Thursday, July 22, 2004

22 July 2004: Sneeze

Of great relief to me is the current 'instant poll' on Slashdot. For years I've wondered why it is that, when stepping out of, say, the depths of Bay 10 on Zepler Level Three out into the blinking sunshine of the Southampton University campus, I will walk approximately four steps and then sneeze violently.

Not only do 34% of Slashdot nerd-respondents suffer the same condition, but a link to the Wikipedia tells us that this is a genuine medical condition. The Photic Sneeze Reflex is real, caused by a "congenital malfunction in nerve signals in the trigeminal nerve nucleus." Just what I thought.

Apparantly, this condition has career-influencing effects: "people suffering from photic sneeze reflex may not fly combat aircraft". I don't especially worry about that, but it is a definite annoyance when driving down motorway, the sun comes out from behind a cloud and AAA-CHOOO, suddenly there's nasal fluid all over the windscreen. If you leave it a few days it congeals and sometimes becomes fungal. Yum.

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