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*foot notes

October 06, 2000|JAMES E. FOWLER

Everybody smells.

Some better than others.

The sense of smell protected our primitive ancestors from being the breakfast of lions, tigers and bears. Smell also helped our forebears find food. We don't have to think much about lions anymore, but smell still plays a big part in our memories, emotions and desires.

* Experts say about 95% of the human nasal cavity has nothing to do with smell. The olfactory membrane is a layer of cells on the roof of the nasal cavity. The shape of the epithelium varies from person to person. The bigger your epithelium, the better your sense of smell.

* An Oakland-based company, DigiScents Inc., is developing a technology for digitizing, transmitting and synthesizing scents, so that you will not only be able to surf the Internet but smell it, too. With the iSmell Personal Scent Synthesizer, you'll be able to smell Web sites and send odoriferous e-mails to others.

* An estimated 16 million Americans suffer from smell and taste disorders. A UC San Diego Web site says it has been estimated that 3 million to 5 million Americans suffer from anosmia, the loss of the sense of smell. "Normosmia" means a normal sense of smell. Both words are derived from the Greek word osme, which means odor. Other smelly words with Greek roots are parosmia, a distortion of the sense of smell, and phantosmia--the perception of phantom odors.

* For those who have no problem smelling things, the Web site http://www.contractorszone.com is selling, for $18.95, a three-pack of the Environmental Air Sponge, guaranteed to eliminate all odors and pollutants from the air in your home, office or car.

* The Bard once said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But not all roses are created equal. It's best to shop around. Prices for a dozen long-stemmed roses range from about $30 to $70 at floral shops around the Valley.

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