10 New Discoveries That Will Blow Your Mind
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5. Eau de Olde
Speaking of smells, everyone has one, some pleasant, some not, most rather neutral but all definitely evocative of that person. “Old-people smell” is a phrase often used to refer to a particular scent, one probably best described as the smell of medication and a long-closed room. Turns out, though, that while old-people smell may be a real thing it’s not a bad one, not by a long shot.
Amina Kahn of the Los Angeles Times reports on research by Johan Lundstrom, a neuropsychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia published in the journal PLoS ONE wherein 41 volunteers, age 20-95, slept in T-shirts that had nursing pads sewn into the armpits. “Just before bedtime, the volunteers also showered with odor-free soap and shampoo and laundered their linens in odor-free detergent. They even avoided spicy foods, which can alter secretions from sweat glands.”
After the five nights the researchers cut out the nursing pads and put cut-up quarters of the pads from several people in the same age group in jars for the scent to be evaluated by another group of 41 volunteers.
“It turned out that the underarm odor of 75-to-95-year-olds was judged to be less intense and far more pleasant than the scent of either young or middle-aged adults. The most intense — and perhaps not coincidentally, the most unpleasant — odor came from 45-to-55-year-old men. Women in that age group, on the other hand, produced the most pleasant smell of everyone who wore the underarm pads.”
Men generally smelled worse than old women though not so when they got old which Lundstrom attributes to hormonal changes. "It's almost as if you're going back to what happened before puberty."
Smell ya later, indeed. Like in 20 years.
6. Mars' most famous citizen
Ninety-one should be an age you think of as old but some people, no matter how advanced their years, are difficult to think of that way. Ray Bradbury’s boundless imagination and vision made him one of those. The AP’s John Rogers relates in an LA Times story that Bradbury’s “chance meeting” with a magician named Mr. Electrico changed his life when he pointed at 12-year-old Bradbury and said “Live forever!”
“I decided that was the greatest idea I ever heard,” Bradbury said, “I started writing every day and I never stopped.”
Five hundred works later, including short stories, plays and novels like the classic Fahrenheit 451 , Ray Bradbury, whom Steven Spielberg called “immortal,” died at the age of 91 on June 5...but is immortal nonetheless. He “anticipated iPods, interactive television, electronic surveillance and live, sensational media events, including televised police pursuits — and not necessarily as good things,” Rogers writes. The visionary author -- who didn’t have a driver’s license or fly in a plane until 1982 -- had a moon crater and an asteroid named for him and a copy of his classic The Martian Chronicles “was flown into space in 2007 by NASA's Phoenix spacecraft, which touched down on the Martian arctic plains.”
“Mars Loses One of Its Most Famous Citizens - Ray Bradbury, 1920 - 2012,” is a touching tribute by Scientific American’s Michael J. Battaglia, who writes “The beauty of science fiction is born not simply of its predictive proclivities, but also of its festival of ideas, some fantastically outlandish, some horrifying, some now 'outdated'—but only because many have come true .”
7. “Flame Challenge” winner
Fahrenheit 451 got its title because Ray Bradbury was once told that it’s the temperature at which books go up in flames.