Celebrating 24 Years on the Web
Find science on or your birthday

Today in Science History - Quickie Quiz
Who said: “Genius is two percent inspiration, ninety-eight percent perspiration.”
more quiz questions >>
Thumbnail of Anonymous
( - )


Anonymous - A Paper Cut… A Tree's Last Laugh

Illustrated Quote - Large (800 x 600 px)

“A Paper Cut… A Tree's Last Laugh”
— Anonymous

More Anonymous quotes on science >>

If you get a paper cut, you may wonder why such a small nick stings so much more than you might expect compared to a deeper wound, say, with a razor blade.

Looking around the web for answers, there are several theories that get parrotted. So let's stay with a dermatologists's answer: Forget about the microscopic nature of the paper, its chemicals, or bacteria on it. Yet, beyond those discreditted ideas, dermatologists are still not sure.

Before worrying about why, remember this first—seal the wound. Superficial cuts usually lack blood flow, so cover the wound with Vaseline or liquid bandage to do the job that scab formation would normally do. That also means the exposed raw nerves are no longer open to the air, and the pain signals are reduced.

Pain originates from the nociceptors which are especially plentiful in the fingers where the sense of touch is most important. The word “nociceptor” compounds “receptor” with the Latin stem from “nocere”—meaning “harm”—indicating the survival purpose of nerves. Messages about sensing something hot, sharp or crushing are sent to the brain to produce a motor response to withdraw from the danger.

The paper edge inflicts only superficial damage, affecting the most shallow nerves, which are the most sensitive, and respond with the feeling of stinging. Larger nerves, deeper in the flesh are the ones causing dull, aching pain. Also, under a microscope it is easy to see the paper edge is ragged compared to the metal edge of a razor blade. So the paper cut is more ripped than sliced, and more nerves are affected.

Of all this information, the part to remember most is, when you get a paper cut—promptly seal the wound.

As for the tree's revenge, don't forget those sneeky splinters, too!

Same illustration captioned “a tree's last revenge.” >>

| Tree quotes | Paper quotes | Cut quotes | Revenge quotes | Laugh quotes |

Composite illustration by Ian Ellis, using clips from the following: The Laughing Tree with kind permission by Denis Wilson from The Nature of Robertson; Tree Stump by Angela Marie from Flickr Commons; Finger Cut by Alvimann from Morguefile. Text reference: article from the ABC News Medical Unit. (source)

See also:
  • Science Quotes by Anonymous.
  • Anonymous - context of quote “A Paper Cut… A Tree's Last Revenge” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)
  • Anonymous - context of quote “A Paper Cut… A Tree's Last Revenge” - Large image (800 x 600 px)
  • Anonymous - context of quote “A Paper Cut… A Tree's Last Laugh” - Medium image (500 x 350 px)

Nature bears long with those who wrong her. She is patient under abuse. But when abuse has gone too far, when the time of reckoning finally comes, she is equally slow to be appeased and to turn away her wrath. (1882) -- Nathaniel Egleston, who was writing then about deforestation, but speaks equally well about the danger of climate change today.
Carl Sagan Thumbnail Carl Sagan: In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) ...(more by Sagan)

Albert Einstein: I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative. Negative-positive—these are perfectly symmetric in physics. There is no reason whatever to prefer one to the other. Then why is the electron negative? I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was “It won the fight!” ...(more by Einstein)

Richard Feynman: It is the facts that matter, not the proofs. Physics can progress without the proofs, but we can't go on without the facts ... if the facts are right, then the proofs are a matter of playing around with the algebra correctly. ...(more by Feynman)
Quotations by:Albert EinsteinIsaac NewtonLord KelvinCharles DarwinSrinivasa RamanujanCarl SaganFlorence NightingaleThomas EdisonAristotleMarie CurieBenjamin FranklinWinston ChurchillGalileo GalileiSigmund FreudRobert BunsenLouis PasteurTheodore RooseveltAbraham LincolnRonald ReaganLeonardo DaVinciMichio KakuKarl PopperJohann GoetheRobert OppenheimerCharles Kettering  ... (more people)

Quotations about:Atomic  BombBiologyChemistryDeforestationEngineeringAnatomyAstronomyBacteriaBiochemistryBotanyConservationDinosaurEnvironmentFractalGeneticsGeologyHistory of ScienceInventionJupiterKnowledgeLoveMathematicsMeasurementMedicineNatural ResourceOrganic ChemistryPhysicsPhysicianQuantum TheoryResearchScience and ArtTeacherTechnologyUniverseVolcanoVirusWind PowerWomen ScientistsX-RaysYouthZoology  ... (more topics)

Thank you for sharing.
- 100 -
Sophie Germain
Gertrude Elion
Ernest Rutherford
James Chadwick
Marcel Proust
William Harvey
Johann Goethe
John Keynes
Carl Gauss
Paul Feyerabend
- 90 -
Antoine Lavoisier
Lise Meitner
Charles Babbage
Ibn Khaldun
Ralph Emerson
Robert Bunsen
Frederick Banting
Andre Ampere
Winston Churchill
- 80 -
John Locke
Bronislaw Malinowski
Thomas Huxley
Alessandro Volta
Erwin Schrodinger
Wilhelm Roentgen
Louis Pasteur
Bertrand Russell
Jean Lamarck
- 70 -
Samuel Morse
John Wheeler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Robert Fulton
Pierre Laplace
Humphry Davy
Thomas Edison
Lord Kelvin
Theodore Roosevelt
Carolus Linnaeus
- 60 -
Francis Galton
Linus Pauling
Immanuel Kant
Martin Fischer
Robert Boyle
Karl Popper
Paul Dirac
James Watson
William Shakespeare
- 50 -
Stephen Hawking
Niels Bohr
Nikola Tesla
Rachel Carson
Max Planck
Henry Adams
Richard Dawkins
Werner Heisenberg
Alfred Wegener
John Dalton
- 40 -
Pierre Fermat
Edward Wilson
Johannes Kepler
Gustave Eiffel
Giordano Bruno
JJ Thomson
Thomas Kuhn
Leonardo DaVinci
David Hume
- 30 -
Andreas Vesalius
Rudolf Virchow
Richard Feynman
James Hutton
Alexander Fleming
Emile Durkheim
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Oppenheimer
Robert Hooke
Charles Kettering
- 20 -
Carl Sagan
James Maxwell
Marie Curie
Rene Descartes
Francis Crick
Michael Faraday
Srinivasa Ramanujan
Francis Bacon
Galileo Galilei
- 10 -
John Watson
Rosalind Franklin
Michio Kaku
Isaac Asimov
Charles Darwin
Sigmund Freud
Albert Einstein
Florence Nightingale
Isaac Newton

by Ian Ellis
who invites your feedback
Thank you for sharing.
Today in Science History
Sign up for Newsletter
with quiz, quotes and more.