Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Job satisfaction

I’m the first to admit that being an author has its downsides. It’s a hard field to break into, it often doesn’t pay as well as . . . say, a pizza delivery job, and if you’re lucky and do get a book deal, you have to live through revision letters. Trust me, they aren’t pretty. I hold many angry conversations with my editor about his revision letters. Some conversations he actually gets to hear. My husband generally hears the rest.

But every once in awhile something comes along that makes me say: I’m so glad I have this job. This time it was a paragraph I read about why mosquitoes are attracted to certain people. (I just figured mosquitoes were like men and had peculiar tastes, but apparently there is a real scientific reason.)

Here is the paragraph:

The researchers separated human volunteers into two groups—those who were attractive to mosquitoes and those who weren't. They then put each of the volunteers into body-size foil bags for two hours to collect their body odors. Using a machine known as a chromatograph, the scientists were able to separate the chemicals. They then tested each of them to see how the mosquitoes responded. By attaching microelectrodes to the insects' antennae, the researchers could measure the electrical impulses that are generated when mosquitoes recognize a chemical.

Note to guys who want to pick up women. These job titles will not impress us:

1) Test subject to see if mosquitoes prefer your blood.
2) Person collecting body odors of test subjects
3) Researcher who attaches microelectrodes onto mosquitoes' antennae

Yep, I love my job


Douglas Cootey said...

And here’s why I like reading author blogs. I get to read about people who actually attach microelectrodes to the antennae of mosquitos. Very cool.

I also dug around and found the original article ☞

In short, people who are stressed out emit chemicals that repel mosquitos.

There must be something else at play. I am the most stressed out person I know with blood pressure so high that you can see it pooling in my eyeballs, yet I attract mosquitos like magnets to metal. I always assumed it was because I tend to have low body odor. (I’m wearing seven year old sneakers that don’t stink.) A truly wonderful talent, I know, but one which I haven’t figured out how to monetize yet. Maybe I should call these mosquito guys…

Piglet de' Erin said...

Wow, thats crazy stuff. I would be hard pressed not to refer to those people as Bugmen. Or Mosquito-ites. Or Keetos.

But you're right, if Mark told me (of course while we were dating) that he was a Bugman I would have been like See you Later. Peace OUt.

Annette Lyon said...

I'm still trying to picture the guy whose job it is to attach the electrodes--and how he does it.

Gotta love the job for sure at times like that!

Shannon Messenger said...

Okay, even my job is better than that, and I work at an insurance company and get yelled at all day (we insure Air Conditioners--among other things--and hot people aren't exactly friendly people). So I guess I shouldn't whine so much.

Kaylie said...

I must say that sometimes writing revisions and motherhood both feel like attaching microelectrodes to mosquito antennae. (That's a semi-colon where? Are you sure the head of your Lego man is under the couch cushions?)

Janette Rallison said...

I have definetly had my moments that would rival attaching electronics to mosiquotoes. Potty-training comes to mind.

Carolyn V. said...

I always wondered what it would be like to work at the land fill (is that what it's called) where the garbage goes. Do you think they get used to the smell?

Janette Rallison said...

Oh--I'll have to put that one on the list of jobs I'm glad I don't have.

Valerie Ipson said...

Those are some dang tiny electrodes.

Julie Wright said...

LOL HEY! I love your job too! Josi and I are coming to stay with you in November. Hope you don't mind :)

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