Last month, an oNote was sent across the Atlantic via the oPhone, and the recipients were treated to the scent of champagne and macarons. [more inside]
Jeffrey Mogil’s students suspected there was something fishy going on with their experiments. They were injecting an irritant into the feet of mice to test their pain response, but the rodents didn’t seem to feel anything. “We thought there was something wrong with the injection,” says Mogil, a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. The real culprit was far more surprising: The mice that didn’t feel pain had been handled by male students. Mogil’s group discovered that this gender distinction alone was enough to throw off their whole experiment—and likely influences the work of other researchers as well. [more inside]
Smells can be very hard to identify and name, unless you are given some prompting - or you speak Jahai, the language of an indigenous group in the Malay peninsula.
Is perfume art? Could it be? Or is it something else: a craft, a commercial product, an ornament, a luxury, a prosthetic, an aphrodisiac, a love letter, a prayer, a con? Why does it matter?[more inside]
"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.[more inside]
"The milk curds were then strained and pressed, yielding unique smelling fresh cheeses" "These cheeses are scientific as well as artistic objects" [more inside]
If you're loathe to invest in an e-Book because you long for the physicality of books, you can now purchase book perfume designed to replicate the smell of books. [via]
The Science of Scent. An entertaining and enlightening TED talk by biophysicist Luca Turin.
Not safe for work: "Vulva Original: Authentically natural vaginal flavour." (Flash interface; much gratuitous nudity.)
Different scent attraction for men, women, and homosexuals Interesting report about homosexual men responding differently to pheromones as heterosexual men but very similar to women. (NYT)
Compressed Art: Perfume as Art, or Commerce masquerading as Art? This site's main feature is an intriguing olfactory seven deadly sins, put together by artist Nobi Shioya, where each sin is associated with a specific perfumer, all of whom, one comes to realize, work for the same company, one of the big three international perfumes & flavours concerns. In a similar vein: the latest 'scent' issue of Visionaire (warning flash/pop-ups).
OsMoz. Inhale a little history, then follow your nose to the Sniffer Game. (Sorry, no scratch-n-sniff.)
Will the results of this scientific research explain your feelings about your family?
Love Me, Love My Scent eau d'immune baby
Thrown off the scent. A fascinating story about The Pill and its effect on women's mate choice, and the effect of these choices on evolution. T-shirts belonging to unknown men were given to women to smell. All they had to do was say which smelt best. Women on the pill chose exactly the opposite t-shirts to those that didn't - find me free will, personal taste and the nature / culture divide in that if you can... [found via Plastic - and if you want to talk about that, then click here]
Smell-o-vision may not be that far off, if the Digiscents.com people have their way.