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July 30, 1998

Humans use only fraction of nose, scientists say

BOSTON — Scientists at UMass have made another bold advancement in the study of the face. After achieving many breakthroughs in the field of growing mice with human ears on their backs, researchers at the Institute for Growing Mice with Facial Parts on Their Backs have moved on to the nose, and made a great discovery in the process. nose.jpg (4665 bytes)

"It turns out," said Jeremy Feinstein, lead GMFPOTB researcher, "that humans are not making full use of their noses. We think they’re only using somewhere between 10 or 12 percent. Maybe it’s 32. We can’t be sure, we’re not very good scientists."

A team of Harvard researchers, who have been found to be much better scientists, have confirmed that 12 percent is most likely the accurate figure. At only 6 percent per nostril, this is feared to be a very large discrepancy from the 100 percent of our noses that we could be using. Both the Harvard and UMass teams agree that we could not use more than 100 percent of our noses, unless the noses were engaged in a sporting event, which would call for 110 percent. "Of course," Feinstein explained, "this would take some usefulness away from the chin."

Both research teams are currently involved in a race to determine what other purposes the nose might serve. The Harvard team is focusing on enhancing the performance of what they call the Big Nose Four: Blowing, Breathing, Sneezing and Sniffing. Dr. Richard Bezzener, leader of the Harvard research team, explained, "According to our projections, the nose is theoretically capable of being blown at speeds up to 700 miles per hour. If we could reach that potential, mass transport would be a thing of the past — people could just use their noses like jetpacks and fly to their destination."

The UMass team, however, has taken a different approach to the problem. "We think there must be at least 15 different functions for the nose" said Feinstein. "Although we will have to use trial and error to discover what these functions are." The group’s Extra-Nasal Perception (EPN) lab is currently running three separate experiments, testing the effect of the nose on balance, financial acumen and the practice of intercourse.

"I must say," Feinstein admitted, "we’re all kind of pulling for the sex study. We all just love sex here at UMass. Much more than those flaccid teams at Harvard, I’d imagine."

Dr. Bezzener admitted that he was not following up the nose/sex angle. "However, rest assured that we at Harvard love sex as much as anyone else. It’s just that we’re better scientists, you see. And jet-nose propulsion is the kind of thing science is all about."

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