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the olfactory arts

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]
posted by divabat on Dec 23, 2013 - 30 comments

New Frontiers In Science

Can plants think? Michael Pollan asks the question. (SLNewYorker)
posted by Diablevert on Dec 23, 2013 - 75 comments

Wait, why does the airlock smell like burnt steak and gunpowder?

CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield discusses how senses change aboard the International Space Station: Sound, Sight, Taste, Smell, and Touch. [previously]
posted by quin on Jun 5, 2013 - 10 comments

Foxes jump in a north-easterly direction

Foxes hunt rodents in the snow by listening for their movements and leaping high to pounce on their prey. Interestingly, they hunt most successfully when they jump in a north-easterly direction - 73% of the time. Jumping in the opposite direction has a 60% success rate. Pouncing in other directions was successful only 18% of the time. This was consistent regardless of time of day, season of year and weather conditions. [more inside]
posted by Stark on Feb 4, 2013 - 65 comments

I have superpowers? Snap.

"Even beyond the philosophical wonder of passively sampling our outside environment in a shared, meaningful fashion is the ridiculous sensitivity of our senses." [more inside]
posted by Glinn on May 11, 2011 - 27 comments

When Five Fell

Morning. Before the world wants anything from her. When Five Fell is the beautiful short film about the five senses loving you back... from Wong Fu Productions. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 9, 2010 - 4 comments

I have no eyes and I must see!

Sea urchins do not have eyes, yet appear to be able to see where they are going. One posible answer: they may use the entire surface of their bodies as a compound eye.
posted by Artw on Feb 7, 2010 - 31 comments

"The one thing more difficult than following a regimen is not imposing it on others." - Marcel Proust.

People have studied many things relating to, and regarding Marcel Proust; what they may never have told you is... Proust is funny!! (just not "Lucky Jim" funny.) [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Oct 29, 2009 - 22 comments

Senese Challenge From the BBC

Challenge Your Senses
posted by blue_beetle on Jul 31, 2009 - 24 comments

See It, Hear It, Smell It

Seeing, Hearing and Smelling the World. From the main page, click on the various articles to access a larger left-side menu, with articles including Illusions Reveal The Brain's Assumptions, A Hot Spot in the Brain's Motion Pathway, The Value of Having Two Ears, The Memory of Smells and much more.
posted by amyms on Dec 5, 2007 - 2 comments

The Phantom Compass Syndrome

Hacking the Senses: The brain is far more plastic than we commonly realize. Presenting new 'senses' via the old inputs works extremely well, to the point that long-term volunteers are a little lost without their new abilities to feel magnetic north or absolute orientation. Tasting direction; feeling pictures. Fascinating stuff. In a loosely related article, genetically modified mice are able to see the full color range visible to humans, even though the last natural mouse able to see this way died out a hundred million years ago. Add the new sensors, and the brain reconfigures. [via]
posted by Malor on Apr 5, 2007 - 68 comments

Make lemons into lemonade

An exotic West African berry, known as miracle fruit, has gained a cult following by radically changing the way things taste: it eliminates sourness, making lemons taste like lemonade and limes like candy. Despite a long history of cultivation, the FDA has not approved the fruit or miraculin, the protein that causes its odd effects. In Japan, where it has been intensely studied, the fruit is served at cafes to help dieters.
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 6, 2007 - 34 comments

When coloured sounds taste sweet

27-year-old professional recorder player can not only see colours when hearing music but can taste musical notes (see chart for details). More on synaesthesia, which has appeared here, here and here. [courtesy of CBC]
posted by boost ventilator on Mar 3, 2005 - 36 comments

Failures of vision corrective surgery.

Surgical Eyes - source of info about complications and their treatment from Lasik and other vision correction surgeries.
posted by Gyan on Jan 31, 2005 - 35 comments

Through the Looking Chords

Dr Hugo's Museum of the Mind - Synaesthesia
posted by Gyan on Jan 20, 2005 - 22 comments

Polarized light in nature & technology.

Polarization.com - polarized light in nature & technology. [via MoFi]
posted by Gyan on Dec 8, 2004 - 3 comments

A clue! A clue!

What does blue smell like? A novel theory contends that humans smell the frequency of a molecule, rather than shape (full study, pdf). In fact, there is no evidence to support either theory, leading to the question, how do humans smell? Inspired by bonehead.
posted by grateful on Jul 12, 2004 - 31 comments

Sensestage

The maps of perception.
2nd link: java applet.
posted by Gyan on Apr 25, 2004 - 6 comments

Seeing with Sound

Seeing with sound.
A researcher in the Netherlands has developed a system that converts pictures from a head-mounted camera into highly complex soundscapes, which are then piped to the user via headphones. After only a week of use, a woman who has been blind from birth can tell a CD from a floppy, and discern whether the lights are on or off. Not quite up to either a bat and/or Daredevil standards, but very cool nonetheless.
posted by Irontom on Oct 14, 2003 - 5 comments

Test your senses

Test your senses A 10 minute flash test.
posted by Mwongozi on Jul 10, 2003 - 14 comments

Smelling Colors, Hearing numbers

"Modern scientists have known about synesthesia since 1880, when Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, published a paper in Nature on the phenomenon. But most have brushed it aside as fakery, an artifact of drug use (LSD and mescaline can produce similar effects) or a mere curiosity. About four years ago, however, we and others began to uncover brain processes that could account for synesthesia. " This article from Scientific American seems to be turning heads around the Psychology Department at U of M [Michigan]. It's got me going too. I've seen real connections between color and sound before, stone sober. Could there be something to all this?
posted by phylum sinter on Apr 15, 2003 - 23 comments

Colour me blind

A set of 24 colour blindness tests I picked up this link from the comments in another forum, somebody mentioned they were colour blind and provided a link to these tests. Interestingly the colour blind can also see stuff that normally sighted people can't. [more inside]
posted by substrate on Mar 6, 2003 - 40 comments

Cool eyeball science

Cool eyeball science Quick summary of interesting research on the output of the eyeball. 3 really cool things: 1, we know much more about the output of the eyeball now than a few years ago; 2, they've got a neural network doing visual processing like the eye; 3, most of what you see your brain makes up!
posted by daver on Mar 28, 2001 - 8 comments

Smell-o-vision

Smell-o-vision may not be that far off, if the Digiscents.com people have their way.
posted by cCranium on May 16, 2000 - 10 comments

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