Saturday, February 28, 2009

Finally! The Science Behind Navel Lint

Who said it was a slow news day? We've finally solved one of the great mysteries of life: How on earth does navel lint gather? Or, as it's called here, belly button fluff.
FOR years Dr Georg Steinhauser, of the Vienna University of Technology, has toiled at the coalface of science and now he can tell the world about a body hair that traps stray pieces of lint and pulls them into the navel.

Dr Steinhauser has studied 503 pieces of fluff from his own belly button.
This guy actually collects his own. Now there's dedication.
Under laboratory conditions, the chemist learnt that the fluff was not made up of only cotton from clothing. Wrapped up in the belly fluff – the bluff - were shards of dead skin, fat, dust and sweat.

Dr Steinhauser writes in the journal Medical Hypotheses that “small pieces of fluff first form in the hair and then end up in the navel at the end of the day”.

The scaly structure of the hair enhances the “abrasion of minuscule fibres from the shirt” and funnel the bluff into the navel. Says he:

“The hair’s scales act like a kind of barbed hooks. Abdominal hair often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel.”

Dr Steinhauser concludes that shaving the belly will result in a bluff-free navel - but only until the hairs grow back.

Failing that, a body piercing – rings or stud - sweeps away fibres before they lodge.

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