Courtesy freebeetSorry to be the bearer of bad news, everyone, but it’s time y’all know the ending to the movie, as it were.
You know what I’m talking about: the secrets of belly button lint have been revealed. The code is cracked. The mystery is solved.
So put away your magnifying glasses and mirrors. Close your holy books, and silence your prayers for enlightenment. Power down the electron microscopes, and box up the spectrum analyzer. Pick out the clothes you want to be buried in.
Because someone has beaten you to the punch.
There’s an Austrian behind this bleak news (as usual), a chemist named Georg Steinhauser. In an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses, Steinhauser describes the formation mechanisms and chemical composition of navel fluff, based on samples from his friends and colleagues, as well as over 500 pieces of lint collected from his own gut pit (that’s what cool kids are calling belly buttons these days).
The microscopic structure of human hair—overlapping scales that point towards the end of the hair—serves to abrade clothing fabric (it rubs tiny fibers off the cloth), as well as to direct thee lint towards the navel, as hair on the stomach “often seems to grow in concentric circles around the navel.”
Chemical analysis, however, revealed that while cotton fibers make up most of the content of navel fluff, flecks of skin, dust, dried sweat, and fat are also present in noticeable quantities.
Shaving one’s belly should significantly reduce the accumulation of fluff, but only, the doctor points out, until the hair grows back. Yes, that makes sense.
Also, belly button piercings can aid the prevention of fluff. Rings tend to sweep away fibers before they can lodge in the navel.
Wearing older clothing can likewise reduce lint. New cloth sheds more fibers—up to one thousandth of a shirt’s weight can be lost to belly button lint each year. If my calculations are correct, that means that your navel could consume an entire shirt in one thousand years.
It’s valuable research, of course, and it adds a “why” to the “who” and “um… what?” to our understanding of the navel ecosystem. (The bulk of what we already knew came from an Australian study of over 5,000 people, which determined that the typical carrier of navel lint is a “slightly overweight middle-aged male with a hairy abdomen,” and that the reason the lint is generally blue or grey is because… we usually wear blue or grey pants.)
Are your minds blown?
Well, you can continue on with your lives now, as pointless as they may seem at the moment.