of the biological detector of oscillations of chemical bonds.
However, there are also contradictions in the theory of lock and key (theory of form). As we have already said, within the framework of this theory, it is impossible to explain the presence of molecules with different structures and the same smell, and vice versa.Reflecting on these contradictions, in 1994, Gordon Shepherd and Kensaku Mori formulated several ideas that are sometimes collectively referred to as the “weak form theory” or “odotope theory.” The main difference of this theory of smell from the classical theory of form was the assumption of Shepherd and Morey that the olfactory receptors do not identify the form of the entire molecule, but only part of it – a certain chemical group. For example, we have already said that the composition of the molecules of substances with a musky smell (the schemes are shown in Fig.5.2) includes an oxygen atom double bonded to a carbon atom. According to the odotope theory, olfactory receptors respond precisely to the shape of these chemical groups, and not to the shape of the whole molecule. This theory is more suitable for explaining the analytical nature of odor, but it is not without its drawbacks, like the theory of vibrations. Disadvantages, for example, arise when it comes to molecules that are very different in structure, but contain the same chemical groups. So, neither the theory of odotope, nor the theory of vibrations can explain why substances differ in smell, despite the same chemical groups in the composition of molecules.For example, the molecules of vanillin (the main component of vanilla) and isovanillin are composed of a six-carbon ring and three identical side groups in a different order (Figure 5.4). According to the odotope theory, the same chemical groups must have the same odor. Nevertheless, vanillin, as you know, smells like vanilla, and isovanillin has a pungent phenol smell (a sweet medical smell).
To overcome these contradictions, the supporters of the theory of the lock and key proposed to combine it with the theory of the odotope.They suggested the presence of a chiral mechanism for recognizing the shape of chemical groups in the olfactory system. Yet the new theory is unable to explain the presence of mirror molecules with the same odor. According to the unified theory, the smells of such molecules are recognized by the same receptor. In this case, this receptor, equally suitable in shape for mirror isomers, is a kind of molecular organism with a universal hand on which you can put on both right and left gloves, and this already looks like nonsense.
The quantum nose and its sense of smell
It is not difficult for an ordinary person to understand what is the meaning of the theory of the coincidence of the shape of the receptor and the molecule: every day we deal with such a phenomenon as complementarity of forms, putting on a glove, inserting a key into a keyhole or tightening a nut with a wrench. It is known that enzymes (which we talked about in Chapter 3), antibodies, hormone receptors and other biomolecules interact mainly through the geometric adaptation of their own atoms and molecules.Therefore, it is not surprising that the theory of the coincidence of the shape of the receptor and the molecule has been supported by many biologists, including Richard Excel and Linda Buck, who received the Nobel Prize for the study of olfactory receptors.
Communication based on the processing of vibrations of chemical bonds is familiar and understandable to us to a much lesser extent, despite the fact that this mechanism underlies at least two channels of obtaining information – sight and hearing. While the physics of processes such as reading the frequency of light vibrations with the eye or fixing the frequency of vibrations in air by the ear has long been understood, until recently no one could offer a clear explanation of how the nose recognizes the frequency of molecular vibrations.
Luca Turin was born in 1953 in Lebanon. He studied physiology at University College London. Educated in London, he moved to France, where he was fortunate enough to work at the National Center for Scientific Research. He once visited the famous Galeries Lafayette store in Nice and experienced moments of true revelation there. In the center of the large perfumery pavilion there was a showcase filled with the products of the Japanese company Shiseido , namely their new scent Nombre Noir , about which Turin writes: “It was something between a rose and a violet, but absolutely without the sweet cloying inherent in both aromas; on the contrary, it had a faint, subtle hint of the smell of a cedar cigar box.At the same time, the scent was not dry at all. It seemed to be shimmering with the freshness of a deep, warm color, and the drops glittered in it, like the glass of a stained-glass window. ” The Japanese fragrance deeply impressed Turin and inspired him to long search for the mystery of the smell, namely, how the molecules entering the human nose can cause such piercing sensations.
Like its predecessor, Dyson, Turin was convinced that the relationship between vibration spectrum and odor could not be a coincidence.He agreed with Dyson’s argument that olfactory receptors somehow pick up molecular vibrations. Unlike Dyson, Turin suggested the presence of a very abstract, but at the same time plausible, molecular mechanism in the olfactory system, which is a set of biomolecules capable of trapping the vibrations of chemical bonds through quantum electron tunneling.
As you recall from Chapter 1, tunneling is a quantum phenomenon based on the ability of particles, such as electrons or protons, to acquire the properties of a wave and overcome obstacles that cannot be overcome in any other way known to classical physics.In Chapter 3, we talked about how this phenomenon plays an important role in many reactions involving enzymes. While Turin was struggling to solve the mystery of the smell, he came across an article about such a new technology used in chemistry as Inelastically Scattered Electron Tunnel Spectroscopy (IETS) . The IETS mechanism is as follows: two metal plates are placed very close to each other, leaving a thin gap between them. When a voltage is applied to the plates, electrons accumulate on one of them, giving it a negative charge (donor plate).The second, positively charged, – the acceptor plate – begins to attract them. If the reasoning does not go beyond the framework of classical physics, then it can be argued that the electrons do not have enough energy to jump over the gap separating the two plates. However, electrons are objects of a quantum nature, and if the gap is not very wide, then they will overcome the path from donor to acceptor through quantum tunneling. This process is called “elastic” tunneling, since electrons do not receive, but do not lose energy in the course of covering a certain distance.
“Elastic” tunneling of an electron from a donor to an acceptor is possible under one important condition – the presence of a free point on the acceptor with the energy coinciding with the electron energy. If the nearest acceptor point accessible to the electron is characterized by lower energy, then the electron must lose some of its own energy in order to make the jump. This process is called “inelastic” tunneling. The unnecessary energy must be directed somewhere, otherwise the electron cannot tunnel.If a substance is placed between the plates, the electron can jump from donor to acceptor, transferring excess energy to this substance. This is possible as long as the molecules of the substance located between the plates have bonds that vibrate at a frequency corresponding to the imparted energy. Having got rid of excess energy in this way, electrons performing “inelastic” tunneling fall on the acceptor plate with less energy. By establishing the difference between the amount of energy of electrons leaving the donor plate and the amount of energy arriving at the acceptor of particles, tunneling spectroscopy of “inelastically” scattered electrons helps to determine the properties and nature of the molecular bonds of a chemical.
Let’s go back to analogies from the world of music. If you have ever played a stringed instrument, you should know that you can make sound from a string without even touching it. We mean the phenomenon of sound resonance. This “trick” can be demonstrated, for example, when tuning a guitar. If you place a small piece of tissue paper on one of the strings, and then play the note corresponding to that string on the adjacent one, you will see that the piece of paper falls off the string that you have not even touched.This is because, in the case of fine tuning, the string you pull vibrates to the air, and the air in turn transfers vibrations to the adjacent string. Resonance of vibrations of adjacent strings occurs. In “inelastic” tunneling, an electron jumps to the donor plate if the molecules of the substance placed between the plates contain a chemical bond that vibrates at the frequency that the particle needs to jump. In fact, the tunneling electron loses energy during the jerking molecular bond during the quantum jump between the plates.
Turin suggested that the olfactory receptors function in a similar way, only the role of both plates and the gap between them is played by a single molecule – the olfactory receptor itself. He introduced an electron originally located on the donor side of the receptor molecule. As in “inelastic” tunneling, an electron could jump to the acceptor side within the same molecule, but, as Turin suggested, the particle was hindered by a mismatch in the energies of the two sides of the molecule.However, if the receptor captures a scent molecule that has a chemical bond that vibrates at a suitable frequency, then the electron can jump from donor to acceptor through tunneling, while simultaneously transferring some energy to the scent molecule by pulling on one of its chemical bonds. Turin also suggested that the tunnelled electron, now on the acceptor side, fires a molecular projectile – a G protein – that activates an olfactory neuron that sends a signal directly to the brain, after which we finally “smell” the smell of, say, an orange.
Turin was able to find a lot of circumstantial evidence for his quantum theory of oscillations. For example, as already mentioned, substances containing a hydrogen sulfide bond are characterized by a pungent smell of rotten eggs. The molecules of these substances contain a molecular S – H bond that vibrates at a frequency of 76 terahertz (76 trillion vibrations per second). Within the framework of the theory of Turin, a bold hypothesis is put forward: any substance in a molecule of which a chemical bond is found that vibrates at a frequency of 76 terahertz should have the smell of a rotten egg, regardless of the shape of the molecules.Unfortunately, few substances can boast of chemical bonds with such a spectrum of vibrations. Turin scanned virtually all of the available spectroscopic literature for a reference to a molecule with the same chemical bond vibration frequency. Finally, he found that the terminal borohydrogen bonds in the composition of borane (borohydride) molecules vibrate at a frequency of 78 terahertz, which is close to the vibration frequency of the S – H bond. So what do borohydrides smell like? Such information was not found in the literature on spectroscopy, and the substances themselves turned out to be so rare that Turin could not find a sample anywhere to smell it.In an article from one of the old publications, he found a mention of the fact that borohydrides have a disgusting smell – the same can be said about the smell of sulfur. Thus, boranes are the only currently known group of substances whose molecules do not contain sulfur atoms, but at the same time have the same smell of rotten eggs as hydrogen sulfide. One of these substances is decaboran, whose molecules consist exclusively of boron and hydrogen atoms (chemical formula B 10 H 14 ).
So, Turin made a discovery: out of thousands of substances, the smells of which are known to man, the same stench as hydrogen sulfide exudes a molecule with the same frequency of vibrations of the chemical bond. This sounded very convincing, so the theory of vibrations of chemical bonds received wide support among researchers of the mechanisms of smell. As you remember, perfumers have struggled for decades to find the molecular key to the mystery of scent. Turin managed to do what no chemist could achieve: predict the smell of a substance, relying only on theoretical reasoning.For chemists, this was tantamount to someone predicting the smell of perfume based on the shape of the bottle. Turin’s theory also describes a very biologically plausible quantum mechanism by which a biomolecule is able to recognize molecular vibrations. However, a theoretically “plausible” mechanism is not enough. Where is the truth?
Unfortunately, the popularity of this film has put the preservation of clown fish in the wild at risk.Clown fish have become a favorite prey of poachers, who sell amphiprions in large quantities to aquarium lovers. No need to keep Nemo at home! Remember: the real home of amphiprions is a coral reef!
It is believed that with strong tides, spawning is easier.
Exodus, ch. 30, 34-5.
Cit. Quoted from: Le Guerer A. Scent: The Mysterious and Essential Power of Smell. N. Y .: Kodadsha America Inc., 1994. P. 12.
1-methyl-4- (1-methylethylenyl) -cyclohexene.
1 picoampere equals 10 −12 amperes.
Eisner R. Richard Axel: one of the nobility in science // P&S Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons , 2005. Vol. 25: 1.
In this context, expression refers to the activity of a gene in the process of converting information into RNA, which triggers the synthesis of a protein encoded by a given gene, such as an enzyme or olfactory receptor.
Traditionally, musk was obtained from several natural sources, including the gonads of the musk deer, the facial glands of the musk ox, the feces of the pine marten, and the urine of the badger.However, nowadays only synthetic musk is used in perfumery.
Sell C. S. On the unpredictability of odor // Angewandte Chemie , International Edition (English), 2006. Vol. 45: 38. P. 6254-6261.
Chiral molecules do not align in space with their mirror image.
To be precise, Hendrix played a regular guitar, flipping it over to the other side and rearranging the strings so that the big octave E was the bottom string, just like a left-handed guitar.
Mori K. and Shepherd G. M. Emerging principles of molecular signal processing by mitral / tufed cells in the olfactory bulb // Seminars in Cell Biology , 1994. Vol. 5: 1. P. 65-74.
For example, (4S, 4aS, 8aR) – (K) -geosmin and its mirror isomer (4R, 4aR, 8aS) – (C) -geosmin have the same specific scent of damp earth.
Turin L. The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell. London: Faber & Faber, 2006. P. 4.
Turin L.A spectroscopic mechanism for primary olfactory reception // Chemical Senses , 1996. Vol. 21: 6. P. 773-791.
David Spinozza – David Spinozza
American guitarist and producer
David Spinozza is an American guitarist and producer. He worked with former Beatles members Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon during the 1970s, and worked with singer and songwriter James Taylor for a long time, producing Taylor’s album Walking Man .
Spinozza worked with McCartney during sessions for McCartney’s Ram album during 1971. When the chance to work with Lennon presented itself two years later, when Yoko Ono was preparing her album Feeling the Space, and Lennon’s Mind Games , Spinozza discovered that Lennon did not know that he had worked with McCartney before and was afraid that his will be fired if Lennon finds out about it, given their recent media feud. When Lennon found out about this, his only comment was that McCartney “knows how to choose good people.”
David sessioned at Tim Weisberg in 1972 Hurtwood Edges and Cashman & West 1974 Lifesong . Spinozza contributed to Ono A Story , recorded in 1974 (but not released until 1998), was the leader of her band during her residency at Kenny’s Castaways and rehearsed Ono for a tour of her native Japan, but parted ways with her. when the tour started. After being out of touch for several years, Ono contacted Spinozza in late 1980 to get permission to release “It Happened”, a track from A Story , as side B to “Walking on Thin Ice”, her tribute to the recently murdered John. …Lennon and the last song they recorded together. Spinozza gave his permission. The track appeared with a new coding, recorded by Lennon and Ono’s band from Double Fantasy .
Spinozza also appeared on Ringo Starr’s Ringo the 4th 1977 , which earned him the honor of recording with three of the four Beatles.
Spinozza played acoustic guitar on the song “Honesty” from Billy Joel’s 1978 album “ 52nd Street” .
In 1978 he released Spinozza via A&M, a jazz album with several vocal tracks.
Spinozza played guitar solo on Dr. John’s hit “Right Place, Wrong Time”, played on Paul Simon’s albums Paul Simon and There goes Rhymin “Simon , Don McLean” S American Pie , and then made contributions to the soundtracks for the films Walking Dead , Happiness and Ticket Only .The first album entirely produced by David was the folk-rock trio Arthur, Hurley & Gottlieb, with whom Clive Davis signed for ten years as president of Columbia Records. Spinozza was a member of the Saturday Night Live group from 1980 to 1982. He also conducted the group in 1980 and 1981.
He was the first guitar chair in the Hairspray Broadway Orchestra and in 2009 reunited with his 1973 band L’Image, which also includes Mike Mainery, Warren Bernhardt, Tony Levin and Steve Gadd.
With BB King
With Rusty Bryant
With Paul Simon
With Richard Davis
With Roberta Flack and Donnie Hathaway
With John Denver
With Michael Franks
With Art Farmer
With Johnny Hodges
With Ron Davis
With Richie Havens
With Patricia Kaas
With Judy Collins
With Ringo Starr
With Stephen Bishop
With Jim Croce
With Rod Stewart
With Charlie Mariano
C Bette Midler
S Garland Jeffries
With Laura Branigan
With Melissa Manchester
With Don McLean
C Dionne Warwick
With Robin Kenyatta
So Stephanie Mills
With Yusef Latif
C Celine Dion
With Mark Cohn
With Roberta Flack
With Carly Simon
S Yoko Ono
With Aretha Franklin
With Jennifer Holliday
With Johnny Little
With Tad Jones / Mel Lewis Orchestra
With Peter Allen
With George W. Benson
S Frankie Valley
With James Taylor
With Elvis Costello
With John Lennon
With Barry Manilow
C Yvonne Elliman
With Herbie Mann
With Jean-Pierre Ferlan
With Bonnie Wright
With Arif Mardin
With Les McCann
With David Newman
S Shirley Scott
With Joe Thomas
With Charles Williams
With Billy Joel
With David Sanborn
With Michael Kenny
- Guitar on some tracks of Michael Kenny’s self-titled album (Tom Cat / RCA, 1976)
Notes and References