The Science and Tech section is excited to debut our new column: Simply Stated! Dedicated to the weird and wonderful science of everyday things and the world around us, Simply Stated features no-nonsense explanations of technology, medicine, natural phenomena and any other assortment of subjects which may spark one’s curiosity.
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College is certainly full of novel experiences, but experiencing such extreme humidity (>90% last week!) was not one such novel experience I anticipated.
Within just a few minutes of leaving my dorm, my hair simultaneously wilts and expands. Unfortunately, I can’t explain it better. We live near several forms of water (lagoons, small pools of piss on DP and the Pacific Ocean), and much of that water evaporates into our atmosphere. Our hair, specifically the chemical compounds it consists of and its high porosity, is extremely attractive to atmospheric hydrogen. So attractive, in fact, that a strand of hair served as one of the earliest forms of a hygrometer, which is an instrument meant to measure humidity.
As hydrogen molecules bond between the keratin proteins in a single hair strand, it swells and folds in on itself. Multiply this by 100,000, which is the average number of hairs a human has on their head, and you’ve got a grievous case of the frizz. People with hair that tends to be drier or generally more porous fall especially severe victims, because more hydrogen molecules are able to infiltrate the spaces between those keratin strands. Those blessed with low-to-normal porosity likely battle less poufiness and frizz — lucky you! I can’t talk to you.
Being new to I.V. means being new to many things. I learned there are things I must understand and rules I must adhere to, and they’re easy enough to remember: curbs aren’t for sitting, bicyclists top the right-of-way hierarchy, 8 a.m.s suck (but are sometimes unavoidable), wear closed-toe shoes to the beach, so on and so forth. In my time here, though brief, I do have one more tip to add — to my fellow frustrated frizzy-headed friends, hemp seed oil extract goes a very long way.
Learn these things and you’ll also learn how lovely, diverse and peaceful yet exciting it is here, especially after 18 months of desiccating at home. Personally, I find that being near a body of water does much for the mind and soul. But, my God, what it does to the hair.